Thursday, 17 March 2011

Designing Games for Smart Phones

I've recently started putting together a game prototype for iOS and Android. I'm working with a team of friends and we've put together a few different possibilities and culled them down to the point where we're prototyping to test gameplay.

We've realised a few things about successful iPhone games and what you might need to get yourself into the top 25 games (and hence into where the purchasing really happens). These are the criteria I've noticed for making money on the App Store . . .

  1. Use cute animals or something similarly cartoony in your art. If you have violence it must be heavily sanitised and comedic (think Angry Birds vs Crush the Castle).
  2. Use a single simple gameplay mechanic that is easy to pick up and immediately gratifying, but has just enough depth to have a skill curve.
  3. Be able to be picked up, played and put down in about one minute. I'm not an expert on all the apps that have gone through the store, but I don't think that epic storylines have really made it into the top 25 much.
I feel like I'm a pop music producer, squashing all the art out of music in order to make sure it sells . . . but I think the real challenge is: How do you stay within those boundaries of trying to make a game that's marketable while still retaining your own game design sensibilities and well . . . your dignity.

It's early days yet, but hopefully we'll have a release to show for it in a few months . . . I'll keep the blog updated on our progress as we go along (and yes if you want to help us out with testing etc, you can buzz me . . . but it won't be happening for a while yet).

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