In November last year the Australian government announced that they were providing $20 million in funding to support the local game development industry over the next 3 years. Screen Australia (which traditionally supports the Australian film industry) was appointed to administer the fund, and they spent the next few months consulting with the games industry on how the fund should be distributed. In March this year Screen Australia released the final guidelines, announcing a Games Production Fund which will provide approx $4 to $5 million across two rounds per year. Applications for the first round close in July.
The question for me is should I apply for funding, to help further Class 3 Outbreak and Zombie Outbreak Simulator? It’s “free” money, so if it could help, I might as well? :)
Binary Space was started by Jay Weston and I a bit over 4 years ago in February 2009. Here’s a timeline of everything that’s happened since then:
So to summarize, C3O began on the web, and then partway during development we released ZOS on the web as a kind of ‘teaser’ for C3O. After the initial “classic” C3O was released, we expanded into a new C3O based on user-generated maps all over the world built using an editor. Building on the original ZOS we then created a version for iOS. In December last year Jay left Binary Space, and I’ve been continuing development on both the web version of C3O and the iOS version of ZOS.
Over those four years, the web versions of C3O and ZOS have been played over 4 million times, and the iOS version of ZOS has been downloaded by over 160,000 people.
Here’s the strategy that I’m planning for the future:
So in the short-to-medium term there are three main things I have planned:
- Add more features to the web version of C3O.
- Expand ZOS for iOS to allow it to play all 2000+ user-generated maps from the web version of C3O.
- Release ZOS on Android.
In the longer term the combination of all three of the above will result in releasing C3O on both iOS and Android. Then after that I will continue developing on all 4 of those streams until Class 3 Outbreak and Zombie Outbreak Simulator ultimately take over the world! ;)
There are of course a lot of risks and unknowns with this strategy. But could some funding from Screen Australia’s games fund help?
My plan is to apply for funding to develop ZOS for Android. This seems like a good candidate for funding because it’s a small and well-defined piece of the future strategy.
According to App Annie’s research, in the first quarter of 2013 total revenue on the iOS App Store was about 2.6 times total revenue on Google Play. ZOS has earned about $29k on iOS, so that means it will earn exactly $29k / 2.6 = $11k on Android, right? :)
Of course it’s more complicated than that. While both the iOS App Store and Google Play have about 800,000 apps each, and while many apps are available on both platforms, in general each store has different apps with different monetization strategies. The only real way to know what ZOS on Android might earn is to release it and find out.
Still, it seems like an Android version of ZOS has a pretty good chance of making at least some fraction of the sales from ZOS on iOS. So if I can put in an application to Screen Australia for some amount of funding less than that, it should be a fairly strong business case.
Besides the potential financial return from an Android version of ZOS, I know there is plenty of demand for it. Almost every time I make an announcement about the web version of C3O or the iOS version of ZOS, I get comments asking when it will be available for Android! :)
The only problem with making an Android version of ZOS is that I don’t have the skills required to make it happen! So I’m putting out a call to see if anyone out there would like to partner with me to help me build it?
This will be paid work, but riskier than a ‘normal’ job application. For a regular job, if I like you I’ll hire you straight away and pay you as the work is done. This time it’s a bit different. You don’t have to do any work up front – just be willing to let me include your name on the funding application that I submit to Screen Australia. But if the application is successful then as soon as I get the funds from them, you’ll get hired and get paid :)
I’m looking for three people to help me build ZOS for Android:
- An Android developer
I did a little bit of Android development a year or two ago, but that was for a business application, not a game. Although I could learn Android game development myself, I’d prefer to hire someone who already has experience. Most of ZOS for iOS is built using standard C++ and OpenGL ES 2.0, with Objective-C used for just the user interface. So I’m assuming that most of the code will be usable as-is, and so it will mostly be UI and integration code which you will need to write.
- An artist
Most of the in-game artwork (like zombie and civ sprites) already exists. However the user interface will most likely need to be adjusted to make it work with Android (eg to support different screen sizes). Some of the user interface elements could be re-used (eg buttons), but I’m willing to consider redesigning the whole interface if you’d rather start with a clean slate.
- A marketer
I’m looking for someone to help with the ‘obvious’ marketing aspects like helping to promote the game on Android after launch. However this also includes the equally-important role of providing advice before and during development on how the game should be developed and monetized to make it marketable.
The amount of user interface code and art required shouldn’t be huge. There are pretty much only three screens that need to be developed: map selection, the game itself, and the options screen.
What will I be doing? I’ll do general coordination / project management type stuff, as well as helping the developer work with my existing code. I won’t be including anything for me in the funding application though – I’ll only make a return once it starts selling.
The deadline for funding applications is mid-July. From there Screen Australia have said they’ll take about 10 weeks to process the applications. Assuming an extra month or so to finalize a contract with Screen Australia, it will probably be around November or so before work could start. I’m happy for you to work full time, part time or in your spare time – whatever works around whatever else you’re doing is fine. And if November comes and you’re suddenly busy with your dream project, it’s fine if we need to delay or if I need to find someone else.
If you’re interested, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with some info on why you’d be suitable (eg some details of projects you’ve worked on before, etc).
Since the funding is provided by the Australian government to support the Australian game development industry, you will need to be living in Australia. However if you live overseas, are awesome at what you do, and would love to work on this project, then please still get in touch with me and we’ll see what we can work out.
Finally, if you’d like to see ZOS released on Android, you can help the cause by letting me know! Post a comment below, like or comment on the Facebook page, send me a message on Twitter, send me an email, or share this post with your friends. The greater the response, the stronger the reason to develop an Android version of ZOS in the first place, and so the more likely it will happen!