“Beg, steal, or borrow.” – Ray LaMontagne
Believe it or not, one of the top keyword groups that hits my site deals with how to build an app like Angry Birds. Everyone wants to know how to build a game that's going to be fun, addictive, and wildly successful. Wouldn't it be great if there was a simple template that allowed you to create your own Angry Birds?
I thought I'd write a quick post and let you all know what your options are. It's not pretty, but it's possible.
1. Outsource to Elance
Check out these screen shots I took this morning right off the network. Note the descriptions.
I've seen dozens of proposal requests like this all the way up to “Angry Birds Clone.” The proposal amounts for these ranged from $4,000 – $8,000. Almost all bids were from off-shore firms. You'll notice that most of these descriptions are pretty short and generic, asking for a “fun, addictive” game and just assuming that the rest will fall into place.
If you've read my Ebook, you'll know that this is NOT the way to go about this. There needs to be so much more detail to be able to properly build a game like this.
Think about all the questions – what are the characters? How many levels? What do the levels look like? Maybe these will be answered along the way, but it's VERY sketchy to expect someone who can barely speak English to give you a solid price on a project without asking any specifics.
So – Elance is a great way to do it, but don't do what these people are doing. Get very specific, ask for iOS and Android developers with a strong gaming background, and say “I'll send you the full scope of work through a Private Message if you ask for it.” This will weed out all the firms that just send back a generic message when they see an iOS job request come up.
GameSalad is one of those AppMakr type websites that promises the ability to build apps with little to no programming experience. They focus on games instead of news feed apps and have proprietary software to build the games, meaning they have their own Xcode-type interface.
I downloaded GameSalad a few weeks ago and messed around with a full template (which you need to re-design) to see how easy it was. It's pretty much the same conclusion as AppMakr, but requires a bit more training in using the software. Here's the YouTube video from the developer showing what these templates will look like in action. Cost? $80.
I want to say again – you'll have to re-design this game. That's not a small project. You can actually buy design templates within GameSalad, but it's still going to be an investment of time.
3. Angry Birds Source Code Clone
A clone is a copy of the game that someone makes by emulating all parts of the game. You'd be amazed at how many “clones” there are out there, just Google something like “Angry Birds Clone” or “Angry Birds Xcode” and you'll see thousands of results. Here's the first result that came up – a product that was built in 36 hours by a Corona Developer (Corona is a coding platform that you can build games in).
This is going to be raw code, so you'll need a developer to help you if you can't read programming. The upside is that it's open source (free). There are some basic licensing agreements which mean that you'll have to re-design the game to make it your own.
What I Would Do
Of these three options, I would outsource to Elance and build it from the ground up. I would expect to spend about $20,000 on something like this and would do everything I could to copy the physics and game play, but completely separate myself from the Angry Birds brand. I would invest just as much money into the design as I did into the development so that the characters, enemies, and backgrounds were fun and engaging. I'd do something that had some sort of dichotomy – cats vs dogs, democrats vs republicans, something catchy.
The most important part of this exercise is in the details. It's the smoothness by which the objects fly, the way the structures topple over ever so slightly based on gravity that looks real. Details are what make games look professional or not.
From a marketing standpoint, I would create a free version and a paid version. The free version would have 10 levels and iAds, the paid version would have 50 levels and no ads. I'd build a website, YouTube video, and social media accounts.
Overall, I wouldn't do a game like this unless I had $20-25,000 to spend because otherwise it would be just another game that's KIND of good and not the kind of game that you tell your friend about. The above three options will give you a good idea of how to get started if you're interested.
As always, good luck! If anyone has another idea for the list, leave a comment and I'll add it.