David Galvis, software developer and founder of papergames.io, didn’t think he’d go on to become a website publisher. He was testing back-end and front-end developer technology for his own learning. Eventually, that bloomed into creating Tic Tac Toe and Connect4

With over 15,000 users daily, David is launching the latest website version in just three months which will include chess, checkers, backgammon and more. We sat down with David to learn more about his story and how papergames.io came to be.

Note: Responses may have been edited for clarity.

What motivated you to start Paper Games?

In 2016, I wanted to test the newer back-end and front-end developer framework. I created Tic Tac Toe and Connect4 and shared it with colleagues, they wanted to keep testing.

I still have my full-time job and I’ve been working on papergames.io as a side project. After a few years, more and more players started joining and asking for more features. The players’ interest in the games is what’s motivating me forward. 

What’s the story behind papergames.io?

For all the necessary engineering, I am the only one working on it and that might change in the future. I have had to outsource website translation since the website is available in Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, and I’ve been able to do the translation in French, Spanish, and English, myself.

What struggles did you face when starting your papergames.io?

The most difficult part of papergames.io was creating the platform and not knowing how to improve it. I’ve added a form on the website so users can share their feedback. I have a Discord chat as well to discuss the platforms. 

A struggle I face to this day is players cheating. I would need more resources to have moderators to know who’s cheating but it’s quite difficult since it occurs behind the screen, especially on gaming websites.

I know my next challenge is scaling the website. I’d like to have more users and that requires good architecture or the server won’t survive.

What vision did you have for papergames.io when you first started and how does it compare to what it is now?

At the beginning, I didn’t have much of a vision. In fact, it was a very naive approach and more for fun and for friends rather than a business.

What changed was once I had more players and was earning revenue, I wanted to continue growing, bringing in revenue and adding in more features to scale up the platform. I’ve really just gone with the flow and it’s only me pushing myself. 

The pandemic gave our platform a huge boost of traffic since a lot of individuals were bored at home. The platform has brought people together for tournaments and a business university in Vietnam hosted a tournament for 500 people. 

Who were the people who have been the most helpful in getting you to where you are today? 

I have to thank my mom. She played Tic Tac Toe and she is not very technical or computer savvy so if I can create something she understands, it helps make the platform that much better for the end user.

I also have to thank the people on the internet. They liked the concept enough to keep playing and help with the translations. But they also participate in the Discord server and help provide valuable feedback.

What has surprised you about starting papergames.io?

I guess people don’t always like what I like. When you create a website, you think you’re creating a good feature and the user might not think it’s useful and then you end up creating features that people don’t want.

That’s a lesson I’ve learned – don’t try to develop features on a hunch and it’s better to ask questions.

What’s the one thing you’d tell your younger self? 

I’d tell myself to read more, read a lot, learn a lot, have fun. It’s important to keep the learning level high always especially when you’re a child, your brain is different and can take it. 

Interested in exploring papergames.io? From Tic Tac Toe to Battleship, you can start playing today!