Pimp My Game Update: Mind the Mindjolt Jolt

It’s been a few short days since friendly neighbourhood Bob Ippolito from MochiAds clued me in to the rev share service’s opt-in distribution tactic. This offering sees developers uploading their games to the site, which are then offered to portal owners so that their games are automagically distributed to anyone who wants them. It’s a lot like putting a plate of muffins stuffed with lit cherry bombs in the park, and listening for the sounds of exploding squirrels.

Proviso: that’s not something i’ve ever actually done.

Curiously, you can’t upload the same MochiAds-enabled file to participate. You have to embed a different piece of code into a “clean” version of your game, otherwise you find this message in your inbox:

Dear Ryan Henson Creighton,

The MochiAds Quality Assurance team has reviewed “Two by Two” for distribution and found aspects of the game which do not meet the MochiAds Program Policies.

Reason:

Stuck at “Loading” screen. Loader apparently not compatible with version control (and not necessary, version control guarantees the content is fully loaded when it begins). See https://www.mochiads.com/community/forum/topic/old-news-but___/47191#47191 for the latest tips for using version control

Please visit the link below to review the reasoning from our QA team.

https://www.mochiads.com/dev/game_hosting/two-by-two

Kind regards,

The MochiAds Team
support THE_AT_SYMBOL mochiads.com

Drat. i understand the problem – i just don’t have time to fuss with it at the moment, because we are closing up shop for vacation next week.

HOWEVER …

There IS some breaking news in the Pimp My Game saga that’s just too good to ignore:

WE BROKE THE ONE DOLLAR MARK!!!

That’s right – one more brick in the million-mile road to fabulous self-publishing riches has been laid as Two By Two – a game created in a single weekend and used for this experiment because i can’t stand giving up something of actual value for free to portal owners – has not only broken the one dollar mark, but has smashed past the ten dollar mark, becoming the highest-earning game that this company has ever produced. Except for -well, except for every other game this company has produced.

How did we do it? Simple. MindJolt.

PLEASE Take My Game For Free

MindJolt is a Flash game portal that will only post your game if its moderators decide the game is good enough to be given to them with a limitless, free license and no strings attached. This is not unlike “accepting” Jesus as your personal saviour.

“Eternal life with the Almighty and salvation from second death and everlasting suffering in the lake of fire? Alright, i guess i’ll accept. But don’t say i never did anything for you, Jesus.”

Jesus

News flash: Jesus ain’t the one getting the deal here

So MindJolt, deigned to accept Two By Two into their stable of games. Pomposity aside, however, successful portals that handle new releases this way are actually better for self-publishing game developers. Unlike the typical fustercluck Flash portal where anyone can submit a game at any time, and your title gets lost in the morass of “Punch the Monkey” and “Touch Me Durrty” virtual girl simulators, MindJolt predictably metes one new game every day. Your game appears in their prominent “Newest Games” section at the top of the site, where each day it drops further and further down until it’s kicked out into the prison yard and left to fend for itself against the other games, where it’s likely to get shanked in the ribs by a FancyPants Adventure sequel, or forced to become Peggle’s bitch.

Day Three on MindJolt

Day One: Two By Two enjoys its place in the sun as the newest daily game

Day Three on MindJolt

Day Three: Two By Two is dethroned by ferocious newcomers “Starballz” and “Super Cow Copter”

MindJolt MochiAds Spike

The MindJolt Bump

The effect is subtle, but see if you can spot the where the gameplays jumped four hundred thousand percent from a high estimate of five plays per day, to a spike of just over twenty thousand plays. (If you can’t spot it, get a friend to help you.)

Are We Rich Yet?

So what effect did this peak have on our MochiAds rev share split? Peep the digits:

Pimp My Game Graph

A significant increase. An insignificant dollar amount.

Pimp My Game Piechart

In one fell swoop, MochiAds trounces Kongregate as an infinitely more viable monetization method

i’ve decided to add a new graphic to the Pimp My Game series that i like to call the “McWage Infographic”. Although Two By Two was built in the TOJam pressure cooker over a single weekend, a good 40 hours of work went into the game (along with a large bag of BBQ Fritos and 4 litres of Pepsi). From now on, i’ll be dividing the money we’ve amassed by 40 development hours to determine the hourly wage i’ve earned on the game. i’ll use this metric to determine whether or not it’s feasible to stick with this method of game monetization, or whether one should instead find a job bulldozing chicken guano from under enormous industrial coops.

Pimp My Game Hourly

At just over 40 cents an hour, child labourers in Chinese textile sweatshops could hire me to file down their painful sewing callouses

Follow the rest of our Pimp My Game shenanigans from the main article section here.

32 thoughts on “Pimp My Game Update: Mind the Mindjolt Jolt

  1. Pingback: untoldentertainment.com » Blog Archive » Pimp My Game Part 3: MochiAds

  2. Pingback: untoldentertainment.com » Blog Archive » Pimp My Game Part 1: Armor Games

  3. Bob Ippolito

    This is a bit misleading:
    “Curiously, you can’t upload the same MochiAds-enabled file to participate. You have to embed a different piece of code into a “clean” version of your game, otherwise you find this message in your inbox”

    If you had uploaded your game and NOT chosen the version control and encryption, then you could’ve used the same exact file with no changes.

    Reply
  4. Ryan

    Humphrey: Will those of you who are playing in the match this afternoon move your clothes down onto the lower peg immediately after lunch, before you write your letter home, if you’re not getting your hair cut, unless you’ve got a younger brother who is going out this weekend as the guest of another boy, in which case, collect his note before lunch, put it in your letter after you’ve had your hair cut, and make sure he moves your clothes down onto the lower peg for you. Now…

    Wymer: Sir?

    Humphrey: Yes, Wymer?

    Wymer: My younger brother’s going out with Dibble this weekend, sir, but I’m not having my hair cut today, sir. So, do I move my clothes down, or…

    Humphrey: I do wish you’d listen, Wymer. It’s perfectly simple. If you’re not getting your hair cut, you don’t have to move your brother’s clothes down to the lower peg. You simply collect his note before lunch, after you’ve done your scripture prep, when you’ve written your letter home, before rest, move your own clothes onto the lower peg, greet the visitors, and report to Mr. Viney that you’ve had your chit signed.

    Reply
  5. Richard Fields

    Hi Ryan,

    It has been a very rare instance that we have not accepted a game at MindJolt. We like to get as many games up as possible (currently two new games a day), and let the players decide which games they like to play. However, we do ask that games integrate with our high score API (as you did) where appropriate, since our whole social networking model is based on players competing for the high score in games. And, in reality, it’s primarily these integrated games that the players tend to choose to play… because they can compete with their friends for high scores. We also encourage game developers to place ads in their games, so that they can earn ad revenue on all of the game plays they receive on MindJolt.

    You are right, though, in that most games “disappear” once they fall off the newest games list. We know this is a problem that needs to be addressed, and we are working on better ways to help players find games they might be interested in. We are also currently redesigning the site to allow for easier browsing of games.

    That being said, many games that show up on our Newest Games list become quite popular with the players, and will quickly (and automatically) work their way into the Most Popular Games list. Once that happens, game plays (and therefore in-game ad revenue from services like Mochi Ads) go up dramatically.

    Reply
  6. Ryan

    Thanks for the insider’s view, Richard.

    Throughout this series the issue that’s eating at me is providing work to portals for free on faith that the game will earn its money back. This is my first shot at it, and i haven’t seen this approach pass or fail – but clearly, i’m taking the cynic’s approach. That’s why my articles may trend towards not giving the players in this field the benefit of the doubt.

    Two By Two likely won’t end up on your Most Popular Games list, because there are far better games on MindJolt! i believe in the free market system empowering superior products to float to the forefront … except in cases where marketing budgets force people to claim that a product is awesome. (see: summer movie schedule).

    i’m happy that we’ve seen in MindJolt distribution that first glimmer of hope vis a vis makin’ teh monays, but i’m still doubtful i’ll be able to pull off minimum wage on this project. i’ve decided to make that bias clear from the get-go. Anyway, time will tell.

    - Ryan

    Reply
  7. Pingback: untoldentertainment.com » Pimp My Game Part 2: Kongregate

  8. Ryan

    i hear you, People!

    i’m sure you two are waiting for the Community Games financials … if we ever put the game on the service, it’ll be a while. We’d have to completely retool and reprogram it. i’d really love to hear some OTHER developers pony up with straight dope on how much money they’re [not] making on the service. Do you have a read on that?

    Reply
  9. Brian

    I dont think anybody has those numbers yet- theres no way for the creators to check their sales stats ATM
    I think there are about 200-300 people on the Biology Battle leaderboards though

    Reply
  10. Kaolin Fire

    Just wanted to toss in my “me too!” cents. I’d love to see how and where else you’re tossing two by two around.

    I just finished my first real flash game (with ads and high scores and all that jazz), and your $0.43/hr post was part of my inspiration. I really should see a psychiatrist, probably, but not on those wages! :cough:

    Reply
  11. Ryan

    Wow – i’m honoured! Honestly. The articles are really spaced apart because i don’t want to comment on a particular monetization method before letting the game ride for about a month. That means i’m at least one month away from the next article, but i’ve committed this weekend to wrapping Two by Two in the GameJacket service. Thanks for keeping the faith – stay tuned! And feel free to share your own financial (un)success stories.

    Reply
  12. Kaolin Fire

    I just applied to gamejacket today–and posted to kong and newgrounds. Game’s been up for about three days and I just hit $0.25 ;) But I’ve been getting good feedback, and my desk is now getting covered with scraps of other game ideas. My day job is suffering ;)

    I got your first three posts all at once, didn’t notice the initial spacing. I’ll keep checking back, then :) Good to hear your experiment didn’t die.

    Reply
  13. Ryan

    Is GameJacket still offering that “guaranteed” $1000? What are the stipulations? Sounds like either a foolhardy way to burn through investor money, or a straight-up bogus claim.

    Reply
  14. kaolin fire

    Actually I have no idea why I said gamejacket–bleedthrough on multitasking or something. I haven’t tried gamejacket yet, I meant to say mindjolt; I have seen mention of gamejacket a few places, but haven’t tried it (maybe next game). I have no idea about a guaranteed $1k.

    Lots of no ideas here.

    I’m up to $1.10 via mochiads for 4900 impressions (5800 skipped), $4.50 via kongregate for 1500 impressions (3300 plays).

    And I seem to be spending a lot more time obsessing over it than I ought. But this is the right place for that, right? ;) :)

    Reply
  15. kaolin fire

    I’m getting the mindjolt treatment today. I don’t think it’s going to knock me to $20 on mochi, but it’s still a beautiful spike–and it’s probably going to bump me to Kongregate levels (currently $13.75)

    Reply
  16. Ryan

    Let us know how it works out! And i’d love to get your perspective on developing for iPhone for the first time. If you’d like to write a guest submission, i’d be glad to take a look. Feel free to post a link to your game on MindJolt to earn an extra 0.003 cents from the readers here. :)

    Reply
  17. kaolin fire

    iPhone development made me want to pull my hair out ;) I’m well versed in c and c++, and I think the c++ may have made wrapping my head around all the “little” differences in Objective C that much harder. The game I ported I had originally written in c and opengl, so there were some quirks on both ends (I mixed and matched c, c++, objective c–I think all of my files were .mm in the end, for one; and then opengl to opengl-es took a few workarounds as far as basic functions missing; oh, and I’d used GLUT originally, as a wrapper, which, er, … yeah.). And this is from a game that was already ported to OS X, so there weren’t any byte-order issues, and I was somewhat experienced with xcode, and such as that … (though there were some sound encoding issues). I suppose other than the handling of screens, and using iPhone UI, the big difference was just that I’d originally used libraries I couldn’t rely on or that had subtle differences (iPhone has OpenAL but not ALUT).

    All that said, porting that game was a precursor to porting another one that I’m actually contracted to port, and I have high hopes this one will be more straightforward. I’ve actually taken some of what I learned from the iphone development and have been working that back into my flash development structure–a different class for every screen (or more), handling of tweens, that sort of thing. And as hard as it may be to read the UICatalog source, it’s really worth it. The one element I haven’t tackled enough to feel comfortable with is their table structure… which is a strange couple of hoops to jump through, especially if you’re using it for static content (like settings). And that’s basically what makes it hard to read the UICatalog source, too, because it’s all wrapped up in tables for display. :)

    All that said, I’m not sure if I could put enough together for a coherent guest post, but I’d be honored to try. :)

    And for that winning 0.003 cents, here’s Ice-9 on MindJolt. ;) WHOO!

    Reply
  18. Ryan

    Ah – a Vonnegut fan? You’re very welcome here, if that’s the case :)

    Most of what you’ve said is Greek to me. i’ve never coded for OpenGL in my life, and much of the other stuff looks like foreign, frightening MacSpeak. i do dig how learning new languages changes the way you code and build in Flash, though – i had the very same experience after delving into C#. A few of the methods i list in the Helper class on our Flash 911 page come from my c# adventures.

    i’d LOVE to see a guest post from you. You definitely have a perspective that i can’t offer. And we’ll link to your game in the post to help you boost those MochiPennies.

    Reply
  19. Kaolin Fire

    I just wish I could have worked more Vonnegut into the game, but the heart is there. I’m hoping to do a series of flash games to promote my magazine, and that came to mind late one night (around 2am, I was bemoaning stalling out on another game I’d been working on, and scrambling to come up with an idea I could complete in an evening… that hit me so I did it instead of sleep ;) ).

    Email me whatever spin you’d like and I’ll see what I can put together. :) And maybe my iphone game will be up by then–it’s been approved, but now the _contract_ is blocking things (the “free” contract, of all things).

    Reply
  20. Ryan

    Alright! That’s more like it. It’s hard to account for that extra 5k between my graph and yours. Maybe Mindjolt is more popular now? Maybe you had a nicer game icon? But the drop-off is nearly identical, and your graph curve is the same as mine. A nice diversion from tiny numbers, yeah?

    i’d love to know which other portals have a similar effect. i’m sure most of the (now) forty dollars my game has garnered have come from the Mindjolt jolt.

    Reply
  21. kaolin fire

    Yeah, I’ve been trying to get that information myself. It seems like a lot of them will either pick you up on their own, down the road, or won’t. I’m still about equal between kongregate and mochiads at this point (roughly $30 total).

    And I’ve made just over $2 over the last day or two (I know, an order of magnitude difference, but it’s awfully hand-wavy) on my iphone app (via ads). Whoo! :)

    Falling Up for the iPhone

    Reply
  22. Ryan

    Wow … i’ve been reading two types of iPhone articles recently, and your game factors into both of them:

    1. The Tetris Company is sending Cease and Desist notices to small developers who have published “falling tetromino” games on the App Store, and regardless of whether they have a valid claim or not, Apple is following up by removing the games from the store.

    2. People (including you) are distributing games for free on the App Store and pocketing mone from the injected ads. Naturally, Apple doesn’t see a cent of this money, and many expect them to crack down on in-game ads in the near future.

    How do you even go about putting ads into your iPhone app? Is there a network, like MochiAds?

    Reply
  23. kaolin fire

    1) ouch. I guess we’ll see how that goes. I tip-toed very carefully around any “bad words”, but beyond that, it is a pretty honest rip-off with only the orientation changing as the game advances.

    2) I hadn’t considered that aspect of things, either (apple not getting a cent). Funny. :)

    Network–yeah. Just as easy to sign up for and use (if not more so). I saw it in another game (TapDefense), and went to their website: http://www.admob.com

    I bet apple could get a higher eCPM than them if they wanted to barge in and take over the business. ;)

    The app is mostly a showcase to get paying business, so if the ads have to go, so be it–but I’ll be really frustrated if the game has to go entirely.

    Reply

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