Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Fun with cookies

For a long time I’ve been painfully aware about how much my purchase tracking sucks, due to the following reasons:

  • Google analytics tracking across domains (buy page site and main site) sucks.
  • A lot of people buy from steam, or elsewhere anyway, and I can’t edit those buy pages to add tracking.

I’ve finally started basic attempts to put in place a more robust system, which much more accurately tracks ad-clicks (or other link data, theoretically) to confirmed sales. The procedure is essentially this:

  • Direct adverts to a php version of the page, not html
  • Have that ad pass in a url variable to indicate the source (or theoretically just grab the referrer)
  • The php then stores that data in a cookie

When a purchased copy of the game runs for the first time, it finds the cookie (this bit is tricky) and then pings my server to say ‘advert #3323 just resulted in a sale’. This is all done anonymously, so there is no user tracking, just an indication that there was a confirmed sale, rather than just crossing my fingers. If the customer blocks the game from contacting the server, that no big deal, but my last 2 games have some online features, so it’s unlikely.

It will be a while before I have any actual  data to show for this, but it should make for less random marketing decisions once I have some, and I’ll share what I have learned. Many thanks to cas for prompting me to do this stuff :D

Democracy 3 new artwork starting to appear

I haven’t implemented any final GUI stuff yet, although the placeholder stuff I already have is looking soooo much better than before, but one thing I do have is the graphics for the voter types. Most of the groups have not actually changed since the last game, but that’s no excuse not to refresh things with some new graphics. It is a new game, after all. Here are some of the new voters you are going to have to please…