Evil Robot Stole My Girlfriend is a platform/tetris combination, where you need to save your girl from the Evil Robot. The game has been published few month ago – here’s a short story how the whole process went.
Making the game
The idea for the game was pretty simple – blocks fall down (as in tetris), you need to evade them (as in platform game) and put them in a line (as in tetris).
We really wanted to check if you can create a Flash game for iPhone and would it work. We decided to create a flash game, try to sponsor it on FGL and than make it a iOS game.
The game design took about 2 hours, the nice, pixel-art, retro graphics took 13 hours and the development took 80 hours. After that time we had the Flash version of the game ready and we uploaded it to FGL to find a sponsor.
The bidding looked as follows:
02/19 – Sponsor A – $300 [primary]
02/22 – Sponsor B – $320 [primary]
03/03 – Sponsor C – $400 [primary]
03/04 – Sponsor D – $440 [primary]
We went with Sponsor D offer (you can easily check who that is in the game itself:) (although the numbers were not what we were hoping for)
The Sponsor asked for branding the game and to pack it in a “frame”, since the game size was created to fit the iPhone (480×320) – and that was a little bit too small. Creating the graphic for the frame was rather easy (2h), but wrapping the game in the frame proved tricky (another 20h of work).
The game hit the Flash portals and was generally well met, but it didn’t become a hit.
Flash game on the iPhone
Soon after the launch we started to publishing the game on iPhone. The initial test shown need for some optimization (another 16 hours), but the game run pretty smooth on the iPhone after that. We uploaded to Apple, wait few days till it’s published and than started to brag about it on social site and send info about the game with code to download it to all known portals that handle iOS games. We even created a video trailer for the game!
Some of the portals gave some good reviews of the game and there was some initial peak of sales (up to 50 a day). It didn’t last for long though.
We were trying to figure out what to do to market the game, when suddenly Evil Robot showed up in the “Featured” section of the AppStore.
We were totally, absolutely thrilled to see that, and we were checking the iTunes sales recored pretty much every 5 minutes (it refreshes once a day).
To our disappointment – the week of being featured in AppStore brought us total of 68 sales :/
We decided the game has a potential (since it was featured, right?) so we spend $200 on AdMob ads. In 10 days it gave us 922,156 impressions, with 4,979 click (this means almost five thousands people were on the game AppStore page with just a “Buy” tap away from sale). It made absolutely no change to the sale line, which was looking quite flat and low at that time.
Word on finances
In general – after 140 hours of work we got $440 for the primary flash game sponsoring plus aprox. $100 for iPhone sales (minus $200 spend on ads).
This would mean about $2.5 per hour;)
Things we learnt
1. We shouldn’t have accepted the bid as early. With 4 sponsors bidding we could have count on sponsors out bidding each other.
2. We should have launched the game on both Flash and iOS at once and put all the marketing effort during the first week after.
3. We should have used the Flash version as a marketing tool for the iOS – putting simple button pointing to the iTunes could be very nice.
4. There’s no big difference on how “good” game would do compared to the “poor” one. To really hope for your game to get the audience it really needs to be “totally awesome”.
5. Evil Robot proved to us it’s possible to develop iOS games with Flash
In general – it was great fun to create this game and we’re really happy how it worked out.
If you would like to check the game for yourself – here are some links: