Creating Battle Storks
Published 5 years ago
How to do it right
I'm an indie game developer from Austria. Actually, Battle Storks is my first game so I'm not sure if this qulifies me to say I'm a game developer. Anyway, I started developing mobile apps for Android and iOS a few years ago at but my childhood dream since I was 16 was to create a game like the first Team Fortress (based on the original Quake engine).
Storyline (day 1)
Battle Storks is a 3rd person shooter that puts you in the head of a robot in a devastated world. Humans were at war too long and decided to settle disputes differently. They let robots fight their wars. This is where the player comes into play.
Development (day 14)
With the basic storyline in mind and absolutely no clue on how to develop and promote a game I just started developing. Very soon I realized that being a developer is by far not enough to create a game that should look at least a bit professional, so I came up with a plan:
Step 1: Gather as many experts as possible in your circle of friends and family (since I had no budget to pay anyone).
Step 2: For every area you don't find an expert, learn how to do it yourself or use free resources available on the internet.
Areas of interest you'll need to cover:
  • Someone who can play an instrument: That is useful for creating soundtracks or any background music.
  • Someone who can draw: You need that to create storymaps, intro or in game videos as well as font creation.
  • Someone who is into design: You'll need a logo for the game, a lot of in game controls (icons, buttons, panels, etc.).
  • Someone who has experience with 3D modeling (if it's a 3D game).
  • Someone who has experience with marketing and promotion: Do not underestimate this one.
  • Someone who knows to code the game itself: In most cases that'd be you.
This was the basic setup: My wife and my brother created the soundtrack and sounds, a friend of mine created the images for the intro video and the wife of my brother helped me with marketing.
Feature design (day 124)
After finishing the first level with all particle effects, lights, etc. it became clear that the game itself is fun to play but something is missing. Whenever you play some AAA title on your tablet there are tons of features that make a game awesome: Multiplayer, achievements, social media integration, etc. At that time I started integrating facebook which basically took not longer than a day as well as achievements (light version as I didn't integrate it in google play). Multiplayer was another thing. Although I had my own public root server which I could use I needed to find a solution that is well tested as well as fail-safe. After searching the internet I found the google play service which offers realtime multiplayer capabilities which were enough for my purpose (though there are some drawbacks to this service like max. of 8 players, no reconnect, etc.). Lucky me, there's a unity plugin for that too, so I started with the integration.
Final touch (day 572)
Almost after two years of development I finally came to the point where I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The game was almost finished and feature complete. Some bugs still needed to be fixed. The next step was to create everything around the actual game: Icons, sounds, music, balancing, think about marketing, making videos, etc. Thanks to the internet and several online resources this was not a difficult task but a rather time consuming one as I prefer writing code instead of designing icons.
One result of this phase was this youtube video:
Release and what comes next: Promotion (day 612)
One morning in February 2016, I decided to release Battle Storks. It was one of these moments, right before you click the Publish button in your development console when you think: "Oh my, starting from now (hopefully) gazillion people will see what you've created. Amazing." I had a tingling sensation in my finger and pressed the button.
One thing I learned from previous releases was that the first few weeks in the lifetime of an app can be crucial so I decided to spend up to $500 for marketing. I started some ad-promotion on appbrain, put out some facebook ads and promoted the facebook page of Battle Storks and I updated my homepage where I offer other apps I created a few years ago. So everything was setup and ready to go. The first few days I checked the statistics every 20 minutes. After one week and barely any sleep I saw that the game performs pretty well (for my standards at least) with 50+ downloads a day per platform.
Today (day 642)
Although this was just the first release I definitely learned a lot in all kinds of areas: Design, artwork, sfx, promotion, marketing, etc. Although I fear that I'll never get the money the game (not me) deserves it was a very fascinating experience and I would advice every developer out there to do the same: So grab a pen and let's start.
Daniel Kuster