Christian Montoya

First Notes as a Flash Game Developer (and my departure from Facebook applications)

I am going to have to make this post quick but I wanted to get some things off my mind on my work with Flash and my trouble with the Facebook platform.

Recently I mentioned that I had picked up AS3 and took to developing Flash games for portals like Kongregate rather than my previous work with browser-based games on Facebook. I used to do very well on the Facebook platform; Pop Answers was once fetching over 250k monthly players and made me enough money to live off of. Unfortunately, things have changed over the past couple months and I haven't seen the kind of success on Facebook that I used to achieve very easily. I think there are a few reasons for this:

  • Everyone is using the news feed (stream) now, including applications and Facebook Connect powered sites, which means that there is a lot of noise to compete with if you are trying to use it as a viral channel.
  • Notifications and requests have been heavily deemphasized by Facebook, making them hardly dependable for viral growth.
  • Most of the apps that are seeing success on Facebook use heavy advertising to make up for the lack of viral growth these days. While the cost-per-user is totally worth the advertising budget, this effectively forces individuals like myself out of the Facebook market. I don't know if I could make a game as successful as Pop Answers on my own in the current state of the platform, and I certainly don't think I could see the kind of success that a large company game with a lot of people behind it will see.

In short, what I'm trying to say is that while I am still very good at developing Facebook applications, there is just no place for an individual like myself there anymore. It's depressing because I have struggled for the past couple of years as a dedicated Facebook developer while having to face a lot of unnecessary adversity and have never really reaped the rewards.

So on to working with AS3… I have developed two Flash games so far. One is Survive, which you can play in its best form on Kongregate: Survive DX on Kongregate. I was pretty excited about submitting this game to Kongregate, because I was certain that it was a good effort for a first-time AS3 developer and figured that any fun game would get some attention on the site… unfortunately, I was wrong. While the game was integrated with the Kongregate API from the start, and it has received some OK reviews, it still has not been given any achievements or badges by the Kongregate team, nor has it been featured in any way, and has descended into virtual obscurity (even after two versions). So far, I've made a paltry $3.45 on Kongregate from it. I also uploaded the first version of Survive to MochiMedia, and implemented Mochi ads & leaderboards, along with their game distribution. This earned me a handful of plays across a handful of sites, and another $1 or $2 in revenue. That includes a manual upload to Newgrounds, where it received about 1,000 plays before falling off the front page and into the same virtual obscurity. I also did a custom implementation of Survive as a Facebook application, complete with newsfeed integration, which did not fetch any viral growth at all. Needless to say, I'm not very happy about it.

My second game is called Ruby Rocket, and is a logic puzzle game with a lot more to it than Survive. I have not yet released the game, because I am really banking on a sponsorship… after all, if I make the same kind of money as I made on Survive, I may as well quit altogether. Currently it is up at Flash Game License, which is supposed to be where all the big & small portals go to find games to sponsor, along with Survive, which has been up for quite a while:

I'm really hoping to at least find a sponsor for Ruby Rocket. If you or someone you know is a rep for any of the Flash portals, please take a look at it and at least let me know what you think. That being said, currently I am trying to figure out what I will do next.

I interviewed for a job as a game producer in New York City, which I really hope to secure. I think I need to get back into a team setting and stop trying to do everything myself, as I am not an artist, or a great programmer. If I don't get the job, I'm not really sure what I am going to do. I have an idea for a Flash game portal that I'm exploring, but I'm pretty sure that most Flash game portals make very little money. I also have a ton more ideas for Flash games, but I'm not going to pursue them if I'm not convinced that I can actually make money from them. Otherwise, I think I'm going to have to explore the job market more, as I don't see much of a future for Mappdev and I'm going stir-crazy doing the solo development thing in my apartment. Whatever happens, I'm hoping for the best… whatever that is :|

P.S. if you would be interested in purchasing a complete package that allows you to serve a Flash game as a Facebook application and runs on any server that supports PHP 5, let me know. I am thinking of even implementing user-to-user challenges, which would probably fetch some actual viral growth.

Thank you for reading • Published on September 9th, 2009 • Please take a moment to share this with your friends