Tag Archive for monetize

Zombie Outbreak Simulator on iOS

Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to and what you can expect to see from us soon.

As the post title states, we are about 6 weeks into development of ZOS for the iPhone and iPad. Saxon has been getting his head around that crazy Objective C code (it looks even more foreign to me than “normal” code) and has managed to get zombies animated on top of Google Maps, with directional movement, panning and pinch to zoom. Have a look at a quick youtube video I uploaded:

We also had a bit of a set back where a bug or incompatibility was introduced with a new version of Google Maps. Saxon had to spend some time fixing this so that users could publish maps again.

The reason we are now focusing on ZOS for iOS is to fund development of our games and Binary Space in general. We are still only part time, and in order to fast track development we need money to allow us to work more days per week (hopefully all of them!). The app store is a great opportunity for us and we are going to be promoting it heavily and giving it most of our attention in the short term.

Keep your eyes open for future updates and videos on the forums and Facebook.


Crowd Funding Class 3 Outbreak

So far we’ve been developing Class 3 Outbreak in our spare time, with over 2000 hours spent during the last 2 years. Our goal is to turn Binary Space into a business. We love making games, and want to be able to work on games like Class 3 Outbreak full-time. To that end we are looking to raise funding in several ways, one is through government grant funding, another is through crowd funding.

We’ve recently been awarded a couple of grants by South Australian government funding groups, which we are of course pretty stoked about!:

– $50k from the South Australian Film Corporation
– $10k from the South Australian Creative Industries Program

We’re in the final contracting phases on these, and expect to be able to switch into full-time development of Class 3 Outbreak from around June.

This will keep us going for a couple of months, but what then?

We’re using the IndieGoGo crowd funding website to raise money to keep us working full-time for as long as possible. So we are asking for your help to support us in our indie endeavors! If we reach our target of $50k, that will allow us to keep working for several more months, and put us on the path to being profitable and self-sustaining. But any amount would still be a big help – we’ll work for as long as we can afford, or work part-time.

IndieGoGo allows us to give away pre-orders for our game, along with perks if you spend a certain amount. All of the perks include free access to all of the paid features, as they are developed. So when we start charging our other players for those, pre-order customers get them for free. When we introduce virtual currency, we’ll also give you some for free. And of course, whatever amount you give us, you’ll receive our undying gratitude, for helping us make Class 3 Outbreak a reality!

Our primary plan to become profitable is to make Class 3 Outbreak “freemium”. It will always be free to play, but players will have the opportunity to purchase additional features if they wish. We’ll have a virtual currency via which you will be able to buy extra items such as weapons, and we will offer exclusive paid features as well.

To kick off our crowd funding efforts, we’ve just released a Royal Wedding map for the game. Saxon quickly coded in Prince William and Kate Middleton and some onlooking crowd members, and I drew up the Westminster Abbey map. Of course, zombies descend and make a mess of their wedding. We think it’s pretty funny, and so hopefully a lot of other people think so too. If it picks up steam and spreads then we will be very happy!

We have outlined a feature set for Class 3 Outbreak on the IndieGoGo website, head on over, check it out and please support our game. Thanks!

BSG’s sponsor search and Flash Game License

About a month ago we finished the first version of our zombie game, Class 3 Outbreak, and began pimping it to a list of sponsors. We decided to first try and contact a list of 20 or so via email, since I have the spare time to be able to talk in depth with sponsors myself, and being the cheap penny pinchers we are, we wanted to avoid giving FGL any money! FGL (Flash Game License) is a service which helps flash developers find sponsors for their games. So a few days later I got a few bites, but nothing that ever eventuated. For some reason, as also happened with ZOS, we got some sponsors saying “great game, how much?”, followed by no response afterward. Pretty strange, but I guess they mustn’t have wanted it that badly.

After that dismal little failure we decided to put the game on FGL and see what sort of action we’d receive. Over the course of a couple of weeks we got bids that started at $300 and eventually reached $5000, funnily enough one of the high bids was from a sponsor that we had emailed but who never responded. It seems like a lot of sponsors are now just depending on FGL and ignoring emails for sponsorship, unless this was just in our situation and our game, its hard to say. FGL’s bidding system is very easy to follow, and the transparency of who’s bidding and how much is great to help drive your price up. The percentage FGL takes is very fair – in our case we had no offers and ended up with $5k, I’m not good enough at maths to make up a % increase for that, but maybe something like lots%?

After chatting with Adam a bit and exchanging emails, I also found that they actively hunt down sponsors and market your game to them, something that I didn’t expect to see. We certainly came away from it feeling that we had been well taken care of and that every single sponsor possible had seen the game.

In the end we actually decided not to take a sponsorship at all. The two top bidders both had attractive offers, however one of them wanted a 700px version of the game (too small for our taste) to fit their portal, and the other one we felt suited a more traditional banner advertising/cost per click sort of model, and that ultimately fell through as well. Also for $5k we were still a bit on the fence as to whether we could make that in advertising and donations, and felt a little uneasy about giving up some money if the game did exceedingly well. Judging from ZOS, we “only” need to get a few million plays to make $4-5k, and Saxon and I both agreed that since we were making this game for fun, we’d prefer to go the riskier, more fun approach of self sponsoring. We also felt that we may gain more newsletter subscriptions, forum members, search engine rankings, and facebook fans this way, and we would really like to build a community around the game.

Once again we’d like to say a huge thank you to FGL, we were thoroughly impressed in every way! I can’t recommend them enough. Something else I’ll quickly touch on is FGL’s great First Impressions service. We submitted our game to First Impressions, and quickly got 20 really well thought out and highly varied opinions with detailed feedback and suggestions. Well worth the money.

Stay tuned to find out whether our self sponsoring was a good idea or not :) We have already appeared on Digg, but it was nothing compared to the landslide of traffic we had for ZOS. Funny, since C3O is the playable ZOS! I’m also emailing a few games websites and press, however it seems that a lot of them only cater to ‘downloadable indie’ games. Some specifically say no flash games, which I feel is possibly due to the glut of low quality flash games out there which make some people think that they’re all going to be poor. Really, whats the distinction between a flash and downloadable game apart from how you get hold of it? Anyway, I was trying to end my post, not start rambling about something else :)

Thanks for reading,

Zombie Outbreak Simulator Earnings Report

Greetings readers, I thought tonight I would contribute to the number of flash game earnings reports circulating on the www.

Since release on November 23rd we’ve had roughly 520,000 plays of Zombie Outbreak Simulator on the Class 3 Outbreak website. Today is Feb 24th, so that’s over the course of 3 months, with a good 200,000 plays being in the first few days, petering out to between 5-10k hits a day for the next month, finally settling down to around 1,000 plays a day now. Since we didn’t expect anywhere near the traffic we got, we probably missed out on around 100,000 hits worth of revenue in the first day, since we had no adsense or mochi ads ready.

As I just said, we decided to go with primarily Mochi Ads and Google Adsense, and according to most people you’d have to say we spammed our visitors with mochiads while they ‘played’ (watched) ZOS. We figured that since there was no way we could interrupt the game, we would opt for an ‘ad heavy experience’. We copped a bit of flak for it, and reduced the number slightly, but still not enough for some people as we continued to get some flames. Our feelings weren’t too badly hurt though so we continued on!

We placed google adsense adverts above and below the game in the common format you see most portals using, and adsense has earned us about double what mochi has. I have to mention and remind readers that this is from having the game played only on our website. Those figures would likely be far different if we had spread the game across the internet via portals. It’s hard to know how our adsense profits might have suffered, but I’m sure we would have made a lot more in total if we spread the game.

We released on Kongregate 6 weeks ago too, to see how traffic would go and also see what their revenue sharing was like. We’ve had 43k plays and earned $55, not a bad CPM at all.

After a couple months we also gave CPMStar a go, to compare it with Mochi.

So the totals so far have been:
Mochi: $373 @ 40c CPM
Adsense: $754 @ ~ not allowed to say, but “good”
Donations: $2…
Kongregate: $55 @ $1.1 CPM
CPM Star: $166 @ 27c CPM
Total: $1350

This is all on paper, since (and this could be important if you plan to make a living from flash games) payments are delayed usually by one month.

Why were donations so low? Perhaps because we were ‘ad whoring’ in the game? Hard to say.

We have spent probably 90% of that on various things, we weren’t exactly spend thrifts… we spent money on hosting, a copy of FLStudio, domain names, and a business name. We opted for the best host we could find, which certainly costs us too, but we didn’t want to have everything break down at the most opportune time. Goes to show that even a successful game can’t make much from ads (at least if only released on your own site). Still, we consider ZOS to have been a big success, and have high hopes for C3O when we do release it on portals.

It’s hard to know what sorts of play numbers we may have reached had we spread the game to portals, but due to the google maps API, the game is domain locked, which means great difficulty for portals getting a copy of ZOS working quickly and easily.

We will continue to post, next time on C3O’s financial status, a few months after that is released. C3O is currently being shopped around to sponsors and will be released very shortly. Stay tuned!

Zombie Outbreak Sim Wrap Up

Well its been around 10 weeks now since we released Zombie Outbreak Simulator (ZOS). I’d like to share some of the experiences we had, and since I have learned so much from other similar articles, I’d like to give something back.

Our plan with ZOS was always to make it just a bit of a tech preview or teaser for Class 3 Outbreak (the RTS), something that’s just a bit of fun to watch and whet your appetite for the ‘real thing’. Having developed the game for so long, and testing/balancing Class 3 Outbreak for a while, I thought that ZOS would get some “oh, that’s kinda interesting” remarks and we’d get a little bit of traffic from some zombie or google maps sites. Funnily enough, I started to see some traffic coming from Digg via google analytics. I went to their website and found that we had been Dugg 30-40 times, which I thought was pretty good. A moment later I was about to head off to sleep for the night and I thought I’d check the site again, and lo’, we had just reached the front page! To our great astonishment and excitement, we eventually shot up to the third most dugg site of the day, getting over 1700 diggs. Our server went down perhaps a dozen times or more but luckily it never stayed down, it would just restart and keep on trucking. rorr.im also mirrored us which helped a little. We ended up having to put up static html files for all of our pages on class3outbreak.com, and that plus some help from our host finally got traffic moving smoothly. Saxon and I definitely enjoyed watching ZOS climb though, it was quite unreal.

I loved reading all of the comments people were leaving at Digg as well, and I made some comments/replies myself. Its great to interact with fans! We were amazed to see that not only would people post what settings they were using for the outbreak, they would even make up entire stories about the little 20 pixel people running around – extensive stories! It seemed to really capture peoples imagination, and I think running the game on google maps played a part in that, because we are using actual imagery. It’d be nice if the people looked a little more realistic but I’m not sure if I can improve them much with only 20 or so pixels.

We weren’t entirely prepared for the traffic when it hit, so we didn’t have mochi ads running, and our adsense banners weren’t really optimized either. It’s funny that after getting played 250,000 times and dugg 1700 times (I’d call that a huge success) we made around $300 in 2-3 days. As traffic levels out it looks like we might make 5-10k by the end of the year at this rate. That’s a pretty good sign to me that making money from advertising in flash games is incredibly hard. Sure, if we had mochi running from the start, we probably would have made a bit over double in the first 2 days, but that’s still peanuts for something that was so popular. I’d imagine getting the game to spread successfully over portals and get 10’s of millions of plays could start bringing in some half decent money too, but we are in the middle of seeing what we can do in this department.

When you consider the super great article: “You should be making a premium flash game” and games like Fantastic Contraption, we are very keen to try selling our game at some point, ie when there’s enough game there to charge for. If we punched in the Fantastic Contraption sales numbers with our current traffic levels we would be making over $90k a year, not too shabby. And yes, the games are both extremely different, and its impossible to know whether we would reach the same level of success as Colin did, but it is interesting to guesstimate these things…

Since ZOS has gone online we’ve also put up a facebook page that has reached over 1700 fans, and a forum which is already producing a lot of conversation. Feel free to join either!

You might be wondering how C3O is coming along… we hit a slight snag which requires another 2-4 weeks work, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer. Ah games and their so called release dates… :)

Thanks for reading!

Class 3 Outbreak V1, what to expect!

Hello eager brainz hungry zombie fans. The first release of Binary Space’s zombie RTS, Class 3 Outbreak is not far off now. We have been following fan feedback all over the internet and are keeping a close eye on feature requests on the forums.

We realised that people have little idea of what to expect from the first release, so we thought we’d share with you a bit of a feature breakdown, so that your hopes and dreams of some infinitely complex zombie RPGTSMMORPG aren’t horribly crushed!

The first free game to be released in (very) approximately 3-4 weeks will be a fairly simple flash game, much like a playable Zombie Outbreak Simulator, called “Class 3 Outbreak” (C3O). We will be distributing it across flash games portals, which we hope to make ourselves some decent money from sponsorships and advertising to fund the sequel.

C3O will be an RTS with 1-2 maps, 1 unit type (police) and your basic terrifying zombies. We hope to give you a fun game in which players are tasked mainly with crushing outbreaks as they occur across the map. The challenge lies with quickly reaching outbreak sites and efficiently taking out all zombies before they can spread out of control. There will also be an escort part of the game which was featured in the trailer. We wont give away everything that happens though! If you’d like to get yourself tactically acquainted with the next outbreak locale, we have chosen Leicester, England in a classic suburban area that we feel that many people will be able to relate to. The Washington DC map will probably return as well.

View Larger Map

To create some competition (against yourself and other players) we will be tracking the players score, which is affected by the amount of outbreaks you control, how many zombies you take out, how many people you escort to safety and so on.

What lies ahead after this first iteration of Class 3 Outbreak? That all depends on how the first one goes! It will almost certainly be a premium, pay version of C3O, probably with a free demo version. The only things we can guarantee at this point are lots of fun unit types, new maps and zombies :) There is a certain feature that has been requested many times that we are very excited about, but in game development you never know what will happen, we make no promises! When will it come out? For now its probably safest to say “sometime in 2010”!

Saxon and I look forward to bringing you the first version of C3O soon-ish!

Thanks to all the fans for following us, and I’ll see you on the forums, and facebook, etc!


Zombie Outbreak Simulator now on Kongregate

Saxon just finished making a version of the game to be accessible on Kongregate. Should be interesting to see how its received there. Check it out: http://www.kongregate.com/games/BinarySpace/zombie-outbreak-simulator

This version has no mochi ads, and we receive 35% of ad income from Kongregate’s ads. Will soon find out what the difference is! If you yearn to play the game ad free then go forth and play there :)

Advertising in Flash Games Compared to TV

I was pondering marketing and advertising (mochiads) in flash games, and got thinking about traditional advertising, like on TV for example. I think its a reasonable comparison, you might spend 30 minutes watching an episode of something on TV, and according to wikipedia, in America: “a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local.” So that’s nearly a third of your time watching adverts for a free TV show.

When you consider flash games, you will see an advert at the start of the game for perhaps 5-10 seconds, and you could potentially spend up to an hour playing some games without seeing another advert. Sure, you have google adwords ads around the game that are always visible, but I think that’s quite different to having your entertainment experience completely shutdown while you must watch adverts.

It’s a very good deal when you think about it this way, for the players I mean. Flash developers in general are still not earning enough on average in my opinion, and sure if the developer only spent a few days or a week on a game or if its no good then you’ll close the game if an ad break appears. However for a quality, compelling game I think there’s nothing wrong with inserting ads into the game at strategic, unintrusive points. Most adverts are only appearing for another 5-10 seconds, so I think it would be reasonable to have ads appear up to 5 or more times in a long game, say an hour. In fact when I’m honest with myself I think it could approach tv levels of advertising time, why not? What will happen, is that if you have a poor game, everyone will leave on the ad break and that game will earn less. Fair deal in my opinion. If you think your game is of lower quality you could place less adverts to keep players around longer. If you have a great game, players will hang around in exactly the same way they do on tv breaks (or go make some food and come back). Advertising online in flash games also has potential that tv doesn’t, such as being interactive (even include other games), and being able to open other windows, research the advertisers product, and so on.

People seem to have big gripes with lots of adverts, but I think if your audience refuses to sit through a 5-10 second break every 15 minutes there’s something wrong with your free game. I’ve even read a lot of people claiming that people won’t play your game if it takes too long to load. Consider just how long the intro sequence/credits take for a soap, I feel people still have this thought that “if its on the net it should be free and fast no matter what”.

I could rant longer but you get the idea! What are we planning in our game for adverts? An initial loading advertisement as per industry standard, then 2-3 more in adbreaks which coincides with other events that halt gameplay. I think it’s reasonable, we are providing roughly an hour long, free game in return for players sitting through a total of maybe 20-30 seconds of mochiads. That’s a bargain!

Tell me what you think, and sign up for our newsletter on the right if you’d like to be notified when our first game is released.

Pre Release Hype for Flash Games

Aside from popular sequels, I don’t think I’ve ever received or read any form of pre release marketing for a flash game. It may have something to do with the size of the games, or the general idea that flash games are quick, disposable and not really worth doing much marketing of any kind. Or perhaps people are afraid that they will tip off ‘the competition’ to the kind of revolutionary game they are developing? That’s quite certainly the case for us!!

So for the last couple of months I’ve been mulling over exactly what to release about our supercalifragilistic game, which will both interest gamers but dissuade developers from making a clone before we do. As it stands, even though our programmer, Saxon is coding his first ever game in flex to what I think is a very high standard, I’m still concerned that someone with more time or a bigger team could see what we are making and do it before us. Whether this is a valid concern or not, I’m not sure, but to be safe we are going to start hyping the game around 1 month before release so that there is almost no way we can be cloned.

In an attempt to build hype for our game, and reach as many people as possible, I am planning on releasing a range of teasers, newsletters, videos, development journals and press releases in around 1-2 months time. In the beginning I expect we may only attract the attention of other game developers via the development journals, and then once we’ve announced the genre and general premise of the game, hopefully we can start to build a sizeable subscriber base to our newsletters, twitter followers and rss feeds. I’d imagine we will announce the game’s big ‘hook’ or selling point only 1-2 weeks before release.

I’m planning on trying some “War of the Worlds” kind of press releases, which are written as if the game’s events are actually occurring, except of course they are so absurd that the reader hopefully has their interest piqued and goes on to watch a posted youtube clip, screen shots or something similar. With any luck these might be successful enough to gain preview write ups in online mags or get dugg, and further build our subscriber base.

I’d also like to think that this game is kind of a “casual game for hardcore gamers”. I know many hardcore gamers play casual games (I’m one of them), but I’m still going to try pitching our game in this manner to try and bring more attention to the fact that flash games can be enjoyed by more hardcore gamers, and that they can have some level of depth.

Well that’s about enough rambling for now… I’ll have to try and get some links coming in now for this development journal, perhaps Emanuele Feronato will link to this or my other articles? If you are coming from his site, then huzzah!

Thanks for following, and sign up for our newsletter on the right, or follow me on twitter to receive more updates in the future.

If you have anything to contribute I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried your own form of pre release marketing for flash games before? Do I not know what I’m on about? Set me straight or give me your opinion!

Flash Game Development Journal

I’ve read a few great development diaries from other people such as Emanuele Feronato and I thought I’d do my own for Binary Space and for any other developers who are walking down a similar path. I’m not sure yet exactly what I’ll write about week to week, so I’ll just write when I feel I have something interesting to talk about.

Small Biz
At the moment our game is at very early stages, and we’re familiarizing ourselves with how the whole industry works. There’s just the two of us, a programmer and myself (artist/designer), so the whole thing is run very much like a small business I suppose, with the owners doing a bit of everything whilst trying to steer the ship. So yes we are in this to make money as well as make fun games. I have another business that is doing well, so I can afford to spend as much time as I like on the game. I’d say its one of the harder things to do, trying to perform your main roles whilst trying to figure out how to host a website, what is a CPM, what is a CPC, whats a good CPM/CPC, how much bandwidth will we need, what’s our game going to be worth, what’s a good company name and a million other little things. But I feel like I’m getting a reasonable handle on all of this now, so I’ll be writing about my expectations, thoughts and plans, without giving too much away about our game in the short term!

Numbers and Best Case Scenarios
I must admit I’m a little surprised at the numbers for flash games, specifically: the low cpms for advertising and high game hosting fees almost cancel each other out, and depending on various factors, my maths say that we will be either making a small loss on our homepage or a small profit. I’ve looked at a ton of dedicated host options and content delivery networks, both of which are fairly expensive. Then there’s also Mochi’s free hosting option, which I’m looking into closely. I can’t help but think there must be a catch, so I’ve emailed them to confirm!

Home Page Numbers
If we look at some exact numbers, a successful game can do 30 million plays in a year, and I’ve heard from other developers that they still get up to 5-10k visits a day one year after their game is released.
For this example, I’m going to take Mochi’s standard CPM (money they pay per 1000 views/plays) as a very reasonable 0.50c, and I hear Adsense is roughly the same for entertainment. So for the home page, getting 10k visits a day (yes this is best case scenario), you should expect to make an un-whopping $10 a day or roughly $3500 a year, possibly double or triple that daily rate in the first few months of release, I’m yet to pry too much into other developers to get this figure. Guessing numbers of views on your home page is always going to be mega-ballpark because it all depends on sponsor deals, your own marketing efforts, whether you were Dugg, how good your game is, and so on. So say $1-5k on your home page a year per great game…

Outside the Home Page
For everything outside your home page, you’ve got sponsorships and mochiads. For a game that does 30,000,000 plays, mochi might give you around $10,000, and you might manage another 5-30k from sponsor deals again depending on how much they like your game. I have little idea what the upper limits are for these guys, obviously they will be trying to part with as little money as they can, whilst you will be asking for as much as possible. Flashgamelicense.com is certainly a good site, in that it definitely creates a bit more competition among sponsors to get your game.

Wrap Up
So for a killer flash game you might make tops, $50k a year. That’s using the standard advertise, sponsorship, mochi route that most people take. Depending on how long it takes you to make this game, 50k is either paltry or awesome. Either way I swear money must be getting left on the table somewhere. I mean, 30 million or so plays in a year or two – that’s a really, really big number. If you did that in other game industries, you’d have a massive hit on your hands, but with flash you might make an average wage. Yes the scales are much different, but when you work out an hourly earn, its pretty average. Plus when you consider that other free games like Mafia Wars on Facebook are killing it to the tune of millions a month, the same should be possible to at least some extent with flash games.

You could say its a combination of a flooded market, mostly sub par games, and unfortunately low advertising rates that causes it, and that’s possibly true. However I’ve been in business for a little while, and while I mainly want to make fun games, I also find it fun and challenging to make money! So while our first game will follow the tried and true, standard portal/advertising/sponsorship formula, that will just be to get our bearings, get some experience under our belts, and then we already have some plans for something different for the next game.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Other Sites
If you’d like to read some existing dev blogs/reports then:

Emanuele Feronato
Fun Face

Elite Games
Gaming your way
Gamasutra: “Wheres the Cash in Flash”
… are all great places to start.