Mobile Success Spotlight – Handless Millionaire developer Vasiliy Kostin

FGL Community Spotlight – 

“Handless Millionaire” 

The Community Spotlight returns to highlight a recent release from a mobile developer in the FGL community.

We asked Vasiliy Kostin about his smash hit mobile game “Handless Millionaire” and got his thoughts on modern game development.

(This interview has been translated from Russian)

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FGL: Welcome to the Spotlight! Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started with game development

VK: I started making games a long time ago but it was always only a hobby. My first big game was ‘Pick and Dig’ (in Russian i named it ‘Kirkop’)’. In total, I made eight versions of this game for different platforms. Two of them were published on CD in Russia; I even bought both in a store in my small city! This game was a big part of my life, and my friends even nicknamed me “Kirkop”.

I also made “Normal Tanks” (a 2d game with normal mapped lighting and shadows).  The first time i published it by myself and sold licenses via SMS, but some months ago, after huge improvements, its was finally published on Steam as ‘Iron Impact‘.

For android I made some not-bad titles (and some bad too!); the most successful of them are the series “Pinata Hunter” (with my friend Marcus Hadlock), “Galaxy Siege”, “Flash’s Bounty” and, of course my most popular game “Handless Millionaire“. In all my games i used my own game-editor; it’s helped me through different times, languages, and platforms. First version was on Delphi(Pascal), then 3 versions on c++ (borland, MSVS, Qt) with intervan in 1-2 years, and latest and most powerful is the game-editor I made on flash. And all this time I had never treated mobile games as something serious, and was wrong as its turns out!

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FGL: ‘Handless Millionaire’ now has millions of installs and the franchise has a loyal following. What can you tell us about developing it?

VK: HM is simplest game I ever made, and most successful too. As i remember, I spent less time on it than I spent to make any of my other games. About 2-3 weeks. At first, I thought of making a platformer game about small round creature out of fur, with a long flexible tail. You have to pass levels as you do in other platformers and care about your tail.

The main feature was cutting off tail by bad guillotines and boxes when you do something wrong. Later I simplified this idea, mixed it with the ‘Millionaire’ TV show and it took shape into what you see now. I never thought about the genre of HM; maybe it is ‘limbcutter’ or ‘guillotiner’!

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FGL: What game developer services do you use in your games? 

VK: I started working with FGL about 6 years ago when flash games were at their peak. Its was best game development experience I ever had. When you make a lot of small games you grow your skills very fast. You don’t stay stuck on one thing; you look and try new things with each new project, which change before you get sick of them.

At first, Handless Millionaire was a flash game for web-browser only, but I ported to mobile because you could do it in a few clicks. On android, HM1 was released 3 years ago and at start had a few daily installs. With time it grew, and now it gets about 10k installs daily. Without any promotion.

I decided to try Enhance because I was having problems with managing the adMob account, and there were also issues with the approve code Google was sending.  I just know, that now it is great. Enhance helped me fix all the problems with my account approval and the mess you can get when working with big lazy ad networks. Also, it helped to forget about pain of using SDKs and updates to Extensions which can force you to hate doing game development at all, as its was with me sometimes.

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FGL: Do you have any advice for other mobile developers?

VK: Of course my words can’t be the universal recipe for everybody, and there many people who will argue with me and some one will start kick me, but all my game development experience taught me one simple thing:

Don’t make big projects, even if you have enough powers and skills. Make a lot of simple, small and maybe pure ridiculous games. Between them you will find the true project of your life, which will contain something that we can’t describe, that makes that game “grow-able” and worthy to spend your time and soul to make. It’s the only way to not be disappointed. All big projects are always not first project of their authors. It’s always long journey of forgotten games and trial-and-error.

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But, if you have your great project already, which you can launch on a mobile device, forget everything I said and go to the guys from FGL. That’s my best advice on game development for now!

FGL: How can your fans follow you and learn about your new projects? What are you working on next?

VK: Maybe I never have enough attention to represent myself, but there’s no one place where you can find everything about my games or about me. In last year, I seriously researched HTML because I feel that it will be the future of WEB.

My latest experiment with HTML is roguelike game Pixel-Cave (you can say what you think about this game here). Its actually my first game without any sounds or music, and now I appreciate how important sound is for games. I have enough knowledge about WEB to make my game-editor in HTML, and soon games should be more polished. 🙂 I am also making a simple multiplayer realtime strategy game, but it is too raw to show it now.

Finally, you can see some short and rare videos on my YouTube channel.  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll find time to collect videos about all my games and their history there.

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I’d like to thank Vasiliy for answering our questions and sharing these stories with us. You can download “Handless Millionaire 2” now HERE. If you have any other questions post in the comments below! If you know someone who would be a good candidate for the Community Spotlight, comment below or send us an email at info@fgl.com.

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