Double your revenue with FGL’s rewarded video ad system

Rewarded Video

Maybe you’ve heard that FGL has seen a lot of success in mobile lately.  We help all sorts of games monetizing in different ways, but our specialty is in-app advertising.  On average, when we work with a game we usually increase revenue 51%. But something we wanted to point out is that when we help with implementing rewarded video in a game we see more than a 200% increase in revenue!

What is a rewarded video?

The simplest definition of a rewarded video is: a video ad shown to a user in exchange for some reward.  It sounds simple, but there are actually many ways to implement rewarded video ads.  Most games take the simple approach of allowing users to get an in game item or in game currency if they watch a video ad.  But, there are other ways of implementing rewarded videos.  For example, you can offer a rewarded video, along with some bonus, when a user accomplishes something within the game, like gaining a level or earning an achievement.  Or, if a user has run out of lives or time in a game, they could get the option to watch a video to earn more lives or time.

If you are not currently using rewarded videos, we’re confident we can increase your revenues by at least double

CPMs for rewarded video ads are so high right now that, if implemented correctly, they are guaranteed to boost your revenues.  There is a little work involved with tweaking a game to properly use rewarded videos (you can’t just slap them in), but the rewards are definitely worth it.  Right now, we expect to at least double the revenue of a game after it implements this ad format using our expertise on where and when to use it.

We can double revenues for games that already use rewarded videos, too

With our Enhance™ system, we can get multiple rewarded video networks into your app and mediate them to maximize revenues, with no work on your end to implement all the networks’ SDKs.  Many games we’ve worked with merely replace their current network with our rewarded video mediation system and see huge increases in performance.

How you can contact us

If you’d like to work with FGL to get rewarded videos into your game, and increase revenues, please send us an email at  and we’ll get back to you.  The more info about your game you can tell us, the better, such as: current retention numbers, current cpms you’re seeing, number of daily impressions you are getting, or if you haven’t released the game yet.

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FGL to drop support of certain web services

In order to focus more on our very successful mobile services, FGL will be dropping or lessening support for certain web services.  Below is an outline of the services affected and their timelines.


– Developers will no longer be able to upload games to FGD after December 31st

– The FGD site, and all distribution services, will be taken down on March 1st


– As of now, no new developers can sign up to the GamerSafe system

– We will continue to run GamerSafe for games currently in the system

– We will have minimal support for gamers using the system, but there will be no dev support (new features, bug fixes, etc…)

These services have helped tens of thousands of developers over the years, but in the last year or so they have had decreasing results for devs, and support for them has gotten to the point where it does not make sense to keep onboarding new games.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

The FGL Team

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FGL Removing Postroll Ads from Enhance™

We had high hopes for postroll ads.  They didn’t interfere with other ad placements, and Enhance made them extremely easy to integrate. But recently Google removed an app from the Play store that was Enhanced with postrolls.  We dug into the issue, and reached out to IQZone, who licenses the postitial (postroll) technology.  IQZone says they are still in talks with Google about the placement, and there is no official word as to whether the placements break Google’s Terms of Service.  But since we now have evidence of an app being removed from the Play store (this is the only incident of an app removal we have heard of with Enhanced postrolls, but there have been a few approval issues around the tech in the past) we are deciding to err on the side of caution and stop all support of Postrolls.

If you have a game that already has postrolls implemented, you can easily re-Enhance your app and postroll ads will not be included.  And, if you haven’t tried out our interstitial ads yet, now is a good opportunity as those are performing really well.

FGL strives to provide the best services possible within Enhance, and removing postrolls is an example of this.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at


The FGL Team

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FGL Will No Longer Support Flash In-Game Ads

After careful consideration, FGL has decided to stop supporting its Flash in-game ad solution.

Though we had high hopes for the Flash ad system, it didn’t receive the widespread adoption we were hoping for.  As of now, all games using the system – combined – are making less than $50 a day.  Since FGL strives to help developers make the most money possible: when we look at the great successes we’re achieving for developers on mobile compared to the weak performance with Flash ads, the choice is obvious to make changes that allow us to focus on areas where we can accomplish more for developers.

Here is a schedule of how things will be winding down:

As of today:

– You will no longer be able to put FGL Flash ads into games

– FlashGameDistribution will no longer require games to have ads in them

Going forward:

– We will continue to run advertising in games that have FGL Flash Ads in them until 12/31/2015

– We will do a final payout for advertising in January

– Even if you’ve made less than $50, we will pay out at this time

All other FGL services will be unaffected.  In fact, if you haven’t checked out our mobile services lately you should, they are doing really well.

Feel free to contact us through our feedback form if you have any questions.

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FGL Makes Mobile Games Successful

FGL makes mobile games successful

Over the last few years, FGL has seen tremendous growth in mobile. Specifically on Google Play. Across all the games we work with, mobile revenues have doubled last year alone, as you can see from the chart below.


FGL makes mobile games monetize better

One of the big factors to this growth is that FGL has gotten very good at monetizing mobile games.  For example, we have an ad system that mediates dozens of ad networks in complex waterfalls.
We are also experts at knowing when to show an ad, and what type of ad.  We’ve stepped in to help over 2,000 games with monetization and, on average, we increase revenue 51%.

One example of this is the game Hidden Object Blackstone by Rolltower Studios.  FGL stepped in and helped Blackstone increase revenue per user by 3x.

FGL gets mobile games discovered

In a little over a year, FGL has gotten 50+ games into various “top 10” lists on Google Play.  We have been able to do this by leveraging our growing catalog of 2,000 games.  By cross-promoting traffic, and supplementing with burst campaigns, we are able to catapult games to get the exposure they deserve.

FGL has charted over 50 games on Google Play


We’d love to work with you

With all of our success, our biggest hurdle now is finding great games to help!  If you have a mobile game, we’d love to work with you.  There are three ways in which we can assist a mobile app.

– Enhance
Enhance is our self-service platform where you can add many third-party services into your app with little or even no coding.  For example, you can get our ad mediation system into your app with a click of a button.  This means that even though there will be several ad systems put into your app, you don’t have to sign up to any of their sites, you don’t have to worry about fiddling with anything for performance boosts, and you might not even have to change any of the code within your app!
This is our easiest to use system and you can get started right away at

– Enhance+
With Enhance+ we explore ways we can improve your app’s monetization and give advice on how to make your app successful. Then, we assist in the areas of monetization and marketing using our proven systems.

If you are interested, please contact us at

Please note that ideal candidate apps are casual games with ARPUs higher than $.20 or retention of 20% or more after 7 days.  Though, other apps will be considered.

– Mobile Platform
The FGL Mobile Platform has all the benefits of Enhance+ with the added benefit that we fully manage the app.  We take over the responsibility of adding or updating services within the app.  We also guarantee cross promotion within our network, with no cost.  The trade off being that we publish the app through our accounts, or a partner publisher’s account.

If you are interested in being a part of our Mobile Platform, please contact us at

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EnhanceLive Interview with Richard Davey, Creator of Phaser

Every Wed @ 11 am Pacific we host a live Q&A event on twitch called EnhanceLive where we invite industry experts to join our panel to answer your questions and then do a live tech demo of Enhance™.

This week we had the pleasure of having Richard Davey ( @photonstorm ) on the show and heard some great conversation and opinions about the future of Flash, html5, and all things game development monetization from him and Chris Hughes (CEO of FGL).  Rich is a long-time user of FGL. He’s most well known for creating Phaser and helping to foster the HTML5 movement and community.

If you missed the show, you can find the full episode here.

Also, below are a handful of the questions that were asked and answered during the show.


Q – Can you define html5 quality and scope of games that grabs pubs attention

Rich – Exactly the same as Flash. People are producing stunning quality html5
games, so that is what publishers expect.

Q – So what’s your main focus today? Like, what kinds of games are you
building and who are you building them for?
Rich – My work is kinda split into two. Most of my time is spent on Phaser and
the rest is split up between client work and publisher work, ie building games
for clients. Wherever you used to see traditional web gaming on an agency
level in the past has had the technology shifted over to html5, so the
campaigns we’re doing are basically what we were trying to do 4 years ago.

Q – With Phaser, we’ve been really impressed with how it’s blowing up! We saw
somewhere that it’s the #1 JavaScript tool on GitHub and that JavaScript is
like the #1 language. It’s really huge! That’s awesome!
Rich – [laughs]… yeah… it’s gone absolutely mental! I mean.. it was
created out of a need… something HAD to exist and there wasn’t a great deal
around. What there was were basically just little hobby projects. So I
thought, “Right. Nope, something’s gotta be done about this.” So I released
it. That was just a few years ago, and since then it’s gone absolutely mental!
We’ve already seen over 2 million visits to the Phaser site this year.

Chris – Wow… That’s great! I have to admit. I’m cynical on Game Frameworks or
Engines, especially because of back in the Flash days when there were hundreds
and everyone was making their own engine. I mean it was the same thing where
if someone was building their own games, they’d have to build their own
engine, then think “eh, maybe I’ll release it to everyone”. I think the thing
that really set you apart from the others who were doing it was the level of
support and continued growth of it. I really think that’s amazing, what you’ve
been able to build and kinda continue. I think you might know, because I was
in your forums.. but I actually used Phaser to build a game and I loved it.
WAY back in the day I used to build websites, and I HATED it… so I thought,
“WHY would you want to build a game using the same technology?!” But Phaser
really makes it a lot easier. It didn’t feel like I was coding in JavaScript,
which was nice.
Rich – Thank you! The difference with Flash is that it did so much for you,
yeah? So you had like a Rectangle Class and a Bitmap Class there for you
already that you don’t have in html5. A lot of Phaser is offerring the
structure and groundwork that Flash was doing and the other half is doing
things that other Flash Frameworks were doing.

Q – Do you think releasing a game in html5 to validate the concept and build
an audience before releasing on iOS or Android is a good idea?
Rich – Ah.. good question.. I guess that depends on the game, doesn’t it?
Because it depends on whether the audience for your game can be found on the
web or whether they’re mainly the people that you would hit by going straight
to native anyway. I think there’s two sides. If it’s just a quick playable
prototype to see if it works, then sure, yes. To check if people enjoy it,
sure, yes. I think what that’s going to tell you though is whether or not you
have a good game. And then how that survives on the app store is sort of at
the whim of the gods.. and the other sort of assistance that can be enabled by various services. I’m not saying html5 is the solution to this, but rather
making and testing the game is the solution to that, really.
Chris – Yeah, there’s a movement lately to kinda go “web first”, which is sort
of anti-“mobile first” like we’re used to hearing. It’s exactly what you said,
it’s a lot easier to catch an audience on the web. Whether that’s Flash or
html5. I mean, if you’ve got a web game, you can find an audience faster…
now monetizing that game is a lot harder. But I think there’s a lot of wisdom
in what you said that, if you have a game, release it on the web to find out
if you even have a good game. If noone likes the game, you’ve found your
answer and you stop. If people love the game then you can build on it, iterate
on it, and then move it to mobile. I think that’s sound advise.
Rich – Yeah, I definitely think that everything hinges about audience, like
the types of people who are going to play your game. I firmly believe that
there is cross-over between web based players and mobile players, but I do
think there are LOTS of mobile players who live on those devices exclusively.
Just because you’ve got a successful web game doesn’t mean that it’ll
translate to a successful mobile game, I think lots of companies have found.

Q – Do you know how many people use Phaser at the moment?
Rich – I can’t give an exact number, because it’s free on GitHub, so anyone
can grab it. But I estimate that it’s in the tens of thousands, I couldn’t
give you an odd plus number, but it’s pretty substantial.

Q – Do the updates that Chrome and Firefox bring hinder your roadmap for
Phaser? And if so, are there any particular changes that you can remember that
really set you back?
Rich – Mostly they push things forth, but every now and they do like really
interesting little curve balls that really screw us around. For example the
GetMedia API is used if you want to use a web cam in your game and they
recently said, “Now this is only going to work in ssl”. So any game that was
previously made to use a web cam for interaction now suddenly breaks if it’s
not running a secure connection. iOS9, for example, completely broke the
Unlock Sound on a device when you touch it, which broke every single html5
framework out there. So… yeah. There are absolute challenges, no doubt about

Q – How’s Phaser 3 dev going?
Rich – Yeah, very well. Just to explain, Phaser 2 is the current stable
version and is being worked on and updated. It is built on a renderer called
Pixie, which sits under the hood and handles all of the WebGL and canvas
rendering. 10 months ago we started working on our own renderer to replace it
that basically has game specific features that we needed, like multi-camera
support and stuff. So we’ve been working on that and the renderer is getting
into a really, really good state now, so we’re looking for a release of that
towards the end of this year.. built into the Phaser 2 framework. We’re very
careful about how we do point releases now. Phaser 3 will be a BIG change,
there’s no doubt about it. We’re making it completely modern.

Q – What are your thought about html5 game monetization? What’s possible right
Rich – There’s kinda the publisher side of things, like selling a game for a
straight amount of money (standard sponsorship), and there are still companies
out there that still buy games and buy licenses for games. But it’s slightly
different in that it’s not all web based. I know that sounds a bit strange,
but basically they’re not all necessarily web sites. There are a lot of
Telecoms companies out there that maintain their own games portals that are
specific for their customers to run on their own devices. Like, you pick up
one of their phones and there’s a games icon and it launches a website with
games that they’ve curated or brought in from various partners. In terms of in
app purchases and stuff, it’s not massively taken off. I’d love to hear from
anyone who’s done well with it, but I don’t know of any personally. So I’m
pretty sure that money is straight in work for hire, client based stuff,
agency based stuff, publishing, selling publishing games, and producing as
Chris – As you know, we do a lot of html5 ourselves. We did a big push about 1
year ago to support it heavily. Some of that we’ve pulled back on, but we
still support licensing, sponsorship, and so forth. Every week we still have
people going in and getting games. It’s still to today less than Flash, which
is kinda surprising. We personally don’t care which tech you use, we support
whatever, there’s still more people investing in Flash than in html5 on that
front. It’s funny, when I go out to conferences and talk to big portals. I
keep hearing, “I want html5!”, so I show them a bunch of html5 games and they
pass on all of them… and they take the Flash games! The only thing I can
think is that there’s a tiny bit of difference in the quality. That the Flash
game on the web is going to be better, if you invest the same amount of time
as an html5 game currently (as far as optimization and what you’re going to
get out of it and so forth). Do you kinda feel the same way Rich? I mean, is
that getting closer at least to parity?
Rich – The worflow, isn’t it? It’s all down to workflow. The Flash workflow is
honed and pretty perfect, quite frankly. You’ve got developers and animators,
and designers all working within one tool. It’s always going to be faster to
create something when you’re in that environment with so many resources and
stuff around you. I’ve seen some html5 games that easily peak the best in
quality of Flash creations out there. So in terms parity of what can be built
in html5 vs Flash, that we’re there, absolutely. In terms of how long it takes
to build it, yeah that’s probably faster in Flash.

Q – What inspired you to make Phaser?
Rich – It was a combination of frustration and need, really. I remember it
quite well. I had a free weekend, the family were away. So I basically just
sat down and thought, “Right, I’m literally going to port Flixel to
JavaScript, pretty much line for line. I did the entire thing in pretty much a
week and I sat down to look at it and thought, “Oh.. this is quite nice,
really..” It was an experiment, really. I knew I wanted something myself that
I could work with and expand on for the work I was doing. So that’s where it
started from. Then I thought, “Eh, I’ll just stick it on GitHub and see what
happens..” and then someone started using it! And then someone sent me a link
saying, “Hey I made this game!”, and I thought, “You did what? Even I haven’t
made a game in a year!” and it basically snowballed from there, really. So I
would say the inspiration for wanting to make game development easy literally
came from Flash. I wanted the same parity in html5.

Q – Do you have a patreon to support Phaser?
Rich – Absolutely! We set it up a couple years back. If you’d like to support
us on patreon
. I posted an update there recently and I’ve been really
surprised at the level of support.

Brian – Alright, so if there are any more questions, please get them into
chat! Otherwise we might let Rich get back to building out Phaser for your
entertainment here.

Rich – I did have a question for you guys, actually. What has been happening
in terms of the Flash community? I mean you have a unique perspective on it,
in terms of the Flash community. Obviously I see everything that’s going on in
the html5 side of things, because that’s where I live and I see people coming
in from Flash, but I’m not entirely sure what’s happening to all the Flash
developers (of which there were thousands). Are they still at it? Or did they
move to native apps? I’m just curious what you guys are doing?
Chris – Yeah, totally! This is something that we talk about a lot in the show
where, at this moment in time we’re in a really exciting, yet scary time. It’s
like a transitional time for games. The last GDC I went to was the first time
in a long time where there was no message that everyone had, like, it wasn’t
“Facebook / social”, it wasn’t “mobile”, it wasn’t… it was a little bit
of everything! You had some console, you had the new ones like AR/VR, you had
mobile. And so, no one really knows where it’s all going to culminate, if it
even is, you know, to the one big thing. We see the same kind of thing with
Flash game developers. Some go off and make Steam games, a lot are still
trying to make Flash games, a lot are doing stuff with html5. We still do a
lot with html5, which is a big reason why we renamed ourselves as ‘FGL’ not
FlashGameLicense. In fact right now, for the amount of revenue that we make
developers, 2/3rds of it is mobile right now. So almost all the money that
we’re making for developers right now is in mobile, so that’s where a lot of
them are going. I mean, we had the huge html5 push and I’ll be honest, we
made, for all of the developers we worked with overall, like $1-$2 million for
them. So it was a success at some level, but there was no long tail to it. So
we simplified that, if you’d like to make an html5 game, we’re going to stick
to the licensing model, because all of the other models just weren’t working.
I think that’ll come around though. Here’s the big thing. If it were just as
easy, just as fast, and just as efficient to make an html5 game vs a Flash
game, I think it would change the game today. You know, that’s the only role


Again, if you are interested, be sure to watch the whole show. I had to paraphrase and cut out a lot of the banter to reduce the length of this article!

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Sept 2015 Developer Newsletter – Official Intro of Enhance™, Community Spotlight, & Winners Announced!


Introducing Enhance™ Ads – Absolutely the fastest and easiest way to put pre-roll, post-roll, and now interstitial ads (rewarded videos are coming soon) into your mobile game or app! This product is a no-brainer for mobile devs who monetize with ads.

If you’re not using post-roll ads, you’re leaving money on the table! Learn more…

We sat down with FGL Game Jam #30 winner Max of Uncommon Games (aka Racines).

Read more about the  inspiration behind his game!

Congratulations to Sloach for winning this month’s $100 Enhance™ Live giveaway!

Watch our last show at!

Follow us on Twitter to keep up with what FGL is doing, industry news, and relevant game dev articles. We RT relevant, fun, & funny! =)

#programmerday was a big hit. Join the fun!

Congratulations to all the Game Jam #31 winners! $150 in Cash & Prizes went to the top three places. Well done!

Vote now to decide the winners of Game Jam #32!


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Introducing Enhance™


FGL is excited to announce it’s newest product, Enhance™. Enhance™ is the easiest way to get third party services into a mobile app. So easy that you can get services like ads into an app with NO CODING.


Our biggest focus right now is ads.  In fact, our Enhance™ Ads system is already the easiest to implement and manage ad system in the world. With Enhance™ Ads, it is possible to get dozens of ad networks into your app in seconds.  Our record is getting ads into an app in 37 seconds!


All you need to do is go to, upload your app, select the options you want, then click “Enhance.”  You will get your app back in minutes, or even seconds, fully implemented with the Enhancements you selected.


It’s that easy.. even though we add and optimize dozens of ad networks, you never have to sign up to an ad network yourself, and all reporting is centralized into one dashboard.


If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at


Also, be sure to check out our live-streamed EnhanceLive show every Wednesday at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern on Twitch.  On the show we answer game industry questions. And if you send us an app, we’ll Enhance it and play it live on the show.


There are already thousands of apps using Enhance™.  We’d love to see yours added to that list! Not only will you be earning more through our ad mediation system, but when you have a published Enhanced app, you are automatically entered into our monthly $100 givaway!  We announce the winner on the last Wednesday of the month on EnhanceLive.

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FGL Community Spotlight – Game Jam winner Racines!

FGL Community Spotlight – Racines of Uncommon Games

FGL’s big $150 Game Jam is coming up this Friday (Sept 25th), so the Community Spotlight returns with some helpful hints from past game jam winner, Maximilien Moussalli of the Uncommon Games studio.  We asked Max about his jam-winning entry, and his thoughts on game development.


FGL: Welcome to the Spotlight, Max! Tell us a little about yourself and your studio, Uncommon Games.

Max: Ok! My name is Maximilien Moussalli.  I live in France near Marseille.  My game studio was created in 2012 with a developer friend.  We have worked on “Gravit project” for almost 2 years.  (More info: )

We tried to make a crowdfunding campaign for Gravit, but our graphic design was not good enough to attract investors.  Without funding, we couldn’t finish this project, so my developer friend left and I began working on a mobile game: ‘Son of Light’.

FGL: That looks great.  Is ‘Son of Light’ your current active game project?

Max: This was a project I completed a few months ago.  It was free to play and was downloaded 30,000+ times, which is a good number for a solo project from an unknown dev like me.

For now I’m working on my Kongregate version of Quantic Pulse.  I hope to get some feedback and statistics on this game there, and if players like it, I’ll make a mobile version.

FGL: You created Quantic Pulse for the FGL Game Jam #30, right?  Obviously it was very successful, as you won first place!  Did you approach the development process differently for Quantic Pulse because of the time limit of the Game Jam?

Max: Thank you!  Yes, time is key for game jam games, but also for regular games, too.  If your goal is too high, you will fall.  Your game should be elegant and fun.  If you miss that, your game will be forgotten.  So Quantic Pulse was designed with this in mind.  Simple gameplay + simple graphics.  I recommend for indie developers to learn a graphics solution to get their game looking nice, like thet color algorithm that I used for Quantic Pulse.

FGL: The graphics were simple, but the game still had very polished visuals in that way.

Max: Yes, exactly.  All the colors matched together, giving it a colorful design.  As for the gameplay idea, I was watching a scientist documentary about gravity.  Some scientists are suggesting that some masses could only exist around the movement of quantic particles.  That gave me the idea for Quantic Pulse.

FGL: I’ll take your word on that! You mentioned you’ve worked up a version of Quantic Pulse for Kongregate.  What kinds of things have you added or changed from the Game Jam version?

Max: The Kongregate version has upgraded gameplay polish and I’ve modified the pulse system.  The pulses now auto-pulse and explode when a player is hit.  I’ve also added a good death animation, and want to insert a boss or more enemies combining steering behavior and gravity stuff.

When I make a game, I never know exactly how it will be at the end.  I play it again and again and my mind wanders outside of my game and finds ideas from other sources.

FGL: A lot of FGL users have started expanding beyond Flash for game development.  This game (like several of our past Game Jam winners) was made in Unity.  Do you have any advice for gamedevs who’d like to learn Unity?

Max: When it comes to saving time, Unity is a good tool.  The community is huge, and for the most part, it is good.  Unity is a bit of a mix between a pro tool and a newbie tool, so learning Unity is not that hard, but learning how to develop a big project can be difficult.  There are a lot of tutorials, source code and the asset store, but the most important thing you can have is patience and perspective.

FGL:  Good advice.  Time for the Lightning Round! Question One: What is the most important thing you could tell new developers?

Max: Like I said before, make a simple game with addictive gameplay.  Between polish and gameplay content, choose polish.  If the game works, you can add the hard / complex stuff in later.    I started to work on a project recently, but the time investment to make it would be too high.  So I preferred to work on a smaller idea.

FGL: Question Two: You mentioned trying to crowdfund a game earlier.  What are your thoughts on that?

Max: It’s hard to be on Kickstarter in France, so we tried IndieGogo.  We offered a 1-hour demo, but our graphics were too bad.  Design is so important to catch the eye of a player.  Crowdfunding successes often rely on their video trailer, so my ‘Son of Light’ trailer was designed with this in mind.  The trailer should be exactly what you have in mind when you imagine the final version of your game if you had no limits on it.

FGL: Last (and most important) Question: How can people contact you and get updates on your games?

Max: You can follow me on facebook at or check out our website at


I’d like to thank Max and Uncommon Games for answering our questions and sharing these stories with us. If you have any other questions for Max, ‘Like’ him on Facebook at, check out his website at or post in the comments below! If you know someone who would be a good candidate for the Community Spotlight, comment below, send a PM to FGL_Brian or send us an email at



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Frequent Conference visitor, newbie at PAX…

I thought I pretty much knew what to expect at my first PAX. After all, I’ve been visiting game conferences for almost 10 years by now. How different could this one be? Well, let’s start at the beginning.

PAX Dev.
Two days of lectures and panels from developers for developers. I expected the usual kind of talks about app store ranking, monetisation, etc etc. Boy was I wrong. PAX Dev is a blackbox-event. This means that everyone agrees that no one will tweet or post or publish any lecture content in any way. Do we sign an NDA for this? No. It’s all based on trust. And here’s where the event starts to feel different already.

A few hundred of us gather in the big lecture room to listen in awe to Elan Lee’s kickoff keynote about Exploding Kittens and their rocky ride of becoming the most backed Kickstarter project ever. An incredibly inspirational talk to start the conference.

In between 2 packed days of lectures there are short coffee breaks where at first it feels hard to network. Usually I see plenty of familiar faces at conferences, but I don’t know anyone here. How do I start talking to people? And then someone walks up to me and says “Hi! How are you?” Oh, right. That’s how you start a conversation. I get reminded that everyone here is attending to learn, to be inspired, to share knowledge, and to share the passion for our industry. I don’t feel like an outsider anymore.

The rest of the days I attend talks from the people over at Kickstarter, Amazon and Google Play. Where else do you find people from these massively important platforms willing to share their data? Not many take-aways from a black-box event that I can share, but I can share one.

Ty Taylor, the creator of Tumblestone, talked about his automated level generator and how he designed it. He pointed out specifically that all this info is ok to share.

We conclude PAX Dev with a closing keynote by Raph Koster about Game Grammer. This is not a good time to zone out after a long day full of lectures. Raph drills down to the core of game design within a 1-hour talk. My head is spinning and I feel like I have to rethink all my game ideas. By the way, I highly recommend his book “A Theory of Fun”.

Next day. The real deal. PAX Prime!
A 4-day consumer event for gamers. With a few years of Gamescom experience I feel like I know what to expect. Big crowds of gamers, long lines for the most exciting upcoming releases, a loud show floor, and standing in line for lunch behind Link and Zelda.

A few points where PAX turned out to be different:
  1. Not just computer games. The event offers a nice balance between online and offline. The popularity of card games, tabletop RPG’s and board games is on the rise again. Magic: The Gathering had it’s own dedicated conference hall across the street, Pathfinder was being played by hundreds of people at the same time, and there were plenty of opportunities to just sit down and with strangers and play even stranger board games together. The new definition of social gaming, perhaps? 😉
  2. Lectures are well attended. Spread out over different lectures halls in the building, and even at different locations in the city. Developers talked about the process of how their game was made, professional gamers shared their experience, introduction talks to the game industry, the history of games, the future of games, games, games, games! Indeed, no lack of love for our industry here!
  3. Big publishers don’t rule the show. At Gamescom it’s quite normal to see 8-hour lines of people who hope to get a 10-minute gameplay demo of the next upcoming blockbuster. At PAX, those lines were relatively short. Also, at Gamescom the indie area always seems quite abandoned in a corner. At PAX, the Indie MEGAbooth and the PAX 10 were buzzing!

My personal favourites?
Well, I just downloaded Armello on Steam; a stunningly beautiful RPG/boardgame game by the Australian developer League of Geeks. For someone who grew up loving the Redwall books, this game ticks all the right boxes for me.

On a more realistic note is ECO, developed by StrangeLoopGames. A complex world builder based on community driven rules. I’m not only looking forward to this as a game but also as a social experiment, since users have to vote on laws and restrictions regarding hunting and building expansion for example. Will we treat this virtual world better than our real one? Their Kickstarter is still running!

Unfortunately I had to leave PAX Prime early. Too little time to play all those amazing games. At least I will still be able to check them out online!

It was time to go to the airport. Or wherever I would end up in one of those bad-ass Mad Max Ubers….

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