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Don’t wait!

Now the wait is over, the Fish! 1.2.2 update is out and the AppleTV version is waiting for approval I can keep everyone up to date on what else we’re doing 🙂

Firstly, time to reiterate our policy on pricing and sales. Having realised that paid apps are probably our only chance of actually paying the bills, we decided some time ago that we’d focus on them and stick with a “No sales” policy.
The philosophy behind this policy is that we don’t want to mess our players around with variable prices for games and set a reasonable price for them.
So there’s no point waiting until one of our games goes on sale. If you want to play it, buy it now. It won’t get any cheaper and if they’re not selling early on, we can’t afford to update them and may even have to drop them entirely.

 

What’s next for Fish! ?

The next big update will be in the new year. We’re going to be adding quite a bit more cool stuff in this update. Now I’ve got the UI rewrite out of the way, we can focus more on content. There’s going to be more classic Flick Fishing features returning too!

Also, I’m dabbling with the Mac version of Fish! If you’ve got the macOS version of Fast Fishing from the Mac App Store, drop us a line as we’d love to set you up with a free copy once it’s up and running as a thank you for your support.

 

Download Fish! Now from the App Store! (Fish! is Universal Purchase, so buying the iOS version also gets you the Apple TV version)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fish/id966194870?ls=1&mt=8

If you do want to try a fun little free game of ours by the way, we do have SpinnYwings on the App Store for you to play. Give it a go!

SpinnYwingS on the App Store

Nine Years of Flick Fishing and Fish!

Nine years ago next month, Adam and I started work on our second iOS game while waiting for our first “The Plank” to finish testing and be approved for the App Store.

Back then, Flick Fishing started pretty simple. For its release version in November 2008, it had six locations and just the basic tournaments. The Old Man in the Lighthouse wasn’t even on the map with his quest, the named fish had yet to be named and of course it was a huge hit, being the second app to hit a million sales, just an hour behind Flight Control.

I’ve recounted the story of how we worked on and updated Flick Fishing over the years, the 2000+ *years* of game time that was logged by players and how we were unable to do anything but watch as it was left unattended and eventually removed from the App Store in my blog on the Strange Flavour website, with the name itself locked away under someone else’s trademark.

But we weren’t done with the game. We’d worked on updates that weren’t able to be released and we saw the Flick Fishing fanbase asking for more. Our fabulous publishing partners Freeverse had unfortunately been consumed and lost to the App Store too and we switched to self publishing.

Eventually, we plucked up the courage to take a fresh look at Flick Fishing. We knew it would be a long term project (while Flick Fishing’s basic concept, which ‘inspired’ how pretty much every popular fishing game on mobile worked was there in V1.0, a lot of its features were developed over 5 years of updates). Rather than just do the new game the same as Flick Fishing, we thought it would be a great idea to combine it with an Outrun style time challenge so you had to catch fish within a time limit to progress. Voila! Fast Fishing was born in 2015.

Fish! with original Flick Fishing screenshot inset at actual resolution. That’s how big your Retina display is!

Ok, so we found out that Flick Fishing still had a big fanbase. We also found out they didn’t want us mucking about with the basic game idea and ability to just fish 😉 So Fast Fishing got quietly put back in the cupboard and we got down to seriously working on a proper Flick Fishing 2, even if we knew we couldn’t call it that. Later in 2015, Fish! was one of the first games released for Apple’s new AppleTV App Store and the success of that version helped us fund the eventual release on iOS in March 2016.

Fish! has steadily grown as the old fanbase has stumbled across it on the App Store (unfortunately the short name and the weird way search works on the App Store makes it very difficult to stumble across!). It got a couple of updates last year but we’ve had to take a lot of time away to work on other projects and contract work to pay the bills. There was a lot of stuff we wanted to do with Fish! though, some familiar to Flick Fishing fans and some new.

So here we are. It’s 9 years since Adam and I started on Flick Fishing and we’re just putting the last touches to a massive update to Fish! A lot of it has been driven by feedback from our players over the last year and we’ve got more planned. For this version (1.2) though, here’s what we’ve got coming once it’s all tested and approved…

The game’s UI and a lot of the underlying structure has been completely re-written. We’ve kept the original Flick Fishing game code of course, but the way the UI was written made it difficult for us to update, add new fish, locations etc. and made it tricky to keep the iOS and AppleTV versions in sync. The new setup should make it easier to do more regular future updates and hey, maybe even a Mac version? 😉

New Network multiplayer. I’ve rewritten the entire network game. Again, more towards reliability and making it more practical for it to work cross platform with Apple TV (or Mac).

Collections! A popular feature of the original game, the 4 junk items from the first release were expanded to a whole sea of random junk that you could collect in sets to cash in for various upgrades. In Fish!, the collections can be traded in for all sorts of upgrades and extra game modes.

A Fish Guide! The Flick Fishing Megaguide was a very popular IAP item when it was introduced and gave players a heads up on where to catch all the fish. The Fish Guide starts simple, with suggestions of 3 different fish you can catch in each spot but can be upgraded by collecting sets of treasure items to full details of all fish, what bait, what cast distance and even a Fish Computer that shows what fish you’re likely to hook when you cast.

Xtreme and Night Mode fishing spots. Unlocked via the collections, these modes give you a whole new spin on the various fishing spots (as well as potential for bigger fish).

New Fish. Only a couple for this update, but many more coming.

A new fishing spot.

Definitely more Cobia! For some reason, the Cobia were set to being extremely rare and hard to catch. They’ve been tempted back with more cake for this version.

Stickers!

Fishing on the River Tam

There’s also a ton of fixes and tweaks under the hood and there’s more coming.

Next up, I’ve got to apply all this and update the Apple TV version to match before we can start on the next update and focus on more content.

So, if you’re a long term Flick Fishing fan or a recent Fish! player, please tell all your friends and get them playing (if you’re playing multiplayer, their catches count towards the quest if you’re playing it 😉 ) as we need you all if we’re going to be able to carry on updating and adding to the game. Also, most importantly, thanks for playing!

If you’ve not got Fish! yet, download it from the App Store here!

Fish! by Strange Flavour   

Teenage Dirtbag

What on earth do you get a teenage software company for its birthday?
Strange Flavour Ltd. is 13 years old as of tomorrow (April 1st 2017). We’ve been releasing games as Strange Flavour since 2001 but went full time with it and set the company up with Freeverse as our publishing partners on April 1st 2004. (we picked that day as it’s also Apple’s birthday 😉 )

I’ve made a list of every Strange Flavour game that’s been released for this blog, but I thought you might find it interesting to hear about some of the great ones that *nearly* made it to release…

First up of course, is Airburst XBLA. This was the ultimate version of Airburst, written for the XBox 360 and unfortunately shelved very near to completion due to running out of budget and a need to shift to iOS game development when that became available to pay the bills. (which was lucky for us as that was when we wrote Flick Fishing and paid off all the debts Airburst XBLA had run up 😉 ). Airburst XBLA was a pretty awesome game though and it’s on our “One day…” list.

France France Revolution: You might remember our Apple Design Award winning game ToySight. It was a compendium of arcade games all controlled by the iSight camera and there was one game that didn’t quite make the final package as it wasn’t quite there yet.
In France France Revolution you waved your arms in time to music to attract the attention of the Scarlett Pimpernel so he could come and rescue the French Noble about to get his or her head chopped off by the Guillotine 🙂

A notable mention is one we did actually release, but it was a special project for a drug company to use at shows and was a special ToySight game where you play as a new drug fighting colon cancer (quoting the client “Best damn ass cancer game ever!”) . File that one along with the crowd controlled version of Totem Ball (and the play while you’re queuing for a Caterham thrill ride version of SlotZ Racer) under “cool but weird exhibition stuff”!

Strange Flavour’s Games

We have actually finished and released a huge number of games though. Here’s the full list of what we’ve done in the last 13 (or 16) years…

Bushfire (Mac)
Airburst (Mac)
ToySight (Mac) (also ToySight Gold with extra games)
Airburst Extreme (Mac)

Spyglass Board Games (XBLA)
Totem Ball (XBLA)
helped on Marathon Durandal (XBLA. Freeverse did most of the work, we just consulted)

The Plank (iOS)
Flick Fishing (iOS), (also Flick Fishing HD, Flick Fishing Free, Flick Fishing Free HD) and updates for 5+ years
SlotZ Racer (iOS)
Warpack Grunts (iOS)
SlotZ Racer 2 (iOS, Apple TV)  SlotZ Racer 2
SlotZ Racer Caterham Special (iOS)  SlotZ Racer Caterham Special
Apple Dash/Bob (publisher & added code) (iOS)   Apple Bob
Melvin Tiles (iOS)
Any Landing (iOS, Apple TV)   Any Landing 
Snapmatch Soccer (iOS)
Fast Fishing (iOS, Mac)
SlotZ Racer Zenos Special (iOS)   SlotZ Racer Zenos Special 
Tiny TrackZ (iOS, Apple TV) Tiny TrackZ
Fish! (iOS,Apple TV)   Fish!
SpinnYwingS (iOS) ( AppleTV and Mac coming soon!)  SpinnyWings

If you include the alternate versions of Flick Fishing, that’s 29 professional game releases in 16 years. Not bad for a tiny 2 man team. I think I’m taking the day off tomorrow 🙂

Happy Birthday Apple!

I’ve already posted about it being our company birthday today (1st April), but the big news is of course that Apple is 40 today and the oldest computer company in the world (that actually makes computers) so I thought I’d show you a list that explains why we’re such fans of Apple here at Strange Flavour.

This is what a couple of guys with off the shelf Macs can produce in 12 years..

5 Mac games
1 Mac game for medical research
3 Xbox 360 games, plus helping another get finished
16 iOS games
and 4 Apple TV games

About 30 million people who’ve bought or downloaded them and played them and approximately 2000 years (yes years) of gameplay time.

Also an Apple Design Award and a MacWorld Best of Show award plus had an animated short based on one of our games shown at ComiCon 🙂

That’s the level of productivity you get when you work on computers and software you can rely on (we did try using a PC for the Xbox 360 development but it was too unreliable and Windows worked better on a Mac anyway 😉 ).

Hopefully, by the time Strange Flavour reaches 40 I’ll be posting these updates from my Apple Hover Sofa (TM) using the thought transcription mode in my iShirt (TM)

Happy Birthday Apple and here’s to many more!

Thanks also to all the great people we’ve worked with over the last decade or so at Freeverse, Apple, Microsoft, Caterham, Zenos and Unity to name a few!

An Update on Updates :)

Now that Tiny TrackZ has successfully left the engine shed, we’ve set to work on some much needed updates for all of our games and working on making new paid versions of the Play Nice ones.

First up is Any Landing. The 1.2.2 update is undergoing testing at the moment and focuses on updating to properly use the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screen sizes as well as fixing a bunch of annoying bugs. I’ve also re-jigged the ads a little to make them less annoying although due to changes in what’s allowed in apps now, I’ve had to remove the “Free wings for having our games installed” page. Watch for the update of Any Landing PlayNice in the next couple of weeks.

The paid version (i.e. Any Landing) is almost done, so that should be submitted soon after Any Landing Play Nice. Gameplay wise, it’s more of a challenge as you can’t adjust the difficulty downwards by spending money to buy more powerups but you do start with more Wings (and the bank option is on by default, so you can build up your coins to use).

We’re already working on the first update to Tiny TrackZ. This will focus on bug fixes, optimisation and general tuning. We’re planning the first actual content update, which will have some German locos and wagons and suitable layouts to play with. As Tiny TrackZ has done pretty well in the German App Store though, we’re putting extra effort in to get a German localisation done for this content update too. I’m aiming to submit the bug fix update by the end of this week and the content update will follow later once Adam’s had time to do all the new artwork!

Fast Fishing is also in the update process. As mentioned in a previous article, there’ll be Fast Fishing PlayNice which will be the update for the current Fast Fishing and Fast Fishing, which will be the new pay once version. We’ve got some fun new content planned for these that our old Flick Fishing fans will like, so it’ll take a little longer. It’ll be worth the wait though 🙂

Last but not least I’ve also been spending time updating SlotZ Racer 2 🙂 Apart from fixes to the screen mode to cover newer iPhones and adding MFi Controller code, it also adds the Zenos E10 and Zenos E10S sports cars from SlotZ Racer Zenos Special. These will be available as part of the main set of cars, so won’t need unlocking.

Being able to spend time on these updates is only made possible by our most excellent players buying our games and keeping playing them (and telling their friends so they can buy and play them too).

 

Update:  We’ve been asked (especially by one very keen Fast Fishing app reviewer in the US 😉 ) to update our original iPhone fishing game Flick Fishing over and over again. The problem being that as we wrote it to be Freeverse’s IP and it was on their App Store account, it’s moved with that account to their new owners. So unfortunately the situation is that while we’d love to update it, we simply can’t as we don’t have access to it.

That’s one reason why we wrote Fast Fishing. It’s essentially the same as Flick Fishing in how it works (the actual fishing code is the same) as we don’t own the Flick Fishing brand, but the code is still ours 🙂 With Fast Fishing we wanted to try a different gameplay mode to suit current gamers, but there’s still a definite fan base that wants an up to date version of Flick Fishing. However a lot of them bought Flick Fishing later on in its development when it had lots of features in it and don’t remember the original release which only had the basic fishing spots and a couple of tournament options.

So don’t worry fans, we’re expanding Fast Fishing towards what you want. It won’t be immediate, but we hear you and appreciate your keen feedback 🙂

If you want to contact us directly to let us know what you’d like to see in our game updates or report any bugs, remember can contact us at info@strangeflavour.com  and we’ve also started an email newsletter so you can keep up to date on our latest work Strange Flavour Newsletter

 

App Store pricing and our new games

If you’ve read my previous blog you’ll know we’re switching from our Play Nice free to play system to a straightforward one of paid games.

The plan is to try and update our Play Nice games to have paid versions. Generally speaking they will be the same game but without the pay as you play options. We debated what to call them though? Snap Match Soccer Paid?, Fast Fishing Pro? Any Landing Plus?

Eventually we decided that as the new, paid, versions would be the ‘normal’ version of the game, it’s better to rename the old versions of the game by adding ‘PlayNice’ to them. So if you’ve got any of them, the name will change but they’ll still work the same.

We’re obviously keeping the old versions on the App Store as over a million players have downloaded them and they’re still being played every day. Plus some players have bought content and it would be unfair to penalise them. As far as is practical we’ll be keeping them updated too.

We’ve put a lot of thought into pricing too. With Flick Fishing we were one of the first app developers to recognise that gaining chart position made selling the game at the lowest price point of $0.99 worthwhile. That was of course the early days of the App Store and it worked fine then. However in the current App Store chart position isn’t quite so valid unless you can guarantee a top 10 position and way too many people seem to equate a $0.99 game with one they can wait for until it inevitably goes on offer as a free game. So we’re only going to keep the $0.99 price point for old games as a ‘budget’ label. These are our older or less popular games that we still want people playing but probably won’t have a lot of time to update that regularly.

For the bigger games we’re starting at $2.99 as a base point. Our thinking is pretty simple in that all our games are worth at least that and players who are only interested in cheaper or free games have plenty of options to trawl through 😉

Tiny TrackZ for instance is a simple (but rather deep) puzzle game, so the iOS version is going to be launched at $2.99 with the Mac version coming in at $6.99 (this covers the extra development time, lower customer base and wider range of machines to support). It may have some IAP packs to extend it at some point but only for big content add ons.

The relaunched Any Landing is going to be $3.99 as it will effectively be the same as the Play Nice version rewritten as if you’d paid the full $9.99 option for everything.  Fast Fishing will be $2.99 and Snap Match Soccer will be our first $0.99 budget title. We’re already testing the first version of Any Landing in paid mode.

Fast Fishing!

Oops! in all the mayhem surrounding the Fast Fishing launch a couple of weeks ago I forgot to post our press release up here!

Good Fish Come To Those That Bait!
Strange Flavour, the award-winning creators of the number-one selling iPhone game Flick Fishing (download by a whopping 20 million players!) are pleased to announce their amazing new fishing game, Fast Fishing!

Bait your hook and cast your line through 22 stunning levels and catch fish quickly enough to avoid running out of time!

Unlock new Gizmos, Rods and Reels as you fish in six different eye-catching areas that boast multiple fishing spots. From the tranquil Shiny Pond to the dramatic Doom Deeps, each spot contains many different types of fish as well as some older and wiser fish that will be hard to catch.

If you feel like a change of pace in gameplay, you can play the Zen Mode and fish in any spots you’ve unlocked for as long as you want in a session.

Fast Fishing can be downloaded and played for free, but players also have the option of purchasing extra space in their tackle box for more gizmos, rods and reels. These spaces also give you Chocolate Crowns which are used to access the Zen Mode areas and can be tossed into the water to tempt bigger fish.

As with all new Strange Flavour games, Fast Fishing uses our PlayNice system to make sure players don’t end up overpaying for their play, while rewarding the developers with a reasonable amount for their (hard!) work.

Strange Flavour are a small two- man games company based in the UK. After writing the game Flick Fishing for their publishing partners Freeverse, it went on to become an international hit, reaching number one in the iPhone games chart and selling four million copies. Flick Fishing Free was also downloaded over 20 million times and players racked up over two thousand years of gameplay.

Fast Fishing will be available on iOS on 22nd January as a Universal app. A version for OS X is just having the finishing touches put to it, along with an Oculus Rift version.

For screenshots and a video please visit the links below.

Strange Flavour wishes you very happy fishing!

Video

Screenshots

http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPad1.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPad2.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPad3.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPad4.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPad5.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPhone61.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPhone62.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPhone63.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPhone64.png
http://www.strangeflavour.com/SFGames/FastFishing/screenshots/FFiPhone65.png

Back to the Mac :)

It’s been about a decade since we last released a Mac game, which is way too long. Despite being a Mac only studio in terms of how we work (even our Xbox 360 games were written on Macs) various things have got in the way of releasing a new Mac game. It took me a while to get over not being able to use Codewarrior any more and by the time I got the hang of all the new API stuff on the Mac side, we were deep into writing iOS games.

The good news is that now we’ve started using Unity for our game development it makes it a lot easier to write Mac games alongside our iOS games and Fast Fishing will be on the Mac App Store soon!

The Mac version of Fast Fishing has all the tweaks and features that are going into the first update of the iPhone version so it’ll be pretty great!

Our next game (provisionally titled Tiny TrackZ) is being written as a Mac game too and should be launched very soon alongside its iOS counterpart. I’m going to be blogging the progress and some screenshots of it during development.