Stephen Dagg has worked in creative director and art director roles in the video game industry at companies like Electronic Arts and SAVA Transmedia where he helped create games such as Army of Two: The 40th Day and Need for Speed: Nitro. Since moving back to Hamilton Stephen has founded White Flag Entertainment (@White_Flag_) and launched mobile game Flippin’ Doo Doo.
Check out the interview with Stephen Dagg below!
How did you get started in the video game industry?
I received an offer to join EA Montrealâ€™s cinematic department from a good friend of mine; we had previously worked together at Mainframe Entertainment in TV and film production.
Why did you move to Hamilton and start White Flag?
I was born in Hamilton and after living all over Canada for tens years I wanted to move closer to family. Hamilton has opportunities that I felt would be beneficial to a gaming company. The tech industry is growing here and schools are starting gaming specific programs. The community here is very supportive and wants to be engaged and be a part of the change we see happening in this city.
What is Flippin’ Doo Doo?
Flippinâ€™ Doo-Doo is much like Flappy Bird or Jet pack Joy Ride. You launch your doo-doo from a cow, in hopes of reaching Farmer Alâ€™s Throneâ€¦ a toilet! You must pass through obstacles of hay, collecting toilet paper along the way, to out “doo” your friends. The game is silly but fun and addictive and weâ€™re constantly building new features to improve the user experience.
What tools were used to build Flippin’ Doo Doo?
We used many tools and plugins. Most notably Unity (the free version), Photoshop, Sourcetree and Dropbox, along with various tablets and phones for testing.
How has Flippin’ Doo Doo been received so far?
The game has been received quite well. The ratings are fantastic with 4.4 stars and over 4,500 users so far. We believe there is room for us to compete in the market. We must keep optimizing, however, to maximize the potential revenue and continue user engagement.
How is Flippin’ Doo Doo monetized?
The game uses various in-game ad services and in-app purchases to drive monetization. Our economy needs to be rebalanced at present. These new changes should increase sales to hit our revenue target.
How are you marketing Flippin’ Doo Doo?
We use every channel available to bring awareness to the game. Weâ€™re still optimizing the game so marketing is low at the moment but getting the numbers right is important before the masses play your game. All social media needs to be used and sharing your experience is important for small independent company to grow our fan base. In app ads are one of the fastest ways to acquire users. Press reviews, bloggers and Youtubers are a huge part in getting the word out to the world. They are instrumental in the success of aps rising to the top of the charts.
How has the experience been building a game and company in Hamilton?
The experience has been fantastic! There has been a lot of support from the community. Iâ€™ve met some great people with a lot of talent here and I think we can make something happen!
Any advice to students looking at breaking into the video game industry?
I find youâ€™re always trying to break into the gaming industry! Even after working in the business for over ten years youâ€™re constantly proving yourself. Working hard and having good knowledge is key, but one of the most important things I feel is applying everywhere you can and networking until someone gives you a shot! Sometimes itâ€™s just timing and who you know.
Any advice to others looking at starting an indie video game company?
Having a solid team is probably the biggest point. Understanding the industry is something that people tend to overlook; making the game is the easy part but itâ€™s all the rest that makes it so hard to compete. You must understand this before you jump into the business. Look for funding wherever you can because you will always need more time and money than you think. Learn to handle problems in your production with a smile; as you strive to make the best games you can, passionate disputes with your team-mates can lead to problems in production and may lead to its demise. This is a tough business and you have to really want it to make it happen!