A story Creator education app “Weapons” Alexander Lavrov about entering foreign markets. Alexander Lavrov since childhood, fond of weapons and military subjects. Together with his father, a famous Nizhny Novgorod physician — he often went to visit his old army buddy at the shooting range, also loved to collect miniatures and models of military equipment.
As a hereditary doctor, Lavrov entered the medical Institute and senior courses settled into the Studio of popular science films. “We did all sorts of cool medical educational films in the style of the BBC, and various multimedia projects. It was in the late 90-ies and by todays standards looks very funny,” he recalls.
Lavrov interested in 3D modeling and animation. Even during his studies, he passed the examination of expert of Adobe and became the first certified instructor of Adobe After Effects in Eastern Europe.
In 2003, after graduating from med school, Lavrov decided not to work and to do what you love. He worked as a teacher in one of the oldest schools in computer graphics RealTimeSchool, and later in school, ScreamSchool. In parallel, he helped friends set up their Studio in computer graphics.
In 2008, Alexander Lavrov, together with Arman Gagosyanom created a platform for the development of three-dimensional interactive applications Vizerra. The company used it to work on all client projects and products. After 8 years, Lavrov became CEO of Vizerra.
“We have developed a three-dimensional interactive system in various industries. For example, did planning system for Olympic Games. And in Barcelona — a decision-making tool for the city authorities to make them feel comfortable to engage in the reconstruction of the area Sagrera,” says Lavrov.
For 10 years, the company has implemented more than 200 projects, including the creation of 20 models of monuments a UNESCO world heritage site. “Once it so happened that we liked to work on projects in the field of culture. And the thesis I defended at the Moscow state Institute of culture and arts — all led to this,” — says CEO of Vizerra. In early 2016 the Ministry of culture announced a competition to develop a multimedia product for the Tula Museum of weapons.
In the brief the task was to increase the audience and the prominence of institutions. The participants proposed to develop educational interactive it-a product that would be associated with the theme of the Museum, but the Museum is devoid of “edification”. Lavrov was a teaching experience, so he knew the audience better assimilate the material if it is in the form of a game.
The Vizerra team proposed the idea of an entertainment app where you can assemble and disassemble weapons and to slow down time and observe the movement of internal mechanisms in the regime of x-ray vision. If the weapon like the user — hell want to know more about it from an internal encyclopedia. This will avoid the forced immersion in the culture.
“Most of the educational apps look boring and mediocre. For us it was important to get people interested,” says Lavrov.
The result Vizerra has won competition of the Ministry of culture. July 4, 2016 the contract was signed and the company started to create an application called “Weapons”. By September 2016 was ready MVP with a limited set of functions. In the Annex there was only one model — submachine gun Shpagina (PPSH-41).
Before you do the project on, the developers initially wanted to collect feedback from users. “We rolled out this version only for users from Kazakhstan and Belarus — together with them we have filled in all of the mistakes it was possible,” says Lavrov. Later, the release of the beta version for Russia.
“To our surprise, the interest was much higher than we thought. People began to give advice and find flaws — in total, gained about a thousand of beta testers from Russia and yet the same from other countries”, — says Lavrov. By November 2016, the number of models increased up to ten. The developers have sifted through the user reviews and offered detailed ideas to the Museum staff and the Ministry of culture.
If they approve, then Lavrov and his team have added innovations in the app. “Usually, museums do not play, and this product for them were quite innovative. Therefore, decisions on product development we have taken together and thoughtfully”. The staff was passionate about the project in the same way as the developers.
They advised that it is possible to change the models so they look more realistic. “We, the Museum staff worked as a team. They had a huge amount of information, exhibits and facts.
And we engaged in the product — implement new features, collecting feedback and testing hypotheses”, — says Lavrov. In addition, to develop a realistic virtual model helped the users who are well versed in weapons, continues CEO Vizerra. “On new years holidays came to us with a re-enactor, have been rifle Tokarev and Mosin.
It when we took them apart, we all looked, and he found inaccuracies”. Under the contract, which expired by November 2016, Vizerra were required to submit a working application and a 3D-ready models of other weapons — for example, the Mosin rifle, Berdan, or Maxim gun.
However, after the project was delivered, Lavrov and his team decided to develop the app further. By January 2017, they added an additional game elements — Assembly and disassembly of weapons at the time according to regulations, competitions with friends and “proficiency” — jobs that allow you to get points. They can be spent on the discovery of interesting facts about the weapon.
“We have the majority of employees for more than 30 years. We found a piece of Soviet time, went to shooting ranges, collected and pasted model of technology. Working on the app, we realized that we are interested in and this is an opportunity to realize some unrealized desire,” says Lavrov.
After the January release of the app appeared in 75 local App Store and Google Play. Localization helped users first, Russian-speakers who speak a second language, and then native. By may 2017, “the Weapon of heroes” supports 20 languages including English, Chinese, Korean, German and French. We expect that almost all users will be from Russia. But in the West our app really enjoy.
There home many have rare weapons — the same Mosin-Nagant rifles, it is interesting to see how it all works inside. For me it was a shock, but its true. The main influx of users happened after the team made a search engine optimization app on Google Play, and on the eve of 23 February, Google added it to the list of recommended.
“It fits in with the Russian military holidays. On the Day of victory, no doubt, would, picering”, — says Lavrov. By may 2017, the app was downloaded nearly a million users.
In a given day is 5-7 thousand new players, and the active daily audience is 61 thousand people. “We were able to find their own unique niche. We did something between a simulator and enyclopedia.
The hardest part was to articulate why people should be wondering how we differ from others, because applications about weapons a lot — at least several dozen,” says Lavrov. He distinguishes five categories of users — fans of mobile games, engineers, historians, parents and children. “Parents want their children to do something useful with your smartphone.
This is a global trend. Since we have no violence, we need to think about how to collect weapons, we got a bunch of bonuses from their parents and fell into the category of family-friendly apps,” says Lavrov. Due to the educational component, the application used by the students to prepare essays and research papers — for example, understand the design of weapons or make screenshots of the internal mechanisms to illustrate articles, reports and abstracts.
We wrote the students that thanks to the application they become the best in the class to understand in the gun mechanisms. As one American teacher said that he, his children explains the organization of the rifle Berdan and “Colt”. It is clear that they are of the Russian pattern, but that doesnt make them less valuable. When he wrote it, I realized that we were a good deal done.
The most demanding audience remain engineers, designers and lovers of history. They expect that the application of the authentic model, and to the CEO of Vizerra is a professional audience that is easy to disappoint. “We work with them personally and try to invite to the beta tests,” — said Lavrov.
According to Lavrov, the developers will hardly be able to monetize the app and earn from it, because it was made in the framework of the state contract. However, it does not exclude the emergence of other commercial products with similar mechanics and technology.
From November 2016, Lavrov and his team are developing the app for free. It has become a hobby that gives you the opportunity to try out new techniques and methods. “For a short commercial projects to work on some things does not really.
They just need to do the job efficiently and on time. And we want to develop,” says Lavrov. In addition, this product helps to promote the company in the market.
“Customers see that in our portfolio there is a product with an audience of nearly a million users and it was done really well,” concludes the CEO of Vizerra.