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  1. 1. AY11/12 Semester 1EE3702: Electronic Gaming Liu Tianwei Lian Yuanlin Jonathan Low Petri Kalevi Niemela 1
  2. 2. About Lamp Post GamesLamp Post Games is a Singapore-based company that aims to become the leading casualmobile games company present in the African market. We have a funding of $250,000 SGD.For the first 6 months, we aim to develop and release our first title. After the release of our firstgame, the company will start work immediately its next title. The first year will be used to buildup our team competency as well as to gain an understanding of the African market. For a start,we will only be focused on 5 countries: South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya. Thesecountries have a comparatively high mobile penetration rate in Africa. Country No. of mobile subscribers Mobile phone penetration rate South Africa 45 million 92.5% Nigeria 65.8 million 44.46% Morocco 31.3 million 100% Kenya 22 million 55% Egypt 76.43 million 94.4%Our first game is targeted at lower-end, low resolution Nokia phones. According to our marketsurvey conducted through Facebook Ads, out of 36 responses, 24 users use Nokia phones ofmodels such as 6300. Research on the internet has shown that Nokia is a dominant andpreferred brand in Africa. In addition, Nokia is currently developing new phones for its S40series such as the Asha 200 which targets developing countries.Game Design - Emulating Plants versus ZombiesOur first game will be a tower defense game modelled after the mechanics of Plants versusZombies (PvZ). PvZ is a successful hit with 150 million copies sold worldwide in 2010. We haveidentified core components of PvZ which we believe are crucial to the success of the game. Wewill be integrating these aspects into our first game:1. Accessible Character ThemeZombies are popular characters in games and other media. By contrasting it against an unlikelyopponent, the plant, it is easily memorable and comes laced with a tinge of humour. As such,we came up with similarly iconic character themes to emulate the success of PvZ. Proposedideas for characters include cowboys, wizards and mummies.2. Quirky Atmospheric Themea. Art - The cartoonish art style by Rich Werner of PvZ defines the game. It features bug-eyedcartoon characters with exaggerated expressions, drawn with thick lines and bright contrastingcolours. Since we would be working with a relatively small screen resolution at 240 X 320, itwould be a requirement for our artist to produce low resolution cartoon characters of similarstyle.b. Music and Sound - Uniquely identifiable music and sound effects make the recognisable justby a short sample. The designated soundtrack must feature simple chords and a small number 2
  3. 3. of layered instruments. The desired result is expected to be reminiscent of 8-bit music renderedin stereo for the mobile phone.3. Simple Learning Curve + Interestingly Varied GameplayAccording to an interview with PvZ creator George Fan, the game is inspired by 3 differentgame factors: The tower Defense genre, PopCap’s Insaniquarium and the arcade game Tapper.These three games from different genres are combined to create a game where enemies aregunned down by turret placements, resources are queued up for timed usage, and actionsrequire multitasking of several lanes. Despite the apparent complexity in game mechanics, thelearning curve of the game is really low and makes it easy to pick up and play. These are keymechanics that will be implemented in our game.4. In-game Rewards SystemIn PvZ’s rewards system, a player earns new plant towers and unlocks different game modes asprogress is made in the main adventure mode. The in-game currency system allows the playerto buy more advanced plants for his/her plant arsenal as he/she earns more money by playingthe game. Such a feature makes the game more addictive, compelling and increases replayvalue.We will therefore be implementing an in-game rewards system. The player will earn credits ashe/she makes progress in levels. The credits can be used to buy new, more powerful units,items and unlock special features of the game. Some units and items can only be unlocked bybuying special credits with real money. We aim to provide leader boards for players to uploadtheir game scores to an online game site. The web site will feature the weekly top scorers andbe giving out prizes and awards accordingly.Market ResearchGame ConceptWe came up with two themes: grave robbers against mummies, and hunters against wizards.To better understand the appeal of each theme for the African local culture, we created twoseparate Facebook Advertising campaigns for each theme. The advertisements were targetedat Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigera and South Africa and were ran for a week. 3
  4. 4. The results were surprisingly positive, with each campaign having a click through rate of above0.06% which was above the average of 0.056% of most Facebook advertisements. However,Spells & Bullets turned out to be slightly higher, and thus we have proceeded to work on theidea.Game Play, Flow and MechanicsThe title of our first game will be called “Spells versus Bullets”. Our mobile phone tower defensegame pits big game hunters armed with hunting rifles against wizards that shoot lasers out oftheir wands. Players get to choose to play on either side of the battle.Choosing the side of the hunters would involve bullet shooting turrets such as machine gunposts, Gatling cannons, rocket launchers and flame throwers. Choosing the side of the wizardswould give the players a selection of lasers, thunderbolts, water guns, fire balls and so on. Mock-up of in-game screen 1 Keypad ControlsEach side of the battle would contain the macro towers which generate credits for placing turretson the field. The credits are displayed on the top right corner of the gameplay screen. Bothsides would also contain the classical tower defense mechanic of area-of-effect towers, enemyslowing towers, and rapid fire towers, but coated in a different graphic sprite.I. Game Controls1 Image shown is a mock-up screenshot for explanatory purposes. Not to be confused with finalproduct nor art style. 4
  5. 5. The selection process is carried out by the number keypad. The buttons 2, 8, 4 and 6 controlsup, down, left, and right respectively. To select a menu option, a player presses the number 5.II. Game FieldThe top of the game field would be a menu bar which generates a turret option as indicated bythe coloured boxes in the mock-up screen. As the player levels up through the stages, moreturrets will be unlocked for usage. Following the mechanics of Plants versus Zombies, theplayer will only be allowed to bring a limited number of turret types onto the field.After choosing a turret using the left and right buttons, the player may press 5 to confirm theselection, from which he would be required to select one of the 5 X 8 grid blocks on the playingfield.Enemies spawn from the top of the field and move downwards. Players are not to allow anyenemy to pass through the defences to get to the bottom of the screen.III. Levelling Up Through the StagesFollowing a progress in a somewhat nonsensical story, players level up and earn in-gamecurrency. These in-game credits can be used to purchase and unlock new and more advancedturrets. As the levels get higher, the turrets become more sophisticated and powerful.Certain turrets would be priced to be unrealistically costly to support our in-game purchasesystem as would be discussed in a later section.Management of Game ResourcesGameplay graphics will be drawn with pixel art to handle the low resolution screen estate.Animated sprites would utilise a single sprite array graphic to produce animation fromsequencing the images in successive changes using the coordinates.The resolution of sprite graphics would be fixed during the programming process so as to makechanging of character sprites an easy and modular process. This would make any themechanging process a painless procedure.LocalizationA significant number of countries in Africa have English as their official language. However,during the launch of the first game, we will be localising the game in Arabic for both Egypt andMorocco.Distribution ChannelThe game will be distributed primarily through the Nokia Ovi Store as a free download. Thestore provides access through the internet as well as on the phone. 5
  6. 6. Revenue ModelThe game will be free for download to play but we will build in game purchase features whichfocus on a micro-payment using M-PESA. Users will be able to unlock in game item by makingpayment through M-PESA to us. Once payment been received over M-PESA, a time basedcode will be sent to the user to allow them to enter in game to unlock the item.A web page will be built for the game to host a leader board. The game enables the user tosubmit high scores to the web page. The top 3 submitted scores will win an actual prizes everyweek. We will utilise part of the page’s screen estate to sell advertisement space. In addition,we believe that the nature of real prizes will attract more visitors than normal to check theirrankings.We will also allow advertiser to purchase advertising spaces on our in-game splash screenwhich will be served whenever the game is going through a rendering process. Users canchoose to remove all forms of advertising by making payment over M-PESA.In-Game Purchases and M-PESAIn order to adapt to the African market, the team has customised an in game purchasemechanic. This feature would allow players to directly access higher level turrets using in-gamecurrency bought through M-PESA. This would effectively make the game easier and moresatisfying for players who can breeze through the higher stages with an incredible arsenal. Thein-game currency can also be used to unlock hidden mini-games for additional entertainmentvalue. 6
  7. 7. M-PESA (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is the product name of a mobile-phone basedmoney transfer service for Safaricom, which is a Vodafone affiliate. It allows users to transfermoney among themselves by sending text messages over their mobile phone. M-PESA userscan then draw cash from their M-PESA accounts through service desk around the country.Since its inception in Kenya in 2003, its services have become extremely popular among ruralareas which lacks proper banking services. M-PESA is now available in most part of Africa(Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria) and boasts a user base of 12 million as of 2010.As shown in Figure above, our In Game SMS Purchases is built around the M-PESA systemutilising text messages. In order to purchase in game credit, users just have to make payment toour M-PESA account. We will then reply with a game code over SMS to the M-PESA registermobile phone. The code will allow the player to activate in game credit. To prevent users fromsharing the code, the in game code is time-based and will become ineffective after 5 minutes. Inorder to make our offering attractive, we will be pricing our price points very aggressively andallow users to get started with as little as $0.50 as shown below. Price (USD) Credits $0.50 100 $2 500 $5 2000 $10 3000 7
  8. 8. We will also be tinkering with the price points to carry out analytics once the game is released.In this way, we can find out what’s the optimal pricing strategy.Marketing & SalesWe will have a full time marketing director who will be based in South Africa. He will be activelypromoting the game and working with local telecom while the game is in the developmentphrase. He/she is also responsible for looking for advertising partner to which we can work with.From our short Facebook survey, we believe that Facebook can be a effective platform for us toreach out our to our customer directly. At such, we would continue our effort in reaching out toour target audience through this platform.We will also collaborate with Nokia so that phones that are sold in Africa will already have ourgame preloaded.Technology baseThe initial game will be based on flash-lite, which is supported on the Nokia s40 series of mobilephones. We will also need to develop and build in-house an automated SMS purchasing systemwhich will be powering our micro in app payment system using M-PESA.We will also be monitoring the smart phone penetration rate of the Africa market to decide onthe next platform to adopt.Financial ProjectionsMonthly Expenses 2x 1x 1x 1x Rent & Monthly Programmer, Game Marketing Game Utilites Burn Rate $3500/month Artist Director Designer Cost $7000 $2500 $2500 $2000 $1000 $15000The table above shows the breakdown of monthly expenses that need to be made in order tostay in operation.One-time expenses Marketing Contract Others(software, work(music, etc.) etc.) Cost $50000 $5000 $5000We will be setting aside a large budget for marketing which will cover costs for prizes in ourgame leader boards, and advertisements, etc.We also expect to make one-time expenses to cover the development of music, which iscontracted out, localisation and development software. At the monthly estimated burn-rate of$15,000, the company would be able to operate for at least 12 months with $250,000 SGD 8
  9. 9. funding. This should be viable as we expect to launch the first version of our game in 6 monthsand predict to see revenue almost immediately.The team aims to be able to cover our own monthly expenses after 12 months of operations.This means our estimated monthly revenue after 12 months has to be above $15,000 SGD. Total Payment Goal for 5 countries only Mobile Population 223,000,000 Total Available Market: 60% Nokia Users 133,800,000 Accessible Market: 2% Gamers 2,676,000 1.5% spend $0.50 USD/month 40,140 Total Payment Volume / Month $20,070 USDThe table above is our Total Payment Volume goal at the end of the 12th month. Assuming thatwe are only targeting 5 countries, there is a mobile population of 223 million. We makeestimates that we will only be reaching 60% of mobile subscribers who are Nokia users. Fromthere, we estimate that our accessible market is really only 2% of gamers which makes up 2.67million people. Of these, we only expect 1.5% of them to spend $0.50 USD a month. However,that will be good enough to meet our requirement of $15,000 SGD monthly revenue. It shouldbe noted that a small portion of the total payment volume will be taken by M-PESA.Above is our projection of our monthly revenue growth.SummaryTo conclude, Lamp Post Games will adopt an agile and adaptive approach towards developinggames for the African market. We understand that the gaming territory in Africa is greatlyunexplored, and therefore risky, but this is a great opportunity to penetrate the mobile appsmarket to establish pioneering advantage. We will be relying heavily on feedback from userexperience, Facebook and analytics tools to make important changes to ensure the success ofLamp Post Games. 9
  10. 10. References:1. Bell E. Interview with Plants vs Zombies Creator George Fan. Retrieved 29 Oct 2011 from Yglesias M. Mobile Phone Penetration in Africa. Retrieved 12 Oct 2011 from HASH. 2007 African Mobile Phone Statistics. Retrieved 14 Oct 2011 from Wikipedia. List of mobile network operators of the Middle East and Africa. Retrieved 12 Oct2011 from HASH. Mobile Apps in Africa. Retrieved 14 Oct 2011 from Vermeulen. Most Important Phones in SA. Retrieved 14 Oct 2011 from [Ma3Racer] the missing link to ignite Kenya’s local mobile gamingindustry? Retrieved 28 Oct 2011 from Nation Reporter. M-Pesa transactions surpass Western Union moves across the globe.Retrieved 28 Oct 2011 from Results (36 Respondents)1) What is your mobile phone model?24 respondents are Nokia users. The rest are distributed between Samsung and LG.2) What is your favourite game?This is to check out what games people play on their mobile phones. Interestingly, 3 respondedwith games that are available on telco stores. 15 responded with Snake which is preloaded intothe Nokia phone. The rest of the entries were invalid.3) Will you pay for a mobile game?28 people responded that they would not pay for a mobile game while the rest responded yes.4) If you were to buy a mobile phone game, where will you buy it from?This question allows the user to check multiple options. 24 users surveyed that they would gettheir games from the Nokia App Store. About 6 surveyed responded for each of the otheroptions which are game stores, internet and telco. 10