What are the 10 worst mistakes a developer can make when creating a social casual game? Find out with Artur Sakalis in his talk at Casual Connect Europe 2015. The first mistake made, Artur offered: “Make it really hard from the beginning.”
Artur Sakalis joined Odnoklassniki in April of 2010 and led them in joining the social games market. Prior to Oknoklassniki, he was at CTXM where he produced casual games. His extensive experience in the games industry includes over three hundred games, twenty of which were developed from beginning to end under his leadership. He has worked as head of social direction at AmberGames, head of the publishing department at Creara and now head of the API (Application Program Interface) department at Odnoklassniki.
While producing casual games, Artur saw how the games industry was evolving and realized how the social games aspect of the industry would develop. This knowledge helped Odnoklassniki avoid many mistakes from the beginning. His goal is to make Odnoklassniki users happy and game developers prosperous.
He was attracted to this career because the games industry is the only place where IT, data analysis and fun all combine. Also, while you play at the workplace no one can claim you are not working. He particularly enjoys the endless opportunities to learn, to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes.
Always trust the Statistics
To anyone interested in this career he insists, “Look at the statistics, adopt, then look at the statistics again. The worst thing you can do is to start believing you understand how everything works. In DAU you should trust, young Padawan!” His own creative process begins in the DWH department, searching for statistical anomalies.
Artur is from Latvia where there was no practice of game development in his youth. In fact, he relates, “Games appeared to be made by angels and delivered from heaven.” So he had no expectation of joining this wonder world. Rather, he almost accidentally arrived in the games industry. He was searching for work after his job with the foremost industrial tire distribution company ended, and he happened across an advertisement for a games producer at CTXM. He was hired, as his boss once told him, as a favor to the office manager, who had been his neighbor in his university dormitory.
His interest in games started early. It began with designing board games since he had no access to a console but had a strong desire to play. In his free time today he is still playing games, board games, console games and PC games. He has other interests, especially music, including rock, hard rock, metal and any music that motives him to action. He is also involved in sailing and playing on an amateur ice hockey team.
Greater Opportunities Are Always Arising
Artur claims that neither the proudest nor the most painful experience of his career has yet occurred. For him, the challenge he has overcome is no longer the greatest challenge. And when it appears that he has accomplished something to be proud of, an even greater opportunity arises.
Game design is always challenging, but he insists, “There are no easy or hard parts. The devil is in the details.” When the inevitable creative blocks arise, he deals with them by changing the environment. Riding a bike or sailing on the open sea are the environments he prefers.
In building his team, Artur looks for the desire and hunger to learn something new. He also wants those who can reach a correct conclusion from mistakes. But he believes his staff say of him, “What a crazy dude!”
The symbiosis of casual and social games will be an important trend in the games industry for the next few years, according to Artur. The casual games industry taught developers how to make high quality products. The social games industry did the same for high quality services. Standardized mobile devices and the upcoming mobile internet will provide a great opportunity to combine product and service development. Odnoklassniki is responding to this opportunity with a constantly evolving mobile version of the site and by providing new openings for game developers for cross-platform promotion of their games.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.