Meet the Developer: ONRUSH Studio — Creator of web hit Venge.io
We sat down with Cem Demir, founder of ONRUSH Studio and the developer behind Venge to talk about making and managing a hit game, working with Poki, and the upcoming survival game.
Cem Demir is a Turkish web game developer and owner of ONRUSH Studio who developed popular web game Venge.io and an upcoming open world survival web game (more on this later). Following the release of MiniRoyale, Cem and his team decided to work on a web based first person shooter made with PlayCanvas, Venge, and partner up with Poki. Venge quickly became a hit game due to its fast-paced gameplay mixed with it being a HTML5 game, making it very lightweight and easily accessible for a wide audience of players. Since then, Venge has accumulated over 50 million gameplays on Poki alone. On top of this, ONRUSH was officially born and now has a growing team to work on both current and future games.
What was it that drew you to video game development?
I, alongside two of my friends, were working together in a digital advertising company around the time Agar.io started becoming really popular. That game made us think that we could make successful HTML5 games so we started looking into it. When we looked into it properly, we also found out that you can actually make money through advertising on web games. Thanks to these two realizations, we started making more and more small games to build up our knowledge of 3D engines and frameworks etc. We all still work together, two of us work with programming and development and the third deals with art and creative direction of our games.
Running a huge web game like Venge must come with some technical challenges, could you talk about the more complex issues you have run into?
So right now we are really focused on implementing new features to make the game much better. We are almost like a research company with all the different things we are doing! We are looking into shaders, which sound effects are best, and working with artists for the game. We are constantly experimenting and learning. I don’t think that there is only one way to make a game and we are taking that to heart.
One example of this is an AI we found that can generate voice overs. We played around with it and managed to get a unique voice for each of our characters. We’re trying to be innovative, because we believe this is the only way we can push the web game limits.
We don’t really have a specific process of making the games. We just try to create new things, optimize them, and if it feels, looks, and sounds nice, we implement it into the game.
You set up ONRUSH Studio last year and built a strong team there, what has it been like to have your own studio so far and what was the process like setting it up?
So, as I said before, once we realized that making a good amount of money from web games was possible, we really focused on making and monetizing games. We wanted to leave our full time jobs and start working on game development fully so getting the monetization figured out was really important. Venge was our first real professional product. This was mainly because of all the research and learning we had done in the past. The other games were more like prototypes and not really who we are.
Setting up ONRUSH was not easy and I won’t pretend like we have it all figured out because we don’t. We are, just like with games in the past, doing research and learning and asking others how they are doing it. We are constantly changing things around and hiring new people to figure out who we can work with. It is all a constant loop but we are chill and not super professional so it’s working out so far!
Venge.io has become massive since its release. What was working on this game like for you and seeing it go from nothing to what it is today?
We took some inspiration from games like Overwatch and Paladins because we were having so much fun playing them. We decided that we wanted different heroes, cards and weapon effects, abilities as well as cool sound effects and voice lines in the game. I think the shop, custom games, and map editor are the biggest things we added into the game. We also have more common features like clans and social hubs but the other stuff is what makes us different. It’s still the same game, we just have new heroes and some extra features.
Almost every day we see some streamer or TikTok influencer play our game, which is great but it’s always a bit random. We see a spike in traffic but we don’t really know how to act on it. We want to find a way to promote the game more and work on this type of marketing, but we’re still learning how to promote the game properly.
Venge has had a big impact on our developer community. Cem has proved beyond doubt that you can develop a smash-hit, commercially successful game on the web that looks and feels native. It’s so inspirational and it’s definitely encouraging other game developers to take the web seriously as a development platform.
What are some of your favorite things that have come from the community?
The VengeGFX Twitter account is really cool. They do some awesome art and character renders. We also have some loyal streamers like Gunchi who goes live pretty often. There are official tournaments where we had a $2,500 prize pool. There are also community run tournaments like Vengeance or one that happened in South America recently. I don’t understand the language but still watched and it was really cool.
The Venge community is really loyal and active which we are really happy about. People will sit in our Discord and talk about memes and all kinds of stuff. They are always online if we need them and never miss tiny details that changed in the game. In a recent update I changed the color of something a tiny bit and they noticed it, it’s almost like a mini-game for them.
We’re also aware that some people play these games in computer labs in school and other places like that. That’s the reason we didn’t add blood to the game. Instead, we try to look for other ways to do it like sparks or things like that. We are aware that kids are playing that game and we get some complaints about it too from parents. We have ethics, we are not evil.
You celebrated Venge being on Poki for 1 year in June, why decide to partner with Poki?
We were playing games on Poki around that time so we knew a little bit about them. Then Poki reached out to me on Twitter for one of my games. When they reached out to us it was more for a partnership than an individual game. In older days we were using many different tools from 3rd person parties but we realized that working with Poki is actually much better.
Right now, as far as I can tell, they are the only platform on web that properly advertises your game. All I care about is the product, product quality and the fun experience players get from playing it. I’m not a business expert so I don’t know a lot about business and advertising. Imagine a studio that doesn’t care about marketing and can basically focus on their product and nothing else, which is very important. Lots of indie studios are actually struggling to do that. They’re just uploading their games to Steam and doing PR like trying to find influencers and stuff. Poki deals with that part for us.
Others just don’t care about games; they don’t do QA, they’re not providing detailed reports, they’re not putting in marketing efforts, they’re just putting our games onto the homepage and that’s it. Poki has tons of those tools and a big team, it’s just more professional.
It’s a joy to work on growing and improving Venge together with Cem and the team at Onrush Studios. By utilizing the power of the browser and HTML5 they’ve created a one-of-a-kind experience on web. Combining a community driven approach with relevant insights, promotions and marketing Venge has grown into a global phenomenon bringing fun and joy to millions of fans across the globe every month
You have been slowly teasing a new game for the past while now on your Twitter, what can you tell us about it?
Let’s go. Okay, so we spent tons of time on this game and we are so excited to release it soon. So it’s basically a survival game. You can cut down trees, gather resources, craft weapons, kill and be killed fighting NPCs as well as other players online. You can just build a base or go and join any clan in the game and be a part of it. There will be clans fighting with other clans and territory wars going on where clans are trying to expand their area. It’s crazy. We have little details that we need to figure out before releasing, for example, customization (our artists are dealing with different customizations like hair color and body types at the moment).
You can have 30 people per server and it is all open-world multiplayer (using node.js and web sockets) with a huge map. You can draw your flag which may be the first time in the gaming industry that people can actually draw flags in-game. You might be wondering, okay, what if a person draws a dick or something? Well, we’re using an AI (TensorFlow) to detect if a flag contains a dick or you know, butts or anything that needs censoring.
And you know, this is a web game. You can play it on your browser without downloading anything. The file size is around one megabyte so you can basically go to Poki and start playing it. We have loads of other nice features in game too:
- Character customization
- Friends and invite system
- Day and night / season cycles
- Weapon and tool crafting
- Inventory system
- Sleeping and resource storage
Imagine this can be the next tech. I don’t know how to word it but imagine you played Rust on the web without downloading it. Also you need to pay money for Rust but this game is free so hopefully this will come up with tons of success both for us and for Poki, we are so excited to release it.
We want to push web gaming to the next level. We want to achieve the next big thing.
- Cem Demir