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Tips for creating a successful mobile game

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Aiursrage2k, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Here are some of my thoughts on how to create a successful mobile game.
    1. Gametime- you should be able to play the game in 1..3 minute spurts.
    2. Input - you should be able to use finger for the input to play the game while waiting in line for the bus with your iphone
    3. The game should have some randomization so its highly replayable.
    4. Style: It should either be highly colorful and cheerful, or blocky and low fidelity graphics -- minecraftian.
    5. If a genre is hot you need to get in on the craze ASAP. The most successful game we made was a spartan based game.
    6. Keep it simple stupid - you need to design the game so thats easy enough for baby or grandma to play it without reading any instructions.
    7. Instant death - you dont need a complex health system but a simple one hit kills. This ensures that the player does not get bored as quickly.
    8. Reward the player constantly, keep giving him achievements and bonuses both in the short term and long-term with “missions unlocks”.
    9. Easy to learn, easy to beat, hard to master, have a star system or a multiplier so that the player keeps playing.
    10. Unique selling feature. Now this is risky because you might change something and make the gameplay worse, but your going to have to do something to try and differentiate yourself from the rest of the games out there to try and get picked up by the blogs.
    11. DOA - If your game is not picked up right away your game it's DOA, so dont bother with it, time to move on. There are now hundreds of games released daily on the mobile platform, the bloggers will not review updated games they are looking for new releases.
     
  2. BTStone

    BTStone

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    Ohhh...it took me a while to get this!

    Got me good, mate!
     
  3. Acumen

    Acumen

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    I think there are certainly some things from that list only apply to a certain kind of games.
    Guess this works for a good amount of simple casual games.
    3. 4. 5. 6. 8. 11. could all be questioned on other genres.
    It reads more like the dissection/feature list of one of the endless runner games to me, e.g. Subway Surfers.

    Certainly some good tips in there just not applicable to every game.
    Year Walk/Device 6 would be tough to squeeze in there :)
    Or many many other successful mobile titles that disregard many of these ideas and are succesful because OF it.
     
  4. BTStone

    BTStone

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    Wait, is this list serious? Oh...
     
  5. MrProfessorTroll

    MrProfessorTroll

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    lol sorry for the nooby question here..... im a bit embarrassed...... what is DOA???
     
  6. Parallel_

    Parallel_

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    Dead On Arrival
     
  7. BrainMelter

    BrainMelter

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    Here's the real list.

    1. Put "flappy" in your game's name
    2. Release game.

    Profit!
     
  8. CGPepper

    CGPepper

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    Jan 28, 2013
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    Dont know if its just me, but every time i dropped green, it was with apps that could easily hold a session for an hour. Mmorts from Tap4Fun, shadowrun, Big Win Football, space RPG, Kings Bounty. I often download a free quick flicker app, but it will never hold me for more than a rare play.
    The most important rule for me is: "Not for an instant should the player be wondering what to do next". Like getting a quest and having no idea where to go or even where to start searching for information.
     
  9. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    Note also that iPads are not really as `mobile` as phone in the sense that you don't always carry an iPad everywhere with you and you also may sit and deliberately spend time with it in the home more than on the go. That can lend itself to more involved experiences.
     
  10. Windexglow2

    Windexglow2

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    That ship has sailed. Better solution is to make your own version of popular java games (for both iphone and android) and wait until there's another freak success and immediately copy that and release with hours.
     
  11. derkoi

    derkoi

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    Have you actually made a successful mobile game?
     
  12. toto2003

    toto2003

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    Not anymore as apple and Google remove any app with the word flappy
     
  13. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    I find them to be reasonable suggestions for developing popular casual games.

    Regarding the last tip though, while wise in terms of "advertise well before you get lost among an army of random daily releases", doesn't seem to be written on stone. Flappy birds success peaked several months after its release, after all.
     
  14. MooseMouse

    MooseMouse

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    I have yet to make a successful game. but here is my free advice. Incorporate something that is weird and humorous. The Goat Simulator is a good example of this. I don't know if the game will be good, but if it is it will get tons of press and many word-of-mouth downloads. Octodad is another example.
     
  15. bjohnson8704

    bjohnson8704

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    Obviously a list won't cover everything and every game is different so you can't say something will work for every game, but there's 2 major things that I either overlooked, were just implied, or plain left out of your list. Maybe it's just common sense, but I don't think it hurts to add 2 simple words to any list of tips:

    1) Fun
    2) Polish

    Without those two factors, you're fighting a losing battle imo. I'm not in a position to try and tell someone else how to be successful as I definitely haven't reached that "I'm successful" plateau yet, but I do think if you focus on those two factors more than anything else, you will greatly increase your chance of breaking through. Acumen and I are wrapping up a new little arcade game and while it may not end up being successful in a monetary sense, we stripped a fun mechanic down to it's simplest form and have ended up with a nicely polished fun little game(at least I think so and the small amount of feedback we've gotten so far seems to say we're on the right track :) )...I think it's the best work we've done together even though it's the simplest thing we've tried.

    And that brings me to one last point...you don't have to make a huge or complex game for it to be successful. Acumen has had to beat it into my head some times, but completing a game no matter how simple it is and putting it on the market will ultimately give you the best chance to succeed. You'll never have a successful game if it's never released. So understand what you or your team is capable of and develop games that play to those strengths. While a lot of developers seem to hate the whole Flappy Bird thing, I think it can teach an important lesson to aspiring developers like myself and that is, success isn't determined by how much time it takes to develop a game or how robust a game is. A game developed in under a month or even within a few days can be just as successful as a game that takes a year or 6 months to develop. So if you can strip a bigger concept down to a simplified core gameplay loop that is fun to play, consider doing it, polishing it and releasing it. If it finds success, you can use that success to build the more complete concept that you originally had in mind instead of spending months developing a game with mechanics that end up being not as enjoyable as you had thought.
     
  16. imaginaryhuman

    imaginaryhuman

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    All games start in the mind, in your imagination. If you can foster the right kind of mental state then it can be conductive to creative inspiration. I think that many games I see that have failed or are obviously poor come from a poor state of mind, the wrong kind of thinking. If you can raise your `consciousness` somewhat to a more playful, happy, fun state then it makes it much easier to envisage fun games, because then it's an extension of the fact that you're being playful and fun in the creative process.