Skiing Yeti Mountain is a new locally made time sink from Featherweight Games, an aptly titled group of two coders. It's a fun, addictive homage to SkiFree — and it's even better now that one half of the team has pledged all of his revenues to victims of the Nepal earthquakes.
I asked developer Tim Kaldor if he in fact meant "profits", but that's not the case. Before even recouping losses, all of his share of the money (just under 50%, after paying contractors) will go directly to helping Nepal.
"I lived and worked in Nepal for a year returning in May 2014 to start developing games full time," says Tim. "My girlfriend is a teacher from a village northeast of Kathmandu in Sindhupalchowk, which is one of the hardest hit regions by the quake.
"All of the buildings in her village were damaged or destroyed, her and her family are safe however they are living in a makeshift shelter and their village was left with little food, no power and no running water. Since the quake she has been trying to maintain normalcy among the rubble by running little voluntary school classes for the children of the village."
Though contact was sparse for a while, she's okay — and hopefully Kaldor has found a way to help her and her community with his - as Liam Neeson would say - particular set of skills. On that point, it's already gaining traction.
Skiing Yeti Mountain is free to play, with ads providing revenue. While the Android marketplace is lagging behind with 1,000 downloads, it was recently featured on the App Store. Ever since, it's been garnering about 3,000 downloads per hour, with close to 250,000 at the time of writing. If you wanted to know the effect of being featured on mobile marketplaces, there it is.
Exactly how much revenue is generated for each ad click is hard to calculate — it's bundled per 1,000 ads, and it's only been featured for two days so far. But the biggest way people can help is by donating, and Kaldor says they've received 5,000 hits on their donation website so far.
Playing a good game and watching ads for Nepal? That sounds like a good deal. And it'll keep you occupied for some time. I'm about 85 levels in, and didn't realise that there are about 800 in the game. Skiing Yeti Mountain took about five months to develop, but level creation was sped up with a random generator.
According to Kaldor, "It allowed us to specify aspects like how wide we want the paths, the spacing of the trees, etc. Then we'd play them all and keep the ones that were the most fun."
It's a game worth playing in its own right. By dragging your thumb along the bottom of the screen, you control which direction your character turns. But turning is synonymous with braking — the more horizontal your skis are, the slower you're going.
This can also mean that turning from one direction to the other results in an unexpected speed boost, because of the fraction of a second that your skis are pointed downhill.
While we all manage our in-game momentum, Skiing Yeti Mountain will hopefully continue its own — and with luck, that avalanche can ease one of the worst earthquakes of our time.