Kingdom Rush 'Behind The Scenes'! by Ironhide Game Studio
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Kingdom Rush 'Behind The Scenes'! by Ironhide Game Studio

on

  • 16,368 views

The Ironhide Game Studio team gives a post mortem on the cross-platform hit "Kingdom Rush"!

The Ironhide Game Studio team gives a post mortem on the cross-platform hit "Kingdom Rush"!

Statistics

Views

Total Views
16,368
Views on SlideShare
12,524
Embed Views
3,844

Actions

Likes
13
Downloads
233
Comments
2

3 Embeds 3,844

http://www.flashgamingsummit.com 3606
https://twitter.com 233
http://translate.googleusercontent.com 5

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment
  • Hello everybody! I hope you are doing allright!Welcome to Kingdom Rush “Behind the scenes!”.We are the founders of Ironhide Game Studio.this is Pablo Realini, Gonzalo Sande and i’m Alvaro Azofra(First i’d like to say that we are spanish speakersso we hope our english won’t be too terrible for you.)With that said, i’d like to talk briefly about our studio:
  • [Slide - Uruguay + Studio]We are from Uruguay, South America and started Ironhide 2 years ago as a flash developers but recently expanded into mobile.
  • Our first game was Clash of the Olympians, a defend the temple game where you could play one of 3 greek heroes.
  • Then came Soccer Challenge World Cup edition 2010 , a trivia game that we used to test the facebook platform
  • and finally Kingdom Rush, our fantasy tower defense game.
  • Today we will talk about the development and creative process of Kingdom Rush, thechallenges we faced, the sponsorship, premium content and the overall experience of making the game and some of the things we learned by doing it. We will share some figures and statistics. Just to have an idea, how many of you have played Kingdom Rush? For those who don’t, Kingdom Rush, it is a classic fantasy tower defense game with a few tweaks that became the top rated game in Armor Games and Kongregate.
  • < Concept >How we came up with the concept for Kingdom Rush? and why make a Tower Defense game?[Slide : Concept Games - Muestra los concept art de los otrosjuegos]The concept of Kingdom Rush was more the result of a process. We wanted to make a strategy game, so we started brainstorming and went through a few concepts, some of them you can see over there. The process was to think about the main features of the game and then create a sketch based on what we talked about. For one reason or the other we ended up discarding them, some were to complex while others didn’t really come together, but they helped set the stage for the tower defense because many of the features we thought for those game ended up being part of it.
  • So we started creating the concept of a tower defense, and when we saw this early sketch we knew that was the game we wanted to make.
  • [Slide - Scales : Cons] But to be honest we were a bit afraid of going towards that genre, because we felt it was a bit saturated, there are a lot of great titles already out there with many established standards and on top of all, Tower Defense games can be very complexto make where many things can go wrong.[Slide - Scales : Pros]On the other hand, we loved the genre and we always wanted to do one. We thought there was still room for improvement and we really liked some of the ideas we had for the game, but more importantly we believed our ideas would offer something different... so we took the leap.
  • We didn’t really knew how to make a big game, our other games had short production times and were a lot simpler,  so for this one we took a different approach, we would do a lot of concept and prototyping before getting into development.We spent a lot of time doing concept and prototypes but it was really worth it since we could test things really fast and adjust them until we found the solution that felt right for us.  So we could get into coding the game with a precise idea of what we needed.
  • One of the best examples of how prototyping helped us was the barracks one. ( The barracks would spawn little soldiers that block and fight nearby enemies)We weren’t sure if the barrack idea was gonna work until we saw the prototype. It worked perfectly as a slowing tower and it was really cool to see the little guys figthing there. But it also changed how the game was played, and we inmediately knew this would make Kingdom Rush different from other tower defense games.  We liked it so much it led to the reinforcement spell, so the player could use this mechanic anywhere in the map.
  • Prototyping also helped us know that a good sounding idea may not be that good in the end. We wanted to show the incoming enemies, pretty much as other games do it with a timeline. But when we made the prototype we noticed the timeline was very distracting, it took the attention away from the action, you kept on looking at the timeline instead of the towers, so we decided to go the other way, take it away and add an indicator with a tooltip which was a lot cleaner, easier to understand and also served as a next wave button.
  • In conclusion, we learned that taking the time to do concept and make prototypes really pay off in the long run, even if it is all throwaway code, it is really worth it. - Gives a better idea of how the core mechanics of the game work - Helps in creating cleaner code since you will know exactly what you need- Helps in solving challenges early before getting into developmentTo keep with the Summit theme... it is a way of early Maximising your game.
  • We kept building the game for a few months until we reached a point were we had the gamewith one generic stage, a few creeps and almost all working towers with several powers. We were so happy with what we had, we showed it to a few friends so they could test it out and give us some feedback.It was terrible. They where overwhelmed by all the options and they didn’t enjoyed a bit of it... even teaching them the basics didn’t really work. You could see they made an effort to try and play it but they lost interest after a couple of minutes.The problem was we didn’t had a game, we just had a basic engine that looked and worked great but had almost no play value.We were so busy thinking about the game mechanics, coding and art we completely forgot about the user experience.So our first real milestone was to create an early playable Alpha version of the game for early testing.
  • The first Alpha had 4 stages and it was sent to 20 testers (all friends). I’ll tell you something : “Friends never tell you your game is bad” , ..and aside from that people have a hard time being specific, they just tell you the game is good, that they had fun. Which may be nice to hear but it doesn’t really help you.So our approach to that was to include a feedback form with the questions we needed answers to, and ways for the testers to rate different aspects of the game so we could collect specific data.[Slide - Alpha - Results ]This worked excellent! We had great feedback and it allowed us to take the game in the right direction. {rally}For example on that version, you couldn’t change the rally point on the barracks, it was fixed, we weren’t sure a movable rally point would work, but after the alpha almost all testers requested the feature. So we made a prototype of it and as soon as we tested it, it was clear that was the way to go. {reinforcements}Another concern was the reinforcements, we thought it was a great spell to play with but we were afraid players would see it like a chore. since it had a very short cooldown.Reinforcement were intended as a way for players to affect the outcome of a battle, interrupt the flow of enemies and also as entertainment while they collected gold. The reception was awesome, every tester loved them so they stayed for good!{tutorial}What they didn’t love, was the tutorial! They just skipped throught it. People don’t want a tutorial they just want to get into the game and our tutorial was standing in the way.So what worked was to make it as simple and graphical as possible, show the most important thing on the first slide and the less important on the second and third. It didn’t really matter if players saw the second and third slides... but we wanted them to see the first, the others are good bonus and help people who are not familiar to tower defense games.Also as other games do, we included bits of information as you played the game, we call them tips & alerts and they would popup at the right time to teach the player something new.  This worked great, and reception from our testers was very good. It also served as a way of teaching the players that every stage had something new so that would motivate them to keep going.
  • Conclusion, doing early beta testing of the game was crucial, it allowed us to find and fix problems early on, test and adjust several features as well as knowing the ones we did right. In other words Maximise your game through early testing by taking it on the right direction!
  • Our next milestone : Flash Game License!Uploading an almost finished game would have taken too long so we decided the FGL version would have 9 levels instead of 12 with no additional modes. BUT all the content in the game would be release candidate and we would focus on making that version as polished as possible. Maximise the game through polish, after all this version had to sell.{details}We believedetails can really make a game stand out, players really notice them and are worth the time. For example the archers on the tower take turn to fire their arrows, the artillery reloads after each shot, soldiers open the door to get out of the barracks, etc.  So what we did and still do is every time we make something we also do the details on it. For example, every time we made a new stage we made sure, to add every portrait, notification, etcetera in order to finish the stage and move on to the next. That way we could really see each stage as a finished part and it also created a sense of advancing in the project.  That was great and really worked for us.{fun stuff}Also part of the polish we believe, is what we call the fun stuff, flavor texts on the tooltips, exploding sheep, odd achievements, etc... any hidden joke that could make some player smile for a second is great to have and fun to make. So every time anyone on the team comes up with some crazy idea or joke that makes us laugh, we try and think of ways to put it inside the game.For example the exploding sheep in reference to warcraft or the icon on the Die Hard achievement.{production value}Last but not least, there are some things that will really add to the game but you cannot do yourself or maybe you can but you shouldn’t. For us that was music, voice talent and of course the english narrative.Although we didn’t had a real budget we wanted to have custom music tailored to the game, voice over clips to give personality to the towers and also as an opportunity to add more of that fun stuff for, and of course texts in correct english.So we worked with the guys at Taking-off from Argentina on the music, with Sean Crisdenfrom voices.com on the voice talent, and with Martin Perez a friend, thats very good at english and is somewhat of a writer.They were all awesome to work with and we believe their work really adds to the game in many levels.
  • In conclusion we believe that taking the time to polish and add all the extra features really make a difference, makes the game stand out, improves the user experience and adds a lot of value to the game. Players will really notice it and enjoy it.
  • So we had the FGL game version ready, we did some beta test rounds and ordered first impressions that brought positive feedback, we had all the must haves : Good icon & description,Cool screenshot Home made video game trailer highlighting the best aspects of the gameAll that was left was submitting for approval... and sooo we did. The game got approved on  Friday , July 10th, of two thousand elevenwith an editor rating of 9, which was great.3 days later on Monday we accepted a bid from Armorgames.
  • The Armorgames bid Exclusive License 30k +(plus) funding for the iPhone/iPad version (30k) with share revenue from day 1 and Ipads2 for testing.You may be wondering why we took the bid so fast, and if we should have waited for other bidsA bid like that was exactly what we were looking for at the time, because it opened the door for us to get into mobile gaming, something we were thinking about for a while. Also we had worked with AG before and they had been great with us. Should we have waited?Yes we believe we should have, looking back, with what we know now, we think we could have gotten better offers and should give other sponsors the chance to bid on the game,which we didn´t.So our advice here is to be patient and let the FGL system work.
  • Having the game sponsored really brought in a second wind to the team, so after the sponsor deal was made we completed the whole game in a little over a month.But before releasing we wanted to do an Open beta.To test the difficulty curve, find bugs, test user reception and be able to make adjustments before the official release. We wouldn’t want to get badly rated because of some minor detail we missed.So we worked with Armorgames so they would publish the game on their Armorblogmaking it available to thousands of players but not too many as on the homepage and we again included a feedback form for testers to fill out. But the most important was we included custom metrics on almost all game events so we could track almost everything that went on a game session.The Result?Over ten thousand testers tried the game for one week producing a lot of data that allowed us to really tweak and adjust the game experience.
  • {reset button}For example, through the feedback form, reported several obscure bugs, typos and details. Also many asked to be able to reset the upgrades. We had thought of the reset button thing but felt that it would take away the decision making. But receiving so many requests for that feature made us think again, so we added it to test it out. It was very well received, most reports thanked us for adding it, so it was the right move and we believe it really made the game much more friendly, it took the frustration of making a bad decision early on the game away, so that was very good.{difficulty curve}Another very important thing was tweaking the difficulty. Metrics allowed us to see how many people played each stage... so we were seeing that we lost half of our players on stage 3. It was clear there was something wrong there... So we looked further into the metrics and we knew exactly what was the problem, so we tweaked a few thing and made an update. And after a few iterations the curve ended a lot smoother meaning gameplay was really improved.It was awesome to work with those metrics, it really helped see the game from a very different angle and we advice anyone with any game to include a report tool to see how their players play the game.We used Playtomic, but you can also use Mochi that is really good also.Conclusion, doing an open beta was great, it gives you the chance to test the game without risking a bad rating and also players tend to be a lot more forgiving and helpful if they know it is a beta.
  • {reset button}For example, through the feedback form, reported several obscure bugs, typos and details. Also many asked to be able to reset the upgrades. We had thought of the reset button thing but felt that it would take away the decision making. But receiving so many requests for that feature made us think again, so we added it to test it out. It was very well received, most reports thanked us for adding it, so it was the right move and we believe it really made the game much more friendly, it took the frustration of making a bad decision early on the game away, so that was very good.{difficulty curve}Another very important thing was tweaking the difficulty. Metrics allowed us to see how many people played each stage... so we were seeing that we lost half of our players on stage 3. It was clear there was something wrong there... So we looked further into the metrics and we knew exactly what was the problem, so we tweaked a few thing and made an update. And after a few iterations the curve ended a lot smoother meaning gameplay was really improved.It was awesome to work with those metrics, it really helped see the game from a very different angle and we advice anyone with any game to include a report tool to see how their players play the game.We used Playtomic, but you can also use Mochi that is really good also.Conclusion, doing an open beta was great, it gives you the chance to test the game without risking a bad rating and also players tend to be a lot more forgiving and helpful if they know it is a beta.
  • {reset button}For example, through the feedback form, reported several obscure bugs, typos and details. Also many asked to be able to reset the upgrades. We had thought of the reset button thing but felt that it would take away the decision making. But receiving so many requests for that feature made us think again, so we added it to test it out. It was very well received, most reports thanked us for adding it, so it was the right move and we believe it really made the game much more friendly, it took the frustration of making a bad decision early on the game away, so that was very good.{difficulty curve}Another very important thing was tweaking the difficulty. Metrics allowed us to see how many people played each stage... so we were seeing that we lost half of our players on stage 3. It was clear there was something wrong there... So we looked further into the metrics and we knew exactly what was the problem, so we tweaked a few thing and made an update. And after a few iterations the curve ended a lot smoother meaning gameplay was really improved.It was awesome to work with those metrics, it really helped see the game from a very different angle and we advice anyone with any game to include a report tool to see how their players play the game.We used Playtomic, but you can also use Mochi that is really good also.Conclusion, doing an open beta was great, it gives you the chance to test the game without risking a bad rating and also players tend to be a lot more forgiving and helpful if they know it is a beta.
  • So beta was over and we had the game ready for publish. But we wanted to have the best possibilities of creating a fan base, so we had a developer website, made sure our twitter and facebook channels were updated and even created the Kingdomrush.com website to promote the game.What we also did was including a way for players to stay connected with us from within the game. Not just the classic Facebook Twitter Credits button , but instead give an incentive. We added a panel that would popup after stage 4 and offer a reward to players if they followed us on twitter and facebook... they didn’t had to actually follow us, just clicking on the links would give the reward.  The point of adding it after stage 4 was they would already know the value of a star and they would already know if they like the game or not.So we had all this and all that was left was publish the game...
  • The game was released on July 28th of 2011 (two thousand eleven) ,and it got an incredible rating of 9.4 the first week...reaching 9.7 later on becoming the toprated game of all time on Armorgames.This was followed by a social explosion... we started out with 600 likes on facebook and 100 twitter followers and in the first week we reached 10 thousand likes andover 3 thousand followers ontwitters.Today we are celebrating over 2 hundred thousandfacebook likes and over 40 thousand twitter followers and counting.We believe these tools combined really help you create a fan base and adding systems for players to reach you and stay in touch is a good thing. Also a little incentive doesn’t hurt... in fact it may help a lot.
  • So how do you Maximise your revenue when you have a popular game? You give it premium content.We thought of adding it before release but it made not much sense without having a fan base, but a month later Armorgames asked us to do so because of the popularity of the game... and so we did. Although we were a bit nervous, because maybe players would hate us for it.We never did premium content before, so our first aproach was to add some bonuses and some extra cosmetics, part of the reason for it was we had to rush the premium package because the sooner we published it the sooner it would start monetizing and we didn’t knew how much longer the game would be on the top.  That first version did really good, but the bonuses broke the game balance a little bit because it made the game too easy and people were a bit disappointed because they expected extra stages.So for the second version we added what people expected, an extra stage. Makingthat update increased sales by a 30 percent and user reception was great, they really liked it, in fact we even made another update with yet another stage sales increased even more.
  • In conclusion, premium content is a great way to bring extra revenue, and we believe it works best when it adds what players are expecting, so listening to you fan base is a good idea here. Also if the premium is doing good it may be a good idea to keep updating it.
  • After a few months of the game being exclusive on Armorgames we released the Viral version along with a custom version for Kongregate with premium content. And these were the results:The viral version doubled the amount of plays per day while also doubling premium content revenue which has been great.The Kongregate version was an instant hit, it became the top rated game on the first week generating over 14k (fourteen thousands) on premium content revenue and over 5k (five thousands) of revenue share so far.So making that version was the right move.
  • Here is an overview on the numbers and statistics for the game. I don’t really know how to spell most of them in english so feel free to read them.
  • We are near the end of the presentation, so i´d like to add that Kingdom Rush was a school for us, it taught us a lot of lessons, good and bad ones, so here are the some of the ones we feel are very important :Take the time to make concepts and prototype.Do early testing of the game, it is very valuable and can pinpoint problems early on.Polish your game as much as you can afford to, it can make a huge difference.Think about your fan base and listen to them.Use premium content to give players what they want.If your premium is doing good, keep updating it, it will do better.So we have come to the end of the presentation and we don´t have any more time, so i´ll leave you with this.
  • Thank you very much for listening, i hope you had a good time, for us it was great And maybe you noticed this was our first presentation ever and in a foreign language.

Kingdom Rush 'Behind The Scenes'! by Ironhide Game Studio Kingdom Rush 'Behind The Scenes'! by Ironhide Game Studio Presentation Transcript

  • Kingdom Rush ‘Behind The Scenes’!By Alvaro Azofra, Gonzalo Sande, & Pablo Realini