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Elance Flappy Bird jobs (elance.com)
184 points by justhw on Feb 10, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 140 comments

I think I'm going to just release a game called "Push the Button". There's a big red button in the middle of the goddamned screen and the objective is to push it as many times as you can. As long as I don't kill a guy in Guam, I think I'll be set for life; I base this assumption on the H.L. Mencken conjecture.

In spite of (because of) how stupid this sounds, I think there's a million dollar idea in here if you made it sufficiently frustrating and competitive.

Perhaps pushing the button increments a number that decays exponentially. And ads fly in your face to distract you, which you need to wipe away. I'm actually serious.

Angry Birds. Flappy Birds. Call it "Operant Conditiony Birds!". Catchy.


I wonder why nobody has trademarked the word "birds" by now...

Skinny Birds? Pavlov's Birds?

I tech various programming technologies. One lecture on web session handling I showed a big red button app running on a local intranet server. The problem was it had a leaderboad in it. I completely lost the class after they got the URL. One pair even went so far as to figure out how to share their session so they could combine their clicks.

Have colleagues who actually did make millions on simple and similar ideas.

Actually something almost like that exists: http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/

There goes my morning, thanks.

Actually, this will keep me busy during builds.

As the distillation of all building games down to the basics, Cookie Clicker is pure awesome.

You will have to force yourself to give it up eventually, though.

Oh god don't start, you can't stop once you start.

You might also like http://progressquest.com/

window.setInterval(Game.ClickCookie, 0) or Game.handmadeCookies+=3999999990, and do it manually...

also from the maker of cookie clicker:

idle game maker, a maker of games just like cookie clicker.


It's been tried as a joke not unlike yours, under the name ‘Click a cow’, and made a lot of money and many enthusiast (many ironically) players. Apparently, what you are set for life with are unending questions about the nature of what is fun, and designing meta-games.

there was also a short NPR story about it:


It's on Wired too Related note: can't believe that was 2011 when I read it. http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/12/ff_cowclicker/ Time flies terrifyingly fast.

no kidding. i'm afraid of seeing how long ago it was that i created this HN account...

I just read the wikipedia write up about this -ROFL. Seriously I cant believe I missed this while it occurred. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_Clicker

Don't forget this insanity http://orteil.dashnet.org/cookieclicker/

I have to say this game is surprisingly thought provoking and fun. To each his own, I guess.

Especially once you launch the Web Developer tools for a bit of additional fun.

I was thinking Excel :)

The goal needs to be _not_ pushing the button. You leave the app open, it makes light and noise. High score the longer you leave the app running _without_ pushing the button

Bonus points for adding Ren & Stimpy audio quotes.

    Narrator: How can he possibly resist the maddening urge to erradicate history at the mere push of a single button? The beautiful, shiny button? The jolly, candy-like button? Will he hold out, folks? Can he hold out?

Reminds me of the old flash game "Don't Shoot the Puppy".

As the creator of that old game (which is long gone), I can say there are still people coming back asking for the theme song, which apparently, they can't stop listening to once it's started playing.

Haha I liked that flash game - my favorite level was the one where after you hit start the word didn't disappear for a second or two. Appreciated that that trick got me.

Also looks like it's still available here: http://www.rrrrthats5rs.com/games/dont-shoot-the-puppy/

Funny enough, this was exactly my reaction to the Flappy Bird phenomenon—got the game idea email in my sent-to-self box from a few days ago. It's a neat, tidy concept too when you add a high score list but the only way to make it on the list is to lose the game.

But of course the trick is to get the right 500 people telling their friends about the game, and, well, who has the time and money to bother with figuring that out?

i spent a bunch of time leveling up in idlerpg back in the day


Oh god. My office ruined an entire afternoon of productivity with this game. Not because we were playing, but because we were one-upping each other on hacking the game. Great fun!

Now try Candy Box[1]. Like a plaintext Cookie Clicker that's intended to be messed with[2].

Once you're bored of that, there are... a lot more[3]. CivClicker is particularly enjoyable[4].

[1] http://candies.aniwey.net/

[2] http://candybox.wikia.com/wiki/Computer

[3] https://pay.reddit.com/r/incremental_games/

[4] http://dhmholley.co.uk/civclicker.html

1 minute hack. In Chrome Developer tools console:

function a() { document.getElementById('bigCookie').click(); window.setTimeout(a, 100); } a()

EDIT: better: Game.cookies = Game.cookies*2

Even better: Game.RuinTheFun()

I thought you were sarcastic. Then I have checked if this function actually exists.

Haha, that's fantastic.

Did anyone mention Tetris1D yet? http://www.tetris1d.org

Since the button is red, get Coke to pay you to put their logo on it. With 100M downloads, you can deliver millions of hours of exposure to the Coke logo per day. There's your $50K/day :) Now all you have to do is get 100M downloads and you're good to go.

You are way to late for this idea: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/push-the-button/id294787047?...

:) A friend of mine was really hooked to the game and wanted to push more often than a fellow (drum kit playing) colluege of his.

There's an app that just shows an egg and you have to tap it a million times until there's even a crack in it. Apparently, toddlers love it.


I did android app that was kinda like that as a joke: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.co.jarofgre... http://progressbarthegame.co.uk/

After I finished it people pointed out other game jokes along the same lines - there is an RPG simulator who's name temporarily escapes me.

I'm still glad I made mine - I find it fun that people's reaction to it varies from finding it massively relaxing to one guy who gets so angry he just starts swearing whenever I mention it.

There's a number of "Zero player games" such as Godville, ProgressQuest and IdleRPG (IRC idle game) which may be the RPG simulator you mention.

I'm on Level 5 of Progress Bar. Good effort. :)

This app already exists since around 2009 and it's called "Don't push the red button":


That's pretty much exactly what SMBC Theater video "MMO" [1] is about.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD69PAIqiYo

Hah, basically an iOS version of the entire show Lost! You have to push the button every however-many-minutes it was, and after 8 years, anyone is left gets something bitterly disappointing!

Make it an MMO and take over the world!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD69PAIqiYo [SMBC Theater]

Kids, please. Spatula City, 1994.


Pray tell more of the H.L. Mencken conjecture. What is it?

I googled H.L. Mencken conjecture and found your reply in the search result.

This ability is simultaneously one of the most amazing and frustrating things about Google search.

I've not heard it described as such, but he did once say:

> Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

He also once said:

> For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

You've basically described cookie clicker.

If you look at the iOS App Store, all of these "clones" are in the top 15:

1. Ironpants

2. Fly Birdie

5. Flappy Bee

15. Flappy Plane

I'm sure more will come, but it's still crazy to me that there are 4 apps that all have essentially the same mechanics. It also makes me wonder how long the app store will ride out helicopter style games.

I jokingly said to my roommates tonight, "we should just make a mini putt clone for iOS." Seems like I never have any idea anymore of which old arcade or flash based hit will pop up on my phone with a fresh look as the #1 app.

Are you not aware that flappy birds is a clone of a game of nearly 10 years old???

And even that is a clone of older games?

Dragonsden on the C64, from 1983, is the oldest game I remember that relies on the "press something to move up a discrete amount" mechanic, though it would be totally unsurprising if there are older examples:


Yes, he must be, because he called them helicopter-style games.

yeah, as ChrisClark mentioned, it was late and I decided to call them "helicopter style games", since I think the first one I ever played in this style was the helicopter one (I think on addicting games or something). Does anyone know the official name for this style of press / tap to play game?

I always thought it was Jetpack but maybe even that was influenced by something earlier...

Ironpants was written by the same guy, if I'm not mistaken.

Ironpants seems to be game for people who thought flappybird was easy. Also, making a game where you tap the screen and often puts adverts there, seems like a way to get a lot of click throughs.

If you look, that developer has a bunch of similar applications that all use the same style. One of them was a soccer game where you tap two little people to keep the ball in the air.

It's sad to see the number of proposals on each of these. Who are these "programmers" who can code an app but are incapable of submitting it to an app store and keep any proceeds themselves?

Realistically, as a programmer, you know the market is about to be SUPER saturated. In my opinion these people know they are being scammy, so the only appropriate response is to scam them back: build one Flappy Bird clone, sell this one clone to each of the hundreds of people trying to get rich off of you, and cackle to yourself while the world burns with countless Flappy Bird clones.

Just another variant on the classic advice that the best place to be in a gold rush is to be the person selling the shovels.

I wouldn't waste my time building my own clone, because aside from being completely unfulfilling, it's also likely to make no money for me by the time I get it done. But I'd happily charge my standard consulting rate to build one for somebody else, and let them eat the probable loss.

Nice...Create an app, build demand, make money, restrict supply creating secondary market for developing a replacement, make more money - Like it.

Non-cynically, there are some people who might prefer a fixed fee negotiated up front to the hit-or-miss payments from the app store.

Anyone seen some recent numbers? An article on Forbes estimated an average of $4k, and I've seen a survey where the median was a bit less than $1k.

Basically they are shorting flappy bird.

If I was a good Android programmer, I don't know if I would feel good about releasing a game clone. But if someone is paying me to simply code it, I'd just take it as an assignment and get it done for a decent amount of cash.

And, as another commenter has said, make it once, sell it 10 times.

Selling the same app to more than 1 person is not advisable, especially if you want to avoid to be banned from certain freelancing sites :).

You could make some good money if you sell to a single person though.

I think if you are upfront about it, it should be okay. You can tell the client that you already have most of it ready, but you can rebrand it for them for a certain price.

Have you told your initial buyer that you plan to sold this to other people too ?

Oh I am not an android developer. But hypothetically speaking, I'd make sure the buyer knows that I still own the code and he is just paying me for a packaged app.

I don't think the median flappy bird clone will see $5000 revenue.

I don't think it'll even see $50 revenue.

This should come as 0 surprise, as people try to take advantage of the "void" created by the developer's announcement that the game will be removed.

That being said, there are still requests for older games such as:

- candy crush: https://www.elance.com/r/jobs/q-candy%20crush

- temple run: https://www.elance.com/r/jobs/q-temple%20run

Flappy candy bird crush run:

You tap the screen to make a candy-colored bird jump over, or dodge under, obstacles of a jungle theme. Anyone is free to build this out but I'd like .01% of the profits for the idea, and I'd like to be credited as the inventor :-)

I would make it Angry Flappy candy bird crush run.

Launch the flappy bird and then tap furiously on the screen to extend the range of the shot.

You have to put the word Saga at the end as well.

Joke all you want, ‘10000000’ is a Match-3 cum Hack-and-Slash with a similar Frankensteiny-let’s-sew-games-together feel to it, and it's amazing.

You can't use the word 'candy' in a game though, or King will be after you.

I guess it's a good thing that society has moved on to the point where we can call candy crush an "older game"

Elance has requests for clones all the time. I see people looking Instagram, Flipboard, and what's app clones regularly.

Ahh, now I see the point why Nguyen removed Flappy Birds from app store. The plan obviously was to sell the game (the real one, instead of bad copy) to all these guys on elance.

I think its near impossible he will be making as much selling the source on elance compared to the ad revenue he was pulling in.

Not to disagree with you, but worth pointing out that 'was' is past-tense - he'll still be creating ad revenue from the established userbase. He's just forced it to tail off quicker.

-- 'was' is past-tense

you are right, thanks

In related news, HN front page filled with open source FlappyBird clones.

Well, this is obvious isn't it?

Git clone open-flappy-bird

change title screen

sell on elance.

At least three headlines reference this game, so it's kind of true.

Kinda gets old how many people jump on the current wave of mainstream opinion for pageviews.

Flappy as in "Birds."

I'm looking forward to a First-Person Flapper.

Or a Massively Multiplayer Online Bird-Flapping Game.

Someone already did first one: http://www.alphabetagamer.com/first-person-flappy-bird-alpha...

"Run in Crowd" is stupid enough already. "Flap in Crowd" ?

Playing devils advocate, how long would a clone take to build? You are recreating graphics and game mechanics.

Could this stuff be easily built using game salad or another drag and drop game Dev app?

Given how the game is utterly trivial and how the mechanics are already figured out... a day might work.

I think I could do it in 2 days tops, to the same level of polish, using only my personal iOS game library. I've been a game developer for more than 20 years, though.

2 days sounds about right - thus why all of those jobs are for $500 or less.

More likely it's because those jobs are submitted by a bunch of clueless wannabe tech millionaires who've never worked with a programmer in real life and have no clue about what is involved—all they know is it's a pretty simple game.

Crap... saw this on there here:

"Looking for someone to help with app rankings long term and also add lots of reviews to the app without getting caught. Please advise your methods and how we will not get caught. "

Example below [obscured] /blog/flappy-birds-smoke-mirrors-scamming-app-store/


Yeah - I looked at the reviews for his other games and it really could be that there are really good markov chains going on.

The frequency of completely unrelated stories about ruined lives etc.. is "odd"

The quality of the language however is pretty good.

So it's either really good markov - or it's possible that a "three wolf moon" joke review phenomenon has happened for this game.

Note the number of instagram pictures of flappy bird scores. It's very possible that a social media that adults aren't on has gone viral.

Still - foul play is also an interesting theory - but sour grapes might be the cause of all the foul play theories.

Still! Interesting phenomenon.

This is an interesting development.

Lesson for contract developers looking for work:

Pay attention to apps that gain hype, and build clones for people on e-lance.

Humanity is entertaining. I wrote the beginnings of the game[1] in a few hours Today. I should have sold it... I still can sell it!

[1] - https://github.com/joeblau/FlappyBlock

Great artists steal.

Poor artists outsource.

Haha. Midnox brothers are my favorite of the YCW2012 class.

I see what you did there.

It is real for someone make the app in 2 days for 5k in ios and android as this guy asks: https://www.elance.com/j/app-game-developed/52848809/ (there are at least 11 guys that say that is possible)

Well, there will be something in 2 days but it probably won't work. Of course an easy way to make money with this is use the html5 version with phonegap.

It would be pretty interesting to be able to see a handful of projects go from start to finish in some easy to follow way. For these guys offering $149, how many end up with an app?


It's kind of sould deadening to see jobs like "Port small IOS / Android Game to Windows Phone 8 - tight deadline" going for $150...but maybe they'll get what they pay for, and perhaps learn from the experience.

To be honest flappy bird, is a clone. Karma in action. Also it's such a simplistic game, that the easiness of "cloning" it attracts the copiers. Imagine if it was an innovative, highly technological app.... Much harder to clone.


Flappy vultures?

Thank you! I've been trying to come up with a name for my Flappy Bird clone.

NP. .05% of profits is all I ask.

How is it possible to make a game so fast for so little money? I am 2 weeks away from releasing my IOS game that has taken me 9 months (with life intrusions) and I know C++/OpenGL, etc.

These games don't actually use C++ or OpenGL. They use libraries like SpriteKit for iOS. I was able to code a similar game this weekend with very little Objective C experience. Its a lot of fun too!

It's sad to see how much 'game reskinning' is going on.

There's even a course that shows you all the steps involved in creating your own flappy bird clone. It comes with the source code. dong!


If I were one of the people listed on this link, I'm not sure how I could look myself in the mirror without throwing up in my throat just a little.

What is the point of diverting so much talent, money and energy towards such an aimless pursuit? Entertainment has value, but only to a certain limit.

Games and IAP have destroyed innovation on mobile. :(

I'll probably build a game that has the player enter the following number sequence 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 before a timer runs out.

Here comes the birds that can't fly!

shameless plug here, but anyone that wants a Flappy Birds clone, please feel free to fork my project


save yourself a few thousand dollars. just switch the avatar and you got yourself flappy birds...

It is possible to create one game and then sell it 10x times with different name/images.

I'm just going to leave this here: www.dogetek.co/game/‎

Write this once and sell it to all those people. Shovelware the cloners

A Flappy Narayan (cat) would be cool

Just as an aside about Flappy Bird, pulling in Bitcoin given it's another hot topic -- on Android he used the AndEngine project (http://www.andengine.org/). It's interesting to see that the project has received absolutely no donations/tips at all.

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