The developers of Warbits [$4.99] at Risky Lab minced no words in the start of their postmortem (mirrored on Dropbox here) that it was a "dumb idea." Warbits would take 6 months, they said. It would be easy, they said. Well, it took over 4 years to finish Warbits, and this was no joke, the first major game for both of the key principals behind the game. "The scope was too big, the mechanics were too complex. Absolutely everything we did was a grueling journey of trial and error...Thinking back, just about every issue we ran into could be attributed to inexperience." But yet, this isn't a story of failure. Warbits was eventually made, turned out fantastic, and actually managed to make ten times its cost, though the costs don't include income for the principal developers, necessarily. A game made by a full-time indie studio might not be profitable given the same circumstances, but as Risky Labs states – their circumstances were borne of a two-person team biting off a lot more than they could chew. That it worked was a miracle.

Warbits Postmorem App Store Feature

In fact, Risky Lab really lucked out. The week they launched, Apple cleared out the top of the App Store for a massive Earth Day promotion that had other developers running scared and not releasing games in that time frame. Warbits managed to benefit from a light slate of competition, and was the featured Editor's Choice for two weeks, including a week or so of traditional Editor's Choice featuring. As such, they've managed to sell over 52,000 copies, though that's heavily weighted toward the first two weeks. Not bad for a dumb idea.

  • klink

    The devs seem like a couple great guys. Even though the game was a modest success it
    doesn't sounds like they cleared much. It really hammers home that game development is mostly for the love of the platform and not for the money.

  • TheGodless

    Love Advance Wars and Warbits almost equally.

  • mimajenkins

    I am a little confused on the numbers. If there were 52000 units sold so far, each at about $4(minus apples cut and other expenses) how were the profits 10x the cost it was to make the game if it took 4 years to make? I don't mean to be rude at all, I am a huge supporter of indie games (and have been an indie dev) but I am super interested in the break downs and how smaller crews make it work.

    • Risky Lab

      The reason it took so long and was still relatively cheap to make was due to the fact that we both kept our day jobs. No salaries, no rent, insurance, etc.

      • Edwin Ramirez when is this coming to Android?

  • noteatino

    Hey, thats what I posted on the General section.

  • Michal Hochmajer

    Please, have more dumb ideas! Maybe even more than more. Or dumbest of them all! Indie dev. at its finest. Luckily, I can use this phrase often nowadays. Wish all the best. Especially in planning phase...just for sake of sanity. 🙂

    • Risky Lab


    • mimajenkins

      Truth. Great game nice work!

  • Daniel Schroeder

    This reminds me of commenters on forums who trivialize and devalue the work that goes into a game, even if the base formula has already been established. I haven't beaten Warbits, but from what I've played, it's a solid and slick game that has earned its success. Happy to hear the developers "get it" and took the necessary time to make something original.