Friday, April 21, 2017

Living an entrepreneur life! What's it all about.




Ok I won't talk anything about games or apps but the lifestyle itself. To tell the truth I haven't been working at a company as full time almost more than a year because the company I was working closed. The economy is not so great in my country recently and the wages are way too low also plus I haven't been lucky enough to find the job that I seek.

Anyways since then I have been working and struggling on game making for mobiles around a year and things are almost going the way I wanted to go but still I am at a better position than I expected. I was right and it wasn't always good to trust the job you are working full time. anything could happen and it happened, I was jobless. So the below links were what I had in those times with me.


https://itunes.apple.com/tr/developer/volkan-kutlubay/id927603440

https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Volkan+Kutlubay&hl=en

https://videohive.net/user/volkankutlubay/portfolio


Ok what you do if you are your own boss and especially if you don't have an office to go. Work from home?? I tell you a big NO! If I had the enough resource I would definitely rent a small office even a very small one just because to get my self out home and go there. But until then I go to a nearest cafe around me actually both pictures in my previous posts are shot in there. Yes the one 2 years ago and the one 2 days ago LOL. Nothing has changed then only I had full time job 2 years ago.

What you need to do as a freelancer is you need to create the illusion of leaving your house and going to a full time job for yourself. If you can make some sports in morning go to a walk or jogging. But if you are someone like me thinking bout work a lot you won't be doing that but get to work as fast as you can. So Go out and even home is the only place you can work at, go out first for an half hour walk then come back home. And even at home don't take out your shoes if you can and work like that just like at office. This is very crucial for your psychology. If you can work from your laptop like me go to a nearest cafe around you and work there. Put on those earphones and get to work.

Since I have been a 3d animator for around 15 years and because of the nature of the work I always worked at night time until the morning that was the only way. I continued to do that when I was working on my own but I realised that is not healthy after a year. I put on around 10 kilos and it was in short time by the way. I also got married which put another responsibility in my life. So working alone can be really alone sometimes and you can get into depression. Working at an office sometimes is the thing I miss you know. Even I went to my friend's office yesterday and I saw the office environment I told him "this environment made me feel good". I love socialising by the way going out having beers dancing etc. I am a person of people not anti social so this thing working alone hit me hard. Besides all, my wife is a great person and she supports me all the time so just wanted to mention her so you don't misunderstand from what I wrote above.

Anyways what I did was I changed my programme and now I try to wake up early in the morning. My daily work routine goes like this.

Wake up at 6:30

Get Ready and take my Mac Book Pro

Go to a nearest Cafe

Get breakfast and start working while munching on my breakfast.

Change the office on different days so I go some other shopping malls with my computer which helps me to shift my ideas and thoughts.

Also meet with my friends at lunch time to have lunch which is the most important thing.

Most important to the above is I try to stay healty. I am on a diet right now trying to loose weight and also I go to the park close to my house 3 times a week. There I do jogging and some other physical exercises. Making Sports relaxes me a lot.

The main thing is while we are working we shouldn't forget that we are a human being at the end and we should live our life as we work. I realised I was pushing too hard on my self since I am working on a game which I will send to a publisher which put on me like triple stress.

I make the graphics on my own. I design the levels and plus you need to design between 92 and 100 scenes in a randomised game so the levels won't repeat themselves. Yes the game is a randomised game but also I am planning to add like achievable levels so the player will decide which way to go. I really hope this one gets accepted by publishers. I am going the publisher route this time since I can concentrate on 1 thing at a time and I concentrate on game making which is what I want to do already.

WHAT TO DO?

Ok I will share some other things on what you can do not to feel lonely when working alone as a freelancer. The below list are some ideas I though about so if you have other strategies you are doing as a freelance please share with me.


  • Go out socialise more.
  • Meet with your old colleagues as much as you can and share your current work with them take your ideas.
  • Enjoy what you are doing don't out force yourself but please don't be lazy at the same time. WORK BUDDY WORK!
  • Use Social Media as much as you can related to your work. In my case it is app business and I socialise a lot at a facebook group called BlueCloudSelect created by Carter Thomas.
  • Try to network with other people if you can.
  • You can also start a small consultancy firm to help people with a small amount of money which can help you to get to know other entrepreneurs. Remember the more you help the more you win always!
  • You can start a youtube channel related with your business and share your knowledge. Or do some other crazy stuff in front of camera and at the same time promote your products or even other people's products.
Ok the most important of all is try to grow on what you know. I realised long ago that if you are bored at what you are doing this means your stuff is boring so you need to find ways to make it interesting. Why you get bored is because you are learning and growing as you work on something so your previous  knowledge is not satisfactory and since there is no one around you that you can learn it is all up to you. So self improve try to be more creative. One thing on game making; If your game is getting repetitive  try to add a few extra different enemies there it will just cheer up the game. Also try to add different challenges to those characters. Remember that annoying fishing dude on the cloud in Super Mario? Who could forget that you know. Just be creative and remember your job is to entertain and Game comes first nothing else.

Enjoy your work guys and live fully to the most with high energy. Make Sports, it is a great meditation for finding new ideas.

Happy Creating

Volkan

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Moving on with Buildbox


Hi All,

It has been like 2 years since I last posted and many things have changed since then. I published a lot of games which you can check below and I would like summarise what happened during that time.

https://itunes.apple.com/tr/developer/volkan-kutlubay/id927603440

https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Volkan+Kutlubay&hl=en

So I published a lot of games but didn't get enough return from all of them to tell the truth. Only 1 game which I have worked on that around 6 months called "Ninja Kid vs Zombies" somehow got famous at Google Play Only and now the total download numbers are above 100.000. That was a big surprise for me. But the funny thing is those download numbers didn't affect the number of installs at iTunes. Funny tough still I can say not too much revenue is coming from "Ninja Kid vs Zombies" at iTunes so we can say that one app store doesn't help the other in terms of promotion.You can check the game both in Android and iTunes below.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.touchnfun.ninjakid

https://itunes.apple.com/tr/app/ninja-kid-vs-zombies-8-bit-retro-game/id1005826249?mt=8

What happened this year is I switched to another game engine called Buildbox. I never thought I would do that because of the price of it. It is 99$ per month subscription model and yes it might sound quite expensive when you hear the price but it is worth it believe me.

I was against it at first I always wrote to facebook posts like you don't need to pay that much use Construct 2 instead blah blah beause Construct 2 was my first Game Engine. It was dynamite by the way it is a great game making tool the only flaw is it is designed more for HTML. So when you start getting into publishing mobile you always have problems with plugins etc. and I actually created Ninja Kid with Construct 2. So I actually owe Construct2 a lot and I can say it is great only I needed something which I had to create a game fast. And there Buildbox came to my life. I said that's it and since I am not a programmer I will go with Buildbox. I will tell more about Buildbox in my other blogs but all I can say it is a simple drag and drop 2D Game Making Tool pure without programming knowledge. Check the official website here.

https://www.buildbox.com/

WHY BUILDBOX?

Ok what happened with Buildbox is I started to concentrate more on Game Design because I wasn't doing any virtual coding and checking if the system works or not etc. so I started to add some tricks to my games which I didn't do before. So instead of solving Problems you concentrate more on designing games which is the most important thing.


Buildbox is really dynamic and you can see the results of your game design in seconds simply by hitting the play tool. And what is great is you see the way it will look in an iPhone6 or iPad etc. It opens up the preview screen with the right proportions so you see how everything will look before exporting and running the game in your device. So this was like a big WOW from me when I saw that. 

Also I realised I learned more on game design because the community was great and helpful and also I saw that most Apple Featured games were actually created with Buildbox. Some major Ketchapp games like Phases, The Line Zen and The Pit were created by Trey Smith who is the owner of Buildbox so actually he created this software to make games and send them to publishers but later decided to sell the software as well. And of course we shouldn't forget the famous game "Color Switch" was created with Buildbox.

You can check the games I created with Buildbox Below.

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/tr/app/hopper-steve-platformer-games-in-adventure-world/id1162261386?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/tr/app/stack-emoji-hopper-game-emoji-popping-mania/id1212310916?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/tr/app/hero-jump-quest-3d-arcade-hopper-game/id1168406530?mt=8

Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.volkan.codenamejackson

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.volkankutlubay.herojump

So what happens is you just urge to be a part of this community and the way I look at 99$ is like paying the rent of your office. 

PUBLISHING THROUGH PUBLISHERS

Why publish through a Publisher while you could get the whole Pie right? Well for now as many of you might realise the competition is way high for us Indie game developers to compete. Still there are ways and even tough Trey Smith himself says that ASO is dead I still see some people around me getting success by using ASO. But for now I just shifted my concentration from Marketing and all other things but to pure game making and this is what Publishing through Publishers is all about. YOU JUST CONCENTRATE ON GAME MAKING!

I also personally think it is a good challenge as well because sending your game to Big Publishers like Ketchapp, Noodlecake Studios or Appsolute games etc. can teach you a lot of things. Because I am sure they will ask for revisions and what I see is you and the Publisher work on the game together after they accept your game and you polish your own game with their Advice. It might sound scary but look from this point of view. You learn Game Design from The Big Guys! How Cool is that you know!

I never sent any of my games to a publisher but I am working on one of them right now and trying to polish it as much as I can. When my game is ready I will send it to Publishers and see if it will be accapted or not. What I heard is most of the time you get a Publishing deal, you send them the game, they Publish under their name and with your Logo below (check Ketchapp games) and you split the revenue. 

Anyways that's it for today and I will write some more later. Until then please check some Ketchapp games and also other Arcade Games which you think you might create and check yourself how would you go about creating that game and send it to a Publisher. 

So see you soon and Happy Game Making

Volkan



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Making Mobile Games and What I learnt from it!

Hi all game and app devs,

Good Morning to you all with my Coffee and Toast!


Since I have been to mobile game development in year 2015 and seriously addicted to it I decided to start blogging about it and hoping I could also help to other gamedevs from what I have learnt.

By the way my main proffession is motion graphics but with the new game engines coming out with easy game making mechanisms I decided to give it a go and here I am.

HOW DID I GET IN THIS BUSINESS

Like I said my main proffession is motion graphics and I am mainly a 3D artist. Besides my full time job I also sell digital goods or as many of you know After Effects templates at a popular website owned by Envato. My main market is videohive and you can check my portolio here.


Also you can check my games both at Android and Apple appstore from the link below.



Super Penguin Rescue - Parachute Panic World Tour.  https://appsto.re/tr/1UiP5.i

Flappy Hungry Jumpy Shark Free  https://appsto.re/tr/VRF54.i

Altered Soccer Action Sports Game: Sensible Premiere League  https://appsto.re/tr/tDfR4.i



The sales are good at videohive  so I get a not bad monthly extra revenue for my life. And when I started to read more about the mobile app business It got me excited. Also I found out a great game making software called Construct2 which when I tried it found out that the user interface was really friendly and you could get quick results in no time. The best part for me was you really didn't have to know programming. Everything was created with what is called virtual scripting. You can check the software from the following link below. 


For monetizing such as ads or In App Purchases I use Cranberrygame's Cordova plugins Created for Construct2. You can check the Google+ community below.


Owner of Cranberrygame is Sang Ki Kwon and he is the one creating all the great  plugins and to get an access to all the plugins you only pay 25$ and you always get updates. Sang is also very helpful so he will always give good support when you face a problem. To contact with him and get a premium membership his contact email is.

cranberrygame at yahoo.com



So what I basically thought was "great! Now I can really do what I always wanted to do in life. Making games and be rich and get revenues just like I get from videohive".  right? No Wrong! The reality hit me really quick! i won't go in deep with this but the main reason is Envato networks is already a popular website where people go and buy digital goods and the website I believe has a very strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so of course you will have good sales there. With appstores the situation is different,  there are millon apps and you need to do your own SEO to promote you game or app or pay for advertising. Also the new and the main term used for mobile games and apps is called ASO 
which is App Store Optimization. And as gamedevs we definetly need to learn this art of making you game/app ranking high. I am still in the learning process but I will also write another blog about it later. 

You can get really useful information about ASO from  "Gabriel Machuret" youtube channel and his website.


I really would suggest listening to his teachings. He is really good and gives you very good information on ASO.

Also his webpage.



FIRST THINGS FIRST

As many of you know the old model in mobile app business which is selling a premium game around 1.99 $ and expecting the revenues to rise, is off the table in today's mobile app business. One of the main reasons for that is if you check the most popular games in appstores both Android and Apple appstore they are free. The main revenues they get is either from in game ads or In App Purchaes (Selling coins or characters etc.) This doesn't mean we should't sell premium games for a price but the reality is most of the people do not want to pay for games.

REALITY CHECK

ok so the following scenarios that might happen when you publish a game.

*your game sucks people delete it, there goes the ad revenues.
*you game is good but too many ads people still delete your game because it is not playable.
*your game is good but now you integrated too much video ads and it takes the player off the hook and possibility for them to delete is still high.

A WORD ON REWARDED VIDEO ADS

The main problem with video ads is it can really take the player out of the game in no time. So if you are not rewarding the player with a really good digital currency or somehing worth don't use it. For me video ads in mobile games is the same situation where you go to a bar and see a beautiful  young lady and as you start to flirt with her another young lady steps in the scenario and distracts you. I know it is a weird example but for me the situation is same. Since we are human beings we mostly do not think with our brains but more with our feelings. So if it is not worth it, do not use it. Because what I believe now with millions of apps in the appstore it is really difficult to keep the player play your game all the time even if you do not have ads in it. So the main focus here should be making the people like your game.

WHAT TO DO?

I am not going to talk about marketing and other social media share plans here but really go basic with what I know now. I know while I am writing this blog and trying to talk about quality not quantity most appmakers out there publishing their apps to the appstore. But what I learnt from creating something for the people is you really need to make it good put your best in it. I really do not believe in making a clone now. It really doesn't make sense if there are 1000s of the same game and you become the 1001. 

What will happen is if you just clone a game thinking making revenue out of it, people will know they are not stupid. If you are not stupid so are they! They will delete you app or game as soon as they download it or not download at all. Why would I wanna go to a supermarket and buy another product similar to snickers where actually I could get the original snickers anyway. Or basically what we come here is if you will make a clone add something to it and if you can make it better than the original one then do it. Do you see any big companies making hundreds of apps? Tell me if I am wrong but I don't see it and I don't believe that is the solution. Making 1 or 2 dollars from each download even the people plays it for one timeReally? I would go and sell coffee and make more money from it believe me.

RETENTION OR DOWNLOADS?

If you ask me it is both but Retention is always more important and I understood it when I spoke to another gamedev online He told me he had like  a total of 100.000 downloads from a game and everyday he was getting like 300 downloads. I said great, Wow but I was really surprised when I heard that he was only making like a few dollars each day. And again reality hit me hard. What was happening was people were probably downloading the game and probably after playing the game they were deleting it. Of course in this situation the monetizing (the way you make money from your free games be it advertising or In App Purchases) do not work. So again here goes the ad revenues. So always make a game worth for it which people will keep in their phones/tablets. Because for my smart phone every extra uselles app or game is a garbage that takes space in my phone and slows it down.

"Don't be one of those garbage apps!"

IN APP PURCHASES

In today's games it is really hard for the players to purchase In App Purchase I believe. That's why people go more for "in game ads" model. But still it is possible to earn revenue with it and here is how I believe how.

One is competition! Check out Supercell's game Clash of Clans. I personally do not like strategy games and it is a boring game for me but check out the revenues they are getting from In App Purchases.


People mostly I believe is they go nuts with In App Purchases and the main reason for that is competition. I wonder what would happen if the games was not an online game. Still I am not a game guru and I don't wanna talk about it like "mr. know it all" but that makes sense for me and I believe you can really increase In App Purchases If you can make a game with high competition.

Imagine the old arcade places where people were going coin after coin crazy buying those coins just to play STREET FIGHTER II to play with another guy just to beat him or her. so greed might be a good word in her maybe :) Greed I liked it. Should use it in my next game or app. 

If not online then probably better to make a killer game with good designed levels so people can buy currencies or characters. Again I will give an example from old arcades. Imagine the game FINAL FIGHT just released for mobile phones and the only playable character is "Guy" wouldn't you purchase the other 2 characters which are "Cody" and "Haggar". Well I would in no time both of them just like a snap of my finger. Because the game is good and that is the main reason for that. So the main thing here is making a good game putting your effort your sweat and blood putting the players in the first row not your revenues and creating a polished game. Maybe as gamedevs we should go and read more on game making theories instead of marketing and monetization strategies that way we can be more successfull than we are and of course it is just my opinion and what I have learnt since I got into mobile game making. 

Thanx a lot for reading my blog and hope to see you soon in my next post.

Happy Game Making  and Happy Creating Everyone!




Living an entrepreneur life! What's it all about.

Ok I won't talk anything about games or apps but the lifestyle itself. To tell the truth I haven't been working at a company as...