Magic Formula for Killer Game Ideas
100% GUARANTEED EFFECTIVE GAME IDEAS PITCHES DOCUMENTS SUPER SUCCESS IN MONTHS OF SHIPPING 20MM DAU TOP 10 GROSSING ORDER NOW! You might have been scammed. I know a lot of smart people who try to figure out the science behind exceptional games. Other more humble (and better educated) people are still trying to figure out what is a “game” in the first place. It’s hard to tell...
Structure of an Experience
Semi-original content ahead! I recently read an interesting and actually somewhat provoking feature on Gamasutra named The Origins of Fun by Christian Philippe Guay that mainly discussed the structure of an experience that makes fun happen. While I really liked the article, I don’t completely agree so here’s my version of how I see it might work. I’m really only expanding on his...
Social Games are Real Games, Honest!
Right, I’m kind of tired about hearing all this crap about social games not being “real games”. As a core gamer I get why people might feel this way, especially because a big part of what’s available in the social gaming market is crap. But let’s face it: a big part of all games are crap. We should talk about the ones that are actually good. Here at Wooga...
The Axis of Evil... Game Design
Long time no blog because of NDA and what not but this just became too interesting not to share. GDC12 happened lately and one of the many things I took away was this ongoing discourse about the morality and ethics of game design and their business models. Before concluding anything, let me paint a picture of how I currently feel the discussion is flowing with a few practical examples:[[MORE]] ...
iOS != Cool for Games As a Service
Lately I’ve been involved a lot in the F2P side of mobile gaming (Sherlock points for people who know why) and it’s actually a bit trickier than one might think. I’ll skip all the nonsense about what platforms to use and why because ultimately I’m only interested in the one where paying users are: iOS. Feel free to laugh at me when you’re reading this in five years...
Implications of UI Heavy Development
This time I want to weight in on something that seems to happen over and over again in pretty much every project I’ve been part of or that I know extensively about. Everyone underestimates their UI. I’ll skip the part about why UI (in-game HUD, pause menus, main menus, tutorial crap, social features, multiplayer lobby stuff etc.) is super important to your total user experience so...
iOS Build Size Limit
So you want to make your own iPhone/iPad game. Or maybe port an existing product over to the platform(s). Here’s one of the things I bet you didn’t think about yet (unless you’ve done it before): you WILL run out of space. The iPhone build size limit is 20mb for apps that can be downloaded over 3G and believe me, you want to be in that crowd. Here’s some simple math for a...
Make Stories, Not Products
Here’s a short one about what I’ve been thinking for the past year. Why do you buy games? Why do you prefer some game companies to other ones? Why is Minecraft so much cooler than CoD XXXII? Why is your own game so much better than anyone else’s? I believe a part of the answer comes from behavioral psychology. Apparently we as humans don’t really get attached to things,...
Business School of Game Design
In today’s game development it should be fairly clear that game designers have a huge influence in the overall success of the game as a product. I mean this in a deeper level than just avoiding “the game sux lol” reviews. Get your thinking hat on because the next few chapters are a bit abstract. Primary responsibilities for a game designer would of course include figuring out...
Here’s something dangerous: padding time estimates. We all know how hard it is to even try to give a realistic estimate on producing world class art. Especially if it requires innovation in development techniques or artistic vision. At the same time developments simply need to have boundaries and limits to function as a business and to actually get something done. The argument basically...
Here’s some context for my blog: a prototype we delivered on time without any crunch. Mad props to the whole team!
Playing Tag with Dependencies
Long time no blogging and now it’s time for insane dependency noodles! Dependencies are a familiar thing for programmes and they will get painfully obvious as you try to do any complex team work. In short a dependency relation is created when you need X to happen before Y can get done. Usually X and Y are performed by different persons. That’s not the hard part. Dependencies cause...
This post gets a bit philosophical but still very relevant to day-to-day game development. This time I’m all about distinguishing facts from assumptions and perceptions.[[MORE]] Consider what you think of as facts. People eat because they are hungry? The sky is blue? Tampere is cooler than Helsinki? Wrong. These kinds of things actually aren’t pure facts, but generalizations based...
The Art of Zero Inventory
Throwing away perfectly fine stuff is never cool and game development isn’t an exception. It is the easiest thing in the world to “pre-empt” what the game might need in the future and develop assets or technology to support it. Before you realize, that feature is getting cut and all your work will end up collecting dust or worse: erased. Sometimes feature cutting can’t be...
Slick Presentations 101
I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from my presentations lately and figured it might be worth it to recap some of the basic delivery techniques that I use every time. Disclaimer: these are only your average presentation best practices that I continue to evolve on-the-fly, but a successful presentation has a lot more to it. For one the content and structure will have to be custom built...
Is Dropbox Cool for Serious Development?
I assume everyone in the Internet knows about Dropbox at this point. If you don’t, you should seriously consider making a free account (help me out and use my referral link, pretty please), because it is one of the best synchronizing services ever made. We all know how brilliant it is on personal usage, but how about as a part of your game development workflow? It makes no sense in a huge...
Hack Your Own Game
Computer security, what a boring sounding topic! It is in fact so boring, that you don’t care at all. Until you’re Sony and someone steals all your unencrypted customer data (some of which you shouldn’t be saving anyway). Or until you’re Valve and someone steals all your Half-Life 2 source code before release. Or until you’re [place any online game company here] and...
Design by Intuition VS Knowledge
A few weeks back I started to read a book about the underlying theories that guide all great photography. In it’s preface the author makes a clear distinction between two types of approaches to photography: one based on knowledge and the other on intuition. There is nothing inherently wrong in relying on one’s intuition when designing things. A good “eye” for enjoyable...
Forget Games, Make Demos!
As it stands out, us western people are very, very technical in our approach to making games. We often consider the possibilities of our available platform(s) in tandem with our game concepts to make most of what’s there. Sometimes the reason might be to make the game feel right/novel in according to what’s the platform’s unique selling point (touch screen, online connectivity,...
Translating is not Localizing is not Culturalizing...
I don’t know if you have ever considered localizing your games to other languages, but depending on the market you’re after you will think about it a lot. Here’s a few tips that would have gotten me started a lot better:[[MORE]] 1. It’s more than translating Really it’s not just about taking a few hundred string data types and running them through...
Your new buzzword of the day: social capital. It loosely means the value that can be derived from your social networks. It is harder to measure than your financial and intellectual capital, but it is just as real and effective.[[MORE]] Think about your own(?) daily knowledge work. When you encounter a problem, you first try to solve it with your intellectual capital. This might mean debugging a...
Developing Game Dev Communities
It’s interesting to see how game development hotspots can form around seemingly random places. Some people try their best to form these development communities in their country or city with varying rates of success, but one crucial key component always seems to be a very successful games company. Having that one big company in a city brings in international interest from talented developers...
Continuing with the topic of production processes and how meaningless they can be, I thought I’d highlight a positive case on how lean thinking has definitely made our current game project better. This post is all about waste management. First up: defining waste. There are many good lists of waste categories (protip: Google), but I just like to think it as stuff that we want to avoid in the...