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About the Episode
Coming up I have the creator of Timberman and he talks about how he came up with the idea and how you balance between frustrating and addicting. Also, listen to his tip on the 3 elements that allow Timberman to really take off.
How Timberman came to life
While he was watching a video in YouTube of someone playing Flappy Bird, he found it as addicting and hypnotic and it got him thinking to create the same simple situation which can be made as an animation. Upon pondering what made the Flappy Bird a success, he realized that it was mostly because of the mechanics and the simplicity which gave it the old school feeling of the game. So he thought that his creation should be the same, it has to be something easy like a pizza boy, a delivery man or maybe alumber jack chopping down a tree.
After creating the animation using adobe after effect, he sent it to developer who turned it into a game within 2 – 3 days. In the next three weeks, they upgraded the graphics and game play but struck to the basic illustrations. They tested the waters by showing it off in the bar counter at a birthday party. It was an instant hit.
Balancing frustration and addiction
In the previous versions of Timberman, there was this illusion that the branches are very high over Timeberman’s head. It was annoying because you get the feeling that he will survive since you get an extra space over the character’s head. But when you tap, he actually gets hit in the head because it wasn’t a high as you thought. Pawel’s team removed this frustration by changing the pixel distance, decreasing the position of the branch by two pixels. Making this one change made it playable and contributed to the good gaming experience.
Three elements which drove Timberman’s popularity
To spread the word about Timberman, Pawel’s team also tried contacting editors to get press but it got very depressing when they got no response after tons of communications sent. So they started going to gaming exhibitions, exchanged business cards there and presented their game to review editors and other developers. This created connections and they started to build relationships which brought a change as people now personally know them and they now responded to emails.
They have also taken advantage of social media through Twitter to share game scores. Every time you hit the Game Over screen, an option to share it to your followers will appear and when it is posted as a tweet, a link to the game is also present so other people can download it.
Another strategy they have employed is the use of Facebook wherein the gamer can unlock one character by liking their Facebook fan page. This drove their sites to have 300k fans and it is still growing today.
What is the #1 thing you’d like the listener to walk away with from this interview?
Simple ideas that can be realized in a short period of time are pretty cool because you can test and publish them in a short period of time. If you are doing good, great. If it is not, you can simply move on. This way you can create more apps, and the bigger number of apps you have, the greater probability of success.
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