RealmLab

a social gaming startup.

middle east technical university
september 2008 - august 2009

beginnings

We were 4 friends who came together for a Bachelor's Thesis project in Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, later joined by a game mechanics expert (and a FRP game master). We built our thesis project RealmCrash during the academic year 2008-2009 and won the "Best Graduation Project" award. With the prize money we then moved to a seaside loft near Istanbul to keep developing interesting projects. Read on for what happened!

the loft

products

  • RealmCrash Game Engine
    University Wars Game Creator

    RealmCrash is a social MMORPG platform that supports multiple realms (such as college life or sci-fi) and multiple games within these realms (customized games for each college or different worlds in the sci-fi realm, that interact with each other). White-label game generators on top of this platform would make it possible for ordinary users to create customized games.

    We built University Wars game creator, which was a wizard-style Facebook app that let users create a custom game for their college by just filling out forms and selecting quests. All university games shared the same userbase, thus for new games we avoided the critical mass problem.
  • Aeon Runner

    A sci-fi themed game developed on top of the RealmCrash Game Engine.
  • Example University Wars Game

    An example game created with the University Wars Game Creator.
  • Cookie Wars

    Kitchen-themed game on top of RealmCrash. We got help from Kaktus Studios, who helped us with the concept and did all the amazing illustrations.
  • Let's Make a Chain

    An app we created in 5 days to generate a viral user-base. We got inspired by Facebook groups created for a cause or an idea, whose sole purpose was to gather as many users as possible. So this app's only purpose is to gather people :) The app set incremental goals for each 'chain', first being 10, then increasing to 25, and so on. We had 0 Facebook reach in the beginning, but within 3 days we got 4000 hits and went viral. Eventually, players of Facebook games took over the app with chains like "Mafia Wars Friend chain" where people would add each other from the comment area- which led us to pivot, and create AddMe.
  • AddMe!

    When the chain app got taken over by Mafia Wars players, we saw a potential for an app that'd help Facebook gamers find people to play together with, so we developed an app for that sole purpose. The app had a list of people that signed up and expressed interest to get friend requests. Users could click on profiles of people from this page and add them. We also monetized the app from day 0- for 5 dollars a week, a user could go to the top of the list and get a ton of friend requests with no effort. Unfortunately Facebook shut us down and we had to refund all the money :)

post mortem

Summer ended, we ran out of money. We got an offer from a Canadian incubator, but couldn't make the plunge to move there. When Facebook shut our app down, we made the final decision to close shop. Erbil, Atasay and Yigit went to work at SpeedDate in San Francisco, Cemre went to NYU for grad school, Ahmet remained in Turkey to complete his degree.