Tilda Studios - The Online Portfolio of Roy El-Rayes

Tilda Studios / The Online Portfolio of Roy El-Rayes

vipValet

Buy the full version on iTunes.
Download the free/lite version on iTunes.

About

Think you have what it takes to manage a parking lot full of cars? In vipValet, you'll be tested on your parking and driving skills.

When the customers come in, they want to get out and eat. The longer they wait the less tips they give. Make sure you get the cars parked ASAP by touching and dragging them into their spots. Don't forget to keep your head up though because people are constantly leaving. Keep them waiting too long or crash their cars and it's game over.

This time management game will start off with very few cars. Once you get going, the traffic will pick up. After a few minutes, you're looking at 35-40 cars in and out.

Think you have what it takes? Let's see :)

Best of luck!

ScreenShots

Main Screen

Main screen

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Car Selection Screen

Playing with a medium amount of cars.

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Playing

The green car is driving on its own after drawing a path. The white car is currently being dragged to a spot.

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Playing

The meter is in the red and there's a crash on the screen. The bottom car is highlighter because the player tapped a person to see which car they own.

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Playing w/ Cops Chasing

Global high score list.

Developing

When I built this app, I wanted to learn how to use the touch controls on the iPhone. The initial idea came to me as I was walking through a parking lot. I worked as a valet parker for most of college, so it was just a matter of taking the work experience and putting it into a playable game.

Initially the app was designed using Quartz2d. This was a major mistake. The only reason I initially went with Quartz2d was because I wasn't comfortable with OpenGL on the iPhone yet. Once the cars started moving, the application ran very slow and I had to switch it over to OpenGL. Since the graphics are all sprites, converting over to OpenGL only took a couple days and the performance boost was great.

This was my first application to have audio! I found a website that sells royalty free music (one time fee of course) and I implemented a small soundtrack. I wanted to add sound effects, but I opted to release the game without them. Release Mistake #1.

The 1st update of the game included a Global Leaderboard. This proved to be very popular with the users. I used toucharcade.com's member base to run a contest to help promote the game. There are now a couple hundred submissions on the leaderboard and the top score is $4000 something. Programmatically, it was a pretty simple implementation. Pwned.com provided the back end for the leaderboard. That consisted of PHP and MySQL. The communication is all done through web services with XML being passed back and forth.

I also found out the hard way that if there's a bug, people will definitely exploit it. The users were able to find out how to continuously play the game without fear of dieing. When the cars were coming in to be parked, they would wait until the front car's people got out and left. If you didn't move that car, all the cars patiently waited as long as you wanted them to without effecting your game. The worst that would happen would be their pay going down to $5. Well, if you have a screen full of cars, this came in handy by slowing down the amount of people coming in. In the latest release, this is fixed so that the waiting cars will make your meter go down.

I ended up releasing a Free/Lite version of the game on the App Store. It was a challenge trying to balance what to give the paid users and what to give the free ones, but in the end I think I got it right. I stripped all online functionality (with the exception of viewing the leaderboard) for the lite version. I also limited how hard the game can get. This lets the users get a feel for the game just enough to want the full version. In the end, it helped sales a little bit. The bad part about a free version though is while you get lots of exposure, people are very quick to give your app 1 star and move on. The pay version, since someone paid for it (even if it is just $.99), they're more likely to try the game out for a few days before coming to a conclusion. That's still a challenge I've yet to figure out.

In the end, the app ended up being pirated. I'd like to think that it didn't effect my sales, but just like with Traffic Lights, sales went down ~50% the same day it was released for free. Oh well.

Development time on this was about a month or so.

Lesson Learned

Lessons learned with this game are: