enCircled: a simple game, a small update, a quick post-mortem

Today I released the final update for enCircled, a side project of mine.

It’s a simple, colorful and mind easing arcade with almost self explaining gameplay: you just tap and drag to draw circles and you have to “encircle” the white moving triangles while trying to avoid the black ones.

This is the last effort I’m going to pour on this small experiment, aside from any game breaking bugs that may emerge, of course.

My goal with this project was to get rich… no, wait. Let’s start again: my goal with this project was to experiment with my one man army development skills and it was fun. Besides I had this need to push something on the market that was only my own. You know that feeling, right?

Anyway, here are some lessons I learned along the way:

  • Never trust a free back end service
    • Heroic Labs just dropped support for their services a few weeks after enCircled release. Had to resort to Google Play Leaderboards in the end.
  • My graphic design skills still need a lot of polishing
    • I’m going to prototype my next project myself but either I’m going to practice graphics a lot or I’m finding someone to work with me. I’ll see.
  • One game mechanic is not enough to make a fun game (Flappy Bird & co. being unreliable exceptions)
    • I wanted this game to be simple enough to be grabbed and played in less than a minute. The resulting gameplay mechanic is fun at the start but, despite the varying movement patterns for the triangles, it gets repetitive in the long run.
  • If I wanto to keep being a part time independent developer, I have to find a better balance for my work time
    • The work on enCircled took a total of 120 hours but smeared on almost a year of development. I tend to become overwhelmed with paid jobs and to dedicate too little time to my personal projects. I have to work on this.

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