The amazing and humble success story behind iPhone game Trainyard

Going from the barebones outline seen above to the top of the iTunes App Store in approximately 16 months, Matt Rix's Trainyard is a runaway success. Rix details the game's development -- and astronomical sales -- on his blog, showing its humble beginnings scribbled in a notepad, development delays due to his other job (he developed Trainyard at home in his personal time), and how the birth of his son allowed him to finish the game last May.

He also delves into the relatively small amount of money he made from Trainyard early on, and how offering a free version of the game (Trainyard Express) dramatically drove sales. "I released Trainyard Express on September 30th ... A day later, an editor at a prominent Italian blog discovered the game and wrote a fantastic article about it. The game shot up the Italian charts and quickly became the #1 free app in Italy, netting 22,795 downloads in its first day at #1. Along with the Express downloads, the paid sales in Italy also started getting higher, and within a day of reaching #1, I had beaten my single-day launch profit record of $140 with $240 in a single day. It was awesome to know that the up-sell was working."

More importantly, however, word started spreading of the train-based puzzle game and soon the free version was charting in the UK. So much so, in fact, that Apple contacted Rix to feature his game in the iTunes paid apps list -- he describes the effect it had by saying, "It's like winning a lottery, but a lottery where you work really really hard to buy your ticket." Most recently, Rix has dropped the price of Trainyard "for a short time" to $.99 (from $2.99), resulting in his game beating out Angry Birds for the number two spot in the US. Perhaps fittingly, Rix even has a humble reaction to the monstrous success of his recent sale: "Mission accomplished."

Head over to Rix's blog entry for his far more thorough account (not to mention an adorable picture of his baby son -- congrats, Matt!), and check out Trainyard in action after the break or head to iTunes to pick it up.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.