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Creating a social,
 location-based
smartphone game
  ...in 5 weeks
                     Jennie Lees
          Google Mobil...
Principles of Lean Startups




1. Fail fast.
2. Pivot.
3. Minimum Viable Product.
The 5-week experiment
Testing Assumptions
Idea 1
Walking Tours
Interviews

    • Talk to people who will
      validate your assumptions
    • Find the right location
      context
    ...
Making Interviews Work
• Find people who fit your target
• Focus on finding the right context
• Ask them outright if they ...
Learning 1
No amount of whiteboarding is as
valuable as talking to real people.
Learning from feedback...
     and acting on it
Idea 2
Travel Flashmobs
Surveys
  • Mass response gives a big
    picture
  • Ask for email address:
    instant mailing list
  • Can bribe people...
Learning 2
Everything you “know” is
         wrong.
Learning 3
Sometimes you just gotta
trust your gut.
Refocus
Idea 3
Location-based gaming
Key tests

• Location based context: waiting in line plus
  games.
• Incentives relevant to location are attractive.
• Thi...
Storyboarding

     • Walk users through
       potential gameplay
     • Paper prototypes
     • Easy to get feedback on
...
Learning 4
Finding a compelling
hook is important.
Playtesting


    • Fake it - in the right context!
    • Test out core mechanics
    • Learnt which types of game
      w...
‘AdWords’ testing

• Imagine you have built the game. How would
  you promote it?
• Create a landing page for your brillia...
Learning 5
  You can sell
 something you
don’t have (yet).
Prototyping
Idea 4
Viral trivia
Twitter trivia

• Low barrier to entry
• High viral coefficient
• Test core mechanics:
  • Viral/referral behaviour
  • Pe...
“Concierge” testing


• Why code if you don’t have to?
• Use a human until scale means you need to
  automate.
• Write cod...
Learnings

• You can learn a lot about behaviour by talking
  to users in context
• Manual testing can lead to valuable in...
Can you fail fast?
Thank you!


              Jennie Lees
        jlees@google.com
              @jennielees
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(Short version) Building a Mobile, Social, Location-Based Game in 5 Weeks

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A 5-week experiment to practice Lean methods in game development by testing and iterating concepts around mobile, location-based social gaming and apps. (Short version for Where 2.0)

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(Short version) Building a Mobile, Social, Location-Based Game in 5 Weeks

  1. Creating a social, location-based smartphone game ...in 5 weeks Jennie Lees Google Mobile Apps Lab @jennielees leangamedev.com
  2. Principles of Lean Startups 1. Fail fast. 2. Pivot. 3. Minimum Viable Product.
  3. The 5-week experiment
  4. Testing Assumptions
  5. Idea 1 Walking Tours
  6. Interviews • Talk to people who will validate your assumptions • Find the right location context • Learnt that people hate walking tours and don’t like using their phones!
  7. Making Interviews Work • Find people who fit your target • Focus on finding the right context • Ask them outright if they would use your product! • “What do you enjoy playing?” • “What problems do you have?” • Find out what makes them tick!
  8. Learning 1 No amount of whiteboarding is as valuable as talking to real people.
  9. Learning from feedback... and acting on it
  10. Idea 2 Travel Flashmobs
  11. Surveys • Mass response gives a big picture • Ask for email address: instant mailing list • Can bribe people with giveaways • Of 300 people, only 27% said they would try our app • 98% click through rate!
  12. Learning 2 Everything you “know” is wrong.
  13. Learning 3 Sometimes you just gotta trust your gut.
  14. Refocus
  15. Idea 3 Location-based gaming
  16. Key tests • Location based context: waiting in line plus games. • Incentives relevant to location are attractive. • This specialism appeals to businesses as well as end users. • We could create a compelling game experience that lasted less than 30 seconds (fits the context).
  17. Storyboarding • Walk users through potential gameplay • Paper prototypes • Easy to get feedback on multiple ideas • Coupons element turned out to be more important than we expected
  18. Learning 4 Finding a compelling hook is important.
  19. Playtesting • Fake it - in the right context! • Test out core mechanics • Learnt which types of game worked best • Learnt which viral elements would be successful
  20. ‘AdWords’ testing • Imagine you have built the game. How would you promote it? • Create a landing page for your brilliant game idea. • Track every metric possible. • Obsessively A/B test. • “Enter your e-mail address to beta test!”
  21. Learning 5 You can sell something you don’t have (yet).
  22. Prototyping
  23. Idea 4 Viral trivia
  24. Twitter trivia • Low barrier to entry • High viral coefficient • Test core mechanics: • Viral/referral behaviour • People enjoy core trivia concept • However, can’t test location
  25. “Concierge” testing • Why code if you don’t have to? • Use a human until scale means you need to automate. • Write code in parallel. • A human “Wizard of Oz” ran our trivia quiz!
  26. Learnings • You can learn a lot about behaviour by talking to users in context • Manual testing can lead to valuable insight • Sometimes you have to test parts in isolation • Trivia game lacked virality, but location and incentive hooks were compelling
  27. Can you fail fast?
  28. Thank you! Jennie Lees jlees@google.com @jennielees
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A 5-week experiment to practice Lean methods in game development by testing and iterating concepts around mobile, location-based social gaming and apps. (Short version for Where 2.0)

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