Social Gold: The Design of FarmVille and Other Social Games (Web2Expo 2010)

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Amitt Mahajan discusses common game design techniques used within Zynga's popular social games to create experiences that encourage user acquisition, retention, and investment.

Amitt Mahajan discusses common game design techniques used within Zynga's popular social games to create experiences that encourage user acquisition, retention, and investment.

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  • 1. Social Gold: The Design of FarmVille and Other Social Games
    May 5, 2010
    Amitt Mahajan - Zynga
  • 2. Questions to answer
    How do I get people to play my game?
    How do I get people to tell their friends?
    How do I get people to stick around?
    How do I get people to invest?
  • 3. Why do people play social games?
    Alleviate boredom
    Connect with friends
    Competition
  • 4. Appealing to a wide audience
    Choose a broad non-offensive theme
    Keep core gameplay simple
    Consider international players
  • 5. Choosing a theme
    Broader the better
    Appeal to something folks already know
    Avoid offensive subjects
  • 6. Simple design wins
    Maintain a natural gameflow
    Increase decision points
    Reduce UI complexity
  • 7. Inventory
    Capturing a player
    Hidden but effective tutorial
    Gradually introduce complexity
    Focus on non-design challenges as well
    More Complex
    More Complex
    Treasure
    Fruit
  • 8. Cater to different play styles
    Players find different types of fun in your game
    Provide several ways to win
    Get them to interact with each other
  • 9. One Playstyle
  • 10. Another Playstyle
  • 11. Product clarity
    Single strong voice
    Have a long-term vision for gameplay
    Consistent art direction
  • 12. Art direction
    Appeal to a fantasy
    Bright and colorful
    Avoid excessive detail
    Humor adds character
  • 13. Appeal to a Fantasy
  • 14. Sound
    Music adds atmosphere
    Sounds should be un-intrusive
    Capture a movie to provide direction on sound
  • 15. Growing through social
    Forcing social causes negative reactions
    Integrate social elements into core gameplay
    Surface social actions by friends
  • 16. Different types of social
    Light
    Pokes, “Likes”
    Heavy
    Comments, Wall Posts
    Have a mixture
  • 17. Growing through metrics
    Metrics help you figure out what works
    3 core metrics
    Reach
    Retention
    Revenue
    Test your ideas and see what sticks
  • 18. Increasing retention
    Leave your audience wanting more
    Remind the player to come back
    Let their friends help
  • 19. Play sessions
    Keep them short
    Provide a goal for the player
    Link sessions together
    X
  • 20. Sustaining players
    Regularly scheduled updates
    Long term value
    Events
  • 21. Moments of joy
    “Cool” events in your game
    Make the player feel good
    Leverage art to create these
  • 22. Moments of Joy
  • 23. Play, invest, express
    Engage users first
    Make it easy to convert
    Surface the value they are receiving
    Play Currency
    Paid Currency
  • 24. Allow the reversal of mistakes
    Status symbols
    Social ROI
    Enable expression
  • 25. Wrap-up
    How do I get people to play my game?
    Have a simple design and a theme that is relatable
    How do I get people to tell their friends?
    Make social part of your core gameplay and not forced
    How do I get people to stick around?
    Give them a reason to come back and something to aspire to
    How do I get people to invest?
    Engage players and provide an easy way to express themselves
  • 26. Questions?Twitter: @amittmBlog: www.amitt.com