Mobile Game Industry Points of View

The “Strange Attractor” in Video Game Design

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Context Before gameplay, mechanics, monetization, or any other key design consideration, a new video game design needs to consider the most important aspect of all: a good concept. Feature film screenwriter Terry Rossio (credits include Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin, and many others) developed the notion of a "Strange Attractor" to help other screenwriters understand how to create compelling film concepts for movie audiences. This was further adapted and refined for books by authors from the group Writing Excuses. Without such a concept Rossio argues: "Very often the screenwriter has picked, from the start, a concept that even in its best form isn't the type of story that sells to Hollywood." Video games (like movies and books) are just another entertainment medium in … [Continue reading]

Mobile Game Design: Iteration vs. Planning, MVP = Dangerous!

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Mobile game design typically follows two primary schools of design philosophy: Iteration based design = Just get some core mechanics in and then keep iterating until you get something fun; some initial but not extensive design before … [Continue reading]

China Mobile Game Market: What You Need to Know!

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China’s mobile gaming market has been experiencing explosive growth and and is projected to soon overtake the US market by as early as next year in 2015. Independent research firm Niko Partners estimates China’s mobile game market to grow 93% to … [Continue reading]

+1 Game Design: A Problem-centric Framework

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I was recently asked about the best approach to come up with a +1 mobile game design and wanted to cover this topic. In my view, a very specific approach and process to maximize your chances for success should be considered. What is that approach? … [Continue reading]

Mobile UI and Game Design: Screens vs. Flows

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Context: Mobile game design by flows refers to the concept of mapping out the entire set of screens a user can tap through in a mobile game: the user flows. While many of the larger mobile game studios such as Zynga or GREE routinely design UI/UX … [Continue reading]

The Compulsion Loop Explained

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A man can surely do what he wills to do, but cannot determine what he wills. - Arthur Schopenhauer Since the introduction of the concept of the compulsion loop applied to video games was introduced as early as 2001 by John Hopson (while a … [Continue reading]

How Complexity Domain Impacts Software Development Process

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Should your software product development team be agile? The answer I almost always hear (especially in Silicon Valley) seems to be "of course, yes", but the right answer should be: "it depends." These days there seems to be a bit of religion and … [Continue reading]

Implications of “Alpha” and “Beta” in Mobile Gaming

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Bear with me on this post. There will be some financial jargon and a bit of math but the conclusions drawn I believe will be worth your read (at least I hope so!). Let's first start with some financial theory which will form the basis of the … [Continue reading]

Why Mobile Games Need a Strong “Heartbeat”

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Introduction Humans require a heartbeat to live. The heart pumps blood including essential nutrients throughout the body to sustain life in a regular cycle and rhythm. Similarly, mobile games in particular require a similar concept of a … [Continue reading]

Micro vs. Macro Gameplay

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Context: I've been surprised by the number of conversations with people over the past few years in the video games industry who were not familiar with the concept of "micro" vs. "macro" gameplay. If you're not familiar, now's your chance to … [Continue reading]