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Case Study: Birth of and Key Takeaways from the Development of Cisco MyPlanNet


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Cisco myPlanNet 1.0 is a simulation game that puts you into the shoes of a service provider executive. This 23-slide deck gives you an insight into how Cisco myPlanNet 1.0 was developed and highlights our key takeaways.

Become a CEO. Change the World. Play Cisco myPlanNet.

Whether you want to experience life as a wireline carrier, cable or mobile operator, this strategy game will let you pick a level of difficulty and the Internet era you want to start in. From there, it’s up to you to manage your business, transform your community, and guide citizens into the Connected Life. Discover new technologies, connect your citizens, and bring the medianet to life. Watch the population's "happiness index" increase.

The game offers an experience whether you're training or considering a Cisco Certification or just have an affinity for technology related learning games. You can concentrate on several different areas of the network from the IP Core and Edge to Mobility to IP Video and the Connected Home.

Download the game today

Join our Community and share your scores, experinces, tips/tricks, or to provide your input on future game development!

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Case Study: Birth of and Key Takeaways from the Development of Cisco MyPlanNet

  1. 1. Cisco myPlanNet 1.0 The Birth of Cisco myPlanNet and Key Takeaways from Developing this Game
  2. 2. Cisco myPlanNet 1.0 The Birth of the Game
  3. 3. Foreword <ul><li>An increasing number of companies are looking to use games as a marketing tool to get their message across. There are many ways to do a game—turn based, time based, point and shoot, strategy, etc. Unless you work for a game developer who does this every day and if you have a day job in addition to developing your game, like we do, you might find the next few slides helpful. Designing a game from logic to presentation is a very different experience than playing one. </li></ul><ul><li>We are not suggesting that we’re gaming experts but we hope that these slides give you some insight into how Cisco myPlanNet was born and you will consider some of our key takeaways should you decide to venture into the exciting world of game development. </li></ul><ul><li>Check out the final product at http:// . </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Questions <ul><li>How to illustrate Cisco’s 25 years of thought leadership in Internet networking in a digestible and comprehensive way? </li></ul><ul><li>How to illustrate the decision points a real telecom company faces when running their business? </li></ul><ul><li>How to show what the Human Network Effect means for residential customers and institutions beyond switches and routers? </li></ul>Happy 25 th Birthday, Cisco!
  5. 5. The Concept <ul><li>Create an educational and engaging tool to encourage learning and/or a walk down memory lane </li></ul><ul><li>Let people walk in the shoes of a telecom company leader making research, technology and business decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Translate the speeds and feeds directly to value for Jane Doe, MomAndPop and WorldWideMegaCoporation </li></ul><ul><li>Set stage for what’s next </li></ul>Become a CEO. Change the World. http://
  6. 6. The Components: Working within Corporate Branding Guidelines <ul><li>Game Landing Page </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hero spotlight including legal acceptance and registration forms to download game </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live feeds from discussion forum on community page to build community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bookmark and share feature to promote “pass along” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-dimensional leader board (this week, this month, all time) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video trailer </li></ul></ul>We decided to make this a downloadable game because the game is so big (almost 50MB) that it would have provided for a poor user experience online.
  7. 7. The Components: Connecting Traditional and Social Platforms <ul><li>Community Page </li></ul><ul><ul><li>JIVE platform adopted by Cisco for: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Polls, discussion forum to build community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online help </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Suited for user-generated content and sharing among members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Available from landing page, links back to landing page </li></ul></ul>We received several questions on whether one can play the game on a Mac. YES you can! Details are available in the Support-Help section on the community page.
  8. 8. The Backend: Enabling Online—Offline Interaction and User Data Analysis User Login and Download of Game: Score Submission: User is on Landing Page and Hits Download button Server Page User directed to an authenticated MKT.IT URL and Authentication screen displayed to user MKTG IT User redirected to the Terms and Conditions Acceptance and Download Game page on Server Page Successful Authenticator User ‘Submits’ Score from within the game Somnio Game invokes the users’ Internet Browser. Game sends encrypted string using MD5 Hash to authenticated MKTG IT URL Authentication Screen displayed to user Successful Authentication Somnio MKTG IT Authentication Screen displayed to user MKTG IT Landing page displaying leaderboard is displayed to user Server Page User clicks on ‘Click Here’ link on Thank You page
  9. 9. The Process: 13 Months from Start to Finish Aug ’08 Nov ’08 Feb ’09 May ’09 Aug ’09 Nov ’09 Being clear about your requirements, having a prioritized list and taking the time to plan everything out will save you time and money down the road. Legal and data privacy clearance (1 month) Backend design (authentication, score upload, etc) (4 months) Decision point and content design (4 months) Content integration into game architecture (4 months) Internal test group (functionality, logic) (3 months) Internal test group (functionality, game play) (3 months) Testing through internal intro (1 month) (5 months) Community page (5 months) Landing page (5 months) Web integration Project scoping, requirement setting (2 months) Game architecture design (2 months)
  10. 10. Cisco myPlanNet 1.0 Key Takeaways from Developing this Game
  11. 11. Okay, Let’s Dive In: Planning Your Steps Up Front <ul><li>Is a game the best tool for your overall marketing objective? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the objectives of your game? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cisco myPlanNet had the following objectives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide an educational tool to show the evolution of the network </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Illustrate Cisco’s Internetworking solutions and thought leadership in IP next-generation networks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Highlight how Cisco solutions enable the Human Network Effect </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Because of these business objectives, our design objective was to make this game easy to play and hard to master </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Who is your target audience? </li></ul><ul><li>What type of game is most suited for your objectives? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turn based or time based? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Think” or “win fast”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Play online or download? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Designed for a specific app (Facebook, iTunes…) or “open” web? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Planning Your Steps Up Front (cont’d) <ul><li>What type of game is most suited for your objectives? (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collect any data? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Register to play or no registration? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow for user-generated content? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Localize in other languages? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free or pay? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What do you want your game essentials, or “housekeeping” to be like? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Game name? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Domain name? Licensing fee? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tutorial? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Post-launch support/help? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Game updates? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>… All these decisions will impact your next steps… </li></ul>
  13. 13. How Will Game Concept Decisions Affect Your Next Steps? Game Concept Decisions Impacts on Next Steps Turn based or time based? <ul><li>Impacts complexity, game architecture, components, decision points, reward accumulation and length of game </li></ul>Think or win fast? <ul><li>Impacts game logic, content depth and game art </li></ul>Download or play online? <ul><li>Impacts hosting environment and fee if applicable, legal Terms and Conditions of play/download, data privacy requirements (see registration section) </li></ul><ul><li>Consider file size if downloadable and execution if online. If your game is logic intensive and complex, an online game may not offer the best user experience. This will also impact how you should build the game </li></ul>Designed for an app or open web? <ul><li>Are you looking to develop it for a specific application, such as Facebook or iTunes? If so, you may have further requirements for execution. </li></ul><ul><li>If not, your execution will be bound by your own company’s IT, legal, web, requirements </li></ul>
  14. 14. How Will Game Type Decisions Affect Your Next Steps? (cont’d) Game Concept Decisions Impacts on Next Steps Collect any data? <ul><li>Can happen in 2 places: 1) registration (see below) 2) score upload </li></ul><ul><li>If you want to capture data upon score upload, decide what you want to want to do with the information. That will help you decide what type of game play data to collect. The type of data you choose to collect will determine how the back end will be built and could also impact your budget. </li></ul>Register to play? <ul><li>Decide up front what you want to know about your players and how you’re going to use that information. That will help you determine the type of data you should collect. </li></ul><ul><li>If you choose to ask people to register, make sure your front end and back end are tightly integrated and there’s no way around registration (if your game is downloadable and are using a, make sure the zip URL is also part of the registration process) </li></ul><ul><li>Engage with your legal and data privacy teams to make sure you’re in compliance </li></ul>Allow for user-generated content? <ul><li>If your goal is to allow users to add content, make sure you provide guidelines. From a technical perspective, you will need to add more flexibility into your system. This will increase complexity. </li></ul>
  15. 15. How Will Game Type Decisions Affect Your Next Steps? (cont’d) Game Concept Decisions Impacts on Next Steps Localize in other languages? <ul><li>If you think you may localize your game in another language, plan for it upfront. For example, you can do so by adding extra text space in your in-game pop-up vignettes and in the back end. This will help you keep your localization cost down. </li></ul><ul><li>If your game relies on interaction and back end comments, those instructions will need to be translated too so your total localization cost will be equal to game copy translation + landing page translation (if you have one) + in-game command translation + server interaction (back end) translation </li></ul>Game name? <ul><li>Check with your trade mark, legal group on name availability and with your corporate branding group (if you have one and is required) on fit into your company’s brand identity </li></ul>Domain name? Licensing fee? <ul><li>If so, make sure you work with your legal department </li></ul><ul><li>Find out up front if you have to pay any licensing fees. This could impact your budget. </li></ul>Tutorial? <ul><li>Is your game complex? Does it need a lot of instructions? </li></ul><ul><li>Where will you address your tutorial? Within the game? In the game but in a separate section? On the landing page? The decision will determine the visuals and content for your game, game landing page and/or any other platform you choose to use for the tutorial. </li></ul>
  16. 16. How Will Game Type Decisions Affect Your Next Steps? (cont’d) Game Concept Decisions Impacts on Next Steps Post-launch support/help? <ul><li>First step is to decide if you are going to have one. If so, is it going to be a phone help line? An email alias? A discussion forum? A combination? </li></ul><ul><li>How will people find out about it? Will it be accessible from the game? From landing page? Upon score upload? This will impact the point of integration and communication of available help. </li></ul><ul><li>The selected method could also impact your budget (e.g., phone support) </li></ul>Feedback? <ul><li>Are you allowing people to provide general feedback on the game? If so, you will need to consider the same steps outlined in the “Post-launch/support help?” section. </li></ul>Game updates? <ul><li>How will people find out about game updates? </li></ul><ul><li>What’s your schedule for game updates? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Planning Your Steps Up Front <ul><li>Who should be on your team? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>DO have a dedicated project manager who oversees everything and works with all parties: game architects, designers, developers, content providers, IT, web team, legal, trade mark team, data privacy team, corporate branding and UE (if you have one), editors, marketing communications and hosting company (if you need one) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Game design team: recruit team members with skills at </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Business strategy level to lead the definition of your main purpose and help make it part of the win condition </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Architectural level to help ensure the messaging ties directly to the architecture </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Product level to make sure key product attributes and positioning is maintained </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cause and effect level to help define the cause and effect relationships and tie them back to the main learning points </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extended internal testing group for feedback on game logic, playability and functionality (core testing group should test regularly throughout development phase, set up check points to involve extended group) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You will need to extensively rely on your testing group. If participation is modest, you may want to consider paying someone to get players and keep them active. Small rewards for contribution can help too. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Planning Your Steps Up Front <ul><li>How much budget do you have for all development and maintenance (incl. post launch)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Front end (e.g., web presence), back end (e.g, score submission, registration) and component (e.g., dynamic flash leader board, licensing fee) development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development support (e.g., project manager) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On-going maintenance (e.g., technical support, online hosting, licensing/royalties): Yes, make this part of your early planning process! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you need to find partners to help with execution or can you do it on your own? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be very specific about who is doing what and when </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you are hiring external help, make sure both of you are clear on the content of your Statement of Work (SOW) before signing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take time to create your SOW, don’t rush through it </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Planning Your Steps Up Front <ul><li>Do you need to find partners to help with execution or can you do it on your own? (cont’d) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cisco myPlanNet Development partners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A very small internal core team made up of marketing professionals for game concept, architecture, design, logic, content and visuals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Somnio and Phame Factory for game development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Internal for-profit Marketing IT organization for back-end development and integration (we paid for their services) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>How should one manage their time during development? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have other responsibilities besides this game, you will need to make an effort to set aside time for this. Whatever you think you’ll need, multiply that time by 2 and block out your calendar for that long </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Break up bigger tasks into smaller ones and tackle each sub-task in order of priority. If you are in a position to get help from others, find the subject matter experts that can take some of the smaller tasks off your plate. If available to you, offer them small incentives to participate </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Planning Your Steps Up Front <ul><li>What are the key milestones during development? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We had the following key milestones in case you’re curious: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game project scope sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Legal/trademark sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game art and style guide sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game architecture and design sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game prototype sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game pre-alpha delivery sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Legal/data privacy sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game alpha delivery sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game beta delivery sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Game gold delivery sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web design sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web development sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Community page sign off (design was provided to us) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Backend environment and provisioning set up </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Backend IT testing sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Backend user acceptance testing sign off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Backend deployment sign off </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Things We Would Like to Do Differently Next Time <ul><li>We have learned so much from developing this game. While we have incorporated our main learning points throughout this presentation, there are a few additional things we would like to do differently next time: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design a game that is more open for user-generated content integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow for more personalization and customization within the game (e.g., allowing people to spend the money they earned on creating a unique company) </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Many Thanks to… <ul><li>Stephen Liu ( [email_address] ), Chief Architect of Cisco myPlanNet for his contributions not only to the game but also to this presentation </li></ul>Authored by Petra Neiger