Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Android indie game developer interview: Matey Nenov (3)

I had a great pleasure of interviewing Matey Nenov once again. He's done great progress since the last time. His indie income has surpassed his regular earnings and his games' quality has increased tremendously. He's sharing tons of great knowledge with us, as well as the things he's working on right now. Enjoy the read.

Bartek: Your games become better and better with every iteration. What did you improve in Legend of Eli a furry Monster that you didn't have/do in Follow the Line 2D Deluxe?

Matey: My Unity 3D skills improved a lot, so I was able to do lots of new things and do them faster. Also I have money now from Follow the Line 2D Deluxe, so I hired some professionals for the graphics, sounds, video, etc.

Bartek: What professionals did you hire? Where did you find them?

Matey: I hired a graphic designer for some of the new features of Follow the Line 2D Deluxe. I was very happy with her work, so I rehired her again for Legend of EliLegend of Eli was of course a much bigger project and, as you can see, she did a great job. I also hired some other professionals for smaller tasks. I did hire most of them on Upwork.
I also used Fiverr and direct contacts.

Bartek: Are you still using the same tools (Unity) or have you switched to something else?

Matey: I am still using Unity. I also got the subscription for the pro version.

Bartek: What made you buy the pro version of Unity? Why was the free version not enough?

Matey: The free version is actually enough. The pro version has some neat features like splash screen, profiler etc. But those are all features I can live without. The main reason for buying the pro version is the license. I can’t use the free version anymore.

Bartek: Do you use any assets from the Unity Asset Store?

Matey: Yes, I do. Some tools for the editor (e.g. xARM, UniRate, etc.)

Bartek: What resources did you outsource in Legend of Eli? Where did you take the graphics, sounds and music from?

Matey: I outsourced most of the graphics, the video and the remastering of the sounds. The music is free from incompetech.com. I also bought some sounds online, most of them on Pond5.

Bartek: Have you gone full time with your indie business yet or are you still working in your spare time?

Matey: I still have my “normal” job, although last year my indie business made much more than my “normal” job. I am planning to quit my job soon but there are some things that must happen first.

Bartek: I noticed that you have a new logo and animation for your company. Who made it for you and how much was it?

Matey: I hired someone on Upwork. I actually do hire professionals relatively often there. I paid $50 for the logo video, but it was a part of a bigger project – the video for my new game. The game video was around $550. I posted a job and chose one applicant. I wasn’t very happy with the result, so I gave it to another one there and he did an outstanding job. Unfortunately, it is hard to find good and capable professionals…

Bartek: Why did you decide to make a game like Legend of Eli? What was your inspiration? How did you know it had a chance to be successful?

Matey: I did make some proof of concept for a couple of games and Legend of Eli just felt right on a mobile device.

Bartek: How much time did it take you to make Legend of Eli?

Matey:  Around 4 months.

Bartek: How many hours a week are you able to spare for working on your games?

Matey: I didn’t track the time, but I suppose around 15 to 20 hours per week.

Bartek: How much are you earning with Legend of Eli and Follow the Line? Did you stop publishing income reports on your blog for good or are you planning to go back to it?

Matey: I am not planning to publish income stats anymore and I am not willing to say how much I earn now.

Bartek: Why did you decide to be less transparent with your income? Are you afraid that people can copy your ideas or is it something completely different?

Matey: People can and always will copy ideas from each other and I’m fine with it. My indie game career is not a small hobby project anymore and I am not comfortable with anyone knowing how successful my business is.

Bartek: What did you change in your monetization strategy? I noticed that you started using video ads. What ad networks are you using now?

Matey: I didn’t change much. I just added the rewarded video ads, because they are a good parallel income that doesn’t interfere with the other ads. For the video ads I use Tapjoy, Applovin and Vungle.

Bartek: Could you share some of the CPMs that you're experiencing with different ad formats in Legend of Eli?

Matey: I don’t have any significant income from Legend of Eli now, so I don’t think that these numbers are useful. Also I only implemented AdMob and Tapjoy for now. Maybe later, when the game gets more traction and I add some other ad providers, the data will be more meaningful.

Bartek: What other things did you put in the game? I noticed Google Play Services and in-game payments. Could you say a few words about them? How are the working out for you?

Matey: I use Google Play Game Services for the leaderboards. I think that my games are actually too small for IAP to work. The income from IAP is just a fraction from what I make with ads. I also added Daily Challenges and in Legend of Eli also Missions. I think these are great features and lots of players are very happy about them.

Bartek: Did you run any paid campaigns for Legend of Eli? If yes, then where and how much were they? Did you get any measeurable results?

Matey: Yes I did, mostly through Tapjoy. The results aren’t good. The game did rank well, but there wasn’t any significant increase in organic installs. I think that the ASO is now more important than ever and paid installs are the second step…

Bartek: Did you do something else to promote Legend of Eli (e.g. get it reviewed)?

Matey: I did pay some people for ASO and I am now actively researching how to do ASO by myself.

Bartek: What ASO services did you use? Are you happy with what they did? Can you recommend anyone?

Matey: I did hire some guys on Upwork and Fiverr, but I am very disappointed with them. Unfortunately I can’t recommend anyone. I myself am still searching for a good ASO expert…

Bartek: How are you learning ASO? What sites/books/resources are you using?

Matey: I haven’t read any books yet. I registered on some sites like Sensor Tower and I am still searching online. Actually I'd prefer to find an ASO expert with experience to help me with this.

Bartek: What platforms did you publish Legend of Eli on? Which ones have more downloads and generate more income? What about Follow the Line? The last time we talked you didn't have enough data yet.

Matey: Legend of Eli is now only on the play store. The iOS version is actually also ready, but I want to prepare a good ASO for it first. Follow the Line is published on the play store and the app store. The play store is for now performing much better (around 10 times better).

Bartek: What are your plans for the near future? Did you start working on a new game?

Matey: I just finished a big update of Follow the Line 2D Deluxe with great new power ups. I plan to publish it in the next couple of days. Now I am making some ASO research to optimize the new update and the iOS version of Legend of Eli a furry Monster.

Bartek: Do you have any plans for next games or do you want to keep polishing and updating the existing ones, since they're doing quite well already?

Matey: No, not at the moment. As you said, I am still very busy with my existing apps.

Here are the previous two interviews with Matey:
Interview 1 from September 2013
Interview 2 from January 2015

You can find out more about Matey and his games here:
blog: http://www.nenoff.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nenoffAndroid
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mnenoff
Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=nenoff

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