I Turned A Fan-Made Project Into A Successful Online Game
Hello! Who are you, and what business did you start?
Hey, I am Furkan, and I am the only owner and developer of the browser-based creature hunting game Monster MMORPG.
I have Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), Master of Science (M.Sc.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) diplomas in Computer Engineering.
The Monster MMORPG game was initially created as a fan-made Pokemon MMORPG (named PokemonCraft previously) in 2009 as my colleague's graduation thesis project.
After graduation in 2009, I continued solo to develop this project. In 2011 I converted this fan-made project into a unique, full copyright-owned, branded creature hunting game.
Monster MMORPG is a browser-based and free-to-play full-scale MMO RPG game. It can be categorized as the famous Gotta Catch’ Em All of Pokemon. MonsterMMORPG is played worldwide by every age of players. We try our best to keep our game safe and clean to be played by children as well.
Previously, the revenue was much higher ($1,000+/month), but I couldn’t find time to advertise the game for a while.
Currently, MonsterMMORPG is generating about $200 per month from ads and a Patreon support system. Patreon’s support system brings players some cosmetic extras and somewhat faster progress. However, the game has been running on a single server since 2009.
What's your backstory, and how did you come up with the idea?
In the third year of my Bachelor's education in 2008, we had a PHP-related course. In this course, my colleague suggested making a fan-made Pokemon MMO RPG game in PHP. We made a very simple game and published it on the Internet. In those years, fan-made Pokemon games were viral and widely played.
Our very simple game also got massive attention from players around the world. This attention was the primary drive behind MonsterMMORPG. Therefore, as a graduation project in our final year, we have programmed our browser-based fan-made MMORPG game from scratch in .NET C# and ASP.NET web forms.
We almost had 0 knowledge when we started the process. However, during the last 12 years, the game has progressed significantly when the first released version of the game is considered.
Have solid skills in programming. Start small, get some revenue flow, and continue developing.
Financially, the game initially required almost nothing because we have used publicly available artwork and all of the programmings were done ourselves. Therefore, only server and domain costs were existing. However, as the game development progressed, of course, there were new expenses such as hiring an artist to draw over 500 maps designed for our game or some software purchases.
Take us through the process of designing your first product
Initially, we searched and observed existing fan-made Pokemon games and built our game similar to them. However, after converting our game into Monster MMORPG, we changed our strategy. Then, our system was mainly focused on our player base’s ideas.
Our game is majorly designed by our players’ suggestions. Currently, we have a discord channel and discord groups to plan and further develop the game.
Even though I am the only developer and owner, the game players are also helping the game with artworks, filling out pre-defined forms for some automated processes, etc.
Being a single developer and owner has some significant advantages. For example, you can take any decision yourself or have complete control and understanding of the entire code. However, it also has some cons. The major one is, of course, limited time to do everything fast enough.
DeviantArt was a great source for the initial start. DeviantArt is a platform where artists around the world freely display their arts and also earn money. We have contacted artists there to get permission to use their existing Monster artworks and without it, we wouldn’t be able to launch our game.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Since we had previous experience with a similar project (we had a simple PHP-based Pokemon MMORPG made in bachelor education), it was easy to launch our main project. Moreover, we already had a community that was expecting us to start our new game.
Therefore, our launch was pretty simple. We opened our game and announced this in all gaming forums we were a member of. Also posted on our Facebook page. After that, with the help of the fans and supporters, we have continued to improve our game and take it further.
In the beginning, we started with renting a cheap VPS. However, after getting some revenue flow, we rented a dedicated server to host our game.
Currently, MonsterMMORPG is hosted on a dedicated server with 2x1 TB SSD as raid 1 for data safety, 128 GB ram memory, 12 real + 12 hyper-threading cores having CPU, windows server 2019, and MS-SQL server 2019 web edition.
As for monetizing, we display ads and have a Patreon system for ensuring continuous development. Patreon system provides bonus EXP from battles and such to help you progress faster. Still, everything in the game can be obtained free except a few cosmetic overworld sprites.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
In the past, we have done a lot of advertising (manually done by me for free) on the gaming forums. It can be categorized as telling to tell. They were pretty much our primary source of traffic. Moreover, we were using voting websites. Old people like me would remember voting websites for various categories of games.
However, recently, I didn’t have much time to advertise the game. I am much more focused on developing the game and improving its gameplay quality. Therefore, currently, the majority of traffic is from search engines such as Google.
We give very high value to our player base opinions. So, therefore, we have players who have been with us for around 10 years.
We have added so many great features to the game that players requested. I would like to share some of the screenshots from the game as follows:
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Developing Monster MMORPG is my second job. It is more like a hobby. My main job is academic research. However, the development is pretty much matured since we have added the below features to our game. Therefore, the only thing left is preparing a good way to play documentation and more advertisements of the game.
Weekly events, Daily activities, Computer-controlled PvP, Live PvP, ELO League system, User tournaments, Official tournaments, live tournament battles, Guild system, Guild wars system, Guild quest and levels system, Daily rewards, Daily boss battles, Full fledge working market system, in-game chat, and private message system and many more awesome features as can be seen from below in-game screenshots:
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I have learned that starting such a big project requires better technical knowledge. For example, I wish I had known web programming, CSS, object-oriented programming, and HTML much better than when I first started. Fundamental mistakes made during the beginning are extremely expensive to fix later.
Another thing I have learned is that the university teaches you very little. However, if you make a project yourself, your experience and knowledge dramatically increase. I have learned almost everything I know from this project, such as advanced programming topics, object-oriented programming, database management, operating system management, web programming, etc.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
My main platforms are StackOverflow and DeviantArt. I use StackOverflow for programming-related issues. I use DeviantArt to find talented artists to get artworks.
I use Windows, Microsoft Visual Studio, C#, ASP.NET web forms, and MS-SQL for development.
For advertising the game, I try to make threads on gaming forums. Usually, they are not liked, but sometimes forum moderations allow me to keep my introduction threads and get some engagement from new players.
We also use social platforms, but they are not bringing many new players.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The most influential resource for my game development was the famous Pokemon MMORPG game PokemonCrater in 2007. PokemonCrater was loved by many people. That game has given us the idea of making our own Pokemon MMORPG game and then converting it into Monster MMORPG.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Have solid skills in programming. Start small, get some revenue flow, and continue developing. Have excellent engagement with the user base and get their support.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Currently, I am not looking for a position. But we are looking for volunteer artists. You get full credits from our game. Moreover, helping our game may give you some recognition in your next job opportunity. Please contact me at [email protected]
Where can we go to learn more?
- Monster MMORPG home page
- Monster MMORPG free registration
- Monster Dex of MonsterMMORPG
- Game forum of MonsterMMORPG
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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