Take it from me, starting a business can be hard. There are hundreds of things to think about and while you’re thinking about those hundreds of things, another thousand or so will come to mind. Being an entrepreneur is really a 24/7 job and it can be a total roller coaster ride. You’ve secured funding: yay! You’ve missed your target client acquisition number: **tears**.
At HeroPay, we’ve created a platform that gives business owners the ability to compare different credit card processors. We’ve experienced many of the ups and downs, the flips and dips of starting a business, so now is the time for a road map of the awesome tools available to all types of entrepreneurs!
Andrew Sheppard has had a productive career – playing key roles at companies like Kabam, hi5, Electronic Arts and Outspark. Now, as the newly appointed CEO of GREE International Entertainment, Inc., he will share his expertise and insights with the audience at Casual Connect Europe in Berlin, Germany, as its keynote speaker on February 7.
So what type of experience does Andrew bring to the conference and what can developers and other games industry professionals hope to learn? Here is a quick look back at Andrew’s career and what to look forward to at Casual Connect Europe.
By Nicole Canovas, Creative Content Intern at Mega Cat Studios
I’m about to relay to you the story of one of the most vivid gaming memories I have. It’s a tale of suspense. It’s a take of betrayal. It’s a tale of teens. I can’t remember the year, but the game was Mario Party and the system was Nintendo64. I was maybe 18 at the time, my younger sister and our mutual best friend maybe 16. It’s our friend’s turn, and he lands on the coveted Star Space. Toad jumps up and down, asking if he would like to purchase a star for 20 coins. The rest seems to happen in slow motion.
My sister’s hand snaps out and hits the joystick on our friend’s controller down- right as he’s pressing “A”. I had never been so proud and terrified of my little sister at the same time. Our friend looks at her, slack jawed, as his character declines the star. It was completely silent for about a minute before all hell broke loose.
FlowPlay has launched Dynasty Football, an online fantasy football strategy card game. Designed to appeal to both fans of collectible card games and fantasy football enthusiasts, this unique game blends the real-world player stats of fantasy football with the excitement of head-to-head card battles.
“Collectible card games have become increasingly popular over the last two years, and we saw an opportunity to bring our expertise in casual fantasy sports games to this growing market,” said Derrick Morton, CEO of FlowPlay. “We’re one of the first to introduce sports elements into the digital card games genre, allowing us to expand the appeal of Dynasty Football to the broader audience of 60 percent of the U.S. population that considers themselves sports fans, according to Gallup.”
At Product Madness, we think of user acquisition as an investment. - Patrick Witham, UA DirectorClick To Tweet
At Casual Connect Tel Aviv, Product Madness UA Director Patrick Witham provided insights on how the Top-15 social casino company tackles user acquisition. “At Product Madness, we think of user acquisition as an investment.” Patrick broke down where the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer goes in this investment, noting that up to 30 percent may go toward platform fees, 15 percent may go toward operating expenses, the actual investment in UA and CPI could make up to 25 percent of a user’s LTV, and the remaining amount – up to 30 percent – is actual profit. Patrick noted that the return on investment does not come until farther down the road – sometimes anywhere from 3 months to 12 months or more. For more UA insights and tips, check out the video below.
Ask every question you can think of and never pretend you understand when you don’t. - Nick TalaricoClick To Tweet
Nick Talarico, founder and CEO of Super Lucky Casino, explained “Basically the casino floor IS the app store. In the brick and mortar world, if someone wants to play slots games they go into a casino and they search for a slots title they want to play. In mobile, it’s either going to the app of their choice and scrolling through the lobby or going to the app store to find a new app to install and play.” at Casual Connect Tel Aviv. Learn how they and Super Lucky Casino are using this viewpoint to drive their business strategies in the video below.
It may still be in the early days, but with a worldwide launch day sellout, Playstation VR might just be the Virtual Reality breakthrough that the games industry has long been hoping for. But worldwide adoption of this futuristic technology will only happen if the games live up to the expectations set by Sony and others. That’s where World War Toons comes in; it’s the first major title from Studio Roqovan, formally known as Reload Studios and staffed by Call of Duty veterans and Disney animators. It’s also one of the first console VR-compatible games to be built around a free-to-play mechanic.
Sebastien Borget is the COO and Co-Founder of Pixowl. They manage the operations of the studio and supervise the production and marketing of all the company’s titles. This includes the popular creation game The Sandbox, its sequel The Sandbox Evolution and also Peanuts: Snoopy’s Town Tale and Garfield: Survival of the Fattest.
“The Sandbox entertains almost like a love story with its community and many times in the past we have been involving the community into deciding what would be the next update or what ideas they wanted in the game,” they said.
LunaFive is an indie studio from the USA, consisting of (surprise!) five members, who came out of the New York University Game Center’s MFA & Incubator program with the goal of making memorable and satisfying indie games. Their debut game, Cognition, is a “tapformer,” a platformer where you move by tapping. Guide Click and Cogsworth, two perpetually rotating cogs, through a series of surreal and increasingly dangerous maze-like environments. With a simple movement system and endearing, whimsical characters, Cognition is designed to be played by anyone, anywhere; the team is happy to shed some light on their development process and the decisions that took the game where it is now from a drastically different beginning.
Imagine you’re a slime, enjoying a nice hangout in a forest with your best avian friend.
Everything’s going splendid when, without warning, you get gobbled up by a giant worm! You now find yourself in the precarious position of being digested soon. So what do you do? You jump, slide and slime your way through the giant worm’s intestines and back out of its mouth of course! The developer of Slime-san, Fabian Rastorfer, tells more.
Along the way you discover an entire ecosystem within the worm. You’ll encounter areas
resembling beaches, forests and even a makeshift town of critters who also survived being
swallowed, but have given up on ever escaping again!
The gameplay consists of 100 levels, comprised of 400 compact rooms, that require fast
reflexes and quick thinking.
Every second level you’ll be facing a new hazard or enemy type, forcing you to adapt your playstyle and remain quick on your feet. Your platforming moves include a time-slowing morph, which lets you move through otherwise solid green objects, as well as a versatile dash that speeds up the world around you! Careful, however, as the timer does not slow down, which means you need to use that move carefully if you’re aiming for trophy times. In addition to the trophies the game also has 400 collectible apples that you can spend on gameplay modifiers, costumes, shaders or artwork.
The game has 400 collectible apples that you can spend on gameplay modifiers, costumes, shaders or artwork.
If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also be able to unlock a variety of additional modes, such as NewGame+ remixes of all 100 levels, Boss Rush or the uber-challenging 1 Life run. Last but not least, you can also compete for the best completion times online!
Game Feel and Tutorials
The most important thing to accomplish in this platformer has been the “game feel”. Making a jump feel just right, using dash mechanics to add oomph, to give movement a bounce and gravity a strength… It required weeks of stat tuning to get right. Unity has been used due to platform flexibility and a strong editor. That editor allows artists like myself to also do implementation work which expedites development.
The most unexpected discovery was… how much fun we’re having playing our own game! Seriously, we need to stop ourselves from playtesting sometimes! On a more serious note: Tutoring. Getting tutorials to feel just right is incredibly challenging. They can’t be too overbearing, but they also need to be clear to a wide audience. Getting those first levels right is crucial to convey a hook to keep playing.
Instead of Black and White
We’re known to have games with a silly premise, and Slime-san is definitely as silly as it gets! But we also like to think that it’s charming and we like casting smiles on people. It’s Fabraz’ newest crazy adventure after the critically acclaimed and award-nominated Planet Diver and Cannon Crasha. It has an entertaining story, with an unlikely character and addictively fast gameplay. It is a visually unique adventure using a carefully crafted, 5-color-palette world filled with fun and goofy Japanese references. The idea kind of just came to me one week after Planet Diver’s release, not really sure what the trigger was! Maybe I’m just weird!
Because the game is so fast-paced and relies on clear signaling for damaging/morphing/solid tiles we required the game to have a low color palette. But instead of going for the classics like white on black, we decided to go for white on blue! It’s a mellow but appealing color that isn’t too harsh on the eyes and it lends a lot of character to the game.
Famous Composers and Just Guidelines
Our core team is based in New York and we’re three people in an office every day. But we work with a lot of people outside of the office as well. Like Britt Brady, Markus Jost, all the composers and more.
The soundtrack for Slime-san features some of the most popular chiptune composers in the world! We’re talking about Adhesive Wombat, Inverse Phase, Mega Neko, Kubbi, Kommisar, FantomenK, Tiasu and so many more! We clearly wanted this to be the greatest game soundtrack we’ve ever made so we worked with more famous composers than ever! They were all super supportive and into the idea so it was a lot of fun working with them. We only gave them guidelines and let them have as much creative freedom as possible – needless to say they created fantastic stuff! I love them all.
When asked about something he’d like to share but have never been asked about, Fabian comments: “Let’s see… How about my personal philosophy on success? 🙂 We have this philosophy we like to share with fellow devs: You have to work really hard to get into a position where you can get lucky. It’s silly to blame the lack of success on bad luck but it’s also naive to assume your success didn’t depend on it either. You have to work hard, every day, and try your very best to achieve success. To get into the position where success could happen. And someday it might! :)”
Slime-san’s being published by Headup Games and is scheduled to release on Steam (PC, Mac, Linux) as well as Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo hardware. Look out for Slime-san in spring 2017! While the team is currently busy with porting Planet Diver to the Wii U and getting Slime-san ready for beta testing.