FGS 2011: So You Want To Make A Facebook Game?


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The Casual Collective shares insightful information and lessons learned in making their games for the Facebook platform.

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FGS 2011: So You Want To Make A Facebook Game?

  1. 1. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Building Successful Social Games for People Who Hate Social Games but Didn’t Know Who to Ask<br />Will Harbin, CEO<br />David Scott, Executive Producer<br />Paul Preece, Executive Producer<br />
  2. 2. Legacy Flash Games<br /><ul><li>Strong early, but fading usage
  3. 3. Poorly monetized through ads
  4. 4. Few engagement tools
  5. 5. You don’t own the users</li></li></ul><li>“Social” Games<br /><ul><li>Scales relative to marketing (or virality)
  6. 6. Leverages social graph
  7. 7. More opportunity to monetize
  8. 8. Multiple engagement tools
  9. 9. You own your users (ex: capture email addresses)</li></li></ul><li>Product Model<br />Unique, Engaging Game Design<br />Virality<br />Monetization<br />Paid User Acquisition<br />
  10. 10. Gameplay<br />Persistence<br /><ul><li>Give the user something to invest in and build upon over time</li></ul>User Expression<br /><ul><li>Allow users to customize content and express themselves through your game to other users
  11. 11. Allow users to compete with one another to encourage more playing time and/or spending
  12. 12. Leader boards work</li></ul>Competition<br />Fun Factor<br /><ul><li>More on this later…</li></li></ul><li>Virality<br /><ul><li>Key for profitable user acquisition
  13. 13. Helpful for growth, but not necessary if your game monetizes and retains users
  14. 14. Stream posts result in more installs than invite requests
  15. 15. Viral hooks should be integrated into core components of gameplay:
  16. 16. Build true multiplayer experiences
  17. 17. Game mechanics should be naturally enhanced with the more friends you have playing</li></li></ul><li>Monetization<br /><ul><li>Our games are completely free to play – all content can be unlocked over time
  18. 18. Impatient users will always pay if they are engaged
  19. 19. Game gets increasingly harder to play for free – don’t disappoint users early</li></li></ul><li>UA: Sample Campaign Metrics <br />19.2mm Impressions<br />
  20. 20. UA: Virality is Key to Profitability<br /><ul><li>With no virality, primary installs costing $1 (that have an ARPU of $0.75) equate to $0.25 net loss per install
  21. 21. With strong virality (K factor ≥ 1) however, the ARPU of $0.75 has a multiple of 2, essentially doubling revenue with a net gain of $0.50 per primary install</li></li></ul><li>Backyard Monsters<br />Disappointed with the shallowness of the base building and the poor fighting mechanics in traditional RTS web games.<br />We asked ourselves: <br />“Why can’t a Tower Defense maze persist and become the base, and what’s stopping us from making and sending creeps to other peoples mazes?”And so Backyard Monsters was born<br />
  22. 22. BYM: Execution<br /><ul><li>Where I put my buildings has to matterIf I put cottages next to the front door and barracks at the back I should be punished!
  23. 23. Defensive buildings have to actually defend Not just count towards some sort of global defense number
  24. 24. If I want to attack someone I should be able to attack them instantlyNo waiting hours for my army to march from A to B
  25. 25. I should see the battle, guts-n-all! I mean, that’s the best part of an RTS right?</li></li></ul><li>Unique Gameplay = Defensibility<br /><ul><li>Many studios are setup to make light-weight social games (farming, gifting, collecting, rinse, repeat)
  26. 26. The attitude in the industry is one of fast following, innovation = risk</li></ul>Kingdoms of Camelot<br />Dragons of Atlantis<br />Glory of Rome<br /><ul><li>Not everyone can get 100’s of monsters to attack and navigate a free-form base while taking fire from defensive buildings and units ;o)
  27. 27. We’ve had plenty of practice making Flash based TD gamesFlash Element TD 1 & 2, Desktop TD, Desktop Defender, Circle TD, Vector TD I, II, X, The Space Game, TSG: Missions.</li></ul>As traditional Flash Game Devs YOU can make the next big hit because you are the ones making real games.<br />
  28. 28. Battle Pirates<br /><ul><li>What is BYM missing? How can we make it more epical?
  29. 29. Moar guns?
  30. 30. Moar multiplayer? 
  31. 31. Moar customization?</li></ul>All of the above! Plus natty hats.<br />
  32. 32. Battle Pirates<br />We learned from BYM how to create a solid base building game. This time we wanted to create a true MMORTS:<br /><ul><li>Synchronous multiplayer battles.
  33. 33. Individual unit control, meaningful tactics, online/offline support.
  34. 34. Persistent world of players and enemies.
  35. 35. Fog of war, AI fleets, resource contention.
  36. 36. Tech tree + customizable combat units.
  37. 37. Multiple weapons, armors and upgrades.</li></li></ul><li>Battle Pirates<br />Defensibility<br /><ul><li>Core multiplayer mechanics require finesse in balancing.
  38. 38. Experienced in creating strategy games such as DTD, The Space Game, Minions & Backyard Monsters.
  39. 39. Pushing Flash to deliver 'proper' game experiences.
  40. 40. Real-time multiplayer, full-screen isometric engine, AI enemies.
  41. 41. Prioritizing engagement and fun above virality or monetization.
  42. 42. No locked content, no check-pointing, play your way to the top.</li></li></ul><li>Q&A<br />Questions?<br />Contact info:<br /><ul><li>Will Harbin (will@casualcollective.com)
  43. 43. Dave Scott (dave@casualcollective.com)
  44. 44. Paul Preece (paul@casualcollective.com)</li>