The head of game Studio Krivorukoff about the history of the company and the project Real Tank Battle — tank game “in the real world”

It all started in the now very distant 2010, when, fascinated by the success of game studios with smaller projects, weve decided to start its development. We are three enthusiastic and one hired freelancer. Did everything “on the knee”, at home, in their spare time, besides from different cities. Professionals can be called only two of us — artist and programmer, the other two only found out they know how to animate, to seek and find the money, to communicate and to convince publishers to take us “on Board” and even voiced the characters in the game in the kitchen with an Amateur microphone.

Why it was chosen racing genre, its hard to tell, but most likely, the reason for Mega Jump. The game added a kind of humor. The characters we were flying without jetpacks. Got legend — we always were the important details — and forward. Simultaneously registered in the UK company with a strange name Krivorukoff.

Development was delayed by almost a year, programmer freelancer continued to pay. Endless edits due to the lack of quality game design didnt allow to finish the code. Despite all the difficulties, managed to reach an agreement with the publisher Chillingo about running under their patronage our first game Mad Rush. Not only that, we even persuaded them to do us a discount from the base interest rate.

Then it sounded like a complete guarantee of success, and we almost chose the name for his boat. But life will put everything in places. Weak, not good for the novelty of the setting, prolonged periods and frankly bad design Chillingo forced to terminate a contract with us. We, of course, depressed, removed from the screen savers Lamborghini and unloaded the game on behalf of our company.

To advertise the project on its own was hard — we were only able to support their offspring a small number of custom posts and reviews of gameplay on YouTube. The coveted organic traffic from afar shouted to us. “Im here!”, when Apple for the week put us in the category of “New and Noteworthy”, but it did not save us from a complete fiasco. The game consisted of two builds — a free simplified version and full for $0.99.

The free version got a couple of thousand units by luring paid in not more than one hundred people — and so it came to nothing. As usual, grieve a bit, we realized that even failure, but was received the finished product, which can demonstrate to potential investors (up to this point they didnt even talk).

It should be noted that the product was a substantial plus. He was very handsome, and given that among the investors (particularly among non-core) is dominated by the visual, we had a good chance. The first thing we did — and it was already 2011 — have uploaded a concept of a new game on Indiegogo, and the main model for future quality was just a Mad Rush. He waited a week — and we got a knock gentlemen of Indian companies Playcaso.

However, they were not offered participation in the implementation of our ideas, but simply the performance of work on order, and after we implement our own idea, the result will remain with the customer. The choice was a little, rather no, and we agreed to try myself in this role to earn some experience and just not to freeze the work. The process was in full swing, we only had time to exchange information, to show developments and discuss ideas.

Forgot to mention. At this point, we have been able to gather in one city — St. Petersburg and rent a small office. That only lasted for this good story is quite long. Harsh Indian bureaucratic machine required statements and edits are made in much larger quantities than we could afford, and the team slowly stuck in a rut. Customers felt that we are not able to perform the task as they require, and offered to return the invested funds, and to say goodbye.

Here we got nervous in earnest. The trial was not included in our plans. And, as in the sad story about the borrower, covering the new loan the old loan, we repeated the process of finding an investor. It is impossible to tell everything in one article — I will try in a few words.

Just a couple of days before the start of the problems we find a private investor for the game with 80% readiness, promptly flew from the programmer to Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye in the next (absolutely it is impossible not to mention that took us just gorgeous) for a personal acquaintance with the investor. All told, showed, shared their experiences and offered to work with the publisher, because your own marketing requires additional funds, and such professionals we have no. Hands. Closed with debts Playcaso and decided not to repeat such stories, and be attentive to all the items of contracts.

Very much all this nervously. Runaway Snack safely completed on time and released, but this game is not boosted. All this time we continued to find a large investor and to prepare the prototypes, which may be of interest to the potential partner and allow us to begin to work quietly. Perseverance helped us to get into a serious investment company, evaluated the possible prospects.

With the approval of the proposed options was not so easy, and it was one of our main problems, talk about it in the conclusions. And so started work on the first big project — a city-building Adventure Era. Yeah so famously started that we were able to move from gloomy St Petersburg to Thailand and worked there for almost two years. We recruited new employees to job interviews on Skype, and the team slowly grew to 30 people.

The great complexity of this period I would call the fight with the imaginary status. The investor is very well treated, even despite our love for radical alterations, leading to the overthrow of the timing. However, the closer we got to the start, it was clear risks to such product at the time.

The project decided to publish with a major publisher specializing in such kind of games, which eventually was made. The publisher in good faith tried to help our game. This project, as in the past, and was one of those that run for others success.

Reviews were very much, but, as before, was praised primarily on the beauty of the game, not addictive stuffing. The game late with an exit on the market for three years. Too many successful high-quality products in this niche. We continued to bump.

“Yes how many are possible”, — we thought — and began to convince investors to start work on a risky but unique product. If old-fashioned Sitebuilder cant go to the market just as before, it is likely that risk with an innovative product isnt very large. Received approval for two diverse games and with new forces rushed into battle. Here only this time the fight was quite short.

Somewhere in the middle of a development crisis happened, the employees salary in one fell swoop divided in half, that is simply not allowed to survive in Thailand. Investors have begun to reassess the risks. All were aware that the developer without profit, albeit with a quality product, does not give any guarantees, and Krivorukoff becomes too heavy a burden. We had to start earning much earlier, to dare to offer risk and to justify it — but this, alas, did not happen.

Farther in the fog — the termination of funding, difficult evacuation of employees in Russia, disappointment in myself, sadness about the lost opportunities, unissued after the sea of the work done of the game. But long experience is not our policy. Because the forces were and remain, and the experience must lead us to the desired result. Games truly become our life, and we are very much going to feel it.

I like the head it was not possible to stop the flywheel, even when I began to understand that this way is extremely doubtful. To get the investment, we didnt need to offer investors a revolutionary or even evolutionary product. For such risk, the investor should be too progressive. We were required to offer a product based on someone elses success, be it making up games or a combination of all the best of several top creations.

To push investors to take a step toward us was just a demonstration of the success that could be achieved and we. And the thought, “now first do well what is expected of us, and then well create what you want for yourself” was fundamentally flawed. Profit is no signs, while the team and spending grew like a soap bubble. Its a vicious circle.

Now the team that went from Thailand, does not exist — but remained the backbone of the most persistent and crazy chat on Skype, where scary looking because of the immorality of conversation. We took a deep breath, exhaled and realized that Kickstarter is our option to start the game, which we wont look at what others are doing, and take into account all the mistakes, failures and shortcomings, which we had plenty. Without hesitation chose the idea that is constantly spinning around, which we approached from different sides, but due to current Affairs simply could not have read everything in detail, to understand the possibilities to create a prototype. It is the pinnacle of risk, something that never has never been done at scale, something that we sought for so long.

Five months down to the smallest nuances worked through the idea, created a software and hardware prototype and was good with numbers — and all this by the people who have been working in other companies, but continue enthusiastically to do a common thing. Real Tank Battle game based on all the canons of the genre of tank battles, but with one major difference. The user controls the “live” tanks. The picture goes directly from the cameras installed on the models of tanks.

The original idea is a multiplayer game with maximum realism, perhaps even with the knowledge that what is happening on the other side of the screen is the reality. Respondents friends are divided into two approximately equal groups. First, without hesitation, say that this is a very cool idea, others are skeptical fall asleep a thousand questions. Questions and the truth had to solve a lot.

Talk about the main. We were quite easy to calculate the required bandwidth of the Internet channel, because the number of participants on the ground during battle is limited to a specific number. We do not use the standard TCP/IP Protocol for video conferencing that works with the data packets and for minor failures in the network often allows himself to “send” them to the user, and creates a delay in one or two seconds, and the UDP Protocol, the main feature of which is the lack of delay in compliance with the minimum quality requirements of the Internet channel with the end consumer. Simply put, we have ensured that the delay did not exceed 200-300 milliseconds, regardless of the location of the player.

Polygons — a closed area for carrying out of fights, stylized certain time periods in the development of models of tanks. The battlefield is a simulation of the real terrain with models of buildings, plants and other objects, allowing the player almost not notice that he runs the model instead of a real machine. The minimum size will depend on the number of tanks, but the average landfill will occupy about 3000 square meters. While landfill at our disposal is not, and all the tests we conducted in the field or office conditions.

In our case, everything is subordinated to the control Board, which receives the settings from your profile as soon as he “sits” in the car. At the moment we are able to control the following parameters. Part of them refers directly to the hardware, and the other end directly into the game design.

Thus, we managed not to concede too digital tank battles. One of the main features of the Real Tank Battle is that the battles will be paid. That is, for each session the player will have to pay. But there is a very important clause — the winners dont pay.

If you during the battle managed to knock out at least one tank, you get points for follow-up free games. Thus, the weak players pay for the game strong, as awful as it sounds. Nevertheless, all paid “chops” the number of people wishing to play many and many times. We will be booking time of the game, if the player wants guaranteed play time and not to wait in the queue.

Here this is what we are working carefully just. Solutions for visual effects quite a lot, and we try to choose the most reliable and bright. Currently the closest to implementation variant of the installation on the protected sides of the screens, that will be perfect to play contact of any type. Negotiating with the manufacturers and determine the best option for cost and reliability.

With ballistics more difficult — this is the only item of development, which have not been resolved and will probably remain conditional. The cannon will shoot an infrared laser and sensors on enemy tanks will fix the shot, but the shot still goes in a straight line. To create a basis for the tanks will be one of the leaders in production of radio-controlled models.

We have quite long talks with the factory and received accurate answers on the required volume and cost of order. This subject is compulsory for our edits, because we need to change the configuration, effectively leaving only the body and chassis. In the chassis you need to replace the material on more high quality plastic and metal that our cars were the most tenacious. The remaining components will be ordered from other manufacturers, and it is quite an extensive list.

Working models will collect already in place. The “hardware” approach responsibly, because it is a reliable model will allow to avoid unnecessary costs in the future. As the development environment for the application client we use Unity. Began to work with this tool immediately after Adventure Era — she was collected at Cocos.

Unfortunately, among us there was then no Unity developer who could put things into proper perspective and to explain the benefits, and we unknowingly thought this product is damp. With Unity our life easier and more options we have not yet considered. But the most important is the timing, we have to put them very accurately. And so we come to the selected project to launch.

Problems with registration and the start of the campaign was not. Among us there were citizens eligible to Kickstarter countries. Everything rests on “access to the body” — that is this page.

Filled — and you almost Duncan Macleod. But crowdfunding is not easy thing. As Wikipedia says, is “the collective cooperation of people (donors) who voluntarily pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts of other people”. If it is a donor community, we, respectively, the recipient, or rather, even a diseased body, which we had full day after the launch.

Data for six days practically has not changed. Four lucky winners is ourselves. And here is our progress for the week.

And to make the picture complete — the number of views of the main video, in fact, visit the project page. Here, too, need some clarification. 330 people is, most likely, our friends. Now, our patient is the body on a desert island Kickstarter without the slightest chance of salvation.

Sending emails to thematic publications is very similar to the bottled message. Zero guarantees, no answers, even no understanding of whether the letter actually read. Although there were answers. “produced too many products”, “tight schedule”, offers paid advertising.. its not about us.

And here comes a letter from anyone else but from vc.ru — what they are willing to support our efforts and become our mouthpiece. This is a chance not to miss. This opus, of course, is the main theme. Friends, our relatively small, fairly successful, but very sincere and hardworking team asks for your support.

In this sentence, I hovered for an hour or more to write nothing. The next phrase seemed either pretentious or naive and compassionate, or just stupid. Specially for readers vc.ru developed were special awards which greatly differ from the proposed on Kickstarter. To obtain these awards, the sponsor need to send a private message to the author of the project via Kickstarter with the phrase “Zuckerberg will call” and your reward will be changed.

Source: google.co.uk/blog/do-i-need-a-startup-consultancy/

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