By Merav Katz Gershuni, Head of Growth, yellowHEAD
yellowHEAD staff had the opportunity to emcee the Social Casino track at Casual Connect Europe in London, where some of the social casino industry’s best and brightest came together to help you get the most out of your gaming apps. yellowHEAD’s Merav Katz Gershuni and Marina
Sapunova compiled information from the event that can help you navigate the waters of this
competitive vertical, from little things that you can do to boost your game growth, to common
mistakes that may inhibit your success.
We heard from seasoned directors, supervisors and CEOs with years of experience at leading
brands in the gaming industry, including Product Madness, The Stars Group, KamaGames and
Whow Games. They shared key insights about different areas of the field – from creative to legal
to data science and more! Among the lessons shared, the experts discussed best practices
from real money casino that can be applied in social casino, maximizing performance with game
economy prediction, common mistakes made at different stages of a game’s lifecycle, effective
creative team management, successful A/B testing of creatives, revenue growth success
stories, localization, gaming vs. gambling, and virality.
It was a great opportunity to learn from real experiences gained through tried and true strategies
or failed attempts. For more on optimizing your games in the social casino space, read the full
synopsis at yellowHEAD.
I guess that every single games developer in the world could say that everything started when they were kids and, with gleamy eyes but steady hands, played their first game. But I’d like to finish this post before the year is over, and that’d be a bit cheesy anyway, so let’s fast forward a little bit. In some sense, everything started when I decided to found a small development company. But then I would have to talk of 10 years of hard (but rewarding) work, during which we developed more than 50 products and saw many of our clients succeed – one of them sold his product that we developed for him for 50 million USD to NASDAQ!
So, fast forward again to the moment when we decided that the time had arrived to create our own “baby,” to make a game for us and not for others. The idea had crossed our minds before, but it wasn’t until some random day, having some coffee, when I saw a beautiful demo that Oren Rubin and Alon Simon had created. Back then it was something really tiny, but I instantly saw that it had something special – it was eye-catching, quirky, and funny. So I contacted them and told them that maybe we could make a mobile game out of it. We all agreed that it was worth a try.
And here we are, one year, one nomination to the Google Indie Prize, 20 times featured by Apple and Google (even featured once in the “Today” tab), and 4 million downloads later. It was definitely worth the try, don’t you think? But let’s see how we got here – the path is as important as the destination!
We are SignSine – a two people game studio from Kyiv, Ukraine.
We are developing PROZE, an atmospheric survival adventure game focused on telling a compelling story “about friendship with massive Cold War conspiracy background” and providing an immersive experience in VR.
Where did everything start?
In August 2016, we went to a countryside house (dacha) nearby Kyiv with a company of old friends. After getting lost in the woods we were very inspired telling the story to each other from a different perspective. Some time after we decided to turn our memories of that evening into a game screenplay, that’s how the initial idea came together.
We weren’t sure about genre, setting or technology. It was just a draft story and we kept developing it, collecting ideas and references for everything, drawing early sketches, describing game mechanics and creating puzzles — basically doing what we could.
We knew exactly what kind of experience PROZE should be in the end – a unique story with massive background, characters, which you love, hate and empathize. Cozy and at the same time – scary atmosphere that will be left imprinted in players memories for decades. Our sights of what the perfect game should be and on many other things was uncommon, that’s why we settled as a team and kept progressing on the development.
The decision of making a VR game was not instant. However while putting our design document together we realized that this technology can fully project our idea, thoughts, and emotions that we have put into the screenplay. To embody those moments as it could happen in real life we decided to make a VR game at first place.
Going for technologies that we are using in the game creation is a bigger challenge for us, as we are trying to reach really stunning quality of visuals and audio with no budget.
So pretty much all the things that we are doing, we are doing ourselves, including photogrammetry, motion capture, spatial sound design, 3D modeling.
The hardest part was to combine the development with our day jobs. We have to support financially ourselves and the project. We have to spend tons of time on doing things and learning new as we set this unreachable goal of making an uncompromised game.
There were 4 of us in the very beginning, but only 2 of us left carrying the torch. All of us have motivational, financial, family, time and other problems from time to time, it makes huge impacts on the progress of PROZE development, nevertheless we work as a team and support each other during the hard times.
Today we went for full time development, rented a small office, upgraded some gear.
That’s not fine when we can’t afford buying food everyday, but we truly believe that things will change and PROZE will be a blast when it’s done.
We have spend a lot of time on crafting the cinematic story trailer, which is not completed yet today. It still lacks of visual effects and expensive 3D character models.
Perhaps it was a mistake starting from such complex footage that required all states of technology and art in itself ignoring the actual gameplay.
However we’ve learned a lot and gained big experience with
The new game engine.
Motion capture, which we were recording with 2 soldiered Kinects in the rotten basement of the 18 story building. Where we were disturbed all the time by the tenants that were looking at us as on aliens trying to steal their gigabytes of internet.
Crawling through the dungeons and caught cold standing on the windy highways and fields and lakes to record authentic ambiances and sound effects.
But wrong moves were made right. Using the experience and groundwork we started from scratch creating a playable game episode in VR. Not much time has passed and we are showcasing PROZE pre-Aplha at our first conference. So many gamers that have never played anything like that before were extremeley excited.
After 2 months and huge update we are getting 2 main prizes during our second in life conference.
We’ve been awarded the Audience Choice Award and the Best Indie Game Award. Now as winners from GameDev Lviv (an Indie Prize Partner event), we are Indie Prize London finalist at Casual Connect Europe and the game looks and feels like never before.
The mistake that we won’t regret if you can call it a mistake is that we are not following the trends.
The development of such complex project takes a lot of time and the industry changes every now and then. PROZE is not social, it is not a multiplayer. It doesn’t have loot boxes or similar things.
It may sound strange, but it is designed mostly for introverts that want to relax after a busy day, spend a few hours alone and take part in the breathtaking story, experience the situations that might be related to them, but in an extraordinary way and get the emotional connection with the characters.
Hopefully we will connect with our audience and together we will prove that there are no such thing as unreachable goals. And the higher you aim the more you gain. That probably would be the main tip for other developers trying hard to bring their worlds to life.
It might be early to judge if our approach repays.
Our team is called Nord Unit and there are 3 of us: Fedor, Denis and Dmitry. We are true indie developers and Hyperforma is our totally first experience in developing and releasing a game.
Fedor Danilov creates art, game design, interfaces, writes a story and does CEO stuff.
Denis Dorokhov does UI, creates animations and scenes, makes sounds and works with freelancers.
Dmitry Konarev does programming, creates levels, compiles the game in Unity3D. So he deals with the technical side of the game.
And of course, we discuss game balance and mechanics together, so it’s a constant game-design-team-work.
Among the key pillars is democratizing game developments and solving hard problems. - Alexander…Click To Tweet
By Arno Copley
Solution Consultant Alexander Shlygin for Unity spoke at Casual Connect Kyiv 2017 about Timeline and Cinemachine by Unity. These features include: post processing stack, analytis event tracker, totally new features for artists, numerous improvements in animation and more! In the talk entitled Unity 2017 and Beyond, Alexander provided an overview of all key features and improvements of the current Unity version. Get insights on what’s next with Unity by tuning in to the full session below.
Not so long ago, web developers were unwilling to take gaming as a full-time career but nowadays, they are doing it full time. Some who are specialized in designing entertaining programs have become millionaires while others are quitting their jobs due to the allure of big money generated in this field.
Apart from playing online, if you are talented in a real sport and you would like to take it as your career, here is a comprehensive guide on how you can apply for an athletic college scholarship. According to this guide, if you are accepted, you will have to balance between excelling in sports and your academic work. If such a workload scares you, do not hesitate to contact Ca.Edubirdie.com for academic assistance.
That said, the future of the playing industry appears uncertain and it is hard to tell how it will be like in years to come. Nevertheless, this article will briefly look into the past, the current and the future of gaming technology in a bid to understand the trends of this industry.
1) The Past
As they say, you cannot plan your future if you do not know where you are coming from. Many current entertainment enthusiasts may think that web development aimed at entertainment is a recent phenomenon but they are wrong. Video games have been in existence since the 1950’s but were being designed as a hobby and not for money.
In the 1970’s, production moved a notch higher with the establishment of arcades and a decade later, video games were extended from arcades into homes thereby ushering an era of home consoles championed by companies like Atari, Sega and Nintendo.
2) The Present
From the 1980’s, the industry continued to evolve as new technological inventions came up. It is as a result of this that we are able to play high quality video options unlike those of the past.
Despite this growth, it is disturbing to note that game development jobs have been decreasing since 2014. According to recent surveys on job postings, available positions have been reducing at an alarming rate and the possible could be:
The recent technological inventions are altering the ways we are doing things. For, example, most developers are making more mobile applications than in the past.
In the past, designing of games was being done in studios funded by key publishers like Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony etc but that stopped, leading to job losses. Today, most developers today work either in small teams or independently.
Furthermore, virtual reality (VR) seems to have completely changed the whole playing perspective.
3) The future of virtual games
New technological inventions have created a myriad of opportunities for designers as a huge number of them are now concentrating on making mobile-friendly entertaining apps.
(a) Current trends on Mobile phones
Today developers prefer GPUs graphics as opposed to CPUs as it was the case in the past, as they offer the much needed processing power.
Software developers – Google, Microsoft and iOS are also aware of the industry’s potential and they are constantly improving their platforms to lure more developers into their platforms.
Currently Android has the most developers due to the unlimited flexibility it offers as compared to its closest competitor iOS. The problem with the latter is that its app store is not open to developers and thus testing and publishing software isn’t free. Microsoft is also investing heavily in its new platform – Windows 10 OS to make it more appealing to developers and it is hoping its efforts will eventually pay off.
(b) Computer games
Current trends show that PC games are declining but to counter this, hardware manufacturers are now manufacturing portable computers that are not only lighter in weight than their predecessors but also highly efficient just like smart phones to lure developers back.
Back to the Future the game will probably change as we move on and we might see many developers concentrating more on computer programs.
(c) Clouds computing
This is another front that will determine players’ future. Most of them prefer options with clouds’ storage system. This is because you can play on one device and continue playing from where you left on another one. This is because results are uploaded in the clouds and are synced with any device you logon thereafter making those games more efficient and we expect more adoption of this technology in the future.
(d) Game development courses
Years back, to become a game developer, you had to undertake a 4-year computer science course but today, most young developers are preferring studying on coding boot camps which can be done within 12-14 weeks. Due to the increased adoption of these short courses, many developers are graduating and it is exciting to see how this will impact on the future of virtual playing.
(e) Trending games 2018
Xbox owners can now enjoy the latest releases like the Burnout Paradise Re-mastered, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3 and Forza Motorsport 7. Others expected in 2018 are: the Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty, Titan Fall 2 and Assassin’s Creed Origins.
The Star Wars games are also trending in 2018 and are available both on PS4 and on the new Xbox. These are not the only new ones available, visit IT news sites and subscribe for latest updates.
Although the future appears uncertain, developers are optimistic about brighter times. They are counting on manufacturers to produce highly efficient gadgets that can play complex and high-resolution programs like Halo but for now, we can only wait.
Author’s bio: Robert Everett is an ardent writer with a specialty in the web development field. He offers deep insights when it comes to games. Apart from writing the said articles, he is also skilled in generating web content as well as writing academic masterpieces such as term papers, capstone projects, research papers, dissertations etc.
Fhacktions is a location-based mobile MOBA game developed by Posibillian Tech, a Paraguayan startup founded in 2015. Set in a near future where the world is ruled by factions of hackers, players must battle each other to maintain control of strategically placed servers that provide them with currency and power. The core of the game is its location based mechanic, with servers placed in real world places, like your local coffee shop or the laundromat next door. Conceived before Ingress and Pokemon Go were launched, Fhacktions had an uphill road to follow in order to finance, code and promote a game with mechanics no one yet understood.
The game received several awards, like winning the “Best Audio” category in Indie Prize USA, and being finalist in Indie Prize in Asia and Europe in the “Best Multiplayer Game” category. Google selected Fhacktions as one of the 15 best games in the Google Indie Games Festival LATAM in 2018.
Founded in 2016, Miracle Tea is an independent game developer made up of Bradley Smith, Tom Andrews, Enrico Ercole and Gav Amante. Based around Ipswich, they met at the University of Suffolk and Brains Eden game jam. The team aspire to make games that tap into deeper emotions to touch players in meaningful ways. Ruyawas their first release. Bradley shares some insight.
Tom and I were both freelancing on the same project together. He showed me an old prototype he built from Uni. I had just competed in the Indie Speed Run and produced some artwork that I thought had some potential, so we pretty much combined two. Our goal was to re-imagine match style games with positive vibes and bring elements into the genre that you might not normally see.
We submitted the original prototype to the Tranzfuser programme back in 2016 – it’s a national funding scheme for graduates in the UK. We were fortunate enough to be one of the teams selected with a successful pitch for funding. This floated a chunk of our development. The team that rxun it have been lovely to us and amazing to work with.
In 2015 a young Syrian artist who had just arrived in Austria bumped by accident into a game designer that had somehow specialized in political games. He joined the designer and his team first as an apprentice, but soon after they decided to embark on an adventure: to make an autobiographical adventure game about escaping from the Syrian Civil War.
The project in a nutshell:
Path Out is an autobiographical narrative adventure, that allows the players to follow the journey of Abdullah Karam, a young Syrian artist that escaped the civil war in 2014. In the game, Abdullah is giving insight to his real-life adventure via video comments that appear throughout the game. While looking like an adorable retro RPG the game attempts to draw the players into the harrowing experiences that Abdullah had to endure during his journey. It also wants to function as an empathic connection between the player and the all too real protagonist. The first chapter of the journey was made available for free on Steam, itch.io and Gamejolt in November 2017.
Successful game studios recognize and embrace the idea that games have evolved. Today’s popular games are operated as services that evolve and grow over time with new content, live events, and frequent updates. To be successful over the long term, games need to understand and segment their players, develop deep relationships, and to understand and meet the needs of multiple player segments – in other words, to excel at liveops.