We are continuing to deliver cool games with a new "Game of the Week" section: now it's Woof Games studio's moment in the spotlight. Their first game — Rush Flight — gathered more than 4 mln installs, and it keeps getting about 5000 installs daily. They made it by themselves avoiding publishers and paid promotion. One of the studio founders, Maxim Verekhin, shared the experience and revealed details of their new game, Flippy Hills.
You have been in indie development for two years. Can you share some mistakes you've made during this period that cut your teeth as gamedevs?
Apparently, the most useful outcome is that you have to become less stern. You should put your ambitions into cold storage so you won't fall into the trap of decades-long development. It's important to release a project first, then develop it in case you've got some feedback.
For example, even if we have beautiful and pre-rendered backgrounds in Rush Fight, they still need some time to be created. Now I think we'd find another way to make add-ons faster without sacrificing visual design.
Your games provide voxel graphics — tell us please, why have you decided to make that particular image? Do you have any specific methods of working with voxels?
We use Qubicle to create models. Voxel models are easy to produce but at the same time, they look quite nice. It's an ideal combination of speed/quality for a small studio mobile project. We chose the best design while creating by testing what it looks like in a build. Models built in a resource economy mode look better than others. Sometimes they make voxel models cutting corners and visualizing "stairs" effect — in our opinion, it's not the best solution. By the way, we're planning to switch to Low Poly.
How do you promote your games?
As Rush Fight experience showed, the main traffic was organic. We didn't have any ad budget except for a few reviews, but the results turned out to be inconsequential. A friend of ours, Yuri from Game Plan channel, helped us with the initial boost. We didn't succeed in getting organic iOS traffic — this platform isn't very friendly to those who haven't been featured yet. Simultaneously all of a sudden our Google Play ratings started to grow. Up to now, nobody believes us that we didn't make any promotional efforts.
Talking about features, we're still having troubles picturing how it all works. We haven't obtained store representatives yet, so our plan is to launch a high-quality interesting product first, then the audience will come up as well.
What services do you use for analytics and monetization?
We use Unity analytics, and we're thinking about the more detailed analysis of our new project in order to reveal problem areas.
We started collaborating with Appodeal since the Rush Fight release. There was a range of similar mediation platforms, but we chose the one which provides a Russian interface. We like a great choice of ads and ad sources. Sometimes Appodeal SDK conflicts with in-app SDKs, but here we've got a key advantage of this service — proficient real-time support.
As for monetization — what strategies do you use in your games?
Both in Rush Fight and in Flippy Hills we apply interstitials that can be turned off by paying a few dollars and we also use rewarded video. This strategy works for us for now, maybe we'll try something new in the future.
In-app purchases in Flippy Hills
Have you ever felt sorry that you didn't work with publishers?
When we've just started Woof Games, we decided to work without any external help. Even it's risky sometimes, it's a personal experience. We don't think a publisher could guarantee success. It's rather questionable to share a part of your project in exchange for dubious help. Anyway, we can't advise because we're beginners in the industry. It depends on a developer's personality — they should weigh up the pros and cons before going to publishers.
Talking about timing: we're pretty sure that a publisher could only prolong development period. It takes a lot of efforts to tinker with contracts and corrections.
Could you reveal some latest statistics regarding your games?
As for Flippy Hills, we've just released it. Based upon beta-testing and reaction over the internet we can say that the game should not be ignored by the audience.
Rush Fight was our first project, it's been 1,5 years since we've released it. Totally it has been installed around 4 mln times. Unfortunately, we don't have enough resources to support it. Game mechanics are too easy to drastically develop this project. However, this oldman still gathers 5000 installs daily!
Tell us more about Flippy Hills: what are its physics characteristics? Why its physics is precisely this? Should we await any updates similar to Trump world or Asian world just as you did it in Rush Fight?
Flippy Hills idea was born almost simultaneously with Rush Fight: our developer Vadim prototyped a game where a rectangular object somersaulted over obstacles. We all liked it, and we decided that we would implement this idea. Then the object turned into a chicken.
At first sight, mechanics are easy enough: the user should tap at the particular moment, and the chicken makes a flip. It's essential to land on feet — otherwise, the chicken falls to death.
There are both competitive levels where gamers can crack records and an arcade-style campaign.
Perhaps, the main difficulty is to teach gamers how to play correctly. Gameplay becomes very funny once they understand how it works. We exert ourselves to chew mechanics of the game to newcomers during the first stage.
Unlike our previous project, Flippy Hills is a very flexible game. It can be developed forever, there are always new features to be added. From the commonplace ideas — we’re planning to upscale the game content and update mechanics, as well as to add new themed level packs.