During the last months, we decided to transform our game Jumpy Paws from a mobile casual Free to Play title to two games: a PC one and a simpler mobile one. Why did we reach this decision? I’ll rant about it during the next paragraphs and hopefully explain the answer in the process… 😀
Jumpy Paws, the beginning…
When we first started developing Jumpy Paws we didn’t really have a clear idea of what we wanted to do with it. We started aiming at mobiles because, in my ignorance, I thought that was a “simpler” project to develop in 6-8 months.
I got my first Government funding on July 2018 and the idea was to develop the MVP in 6 months. Given that I didn’t have any experience and neither did my team, we decided to go for mobile free to play. Now, 2.5 years later, I think it wasn’t the wisest decision.
The project has changed A LOT if we compare the MVP developed on 2018 to the one we have now. Name changed, team changed and goals also changed. The design has gone through a lot of modifications as well… And we, as the founder team, have come to the conclusion that mobile free to play is nowhere near what we want to do or where we want to move towards.
We discussed this earlier during development as well, but I think that the idea of where I wanted to go with Raincup Games wasn’t so clear in my mind back then. Now, after getting to know the market a little more, I understand it better.
Not fitted for Free to Play
The main reason for running away from F2P is content. Free to play games need virtually endless content. You cannot keep your players engaged and interested in your game if you only have 2 hours of gameplay. This is even more important if you rely on IAP revenue. A game like Jumpy Paws needs players to LOVE the characters and the experience in order to decide investing money in customization and things like that.
There’s also the fact that the F2P model in itself is not something we have come to like. After steering the wheel towards the new-found concepts of cozy and wholesome games, it doesn’t feel like the right path for Raincup Games to follow.
This is not a critique to everyone making great game for Free to Play, of course. It’s just a matter of tastes and also abilities.
Know your weaknesses
Right from the beginning, it became apparent for me that making levels was not one of my strong points. And I struggled a lot creating the basic levels to be part of the MVP. Big part of that is my lack of experience and level design knowledge; other part of it is the fact that I’m not a hardcore platformer player so I don’t know as well all the elements that make a platformer great.
There’s also the fact that the game I had in my mind when starting the project was very different from the one we were developing at the time of me making levels. But one of the main problems I had to face was my own self criticism. I was never happy with the levels I made. Of course, the first… dunno 100? levels I made were reaaaally bad… But then some good things appeared. I, however, never judged them worthy. And so I was stuck in an endless spiral of making and remaking the first levels over and over…
I’ve managed to accept my levels more right now and also stopped trying to reach “perfection” as that is something that will never be achieved in reality. However, the rate at which I can create levels is still nowhere near the rate needed to generate content for a Free to Play title.
Being Raincup a small team, with no budget I finally understood that Free to Play is not the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, making a PC game is not an easy task either, but I think it’s more accepted to present a short well polished title, asking for a fair price and deliver a sweet and short experience for those interested.
And that’s how the idea of separating the content appeared in my mind. In a way, it was the answer to one of the greatest concerns I’d had during the development… The annoying idea of being making a different game from the one I really wanted to make.
The games Raincup Games wants to make
I didn’t want to make a Donkey Kong “clone” or “heavily inspired” game, with no narrative whatsoever and Free to Play mechanics, aiming to exploit the puppy’s cuteness in order to suck money from players. So, the idea of taking all the exploration and platformer content and making it a short PC game, with a narrative spine and no pressure to keep users “addicted” to it was REALLY attractive.
On the other hand, there were some points to be considered: we had also developed some procedural content in the endless runner module we added to the original mobile Jumpy Paws, the mobile experience has always worked really well with very young players (5-10 years old) and also there was the original Virtual Pet idea that had also been left behind.
So everything seemed to fall perfectly into place. At least in my mind 🙂 And just like that, Jumpy Paws became two games.
Jumpy Paws, the franchise! (lol)
Jumpy Paws – World Adventures is the PC version. With hand-crafted levels and a simple story to guide the player.
Jumpy Paws – Run & Pet is the mobile version. A virtual pet – endless runner mash-up. We aim not to have IAP or ads so subscription or even premium could be the way to go. Still deciding on this one. But we want to stay away from the Free to Play model as much as possible.
This story is not over, of course, and we continue to work hard in order to discover if this decision is a good one or not. Adding the virtual pet mode has also been a lot of extra work, specially for the Art Department… But I’m confident it will be worth it as we are making all the efforts to generate a (or two) product(s) that will make us proud.
If you want to find out more about Jumpy Paws and its development, consider visiting the official website 🙂
Also, our social networks. We publish a lot of sneak peaks there!