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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Update from Phat Games!

Greetings all!

I apologize again that it has been a long time since the last update, so without further delay, here it is!

1. GaymerX (GX3)
Burgal's Bounty won it's first ever award! There was a #BestIndieGX3 social media contest for best indie game at GaymerX! Burgal's Bounty received a lot of positive feedback both with the game play and the new artwork, and with the support of our friends and attendees at GaymerX, we managed to get more votes than any other game there! I also want to give shout outs to the two other winners - Fragments of Him by Sassy Bot Studio and Hex Heroes by Prismatic Games

We were at Table 9 in the expo hall, and had great neighbors on either side with Super Duper showing their cyber-punk FPS hacker game, Black Ice, on one side and Nuchallenger with their tactical brawler, Treachery in Beatdown City on the other side. It was really great meeting these teams at the expo, and it was really great meeting everyone who stopped by, played the game, hung out, and signed up for the mailing list!

2. The Artwork Update
I received some advice at GaymerX on this one. I am going to come clean about why the original Android release was pulled from Google Play and why we have rebranded Phat Games and Burgal's Bounty. Unfortunately, we had a falling out with the graphics artist who did the Phat Games logo and artwork for Burgal's Bounty. As a result, there was a grey area over ownership of the art work. Instead of trying to resolve the issue with the artist, I chose to cut ties and start again with the graphics. However, by that time Burgal's Bounty was live for 2 months, and we had collected a lot of information on the game with our in game analytics, feedback from players, IndieCade and others. We have also learned a lot about how to make a mobile game successful, and as a result we are in the process of making a ton of improvements to the game. This incident ended up being a blessing in disguise and we are continuing to improve the game to create the best possible game we can.

3. Burgal's Bounty Update!
Party on! So now for the game update! Well, with everything we have learned from the expos, the previous summer launch, and just general feedback from people in the industry here are the game plans and when and how we are planning on launching.

The game will feature:
i. More awesome polished looking graphics.
ii. 90 levels (10 of which are unlockable by collecting in game bonuses).
iii. Fully animated in game cut scenes.
iv. New game play elements including real time interaction with the puzzle map during game play.
v. iOS, Android, Mac, and PC releases (see more below).

This will be a multi platform game spanning both desktop and mobile devices. We are exploring ways to make it so that if users purchase / download the game on a mobile device they will also get it for free on the desktop version and vice versa. We have not committed to this, but this is certainly how we would like to approach it. Also we have not finalized how the game will be monetized this time around. If it is freemium again, there will be a combination of tastefully placed ads and in-app purchases. The last big update around game play elements will have to do with the casual nature of the mobile market. Burgal's Bounty's original release on Android was WAY TO HARD. Even watching some people play it at GaymerX, I noticed that some levels were more of a struggle than others. We very much want to appease both casual gamers with this and the more hard core market. How are we going to accomplish this? Here's how:

Similar to the original Android release, the game will be divided into subsets of 10 levels. The first 5 levels of each subset will be quick to play, taking 5 minutes or less to complete. The rest of the levels will be mixture of medium to difficult levels where the more medium to hardcore players can invest more time into it. The casual gamers will be able to play through the entire game without playing any of the harder levels. They will, however, not be able to unlock a lot of the extra in game content without buying an in-app purchase (if there ultimately is IAPs in the game). The idea is to let everyone enjoy the game in the way they want to. As for a release, we are still hoping for late spring, or early summer. Specific dates for the individual platforms will be announced early next year. We would also love to hear feedback on any these ideas! Please contact us on facebook, twitter, or even e-mail at hello [at]

Happy holidays from Phat Games!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Burgal's Bounty and Phat Games update!


It has been 3 weeks since I last posted. I really gotta get back to posting at least once a week. But, I really don't know if people read this blog, and I don't look at the analytics too often to tell me :)

Anyway, here is the latest update on what is going on:

Burgal's Bounty will be at GaymerX3 in San Jose this weekend! Come join us at Table #9!
A new game play video with the new art work has been posted below!
We will be at the PlayCrafting Expo at the end of January. If you are in New York City, come join us at Microsoft. Tickets can be purchased here.

Lastly, Phat Games needs YOUR HELP! GaymerX is hosting an Indie Competition sponsored by Intel at this year's expo. In order for Phat Games to win, we need our fanbase to support us on twitter! How? On Thursday, Dec 10th any time after 7pm PST, click the button below, and tweet the text that comes up once you log into twitter. The more people who tweet that, the more likely our chances will be to win! Thank you very much for your support!

If you might forget, another blog entry will be posted on Thursday to remind you!

Tweet: #BurgalsBounty is the kicking butt at GX3! #BestIndieGX3 @PhatGames 
#JoinTheHeist #iOS #Android #PC #Mac

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Burgal Update

Hello all!

I really should get updates out more regularly but writing blog posts takes a lot of effort I would rather be putting towards the game! :)

The first playable build of Burgal's Bounty is complete just in time for the holidays! Truthfully it is actually just in time for GaymerX3 which Phat Games will be showing Burgal's Bounty off at this year!

The game at the expo will have 21 playable levels with most (but not all) play features in the game. There will likely not be a formal level select or a tutorial, but I expect the awesome gamers at GaymerX will have no problem figuring out how to play! :) Phat Games will have four tablets at the expo, two iPads and two Android tablets for players to play the game on.

The finished version of Burgal's Bounty will feature the following:
1. 88 fun, addictive, and challenging puzzles, with an additional approximately 50 "hard mode" puzzles to also play!
2. Cute cartoonish graphics that look like they were drawn by your youngest child!
3. One playable character with another unlockable one!
4. A smart, undetermined, uninvasive way of monetizing!
5. Hilariously awesome cutscenes!
6. iOS, Android, PC, and Mac support!

More screen shots will be posted in the next couple of weeks with the awesome new art style and more levels!

Be sure to join us at GaymerX for your chance to play the definitive, and best possible version of Burgal's Bounty ever!

- Blair

Monday, November 2, 2015


Hey all,

Sorry about the delay in the updates. GaymerX3 is just around the corner and we have a lot of work to get done on the new and improved Burgal's Bounty so we can show it. Tonight I got the bombs done once again in the game. I quite like the look. Please take a look for yourself and let us know if you like em!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Captain's Blog: Phat Date: 2015.10.11

Greetings all,

Time for another update. I have really shifted gears on the work and have been focussing on getting Burgal walking on the maps again in Unity. He will now interact with arrows, and that's about it. I suspect getting the rest of the stuff done should be relatively easy, but I have a habit of tweaking animations as I go along.

If you were planning on joining us at PlayCrafting this month, I am sorry to disappoint you, but Burgal's Bounty will not be there. Simply put, while the game is making good progress, we don't feel it is ready for a public showing yet.

But in other awesome news, Phat Games will be at GaymerX 3 in San Jose this year! This will be the first public showing of the redesign of Burgal's Bounty! The game will likely not be complete as originally anticipated, but it should be fully playable with a ton of new graphics and game play elements to keep people happy who enjoyed the soft launch this summer! If you are interested in an inclusive ga[y]ming experience, please join us at GaymerX this year in San Jose, from December 11th to the 13th.

We have also purchased our table for FlameCon 2 in the summer of 2016! I hope we will see some of you there for that!

I have posted a couple of new screens. There will be tons of new graphics coming soon, I promise!

- Blair

Monday, September 28, 2015

Burgal's Bounty Development Update

Hello all,

Time for another update on Burgal's Bounty. The port to Unity for the iOS and Steam releases is making good progress as well as the new artwork. The game will be in a playable state in another week. Currently, the tools to complete the puzzles can be placed, but Burgal can't go through the maze yet.

A number of the Burgal animations have been completed and posted below.

Burgal's Bounty will be at the upcoming PlayCrafting Expo in New York City on October 22nd. Tickets are here.

Enjoy the graphics below and see you at the PlayCrafting Expo!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

First Screens of the new Burgal's Bounty Art!

Hi all!

Here is a side by side comparison of the old and new art used for the first level! We would love to hear your feedback!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

IndieCade Response!

Greetings all!

As you can guess by the subject line, we have received our response from IndieCade from our submission back in May of this year for Burgal's Bounty!

We did not become a finalist in the festival, but the response was fairly good overall. I have posted it here in the blog and I have also included Phat Games' response to the response! So, if nothing else, enjoy the read!

The puzzles are reasonably interesting, but the life limit means you can't experiment with different approaches, and trying to mentally trace your way through a large level quickly becomes very fatiguing.
The life limit is likely not going to change for the official launch. It was put in strictly as a monetization piece. It will, however, be removed for the Steam version.

The burglar sprite should be able to face up/down as well as left/right while moving.
This is actually only the second time I have heard this comment. Considering the Burgal graphic is getting redesigned for the official launch, we can give him up and down walking animations.

As you said, the game is a clone of an old MS-Dos Game. It's not appropriated in a festival where innovation leads like Indiecade.
I find this remark unfortunate. I did not say clone. It was a relaunch of a game we made. This was not some Flappy Bird clone where we copied someone else's idea. The idea was originally ours and if this disqualified us from IndieCade because of a misunderstanding I would find this to be very unfortunate.

I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzles presented by this game, and happily played through quite a number. Sequencing makes for a great feeling puzzle arc: as the player sets the machine in motion, tension builds...will they succeed or fail?
We are really glad you enjoyed it!

The strength of Burgal's Bounty's puzzle design is unfortunately often overshadowed by a clumsy feeling UI. Some thoughts: -The tile dock didn't read as a repository for my blocks. Consider leaving it along the bottom, or creating an more obvious animation for its docking/undocking transition. It would also help it feel more like a repository if it responded to the relative proximity of the blocks, rather than just on overlap.
This was something that has been noticed by a number of players. We are improving this part of the experience. Interestingly enough, this is the first time someone has actually come out and formally said it. This was mostly noticed by observations of watching people play.

-Placing tiles was tedious and error prone. Maybe you could scale the board around the selected tile, so to make the selected location far more obvious. Often my finger covered my selection, as well as the surrounding 8 tiles.
We would like to strive to improve this so if other players find this to be a problem it won't detract from their enjoyment of the game. Changes were made to this based on initial feedback. Some people found this approach fine. Others struggled with it. We will continue to see if we can tweak it to improve the user experience.

-Interstitial tutorial screens were haphazardly laid out, poorly kerned, and confusing. It wasn't immediately clear that they were intended to be delivered by Burgal, as they lacked a clear indicator of speech (bubble or otherwise). That made some already confusing text even more confusing. Interactive tutorials are a must to hook anyone who is not a puzzle game head. If that's out of the question, at least consider including images of the various game components you're introducing next to the text descriptions.
The tutorial was a mixed bag. This was not the first thing we tried. It was actually the fourth. It was this way that we chose because no one bothered with it at all. The official launch of the game will have the tutorial updated so that it walks players through how to play on the screen. I do not know if it will be beneficial because we have tried similar things in earlier versions of the game. At the end of the day it seems to boil down to this: No one cares about the tutorial.

-Visual effects could be +'d up quite a bit. The puzzles are an adrenaline rush, and I want the same feeling from the art. Zooms, bullet-time, screen-shake, etc. would all be exceedingly welcome, as the player doesn't have anything else to do but watch. You have a golden opportunity here, the player has made all the choices they're going to make, and now you get to give them a show! Make them feel the anguish of their defeat and the glory of their victory.
Interesting. This is the first time I have heard this comment. Most people just asked for the ability to speed the game up once they press play. Perhaps the visuals would give them more reason to watch the puzzle walkthrough.

That's it for IndieCade's feedback on the game. We would love to hear your opinions as well. Do you agree with what the judges had to say? Did you have anything else you would like to add? Feel free to tweet at us @PhatGames or e-mail us at hello [at]


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The New Burgal!

Introducing a prototype of the new Burgal! The game will also have a paper-ish retro graphic style depicted in here. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A brief history of... Burgal's Bounty

By now many people will have realized that the logo for Phat Games and the icon for the Burgal's Bounty have changed. Well, this is the 4th time Burgal's Bounty has been "re-imaged." Every time the game was redesigned in the past it was because it was getting re-platformed. This time, there is a combination of reasons for the redesign (including a re-platforming). But first, here is a complete timeline of Burgal's Bounty!

2001: Burgal's Bounty is released for the DOS platform (under the name Phat Professional Burglar), built entirely in QBasic. While PC's at the time could do much, much, much better than the low resolution graphics of the game, the game was built entirely in QBasic and faced a limitation of 320 x 200 for it's graphics.

2011: 10 years later, as a hobby project, Phat Professional Burglar is released on the Windows Phone 7. The game saw a number of downloads in that market space but never made any money. The graphics were redesigned for the higher resolution phones. Very little else changed. It should be noted that this is actually when the Android version of the game started development.

2015: The Android version took 4 years to be completed. Not because it took that long to code, but because Phat Games was unable to dedicate time to it. It was being treated like a hobby project for a large portion of that time leading up to the end. When the game was nearing completion, it was sent around with focus groups to get feedback. The one thing that was expressed was that the game needed new graphics. The HD facelift of the Windows Phone graphics were not going to cut it with today's standards. As a result, the game was entirely redesigned again and was put into a 3 month pre-launch on the Android.

Present: With the Android pre-launch period complete, and based on user feed back for the game, Phat Games is giving the game a final polish before the iOS launch (with a formal parallel Android launch). Also, with this revamp we are announcing a Steam launch!

That's right, we are targeting to formally have the iOS and Android relaunch available by December with the Steam release following shortly after. Also, stay tuned for our announcement this fall for Phat Games' next game!

- Blair

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How to take a mobile game live

Hello everyone!

I apologize for the long delay in updates - but it has been a busy last few weeks. I am just going to jump right into it. On Monday of this week I attended a workshop on how to take your mobile game live. I was expecting much of what you see on the internet (all the common sense stuff like make a good game, spend a crap ton of money, get lucky, indies can't make it anymore, stop making games, etc). However the information they presented was very valuable and helpful (some of it still was common sense). I'll go into everything I learned shortly...but first... The Burgal's Bounty updates!

Total downloads: 829
Active Installs: 173
Percentage of active users after 30 days: 20% (One of the things I learned, is that this is exceedingly high. It is typically 10% for a casual game and 5% for a mid tier or hardcore game.)
Total revenue from ads post go live: $8.35
Total IAP revenue: $3.98

All in all, these numbers are not as bad as I thought they would be given how long the game has been available, and the standard stats on Google Play or the App Store. I was rather excited to hear that we have a 20% retention rate which is really good (this is all information I have learned at the workshop I mentioned earlier).

Next thing I need to talk about is that Phat Games will once again be at PlayCrafting showing off Burgal's Bounty, so if you are in the New York City area, please join us! Tickets are selling out quickly and can be purchased here.

How is the iOS release coming along? We are a little bit behind where I would like us to be. Unfortunately there won't be much to show at PlayCrafting, but we are not far behind on our schedule. The game is coming along really nicely and should still be on target for a fall release! :-)

Now what everyone is likely ready to read about...the workshop on how to launch a mobile game successfully. Some of what I am about to type will sound like what has been said a 1000 times before on the internet, but there is some new information available that I received that does give some of us indie some hope and optimism.

1. You need to make a good game
I am just going to gloss over this one. We all have heard it a 1000 times before and we all believe the games we make are of good quality.

2. You need analytical tools
These tools include something to track crash reports, game usage, revenue, etc. This is all necessary so the game can be improved during the soft launch phase (and earlier).
Burgal's Bounty uses the following analytics tools:
a. Splunk Mint for user retention and error reporting
b. Chartboost for advertising and video ad publishing
c. Vungle for ad publishing
d. To track how far users play in the game I have been using Google Games to tell me where engagement falls off. I will be improving this for the iOS version
The iOS version will be using TapJoy to help out with a lot of the usage tracking so I can tweak the monetization side of it and have more control over it.

3. You need testing tools (and testers)
The workshop didn't mean complicated automated testing tools. It meant ways to distribute your game onto multiple devices for testing. If you are deploying to Google Play it is exceedingly easy. Google Play allows for alpha and beta testing using Google Play and Google Groups for the distribution. Apple is not so straight forward. HockeyApp is a popular one to use for iOS. There is also TestFlight which is now owned by Apple. This one does require the app to go through Apple's certification process though.

4. You need a soft launch...and a soft launch budget
This is where some indies might start swearing. According to the Pollen VC (the group that presented at the workshop), a soft launch period can last up to 4 months and cost between 15 to 20k for user acquisition. This allows you to get a good volume to gather analytics on user behavior. The game can be tweaked to engage users more fully and make more money. It can also be used to find bugs that will inevitably pop up. It is also suggested that the soft launch be done in a small subset of countries. Pollen VC recommends Canada, Australia and New Zealand for this as they average out to mimic the behavior in users in most tier 1 countries. Other options for a soft launch and user acquisition are Facebook. Ultimately, if you don't have that kind of money (which most indies do not - including us), you will need to rely on the slow, cheap, organic / grass roots approach. It's still not easy for us, but there is hope that it is getting easier. (read on!)

5. Launch - so you actually made it to launch
Once a game launches it is not necessarily going to get featured and getting featured should not be your only approach. You will need to continue your user acquisition efforts during the soft launch - whether it is buying through advertisements, or through an organic approach (social media, an established community fanbase, etc), as that will help. Higher rated games with more downloads are more likely to get noticed. For some companies this does effectively mean "buying your way up the charts". Having an Apple of Google rep will help out significantly. How to get these? Networking. Going to meet-ups helps as you may get a connection to someone at Apple or Google, or meet someone directly there. If you have a popular game Apple and Google will reach out to you - but you first need a popular game.

Now that I have scared you, and effectively made you feel like making it as an Indie is impossible, I am going to give you some hope. It is true, the top 100 games in the store do make all the money. But Apple and Google are doing things to make it easier to get there. According to Pollen VC, recent research is showing that the distribution of game revenue is getting distributed among more and more game companies. There has been a 40% increase in the spread of who is making money in the last year. Also, Pollen VC did quote another study saying that over 2000 indie studios did gross over a million dollars each in the last year. Depending on the studio size, that could be not very good, or it could make a couple of people very happy for a little while.

Overall, my advice, (which has changed over the last few months) is still to follow your dreams. Try and try hard, because it will eventually pay off. Making it in this industry is now like any other artistic pursuit whether it is music, art, fashion, or film. It involves skill. It involves luck. Most importantly it involves passion. So, to my fellow indies out there, don't stop pursuing the dream...but also, don't quit your day job.

- Blair

Friday, July 3, 2015

Burgal's Bounty is on - and other updates

Hey guys,

These updates are starting to get slightly depressing. This week, again without any organic growth or paid advertising our download statistics are as follows:

Total Downloads: 688
Current installs: 207
Total Ad Revenue since Go Live: $5.98
Total IAP Revenue: $0

Burgal's Bounty is now available on! Check it out!
I am going to be setting up a Phat Games page on IndieDB as well to see how much that helps!

Who would also like to see interviews with the Burgal's Bounty development team? I am planning on doing these soon, so stay tuned! These interviews will hopefully include some from the original Phat Games team members: The "Phat Phour" as I have cleverly started calling them. :-)

Here are some new features that will be coming with the new Burgal's Bounty iOS release(which will also be included in the Android version as well):
1. Improved targeted monetization.
2. All levels in the game will be free. No in app purchases to buy more.
3. An additional 11 levels for the iOS release making a total of 77 free levels.
4. Additional graphics!
5. Improved tutorials (again) to help people get into the game.

I apologize if I have repeated myself on some of those, but I am excited for the iOS release and progress is really coming along. In the next couple of weeks, the game should be entirely playable in a early state.

What are you doing on July 29th? Come join Phat Games at PlayCrafting again as we show off Burgal's Bounty on the iOS!


File IO in Unity C# for iOS

Hi all,

This is going to be a pretty technical oriented blog post for me. I rarely do these, but the more I work with Unity, the more I feel that I want to share as much about my experience in hopes to limit the hardship of others who use it in the future.

If you may recall, the Android version of Burgal's Bounty uses SQLite for game save information. I chose SQLite largely because SQL in general is really easy to use. There was native support in Android for it. And it took me very little time to implement it and get everything up and running. I also know that iOS supports SQLite natively as well. I assumed that a lot of the code would be portable, because if both Android and iOS supported SQLite, Unity must have some support for it too...right...right?

Well... Unity actually does support SQLite. However, I ran into a ton of issues when compiling it to Xcode. It also took me forever to get Unity to support SQLite (I had to download a few extra DLLs and import them into my Assets\Plugins folder among a few other things). I found that much of the Unity community forums lacked complete information. All I was able to find was tidbits here and there. Unfortunately, I will not be talking about implementing SQLite in Unity for iOS today. I decided that it was going to take too long to do, so I abandoned that. As a result I needed a new approach for data saving for the iOS version of Burgal's Bounty. I chose simple file streams. Not even binary files - straight up textual file streams. Easy enough.

I have never made an iOS app or game before. I did not know much about the iOS file system structure and where the iOS lets you save data (in hindsight, I also do not know much about Android, but perhaps more than I do iOS). Anyway, you can only save data to your application specific Documents folder. The Unity documentation seems fairly sparse on this. You can find it in Apple documentation, but not necessarily how to "browse" to the appropriate folder using Unity. In short, to cut through the chatter on Unity's forums and find exactly where you can save your files to with low effort - simply set your file read and write path to this location:
You will be able to read and write files to this location on iOS. I do not know if this will work for Android. I hope this saves you some time during your development. I know it would have saved me some time if I could find consistent information in one place with Unity development. :)


Friday, June 26, 2015

Indie Ranting

Greetings all, I am going to make an active effort to keep this blog up to date. I am going to include download updates of the game on Google Play, reviews and feedback, and progress on the iOS release and new things coming for the Android version:

Install update on Burgal's Bounty:
Total Installs as of 6/24: 663
Total Current Installs as of 6/24: 254
Daily Active Users ~ 20 to 30
Total Production Revenue to Date since June 5th (Ads only): $5.59

Plans for new features and enhancements for iOS release and Android version:
1. Better tutorials and reorganizing of level
- This is to help new users stay engaged
2. Social Media - You will be able to share your scores on Facebook and Twitter!
3. Certain UX changes to improve the experience for the Android and iOS versions.

Progress on iOS version (It has been a little slow):
1. All code that related to updating game save data has been ported from Java successfully.
2. Screen will scale to appropriate resolution and you can interact with the UI components on the title screen so far.
3. All Android Assets have been imported and set up to be used in Unity (XML, pngs, etc).

Other random stuff:
I attended an event put on by Playcrafting about User Acquisition. Unfortunately it did not help a lot with advice for indie developers without a UA budget. The best advice we received was to organically get downloads without a budget. So far, Phat Games has spent approximately $600 on UA which is peanuts compared to industry studios. Advertising with the game trailer on Chartboost has provided us with about 400 downloads, but low retention. Organic is slowest, but has the highest retention. Paid UA has very low retention rates. After about a month, 70% of your users have uninstalled your app if your app is freemium. It sounds daunting, but it is what it is. Ultimately, as an Indie developer if you want to make it, you simply need to keep trying to find dynamics that work, and keep plugging away. It is exceedingly difficult, but also very rewarding. The indie game community is also getting very large. There is a lot of saturation in the market space, but there is there is huge projected growth in the mobile space and game space overall. Quality of the game is important. If you do not have a good game in the app store, then making it at all is pretty much impossible. Wish Phat Games luck as we keep plugging away!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Burgal's Bounty is now Live on Google Play!

Hey everyone!

Burgal's Bounty is now live on Google Play! Please go and download it and support Phat Games so we can get the iOS release done and make plenty of other games for you in the future!

Here are some post go-live statistics and info that may help others in the future. The game launched on June 5th. That day through our own organic social networks we got approximately 50 downloads. We also launched Facebook advertising. We spent approximately $120 USD on this to see how successful it would be changing up the target markets.

Brazil and Taiwan were our most engaged audiences. Over 38,000 people around the world watched the trailer attached with the download link. 200,000 people worldwide saw the post. We got approximately 10 downloads from Brazil and France. The facebook page actually did the best. We received 15 more page likes as a result of this small campaign.

Downloads ranged from 2 to 5 organically a day without doing anything. We made a number of tweaks to the game description on Google Play using our main keywords up to five times in the description. You may also notice Burgal's Bounty on Google Play is called Burgal's Bounty (Puzzle Mazes). This is all to hep with our App Store Optimization (AOS).

We experienced an uninstall rate of approximately 12% in our first week which is about average. We encountered some issues with older phones where the game ran out of memory and we quickly deployed fixes to address this but that primarily did drive our uninstalls.

Our biggest download day since go live was then our showing at FlameCon. This got us approximately 20 downloads. There were also a lot of uninstalls afterwards. It did expose Phat Games to numerous people, and we established a mailing list which we will use to inform users about the launch party and the iOS release.

On Tuesday of this last week we launched video ad campaign on ChartBoost that last two days and cost approximately $220 dollars (we could have made it higher, but we capped it at $100 a day with a chance of slight overage in our budget). This campaign was seen by over 20,000 people on their phones while playing other games. We received approximately 200 downloads and kept engagement at it's highest rate since go live at least so far. It is only the first day since the campaign ended. A couple minor enhancements to the game will be made to keep user engagement and a new release will be deployed.

Here are our stats as of 13 days post go live:
Total downloads (due to delays on Google Play right now we do not have a precise number reported from Google - this number is coming from one of our ad networks, Vungle): 330
Total uninstalls (only an estimate): 80. This is high. I am not sure why as the crashes did not impact this many users.
Total revenue so far since go live: $2.49 (ad revenue only. No in app purchases have been made).

Honestly. I do not know if this is good. If anyone reads this blog who has industry experience with taking a free indie mobile game live, I would love to hear feedback.



Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Burgal's Bounty Release Date

Hello everyone,

I apologize for the delay in blog entries but I have been busy polishing up the game. Burgal's Bounty has been submitted to the IndieCade 2015 Festival. Wish us luck!

On that note there are a few exciting things I would like to announce!

1. Phat Games will be releasing Burgal's Bounty to Google Play on June 5th, 2015!!!

2. Phat Games will have a table at the LGBT comic convention, FlameCon! Tickets are available here.

Lastly, 3. Phat Games will also have a table at the Quarterly Playcrafting Indie Game festival at the end of July. More info of this one coming soon!

Thanks to everyone for supporting the game and providing feedback! I am looking forward to releasing the Android and iOS versions to the app stores!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

If you build it...

...they will come... right? Right?

Some days I miss the old school days of gaming where video games were a treat and even if the game was not very good, you would still play the crap out of it.

Finding the audience for a new game as an indie developer without the massive resources of the bigger studios seems like a dauntingly impossible task. As much as I go around and tell people "play my game" even though it is not out yet, I really don't know if any of them will listen. I also don't even know how many people even read this blog ;)

The question I have been asked multiple times that I don't have a great answer for is what make's Burgal's Bounty unique. I am not great at answering this question. I do know it is unique. I think it's fun. When we first made Phat Professional Burglar in 2001 I knew then it was different from anything I had played, and even today it stands out as unique. So I am going to give it a shot right now on this blog. It might give me something to say to the press when I start sending it out:

1. Burgal must be directed and redirected through each maze to collect all the money bags without dying... too much!
2. Compete against your friend's scores on leader boards and social media (social media not actually implemented yet).
3. It's challenging, fun, and far from impossible.
4. Over 30 free challenging awesome levels (with more levels available)!
5. It won't waste too much of your time with ads!
6. It's low in fat.
7. It's high in 1990s style PHAT!

How does this sound? It made me laugh, but my sense of humor is pretty dry and sarcastic.

- Blair

PS - New screen shots are coming real soon, I promise. The game is also going to be released to the beta testers today!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Challenges of getting something to market

A lot of indie game blogs talk about things like "how much money to have before you go indie" or "the tech stack" they are using. But the closer we are getting to bringing Burgal's Bounty to the mobile market my biggest concern has been "Who is going to play this thing?" Facebook and twitter have been used to talk about the game, as well as this blog, and I have been giving it away to people left, right, and center to get feedback. The feedback is valuable, but thankfully I have thick skin because the feedback has also been extremely blunt. Here is some of the feedback I have received (softened in tone with sarcasm removed):

1. "How do I play?"
- Basically this tells me that the tutorial instructions in the game is not enough. Burgal's Bounty is challenging, and in a market space where you are competing for attention, Burgal's Bounty (or any game) needs something to draw them in right away. Make it fast, make it easy (at least in the first couple of levels), to rope people in. Games that have done this successfully are Angry Birds (obviously), Flappy Bird (and about 10,000 of it's clones), and TwoDots to name a few. I particularly like TwoDots because it is a puzzle game and it does teach the game dynamics in an incremental way. As a result, about 11 new levels are getting added to the game that do a lot more hand holding to the game player. For more advanced players, these levels will be able to be skipped.

2. "When a game gets hard like this, I just find something else to play. I don't like being challenged. It makes me feel like the game is forcing me to buy something to keep playing."
- If you don't want to eventually be challenged in the game, then I hate to say it, Burgal's Bounty is probably not for you. To address the concern about feeling forced to buy something, every level in Burgal's Bounty can be completed without an in app purchase. They do get challenging, but if you are patient and want to be challenged, you can do it. If you want a short cut, by all means, make an in app purchase, I will love you forever.

3. "The game is fun - I like puzzle games. Do you know your market and how to reach them?"
- I am glad the game is fun. I do know my market. I do not really have a clear idea how to reach them. I am just throwing so much stuff against the wall I am hoping something will stick and gain traction. I have reached out to a number of Gamer Groups on facebook looking for people who will be interested in testing and have gotten some response. Word of mouth can help, but I do need to get more interest faster. I am going to also reach out to the press once the graphics are done so we have something really sleek for them to look at.

4. "When will it be on the app store?"
- Soon. The release date for the Android version will be announced this week.

Wish us luck everyone!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Hello everyone, I apologize for the delay in blogging, but it's been a busy last few days. I have up and moved from San Francisco to New York City where Phat Games' "head office" will be located.

Yesterday I started the process to officially make Phat Games a Limited Liability Company (this will be the 3rd time in my life I have set up a business either in the US or Canada) so I can start collecting revenue once the game is published which is a great segue into the next topic: Monetization. This is the first time I have monetized an app before. I have of course done a lot of research on the subject and reached out to a number of people for advice.

Burgal's Bounty will be using the Chart Boost API for all of it's money making needs. The monetization will be as follows:

1. Interstitial Ads between each level with the option to turn these off with a small in app purchase of 2 dollars
2. In App Purchases to buy more lives, or arrows/bombs
3. Watch video ads to get more lives, or arrows/bombs
4. Purchasing of level packs (30 levels will be available for free, with the ability to unlock 3 others also for free)

That's about it. Incentivized video ads have become a very popular and (for the time being) successful way of monetizing games. The vast majority of players are willing to watch a 15 second ad in order to get more game content (myself included). This far exceeds the accessibility of static ads or in app purchases (ads only make money if you have a million+ downloads, and IAPs tend to only get used by about 5% of the game's players).

I used to come from the old school mentality where I almost felt dirty about the montization of games like this. I liked the day when you could go and buy a game for a console for $50 or $60 dollars and that would be it. It seems that in game monetization is now the norm and really the only way to make money off your creation these days.

I'll keep everyone updated on the new developments!

- Blair

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Phat Professional Burglar is now Burgal's Bounty!

Hi all, As this is the first time Phat Games is really taking a stab at entering the commercial market space, we have been actively seeking advice from those that already have done it. The most common advice that we have received is essentially the only way you will make it is if you "get lucky". Fortunately, I have always taken the approach of only listening to advice I want to hear and am still plowing through it and will continue working to get Phat Games' work to the market. :-)

The CEO of Liv Games did provide some very valuable advice though. Two things that I will immediately announce, is that Phat Professional Burglar is being rebranded. The game will now be called Burgal's Bounty and the graphics are, once again, getting a complete over hall. Here is a sample of the new Burgal graphic!

In other news, the Android version of the game is expected to be functionally complete by next week. This does not include testing, the new graphics, and the completed music... but I am sure all of that will go completely smoothly *gulp*.

The work on the iPhone version will commence in March.

That's all for this update!

- Blair

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Superman Would Probably Give you Cancer (with his X-Ray Vision)

It is challenging working as a one man team, with a full time job (that is not developing games), and trying to get something out the door in a reasonable time frame. Especially when you are doing most of it. I am not doing all of it. I have had some help in updating the graphics and with creating sound / music, but overall I have been trying and failing at doing a chunk of the new enhanced graphics which are getting a complete over hall from the WP7 release. I am really slow at doing graphics so I just felt like I would get on here to complain about it :)

Now that I am done with my complaining, I will give some of the technical details on the Android release.

First of all we are not using Unity. We will going forward. But there are a number of reasons why we are not. Largely because we started developing this game a long time ago and we were planning on using Mono for our cross platform plans (if you read further back in this blog you will find references to that). Then Unity did not have a good amount of 2D support back in the day. It is getting better now, but the game engine was largely built by that time. Unfortunately due to work, Phat Professional Burglar ended up sitting on a shelf for a long time during the Android development not getting touched. Even now getting time to work on it is tough. Anyway, back to being on topic. The entire thing has been coded in Java using OpenGL for graphics. That's it. There is some SQLite in there as well.

I wanted to get a game trailer out over the holidays, but unfortunately I didn't get all the graphics work done I wanted to to make it look ravishing. A trailer IS coming soon though! Overall the game is nearing completion as well. I have about a dozen items on my list left to complete. Some large-ish, some fairly small.

Until next time, enjoy this comment about Superman (and new screen shot):

If Superman wanted to see your skeleton, his eyes would have to blast you with X-Ray radiation. It could give you cancer. Think about it!