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All the Families: The Making of Animation Throwdown (GDC 2018)

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Ever wonder what it would be like to create a AAA game with a skeleton crew, split between two developers, one publisher, one IP owner, and five individual IPs? Join two producers from Kongregate (Peter Eykemans and Katrina Wolfe) to hear how "Animation Throwdown" was created in an unusual way, and how they turned an incredible production problem into a major success.

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All the Families: The Making of Animation Throwdown (GDC 2018)

  1. 1. Publishing 1 All the Families: The Making of Animation Throwdown Peter Eykemans Senior Lead Producer, Kongregate Publishing Katrina Wolfe Studio Operations Manager, Kongregate 1st Party
  2. 2. Publishing 22 Kongregate Web Platform 100,000+ Uploaded Games PC Platform Kartridge open beta in 2018 F2P Publisher 50+ Games 170M+ Downloads Premium Publisher Mobile, Steam, and Consoles
  3. 3. Publishing 3
  4. 4. Publishing 4 The Original Pitch D1: 60% D7: 40% D30: 20% ARPDAU: $0.85 ARPPU: $40 Buyer %: 3% + = Amazing LTVs!
  5. 5. Publishing 5 Little Alchemist Tyrant Unleashed
  6. 6. Publishing 6 = = = Production, Initial Design, Art, QA, Approvals, IP Relationship Retention, UI/UX, Client Monetization, Events, Live-Servicing, Server The Roles
  7. 7. Publishing 7 3 very independent shops, not setup for coordinated development ● Synapse ●Monetization Experts ●Prototype and playtest-fast style ●Chicago, IL ● Chinzilla ●Retention Experts ●Thorough upfront design ●San Mateo, CA ● Kongregate ●Publisher ●San Francisco, CA Structure
  8. 8. Publishing 8 Structure ● Overhead ● Meetings. ●Meetings about Meetings. ● Organization ● No consistent tracking system / experience with common systems ●Small shop development successful thus far
  9. 9. Publishing 9 Lessons about Structure ● Play to everyone’s strengths ● Pick tasking and get everyone on board ● Train if necessary ● Lots of overhead can be okay ● Learn from each other
  10. 10. Publishing 10 The Schedule ● End of 2014 - Initial pitch and kickoff. ● 2015 - Continued design and development ● Content creation ● November 2015 - Original launch date ● May 2016 - Test markets ● September 15, 2016 - Global launch
  11. 11. Publishing 11 Development ● Part-time contributors ● Design by democracy ● No consistent vision holder ● Design shifts required as project came together ● New to working with IP ● Content creation ● IP expectations
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  14. 14. Publishing 14 Lessons from Development ● Prepare for Staffing ● Ensure as much full time support as you can ● Budget & time contingent ● Approvals = time ● Content = time ● Everyone makes mistakes ● Get everyone in the same place often ● Clear Creative Head ● Get input from the experts, but need a single point of final decision making ● Not a reskin, plan for evolving features
  15. 15. Publishing 15 Working with IP (or five) ● Development Vision vs. IP Vision
  16. 16. Publishing 16 Lessons from working with IP ● It’s your game ● Your vision got this process started ● Respect the brand ● They have great ideas! ● But...it’s your game ● Find the balance vs.
  17. 17. Publishing 17 Test Markets ● Standard Testing and revisions ● Difficulty balancing, checking win rates ● Research Timer AB Test ● How much time is right? ● Even Little Alchemist never tested it ● Statistically significant test ended after launch ● Follow the fun
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  20. 20. Publishing 20 So how did it go? ( ) + x
  21. 21. Publishing 21 Key Takeaways ● Making games is hard ● Dedicated people can make great things happen ● Identify and play to your strengths ● Overhead can be okay if it saves development confusion later ● Pairing up features from different games requires evolution ● Get everyone in the same physical room as often as possible ● Trust your vision
  22. 22. Publishing 2222 Thank you Peter Eykemans @peykemans Katrina Wolfe @emeraldmist @KongregateDevs blog.kongregate.com

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