to start with, I will be setting out plans of what I want this game to be before I even start making it. When it's finished, It will be interesting to come back and compare the final product to this list.
- drug-like levels of addiction.
- straight into the action within 5 seconds of opening the app.
- an element of skill. possibility to "get better" at the game the more you play.
- a way to share scores with friends and encourage competition.
- some form of monetisation.
To start with, I looked at successful games and how they compared to my list. Games that were similar could provide examples of good practice or inspiration.
- candy crush saga - despite being arguably one of the most successful products of the 21st century, the actual game relies on luck more than skill. It's monetisation is well planned, trickle-feed bonuses to the player before harshly removing them, then punishing the player with increasingly harder levels is both incredibly clever and quite erotic. Theres something about the animations that is very satisfying as well.
- angry birds - I'll admit, I started making a game before this one, and was well into development before I realised i'd accidentally copied angry birds. This is the cultural power that the angry birds franchise holds. It invades every aspect of your life and mind until you don't even know its there anymore, then suddenly its sleeping on your side of the bed and taking your girlfriend to nandos on Wednesday night. But the game is a bit to complicated, with its campaigns and variety of poultry, so I won't be copying it too much. The sound really stands out in Angry Birds, just like in Candy Crush. So i'll add that to the list of things that contribute to a good game.
- Farmville - Never played it. Seems to involve animals and lush greenery so we'll add that to the list.
- The helicopter game - remember the 2000's? Remember when your parents would forget to pick you up from school so you would sit in the computer room playing the helicopter game? You click the mouse and the helicopter goes up, you release and it goes down. Your helicopter inexplicably flying down an endless green tunnel, like many helicopters do. Until you eventually reached that bit which was impossible to pass because the randomly generated terrain put the roof to close the floor. THIS was addictive. There was no objective, only the points but the simplicity was what kept me coming back for more, even when I could see my my mums renault espace parked outside the school. Just one more flight mum.... just one more.... I'll add endless runner style gameplay to the list.
- flappy bird - the crack cocaine of mobile games seems to draw much of its inspiration from the helicopter game and now its arguably the most infamously addictive game of all time. Endless runner gameplay is definitely the way forward. Also another game that contains birds. There is a pattern here.
so based of this we now have a list of elements for a successful game. and it looks a little something like this.
- endless runner style gameplay
- green setting
- lush animations
- deep bass sounds
- sadistic approach to distribution of power-ups and bonuses.
Keeping this in mind, the rough idea for my game will be an endless runner style game, where the player will move down a green jungle tunnel using vines. These vines will shoot from the player like the hook-shot from zelda (or the grappling hook from Tenchu) towards an on screen touch. The vine will then pull the player in until they let go. the conserved momentum will launch the player forward.
Sounds simple. It will probably take years.