Giving Power To The Indie Game Developer With Buildbox Founder Trey Smith

If you are a game developer and don't know Buildbox founder Trey Smith, get ready to take some serious notes.

Trey Smith owns a mobile game company with more than 55,000,000 downloads and is one of the most well known gaming figures in the mobile space.

He has 7 games that have broken the Top 30 in the App Store including The Line Zen, Phases, Jump Pack and Monster Magic.

If that weren't enough, Trey has built 4 separate 7-figure companies, been featured in The New York Times, and is the creator of Buildbox, arguably the best drag and drop game maker software out there (I believe it is).

Trey started making games like Jump Pack in 2010 which profited over $100k (and only cost $5k to make).  He's seen the App Store evolve from cheap hacks to the “model and improve” strategy that he uses today.

Meet successful developers in-person at our Bluecloud Summit Live event in SF.

In my podcast interview with Trey, we talk about Apps, gaming, Buildbox, and creating top tier products while sustaining a balanced life.

trey-smith-podcast

Download On APp Store

Top Level Secrets : Old School Cheats & Hacks

When Trey's Jump Pack app hit the Top 25 Charts in 2011, he reached out to every ranked app developer to create an elite mastermind group and share top level information.

It paid off BIG TIME!

They shared secrets about naming their company for better ranking, keyword stuffing, and getting $0.02 clicks to keep apps on the charts and the money pumping in….life was good.

Trey even created an app called ‘Free' to capitalize on one of the strongest keywords in the App Store.

But it's not about the tricks anymore.  

“As the competition increased, the tricks weren't working.  It was more about building foundational business skills.”

Like any growing market, hacks become extinct while quality and business operations are the name of the game.

Creating Games Without Knowing How To Code (Buildbox)

There's a huge demand for people who want to create a game but don't know how to code.

Developers who can't code are tired of getting ripped off and relying on someone else to create their game.  Not to mention the unknown quality and cost which is a huge risk when outsourcing.

Trey and his team stepped in and created Buildbox, a drag and drop game builder.  The Buildbox software makes it easy for indie developers to create their own games without having to rely on a coder.

Because of it's huge popularity among indie developers, Buildbox has had more success than any other game builder software, COMBINED.

Buildbox is responsible for more than 40 games being featured by Apple and breaking the top 100.

Color Switch used Buildbox and received over 100 million downloads and is the longest game to hold the #1 ranked spot.

How to get Featured by Apple : 4 Requirements to Strike a Pub Deal

If you want to replicate the success of top apps like Color Switch, you need a publisher and you need to be featured by Apple.

Publishers have relationships with Apple representatives and know how to spot a product that Apple will want to promote.

Buildbox games are notorious for sparking deals with top publishing companies like Fortafy and KetchApp to boost rankings and get featured.

“If you think your game is GREAT, then it's 50% done.  If you want to be with Ketchapp, then your games have to be better than Ketchapp games.

When you're so sick of the game and you absolutely hate it and never want to play it again because you've been tweaking and testing this thing for 3 weeks straight…then it's ready to submit to a publisher.”

To strike a publishing deal, your app has to:

  1. Look better
  2. Sound better
  3. Play better
  4. And be more fun than any other app in the publisher's network.

Achieve that and you will get published every single time.

A lot of people do not understand the level of quality, the amount of polish, and the effort developers need to put in to make it worthy for publishers.

In order to make a great game you need to test, TEST, test, and test even MORE to polish the game.

The 5 Secrets to Game Design

Here are 5 game design secrets to Trey's success:

1. Learn the basics of game design first

Start by understanding the basic theory and mechanics of a game.  Download and play 10 games a day and take notes on the design, user experience, and why you think they're successful.

2. Read and watch as many tutorials as you can

Read books subscribe to blogs, join groups, and watch tutorials.

3. Take it slow

Don't rush it.  Building a game is just like building a house.  Make sure you know the gaming fundamentals and are shooting for quality not quantity.

4. Surprise your players

Users should never feel board or be able to predict what's happens next.

5. Validate that your game is fun

Don't let your ego trick you.  Just because you created a game, doesn't mean your game is fun.  The best way to decide if your game is fun or not, is to sleep on it.  Take a break and come back later to decide if it holds up.

You have to be self-critical, don't let the elation of creation cloud your judgement.

The Importance of Influence – Don't Act Like A Kardashian

Growth is all about exposing yourself and being opened to learning from other people.

“If you fill your head with the Kardashians, then you're going to live your life and act like the Kardashians.”

That's not meant to be a good thing…

I strive to live a life of purpose, knowledge, experience, and fulfillment.

The biggest shifts in my life and business come from absorbing someone who is in a completely different level than I am.  Being exposed to powerful minds can take you to a whole new level you could never have imagined.

Check the resources below for a list of incredible influencer sources.

Download On APp Store

Click the link above to listen to the Bluecloud Podcast and learn more about Trey's story and Buildbox.

 

Click the link below to hear Trey's step-by-step system to create an app.


In this 60 minute session, you'll hear:

  • How Trey got started in apps
  • Top level app secrets used in the beginning
  • How to create games without knowing how to code
  • Getting featured by Apple
  • How to get a publishing deal
  • The 5 secrets to game design
  • The importance of influence
  • Games that Trey plays and models off of
  • Virtual reality and future trends

Resources mentioned:

Bluecloud-podcast-play

Download our podcast on iTunes

Please Share this Post!

Please share this post with someone who you think would be inspired by this story!  You can also learn more about Trey's game builder Buildbox, and download a free demo here

If you want to get started with apps (or at least learn about the business), download our free app “Cheat Sheet” here.

 

Catch you guys later,

Carter

 

How to Make An App
 

COMMENTS

  • Robbin September 24, 2016

    Trey, I love to make a game and so impressed with Buildbox, looked at your site several times before this interview but couldn’t get Buildbox subscription. I totally agree with what you shared here but how can someone pay $99/mo it’s scared hell out of me, I’m afraid, it’s too much money to pay every single month as Buildbox subscription and you said:
    “3. Take it slow Don’t rush it. ”

    I’ve great respect for you and you deserve money but think for a moment the person who is barely getting by and have so much passion for games but can’t develop it just because of huge upfront cost.

    Thanks

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas September 25, 2016

    @Robbin – glad you enjoyed the interview. Funny – I always thought Buildbox was an incredible deal and wondered why Trey didn’t charge more. The subscription allows you to space the payments out over the year too. If you’re looking for a free option, I would suggest you learn to code or develop your marketing skills and partner with someone who already has an app. Good luck!

  • Chris Trudeau October 16, 2016

    Great read Carter!
    I already signed up for the $99/month with buildbox before I read this, and I was using the software for about a week, but I took away some great info from this article. I found the $99/month pretty fair, considering how powerful the software is, and I’m proud to say I just launched my first game!

    Halloween Smash – Pumpkin Head & Friends

    FREE on the Apple App Store and Google Play! Since the idea came to me like a month before Halloween and Buildbox is so fast and easy to use, I’m going old school, no publisher. I’ve still reached out, but I assume it’s too late for something like a holiday themed game to get picked up this close to Halloween. So I’m shooting from the hip (sorta), more like using all the info I’ve read from this blog and your checklists. Looking forward to get some awesome results and learning with every step!

    Links for my first game! (If it’s ok I post them?)
    Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.btstudios.halloweensmash
    Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/halloween-smash-pumpkin-head/id1161331929?mt=8
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bostontrudeaustudios/
    Website: http://bostontrudeaustudios.com

    Thanks,
    Chris

  • Carter Thomas Carter Thomas October 17, 2016

    @Chris – thanks for sharing your experience with BB and your apps!

  • Piotr April 10, 2017

    Nice interview guys. I have just finished.

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