Codeminion Development Studios is an independent game development company based in Warsaw, Poland. It was founded in 2004 by two friends who just couldn’t imagine doing anything else in their lives other than making games.
At Codeminion we believe that even a small team consisting of a handful of dedicated developers can make great games with a lot of polish and a keen eye for detail. We focus on bringing casual games of unprecedented quality with an original yet intuitive gameplay mechanics.
Our goal is to deliver interesting and innovative games to a broad range of users. We want to learn and develop our skills while conducting original and demanding projects, so that each game can be better than the previous one.
Codeminion was founded by Maciej Biedrzycki and Konrad Olesiewicz, two friends who first met in primary school and who always wanted to make computer games. Although the legal entity of the company was founded in 2004, we’ve worked together under the Codeminion logo since the year 2000. Below you can learn about projects and events we consider important for us and our company.
Spellscape was more than a game. It was a vision. Back then Maciej had some amateur game development experience and Konrad had next to none. But we decided to form Codeminion, and start working in our spare time to create an epic, 3d crpg game. The level of success we achieved was surprising given the scale of the endeavor. We managed to create a playable tech-demo and got involved in talks with real game publishers.
Of course now we know that the project was totally unrealistic and doomed to fail from the very beginning. But we learned a lot during this fascinating time and thanks to Spellscape we moved onto smaller projects. The only thing we regret about Spellscape is not completing it as a smaller hack-and-slash game with randomized dungeons, as this might prove pretty doable and successful.
After the long work on Spellscape that didn’t prove as fruitful as we hoped, we wanted to make something fast and dirty – just to check if we could complete any game at all and get it market. This is how Pteroglider was born, a game inspired by Strafire by Kurt Miller. As you can read on Maciej’s blog, the game didn’t get any kind of serious distribution. Instead it sold a whopping 32 copies through our website, but back then we were very proud and ready to move onto more challenging markets.
2005: Magic Match
Before making the next game we did a lot of market research and this time we wanted to make everything perfect. We noticed an emerging market of simple downloadable games (back then the name casual games was not in popular use) and decided to give it our best shot. Initially the game was supposed to be a clone of Treasure Fall, but our focus on quality and dedication in experimenting with different features resulted in the final game being quite innovative with all the songs and the drag-to-select mechanic which later spawned a whole sub-genre among match-3 games.
Magic Match was an enormous success for us. The game sold over 100K copies in a few months, then it reached 200K, and then 300K. This was a dream come true for us and it gave a lot of confidence and opened new possibilities that we would soon undertake. The game is still amongst our best-selling titles, and it’s far ahead of anything else we did in terms of ROI. After all we did everything in our spare time, and the whole game cost about 200 USD for the voice overs 🙂
After the success of Magic Match, the best thing to do would be to keep the ball rolling and dive into making more games, perhaps even a sequel. But Maciej and Konrad were in the middle of their studies and decided that graduation comes first. Using the funds from Magic Match we hired an external studio to make a game basing on our idea (StoneLoops!) and dedicated this whole year to finishing our studies. From the perspective this is something we often regret. 2006 was a year when the casual games market exploded and we regret not taking an active part in this phenomenon.
2007: New people, lots of work
2007 saw a big boost at Codeminion. We moved into a new office, hired a lot of talented people, some of whom still work with us to this day. We started new projects (most notably Saqqarah) , and moved some external projects in-house as we weren’t satisfied with the quality.
2008: New games
2007 was a busy year, and those efforts gave results in the next one. This year we launched a new website, Saqqarah proved to be a success that would even eclipse that of Magic Match. StoneLoops! was not as big of a commercial hit as we wished it to be, but it received a warm reception amongst players and reviewers and even had its own share of success with the launch of the iPhone version later on (that sadly was removed from sales, but this is a story of its own).
2009: Development in turmoil
2009 was totally dedicated to development of various in house and externally developed games. Some projects were started, others were dropped or put on hold. The casual market has finalized its shift to hidden object games, so it was natural to try our luck in this as well. Brunhilda was already under way, Phantasmat was started and so was Jodie Drake. We also started developing an ambitious sequel to Saqqarah, but this game would sadly never got finished (at least up to this day, ending od 2011).
2010: New games and more turmoil
In the middle of 2010 we have launched Brunhilda which was an excellent, rich and innovative game – a crossbreed of classic adventure and hidden object genres. But it landed on a harsh market that would favor only very streamlined hidden object games. This was the first time we started having doubts about the direction the casual games market was heading, but there was little we could do about it. We also experimented with some iOS games, most notably we released Bayo Bongo, and this proved that iOS is another difficult market 🙂
2011: Phantasmat and winds of change
Early 2011 saw the release of Phantasmat Collector’s Edition, and it was a huge success. Despite the game being in development for over two years, we are very proud of it (and the team behind the game). In fact it was the first Polish game to reach #1 on Bigfish Games.
Nevertheless 2011 also brought a lot of confusion and doubts inside Codeminion. Phantasmat was an exception, but many projects failed on the market or never got completed and the future was no longer certain. This brought a lot of changes. The office was closed and everything was moved to the cloud. Many IP’s were sold and some people left. Is this the end?
2012: What lies ahead?
The changes we underwent in 2012 don’t mean the end of Codeminion, but an end of an intensive chapter in our history. In fact those changes were influenced by our plans and exciting new ideas. We aren’t turning our backs on the casual games market (still some classic casual games might end up in our production), but we want to go far ahead, extend our reach and try new things. New development is under way, but the formula will be different and we can’t disclose anything at this time, as it’s… too revolutionary 🙂
So stay tuned, and you won’t miss the revolution.