What is Make it Meme and what makes it special?
Make it Meme was the first multiplayer game on the market that turned meme creation into a gaming experience.
The idea is simple: Each player receives a meme and has to come up with a funny caption for it. Then, the creations are rated in a voting process.
What started as a party game for my friends has become the biggest browser game on the topic of memes today. We’ve shown people that creating memes is a lot of fun and doesn’t require any skills.
This simple idea excites players around the world today and is even played in classrooms - yes, with the teachers!
Who is behind Make it Meme?
Actually, I’m not a game developer and never intended to become one.
To this day, I can’t identify with that title, as I could never develop such exciting and beautiful games as many of you talented game developers out there! My background is in software development, a job as an IT consultant, and a computer science degree.
The game was just a whimsical idea during the first COVID lockdown: I thought I’d quickly develop a fun game for my friends and me.
This “small project” then stretched out for more than a year alongside my job and studies.
I primarily developed the game on my own, but I received a lot of support from fantastic volunteers: be it in translating the website, programming the game, or even setting up our entire cloud infrastructure.
The community that formed around the game consistently blessed me with wonderful people who provided the right support at the right time.
Today, this is my full-time job: I dropped out of my studies, quit my job, and founded my own company! Now, every day, I do what I’m most passionate about and work with many great professionals (mostly freelancers) to bring my vision of my dream game to life.
In the picture, you see me and my unofficial “employee” Jakub at Gamescom 2023. A volunteer and programmer at Make it Meme, and now a good friend, whom I had the pleasure of getting to know through my own game.
How has Colyseus helped you in your journey from developing to releasing Make it Meme?
Colyseus allowed me - as a beginner in multiplayer games - to develop a robust backend for my dream game. I had previously never worked with Websockets, authoritative multiplayer servers, or Node.js. But that wasn’t a problem, as Colyseus provided me with an intuitive start. This strong foundation allowed us to grow to where we are today.
How many concurrent connections do you currently have in peak times?
Around 4000-5000 CCU, depends on the weekday.
How is your backend infrastructure?
We went from a $5 DigitalOcean Droplet, to a dedicated server with high management overhead, to a managed Kubernetes cluster. We made many mistakes along the way and had to find the right solution for us. This journey brought with it many downtimes and frustrated players.
Today, we run on an Azure AKS cluster with 3 nodes (F8Sv2) with autoscale enabled. I can sleep peacefully now, but if I were to start a new project, I might do things differently. Everything has its pros and cons.
What was the highest lifetime CCU peak, and how many servers you had when it happened?
We had just over 6,000 CCU (Concurrent Users). At that time, we weren’t running on our cluster as we do today, and the dedicated server couldn’t handle it. It was frustrating not only for the players but also for us.
We were fortunate to go viral, and many, many players suddenly wanted to play Make it Meme, but our server setup wasn’t ready for it.
From this, I learned that you need to be prepared before the hype and have a scalable solution at hand. Colyseus provides the technical capabilities for this, so make use of them!
How are you currently distributing your game? (e.g. Poki, CrazyGames, do you have publishing agreements? Feel free to share tips regarding game distribution!)
Make it Meme has always been free to play on our own website - makeitmeme.com.
We’ve been able to grow this channel to its current size entirely organically. We never really did marketing, except for making a few TikToks. The game spread almost by itself due to its novel idea. But quite early on, Poki approached me and wanted to bring me on board.
Today, I’m an exclusive partner with Poki, and in addition to our website, you can also play the game on their platform. We’ve been on the front page there from the start, reaching an incredibly large and diverse player base. I’ve never regretted this decision: Poki has supported me in many ways, and we’re in close contact. As a developer, you’re treated fairly there, and you’ll find an exceptionally warm and professional team.
But to distribute your game, a partnership isn’t strictly necessary. With a clever idea and social media marketing (which doesn’t even have to cost anything), you can achieve a lot on your own these days. What’s essential is finding the right platform and creating the appropriate content for that platform. For us, it was TikTok and short, funny videos. However, it’s crucial to understand your target audience well in the early stages.
Is Make it Meme currently profitable? Are you comfortable sharing some numbers?
Initially, I didn’t want to monetize the game and certainly didn’t want to incorporate that evil thing called “advertising.”
This approach worked for a while when the server costs were still low. But as more and more people played the game and I had to invest not only increasing amounts of time but also money, I finally added advertisements during Christmas 2021.
With our partner at the time, Adinplay, we were able to achieve good profits from the outset and were profitable from day one! The server costs were covered, and I had to realize that maybe this project was more than just a small hobby.
I can’t share exact figures today, but this much I can say: I earn more today than my former boss at the consulting firm, and I can even pay my own employees. This income is generated solely through advertising, and the game remains free to play.
We use Poki’s own advertising network, and the advertising revenue is split between Poki and me based on a revenue share. In the future, we might offer in-game purchases if we can integrate them well. The sky is the limit!
How much are you spending monthly on your server infrastructure?
Less than 6% of our monthly revenue. And I suspect it could be even less. Compared to other multiplayer games, our game servers really don’t have to do much: no physics simulations, movement synchronization, and all that stuff. We just make memes.
Anything else you’d like to share? The stage is yours!
I’d like to take a moment to express my gratitude to everyone who has supported me on this journey. Without the community, the unwavering support of friends and family, and the invaluable assistance of tools like Colyseus, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
A special shoutout to Endel, the developer behind Colyseus, who always stood by to answer my countless (and sometimes silly) questions. He’s been a constant presence on this journey, and I can’t thank him enough. I wish him nothing but the best.
We have a lot of exciting updates and features lined up for the next year, so stay tuned!
If anyone is interested in collaborating or has ideas for partnerships, please reach out. I’m always open to new opportunities. For those who haven’t tried the game yet, give it a go! And for those who have, please share it with your friends and family.
To all budding developers out there considering Colyseus: dive in, ask questions, and embrace the journey. The community is here to support you, just as they did for me. I’m excited to see the incredible creations that will emerge with the help of Colyseus in the future!