Articles - RareSloth Games

“AppLovin” displayed sexually explicit Ads in our game without consent

Recently our mobile game King Rabbit – Classic displayed a sexually explicit advertisement to our players through a third party ad network, AppLovin. It is never our intention to show inappropriate ads, that is unethical and it violates the trust of our customers. No one should have to see inappropriate ads in a cute rabbit game. Here’s what happened:

We use third-party ad networks that serve as a “middlemen” between advertisers and developers. These ad networks are responsible for ensuring that the ads served fit within content guidelines and are age-appropriate for the app. One of our ad networks “AppLovin” failed to do this and showed an explicit ad. Some of our players saw the ad and notified us.

After contacting AppLovin, they tried to pass the blame to another third party. We will no longer be doing business with this ad network and we have removed them from our stack.

Although we would like to get rid of ads entirely, they represent > 50% of our revenue. Any purchase made within the game will remove ads permanently.

Automate gif recording and sharing to social media (Twitter, Instagram)

This video will teach you how to share a gif to Twitter and Instagram quickly. Start automating the boring stuff so you can spend your energy on the important things.

You will need

How to set it up

  • Record a macro with Keyboard Maestro that opens up Giphy and goes through the steps to record and save your gif in a designated dropbox folder. ie. “Dropbox/share” Download our Keyboard Maestro file
  • Create a “Zap” in Zapier that listens to the designated dropbox folder for any new added files. When it sees a newly added file, it sends that file to the buffer queue.
  • Buffer queues the gif and automatically shares the content on your social media accounts at the designated times.



Who we met at GDC ’17

GDC is the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. This is our second time at GDC. This year we focused on making friends and meeting people (and of course checking out the games). Here are some of the people we met along our journey… Most of the people here are involved in some way with App development or is an indie. This is not an exhaustive list, so if we forgot to include you – no hard feelings!

Greg Wohlwend and David Laskey

Happened to meet Greg at the Chicago airport! We’ve always been a big fan of Greg’s work. He worked on Threes! and Ridiculous Fishing. Overall his work has been an inspiration, and he may be the most humble dude at GDC. We got to play his newest title — Tumbleseed at the Mild Rumpus. David Laskey who also works on Tumbleseed was there as well and we spoke a bit about his experience in porting to PlayStation. Looking forward to the release of Tumbleseed for Switch, PS4, and Steam.

Paul Brady

Met Paul at IMGA (International Mobile Gaming Awards). He is a PR wizard and told us about an interesting non-profit Swedish accelerator called Stugan, definitely check it out. He was also very willing to share some quick insights on game marketing which we appreciate, thanks!

Butterscotch Shenanigans brothers + Andy and Monique.

We’ve known the BScotch guys for a few years now and it was good to see them again. Adam shared some insights on hiring which will help our studio in the coming year, thanks Adam! They have been successfully growing their company and have added the wonderful Andy and Monique, both interestingly coming from non-game related fields.

Jeff Scott from Slide To Play & beergeek

We’ve known Jeff for some time, and it was good to speak with him again at IMGA. He is clearly a big fan of Apps as he created 148 Apps and is now the managing editor at Slide To Play. Oh, and he loves beer so he does beer things too – check out beergeek.

Simon and Astrid

Met these two at IMGA. They are co-founders of Triple Topping Games and are currently working on a game called Bubble. We got to demo the game for a few minutes, it’s looking fun!

Curt, Mathilde, and Vijay  from Roboto Games

This trio founded Roboto Games and are very close to releasing their latest game Age of Rivals on Steam. We had first met back in 2015 at Casual Connect, so it was great to see some familiar faces. We talked about the marketing intricacies of a game aimed at both mobile and PC. They are down to earth people with a knack for great games. Best of luck with the launch!

Amir Rajan

Amir made his break with a dark room on iOS. He showed us an early version of his game Mildly Interesting RTS (MIRTS) at the TouchArcade party. He’s also writing a book. We told him we were grateful for his blog where he wrote about his App Store experiences. His insights were helpful and fun to read when we were getting started in the App business.

Chen Li and Greg Killion from Pocket Gems

Chen works for Pocket Gems and found us at the Unity Ads party and invited us to their party the following day. He was very welcoming and helped us get registered and settle in at the party — thanks Chen! Greg has a wealth of knowledge in the industry and recently joined the Pocket Gems team.

Danc from Spryfox

Really pleasant person who is the creative director of Spryfox and author of the lostgarden blog. I find value in his design insights and I highly recommend reading his posts. He revealed a teaser for a VR experience called “Beartopia” featuring their brand of cute bears. What I really enjoyed about hearing about this game is that it has a purpose of fostering community and cooperation… Creating positivity via games. Thanks Danc!

Danel Gray from UsTwo

Briefly met the head of the studio that made Monument Valley. Their new game which is still a secret is coming… I didn’t get to speak with Dan for very long but he was very friendly despite it being the end of an exhausting week of GDC! I had to include him because the work done at UsTwo is simply inspirational.

Dan Fiden & Keeley from FunPlus

We first met this company and team because we were finalists last year for the IndiePlus award. FunPlus recently launched a $50 million fund for indie mobile games, a very cool thing.

They graciously invited us to this year’s award party which happened to have a live sloth in attendance (epic!). Thank you Keeley for making us feel so welcome. Thank you Dan for being generous to us and introducing us to some very interesting people like George Fan (creator of Plants vs. Zombies) and Ryan Green (creator of That Dragon Cancer)!

Adolfo and Edgar from Lienzo

We found these guys at the Mexico booth in the expo center. These guys are working in Chihuahua, Mexico at Lienzo games. They are working on a fast paced action adventure game called Mulaka. We are grateful for Adolfo’s insights on Mexico and his willingness to be a friend and contact. We’ll see you the next time you visit Puerto Vallarta!

Dylan from Featherweight Games

Creators of Rodeo Stampede, the game that won last year’s IndiePlus $10,000 award! A super nice guy that seems to always have a smile on his face. They seem to be in a similar spot as us with updating their game.

Jake and Saam from taco illuminati

We had breakfast with these guys (creators of Looty Dungeon) and they showed us an early prototype of their next mobile experience — we are looking forward to it! We talked about some intricacies of the App Store and had some laughs about funny reviews people leave on our games. Check out Saam’s funny twitter thread on dumb game ideas.

Ian from Ian and Ellie

An old friend from Bloomington who is the creator of Stacks on stacks on stacks. He introduced us to the world of delicious cream puffs from Beard Papa. Good luck on the release Ian!

Will, Nathan, and Ian from Studio Cypher

Also some old friends from our Bloomington days. They worked on the iOS and tvOS ports of Road Not Taken, and have worked on educational games as well. We also found out they will be creating their own games – exciting news! We wish you the best.

Carrie and Jason from Power Prim

We met these two wonderful people at TouchArcade’s party. It was interesting to learn that they were able to make a living for a while through content they made in second life.. by selling digital babies — Yeah. They are just starting to adventure into the world of indie games and talked about their game called “Weirdables”.

Raphi and Kevin

We met Raphi and Kevin on our way to lunch at an awesome Indian food place called Shalimar. Raphi is working on a top-down action multiplayer that is a blast to play. Its great to see the work he has been able to do as a solo developer. Kevin is also starting on a project in his free time featuring mechs.

Thanks for taking the time to hang with the sloths. We look forward to seeing as many of you as we can next year!

Xun Yang from Veewo

The people that made super phantom cat! One of my favorite platformers simply because of its beauty, color, and polish. Xun is a really cheerful guy and all of his team at the booth were super friendly. Thanks for the swag guys!

Xun Yang Veewo

Clean and Secure UGC Environment

The King Rabbit level builder is our first crack at creating an online community for a game. The biggest bottleneck of our game was content since the two of us could only generate so much in a period of time. Opening the level builder up to the community allows there to be a free and constant flow of content that everyone can play.

With any UGC (User-Generated Content) environment, there is sure to be profane or offensive content – trolls will be trolls. Add to that the rampant hacking and cracking of digitial goods and it’s easy to see how an environment can quickly go sour. We want to keep our community clean and fun for everyone so I’d like to share a few steps we’ve taken to do so.

* We use Ruby on Rails, so you’ll see terminology specific to Ruby or Rails like “gem” and “route”.


Profanity Filter

obscenity is a simple gem that gives you an easy way of filtering out profane words from strings. We use it to keep naughty words from being used in level names and usernames. It’s not perfect since it sources its filter from a simple list of words, but the list is pretty large and covers the most common words. It also has words from a few languages other than English.

Its usage is as simple as:

# Replace bad words with a smile emoji
def clean_profanity
  if = Obscenity.replacement("\u{1F642}").sanitize(

Reporting Offensive Content

Reporting Offensive Content

Reporting/Banning Levels

We allow players to report levels if they feel offended. When a level has been reported enough times, it’ll automatically get banned, meaning it’ll no longer get picked by the level picking algorithm. It’s a simple system that keeps the worst content out.



rack-attack is a simple gem to add to your app server that will immediately provide value. It makes it easy to whitelist or blacklist ip addresses and routes. You can also rate-limit ip addresses to protect yourself from getting DDOS’d. We use rack-attack primarily to rate-limit certain api routes that can spawn heavy tasks.

Invalid Purchases

We have certain purchases that can generate heavy tasks due to purchase redemption logic. For example, our 100 Items Pack purchase has to find 100 unclaimed packs, tie them to the user claiming them, update the user’s available items, and render the contents of the pack. It’s not a terribly heavy process, but when enough people are claiming them at the same time (via cracked/hacked purchases), the server begins to get busy, which slows down response times for everyone else. We’ve only seen about 160 users in the first month who have illegitimately bought our IAP, but a few of them have bought over 50 of the most valuable items. Our process is simple. If players make invalid purchases, they will be banned from using our api, meaning no online content for them.

Feel free to comment or get in touch if you’d like to know more about what we’re doing here at RareSloth.


A story about discovering a dream and finding freedom.

We had both just moved to Kansas City to start working at a corporate job at a healthcare IT company. Austin and I became friends at our company’s orientation and we started hanging out, partying, and playing video games. We were both new in town and happened to live a mile or so apart. He was an iOS developer and had a few years of work experience, I was a fresh grad from Indiana University’s Human-Computer interaction and design program. Neither of us realized we would eventually combine our skills to start a video game company. I am grateful to have found a motivated co-founder that I can be friends with and also work with, a harmony that I understand is quite rare.

The right conditions

On a cold winter weekend in 2013 we were recovering from our demanding corporate life. My memory is fuzzy on the exact conversation, but we decided that we should try making a mobile game. Austin already had some experience making small apps and I had some design experience. We had seen indie game the movie, and I think we were subconsciously unlocked. We could make games too if we really wanted to, we would just need to stay passionate and persistent and give it all we had. We recognized that successful artists don’t give up easily.

The first game release, Yukon Warrior

Our first game was inspired by a movie called “The Grey” by the universally recognized badass Liam Neeson. In the movie Liam continually stares death in the face when his plane crash lands in a snowy mountain range. As soon as we started putting together some ideas and prototyping, the seed of an idea started to grow. We created a simple winter themed action-platformer on iOS which we named Yukon Warrior.

We sacrificed many weekends and weeknights chipping away at this novice sculpture of a game. For me, making games on the weekends and weekdays felt like an escape and a creative release. I was unhappy with many things going on in my life, but working on Yukon Warrior felt important. This first game took 1 year to create part-time and we made around $200. This barely covered the AppStore developer fee.

In the process of creating Yukon Warrior, I could feel the passion and dream being cultivated. It was a slow process that grew with every goal being accomplished. We didn’t meticulously plan any of this out, I don’t think many things in life work that way.

*We removed Yukon Warrior from the AppStore in 2016.

Quitting the rat race

6 months before our 2-year mark at our corporate job, we discussed leaving and becoming full-time indie game developers. For many it’s terrifying to leave a secure income for something as unpredictable and volatile as the game industry. Being “young” and without dependents, I was not very concerned and I was happy making games. By the time we left the corporate world all we had was a decent prototype of our next iOS game. We saved our money and moved into an inexpensive apartment in Bloomington, Indiana (my hometown). Our budget and overhead was lean.

It was a commercial failure

After working furiously for 5 months full-time we released the iOS game Furdemption in June, 2015 . It was released as a $3.99 premium app and was featured by Apple in best new games. It did OK for an indie game, bringing in a little over $20k in proceeds. It took over a year to develop Furdemption and our savings were dwindling fast. $20k between us didn’t give us much time to create a new product from scratch. I would consider Furdemption the seed of our indie success but commercially it wasn’t enough to sustain us for long.

We were in a tough spot — we needed to create something with high value as fast as possible, or we’d have to go back to slinging code and pixels for someone else. We had a petite fanbase and we knew players loved Furdemption. We decided the best move was to make a bigger and better sequel.

Releasing King Rabbit

We spent 9 months of grinding and sometimes neglecting other aspects of our lives to bring this sequel to life. The bank accounts were dried up.

In March, 2016 we released King Rabbit. A fresh theme, new levels, and tons of improvements. King Rabbit started as a paid app with optional In-App purchases like level hints and customization options. We eventually made it F2P (Free To Play) and added occasional ads in-between levels. These business model changes weren’t planned from the beginning but we pivoted as the game evolved. Transitioning to F2P turned out to be a good move and King Rabbit turned out to be a small indie success. In 2016 we had over a million downloads and our net income for 9 months exceeded $100k.


King Rabbit wasn’t finished

With a little more experience and success under our belts, we wanted to start developing another product. Austin and I had been working on the same codebase for the past few years and were ready for something different, but at the same time we really wanted King Rabbit to thrive and not disappear into obscurity.

The biggest problem with King Rabbit at this time was the content bottleneck. We’d spend weeks and months building levels to have players complete them in a single sitting. At this point King Rabbit only had 256 levels. To solve this problem we decided we should take the time to build out and release a level builder. This would make King Rabbit a deeper experience where you can exercise your creativity. I think many developers would have chosen to move onto the next game, and we almost did. Creating a level builder with good production quality takes a ton of time and effort and we weren’t positive if people would actually want it. It took us nearly a year to finish the level builder. The level builder was released for free on January 26, 2017. Like compounding interest, the value of the builder tool slowly grew. As of July 2018, 22,932 levels have been published and continues to be active.

Digital nomad life abroad begins

The digital nomad life abroad began. We attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in 2017. Immediately after this conference Austin and I drove down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I rid myself of all material possessions except for two bags and a carry-on.. I love idea of being light on my feet and I enjoy the freedom to work how and where I want… At this point I’m figuring things out one step at a time.

We are still working on our little King Rabbit empire. We are in the process of re-building the whole game from scratch with a new game engine and features.  We will bring the game to new markets with a PC and Mac release, followed by iOS, Android, and hopefully Nintendo Switch. <3