Dokusen: The Art of Domination Released [“go”-influenced puzzle game for iPhone]

Dokusen is a casual puzzle game which was just released on the Apple App Store for iPhone. It was heavily influenced by a favorite board game of mine called Go, and the game’s title “Dokusen” means “monopoly” or “domination” in Japanese (独占) in Japanese. It also shares some similarities with the classic game Othello.

Players take turns coloring one square at a time, and the game ends when all squares are colored, with the winner determined by the one with the most squares of their color. This may sound simple, but things get complicated fast since after both players take their turns, colored squares will “grow” outward to neighboring squares. The concept is a little bit like Conway’s Game of life.

As you progress through the levels, you are challenged with more and stronger opponents, and also have to rebuild when hit by falling meteors. The game is free on the app store, with no advertisements or in-app purchases.

You can see the game’s iTunes page here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dokusen/id1000275892?mt=8

Note: I was having problems the iTunes at one point. You can try searching for “Dokusen” in the app store if it doesn’t work.

This is the game’s app preview video:

I plan on writing followup posts with more details on the game, and maybe a brief tutorial. I’ll also be talking more about how I developed the game, so stay tuned!

Game Credits

App Preview Music: Throcke

Game Music: Eric Skiff

Game Sound Effects: http://www.freesfx.co.uk

Beta Testers: J.W. and K.G.F.

Dokusen: The Art of Domination – Coming soon to Apple App Store [6/22/2015]

app_icon_1024

After the usual week and half wait, my latest game was approved by Apple for distribution in the App Store for iPhone. I’ve decided I’m going to release it on Jun 22, but before then I’ll give a little more information about the game.

Dokusen, which means “Dominate” in Japanese, is a casual puzzle game that was loosely based off the ancient board came of “Go”, and involves trying to capture more space than the opponent(s) through a series of turns where each player chooses to claim a square. For those who are not too familiar with Go, you can think of it as being similar to the more modern game of Othello (sometimes called Reversi). An interesting fact is that this latter game was invented by a Japanese person and was influenced heavily by Go itself.

Since this game is free, and I’m developing it as a hobby, you might wonder why I would go to the trouble of setting a release date and delaying like this, when I could deploy my app to the app store with a few clicks.

One of the reasons is because I’ve heard that games released on Sunday statistically have more downloads, though I don’t have a great amount of faith in that. All things being equal, just changing a game’s release date to a different day of the week shouldn’t change the number of downloads that much.

A bigger reason is that by giving myself a few extra days I can more carefully plan my marketing strategy, which at this point will mostly consist on advertising an several forums. I did a bit of this for my previous game, but did it with less organization and several weeks after the game had been released. I’m hoping my renewed advertising efforts, plus a greater focus on visuals and ease-of-use in the game itself, will give a little more favorable results this time.

But above all, doing this makes me feel more like I am doing Game Development with a capitol “G”, meaning it’s much more than just writing a bunch of code. By doing this I can get a little taste of what it means to truly design, implement, release, and market a game – the full end-to-end process which is similar to what real game companies do (albeit at a much smaller scale). I’m also hoping that whatever I learn with this experience will be useful down the road, regardless of what I end up doing 5 or 10 years from now.