Turbo Rocket Games have released a steady stream of animal simulation titles over the last few months, ranging from lions, wolves and tigers to elephants, sharks and most recently dinosaurs – to quite a bit of success, as the download figures demonstrate. This made us quite curious…
Hello Vladimir, thank you for stepping down from your duties as digital animal trainer and doing the interview with us! Your game “Wild Eagle Sim 3D”, which has just been released a couple of days ago, is the latest in a steadily growing line of animal simulators from your studio. For anyone who has not played a single one of your wildlife games, please introduce us to Wild Eagle Sim 3D!
Wild Eagle Sim 3D is a simulator game where you play as an eagle. The goal of the game is pretty simple – to live the life of the wild eagle as it’s meant to be. You will have to maintain your health and energy by hunting, eating other animals and drinking water. Raising your own eagle family as well as an in-game 24 hours day/night cycle are also featured. The game has RPG style elements too: You will have to hunt other animals in order to gain experience and level up to become more powerful.
Your animal simulators, although similar in style, manage to get better every time, both in the graphics and gameplay department. You keep things fresh with new and more exotic animals. Your customers reward your efforts with great reviews and your download figures climb from app to app. Please take us through the evolution of your wildlife apps from a developer’s perspective!
The first wildlife simulator game we made was Real Shark Simulator 3D. Back then, the goal of the game was to spread terror across the people on the beach and not to simulate the life of a shark. When we first launched the game in early October, it was very simple with just boats and people swimming around, and the player shark had to eat these targets.
We had a really low amount of downloads at the time, but that was still enough for us to learn what people actually wanted based on their reviews and comments on the game. Over next two months, we released about 6 updates that improved gameplay and overall user experience. We focused on customer reviews on Google Play and answered as many as we could, as well as emails we got from customers. That really was the move that positively affected our download figures.
From the reviews we got on Real Shark Simulator, we learned that people would like to play a true simulation game, not just eating people and spreading chaos. It needed to be closer to life.
That is how Wild Tiger Simulator came to be. In terms of simulation, it was still pretty simple, but it looked more realistic than the shark game. In this app, we invented our wildlife system, which consisted of the animal world, independent animal behaviors and dynamic world creation.
Our next game was Wild Lion Simulator, in which we focused on creating an even more realistic world. By reading customer reviews, we understood that people would like to have animal family members in the game. That’s how we came up with the pride system. We also added a quest system and some new abilities.
Our next games were about wolves, crocodiles, foxes, bears, elephants, and even a tyrannosaurus. We kept improving the overall quality of the wildlife system, while focusing on making the game more and more realistic. The easiest way to see how much our games have improved is to check the ratings. For instance, our shark game on Google Play now has a rating of 3.4, but our latest games rank much higher. Tyrannosaurus Rex Sim 3D has a rating of 4.3 and Wild Eagle Sim 3D, although it’s less than a week on the store, has a rating of 4.7.
In the future, we are going to create even better simulator games which people are surely going to love. When choosing which animal simulator to create next, we consider public polls in which people can vote for their favorite animal.
Building upon a successful template like yours, I imagine you can cut down on development time quite a lot. How long does it usually take to create a new wildlife sim, and which steps are involved in making one of those?
Creating a template for our wildlife simulator games was a really important move because I am currently studying at University and sometimes don’t have enough time to work on really huge titles. But I wanted my games to have good quality and be interesting to customers. That’s where creating a template came in.
Creating a template basically means coding things so they can be reused easily. It also means that you should be able to modify things in the project pretty easily to get a new look. For example, I have a special AI Model that generates a level. In each game, the levels look different, so the code had to be designed in a way that It would be easy to change e.g. grass models from forest vegetation to jungle vegetation. The same goes for the AI Models of the enemy animals: They all share the same AI, it all comes down to the proper setup of animal behaviors in the code.
Using a template doesn’t mean that you are not going to modify the parts that are already there. During development of each title, my template got changed and improved upon dramatically.
When designing game architecture, it is important to have things independent from each other. For instance, AI Models which are responsible for input data should not be heavily dependent on the player main animal AI Model. Instead of naming a handler “onCastFireBall”, it is better practice to call it “onUseSkill1” and then handle it in the player AI. That will save a lot of development time in the future.
With our template, it usually takes 3-4 weeks to develop a game and publish it to the stores. For the publishing part, we also have Android and iOS project templates. All we need to change are the app icons and the game (stk) file. That also saves a lot of time. The ShiVa Authoring Tool makes the whole process pretty easy and straightforward.
All of your games are free. How is the ad-supported distribution model treating you, and have you ever experimented with other business models like Free to Play and Paid Apps?
Because the games we developed were quite simple, we thought they should be free. To monetize our games, we used ads. But for the future, as our games become more complex, we are thinking about implementing iAPs.
You are not going to become rich just with ads in the game. Our average ECPM for our games on Google Play is about $1.7, although it’s hard to tell exactly how much ad impressions are generated by the average user. In order to make a decent amount, you need to have a lot of downloads per day.
It is a really good idea to do cross-promotions between your existing applications. In my case, all the games are of a similar type so it works really well. To serve ads and do cross-promotion I use heyzap, which is really easy to use and to control using their website. It also allows you to use ad mediation, which in most cases increases revenue.
This graph shows the downloads per day for Real Shark Simulator on Google Play. You can see the amount of downloads starting October 1st and ending January 1st. We started by having around 20 downloads per day and got to 10,742 downloads on December 25th, which was the highest number for the shark game. Circles indicate published versions (updates) of the game on Google Play.
Thank you very much for the interview! We wish you all the best with your wildlife simulators as well as your future endeavours!
It was a pleasure! I want to say thanks to the whole ShiVa community for all the help I was provided during development of the games.
About Turbo Rocket Games
Turbo Rocket Games is an independent game studio founded by Vladimir Duchenchuk and located in the Ukraine. Turbo Rocket Games focuses on developing games for mobile devices and publishing them on the most popular app markets. The studio has currently released 10 game titles for mobile platforms and the number is growing steadily.