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Killer Game Loops in Social Games


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GDC Europe Cologne 15th August Presentation by Henric Suuronen - Head of Studio at wooga

GDC Europe Cologne 15th August Presentation by Henric Suuronen - Head of Studio at wooga

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  • Update MAUAdd ML logo from website
  • When I was at GDC inSanfran in March 2011 the studio director from Playdom/Disney did not know who wooga is. Nor did a PM from Crowdstar.“Wooga is the company overtaking you in some weeks”Explosive growth in 2011Goal to re-take #2 that EA bought itself back with Popcap (possible in 2011)
  • How have we achieved this amazing growth when evrybody else is shrinking or crying?- Focus on Fun -> Retention
  • Tower Bloxx fist with frirnedshighscore listTime when scrabalous, Fight Club and Jetman were tehe biggest games on facebook
  • Overview of what we will talk about todayWhat is wooga, how we are different and where we are going
  • Focusing on casual mass-market games, you can have more complex and different loops than discussed and make tons of money (Kabam, Kixeye) but also your retention and aboslute DAU will suffer -> smaller x-promo network as a result
  • Some people call it the Primary GrindTalking about item economy games – Not arcade games such as Bejeweled and Bubble IslandSoft currency = in-game currency
  • Example: Fishvillecause of its simplicityFascinated about it whne creating Millionaire CityGame failed due to game loop probelsm taken look at later in the presentation
  • - Added later fish fighting etc that just de-focused the game but still good example of simple understandable gameloop
  • Next Example of game loop? MC!!!
  • While Millionaire City was a successful title Fishville was not that much? What went wrong?Objects disappear in: Fishville, Happy Hospital, Safari KingdomNo money: un-released wooga production / MMA pro fighter Too complex -> Hotel CitySlow animations -> Happy Hospital, Pirates AhoySeveral Loops -> MMA Pro Fighter, Pirates AhoyYou can and should have s simple game loop but then you must add smart-depth on it
  • Things we do in real-life is easy to understand: Shopping, Restaurants, Real Estate, Norturing (babies, animals)Avoid too long animations that take too much time, will make the game loop lose it fun in the long-run(items/staffing/time speed up)Smart-depth and Closure are some of the key things in a killer game loops so I will go into depth of thsoe next.
  • Origanally posted on insidesocialgames guest blog-post
  • - One of the key reasons why MC beat all city builders on the market when launched (social city, my empire, hello city)- Cityville copying the boosters & magazine rolling towards the screen
  • Youtube videos usually a first sign that you have nailed smart-depth!Hundreds of videos on Café World, Farmville clicking, Millionaire City
  • Wooga’s Monster World includes Smart-Depth via a Time system that smart players use to plan production  maximize profitRoberta is also a smart-depth feature
  • Millionaire City Green arrow is placing smartly for extra benefit!
  • Should not get stuck due to it not understanding itCareful with placing missions that require smart-depth to advance early in the game
  • - Yes Ab requires a bit of dexterity but the focus is on strategy and what will happen next
  • You must allow better and better solutions to be possible. MC through different sized and boost valued decosShortcoming in CityVille
  • - Also a very important point to game loops
  • You run out of energy, supply goods to all businesses and you FEEL YOU ARE DONE!Coming back you know:- Energy FilledBusiness, houses, farms waiting with rewardsFriends actions waitingVery limited spoiling in framing but user knows the rules of that
  • - Monster World has spoiling but user knows the rules of that too -> usual from farming games
  • bExcellent game by my old collegues in helsinki studio of DCNot really a fair example since it is more a HC titleBut shows an example where:No rewards waitingAll is gone and user did not have any clue of what would be waiting-> bad retention: below 14% DAU/MAU-> can monetize well though
  • Millionaire City with amazing closure – you can control the game state exactly like you want  too much work for casual playerClear tooltips with possible punishment rules (grace time)User must come back to same state where he left – (wooga prototype)Okay so can you change the loop after launch?
  • MMA Pro Fighter – New LoopsHappy Hospital – Contracts -> BoostingNightclub City – Energy MechanicRollercoaster Kingdom – Appointment gaming
  • After first ideas of the game construct board prootypye, exmaple from Magic LandMore for concepting but can test game loop too! When explaining the game to other people
  • Check tile sizeShow to users for feedback for grapchical styleDoes it look fun?When showing it to people do they start asking questions?Should be visible of how you play the gameHelp programmers/team members to know what is in your head
  • Game Master with rule sets& stop watchUsers playing the loop – asking master if action allowedCash generation, shop etcIs it fun? Do people wanna play?Does not help detect long-term problems though!
  • After roughly 2 months a 1st prototype/ 1stplayble to verify core city building part of the gameOne of the most important steps -> push for early!Minimal set of housesBecause too tiresome to collect many houses -> moved from variable contracts to fixed. If you lpayed MC on high levels you know the feelimg
  • One of core competences at woogaInside company / outside company20e / free movie ticketsObesrve don’t pressureTutorial and first 30min / over and over gaian
  • Launch in a small areaClose viral channelsMeasure engagement and user commentsMeasure KPIs
  • Here you will know if your loop works1-day, 7-day, 30 day retentionThe loop is your game!!!
  • Extremely proud Production started in November 201015 person team – me as team lead11 different nationalities
  • Okay so what is the game about?1) You chose your hero or character
  • Find yourself in a magical world, where there are trolls, dragons, beanstalks and unicornsRuled by a beloved king King Artie
  • You go on many advetures and continue to build your kingdom with the obejctive:To resolve all mysterties and landBuild your kingdomGet a royal familyMaybe become king yourself one day
  • - Core Game Loop is tied to extended game loop (adventure game) via item/space dependency
  • Okay so it seems we have managed to include all aspects I talked about today in magic LandWe tested it and verified in closed beta etc.BUT THIS IS NOT HOW YOU MAKE GAMES!we are lauching Magic Land today. You never know how markets repsond globallyGood to keep in mind when designing, iterating but passion, testing all FUN, LAUGHTER is not visible in checkboxes!
  • Okay so it seems we have managed to include all aspects I talked about today in magic LandWe tested it and verified in closed beta etc.BUT THIS IS NOT HOW YOU MAKE GAMES!we are lauching Magic Land today. You never know how markets repsond globallyGood to keep in mind when designing, iterating but passion, testing all FUN, LAUGHTER is not visible in checkboxes!
  • Industry around for 4 years, EARLY CHILDHOODNokia had 42% market share, first iphone came “Niche market product”Same can happen to zynga: GDC example
  • Before movin to questions I wanna thank you for your time and hope you found my session interestingIf you wanna know more you can follow my blog or send me an email through my websiteOF COURSE if you wanna learn the most check out wooga’s available job openings, after all we are #2 in the world and only getting warmed up
  • Transcript

    • 1. Killer Game Loops in Social Games
      Henric Suuronen
      Head of Studio at wooga
    • 2.
    • 3. #2 in GAMES DAU & MAU
      * August 14th 2011
    • 4. >300%
      From August 2010 -> August 2011
    • 5. Henric Suuronen
    • 6. 6
      Today’s Agenda
      Game Loops in Social Games
      Loop Verification
      Case: Magic Land
    • 8. Game Loop?
      The chain of actions you do over and over again
      Usually to generate soft currency
    • 9.
    • 10. BUY FISH
    • 11.
    • 12. BUY PLOT
    • 13. Common loop mistakes
      Object disappears at the end
      User does not get in-game money from the Core loop -> focus else
      Too complex/imaginary
      Slow animations -> not responsive
      Several Game Loops
      Too simple
    • 14. Good Game Loop?
      Real-life simulation
      Fun 1 time – Fun 1000 times
      Few steps (4-6 max)
      Requests tied to it
      Good Closure
    • 15. Smart-Depth
      An extra layer ON the core game loop that adds strategy and more ‘game’
    • 19. 5-rules of Smart-Depth
      Add a new layer on the existing game loop not create a new one.
    • 20. 5-rules of Smart-Depth
      Novice players should not need to care about it until they figure it on their own accord
    • 21. 5-rules of Smart-Depth
      Not require hand-eye-coordination. Strategic thinking with variable solutions and outcomes is best.
    • 22. 5-rules of Smart-Depth
      Players should be able to do it on a basic level almost by accident and feel smart for completing or solving the problem.
    • 23. 5-rules of Smart-Depth
      After doing it once and gaining the rewards players will carry on trying to find an even better solution.
    • 24. Game Closure
      “I will define closure as the ability to leave the game with a feeling of certainty that one has done all one can do and that things will be okay until one returns[..]”
      (Brenda Brathwaite)
    • 25. GOOD CLOSURE
    • 26. GOOD CLOSURE
    • 27. BAD CLOSURE
    • 28. Loop Closure
      All actions done rewards waiting
      Variable / fixed times
      Energy Re-fills - timer
      Knows punishment rules
      Same state when returning
    • 29. Change Loop after launch?
    • 31. BOARD GAME
    • 32. Concept Shot
    • 34. Prototyping / early 1st playable
      GAME 1st Playable
    • 35. User Testing
    • 36. Closed Beta
    • 37. LIVE GAME - KPIs
    • 38. Summary
      Game Loop
      Add Depth, Closure
      Test & Verify It
    • 39. 39
    • 40.
    • 41.
    • 42. Duke Wilhelm of the Full Beards
    • 43.
    • 44. Prince Hugh
      Princess Ivanna
    • 45.
    • 46. The (killer) Game Loop?
    • 47. CITY GAME
    • 48. SMART-DEPTH
    • 49. SMART-DEPTH
      Un-fog optimally
      Utilize Outposts
    • 50. Closure
      Timers & bars
      Blinking Icons
    • 51. CLOSURE
    • 52. Checklist
    • 53. Checklist
    • 54. BE HUMBLE
    • 55.
    • 56. Thank You!