Hey r/IAMA!I am Tuomas Erikoinen, the founder of Part Time Monkey, a small indie studio in Helsinki Finland. I am a former Rovio employee and the original artist of the Angry Birds mobile game.Proof: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Birds_(video_game))

After leaving Rovio I co-founded Boomlagoon. Now I have over ten years of experience in mobile game development and I went full-on indie in August 2015 when I formed my own company, Part Time Monkey. We're currently working on our first PC release called "Ball Grabbers". So far we have released 8 games for mobile, in 3 years.

The company has grown from, me on my own, to a 4 person team, with two of us working full-time in developing games and the other two helping us out in marketing and finances. For a company so small, we tend to work fast and efficiently. Like I mentioned before we're working on our first PC release, coming this summer! Ball Grabbers is now available to wishlist on steam https://store.steampowered.com/app/851980/Ball_Grabbers/

Oh and btw one of our latest mobile games, Silly Walks, has finally made its way to Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.parttimemonkey.sillywalks

(EDIT) We're really happy how well the AMA turned out and we'd like to give a huge shout out to everyone who has come by so far! We'll be leaving the AMA open indefinitely so you can keep on hitting us up with Q's all you want! And please share Ball Grabbers with your mates, as it would mean the world to us! If you wanna follow the progress, we'll be posting about it on facebook https://www.facebook.com/parttimemonkey/

Thanks everyone!

Comments: 608 • Responses: 141  • Date: 

apebit_267 karma

If you left Rovio by the time Angry Birds was a huge deal, with everyone and their grandma playing it, what made you decide to leave? Also are you like filthy rich now?

PartTimeMonkey327 karma

I don't exactly know. I guess I went with the flow. The environment in Angry Birds was getting quite hectic because of how fast the company was hiring. I wouldn't say everything started to fall apart, but there was kind of too much going on and way too little experienced people. At that point it just felt like a good decision.

Define "filthy"

Akredlm76 karma

I'm gonna take a chance here to ask if you knew about Crush the Castle and if so did you see any of the similarities between the series and Angry Birds? I ask because my brother and I have been mildly salty since Angry Birds first released that it seemed so similar to a mostly unknown flash game series we loved.

PartTimeMonkey294 karma

The original concept of AB wasn't what it is now. The orig. design came from Jaakko Iisalo and it was about matching colored blocks with colored birds. So at least the original design wasn't that much a rip-off, at least in my opinion.

To be honest, I don't know/remember how it evolved from that color-matcher to a castle-crashing game. I do think that Crush the Castle was something we looked at, but definitely wasn't the only inspiration.

Ultimately however, everything is a remix. Every developers rips off something from other games, some just hide it better than others, and some fall in the middle. I think AB was somewhere in the middle.

Titi-caca152 karma

That was the most honest answer I have ever seen in any AMA! You are a good egg.

PartTimeMonkey76 karma

Haha thanks!

Akredlm68 karma

That makes sense and it's interesting to hear that the game design wasn't originally what it is now.

Thanks. I just needed closure on that issue. Gonna relay it to my bro.

PartTimeMonkey42 karma

Hehe, my pleasure!

Ben_zyl44 karma

And if you want to go even further back, the gorilla physics demo game in Qbasic for MS-DOS 5 from 1991.

PartTimeMonkey11 karma

Very true!

HumanWikipediaGame66 karma

I read that as "definitely filthy" and wasn't sure if you were making a joke about yourself or jokingly saying yes.

PartTimeMonkey113 karma

Haha. I’m probably less rich than people think, but above midclass I guess

eldfluga81 karma

Wow. Unsnarky and unironic congrats on not being one of the majority of wealthy people who erroneously consider themselves "middle class."

PartTimeMonkey27 karma

Haha!

rune534 karma

I didn't find him on any of the high income earners lists. All tax information is publicly available in Finland and the newspapers publish lists of the best earners. I think something like 60k euros is the limit for making it to the list.

I could go digging and find out how much he owns of the part time monkey company, and estimate its worth if it has received vc funding or based on the financial statements but I am too lazy to care.

So, I would say, no, he is probably not filthy rich. He might be though if he was given a decent chunk of rovio shares and never sold it. If I remember correctly, Rovio was not in the habit of giving shares or options to its employees.

PartTimeMonkey93 karma

Sorry I had missed your comment.

All this info is public in Finland (for some weird reason). Part Time Monkey made 634k€ in revenue and 455k€ in profit last year: https://www.asiakastieto.fi/yritykset/fi/part-time-monkey-oy/28176833/yleiskuva

This year is probably a bit worse, not sure yet. Personally I took about 100k€ last year in salary, bonuses and dividends.

KraftyKyle38 karma

You get the award for the most honest AMA answers ever. Thanks for the info! Really neat!

PartTimeMonkey8 karma

Heh, thanks a lot!

lachryma23 karma

To save people a few conversion trips, that's about 117k USD, 153k CAD, 88k GBP, 13 mil JPY, 751k CNY, 7.4 mil RUB, and about 67.3 million Somali shillings.

/u/PartTimeMonkey, I'm in the U.S. tech industry, so I appreciate your candor about salary. That's helpful context. I'm in non-gaming, so not directly comparable, but that'd be a bit light for a mid-career engineer here depending on industry vertical. (Might be directly on point for gaming, for all I know.)

kasakka18 karma

You have to remember that salaries are almost double in the US tech hubs compared to Finland. The drawback is less time off, longer work weeks, more expensive living costs depending on the city etc.

I don't work in gaming either but in my field I could get a lot more money in the US but don't feel like I need it, I value free time more than having more money or possessions or a bigger home.

lachryma3 karma

Yeah, that's why I appreciate the context. I'm looking to go the other direction which is why I like hearing average market elsewhere, and all the points you raise are well heeded.

I'd be surprised if it were outright double, though. Especially in the more meat-grinder jobs (like web apps), there's a huge range of salary and a lot of people who don't know how to negotiate. I know some folks who are criminally underpaid in CA, but I'm not in a position to tell them. Finns strike me as more respectful in that sense, so I'd assume the Finnish salary range would be narrower, but the ends would be different as you point out. Am I right?

PartTimeMonkey9 karma

I had somehow missed these comments. A good pay in Finland is around 50-60k€ a year. A ”mid pay” would be around 35-45k I think.

PartTimeMonkey5 karma

Haha

JinorZ0 karma

So either he hasn't paid taxes to Finland or he hasn't earned over 100k in a year

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Say what now? :)

hennasophia172 karma

Hey Tuomas! What are the best resources you recommend for learning the secrets of game design and the psychology behind it all? Any tools/canvases/ tricks of the trade you could suggest? Much appreciated!

PartTimeMonkey160 karma

Hey! I've read next to zero books and articles about it. I think I'm still mostly doing decisions based on pure gutfeeling. In my opinion your best learnings come from doing the thing. It works well especially with small mobile games, since with every shipped title you become much wiser about what you did well and what went wrong.

So sorry, I don't have anything specific to point you to. I just recommend to ship your first few titles as soon as possible - obviously you want to put your heart in it at least to some extent, but I wouldn't recommend spending too much time on getting everything right.

damo13311 karma

Easy enjoyable repetitive gameplay.

Have a “life system” which replenishes every 60mins or whatever values you want. Charge real money for extra lives.

Add skins and “cosmetics” for purchase with special “Gems” which you can only get from paying with real money, or a special in game event which gives the player a measly amount.

Adverts all over the place also.

There is your basis for a super successful mobile game.

PartTimeMonkey7 karma

Hehe, but with class!

Oddrok81 karma

What engine are you using for your games?

PartTimeMonkey202 karma

Unity, always Unity. Unity is the best because it's Unity and everyone should use Unity.

Oddrok42 karma

I agree Unity is the BEST ENGINE! but is it really? what do you think of Unreal?

PartTimeMonkey110 karma

I agree Unity is the BEST ENGINE! but is it really? what do you think of Unreal?

To be honest I haven't used Unreal at all, only seen glimpses. But to my understanding it isn't as suitable for small casual cartoony games, but would be anyone's number one choice when making realistic shit.

adamantiumxt31 karma

Just remember Lazy Town was made with Unreal Engine ;)

PartTimeMonkey39 karma

There are exceptions to all rules. ;)

nsjr12 karma

Except this rule ;)

... or not... I'm confused right now

PartTimeMonkey15 karma

The rules are meant to be ruled ;) over.. or I mean hmm

tiga4life223 karma

Is that you Rick James?

PartTimeMonkey6 karma

Uuuunidyyyy!

ChosenCharacter-6 karma

Everyone should use Unity

Yes everyone should use the closed source engine where your entire well being is at the wills of another company. You know how many people have complained to me about Unity causing engine-level issues?

It's important to be able to be in control of what happens to your game. Inflating an engine monopoly like Unity to this degree causes the same issues that makes iOS dev such a pain - they'll be thinking they can get away with anything, either adapt to them or lose your work.

Edit: Godot is an engine that is open source is quickly gaining the same capabilities as Unity. There is no subscription fee and the work is done pro bono by experienced volunteers, not by a greedy company that keeps changing the rules to milk more out of devs.

PartTimeMonkey8 karma

I'm saying this stuff with small casual games in mind, that take max 6mo to do. In that time, it doesn't matter if the closed source engine does whatever, you're still gonna be able to ship it.

PartTimeMonkey48 karma

On a more serious note though, Unity provides so much out-of-the-box that it would be insane to use anything else for small mobile games.

juhogl61 karma

Why did you decide to transition from mobile to PC? Is it a permanent decision, a one-off, or do you have plans to do both PC and mobile releases in the future?

PartTimeMonkey99 karma

We weren't supposed to do the "transition." We were playing Rocket League at the office and tried finding more local multiplayer games, but didn't really find enough. That lead me to prototype something funny at home, which transitioned into something more serious, and eventually we decide to go all the way to Steam.

For now I think we'll continue making mobile games, but another local multiplayer for Steam definitely isn't out of the question. Maybe next year.

danthescribe17 karma

Rocket League

HellYeah

PartTimeMonkey23 karma

FuckYeah

OrangeDrangon12 karma

Nice Shot!

Savage!

Wow!

Chat is disabled for 3 seconds

PartTimeMonkey6 karma

Hah!

snake30256 karma

Hi there!

1) How much money you are earned from your own mobile projects? 2) Can you please explain your monetisation models and which ad networks do you use? 3) What's your marketing strategy?

PartTimeMonkey86 karma

Hey!

  1. The company has made probably around $800-900k from all of our titles combined.
  2. In our own games we only use Unity Ads and IAPs. Ads' share is about 98% of all revenue. With Ketchapp we use HeyZap and multiple ad networks.
  3. We don't really have one. We try to make quality games that will be picked for featuring by Apple/Google. So far it has worked well. We are doing some marketing on our Steam game Ball Grabbers now, but we're very new to it and we're not using much money on it, so it's quite small.

D039920 karma

So most of your revenue comes from ads within the games? What percent conversion?

PartTimeMonkey29 karma

Yeah about 98% of all revenue comes from ads. There is really no conversion I think... or maybe elaborate the question? :)

adamantiumxt14 karma

I think he means what click-rate the ads have

PartTimeMonkey28 karma

Oh right. Well I don’t really know to be honest, I only know the eCPM, meaning how much money is gotten from 1000 ad views on average. It depends on country and can be from $3 to $30

reebokpumps5 karma

How do you feel about ads that trick you into clicking them? Like having a fake x in the corner? Also, do you vet the ads in your games? I’ve played games for all ages and some ads are sexual in nature and wouldn’t be appropriate for a 6 year old (particularly thinking of what I think is a dating sim with a chick sneaking into the bedroom of a shirtless dude at night).

PartTimeMonkey25 karma

I hate ads that try to trick you, and I dislike ad networks that use multiple different layouts for ads just to mess with the player to get clicks. That's one of the reasons I only use Unity Ads - always the same layout which is clear and non-tricky.

I don't vet the ads myself, the ad networks do. But I do get to age-gate however I want, but it's then the ad networks job to classify the ads based on age.

reebokpumps10 karma

Thanks for the answer and honesty.

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

Mah pleasure!

PartTimeMonkey10 karma

Haha!

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Oops sorry replied to wrong thing with my previous "Haha!" comment.

Hoof_Hearted122 karma

So nice to hear from someone who doesn't balk from questions about money. Not that you owe us an answer, but it's very refreshing!

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Hehe thanks! I tend to be open about everything, it just kinda makes life easier. :)

Strenklo51 karma

Will Ball Grabbers release on Nintendo Switch (pretty please)?

PartTimeMonkey57 karma

Unfortunately probably no. Well... If the Steam version becomes huge, then probably yes. But let's see. :)

Strenklo36 karma

Okay, I still love you though.

PartTimeMonkey44 karma

I love you too.

meatboat2tunatown50 karma

What is your favorite video game art of all time?

PartTimeMonkey77 karma

Wow, that's a big question. I haven't really thought of just one favourite... I really like how Blizzard does their textures in ZBrush. I also liked the style in Kingdom Rush for mobile. I really like this guy's style, but it's not gaming: www.manujarvinen.com

That's a tough question!

meatboat2tunatown48 karma

Sorry, that's not the right answer. Super Contra was what we were looking for.

PartTimeMonkey38 karma

Damn.

THIS_IS_GOD_TOTALLY_18 karma

We also would've accepted Shadow of the Colossus, Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven and Excite Bike.

PartTimeMonkey16 karma

I'm sorry! I'm much more a mobile gamer than console/PC. :|

THIS_IS_GOD_TOTALLY_8 karma

You're forgiven.

Legitimate question: I've been an avid fan of the Angry Birds games for years. The design, the aesthetic, the simplicity, the deep levels of difficulty... the Angry Birds Friends Tournaments have helped me hone skills like resource allocation, time management, forward planning, etc.

Did you come up with the names for those birds? If so, are there any connections to real-life / fictional people?

PartTimeMonkey21 karma

The birds didn’t have names for years after launch. They were named for the movie, and I wasn’t around anymore at that time. So I have really no idea where they came from. :)

THIS_IS_GOD_TOTALLY_8 karma

Nice, always wondered why for years they went "un-named".

What sort of directions were you given per iconic bird? "Make Red 'angry'", "Make the yellow one angry but different" "Make the female one matronly", etc.?

PartTimeMonkey16 karma

I think we just kinda went with the flow. They all needed to be angry even thougg maybe they all don’t portray it as much. Yellow’s triangular shape represents its speed ability, blacks roundness and color represents explosivity and so on :)

Kauil34 karma

When Angry Birds exploded, how did you feel about suddenly becoming super successful/famous? How did you stay grounded?

PartTimeMonkey66 karma

Well I didn't get famous. Peter Vesterbacka did. :D The success of AB didn't even show that much in Finland while it was booming especially in the states.

Finnish humility goes a long way. I was also a very new artist to the industry back then, so I didn't really even know what was happening.

wannabat1310 karma

Last time I was home, it was pretty big and I got to visit an Angry Birds store in Itis (I think). It feels like the hype got back around to Finland and has kind of died down here in the US.

Everyone I talked to told my American boyfriend that they were the country behind Angry Birds (:

PartTimeMonkey8 karma

Hehhehe yeah I think it did go something like that. :) I guess it's still going, not just to that extent anymore

lurking_digger30 karma

Hello, thank you for your time

Did Angry Birds get you more dates?

What was your pickup line?

PartTimeMonkey48 karma

Haha, I wish. I'm a shy guy and have almost never approached girls, except when drunk or online. So no, AB didn't do much for me.

I don't think we thought about AB-related pickup lines though. :)

lurking_digger24 karma

Any redditors who would date Tuomas?

PartTimeMonkey60 karma

I am, however, taken now. But I appreciate the effort. :D

Gildolen18 karma

Are you good at angry birds?

PartTimeMonkey37 karma

I haven't played any of them in years... When we were developing it and we didn't yet have leaderboards, we made an Excel sheet where we listed all the devs' highscores just to compete against each other. That's a bad story though 'cause I don't remember how I ranked.

Gildolen6 karma

Ok. Anyways, thank you so much to you and the rest of the people working on those fantastic games!

PartTimeMonkey7 karma

Thanks a bunch!

kaltsua18 karma

Why are you special?

PartTimeMonkey23 karma

For those wondering what this question is about: my surname in Finnish means ”special” :P Or ”extraordinary” or ”weird”

bonskari17 karma

Why did you decide to go with the monkey name?

PartTimeMonkey41 karma

When forming the company I struggled to find any good names for it. For some reason I found that word funny in Finnish, which is "osa-aika-apina." I guess I liked the hyphens. I'm a bit of a grammar nazi. It translates directly to Part Time Monkey so I went with it.

PixelEnvision17 karma

Fellow dev here, with few Q's. How did Space Frontier 2 do compared to original?

PartTimeMonkey22 karma

Hay there. It's looking to be pretty similar. Or to be fair, it's making much more $ per user, but getting quite a bit less downloads. Overall it's looking good-ish.

tubbana15 karma

Torille?

PartTimeMonkey17 karma

Aina

Max_xor12 karma

Hey Tuomas,

Would you describe your favorite 'table flipping' tactic / method you use in (rare) cases when your concept / metrics is/are not good enough?

PartTimeMonkey25 karma

When still in production: I usually just shut down the whole project and start working on something else. I try to do this asap I start getting those feelings, to avoid losing more time on the project.

After launch: I have no tricks here. If the metrics are shit, they will stay shit. Just gotta feel the kick in the nuts and start the work on another project.

I hope I understood your question right...

PixelEnvision9 karma

Why did you decided to release SF & SF2 with a publisher instead of your own as the other titles, silly walks, etc. ?

PartTimeMonkey11 karma

Well, Ketchapp is big. I wanted to catch bigger fish. Silly Walks, our way the biggest title of our self-releases, has gotten 3.5M downloads. Space Frontier has gotten about 30M, and it isn't nearly even the most successful title from Ketchapp.

SF2 obviously went through Ketchapp too, since on top of us wanting to do it, they also had a clause of spin-offs in the contract that they have the first right to ship it.

But in the end they are two very different paths. I think when working with a publisher like Ketchapp, you can have much bigger expectations than by releasing yourself (as an indie, that is), but it also becomes slower, since there's more back and forth, requirements and whatnot.

PixelEnvision3 karma

Thank you :) If you're allowed to share, may I ask if Ketchapp used paid ads to drive installs or mostly relied on cross-promotion in the network of their previous titles?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

I think they do both, but I don't have any numbers on how much and where they do it.

JS6717799 karma

Hello! First, I did enjoy the original Angry Birds.

So my question may be odd but I’m curious: were you inspired by Monty Python at all for Silly Walks?

PartTimeMonkey9 karma

Hey! Well, no. The game was already quite far in development when we came up with the name. The original prototype was done by this guy www.nitroyale.com who we co-developed the game with, and I don't think he had much Monty Python thoughts when he did it :) But obviously when we named it, we did think about the name-clash. I checked whether Silly Walks the name is copyrighted or not and it wasn't. I figured that if we get sued by Monty Python, at least we get to meet John Cleese and the rest! ... which we probably wouldn't have...

CoopertheFluffy8 karma

I was just in Helsinki and the tour guide told me angry birds is based on the seagulls in Senate Square. Is there any truth to this?

Also what's your favorite sauna?

PartTimeMonkey17 karma

There's pretty much zero truth to that. :) No real birds were really the inspiration behind the art.

I go to the sauna about 3 times a week, so I kinda prefer the one in my house. Overall though, not too hot like the mad Finns do, but still around 65C with good humidity.

oriolid3 karma

based

Haha, I was just about to ask about this. I've always thought that the small red, black and white ones look a bit like punatulkku, metso and a chicken and was wondering what the yellow and large red ones are :)

PartTimeMonkey5 karma

Hah, never saw the resemblance myself really. :) They are what you think they are!

urbandrawer7 karma

Hi, as an aspiring artist I'm interested in how other people got started in the industry, so:

  • How did you get started?

  • How much does a BA/Medianomi degree matter in Finland's game industry?

  • Some say personality is as important as portfolio, what do you think?

  • Are coding skills required of game artists? If so, how much do they code?

PartTimeMonkey29 karma

  1. I started my "artist journey" already when I was about 13 or so. The interest towards 3d, level design, drawing, etc. came by playing lots of games, especially Quake 3 Arena. :)

So because of that interest, I downloaded the completely legal full version of 3ds Max for free (...) and started doing stuff. I was very frustrated loads of times but something kept me going.

  1. I would say a degree in the games industry means close to nothing. Especially if you're an artist, your portfolio and personality (motivation, easy to work with, etc) matter the most. If your portfolio is shit, I don't give a crap if you're a Doctor or the President. But if your portfolio is good... Well I still don't give two shits about that, but now I know you're a good artist that can get an interview at least :)

  2. Wow I didn't even read your 3rd question before writing the answer to the 2nd one. But yes, personality does matter a lot. You have to get along with the people you work with, and you need motivation to get good shit done.

  3. Coding skills are not required. However if you work in a team of two or three, they're very much appreciated. But even then if you're good enough on all the technical aspects of art (there's a lot to it), but don't know how to code, that's already a win.

raybone127 karma

What do you think will be the biggest change the average gamer will see in the next 5 years?

PartTimeMonkey9 karma

I'm bad a future predictions, but I hope that online multiplayer becomes a more easily approachable thing for casual game developers, meaning that even small games like our Silly Walks or Ball Grabbers could be played with friends online.

These are tough things to predict. What do you think will be it?

andrew9116 karma

Hi Could you tell more about promotion and marketing used for your games?

PartTimeMonkey8 karma

Hey! We haven't really done much. We rely on our games' quality to get featured by Apple/Google, which so far has happened to all our games (excluding the first few).

We also work with Ketchapp, and they do paid advertising and they have a huge existing user base to cross-promote new games to.

CrAkaJackZ6 karma

If you're not a video game designer what would you be?

PartTimeMonkey7 karma

If I didn't work in the games industry in general, I think I would be in some ad agency doing graphics or something. Or maybe programming/designing some apps like Yousician. If I had to venture further, I would be a carpenter or a gardener.

hakaboksi5 karma

Howdy! How are you able to develop a full-blown game in such short development time? One that doesn’t look like a set of dancing stick figures.

I remember seeing some estimates you presented last fall.

PartTimeMonkey10 karma

Hey Haka! The magic behind is that they all are just glorified stick figures! I think my experience on art and its technical aspects enables me to create good-ish looking stuff fast, i.e. from the get-go I know a lot of pitfalls and time-eaters to avoid. If you do a style like in any of our games right off-the-bat, it doesn't take much time. The time-consuming part often is constantly re-defining the style, which often is because you may lack the artistic capability or experience.

Not trying to sound too much of a snob here, but I think it boils down to things like that. :)

katjoy635 karma

what's your take on why Scandinavians (I'll include Finland for this exercise - teehee) are so good at gaming in general?

PartTimeMonkey14 karma

Well the weather makes us stay inside 10 months of the year, and there's only so much you can do within four walls... The isolation makes us shy, too, so we don't wanna interact with people face-to-face. So all is left is gaming... :) Obviously exaggerated, but I think it has truth in it.

J3STER_45 karma

How’s your day been going?

PartTimeMonkey10 karma

So far pretty good, thanks! This AMA is much more active than I thought, too. How about yours?

-give-me-my-wings-4 karma

What is your favorite Angry Bird? ( or do you identify with the pigs more?)

My son wants to know :D

PartTimeMonkey6 karma

I think the pigs are the cutest, but if I had to pick a bird I'd probably pick the black one. :) Say hi to your son!

meatboat2tunatown3 karma

GOAT: Fed or Rafa?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

GOAT: Fed or Rafa

Uhh... With quick googling this is ... about tennis? I will put my odds on Fed..orova...

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazz3 karma

How come you still have to work with all the success of angry bird?

PartTimeMonkey14 karma

'cause I didn't have any revenue share or stock in the company... :(

SurrogateOfKos3 karma

Why?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

Why... what?

SurrogateOfKos4 karma

Sorry, I typed more out in my head than I actually typed lol. I mean, why the original red Angry Bird look? He looks like a person I knew ones. Is he inspired by someone you've seen before?

PartTimeMonkey5 karma

Hehhe it's just based on Jaakko Iisalo's original mockup of Angry Birds: http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2011/01/19/angry-birds-original-concept-artwork-outed/angry-birds-original-artwork-1/index.html

I don't think Jaakko had any person in mind back then, and I didn't have either when re-designing it. :)

Captain_Braveheart3 karma

Scariest thing that’s happened to you?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

Wow tough one. I crashed a rental in Chicago right before starting the cruise on Route 66, and we talked to the police he said my driving licence isn’t valid in the states, so our trip could’ve stopped before it even started. That would’ve been about 6000€ down the drain. Thankfully the cop let us off the hook and we did the trip with my non-valid licence.

I guess I haven’t gone throgh that many scary scenarios.

When I was 15 or so I was being held at gun point by a drug addict ”friend” of mine. It was scary, but I don’t think the gun was even loaded.

Captain_Braveheart3 karma

You’re really good at replying to these questions so I have another one for ya.

I’ve played angry birds, it’s obviously become a huge success and all that, but something that I’m sure everyone can identify with is failure. What was your life like before you “made it”. What doubts did you struggle with and how did you overcome them? How did you know everything was going to workout and did you have plans in case they didn’t?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

After Angry Birds I’ve been (maybe too) confident that I will never be unemployed in this field again, so I’ve always had that to comfort me no matter what I do. That has made all struggles rather easy since I know that even if I fall, I won’t fall nearly to the bottom - if that makes sense.

Before Angry Birds I think I relayed on Rovio quite a bit. They appreciated me and I appreciated them, so I guess I never really worried that much.

If I had to come up with something, I guess I doubted myself as an artist quite a bit. Now that I think of it, I still do. But now I take comfort in knowing most aspects of game development, so what I lack in art I make up for in everything else.

j0hka3 karma

Do you have any tips on getting your games featured? How does it work? How much of it is about contacts and how much about the game's quality?

PartTimeMonkey5 karma

I have much more experience on Apple than Google, so I will speak about that. Gameplay and art the two biggest factors. Get those right and you're probably going to end up getting featured, no matter who you contact.

I don't know if contacting them helps or not, as they never tell whether they're going to feature it or not. They just "pass the information." It's kind of a big mystery.

But what you should do is to fill out this form 6 weeks before your launch, at least https://developer.apple.com//contact/app-store/promote/

j0hka2 karma

Dangerous business in a way that you have to work for months to see what happens. How do you deal with the stress?

PartTimeMonkey5 karma

In a way you're absolutely correct, but I'm glad that Apple has shown that they value high quality by showing love through featuring. So as long as we keep providing high quality and they keep diggin', all is good.

We have also launched two games through a publisher (Ketchapp), which is always kind of a safer route if you can take it.

I don't really stress anything. Life and bank is in such good condition for me that I can afford a little bump on the road. For as long as the bump don't happen, there's nothing for me to stress about. :)

markhachman3 karma

Hi Tuomas,

I just wanted to say thank you. Your creation, Angry Birds, has had a profound effect on my children's lives. My eldest son has drawn art and even entire comic books based on the characters. He and his brother own many of the figurines and use them to create adventures in their bedrooms and elsewhere. As an incentive to get them to eat their vegetables, I began telling them original stories, but from the pigs' perspective -- which is really the most interesting!

We're on vacation, or otherwise I'd share some of my son's artwork. But thank you again for helping bring these characters into the world.

Question: do you still own any rights to the artwork?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

Heh, that’s nice to hear! It’s always cool if kids get involved, since their motivation is the purest of kinds!

Unfortunately I never owned any of the rights, they are property of Rovio.

JakobVonBismarck3 karma

Hey Thomas, how did you originally get involved with Angry Birds? And what was your first ever job as a professional artist? Thanks.

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

My first job as a ”professional artist” (trainee at that time) was in a very small studio called PixelGene. PG was acquired by Rovio maybe 4 months after I joined, so my first ”real” job was really in Rovio. Which is also the story of how I got involved with AB. :)

TheTrueLordHumungous3 karma

You ever think in your wildest dreams that your work would be turned into an animated movie?

PartTimeMonkey5 karma

Heh well I guess it sounds cool when you put it like that. But I guess I never felt real ownership on AB, probably because I wasn’t given rev share, stock or options, so it didn’t feel as good as you’d imagine.

If one of Part Time Monkey’s games turned into an animated movie by Pixar, my life would be complete.

NotJokingAround3 karma

Why are the birds angry?

PartTimeMonkey4 karma

Well, their eggs were stolen!

tumpperi_3 karma

Is school overrated if you want to make games ?

I also want to say that I've been your fan since a little boy(and I have one of your early drawings hanging at my wall :D), you're an inspiration!

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

Thanks a lot! :)

In my opinion a degree isn’t worth shit, but it’s possible that what you learn through school is. Ultimately you’ll get hired based on what you can show you’ve done. If it’s good, you’re hired and if not, then no job for you - no matter if you have 10 degrees or not.

prutte943 karma

As a music composer trying to get into the video game industry and one day hopefully make a living writing video game music, how does your team go about finding musicians?

And do you notice any common mistakes musicians you work with often make?

PartTimeMonkey5 karma

I think it’s though especially if you don’t do SFX. There’s quite a lot of composers wanting to get in the industry. Many small studios make their own music or use services like Audio Jungle.

I think your best bet would be to have an absolutely ass kicking portfolio and apply for the slightlt larger companies that want everything customised for their needs.

Emperorpenguin53 karma

Are you happy that your company created a monstrosity of a movie?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

To my surprise, I actually liked the movie!

Emperorpenguin53 karma

Smooth response.

Anyways enjoy the rest of the AMA with less antagonist questions!

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Hehhehe I find much of the negativity funny

punkkapoika2 karma

Will there always be a market for new mobile games? Being bought by Chinese teleoperator seems like a good deal since we trust ourselves to make better games but is that necessarily the truth?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

I think there will be a market for mobile games for as long until someone replaces mobile phones by something else, and that is a long way to go methinks.

I don't understand the second question... Can you refine it for me? :)

07bot4life2 karma

what kind of cake do you like?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

I don't like cakes or sweet stuff in general. But once my gf made a cake out of sea buckthorn berry (had to google that one) and while it smelled racid when she did it, it tasted delicious!

Sidekick_Man2 karma

Have you ever thought about/actually worked in console game development? If so, how drastic are the differences between that and mobile gaming?

Thanks!

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

I haven't. I've always done just mobile games, apart from our latest venture to Steam with Ball Grabbers. But I must say, doing a premium game is perhaps more fun, since you don't have to integrate shitloads of SDKs, think of monetization, retention and whatnot. Instead you just get to do a game and straight-up sell it for whatever.

However that business is much harder, and the games need to have much more content.

If there was a market for very small premium games on any platform, I think all developers would want to go there. But the truth is that it's much "easier" to make at least something with ads than with premium.

question872 karma

I have a lot of Questions, Number one: "How dare you?"

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

I DARE BECAUSE I CARE.

How dare I what?

JesteroftheApocalyps2 karma

What is your theory about making games in age ranges? Do they have to be easy enough for small kids but without challenging adults?

Or do you avoid this thinking all together and just make the game without these consideration?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

Well I think if you're making a casual game targeting a broad audience, your main audience is likely somewhere 12 to 50 or so, but still suitable for everyone. I do think about this when deciding on the genre, gameplay, art etc. and often have this (broad) age group in mind.

However if you do target, say, kids, you obviously have to make a very different game. I would assume with kids it also depends a lot whether you're targeting 2-4yo or 5-6yo. And obviously ultimately you're targeting their parents.

bumpkinblumpkin2 karma

Have you played any of the "adult" versions of angry birds?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Haha no! Link?

FeccRid2 karma

Tavataanko torilla?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

No ei tänään mutta joskus miksei

_pelya2 karma

For a typical mobile game, what is the ratio between coding / graphics design / level design / audio / playtesting?

Aside from adventure games, I guess they are 90% graphics / 9% audio / 1% setting up IDE.

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

You’re pretty much correct about adventure games. And by that comment you can probably guess it depends a lot on the game design/genre. Our game Silly Walks was perhaps 10% coding, 20% art and 70% level design. But my game Breakout Ninja was perhaps 50% coding, 20% level design and 10% art.

It’s quite hard to say reallt, depends so much on the game.

EDIT: I’m bad at math. You get the point. :)

accubie2 karma

Terve Tuomas! How's the weather today over there?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

Terve! The sun is shining, birds are singing and the warmth cuddles my buttcheeks. It’s about 20C which for us is summer!

Sir_Deus_Midi2 karma

What was your favourite bird to design?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Uhh it was such a long time ago... I have a faint recalling that the black one was the most straight-forward and didn't go through as many re-designs as the other ones, so maybe that one.

Nerditation2 karma

What do you use to make your art?

Also hi, big fan of your work. :)

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

I personally have always used Photoshop and 3dsMax. But now Monkey’s art is being done in Blender and Photoshop, since Simo the art monkey has taken over. :)

EntropyOx2 karma

Was there a point during the Angry Birds franchise development where you decided you hated working on this project and couldn't believe you were making another one? If so, how did you maintain your drive to put out another polished product?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Well I don't think I ever hated any of it, but one after another did start taking its toll. Especially all the canceled projects etc. I think I stayed motivated because of other things than the exact products, like making artists' lives smoother by focusing on art processes, optimizing games, all that kinda stuff that had to take place because of the insane growth rate.

8643679664222 karma

Who’s the guy in the background?

PartTimeMonkey4 karma

That's Simo Kovanen, our artist in Part Time Monkey. :) Check out our monkey-faces on www.parttimemonkey.com

roeder2 karma

I've been working with creative work and design for many years. It's fun, challenging and all, but the next obstacle is naturally getting to know and understand the basics of Unity, since I've always wanted to make my own games.

What experiences did you have with development before your first game?

PartTimeMonkey3 karma

I had worked with Rovio's own engine as an artist, so I got to know the technical aspects of art in game development at that time. In Boomlagoon we started using Unity, where I had about 3 years to study Unity without having to code in it. Then ultimately after that time I started programming, which was much less of an effort than I thought, and I think much of it is because I knew much of the technical side already.

roeder2 karma

Thanks for the answer!

Yeah, I assume it helps a lot on the learning, that you've been able to spend time learning all the basics and keys for Unity. I've learned from Adobe that when you understand the mindset behind the programs and utilities, it's much easier to take on new tools.

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Yeah, experience obviously is a big part of anything. It may sound unmotivating for people entering the field, but the more and smarter you do, the faster you learn. :)

roeder2 karma

I can imagine, but I actually feel more motivated than ever. :)

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Excellent, good luck. :)

roeder2 karma

Cheers, man!

GL with Ball Grabbers!

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Thanks!

rad-raccoon2 karma

Love reading through all your answers. I’m a UI/graphic designer hoping to design for a games studio in the future.

  1. Should it be possible for a non-coder to put together a basic game in Unity? I have a vague understanding of JavaScript.

  2. All the jobs I find want previous experience. Would making my own game help?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Hey, thanks!

  1. Well if you target specifically UI/UX in games, it would definitely help if you at least knew a lot of the technical aspects of it. For example Unity provides a lot of tools to set up UI without programming. You can even do full UI flows without a single line of code. If you don't fear programming and/or have some motivation towards it, definitely do something with it. It will help you down the line.
  2. If you apply to be a web designer, do you think it'd help if you had some web sites to show? :) Yes, it would help. If you did it alone and it's good, you're probably guaranteed to get a job. However it is not absolutely necessary. Especially an artist can land a job in the game industry with just a good portfolio. But the key here is that whatever the stuff you show needs be good.

rad-raccoon2 karma

Brilliant, thanks for replying. Now I’ve just got to get on with it! Best of luck with your new releases!

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Thanks, good luck to you too!

amatsumima2 karma

Do you ever regret what you have unleashed onto to world?

/s

PartTimeMonkey8 karma

Erryday. Ha. It was a team effort, so I can't take all the blame!

PineappleSmooch1 karma

Could you please comment on the data breach that happened two years ago, and how it affected sales?

PartTimeMonkey1 karma

Umm I cannot because I don’t which breach you’re talking about, and two years ago I wasn’t in Rovio anymore. :)

BrainOnBlue1 karma

How hard is it, when using an engine like unity, to port from iOS to Android? It seems like it'd be an hour job but a lot of indies take months to do it.

PartTimeMonkey1 karma

Well it's a tricky question. To get the build running on android can take from 5 mins to 1 hour depending on any iOS-specific SDKs and whatnot. You could launch it right then in a few hours, if you wanted to. But the thing is, that developers want to integrate Play Services, sharing systems, achievements, leaderboards, and they want to optimize for android devices, and all that takes time as you can imagine. iOS and Android don't share the "3rd party SDKs", so in order to fulfill for example Google Play's wishlist, you have to do quite a bit of work before you can go live.

nowtayneicangetinto1 karma

Hey Tuomas! What has served as your biggest inspiration artistically?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

I don’t really know. I’ve always been a bit more technical than the traditional artists, so whenever I needed to design something, I’ve just gone to google images and searched for references. :)

MrStar11021 karma

Hi Tuomas,

Thanks for the game, it did take a lot of my energy..j/k

Small questions: What IDE do you use ? and as a newbie (in game developing), should I start with iOS or Android?

Thank you and have great day!

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Hey, thanks!

We use Unity for all our games. It has so many ready made solutions that I’d be mad to think of anything else at this point. :)

If you want to use unity and get a build running fast, start with android. Overall, moneywise, you need to do both. However we, and many others, do iOS first and then go to Google Play.

fuckclemson691 karma

How do you pronounce your name?

PartTimeMonkey1 karma

Uhhhhh... how can I get this right by just writing? :D

DatBoi731 karma

Why did you leave Rovio and what was your favourite project to work on?

PartTimeMonkey1 karma

I didn’t have any shares or such in the company, and it was becoming stale with just angry birds after another. I wanted to become FREE and aim HIGH! :)

rwal11 karma

Hey there! If I have a game idea with limited budget of $5-$10k which needs unity design, would your company be open to hear me out? Thanks

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

No, sorry. :) We don’t do subcontracting. Good luck though!

rwal12 karma

Thank you for responding. if you get time kindly do send any referrals for people who work on small $10-$15k projects buddy! Appreciate it.

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

I suggest making a site of your idea, get some visuals and concepts around it and share the story. Then you have something worth taking a gander at. :)

Jinotix1 karma

Hi Toumas, I am just beginning to start mobile app dev. Do you have any good educational outlets that you would recommend? I'm currently working in Unity and coding in C#. Any help would be much appreciated.

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Some people seem to like udemy.com but I haven’t tried it myself. Also Brackeys on Twitter is good. Overall I think you just need to have some design in mind, work towards it, and overcome obstacles with Google. :)

shitty-cat1 karma

How do you feel knowing your games create mindless zombies ??

I had a $60 pipe break because some dumb cunt was busy playing angry birds and dropped the shit.

PartTimeMonkey1 karma

Haha I’m not sure what you’re trying to ask? :) I’m a mindless zombie too, way too addicted to my mobile phone, and I hate that fact. Still I appreciate it too, since it’s what I enjoy. It’s a hard dilemma to solve.

ElHombreDeLaNoche1 karma

Hello Mr Tuomas ! I was wondering if it was easy to work with ketchapp for Space Frontier ? Thank you for your reply

PartTimeMonkey1 karma

Hi! Ketchapp is a very laid back partner that gives all creative freedom to the developer, so it was ”easy” yes. :) They do have their list of requirements they want implemented which is pretty standard for any publisher, and obviously the dev time gets longer since there needs to be communication etc. But overall I think it went great! We wouldn’t have done Space Frontier 2 if that wasn’t the case ;)

hunhaze1 karma

Hey Tuomas, Are you a Dudesons fan?

PartTimeMonkey2 karma

Yeah, they’re alright. Not a fan fan, but I like the attitude of the guy missing a thumb.

runnning_dude1 karma

i have no ill intentions by asking this question. but how does it feel like to have your art ripped off (poorly) everywhere?

PartTimeMonkey4 karma

Haha! I don't really care. It's not my business, it's Rovio's licencing department's problem. :D