Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mobile Income Report #1 - June 2014 (monthly income report from Android, iOS, Tizen, bada, ... games)

 On 1st June 2014 I left my previous job and became true Indie game developer. It is big adventure and I started this series of Income reports to share my experience with other small developers.
 If you are interested what are my games like, you can see detailed Portfolio here. The portfolio page will be regularly updated.

What I did in June

  •  I was working on adjustments of our games. The main one is prepared set of new levels for Shards - modern Arkanoid / Breakout game. Lot of players asked for more levels, so we made adjustments to add them easily. Jupiter who is responsible for graphics and levels created set of 10 new ones. The total number is 60 now. We also added Shardiens - glassy enemies that are spawn from hives. Both enemies and hives can be destroyed and when this happens it affects the screen space with distortion effect. The update will be published in July.
  • iOS version is finally coming - most of the work was done and I hope it will get published in July,
  • we adjusted Fruit Dating to support 2560x1600 screens without stretching images and published it at Amazon store. Thanks to this we reached the Developer Select program and we got 500k ads impressions campaign to promote this game. The campaign is scheduled for July,
  • although my games are for Android (beside other OS systems) I am not Android programmer. So in June I took deep studying of Android programming. I want to do the same for iOS in July. My target is to be able to write not only games, but also non-game apps,
  • beside this I am learning Unity for 2D game programming.


 Now to numbers. Below is table summarizing earnings from paid versions. It does contain any iOS and Tizen versions yet as iOS version of Shards will be published in July and Tizen OS was not launched yet (its planned July launch in Russia was postponed by Samsung - developers were not given any explanation).

 Total $23,5 is not much really. It is even less if I say that this poor profit from our games will be split among other teammates who were working on the games with me.

 The most profitable was Shards. It is funny that bada - dead OS system - made the same amount as Android.

 Here is income from free versions that contain ads or in-app purchases to remove ads:

 Currently the highest income is from Chartboost ads. We use these interstitail ads during game start and then from time to time between levels. If Chartboost inventory is empty then full screen interstitial is requested from AdMob. AdMob and Amazon are currently used mainly for banners - AdMob works as safety belt for interstitials. The income from Tapjoy is very very low. We implemented it only into Fruit Dating as the other way how player can earn in-game currency (stars). If player is stuck with logical puzzle he can purchase the solution for previously earned stars and if he does not have enough of it he can earn some by watching video ads. As the number of downloads is low the Tapjoy traffic is also low. So, I do not see the problem in Tapjoy network.

 So, total income for June = $23,5 + $138,4 = $161,9.


 In July I will report experience with Amazon Developer Select campaign. I hope Shards will pass validation procedure at iTunes. It would be great for Tizen developers to finally know when it will be launched. I will continue in my Android / iOS / Unity / Objective-C / C# studies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mobile Income Report #0 - The Portfolio (monthly income report from Android, iOS, Tizen, bada, ... games)

  This is first post in series of income reports from my mobile games. It is labeled #0 as I would like first to introduce my portfolio. This post will be updated with changes into current list of games as well as updated with new entries when released. The first real income report will be for June 2014.

 Why I decided to publish these reports? In the very end of May I made a big step and left my previous job. From 1st June I am full-time independent game developer. I would like to share my experience with monetization of mobile games as this is not easy topic. If you are also small developer you probably know what I am speaking about. You probably also tried lot of ways that did not work and was curious what other people like you are doing...

 Back to portfolio. As you can see from portfolio entries, my games are published to various mobile OS systems. To survive and manage this I made a small  cross-platform engine that I am using. It allows me to easily compile the game with minimal adjustments on various platforms. The engine was formerly only for bada and Android, but it is now possible to build the games also for iOS and Tizen. And here comes my advice: do not throw your older games away. There are always new opportunities how to reuse it. Currently I am playing with Emscripten which allows to compile C/C++ code into Javascript - so new area is opening.

2014  - JUNE
  - initial list


Fruit Dating


Fruit Dating - bada
 Fruit Dating is original puzzle game with simple rules. It was first published int the beginning of December 2013 on Android OS. There are two versions of the game: free and paid one. In the free one the user has to accept ads while the full one is without them.
 In both versions when the player is stuck and can not solve puzzle he or she may purchase solution via in app purchases. Actually, the player does not buy solution but stars that work as in game currency and solution is then bought for these stars. The player can also earn stars for playing well. In some versions we tried to reward player with stars for watching video ads. For any first IAP purchase in free version the ads are permanently removed from the game.



Shards - bada
 Shards is clone of popular Arkanoid / Breakout games. We tried to make a really nice clone. Every single level has its own fractal background with bricks originally arranged. The game features really great soundtrack.
 The game is in two versions - free with ads and paid without it. The users of free version can upgrade to full one directly from app with in app purchase. They can get discount by installing some of our other games (Fruit Dating, Deadly Abyss 2).
 Currently this game became our flagship.


Deadly Abyss
Deadly Abyss 2 - bada
 Deadly abyss 2 is game with submarine. You control it with screen touches and you can launch torpedoes against enemies simply with swiping with your finger. There are also three huge and dangerous bosses.
 Two versions are available - full without ads and free with it.
 You may ask where in portfolio is Deadly Abyss 1? Original Deadly Abyss was our game for old Symbian phones and if interested you can see some screenshots here.


 Futoshiki - bada
 Futoshiki is Japanese puzzle game. Similar to Sudoku but different :-) Your target is to fill Latin square with numbers from 1 to 5. The game is paid or free with ads.
 As the game contains puzzle generator inside it can generate infinite number of puzzles! It can also solve them in human-like manner so when generating it is possible to rate the difficulty and when user asks for easy puzzle then prepare easy one for him or her.
 Unfortunately, I lost Android source code so I have only bada source code. This game was written separately for each platform as in that times I did not have my cross-platform engine yet.


Mahjong Tris
MahjongTris - bada
 Mahjong Tris was first game in my "new era". Previously I had experience with Symbian, Gameboy, Atari, ...
 The game was made first for Samsung bada OS. When launching there was big contest. We made it into top 300 qualifiers and won new phone. After some time the game was rewritten to use my cross-platform engine and published on Android.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Shards is featured at Samsungapps.com!

 This post comes after long time as we were working hard on our last two games: Shards and Fruit Dating.

 Although the games were released already in December there is still a lot of work to be done. We primary released it for Android platform but as we want to be cross-platform as much as possible we released both the games for Samsung bada OS. Original resolution was 1280 x 800 pixels, but bada phones have lower resolution (800 x 480). When relaying on OpenGL to scale it down we experienced FPS decrease. It is not surprising as 800 x 480 / 1280 x 800 = 37,5%! It means that more than 60% of processed pixels were thrown away. In the end we had to downscale the graphics assets. If you own bada phone, you can see the result at Samsungapps here and here.

 We are also working on adjustments of the android versions to be suitable for other appstores. We already published Shards at Samsungapps and wow! we got featured in Czech version of the store:

 It is mainly thanks to support Samsung gives to local developers. But we hope Shards will find its fans. If interested click this button:

 And there is one more news related to Samsung. Samsung together with Intel are probably most active members of Tizen project - linux based OS for mobile phones. While it has not yet been released there is already tizenstore where developers can register their apps. We passed certification with both the games and they are now waiting for day zero when the store opens.

 Presently we are working on iOS version. The games can already be run, but there is still missing music and we have to manage game interruption at any point.

 Finally, there is very interesting project named Emscripten. This tool allows you to compile your C/C++ based game into javascript, so it can be run in browser. You usually has to do some changes into source, but not any drastic ones. We already managed to run Fruit Dating in it, although there is still some work waiting.

 Beside porting to various platforms we are also finding the right way to monetize our games. Selling the game is other half of independent developer's business. You are lost if you have great game but no one knows of it... I consider writing series of monthly monetization reports to share our experience and of course ... also to make some publicity to our games.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fruit Dating is out!

Get it on Google Play

 As I wrote in previous post, this week was really busy. We released two new games: FRUIT DATING and SHARDS!

 This post is on Fruit Dating. You can read about Shards here.

 Fruit Dating is original puzzle game in which you match pairs of fruit of the same color simply by swiping with your finger. The finger motion matches the tilting of the board in any given direction. So, while trying to fulfill your goal, various obstacles like stones, cars or other fruit, hinder the way.

With advanced levels the date-lusty fruit are encountering various other pitfalls such as: one-way tiles, puddles of mud or animal kingdom representatives looking forward to enliven their diet with juicy fruit!

 This time SBC Games joined their forces with LittleColor and with great music composer Matúš Široký. The result is very nice game featuring:

·       three unique worlds,
·       challenge in each of 60+ levels,
·       addictive game play and graphics,
·       new game elements to diversify the game and bring new challenges,
·       25 achievements to fulfill,
·       original music soundtrack.

 We took it really seriously so we have web page. We have presskit. And we have great promo graphics:

 The game is currently available for Android, but bada and Tizen version will come closely. In future I would like add iOS as well.

 During development we had to solve basic problem of all logic puzzles ... where to get levels? In the end we made tool that is generating them procedurally for us. Of course we had to carefully select from the generator output but plenty of levels were interesting or required only small adjustments (while other were total trash). In future I will probably post an article about making the tool on this blog.