Fredrik Wahrman

Tag: Startup

First full year with TicBits

by edi on Dec.11, 2011, under TicBits, iPhone development

TicBits was founded in April 2010, and, now as 2011 nears it’s end it marks the end of the first full calendar year that we’ve worked with TicBits full time. The year started off in a good way, we had achieved the goals we set for ourself for 2010, we managed to reach our estimated budget and we had managed to release iAssociate 2 both on iOS (iAssociate 2 in the App Store) and Facebook (Facebook iAssociate 2) in a quite successful way. So the foundation for 2011 was already set, we now just had to follow our plan and stick with it.

The beginning of 2011 was a really fun time for us. We kicked off 2011 with a trip to the Mobile Games Forum conference in London in late January, and stayed there for 3 nights, meeting some fun people and having a few drinks, as well as getting some good insights and contacts from the conference. After that we had just enough time in February to finally get our first non-iAssociate game released. The game in question was Sudoku, which we released around the middle of February. Sudoku (Sudoku in the App Store)was our first game that we’d monetize fully by only showing ads during gameplay, so we were really interested to see how it would perform.

But before having too much time to check those stats (just a few days later) it was again time for us to go to another conference, this time the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. We had decided to head there early, so that we’d have time for some other activities besides the conference itself, so we flew into San Francisco already a week before the conference and started the trip by renting a car and taking the Pacific Coast Highway down to Los Angeles, where we’d stay for a few days before driving back up. (During those days we had time to visit Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, see Conan, and such). After leaving LA it was then time for the GDC itself, a really content packed conference which had grown a lot since I last was there (which was in 2003).

After GDC was over, it was finally time to get back home, and start writing code again. The next project that we finished after this was Minesweeper (Minesweeper in the App Store), which was released in April. We had already seen pretty good results with Sudoku so we were hoping to add more to that with Minesweeper. This project was followed by some recruitment as well, in late May and early June we recruited one more developer and one graphical artist to our team, which meant that we also got to move to a bigger office.

As we finally got a full time graphics guy this also meant that we’d be able to start working with a little bit more visually appealing games than the ones we had released so far. The first results of this can be seen in the next two games that were released, first Solitaire (Solitaire in the App Store) and then followed by Mahjong (Mahjong in the App Store). Mahjong was extremely well received immediately, and it’s steadily climbed in the charts since then, giving all our products much more exposure as well as many more daily active users.

Around the same time as Mahjong was released, in September, we were again recruiting, this time we added to our iAssociate 2 level design capacity, by bringing on full time level designers. With iAssociate 2 our biggest bottleneck had been in getting enough content released before this, so with this move we hoped to finally start producing enough new content so that we could give our users more content more than once a month.

Our final expansion for 2011 came now in late October, when we hired one more developer to join our team. This meant that we now again got to move into a bigger office, where we finally had everything under our own roof, meaning our own kitchen, poker room (also used as meeting room) and recreational room, everything a game development company needs in other words!

Our final release for 2011 will be FreeCell, which as I’m writing this has already been submitted to Apple for review, and should appear in the App Store within a week hopefully. After that we’ve already got a few projects that are progressing nicely, so we should have more new games coming ut in early 2012 as well. All following the same formula as all our games in that they’re all free to download and play.

Our growth in 2011 has been number wise quite significant. Not only have we released more games and added more developers to our team, we’ve also managed to do this in a profitable way which means that we go into 2012 with a really strong foundation on which to build on. For 2012 we have again raised the bar on what we hope to achieve, and our long term goal is to one day have at least one of our games installed on every mobile device out there.

2011 – Awesome times behind us
2012 – Awesome times ahead of us

Links to our games:
iAssociate 2 for iPhone and iPod touch in the App Store
iAssociate 2 for iPad in the App Store
Facebook iAssociate 2
Sudoku in the App Store
Minesweeper in the App Store
Solitaire in the App Store
Mahjong in the App Store

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10 Reasons why it kicks ass to have your own company

by edi on Nov.16, 2010, under Personal

TicBits Ltd

As a followup to yesterdays 10 Reasons why it sucks to have your own company here’s my list of 10 reasons why it kicks ass to have your own (game development) company.

The 10 best things, in no particular order:

  1. No more 8 hour workdays =) I’ve managed to switch to 14 hour workdays instead and it kicks ass! (And weekends are nowadays just a myth)
  2. It’s like a hobby, fun as hell! (and just as expensive).
  3. Doing “research” is awesome! Based on the amount of “research” we’ve done you should expect a Star Craft II killer any day now.
  4. GDC in California when the weather  is shitty back here in Finland.
  5. You get to make BIG decisions, like just last week when we were deciding what kind of beer to get for our new fridge. (I now understand why some executives suffer from stress)
  6. You get to do a lot of different things. Business meetings, investor meetings, software development, game design and janitoring.
  7. When something goes wrong and you need to find someone to blame all you need to do is look in the mirror.
  8. People always say that lots of money brings lots of problems. At least that’s one thing we don’t have to worry about, something that should compensate for the stress we get from the BIG decisions.
  9. If you worry about job security this is the dream job.
  10. You get to create these kind of Top 10 lists during working hours.

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Exciting times ahead for TicBits!

by edi on Sep.26, 2010, under iPhone development

Things are progressing really well with TicBits Ltd and I must say that I’m really excited about the upcoming weeks/months and how they’ll turn out. Every day it feels more like we’re going to do this, that we’re actually going to get some kick ass projects launched, and not just to a couple hundred thousand users, but that we’ll be able to reach millions of users with our games. Sure, both me and my cousin are endless optimists, but still, with iAssociate 2 already being well on the way, and with a couple of other really exciting projects soon to be revealed, I’m confident that we’ve got what it takes to reach those goals.

To help us reach those goals we’ve got a pretty well defined strategy set up now for the coming times, what to release & when, plus how to market it. Everything has been a great learning process so far and I think that we’ve managed to learn from some mistakes / missed opportunities, which now should help us with the coming releases. It’s really exciting to come up with some new concepts, either for the games themselves, or on how to market them, and then soon thereafter be able to try them out to see how they work.

And, we’ve not just got those other projects to be excited about, we’ve also got a brand new office to move into, our first real office for TicBits =) In comparison to Zynga, who according to an article on TechCrunch have an office of around 270.000 square feet and housing around 2000 employees, ours is just a tiny bit smaller, coming in at a whopping 231 square feet (21.5 square meters)! The office itself is located in Turku Science Park, a center for developing biotechnology and ICT companies. Our office is also just next door to the universities ICT building, which hopefully should help us when expanding.

If anyone wants to find out more about what we’re doing then you can either check out our webpages at or follow us on Twitter.

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