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!




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