Surojit Roy, the co-founder of Firescore Interactive recently acquired by Crazylabs, made a solo speech at the Hyper Games Conference #3. The brilliant talk was about how their game Hair Dye managed to hit the top #1. In the piece below, we have outlined the highlights from his speech. Let’s explore the thorny path from the beginning.
First Firescore Interactive game
Firescore Interactive was founded in 2018 by Karan Khairajani and Surojit Roy. At that time, seven people in the team worked in the small basement office. They started developing a few hyper-casual games and testing 9-10 games simultaneously, but the projects weren’t successful.
Firescore revised the principles of work and started working on one product (not a hyper-casual game), which took 1 year. At one point, the company ran out of money, but a deal with CrazyLabs saved them. Soap Cutting was launched just a few months later after they signed an agreement with CrazyLabs.
Soap Cutting, very quickly, hit the top 1, and on Christmas 2019, it was able to overtake Amazon, YouTube, Snapchat, Disney, TikTok in popularity. It kept staying on the same level throughout the New Year holidays.
The game itself was a simple, meditative ASMR game that remains of interest for players today. And a few days ago, Soap Cutting crossed 100 million downloads!
After Soap Cutting became a global success, the company started working on new ideas. Firescore began to expand, and after a while, they released Acrylic Nails!
The game was a collaboration between CrazyLabs and Firescore from the very beginning. Acrylic Nails! was the most downloaded hyper-casual game in October 2020.
The project had an engaging visual style, simple gameplay, handy control mechanics, and this was what the company was striving for. The experience of developing this game played a significant role in the further project.
The Difficult Path of Hair Dye Development
Hair Dye is a hair colouring game that is a real-life experience. The company wanted to expand the concept, allowing players to feel like hairdressers with a personal hairdressing salon where customers come.
You don’t just dye your hair; you also cut your hair, straighten your hair, wash your hair, and you kind of go through the barber experience when you do that. This topic was especially trendy during the pandemic. This is not just a trend; it imitates the real-life activity millions of people worldwide are doing. People were doing household chores or trying to do what they usually did. Social media was filled with many videos about hairstyles and hair colouring, and we realized that it would be interesting for people.Surojit Roy, head of Studio at CrazyLabs India
As for the CPI test video, it was done in Blender, not in Unity as usual. The video did not contain any programming. It was built by the art director of Firescore Interactive as an animation and then released for CPI testing.
The video is slightly different from the usual gameplay that the company often follows, and it was a little experiment. In Unity, this became a problem for the team, because every time, before the introduction of an aspect, there were things that broke everything.
You should be aware of the issues when transferring a video of gameplay from Blender to Unity. Our team spent days trying to match the look and feel we created in Blender, and many times we found ourselves in challenging situations with many obstacles. But in the end, we managed to overcome everything and got a great game. We created what we wanted.Surojit Roy, head of Studio at CrazyLabs India
Firescore Interactive builds on the experience of Acrylic Nails! and Soap Cutting. Soap Cutting didn’t have a lot of gameplay, just one phase that all content was based on, where you cut the soap and swipe. Hair Dye had four stages of gameplay, like Acrylic Nails!
The team wanted to give the users some freedom to create their designs through four phases of the gameplay, and a bonus phase ensued where users could simply quickly select a new hairstyle at the end of the level.
As with most games, the control mechanics are simple at every touch and drag stage. Firecore tried to keep everything as plain as possible and focused on the simplicity of the gameplay.
We focused on the simplicity of gameplay and the creation of effects. Because their presence is what can make the game enjoyable, give it good retention. We tried very hard to stay true to the hairdressing experience, and we did a lot of research, spent a lot of time watching videos about hairdressing and hair colouring. We talked to our hairdresser friends and got information from them on making the game more authentic.Surojit Roy, head of Studio at CrazyLabs India
Unity and Blender port issues didn’t stop the team. They’ve done a lot of testing to make sure the Hair Dye mechanics are playable and compelling. The team had to prepare the game and go through the metrics test in two stages.
Get ready to cut hair!
At the start, the game showed good results, hitting the top 10 best games on iOS and top 1 on Google Play. Hair Dye is the company’s third hit game.
It takes a lot of trying to create some successful games. Our team played a big role. The strengths come out in the games you end up creating. We always try to use our strengths. We didn’t always develop simulators. Furthermore, we made all types of games: runners, action arcade games, puzzles. But we really knew how to succeed; we spent most of our time and effort and ended up having the most success among simulation and RPG games. The company’s three games have received over 200 million downloads.Surojit Roy, head of Studio at CrazyLabs India
Thanks to the successful partnership, CrazyLabs decided to acquire Firescore Interactive. At the moment, they launched CrazyHubs, the gaming accelerator, to attract young development studios to Mumbai. There are about five other hubs in operation globally, and many more hubs are planned to be launched very soon around the world. Mumbai is the first in India, and the company just launched a second hub in Hyderabad.
The goal of the training program is to speed up the time it takes to create a popular hyper-casual game. Developers who join the CrazyLabs India gaming accelerator will gain the knowledge, tools, and everything they need to create a hit game.
The company plans to bring together the best specialists for training under one roof, provide them with workshops, and teach them everything we know about hyper-casual games. We hope to see great results in India, and we are very excited about the launch of the second hub, and of course, there is much more to come.Surojit Roy, head of Studio at CrazyLabs India
After purchasing Firescore Interactive, Surojit Roy took over the Indian division of CrazyLabs with Karan Khairajani.
You know, the last few months have been very, very exciting. In the beginning, we were just focused on ourselves, our own studio, our own games. CrazyLabs has a huge infrastructure and is transforming India into one of the world’s largest hyper-casual game development markets, and this is where we are focusing our efforts.Surojit Roy, head of Studio at CrazyLabs India
Watch the full report from Surojit Roy in our post and on the YouTube channel.