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Porting Pixel Gun 3D to PC: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

I'd like to share with you what we learned while porting our FPS from mobile to PC.

Dmitry Amroyan

June 3, 2024

6 Min Read

Hello! I’m a CEO of Cubic Games, the team behind Pixel Gun 3D, the #1 free-to-play title on Steam released in April by a number of players. I'd like to share with you what we learned while porting our FPS from mobile to PC.

Why Steam?

We decided to port Pixel Gun 3D to Steam after recognizing significant demand from both our players and our internal team. Over the past year, we saw a growing interest in a PC version. Additionally, many of our original players, who enjoyed Pixel Gun 3D a decade ago, have now transitioned to PC gaming. This demographic shift confirmed our hypothesis that a Steam release would attract nostalgic players, leading to a successful launch. The nostalgic appeal brought back many old players who were excited to experience the game on a new platform.

Development Process

The development process for porting Pixel Gun 3D to PC was initially unstructured. We recognized our lack of experience in PC game development and sought external expertise. We partnered with an external team, who spent 5-6 months adapting the game for PC. This involved modifying the control systems to accommodate mouse and gamepad inputs. The most challenging phase was integrating the adapted code back into our main development branch. This synchronization was necessary to ensure that updates could be simultaneously deployed across Android, iOS, and PC versions. This integration phase presented significant challenges, as changes for the PC version sometimes caused issues with the mobile versions and vice versa. These challenges were addressed over a strenuous period of about a month and a half, teaching us the complexities of multi-platform development.

Content Integration

Integrating the extensive content of Pixel Gun 3D, which includes over 100 maps, over 1500 weapons, and various game modes into the PC version was a major task. We benefited from having a unified codebase, which allowed for easier content management across platforms. However, specific enhancements were made for the PC version, such as improved graphics for larger screens and enhanced animations for certain weapons. While most content transitioned seamlessly due to the shared codebase, some adjustments were necessary to ensure optimal gameplay on PC. This included tweaking certain elements to suit the different control dynamics and display requirements of PC gaming.

Community Engagement

Our strong and active community, boasting over 5 million monthly active users on mobile, played a crucial role in the success of the Steam launch. The announcement of the PC version generated significant excitement, evidenced by high engagement on social media and over 500,000 wishlists on Steam before the release. This community support was instrumental in driving the initial success of the PC version. The positive reception from the community provided clear validation for the decision to port the game to Steam, emphasizing the importance of maintaining strong community ties.

Porting Advice

Based on our experience, here are five lessons we learned and want to share with other developers considering porting their games from mobile to PC:

  1. Understand the PC Market: Mobile development experience may not fully translate to PC gaming. Consider the unique aspects of PC gaming, such as different player expectations and gameplay dynamics. Graphics, interface layout, controller responsiveness, and variety all need to be carefully thought out and addressed.

  2. Seek Technical Expertise: Partner with experts who have experience in PC game development. This can save time, reduce costs, and ensure a higher quality end product. For example, integrating gamepad support and configuring it properly on Steam requires specific settings that are not always obvious from the documentation. Having experienced professionals can save a lot of time and headaches.

  3. Learn Steam’s Launch Process: The process of launching a game on Steam differs significantly from mobile platforms. Understanding Steam’s marketing and launch dynamics is crucial for success. From tracking wishlists to launch date planning to avoid clashing with competitors, everything needs to be coordinated. In our case, our checklist had over 30 items. Special thanks to Nikolay B. for his invaluable assistance in compiling this list.

  4. Prepare for the First Wave: Steam’s organic traffic can significantly impact the initial success of a game. Unlike mobile platforms, where marketing plays a more prominent role, Steam’s algorithms heavily influence the first few days after launch. Wishlist counts, launch streams, and community posts create a substantial initial wave. To be fair, we were not fully prepared for the influx of players and had to apologize to our players. Based on our current and potential online presence, I estimate you should plan for at least 10% of your wishlist count in concurrent users (CCU) at launch.

  5. Adjust Balance for PC: Free-to-play games, especially those with in-game advertisements, need to be rebalanced for PC. The absence of ad revenue on PC means that other monetization strategies need to be carefully considered to avoid alienating players.

Launch Results and Future Plans

The launch of Pixel Gun 3D on Steam exceeded our expectations. The game ranked in the top 20 grossing games on Steam during its first two days, with peak concurrent players reaching 25,000. Over time, the game stabilized with daily peak concurrent players between 5,000 and 7,000. These metrics have encouraged us to continue developing and improving the PC version. Future plans include regular updates, with a focus on enhancing the PC gaming experience. We are also exploring the possibility of releasing the game on Mac and potentially developing our own launcher to attract players directly. The success of the PC version has also sparked interest in expanding to consoles by 2025.

Our Strategy

Our long-term strategy involves maximizing platform availability for our key games, Pixel Gun 3D and Block City Wars. We aim to ensure our games are playable on a wide range of devices, including low-end hardware, to reach the broadest possible audience. This inclusive approach is critical for maintaining a diverse and engaged player base. In addition to our existing platforms (Android, iOS, and Steam), we are considering porting our games to Mac and exploring the possibility of releasing on consoles. The experience gained from porting Pixel Gun 3D to PC will inform our approach to future platform expansions, including VR and other emerging platforms.

Exploring VR

For now, we are considering the development of a VR version of Pixel Gun 3D. We have already developed a prototype in collaboration with Fibrum, and initial results are promising. However, we recognize the unique challenges posed by VR, such as the need to adapt the game’s dynamics and controls for immersive gameplay. While a full VR version may not be feasible due to these limitations, a PvE version or a promotional campaign with a few levels is being explored. We are keen to gather feedback from the community and assess the viability of further VR development based on this input.


Porting Pixel Gun 3D to PC has been a complex but rewarding journey for our team. The successful launch on Steam, driven by strong community support and meticulous development efforts, highlights the potential for mobile games to transition to PC. By leveraging external expertise, understanding the unique aspects of PC gaming, and maintaining a focus on player feedback, we have set a solid foundation for future platform expansions. We will continue to share our learnings with you as we move forward to other platforms!

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