Mongolian-based Black Candy earns the spotlight again as the developers behind the hit idle arcade game Pro Builder. Their previous two titles with Supersonic, Escalators and Archers.io became profitable and scalable hits, and now the team struck gold for the third time. Here, Bayasgalan Lkhamdorj, Co-founder of Black Candy, shares his experience partnering with the Supersonic team to scale their third game - but first in the idle arcade genre - together.
Turning a trend into a concept with maximum efficiency
We always look at the top hyper-casual charts for inspiration for our next game concepts. Recently, we saw many games in the idle arcade genre, which tends to have a higher LTV than other hyper-casual games - we decided to take advantage of this trend to create our own idle arcade prototype. While we initially tested 5-10 concepts, the one featuring a building theme was the clear winner - it had an initial CPI of $0.30, D1 retention of 30%, and 1700s D0 playtime even though it only had five levels.
Next, it was time to grow the game out and run A/B tests that made sure we were capturing the engaging nature of the idle arcade genre.
Adding depth and balance to gameplay
We want to keep users engaged by introducing new elements or features while balancing their progress so they don’t move too quickly through the game and get bored. To accomplish this, our game needed more depth because in its early stages, it was too simple - users took the bricks and built a structure.
But idle arcade games need to give users the feeling they’re progressing - in Pro Builder, this looks like building more, building higher, and building faster. So with Supersonic’s support, we added layers to the game that gave users access to upgrades and more to accomplish within a level. For example, we ran an A/B test on letting users construct multiple buildings, which would extend the level duration. It was successful in boosting in-game metrics and ARPU. Supersonic suggested many A/B tests - almost all of which were successful - that helped us adjust our game for the idle arcade genre.
Getting to global launch in two months and improving in-game metrics
The feedback and optimization process this time around was smoother than ever before. It only took two months from our first test to reach global launch, despite this being our first idle arcade game. By the time we reached launch, we had boosted in-game metrics to reach:
- 2000s D0 playtime
- 47% D1 retention
Increasing playtime and retention led to higher LTV and improved our profitability. At the same time we worked on improving the game, Supersonic’s creative team applied their expertise and best practices to maintain CPI at $0.30 so we could scale affordably.
Speed meets publishing expertise
Our team’s strength is speed - we took Supersonic’s feedback and implemented it very quickly to improve in-game metrics. It also helped that we acquired learnings from our previous two titles, which helped make the whole publishing process more efficient. For example, we added a mini-game to the end of the level in Pro Builder after seeing that it increased ARPU when we included it in Escalators.
"The entire Supersonic team is always willing to share their knowledge and give us full transparency into game performance - this has empowered us to become better developers."
- Bayasgalan Lkhamdorj, Co-founder of Black Candy
We look to Supersonic for their feedback and support particularly with monetization and creatives - their team has helped us significantly in keeping CPI low and improving ARPU. Plus, we’ve felt our technical capabilities improve since we started working together. The entire Supersonic team is always willing to share their knowledge and tips with us, and give us full transparency into game performance, which has empowered us to become better developers. It’s been another great experience working with Supersonic to grow our first idle arcade hit - now we’re looking forward to publishing our fourth title together!