Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Professional Advice: Imanji Studios

I've been very impressed with the level of co-operation and support from indie developers and established professionals to date who have taken time out to offer little old me some advice.

Keith at Imanji Studios was incredibly impressive in both the speed he came back and the depth of his answers. Some useful advice for all I hope you agree.

For those who don't know if Imanji Studios (and I question which rock you live under) they are responsible for the phenomenally successful Temple Run and the enjoyable Harbour Master.

MyGamingProject: What do you foresee being my single biggest challenge?

Keith @ Imanji Studios: Getting noticed. There are over a hundred thousand companies publishing apps and over a half million apps on the App Store. (source: Everyone has the same goal as you, they want to make a hit app. That's a lot of competition, building a great app is only part of the challenge, you still have to get it noticed.

Also, don't expect your first game to be a hit. The reality is most games fail. It's a very hit driven business you can make 10 games and only 1 of them might be successful. Everyone sees great hits like Angry Birds and Temple Run and thinks they got their overnight. The reality is that most of these companies have been making games for years until they finally come across a big hit. For some interesting stats on how much money the average game makes, check out this blog post. The stats are pretty grim, but I think it's a pretty accurate depiction of the the market.

MyGamingProject: What would you have done differently knowing what you know today?

Keith @ Imanji Studios: No regrets really. I'm a firm believer that everything you do in the past shapes and leads you to where you are today. So you have to look at your failures not as something you want to go back and do differently, but as something that will help you get to future success.

MyGamingProject: What game development tools would you recommend?

Keith @ Imanji Studios: There are so many great tools out there. The hardest part is picking the right tool for the right job. Usually I recommend tools that have a good community around them. That way if you get stuck or need help there will be someone there to help. Some great tools in the iOS space especially if you haven't made games before include Cocos2D and Unity.

MyGamingProject: How would you recommend marketing a game, techniques, channels, proposed budget etc?

Keith @ Imanji Studios: We're a big fan of making small pickup and play casual games. We always start with small prototypes and try to find the fun factor before investing a lot of time making things look pretty. We always aim to make games that only take us 3-4 months to make from start to finish to help spread the risk of failure out a bit. Our general rule of thumb is if we can't prototype it and get it to be fun in a week, it will probably take us too long to build the finished product. This doesn't always work out. It's definitely hard to always stick to a firm schedule when you are trying to make something "Fun", but it does help keep our project a more manageable size for our team.

MyGamingProject: What testing process and quality assurance measures do you adhere to?

Keith @ Imanji Studios: We test games ourselves mostly and use beta testers from the community as we get closer to finished.

MyGamingProject: How many people make up Imanji Studios?

Keith @ Imanji Studios: Imangi Studios is 3 people. My wife Natalia and I do all the programming, music, sound effects, and marketing and Kiril does all of our art.

MyGamingProject: Any additional advice you feel would be of benefit

Keith @ Imanji Studios: Attend the big conference like GDC and WWDC. Get to know the press. Get to know folks at Apple. Meet and make friends with other developers. Spend almost as much time thinking about how you are going to market your apps as you do making them.


monkeyheadz said...

Hi, I really like your blog and how you approach your challenge. I also started to develop my first game and so I try to get as much as possible advice from your blog. I noticed that most of the developers you have asked for advice, mentioned cocos2d rather than Corona SDK. BTW, I also started with cocos2d and I have no experience with Corona SDK, so I wonder if you thought about changing the SDK then?

Kind Regards

mygamingproject said...

Hi Monkeyheadz. Thanks for the support and reading the blogs I'm glad you are finding them useful. I've only been doing this for nearly 3 months and have learnt so much.

Your question around Cocos2D is a fair one. It was certainly one that troubled me when choosing. It ultimately comes down with what your plans are.

My project is around creating games and not learning programming languages which is what I felt Corona SDK gave me over Cocos2D. Also Corona has a far wider reach of multiple platforms which have now been extended from Apple devices to include Android, Amazon Fire and Nook whereas Cocos2D is just (at time of writing) Apple devices.

Given its only me doing this I didn't want to learn Cocos2D and also Java to get the simplest of games out. In Corona SDK it simply a dropdown to compile it out. I may find that Corona SDK limits me to the type of games I want to produce but I am yet to find that.

Time will tell whether speed of game would be more efficient but certainly heavily out weighed by productivity as an part time indie developer.

Stayed tuned I have some interesting research articles coming up which may help around income generation and testing as well as the launch of my first game in about a month.

monkeyheadz said...

Hey, thanks for your feedback.

You're probably right that cocos2d is more overhead as Corona SDK. I'm also a programmer and know different programming languages by heart and yes, I actually also want to make games and not learning another language. But in fact, cocos2d is not really a language (it's Objective-C), whereas Corona SDK is Lua, so from this point it seems that cocos2d is easier at least for me :-)

The point regarding platforms is really my pain point. I also wanted to go to multiple platforms and so I'll to play around with cocos2d-x to port my game as soon as I finished it, but I'm afraid that it's easier said than done.

I guess that I'll find a lot of interesting articles in your blog anyway and I'm looking forward to see what you have achieved in such a short time.

Kind Regards

Post a Comment