Vmg li dg_dec2009

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Life of an iPhone Game Developer

This is a presentation I gave at the Apple Store in Regent Street in the UK

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Vmg li dg_dec2009

  1. 1. LiDG 2 nd December 2009 Life of an iPhone Game Developer Nalin Sharma
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Brief Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>App Store Stats and Games Genre Mix </li></ul><ul><li>iPhone Experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Killer Edge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carnival Drums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fantastic Mr Fox </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lessons learned </li></ul><ul><li>Success criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Trends </li></ul>
  3. 3. Set up PuzzleKings in 2001 <ul><li>Background in Management Consultancy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Worked for PA Consulting, PW, Logica </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Cubic Juggler” won EDGE competition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ZooCube – launched in 2002 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Award-winning, delivered on time and budget </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Operated as virtual company </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pioneered outsourced production like movie model </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acquire specialist expertise where needed </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Set up a Consultancy in 2003 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gaming </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Set up Video Mind Games in 2003
  5. 5. iPhone Apps Statistics <ul><li>Addressable base of 50 million </li></ul><ul><li>100k apps available (20k games) </li></ul><ul><li>More than 2bn downloads so far </li></ul><ul><li>iPhone games market worth $2.8bn by 2014 (DFC) </li></ul><ul><li>Avg user has spent $80 on 65 apps (AppsFire) </li></ul><ul><li>Avg user downloads 10/18 apps a month (AdMob) </li></ul><ul><li>90% browse and download on the device (AdMob) </li></ul><ul><li>30-day retention rate for games – 72% (Flurry) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But 90-day retention rate is 16% </li></ul></ul>Source: Develop Liverpool
  6. 6. App Store Games Genre Breakdown <ul><li>Source: MobClix (2009) / Develop Liverpool </li></ul>
  7. 7. So what? <ul><li>Ferociously competitive </li></ul><ul><li>Technology moving all the time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High Scores </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Still plenty of opportunity </li></ul><ul><li>Harder to get noticed </li></ul><ul><li>Need a stellar breakthrough </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think FMCG </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a consumer mindset </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovate in business model as well </li></ul></ul>“ It’s like trying to intercept a bullet train”
  8. 8. My iPhone Experience <ul><li>Started in January 2009 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lots of native (c++) mobile experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Previously worked with chip makers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3 Applications in App Store </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Killer Edge Racing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Carnival Steel Drums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fantastic Mr Fox Game </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Several more in development </li></ul><ul><li>Too many ideas, not enough time </li></ul>
  9. 9. Where to start with games technology? <ul><li>Built in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Core Graphics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quartz </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OpenGL </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Third party frameworks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cocos2D </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SDL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oolong </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unity3D </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sio2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check the support and communities </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Killer Edge <ul><li>1 st attempt at iPhone </li></ul><ul><li>OpenGLes Racer </li></ul><ul><li>Ported from other formats </li></ul><ul><li>250K+ free downloads </li></ul><ul><li>Analytics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>+1Million races </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>+100K hours playing time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Paid reviews better than free reviews </li></ul><ul><li>8-12 weeks </li></ul>
  11. 11. Trademark Woes <ul><li>Killer Edge taken down from the App Store UK and US </li></ul><ul><li>Trademark Troll complained to Apple </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… despite my previous usage of 5 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… and now he is trying to Trademark Killer Edge Racing in the US </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t use the word “EDGE” in any title </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for smaller developers </li></ul><ul><li>Big controversy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>EA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MobiGame </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google it if you are interested. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Carnival Steel Drums <ul><li>“ Guitar Hero” like game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>… in 2 weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agency new to iPhone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Needed a new framework </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Killer Edge too big as it was for 3D games </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cocos2D </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2D graphics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Audio, sound effects and music </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Menu handling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transitions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Animations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Steep learning curve with Objective C </li></ul><ul><li>This was the first draft </li></ul><ul><li>2 weeks </li></ul>
  13. 13. Fantastic Mr Fox <ul><li>Client had rough idea of the kind of game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some sketches, but mechanic evolved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Added a lot in initial design workshops </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Original budget of 4 weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agency new to iPhone </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Built a prototype to tilt a ball around a field </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical feasibility – Cocos2D + Box2D Physics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased confidence of the whole team </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Built and XML loader to handle 18 levels </li></ul><ul><li>Built Physics Gadgets – bullets, sensors etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Needed time to iterate and tweak </li></ul><ul><li>Worked 4 weekends solid to hit deadline </li></ul><ul><li>8 weeks </li></ul>
  14. 14. Learning points <ul><li>iPhone != Flash </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agencies take note </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Need to think more strategically, otherwise throw your money away </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think long term </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to spend big </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Design, design, design </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How to stand out </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovate, consumers need something fresh </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Licensing, partner with brands </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think 360 e.g. web and print </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connected communities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Think about in-app purchases and business models… </li></ul>
  15. 15. Think About Business Models <ul><li>Prospect </li></ul>Trialist Customer Regular Player Marketing Preloaded Game Referral Advertising Download Curiosity Previous awareness Trusted Source Friend / Gift Promotion Coupons Prize Gift Fear of social Exclusion Game Challenge Friend Challenge Love Game Future Levels Unlockables Urgency to complete Game / Friend Challenge Future Levels Unlockables Achievements Expiry date Limited time Locked levels Friend Unlocked Game
  16. 16. Thanks you for listening <ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul>

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