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Unity Questions about releasing my new MARDEK RPG on mobiles

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Hello! I'm a game-developing hermit who's been making things while cut off from the community for years, and now that I have something finished that I want to release, I'm not sure how!


I made and released some Flash RPGs called 'MARDEK' several years ago which were popular, though not profitable. I got a lot of followers and praise and everything, but sort of dropped off the radar after that.


Recently, however, I decided to reboot this game with the intention of releasing it on mobiles and possibly Steam. Since I'd been using Flash for many years, I stuck with that because I knew no better. I don't mean that I wanted to publish browser games; just that I was using ActionScript 3 and Adobe AIR to do the development.


It's finished now! Well, sort of. I plan to release it episodically; you can read about it and see a trailer on my site, if you're interested.


It's primarily a story-driven game which I want to release in 45 (!) shortish episodes (each should take me two or three weeks to make using the engine I've already finished, and about an hour for people to play through); the first two will be released for free to introduce people to and advertise the game (they're the ones that are currently finished), while the others will cost a small fee (maybe a dollar or two each).


Since I've never been a part of the games development community though, and I don't know what the best practices are or anything, I'm uncertain how to go about the release.


I'm using Starling, and I've tested the game on my Android phone and it works great. However, I don't know how to implement in-app purchases or adverts, or whether I should include adverts at all. I did some searching today and found a thing called the Adobe Gaming SDK, which mentions iOS in-app purchases and adverts, but I don't know if it works for Android.


I'm also wondering whether I should be using Flash and Adobe AIR at all. I know that the Flash browser plugin is essentially doomed, especially considering recent events, but do you think that Flash and AIR for mobile devices will last for another two or three years at least? I'd love to be able to release what I've got already instead of spending weeks porting to some new and unfamiliar system if it's not absolutely necessary.


Sorry if I'm posting in the wrong place or if this has been covered many times before; I've been doing research myself, but I feel so lost that I'd rather just ask people directly. Thank you for reading, and if you can help me in any way!


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I'm also wondering whether I should be using Flash and Adobe AIR at all. I know that the Flash browser plugin is essentially doomed, especially considering recent events, but do you think that Flash and AIR for mobile devices will last for another two or three years at least? 

It has some overhead to packages, but if you've already got it written then go for it.


The existing tools are not going to vanish, and assuming you're building a standalone app with AIR, projects you build will continue to function.  Building them as standalone apps adds around 10MB I believe, but that is easier than hoping the person has AIR installed and available.


I don't know how to implement in-app purchases or adverts

Both are things that should be designed early into the project.  When you design them late and try to shoe-horn them in, they tend to feel like money-extraction rather than natural expansions to the game.


You write that you want to do 2 free content packs and 43 paid content packs. While I think the numbers need adjustment (you want to get them hooked on the fun and demanding more, are 2 packs enough?) the task ultimately isn't that hard. You can request from the system a receipt of what they've bought or a list of entitlements (products the user is entitled to). It is common to have several unlocking systems since you likely want to be on Apple's store, Google's store, Amazon's store, and possibly more. Abstract it away inside a query function to see if a particular module is unlocked.


I'm uncertain how to go about the release.


That is a more broad business question. You likely will need some sort of announcements and advertising, especially if you don't want to be lost in the shuffle. 


Apple and Google both are growing by over 1000 app releases every day.  Without marketing you will almost certainly be lost in the crowd. Note that for big games, the marketing budget is usually larger than the development budget.

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Oh, sorry, I wasn't clear enough; my current concerns are entirely technical at this point. I know what you mean about microtransactions having to be planned from the beginning, and I've done that; the game was built from the start around the payment system I have in mind; it's just that now I don't know which bit of technology I need to add to the game to enable the purchase to happen at the point it's supposed to. I've searched for Adobe AIR in-app purchase systems, and found the Adobe Gaming SDK, though it seems to only work with purchases for iOS and not Android?


Since the game will be primarily story-driven, I'm expecting it to engage a different part of peoples' brains than perhaps most games do. I expect people to actually care about the characters and 'what happens next', and they'll buy the next episode for that reason. The first two episodes are about an hour long each; this is long enough, I think, for people to develop a bond with and interest in the fates of the characters, and if they haven't by that point, chances are they won't after 3 or 4 or 20 episodes either since it's clearly not their kind of game.


Because of this approach, I'm hoping that even if the game is lost in the crowd at first, its following will grow as time goes on, as people talk about their characters and speculate about the direction the story is going. I can also benefit from the fact that it's a reboot of a game that was played by millions of people in the past; already I've been approached by many people who are excited that something that was a big part of their childhood is coming back in some form. I've already got dozens of them supporting me financially on Patreon because they're so eager to see the game.


I'll have to hope that I'll be fine using AIR, at least for now... because it really would be too much hassle to redo everything at this point.


Anyway, if anyone knows anything about getting an AIR app to communicate with the Android payments system to handle the in-app purchases, I'd appreciate help with that!

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