Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

Tag: mobile(Page 1 of 5)

A Game About Game Ideas

My most recent game is out and you can get it now for iOS and Android! Game Design Improv is all about generating and pitching game ideas!

gamedesignimprovlogo

You can play it as a fun party game or use it to generate game ideas for your own purposes (as in for games you’re making). Inspired partly by Oblique Strategies, the game will help you conquer and creative difficulties you may have! Ok, maybe not all of them – but some. At the very least it can be used to get you out of whatever the equivalent is of a writer’s block for a game designer.

Game Design Improv screen

It’s an evolution of my One Game a Month game of the same name which I made two years ago(!). Indeed you can see the previous version and the most recent version in the screenshots below. It’s obvious the impact good art direction can have, and for that I must thank Samet Choudhury.

Original version of the game idea game

Original version of the game idea game

Game Design Improv screen of game ideas

Game Design Improv

From Wero Creative.

Generate game ideas like never before!

Have fun competing with others to create the best (or just hilarious) game idea! You can also use it on your own for some fun last-minute game jam ideas.

Game Design Improv is a digitized game design exercise which I use to quickly produce ideas for games in all forms. It’s all about quickly creating game ideas based on limited information in a fun way.

Use it to come up with ideas for:
– Video Games
– Escape Games
– Board Games
– Puzzle Games
– Any other games!

The way to play it is to use what’s presented on the screen in a short ~1 minute game pitch. Keep it quick and it works as a fun, quick, useful activity.

This started at Board Game Jam and has evolved into this app you see in front of you now. You really should download it as there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Wero Creative wants you to make games! Do whatever you want with the ideas you generate from this app – no restrictions!

Game Design Improv screen of game ideas

Get it now on iOS and Android!

Whales in Free to Play Games

For many free to play (freemium) games their revenue relies on whales. Whales are players that spend a disproportionate amount of money on a game relative to other players, and they make up a very small percentage of players.

Wero Creative's freemium game AstroDoge

Wero Creative’s freemium game AstroDoge

This approach to game revenue can be rather problematic if you’re game doesn’t get thousands or millions of players. And as the mobile app stores get more and more saturated reaching that critical number of players becomes a bigger and bigger challenge.

Encouraging these players to play for freemium upgrades can be a challenge and game designers need to design for free to play from the start of the design process. Still, what can game companies do to attract these whale players and is it a good idea?

Michael Lewis at the Toronto Star takes a look into how game companies hunt elusive whales to stay afloat. He even interviewed me about whales and how game companies make their business plans.

Whales, moreover, are not likely to admit they are such, according to Adam Clare, who teaches games design at George Brown College and develops games at Wero Creative.
The vast majority of gamers who play free games never spend on them regardless of how many in-app purchases they offer, he said.

“So the business model has boiled down to getting as many players as possible, then hoping that someone out there will love the game so much they spend a tonne of money on it.”

Game developers have always assumed that this random approach is logical, he said, even though developers also assumed that the people spending $50 or more a month on a game for extra time or virtual prizes must be misguided.

Some research on whales suggests in fact that they are not impulsive but more rational in a kind of hedonistic way — long-term thinkers, cool-headed and methodical who see expenditure on gaming as part of their entertainment budget.

Now go get Wero’s free to play game AstroDoge.

Mobile Optimization Tips for Unity

Earlier this year Unity’s basic mobile licenses went free which is a great thing for indie developers. If you’re new to putting games on mobile with Unity you’re going to want to check out these tips.

Garden Knight Games has a good introductory blog post to getting your Unity game ready for mobile devices.

This article is going to focus on how to get your Unity game running as fast as possible on mobile devices, specifically iPhone but you can carry over techniques to Android as well. This is something I find a lot of people have issues with, their game running at terrible frame rates and not understanding why or what they can do about it! iPhone’s hardware isn’t that beefy which makes optimization much more important! Squeezing visual fidelity without suffering game play is the challenge.

It mentions the 3Gs iPhone quite a bit and I think it’s far to say that you can ignore that device flat out – particularly with the rumoured new iPhone coming in September. Key lesson from this is that directional lights on mobile slow everything way down.

Similarly, Paladin Studios has a post on getting your Unity game ready for iOS and Android using four tips.

1. Use The Performance Profiler

The first thing to look at when you want to improve the performance game is the Unity Profiler. It is a Unity Pro feature that lets you analyze performance bottlenecks. The Profiler is an invaluable tool. With it, you can determine where any framerate issues are coming from. You run the game on your target device, and run the profiler on your PC. When you launch the game, the Profiler starts pumping out performance data.

Here’s a quick video on texture optimisation and size tips in Unity 3D:

Finally, a general tip across all mobile games is scaling for the proper screen size. In this post, three options are outlined: scaling, letter boxing, or cropping.

(hat tip to r/gamedev)

Free to Play or go Paid? Mobile Game Business Decisions

A writer at Gamasutra decided to ask some mobile game developers about their business models for their respective games. Some of them chose to go free to play and others went the fully-paid route. Their responses to the questions provide some insight into their decisions. However, like most decisions it comes down to the kind of game you’re trying to make.

Here’s one of the many responses:

I still think a F2P puzzle is a lot harder to monetize than other F2P genres, mostly because the content is limited and requires a lot of level design.

Candy Crush is the best example of highly successful F2P puzzle. They have more than 250 levels and are still producing a lot of content and find new gameplay mechanics with every update to keep their current userbase. That’s a lot of content, 2x more than what Angry Birds has.

The other thing that’s hard in general with an F2P game is balance – to monetize you have to create gameplay mechanics which involve timers, and some developers will also play with frustration to push the player to buy bonuses or boosts.

Read more at Gamasutra.

To augment the information gleaned from the Gamasutra article I suggest reading about the challenges of marketing a game. It’s not what it used to be at all.

Overall, ZeptoLab says it will spend around $1 million launching “Cut the Rope: Time Travel,” which traces the adventures of the green monster Om Nom as he meets versions of himself in time periods like the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. On top of that sum, which includes the costs of animation, the company is counting on some free help by promoting the game inside its other titles.

It’s essentially to think about the business plan and the game design concurrently.

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