The Road to Superhero City

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Presented at the Sacramento Game Developer Meetup on April 22nd, 2010.

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The Road to Superhero City

  1. 1. THE ROAD TO SUPERHERO CITY Or: If you fail enough times, you will win by process of elimination. Monday, April 26, 2010 1
  2. 2. WHO AM I? My name is Aaron Nemoyten. Aaron (Moses’ brother) Nemoyten (like “Nemoy” as in Leonard and “ten” as in the number.) Product Manager for the Facebook RPG Superhero City Monday, April 26, 2010 2
  3. 3. THIS PRESENTATION: THREE PARTS PART ONE IDEAS VS. EXECUTION PART TWO SUPERHERO CITY: WHY? AND HOW? PART THREE THE FUTURE OF SHC Monday, April 26, 2010 3
  4. 4. IT’S PITCH TIME! Monday, April 26, 2010 4
  5. 5. Proof that ideas don’t matter Or at least not as much as you probably thought. Monday, April 26, 2010 5
  6. 6. Proof that ideas don’t matter Or at least not as much as you probably thought. Monday, April 26, 2010 5
  7. 7. Proof that ideas don’t matter Or at least not as much as you probably thought. Monday, April 26, 2010 5
  8. 8. Proof that ideas don’t matter Or at least not as much as you probably thought. Monday, April 26, 2010 5
  9. 9. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  10. 10. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES 18 Farm/Animal Games Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  11. 11. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES 18 Farm/Animal Games Seven Pet Games Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  12. 12. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES 18 Farm/Animal Games Seven Pet Games Five Poker Games Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  13. 13. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES 18 Farm/Animal Games Seven Pet Games Five Poker Games Four Mafia Games Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  14. 14. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES 18 Farm/Animal Games Seven Pet Games Five Poker Games Four Mafia Games Six City-Building Games Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  15. 15. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES 18 Farm/Animal Games Seven Pet Games Five Poker Games Four Mafia Games Seven Island Games Six City-Building Games Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  16. 16. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES 18 Farm/Animal Games Seven Pet Games Five Poker Games Four Mafia Games Seven Island Games Eight Fish Games Six City-Building Games Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  17. 17. AMONG THE TOP 200 FACEBOOK GAMES 18 Farm/Animal Games Seven Pet Games Five Poker Games Four Mafia Games Seven Island Games Eight Fish Games Six City-Building Games Oh, and two Superhero games. Monday, April 26, 2010 6
  18. 18. SO WHAT’S THE PITCH? How can you justify making a game that could be “just another X”? Monday, April 26, 2010 7
  19. 19. THINGS TO REMEMBER Monday, April 26, 2010 8
  20. 20. THINGS TO REMEMBER • Execution is more important than the idea Monday, April 26, 2010 8
  21. 21. THINGS TO REMEMBER • Execution is more important than the idea • Make something for a specific target audience, not “everyone” Monday, April 26, 2010 8
  22. 22. THINGS TO REMEMBER • Execution is more important than the idea • Make something for a specific target audience, not “everyone” • Then again, know that you don’t really know what that target audience wants Monday, April 26, 2010 8
  23. 23. THINGS TO REMEMBER • Execution is more important than the idea • Make something for a specific target audience, not “everyone” • Then again, know that you don’t really know what that target audience wants • No matter what, it’s (only) going to be your best guess. Monday, April 26, 2010 8
  24. 24. THINGS TO REMEMBER • Execution is more important than the idea • Make something for a specific target audience, not “everyone” • Then again, know that you don’t really know what that target audience wants • No matter what, it’s (only) going to be your best guess. • Just make sure you like it, otherwise you will hate it, your job, and life in general. Monday, April 26, 2010 8
  25. 25. THINGS TO REMEMBER • You can’t predict the future, so just make something now and see what happens • Watch your numbers every day - you are most likely wrong about just about everything, and the numbers will end any and all arguments. Monday, April 26, 2010 9
  26. 26. SUPERHERO CITY Monday, April 26, 2010 10
  27. 27. SUPERHERO CITY • From initial concept to launch in about three months. Monday, April 26, 2010 10
  28. 28. SUPERHERO CITY • From initial concept to launch in about three months. • Initial spec had a lot of extra stuff. Monday, April 26, 2010 10
  29. 29. SUPERHERO CITY • From initial concept to launch in about three months. • Initial spec had a lot of extra stuff. • Inexperienced team Monday, April 26, 2010 10
  30. 30. SUPERHERO CITY • From initial concept to launch in about three months. • Initial spec had a lot of extra stuff. • Inexperienced team • Limited budget Monday, April 26, 2010 10
  31. 31. AMBITION VS PRAGMATISM Initial expectations were unreasonable. Once we realized this, features were axed, mostly without remorse. Still, a lot of time was spent on tuning gameplay, formulas, and balance. Monday, April 26, 2010 11
  32. 32. DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO Monday, April 26, 2010 12
  33. 33. DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO BEFORE THE MONEY RUNS OUT Monday, April 26, 2010 12
  34. 34. EVERYTHING CAN SUCK (Except the gameplay) Monday, April 26, 2010 13
  35. 35. WAYS WE SUCKED AT LAUNCH • No real logo • Terrible deploy process • Ugly visual design • Features poorly tested • Unintuitive and buggy avatar editor • Nobody wanted to test in IE • No sound in battle system • Inconsistent name in viral copy • Content for missions was rushed • Terrible performance on some pages • Just about all content was rushed • Visible PHP errors Monday, April 26, 2010 14
  36. 36. Monday, April 26, 2010 15
  37. 37. WAYS WE DID NOT SUCK AT LAUNCH A bunch of people seemed to enjoy the game and think it was a lot of fun, despite the bugs. A lot of the users spent money in the game. Within just a few months, the game paid for itself. Monday, April 26, 2010 16
  38. 38. PLUS WE HAD ANIMATED BATTLES The biggest risk (as well as the most important innovation) of SHC was its battle system. Monday, April 26, 2010 17
  39. 39. SUPERHERO CITY TODAY > 450 thousand monthly active users > 60 thousand daily active users Supports a company of sixteen full time employees, plus contractors Actively hiring for several open positions (art, programming, design) Still a laundry list of features we want to add Monday, April 26, 2010 18
  40. 40. SUPERHERO CITY TODAY Monday, April 26, 2010 19
  41. 41. SUPERHERO CITY TODAY Monday, April 26, 2010 20
  42. 42. SUPERHERO CITY TODAY Monday, April 26, 2010 21
  43. 43. WE COULD HAVE BEEN JUST ANOTHER Monday, April 26, 2010 22

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