Mighty Dungeons: An interview with the developer
Last week, we posted about Mighty Dungeons, a light dungeon crawler for mobiles and tablets that uniquely exhibited a strong boardgame aesthetic. Yohan Launay of Laylio Games, developer of Mighty Dungeons, was happy to answer some of our questions in our desire to shed some light on both the background of the game and the concerns surrounding a mobile game developer.
Continue reading for the boardgames that inspired Mighty Dungeons, challenges to watch out for as a mobile game developer, and more! What inspired you to emulate the look and feel of a tabletop game in the design?
I've always been a boardgamer since [I was] young. With HeroQuest, Warhammer Quest and the like. Even today I still regularly go to boardgame cafes in Singapore with my wife and a couple of friends to play games. So when I had the time to make a game I was influenced by that experience.
What tabletop games influenced this title? How so?
Mostly influenced by HeroQuest, Warhammer Quest, Space Hulk. I like the simplicity of these games, you can pick it up within 10 minutes, no complex rules or anything. Just pick your hero and some gear and straight to the dungeons. I also liked the fact that one player could be the Game Master. it reminded me of when I was playing role games with my friends in high school and one guy was dictating the story.
What RPG computer games influenced this title?
Mostly Diablo I, Dungeon Master. I loved the pure hack'n'slash style of Diablo and the atmosphere of Dungeon Master.
Will you be adding a multiplayer component? How will it work?
Many players have requested it. I'm not convinced by a online version of it. If I add multiplayer in it will probably be hotseats or party (i.e. one player controls more than 1 hero). But that will probably be tablet only and released as a separate game.
What are the challenges you face today as a mobile game developer?
Time: I only work on this during week ends and evenings. After a long day at work it is sometimes hard to find the motivation to work an extra 4-5 hours. And week end means no rest but 12-15 hours of programming to prepare the weekly releases. I may be able someday to "live the dream" and do this fulltime. We will see.
Visibility: Once your game is out making it in the charts is a matter of life and death for your title. For Android I was lucky to strike a great position in the charts the first month and I could sell 350 copies a day. As soon as 30 days passed and the game was no longer available in the charts (i.e. in first or second page of the New apps on the store), downloads went below 50 a day. It's picking up now thanks to the iOS release back to 100+ downloads a day but it will still take time until I can make a living off this. On iOS it's even worse. iOS is a warzone. There are so many titles being released that the charts are fluctuating like crazy. You can be in top 10 one day and #350 the next day and back to top 50 the following one. I had the great chance to grab the attention of Crescent Moon games, an awesome publisher based in the US (released great 3D RPGs on iOS like Ravensword, Aralon, etc.) which is helping me publish the game. It just launched so we will see how it goes. :)
Piracy: On both iOS and Android, I have like 35,000 official downloads (paid or free) in total and almost 100,000 unofficial ones... That means that if you rely solely on sales to monetize your game you may miss a great chunk of the market. Although implementing In App Purchases (IAP) may not be an option as well: most of the piracy occurs in Russia and China and these guys won't be able to use Google Play for the IAP. So even if you have IAP in the game you won't reach that audience. And advertising for me is out of the question: I don't want to disfigure the game with an ugly banner. I don't like it when other developer do it, especially when they put the banner very close to buttons and you tap on the banner by mistake. It's almost an instant uninstall factor for me.
What platforms is your game available on?
The game is officially available on iOS and Android. But I do have a PC & Mac version that I haven't released yet. I think I should package it and sell directly from the website for like $4.99 or something. It may get traction. If you know people that would be interested, let me know. ;)
What other games are you planning for the future? (that you can talk about!)
Firstly I'm planning on making extensions to Mighty Dungeons. I just closed the last chapter of the game (8 Gates of Hell) which gives in total about 30hours of gameplay. I think it's fairly reasonable for the price point. I'll be looking at creating a new chapter sold separately with a mix of outdoor and indoor decors. I may need to account for import/export of hero the issue with that is once you complete the first chapter your hero is super strong. If I import this hero into a fresh game, unless I make the game very hard, the players will be bored. If the game is very hard, newcomers will be turned off. I haven't found a solution to that problem yet. When I do I will be planning the release.
Then I'll be looking at creating other versions: ancient Greece, space, Egyptian mythology, Aztec/Maya mythology, etc. Using the same engine that I built for Mighty Dungeons.
Based on how well these games are received I have 2 more games in store that I'd like to build, mostly educational (too early to talk about it now ;) )
What kind of games do you like to play when you’re not working?
I like RPGs. I'd love to get my hands on Baldur's Gate iPad edition. But since I'm working most of the time it's hard to find time to play. I also like physics-based car games like Hill Climb Racing (that game is a gem, the developer rocks).
Thanks again for taking the time in answering our questions and we hope the game continues climbing up the ranks!
*crossing fingers* :)