Building Big Social Games

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Amitt Mahajan's Social Games Seattle presentation on how to design and develop big social games that reach millions of users daily. Examples from the Facebook game FarmVille are used to illustrate …

Amitt Mahajan's Social Games Seattle presentation on how to design and develop big social games that reach millions of users daily. Examples from the Facebook game FarmVille are used to illustrate ways to capture large audiences and retain them.

Presented December 16th, 2009 in Seattle

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Transcript

  • 1.  
  • 2. Building BIG Social Games Amitt Mahajan Lead Developer - FarmVille December 16, 2009
  • 3. FarmVille is about RETENTION 28M Players Daily 80M Monthly
  • 4. So how do we design games to have wide appeal and good retention?
  • 5. Don’t Turn People Off
    • Pick themes & concepts people can relate to
    • The rules of how plants grow is common knowledge
    • No offending themes -- HARD
  • 6. Build Social Value
    • Every time you play you build up a relationship
    • Replacement for having to go out of your way to keep in touch with someone
  • 7. Visual Appeal Bright Graphics “ Moments of Joy”
  • 8. Routine Updates and Events
    • Keeping your game updated is key to retaining users
    • No need to go complex, can be as simple as new items
    • Use metrics and feedback to drive product direction
    • Marketing is REQUIRED
  • 9. We have our design, now how do we implement it?
  • 10. A Bit on Code Architecture
    • Invest in data driven design and localization
    • Abstract away platform calls
    • Make it dead simple to use FB communication channels
    • Route traffic between your frontend and backend using a single point
    Server (PHP) Authority on all game actions Handles all FB comm. Client (Flash) Generates “actions” to send back to server This traffic needs to be verified and reliable Plow/Plant/Etc. Updated Game State Server (PHP) Authority on all game actions Handles all FB comm.
  • 11. Client Performance Long load times and sluggish framerate KILL retention Get something visible as soon as possible Stream in content, block on load for ONLY what’s needed (HUD/User Data) Adapt rendering to framerate
  • 12. Server Scaling The Cloud – Autoscale! Everything is Async & Cached Parallelize all parts of architecture DB is redundant datastore only
  • 13. Caching
    • Game should be able to run without FB api or your DB available
    • Profile canvas page loads – Reduce REST & DB calls to 0
    • One trick: Iframe that precaches FQL calls as game canvas page loads
  • 14. Q&A
  • 15. We’re hiring! zynga.com/jobs Email: amahajan@zynga.com