* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Yet another product launch... kudos to the BoS people!

So far I was largely lurking around BoS, with the odd comment thrown in at times.

However I love it when people here make their announcements about their first µISV product being launched and how BoS was a great resource for them so far and so on. Well just to let you know that I'm in the same situation now...  :)

Disclaimer: I'm not in the puzzle game business and I don't intend to, and I know the product may not be perfect, but I'm actually working on very different products right now and this was rather my first experiment in the business-of-software world. I read somewhere that during the first attempt one makes the most errors or might even fail, so I started with something that I'm not too attached to emotionally, something that was (in _comparison_ to the other stuff I'm _actually_ working on) relatively quick to build (well, I started 2 months and 3 weeks ago, but I didn't work fulltime on it, plus take into account writing up the help, setting up the website, doing the whole polish that a commercial product needs etc.)....

Okay with that disclaimer out of the way, take a look but don't take it too seriously, as I said this was a one-off as I'm rather more into business tools, productivity / authoring tools and knowledge processing: ANYWAY, http://www.sudoku-pro.com

The fact is I wouldn't have announced it otherwise but today I received my first order for my first product, 3 days after publication, and this feels soo WOW that I have to say "cheers guys" to the community here. That is, thanks!
Philipp Schumann Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
First of all, congratulations for getting the product out of door and more importantly making a sale! :)

Quick observations:
1. It's okie to have a 'timed' dialog when I start the application but I hated that the same dialog pops up even when I am trying to exit.
2. You should state it upfront that your program requires .NET runtime. [Does your installer check that user has .NET runtime installed?]
3. Screenshot on your website is of Windows Vista which is not released yet. People might get confused with the different look and feel for the application (compared to what they saw on your site) when they actually install it.

The program looks good! :)
JD Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
DAMN YOU!  I will never get anything done now.

I pick up the free paper on the Metro (the Express?) purely because it has a Sudoku puzzle on the last page.
KC Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
Oh yeah... and Congrats on your first sale.
KC Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
Wow! Timed dialog pops up even when I am playing? Too annoying. Sorry, I will uninstall.
JD Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
Nice.  I really like everything you've done here.

Good job.

I like the colors and design of the interface, I like the colors on your website.  And I like the friendly voice of your website.

Good luck.  I have no idea what the market is for something like this.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
I 'discovered' Sudoku on the weekend.  Thought I'd write an algorithm to solve them but failed miserably (unless they're really really easy ones)...

Anyway, my girlfriend has been buying papers just for the Sudoku for the last couple of weeks, and it seems quite popular with the guys she works with too.  I'll pass the link on.

I reckon you might be on to a winner!

Good luck.
MB Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
Wow! Thanks for the feedback! *)

@JD

- timed dialogs etc... okay so I made it too annoying, good point. Will probably change that. In the DEBUG build I had it set to 2 secs instead of 10, likely precisely because of the annoyance. (No I just wanted to work faster:)

> You should state it upfront that your
> program requires .NET

Mmh... I mean I've got it covered in the PAD which is used by all the download sites. But you know, I didn't exactly want to put a red flag on the home page and stop people from downloading it. Many might have it, but not be sure, and go away quickly. Also some have ideological reservations against it but they might not notice if they happily solve their puzzles (because in contrast to their belief, .NET does NOT actually harm or slow down their "system" ... :)  Maybe that's just over in Germany where there is a strong java/lamp/foss bias...

I might stick with the info being on the "system requirements" page for now. But I HAVE to check my Nullsoft installer again, thanks for reminding me!

> Vista [...] People might get confused
> with the different look and feel

True, but it's just an XP skin like many other skins. I like using them particularly for screen shots because the kind of people that get easily confused would otherwise get confused over the fact that a screen shot is NOT an active window they can click or close...  :)  This way however they might actually notice.



@MB

> Thought I'd write an algorithm to
> solve them but failed miserably

Depends on the quality of the puzzle. The ones that have one solution only can be solved solely using one of four simple logical rules in each step. Some create puzzles that do not have a single solution (not really what the puzzle was actually about, but there you go) and for them, you would have to branch and backtrack. When I started out I made this mistake, took me a while to get to grips with the "logical" side of Su Doku. So now there are only logically solvable puzzles with one unique solution.

> it seems quite popular with
> the guys she works with too

I've just set up volume licensing discounts at share*it ...  :)
Philipp Schumann Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
I had this same idea as soon as the wife became addicted to Sodoku, but i saw there were already a large amount of sodoku games out there...there are some that are web based too which i think is a more convienent route.  But yours does look good and i wish you the best of luck.

"I 'discovered' Sudoku on the weekend.  Thought I'd write an algorithm to solve them but failed miserably (unless they're really really easy ones)..."

btw, SQL Server magazine this month had an algorythm to solve sodoku puzzles using sql server.
Phil Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
I get runtime error with both Firefox and IE. Lack of .NET?

Anyways, just curious, how did you get the 1st sale? Web advertising? Someone you know? Thanks for sharing
orick Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
What's this...? Thanks for telling me...  :(
Philipp Schumann Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
Hey, congrats man. Tell us how you made the first sale. Anyways, I get this error:

Server Error in '/' Application.
Runtime Error
Description: An application error occurred on the server. The current custom error settings for this application prevent the details of the application error from being viewed remotely (for security reasons). It could, however, be viewed by browsers running on the local server machine.

Details: To enable the details of this specific error message to be viewable on remote machines, please create a <customErrors> tag within a "web.config" configuration file located in the root directory of the current web application. This <customErrors> tag should then have its "mode" attribute set to "Off".
Jawad Shuaib Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
Looks like it's fixed now. One of these weird DLL problems occuring EVERY SO OFTEN when working with ASP.NET and IIS. Must be ASP though, the same happens with the Cassini web server from time to time.
Philipp Schumann Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
I don't know the guy, but apparently a book shop owner in Athens ...  :)

How I made it I have no idea but it must be due to heavy PAD submission. Although I have a few more sophisticated marketing ideas in my head for this type of product, I currently don't really have the time to implement all of them. This one was the simplest, but might be the least effective, who knows --- for now it's my only one.

Well it was only _one_ sale and let's face it, I wouldn't be surprised if it remains the only one for quite a while to come...
Philipp Schumann Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
well..i have no idea what htis game is..so maybe you should have a fun page on your site that describes why the game is fun..maybe even a little flash based game on it..and then maybe id get hooked and download your program.

+100 for small installer size

pablo
pablo
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
oh..it requires the .net framework which i dont have installe d on this machine

why dont you consider doing your game in flash as an application? i have experience building flash apps..email me if you need some help or pointers.

regards.
pablo
pablo Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
Philipp,


Congrats on the first sale! I remember my first sale. It's a surreal experience. I haven't downloaded yet, but your screenshot is beautiful. I felt like clicking on the icons even though I knew it was a screenshot.
Brandon Doyle
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
I must admit, this is one of the nicest looking websites that I've seen posted on this forum. One problem: I am using a 1024x768 laptop and there are horizontal scroll bars (in Firefox).

I think that this product could be incredibly successful. Sodoku is a really popular game here in Australia too because its in all the newspapers. I remember reading about how the guy who made Pretty Good Solitaire makes a stack of money, so there's no reason why you can't do the same. Good luck.
Daniel S
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
i think you should really do this in flash..its a cinch and you can wrap it up as a windows exe and secure it no problems.
pablo Send private email
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
 
 
re flash

Well one core feature (and I predict maybe about half the people who would buy the software may do so because of that one) is the ability to print batches of puzzles with one click. No idea how I would do this in Flash, but with .NET GDI+ that one wasn't too difficult.

Now I have heard about Flash Paper once, but it just didn't occur to me to do it in Flash until very late in the dev cycle...

One thing I might want do in Flash is a bootstrapper .exe to avoid the nasty messageboxes when .NET isn't installed, but I doubt I can use ActionScript to check something in the file system...too bad I lost my good ol' VB6 CDs, this is one of these cases where old systems could be revitalized.  :)
Philipp Schumann Send private email
Thursday, November 10, 2005
 
 
flash can do the printing..oyu can design your puzzles into a movie clip and have it print it out..the output is like a pdf. This has nothing to do with flashpaper..thats just a macromedia product that uses the same capabilites that are built into flash

regarding doing a bootstrapper..this is certainly possible..you use a thirdparty wrapper tool that will wrap your .swf file and hook into the windows api. you can do anything you want at that point. the best projector tool out there is the one by northcode
http://www.northcode.com

pablo
pablo Send private email
Thursday, November 10, 2005
 
 
Hm, interesting, will look into that. Thanks for the link!
Philipp Schumann Send private email
Thursday, November 10, 2005
 
 

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