Episode 15: Interviewing Sean Nam, CEO of TheAppRepublic.com, he explains how he has been reskinning the extended version of the Casino Slot source code, without any outside help. Commando Style!
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Welcome to the Mobile app flipping broadcast. This is your host Yohann Taieb. My goal is to help you get the most out of reskinning apps. Whether you are already a full time entrepreneur or trying to get a business going, this broadcast is for you. We will be interviewing professionals that are already doing reskinning for a living. We will also invite source code sellers to get to learn both what they have to offer and finally we will talk to industry experts to learn how to become productive at flipping apps and now without further ado let’s get started.
Today we have an amazing amazing guest. His name is Sean Nam. He is a computer science student at UCSD and he has been working on some game reskins and also his own games and some like random apps. So he studied about a little bit less than a year ago in Summer 2013 with source code simple slot machine reskin and then he went into the you know, the regular puzzle games such as candy crush clones or biju clones and some endless games as well.
Yohann: Hi Sean.
Yohann: Welcome to the show. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself. How you came to being in the industry and what brought you there?
Sean: So I’ve actually been following Apple and IOS for a very long time and I really wanted to get into apps. But I never topped myself to prove who I am.
But in the Summer of 2013 I bought this software that let me make games. It was really easy. All you had to do is add the graphics and it turned out the guy who made that software was in the same city I was in. I was in San Diego so…
Yohann: What software was that?
Sean: It was hard closet contact 02.
Yohann: Contact 02 and what’s with that?
Sean: It’s not widely available. He Tray Smith.
Yohann: Oh yes Tray Smith yeah.
Sean: Ya Tray Smith so he makes all this software and he has all these high end elite game courses and I happened to buy into one of them and be connected and that’s how I got into the business.
Yohann: Ok got it so what was the 1st game you actually made with that?
Sean: My 1st game was called Star Bright. I added all the graphics. It’s really simple . It’s just a star and blue background.
Yohann: Ok and what was the reason why you did this? Was it because at the time there was some kind of a game that was pretty trendy or it’s just that it sounded easy for you to start by doing this?
Sean: It was really simple to do. It was really easy and you know I dint want to make apps for a very long time and I thought I really just take a shot at it primarily.
Yohann: So did you actually publish it to the app store?
Sean: Yes it’s available.
Yohann: Alright, alright. So how many games and apps do you have right now?
Sean: Total 13.
Yohann: 13? Ok and you studied in Summer 2013 so ok that’s a pretty decent velocity let’s say about 2 a month or so. Yeah. Now, so what type of games have you made so far. I know you have a slot machine. So it’s like a casino right? So what else do you have?
Sean: Let’s see. I have slot machine and then I have a match free puzzle game . Ok and candy crush. and I have couple of reference apps]terze cortsa and then the rest are just in this game that I make from the software creator. Game creator.
Yohann: Ok ok ok. Now do you mention any download numbers? I mean you haven’t been in the store for so long. What type of download numbers do you get?
Sean: I mean my numbers are pretty small. I haven’t done a lot of crucial marketing but they range from you know anywhere 200 to a thousand. My worst game did about 80 downloads and that was just quick failure but that’s game.
Yohann: Yeah there is no shame really there is no shame in it I gotta tell you I mean there is games I really worked a year on it and there was like barely any downloads and this was surprising. Yeah. That’s you know luck of the draw in the app store. You never know what you gonna get.
Ok let’s try to focus on one of the games you made. Reskin you’ve made. Which one was one of the simplest reskin you actually made and you want to talk about that gave you pretty decent number of downloads and return investments.
Sean: That would be my slot frenzy app. It’s my latest slot machine app and I did all the graphics myself and it’sz really simple, really simple reskin.
Yohann: Ok so first how did you find out about this slot machine source code?
Sean: I found it through blue cloud.
Yohann: Bluecloud solutions ok.
Sean: Yeah and they were having a winter holiday sale like for half the price actually.
Yohann: Oh yeah it’s already pretty cheap the way it is I think it was like a 100 bucks or so right . So you got it for 50.
Sean:It’s not that one but different one.
Yohann: Oh ok. Did you actually buy the ..?
Sean: Blue line slot machine.
Yohann: Oh so it’s like the full slot one. Oh I see. That’s right yeah because there is 2 on the website. Oh that’s a tough one to make and there’s a lot of stuff going on there and a lot of graphics. How long did it take you to actually do the graphics on your own?
Sean: Let’s see. I think it took me a couple of hours but a lot of it is just there is a lot duplicates because it’s universal code and you have to make the iPad1 separately. But it’s not that bad.
Yohann: Yeah. What’s your background in I mean I know you are a computer science student so what’s your background when it comes to graphics? Like how did you, how were you able to actually create your own graphics.?
Sean: I don’t have a much of a graphics background. But I find I took your course actually on Udemy finding you know what I mean through graphics online.
Yohann: Oh the one to bootstrap tools and tricks for game graphics. Oh ok.
Sean: Yeah so I find , sometimes I find graphics online sometimes I create them on mail. But usually I take existing stuff and modify it.
Yohann: Yeah. I mean as you know in my course that’s what I advise people. If you don’t know how to draw, don’t reinvent the wheel, don’t start drawing your own things. Just not going to look good at all. So just you know either get some free stuff that look decent or buy some that are really cheap and modify them so that they can fit in your game. Absolutely.
Ok. Now did you get accepted into the app store straight? Did you have any problem?
Sean: No I don’t think I had any problem. It was pretty straight forward.
Yohann: Ok. How about was there any type of documentation or any walk through that came with that source code?
Sean: This source code. It’s pretty easy to reskin because you go to resources folder and just look at all the graphics and then it comes with the original photoshop files so…
Yohann: Oh excellent. So that means that you already have like all the right dimensions and basically save them and overwrite the image files right?
Sean: Ya. You are right. Actually there was documentation because all that ad, ID, codes and bring out purchases they’re all in one place so it’s really easy.
Yohann: Excellent that’s what I like to hear. And now do you know if there is any replay value? In the sense that when you publish it in the app store do you know like people were coming back and playing again and over and over again. Was there any way to track that such as any game analytics like flurry or Google analytics.?
Sean: There was one when I’d bought it and then after really stay I put it in but they haven’t, it hasn’t been approved. I don’t have any analytics but I think it has a lot of replay value because it is senior rated. If you look at the app store right now they are all over the place.
Yohann: I see what you mean in the sense. So already any casino games are very addictive by nature.
Yohann: So I see what you mean. So for sure there was already this extra level of addiction compared to any type of games. Absolutely.
Now do you know what frameworks were involved into this source code? Was it something like cocos2d or unity or was it just pure iOS stuff?
Sean: I am not sure actually.
Yohann: Ok I think it’s cocos 2d but I have never looked at the code. Ok. How about the audio file? I mean did you have to change any audio files? I mean it’s pretty straight forward for a casino game right? I mean a ban and the ring right? Did you have to change anything though?
Yohann: For the audio files, the sounds. Did you modify them?
Sean: I didn’t modify them.
Yohann: Ok good. So It’s actually faster and you don’t even have to look for them. Ok. Was there any type of game center integration or any leader boards or achievements? Because I mean it’s not that easy I mean to setup game center, add a leaderboard. That’s little bit more involved. You know it might be a turn off for some people. In the sense they are not completely sure how to turn it on. Especially I got to say the iTunes connect leaderboards and achievements, it’s kind of weird the way you have to set it up. In the sense that, even though you set it up in iTunes connect, it doesn’t mean that you will be part of your build. In the sense that when you publish the game you have to go back to iTunes connect and select them to be a part of that version. So. I usually like to know if the source code comes with any game center integration.
Sean: No there is none. No? None I know of.
Yohann: So there is no way to tell if you are doing good or not compared to any other. Not that there is any need in casino game if you think about. That’s right.
Did you try to localize the game in different languages? Because from what I know you are from Korea originally right?
Yohann: So you are already able to add 2 languages there right? Korean and English right. Did you do that?
Sean: Unfortunately casino games are not allowed in Korea. So Koreans are not allowed to gamble at casinos. It’s like a law here. So it goes for a virtual games as well so it dind’t really help so I dint localize the app.
Yohann: Oh ok. Ya I see. Ya it’s funny that you say that but there is always ways around. Even in real life like I am from Florida and we are not allowed to have casinos in Miami. They used to be I think in the 70′s there used to be casinos that brought lots of crime around here. I mean you guys are familiar with today’s you know like Vice city and all those movies and things like that. So they had to remove all the casinos. However we do have Indian land here. In the sense that we have native Indians and they own land in Florida. So next thing you know the land does not belong to Florida, it belongs to native Indians. So they started building their own casinos. So guess what. They became super rich because they have casinos and guess what anyone from Florida can just go to a local casino. I am sure even in Korea, there is gonna be ways around. But I mean the law is the law when it comes to Apple right? So. Yeah. Automatically your casino game is gonna be removed from being sold in Korea right?
Yohann: Did you try other languages?
Yohann: No? Because I wonder which country plays a lot of casino. I know French people do like casinos. We have a bunch of them. But I wonder how that would turn out. I mean not that casino game needs much of a translation right. Yeah I mean there’s like only a couple of buttons I mean like bet. Bet 5$ and spin right?
Sean: It’s mostly numbers.
Yohann: Yeah that’s right. So now talking about price you got a good deal. So you got half off right? Or something like that right. When it came to source code now did you find it pricy compared to the return investment? Did you make any decent profit out of that?
Sean: I only had one reskin.So but that one’s didn’t do it decently. I haven’t made a profit yet. But I have another reskin that’s waiting to review. So hopefully I will get my money back. But I think it was worth it.
Yohann: I mean for you it was also some kind of a learning process. You know if you think about it. It was the first time you actually reskinned that casino game so. Yeah you know like you can’t just expect to make big money making your 1st reskin of one source code. Especially when you buy one you gotta do at least 3-5. And if you have listened to some previous guests on my podcast. We had Jeff for example and he does minimum of 5-6 reskins per source code and that’s how he makes his money out of it. And then he lets it sit for a while and then reuse it later on. So definitely that’s the way to go. You are doing your 2nd one and it’s under review right now. So good luck with this one.
What type of theme did you choose for the new one?
Sean: For the new one?
Sean: I chose animal jellies. I found that are on website. So they jellies but all animals like dogs and bears and…
Yohann: That’s cool! I mean jellies is still very trendy. You know jellies splash. So why not ride the jelly wave at casino.. Yeah. Even though it sounds like you are trying to get kids to play such gambling. It’s fake money so it’s alright. Alright that’s pretty much what I wanted to about that specific reskin. Ok, now so is there any book you recommend for someone that’s starting the app reskinning world?
Sean: I wouldn’t say a particular book. Because books get updated really quickly you know that App Store and moves very fast. So I would suggest blogs instead. Because people are always posting about what’s new, what’s ho,t what’s working, what’s not so…
Yohann: So. Which blog do you usually hang out on? I mean I have seen you on Brightnew too. You did some kind of a guest post of brightnew.com right?
Sean: Yeah Brightnew has some good stuff. Bluecloud solutions is also a very popular one . There is chocolate labs like EUA, Heny.
Sean: That’s right. Really successful in this field so following successful few that’s how I learn. These books are limited and they get updated really quickly.
Yohann: Ya I mean I gotta tell you when it comes to website that actually bring value for this specific industry, there isn’t that many really. I mean you can count them in one hand. You know 5 fingers that’s all. It’s a pretty new industry. So I am expecting it to just you know explode in 2014 and have a lot more websites and lot more people bringing more value. But as of right now it’s a very niche industry. We have very few leaders. Absolutely. Now I believe you do have a freebie for audience right? Tell me more about it.
Sean: I wrote a blog post on the whole process of getting started. A lot of people I see on bluecloud solutions and other places are so lost because people post these source codes and they are like this is great for app reskinning but people don’t know how to get started. So I wrote this 7 steps to getting started. It’s a very high level outline of how to get started in this industry. And it seems like a lot. But it’s just a lot of basics you should be familiar with before getting really into spending time spending money cleaned effort into it.
Yohann: Ok I will definitely I am going to put the link in the blog that comes with this podcast and I am going to check it out myself. So now you would say that is for any beginner someone that has no experience whatsoever with the game reskinning industry or with the mobile industry entirely?
Sean: It’s for anyone because it’s just a lot of people are so lost so. It’s very basic and it’s very short . But it starts with deciding if it’s for you. If you decide it’s not for you then everything else is revolving. So you have to start from the very beginning.
Yohann:Ok excellent thanks. I am sure the audience is going to really appreciate this. Now, we are still like at the beginning of Feb 2014. In Feb 2014 as we are recording this so now you are publishing a new reskinning of the casino source code. So where do you see yourself in the next month. Or how do you plan on expanding your app reskinning business?
Sean: So I guess going to try outsourcing some stuff. Because I’ve read a lot about growing fast is the way to make money in this industry and I found doing everything myself, it’s very time consuming. Yeah for sure. I mean even so if I was a good programmer or even if I was a good artist, I suck to do everything myself. So next time hopefully with some good money that’s coming in from the reskin. So I am going to try to outsource some of the reskinning or the development so that I have more time to do the business side.
Yohann: Yeah managing all the apps and things. Yeah. Definitely. Now do you know how you are planning on doing that? Do you have any special secrets when it comes to outsourcing. I mean you are from Korea. Do you know anything special going on in Korea that we don’t know in the States?
Sean: I think outsourcing I think it’s… I’ve tried once or twice it’s hard but also about picking the right people . It’s more than just you know finding a good developer, finding the right developer you know. So it’s just a skill I think. You have to do over and over and you just learn , you read a lot about other people’s failures and successes and you learn and then you try it, figure out what’s working for you, what’s not and then read or write.
Yohann: Ok I see. Alright so now if we want to get in touch with you how can we do that?
Sean: There is the contact form on my website or people can email me at email@example.com.
Yohann: firstname.lastname@example.org and what’s your website address? theapprepublic.com. Alright perfect. Thanks a lot for all the good information you brought us. And we surely want to hear good things coming up your way and hopefully get you back in the show when you’re gonna make all those millions of dollars.
Sean: Alright thank you for having me.
Yohann: Alright night pleasure Sean keep in touch!
Yohann Taieb: Thanks for listening to the mobile app flipping podcast, if you find this podcast interesting, please subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review. Sharing is caring, spread the word.
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