Game Junkies creates 3D mobile games for iOS and Android devices. It is a one-man company run by Aaron Norman, and everything in the games has been produced by him. The games have a high level of art and graphics but simple gameplay.
Dr. Serkan Toto mapped out some of the pitfalls in the Japanese mobile games market during his Casual Connect Asia lecture. “The first myth is that Japan is not much different from Korea or China or from Southeast Asia.” Serkan says. “It’s an intellectual mistake to think like that.”
Elaine Huang performed an interview with Touchten Games CEO Anton Soeharyo at Casual Connect Asia, exploring monetization strategies for Indonesia. “Indonesia is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world,” Elaine said. “According to GFK, more than 50 million devices were purchased 2013-2014.” Watch the interview below for more actionable information.
Sebastian Barabanow outlined some of the ups and downs he’s faced through a decade in the games industry during his Casual Connect Europe speech. He laid out definition of success grounded in reality, not in the industry’s few cases of runaway success. “When you’re starting, and you only see the silver lining, those shining kind of results, you might get the wrong expectations for your future and lose focus of what should be in front of you.
Loud Panda Games is a year-old mobile games studio from the Philippines. Critter Camp is their first game, which is currently in soft launch on iOS, and the company’s Product Manager Jon Roque shares the story.
How the company started
Loud Panda Games used to be a part of a larger short-lived tech startup that also dealt with other non-game related properties. After a bit of restructuring, the gaming team was recreated as a new company, which now focuses solely on making mobile games.
SMALL CHANGES GONE BIG
We were already midway in development of a game called Reel Monsters while with the previous company. It shared many similarities with what would eventually be Critter Camp. Reel Monsters also has monster collecting, training and questing. It drew inspiration from the Philippine cockfighting industry, which pits roosters against each other in an arena. It was a very gambling-themed game concept with training taking place using slot machines, and where players could bet on monster battles.
Having started over, we initially thought it would be a simple rebranding, and we’ll just tweak the gameplay a bit and continue development. But after we were done with the reconceptualization, only the battle system was left mostly intact. The slot machine training system was changed. The questing system was also changed. There was also a pivot from fewer critters with many skills and different skill paths to more critters with fewer skills.
Teamwork battles challenges
Our first major challenge was when after a month in production our Product Director Marvin Apacible was diagnosed with lymphoma and had to be out of office for several months while he underwent chemotherapy. This caused some major production issues. The team had to rely on the game design document to bring the idea to life, as there were periods of time when the Product Director was out of reach. Nonetheless, the team stepped up to the plate.
The team brainstormed whenever they encountered a design issue and decided together on how to move forward. It is not the optimal setup and may have caused some design inconsistencies, but it also empowered the team to take charge of important product decisions.
Another challenge is that as we get deeper and deeper into development, we realize we might have bitten off more than we can chew. We started with only two developers. We expected to hire two more within a month of operation, but had some trouble with hiring competent Unity developers. It took us more than 6 months before we added another developer to our team, and this caused a major delay from our initial estimates. On top of that, due to our game’s genre, we might be compared to mobile games such as Puzzle and Dragons, Summoner’s War and Brave Frontier. These are huge games with a significant amount of content. With our limited resources, we had to be very conscientious in deciding where to apply our efforts.
We had our soft launch at the end of December 2014 after 10 grueling months of hard work. We’re very proud of what we accomplished. The graphics are great and the amount of content that we were able to put out was remarkable, considering our manpower at that time. But soft launch release was of course just the beginning. The next few months have been a particularly tough time as we started supporting a live game. Some players encountered connectivity issues that were difficult to replicate internally. Up to now, we are still hard at work improving the game’s performance and stability. We’ve also released a PvP system and more critters during the soft launch.
It was a great privilege for us to be part of Casual Connect Asia 2015’s Indie Prize Showcase. It was our first time attending such an event. It gave us plenty of opportunities to show the game to publishers, investors and other developers. More importantly, the energy exuding from the passionate developers in the event inspired us to keep becoming better and better at our craft.
The team is currently porting Critter Camp to Android and is still in discussions with several publishers for possible partnership. Nothing certain yet though, and they’re still open for talks, the developers say. Their Product Director Marvin is in remission and back to work, Meanwhile, the game can already be played on iOS devices.
Carlos Molina del Rio is a Madrid-based games developer and founder of independent studio 89bits. After years of working at Telefonica creating mobile infrastructure for one of Spain’s most important telecom companies, he decided to start his own games and entertainment company to combine gaming and live sporting events with the mobile experience. Read about his experience in launching a new entertainment category in fantasy sports management.
Who would imagine that one of Europe’s biggest free-to-play games studios is situated in a quiet part of Hamburg in the north of Germany? Over there, Goodgame Studios, the makers of the hit mobile game Empire: Four Kingdoms, have established their own little realm where more than 1,200 employees from over 60 nations are busy working on new and existing games. GameSauce published an article about the German high-flyers in 2013, and a lot has happened since then. “The speed with which we have been growing is incredible. In 2014, we nearly doubled the number of our employees as well as our revenue,” founders and brothers Kai and Christian Wawrzinek explain. Read on for the brothers’ story of their company’s extraordinary development.
App developers are eager to enter the booming Chinese mobile market, but not all are prepared with a fitting strategy, according to Omri Halamish’s Casual Connect Europe address. Omri relates some of what ironSource learned while setting up its Beijing office. “We soon realized that China is very, very different. It starts with basic concepts of life,” he says, “but it goes deeper than this.” For more insights, see the video below.