View Full Version : Free play timer
01-11-2006, 01:47 PM
For the game versions that don't have the standard portal one-hour timer wrap, I was wondering what people thought about on-screen timers. Big Kahuna Reef's timer on the bottom corner of the screen shows a countdown of your free hour of play. Has this been a successful tool to encourage purchases? Has anyone tracked any conversion percentages for this?
James C. Smith
01-12-2006, 08:50 AM
Reflexive has shown the demo time onscreen during game play in every game including BKR, BKW, Wik, and Ricochet 1, 2, and 2.5. I don't know if it is better because I never tried to compare it to anything else. One reason I wanted to show it in BKR was to make it clear that the timer stops when you are not playing the game. You can fool around in the "my fish" screen as long as you want and the timer won't count down. But you will never be able to earn any new fish unless you play the game which will restart the timer. The timer also stops when the game action is paused for you to read a tutorial pop-up. I wouldn't want people to rush through the tutorial because of demo time pressure.
But I don't think any of this is very significant. It’s not like I did it because I though it was important or would have a big impact. It was just one of dozens of little things that were easy to do and just made sense intuitively. But if it was hard to do I probably wouldn't bother.
BTW: Reflexive has an easy to use API to query how much demo time is left and pause the timer for any game wrapped in the Reflexive wrapper. This is different than the older hard to use Reflexive integrated DRM SDK some of you may have experienced before Reflexive had a wrapper. You literally just link to a library and call one function to see if the game is purchased, or call a different function how much demo time is left, or a third function to stop or start the timer. The only problem is this only works for game written in C/C++.
01-12-2006, 12:41 PM
As always, thanks for the info. It makes sense not to use up thier time in some parts of the game like help, pause, or other fishy stuff.
Artistically these timers don't look very good, and I'm concerned users may be confused on what is being timed. But on the other hand, it will go away once they pay, and if it helps conversion rates it is probably worthwhile. Maybe I'll add a generic "Freetime Stopwatch" on our next title. That way it might create a sence of urgency to go register. I go back and forth on this one. :confused:
We are mostly a Director/Flash house, so we try to stay away from C stuff unless we really have to.
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