Game Producer for Divine Robot, Jaana Nykanen explains how to make a successful mobile game and raise twins simultaneously. Jaana’s main advice: “Do what you love and love what you do.” Jaana guided the audience at Casual Connect Europe through the journey from being a child with a love of computers and games to being a mother and a game producer who now is making games for children. “Don’t worry, you will fuck up,” and that’s okay.
What if you could have the companionship of a dog without the cost, the shedding or the unwanted behavior? It’s a dream game designers have been chasing for decades, but Wendelin Reich of indie startup Virtual Beings is poised to push the virtual pet genre to new levels. Join Wendelin in a talk from Casual Connect Europe about how Virtual Beings has striven to make it so players can feel the sort of companionship that having a dog can give you. In the presentation, Wendelin refers to the game as A Dog’s Heart. The title has been changed to Dog Story. Tune in below for a preview of this beautiful game. Within this game, “There is an emotional arc. There is progression. You meet her in a situation where she is distressed, where she is scared. You gain her trust, you build up a relationship with her so your report changes.” This is how Dog Story is different.
At Casual Connect Europe, Andrei Gradinari took the stage and described the challenges of game development for smartwatches. Andrei covered UI/gameplay and technical problems that Spooky House Studios encountered and how they solved them in the process of porting over their existing games and designing new games for smartwatches. Wearable devises “are on pare with phones that were on the market a couple of years ago . . . You get pretty decent frame rate in any game you port”, said Andrei during the session.
The team behind BUBL, an acclaimed series of abstract digital art apps for kids (numerous App Store Editor’s Choice awards and Best of App Store mentions) is now working on a new game for all ages, with Apple TV as a target platform. In Oleg Stavitsky’s talk from Casual Connect Europe, BUBL CEO discussed a path the Supersonic team took in game development. This team consists of two game industry veterans, a contemporary artist, a classical-trained composer and a DJ. Join Oleg as he describes how they made abstract digital art for kids to creating a party game filled with laughter, explosions and BUBL trademark visual extravaganza. Oleg stressed, “Anything you do, the game reacts, you cannot lose.”
With the number of ad networks and even ad formats growing constantly, it’s no simple matter for publishers to maximize their monetization potential. Appodeal Founder & CEO Pavel Golubev decided to build an automated monetization solution to help even the playing field. “The whole market is built in favor of advertisers, and middlemen cut too much – ad networks have huge margin rates. We wanted to bring the justice back to publishers,” Pavel said. For more on the technology behind Appodeal and details on some of the strategies it implements, see Pavel’s Casual Connect Europe lecture video below.
At Casual Connect Europe, Darion Lowenstein, a 20 year industry veteran and Chief Marketing Officer at Gamblit Gaming, discussed what’s been successful, what has bombed and surprising differences between virtual currency and real money game versions. This metrics focused talk took a look at the trials and tribulations from launching real money gambling games. Darion offered the audience poignant lessons learned in transitioning from making casual games to real money gambling experiences. “Overall, there is a much higher percentage of whales. In a real money market, everyone is pretty much whales compared to casual which is a very different experience . . . What that means is you have got more money from less customers, you’ve got less customers to manage and more money coming in on a frequent basis.” In short, when you are new, there is a lot more money to gain.
If you’re a mobile app developer, you might choose to integrate SDKs to add any number of features to your products, from ads to analytics to social and more. But SDKs aren’t really your code, and using them usually means sacrificing some degree of control over your app, as Orly Shoavi of SafeDK pointed out during a Casual Connect Tel Aviv lecture. SDKs can introduce new security vulnerabilities, or they can collect data on your users, and you could be liable for that if something goes wrong. “With so many SDKs out there, you really need to know how to protect your users,” Orly said. For a walkthrough of how SafeDK aims to give developers greater info about and control over the SDKs they use, see her full session below.
Making good games is no longer enough to make a developer’s relationship with a publisher successful. The market is flooded with good games, and it’s getting more complicated to find success.
If it makes understanding the market easier, you can draw a lot of parallels between the developer-publisher relationship and romantic relationships, according to George Erkhan, Creative Director of HeroCraft. “If you are a 6 and a publisher is a 10, only beer can help you,” George said.
Those relationships run into trouble when each party doesn’t understand what they want and what they can offer. For all of George’s tips for satisfying publishers, see his full session below.
Read more about George Erkhan with this exclusive interview.
Social casual games are easy to pick up and play, but it’s not easy to make them that way. There are a lot of ways simple game projects can quickly grow more complicated than planned.
Artur Sakalis, head of the Russian social network Odnoklassniki’s games platform, came to Casual Connect Tel Aviv 2015 to present the 10 most common ways developers can overcomplicate casual games. “Make it easy. Create a habit. Don’t make it hard enough to need a tutorial,” Artur said.
For Artur’s 10 Ways to Make the Worst Casual Game, watch his full session below.
For more about Artur, check out this GameSauce exclusive.
Dieter Schoeller, Managing Director and founder at Headup Games spoke at the recent Casual Connect Europe offered the lessons learned over the last seven years when it comes to publishing independent games, collaborating with young studios and successfully bringing the games of Headup Games to the market. Having built up all pillars of distribution, from dinosaur retail business to Steam to mobile to digital console, Dieter shared an insight into best practices and the biggest failures encountered along this path through concrete case studies and subjective insights. One of these insights was: “I see a great future for mobile premium games if we can establish a platform like Netflix.” Tune in below for more.