We will talk about schedule. But first, some more story. Currently, my main "hit" is an iOS-only game named "BattleShip - Classic and Retro". Reviews aren't nice, but I admit there's one major issue: players can't place the ships - the board is created randomly. Yeah... I hate to admit it, the explanation lies in a not-so-glorious story.
When I began creating games for a living, back in 2014, my main project was "Terracraft". Unfortunately, that project was to big and I couldn't make it as cool as I wanted. I had to publish it as-is (today, it only have negative reviews, without any critic I can use to improve it). While waiting for Apple to approve it - usually after a week or two - I made another small game in a couple days and submitted. I made that again and again. One of those games was BattleShip. That's why it's so limited: it was a weekend project.
But, for some reason, it got way more downloads (and revenue) than any other games I published. And useful reviews, too. Something beyond "hated it" or "don't download this garbage". That's why I still care for it. I know what players want.
My first release got some reviews complaining about the game length and two one-piece ships I made. First update I removed that little ships. Now, I got other reviews complaining I removed them. To solve this, I need to add an option to select the game "length" (i.e. the amount of small ships).
That just sums up with an option I need to do: select if the game is randomly generated or manual.
This leads us back to schedule. This week I will work on a new screen for the game.
Current flow is: main screen, user press "play alone" (or "play online") and gets into the game - one tap, one game. Can't get simpler. I'm usually against add complexity to simple flows, but too many users want the "board build" feature and conflicting users want games with or without little ships.
Considering that, next flow will be: main screen, user press "play alone" (or "play online"), then selects the type of game (random/manual and how many ships). This type will be saved for future games for recurring players.
The manual building step is not so easy and can lead to lots of bugs. To mitigate that, I will publish one version with the options screen for game length, then immediately work on the editor.
Editing will start with ships disposed randomly. Then, user tap and drag to move or single tap to rotate. If two or more ships got positioned in the same square, this one will become red. Then, if all ships are in a valid position, a "accept" button will be available. Same for the second player.
But this whole update leads to a major issue: matchmaking. I'm using Apple's default matchmaking screen does not include parameters. If user tries to match and no available second player slot exists, a new game will be created and he/she can select the game options. If there's a slot available, the player gets in the game without any control of the game type.
Obviously, I will receive more negative reviews for this, but I'm considering "single player" first. A third update will have custom matchmaking workflow. But that needs some specific planning first. I'll leave that for another day, after some results from downloads, reviews or patrons.