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  #11  
Old 08-31-2014, 08:13 PM
OnlyJoe OnlyJoe is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Auckland
Posts: 96
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I totally agree with everything written in this article.

It is so true how there is this kind of tension that pulls at you to either go towards the re-skinning, cloning road if you want to make money. Or the making the games you really want to make.

To be honest, I think a lot of developers take the road of first trying to make something they love, seeing how brutal and hard the app store is, and then slowly going down the cloning re-skinning path. Not that a clone has to be low quality really, most of the top games are basically clones of other games. Its more of a business choice, in that am I going to risk my time making a new untested idea, or will I just do something I already know is fun. And then the re-skinning aspect just makes sense, that if you release the same game 5 times, and its actually making you 5 times the money then it is stupid not to do this.

It is strange, because it is sort of becoming part of how teenagers use the app store now. I don't actually think it really annoys them, that when they search for a game there are 20 clones of the same thing, I think they almost expect it now. If you like playing flappy bird, you then try all the clones to see what little changes people have made. But the killer thing now is that there is no protection, the market demands really simple easy games, but if you are the person who creates the first one of a new idea, its doesn't mean that you will be the most popular. Within a week there will be maybe a hundred copies of your idea. Look at the app "Threes", everyone wants them to succeed because they created the idea, but Ketchapp copies it and manage to make a whole company out of it. The market doesn't really care for "Threes" when there is a free similar option. This is how it has always been though, do you remember "social bookmarking", someone made a website to do than, and within a few weeks there were hundreds of social bookmarking websites.

But this does forces those making apps to change their focus, it becomes a game of speed and the number of apps you have, not quality. We have to search for other clever approaches to building and getting apps out there. Even if you make a quality app and get reviews on all the popular websites, get featured by apple, your game might still not break even. There are just so so many apps out there now. Its just the same as how the website market went, with just a different name "apps", apples featured and top charts are the "Yahoo directory" and their app search is "Google".
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2014, 09:46 PM
MBowman MBowman is offline
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Thanks for sharing. It's always great to here people's experiences in the industry that are normal not just Angry Bird millionaire succsus story's.
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  #13  
Old 09-01-2014, 08:56 AM
Alda Games Alda Games is offline
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Location: Brno, Czech Republic
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Great reading, thank you for sharing your story. As developers we exactly know what are you talking about. Fortunately for some of us is the game development full time job. But thanks this there is sometimes lack of passion. But sometimes only
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  #14  
Old 09-02-2014, 03:57 AM
CharredDirt CharredDirt is offline
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iPad 2, iOS 6.x
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Posts: 175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batgirl717111 View Post
oof. this one hit so close to home it hurts! wow.

i was really good a that for a while then got wrapped up in some extended projects and deadlines wound way out. trying to whip myself back into shape, lol.

i'd love to read that 100k/7k article if you still have the link!!

Took me a while to find it. It was a good read but from my perspectives, this guy was clearly doing some things wrong which he admits. http://gamasutra.com/blogs/ThomasHen...avor_of_PC.php
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  #15  
Old 09-02-2014, 04:17 AM
CharredDirt CharredDirt is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Touchmint View Post
Interesting read for sure and hats off for making it but to me reskining is the devil of the app store. Filling the store with crap making search hard for users and developers. its very hard for new indies to get their foot in the door and this is a big reason (getting noticed).

You make some really good points about people not knowing how to market or sell their app. Im guessing I am one of the worst programmers on these forums but I atleast have a slight idea of what people want so that gives me an edge. knowing your market is a pretty big deal just because you can make something does not mean you should.

Anyways some good insight for sure and props for the business skills its just too bad its at the cost of other indies (then again if you werent doing it im sure somewhat else would). Not to put you out but it would be nice if apple cut down on accepting clones like this. =/
I want to first make something clear. Reskins do not equal clones. Creating an exact copy of flappy bird and trying to pass it off as the original is unethical. That's a clone. Making a game called flippy fish with similar gameplay isn't trying to fool anyone. That's not a clone in my book. It's capitalizing on similar gameplay but maybe with new graphics.

Reskins often start with a base code that's licensed from a developer. Art is changed, sound is changed and in many cases, features are changed, added or removed to create a fairly unique product. This is a massive shortcut as far as time goes. A indie developer could reskin their own original game. There is no way Apple could ever stop reskinning. Even the major players reuse code because it makes sense. Clash of clans was a space game originally and they recycled the code and created clash of clans. That's the perfect example of a good game with a theme that didn't work originally.

On the consoles, it's much harder to get a product out there on the market and as a result, you have tons of attention and journalists wanting to talk to you as soon as you release a game. On the app store, you have to pay journalists to even look at your game, your product is quickly buried.

I too love the romantic idea of the indie gamer with the brilliant game idea, working at a coffee shop to pay for his labor of love. He does no market research, just works out of passion for the games he loves. He publishes a game and the world instantly agrees with his vision and the app goes viral and runs up the charts turning him into a millionaire. But alas, its a statistical fantasy. Even the big companies like Zynga are finding it hard to reproduce success in the same fashion.

Reskinning and app flipping is a natural result of the marketplace and how it's set up. In an environment where apps sell for 0.99 or are ad supported and there's a huge risk of your app failing or only getting a couple hundred downloads and making a few bucks. If one big app is risky, many small apps is much less so. The faster and cheaper you can produce apps the lower the risk.

From a game art perspective, I don't care. You want art, I make art. It's simple. The reskin industry has created a steady flow of small easy projects that I can base my income on. Since i'm already in the industry, I produce my own reskins as well since I have deep connections.

Eventually though, and this may be very soon, I'm going to start my own indie projects and start making some cool original stuff funded internally by my own company.
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  #16  
Old 09-02-2014, 04:20 AM
CharredDirt CharredDirt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AH_Phan View Post
Firstly, congrats on your road to success. I firmly believe if you try hard enough, eventually luck will reward you.

About a year ago, I quit my job as a science researcher (with no prior programming or art experience!!) to pursue my dream to be a gamedev, living on the savings.

A few games later, I've learnt a lot. If in another year's time and my games still can't pay the bills (I've got a wife and 2 kids!), it's back to finding a "proper" job. But hey, you at least got to try to chase your dreams! Life is too short to slave away in a job that doesn't make you happy.

Believe it or not, this was the first game I wanted to make with completely NO SKILL and basically learning as I went:
http://halfgeekstudios.wordpress.com...l-rpg-defense/

It's completely foolish looking back, but taking on such a big project really taught me a LOT so in that sense, it was worth it.
Kudos to you for quitting your job. It's a hard thing to do with a wife and 2 kids. I'm in that boat as well. My plan A was succeed with my own indie games. Plan B was to do freelance work. Plan C was to teach english. I didn't want to teach english so I worked my ass off and Plan B came through for me. I hope your plan A works out well for you.
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  #17  
Old 09-02-2014, 04:24 AM
CharredDirt CharredDirt is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Posts: 175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyJoe View Post
I totally agree with everything written in this article.

It is so true how there is this kind of tension that pulls at you to either go towards the re-skinning, cloning road if you want to make money. Or the making the games you really want to make.

To be honest, I think a lot of developers take the road of first trying to make something they love, seeing how brutal and hard the app store is, and then slowly going down the cloning re-skinning path. Not that a clone has to be low quality really, most of the top games are basically clones of other games. Its more of a business choice, in that am I going to risk my time making a new untested idea, or will I just do something I already know is fun. And then the re-skinning aspect just makes sense, that if you release the same game 5 times, and its actually making you 5 times the money then it is stupid not to do this.

It is strange, because it is sort of becoming part of how teenagers use the app store now. I don't actually think it really annoys them, that when they search for a game there are 20 clones of the same thing, I think they almost expect it now. If you like playing flappy bird, you then try all the clones to see what little changes people have made. But the killer thing now is that there is no protection, the market demands really simple easy games, but if you are the person who creates the first one of a new idea, its doesn't mean that you will be the most popular. Within a week there will be maybe a hundred copies of your idea. Look at the app "Threes", everyone wants them to succeed because they created the idea, but Ketchapp copies it and manage to make a whole company out of it. The market doesn't really care for "Threes" when there is a free similar option. This is how it has always been though, do you remember "social bookmarking", someone made a website to do than, and within a few weeks there were hundreds of social bookmarking websites.

But this does forces those making apps to change their focus, it becomes a game of speed and the number of apps you have, not quality. We have to search for other clever approaches to building and getting apps out there. Even if you make a quality app and get reviews on all the popular websites, get featured by apple, your game might still not break even. There are just so so many apps out there now. Its just the same as how the website market went, with just a different name "apps", apples featured and top charts are the "Yahoo directory" and their app search is "Google".

Ah, you totally get it. The market ebbs and flows and at the moment, reskins are perfectly aimed to make the small games that people are looking for at a low risk to the developer. It's a bit harder than it used to be. I'm still learning and getting better all the time. The upside is that from submitting so many games, I'm getting really good at it, seeing what works and what gets me more organic traffic. When I do launch my big indie app, I'll be much better prepared and familiar with the market so I can do well.
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  #18  
Old 09-02-2014, 04:27 AM
CharredDirt CharredDirt is offline
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iPad 2, iOS 6.x
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Posts: 175
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MBowman and Alda Games, Thanks. I'm glad you guys enjoyed the article. Even though, I'm not as excited about the games I'm producing, the business development has been very exciting and usually keeps me motivated. I'd love to be the Angry Birds success story but regardless, I'll fight to get there. Here's to making some cool new games in the future. Cheers!
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