Game Developer Spotlight: ClockworkMonster Games
We recently got the opportunity to talk to Javier Lazaro, from ClockworkMonster Games, about what it’s like being a casual games developer, and get an insight into some of the ClockworkMonster classics and a peek into the future for Clockwork Monster.
Hello, Who is ClockworkMonster Games and what do you do?
My name is Javier Lazaro. I am a 35 years old flash game designer from Valencia (Spain). Basically I am a one man army: I design my games, code them, make the artwork and edit music and sounds. I also run a small games portal, that I use to self sponsor my games when I cannot get a sponsor. Currently I am also going to begin a new job as a game design teacher at the ESAT in Valencia.
How did you get into games development?
I have studied art and design at the University, but I had been working in lots of different jobs for years. As a teacher, selling internet by phone, even at a nuclear power plant. Nothing that I liked.
One day I found out that making flash games could be profitable reading articles about game sponsorships and MochiAds. To work making games was like a dream for me, so I decided to give it a try. I was lucky: My first game was bought (full rights and game code) by Ugoplayer.com for $1500. I was unemployed at that moment, and thanks to this I was able to convince my wife that I was not crazy by working as a full time game developer. My daughter was one year old at that moment, so it was a risky move. Have in mind that I had to start from zero, and learn everything by myself.
Where did you come up with the name and image for ClockworkMonster?
The idea came to my mind as an image: A giant clockwork dinosaur, a huge 100 meter tin toy monster, destroying a city like Godzilla. I liked it from the first moment, and I think that it makes a cool logo.
Your logo certainly stands out! Can you tell us about some of the games you have produced so far?
I have made ten games so far, of all kinds ranging from a violent bloody shooter ("Love Overdose" ), to a children’s game ("21 Balloons" ). Most of the early games were a bit of an experiment, primarily to learn ActionScript programming, game design, how to get better results using ads, how to improve CTR (click through rate) and replay value… Each one has been a step to learn a bit more and make better games. I like to polish my games to obtain a good player experience.
So far I don’t feel I have made a "great hit" game, but all my games have been played at least one million times (Wow – Ed!). My most successful game to date, "21 Balloons" has been played 5 million times, and still gets about 25000 plays/day. It is funny to think that I had to self sponsor it because nobody was interested in it a few months ago… And so far I have earned more than $5000 with it.
You mentioned ActionScript – What is your development platform? Flash/Flex AS2/AS3 ?
Flash and ActionScript 2, but I am currently moving to ActionScript 3.
Which game are you most happy with?
In terms of quality, I think that my best game so far is the latest one: "Mk5: WorkBot".
In terms of results, and lessons learned, "21 Balloons". It was an experiment, and I got stuck whilst making it: I almost give up, so I took the artwork and decided to blast the dammed teddy bears. In a few days I had finished "Love Overdose", my 2nd most successful game (3 million plays so far).
After that, I was able to finish the game, but then nobody wanted it and I had to self sponsor – and the game was really successful. I even reused it for a custom version sponsored by frosmo.com, called "Night Balloons". They hired an artist, and the resulting game was quite good.
So, in the end, a game that I had grow tired with and I almost gave up resulted in 3 games that have performed quite well.
Ha – Mk5: WorkBot – we have that one hosted on eggnchips (see the Games section above) – it’s a fun game – we love it!
What game would you like to develop if budget wasn’t a problem?
A serious RPG (Role Playing Game) in Flash, something like the first Fallout games (1 and 2. No games like these today…) or maybe a multi-player Flash version of Diablo.
What tip would you give to new developers?
Experiment, learn, do not have fear to failure. The game that looks like it is going nowhere could result in becoming your biggest hit!
What are the plans for the future at ClockworkMonster?
Making better games and constantly improving quality. I have some good ideas that have been in my mind for a lot of time.
And finally, what is your favourite non-ClockworkMonster game?
I have a lot of favourite games so it’s very hard to decide. I love all games made by Sean Cooper, and recently I had lots of fun with a game called "Ching Chong Beautiful".
Thanks for the interview Javier and good luck with ClockworkMonster Games.
Visit Clockwork Monster Games to play all of Javier’s game and many more…