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Idea,Concept and Execution

04-02-2011, 03:01 PM
#1
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Idea,Concept and Execution

The entire existence (energy) of building a new app at the moment is based on our belief that the proposed concept, will be profitable or at a minimum will grab some attention. The stores are so crowded that ingenuity is the only chance we have. Great ideas will still burn and crash but at least they have a glimmer of hope.

Anything else is a waste of time for everyone involved, including the enduser.

So now, I would love to know what criteria you use to assign a "green light" to a project?

or

What pushes that one concept to the "Top of your List" over all the others you are incubating?

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,

Last edited by Syndicated Puzzles; 04-02-2011 at 03:17 PM.
04-02-2011, 03:40 PM
#2
A very good question. I guess in the end you can reduce everything to: game = 10% and luck = 90%

I, for myself, learned the following though lesson: the game I might love to play or I might love to create is FOR SURE not the game the world loves to play. So for my next top-secret game I choosed a concept that might not be MY personal favourite - but a conecpt that fits the needs of the casual app store gamer. No risk or niche concepts, no big-budgets for a lot of 3d art and a concept based on pure casual fun.
So my upcoming game consists out of big "play" button and then the fun begins. No complicated GUI's, no gameplay where you need 10 tutorial pages for a basic understanding, no control schemes where you need more then a single finger and no gameplay sessions that will last for longer then 5 minutes. And from a technical point of view: Game Center, Retina display - and iPad / old gen devices support is a must. And of course your app should not exceed the 20mb limit. EVERYBODY should be capable of playing my game!

Take a look at the big hits from indie developer studios: 90% of these games a pure casual games with funny characters, short gameplay sessions and gameplay concepts you understand without any further explanation. Simply casual gaming at best.
The "big budget" games that sell well are mostly from big companies.

So, for my next game, I green lighted a pure casual game concept. And I will try to provide the best technical solution for this concept I'm capable of. That means I'll outsource everything which I am not a professional. Yes, that costs money - but I'm sure the customer will notice every "not so good" detail. I envy all the programmers who can draw well.
And yes: I'm aware there is only that 10% chance this game will succeed - no matter how awesome the result might be (see my first sentence). But hey, I still "believe".

Axel

http://www.fancy-factory.com/
http://www.facebook.com/fancyfactorygames
http://twitter.com/fancyfactory

Last edited by FancyFactory; 04-02-2011 at 03:59 PM.

04-02-2011, 05:57 PM
#3
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
Fancy Factory,

Looks like you are right on the money with your analysis. I think your game vs. luck ratio is off. More like 50 % luck and 50% game. Tough decisions for any indie right now. I am also not going over 5 000$ mark on any project at the moment, it is just way to risky.

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,

Last edited by Syndicated Puzzles; 04-02-2011 at 07:14 PM.
04-02-2011, 06:28 PM
#4
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 25
I think that what leads to most of the crap in the app store is the idea that 90% of your chance to succeed in the app store is luck. If that was the case, then the best course of action would be to throw out as much shoddy work as quickly as possible and hope you get "lucky" with wild success with one eventually.

I don't think this is actually the case, however. Hard work, talent, genuinely good ideas and a willingness to take risk are all factors in what make success for iPhone games. There will always be exceptions (terrific games that go unnoticed and terrible games that make it big) but these are happening less and less and are definitely not the rule.

Crazy Coconut - Out Now!
04-02-2011, 06:38 PM
#5
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Southampton, UK
Posts: 304
I was talking to a friend today. I was telling him about the app game and how it's all about execution. You can have the best idea in the world and if you poorly implement it you can pretty much guarantee it will fail. You can also take an average idea, make sure the execution is flawless and you will have a greater chance of success.

However, you can't polish a turd.
04-02-2011, 06:51 PM
#6
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 25
I couldn't agree more. It irks me when people complain about how some top apps use the same gameplay mechanics as other games that didn't sell so well, as though all they did was copy someone else's work.

Execution is key, ideas are dime a dozen.

Crazy Coconut - Out Now!
04-02-2011, 07:10 PM
#7
I definitely think luck is less then 50% of the equation... a lot less. There is some luck for sure, but I would say that is by far secondary to making a quality, interesting product. I would probably put it more like game, marketing, everything else = 90%, luck < 10%... if even that.

As for the original topic, I think developers really should be focusing on what games they WANT to make, and games they want to play. Chances are that if you're making a new, unique game that you've always wanted to play, there will be a large group of people out there who have also wanted a game like that as well. The hard part is letting those users know about your game... then again that is the hard part for ANY game.

Now, the problem as mentioned before comes from actually executing that idea properly, and stripping yourself of as much bias as you can (which arguably is impossible, or at least very hard). This is why getting proper feedback from others is so important, and ACTING on that feedback even more so. For ex if no one is interested in your upcoming games thread, no one wants to beta, no website is previewing your game... take that as a heads up you're doing something wrong! -- whether its how you're presenting your game, your game itself, its graphics, or whatever... things aren't magically going to get better if you release your game without changing anything.

Finally, as harsh as it may sound, I just don't think everyone has the skill set or is cut out for making games. The whole process requires talent and skill just like anything else, and a game designer/manager has to in fact have LOTS of skills to see that everything comes together nicely in one awesome, well executed package (from the look of the game, to the game play, to everything in between). Just like I wouldn't expect everyone to be able to compose a sweet piece of music, I certainly don't expect everyone to be able to create an awesome game. I just think a lot of people think because they enjoy playing games, they are able to make a good game... again, I don't expect someone who likes to listen to music to be able to write a nice piece as well....
04-02-2011, 08:34 PM
#8
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 426
How to stack luck? In my case this is what I am doing.

1. A game concept that has never been done before... It can be played in short bursts and on the move.

2. The games controls can be configurable - from one finger touch (very casual but AI takes over the main movement) to various more than one finger control (this caters for more of the hardcore gamer).

3. Polished art that works for all displays.

4. Working with a team of people that I worked with on commercial Snes/Megadrive/Gameboy/Gameboy Advance projects. Because we have done this before the development money probably is worth more because of experience.

5. Online leaderboards, achievements, and challenges.

6. Multiplayer aspects to the game.

7. Language support.

8. HD output to TV.

9. Multiplatform support - iOS, Android, WM7 and maybe Symbian.

10. $80,000 development cost.

11. $5/10,000 marketing.

12. Focus testing.

My views are if you are not doing the above you will not be competing in this market in a years time. This is a very serious business now and effectively money and experience are the key factors to succeed and the days of lone game makers making games for the App Stores will be coming to an end.

In away it's very sad that it's come down to this now because people like to dream and dreams will be shattered for most people.

Last edited by NinthNinja; 04-02-2011 at 08:44 PM.
04-02-2011, 09:00 PM
#9
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,170
NinthNinja,

Wow, you just ripped a sword through 94.3 % of all developers reading your post. I am still picking up my intestines off the floor and putting them back. If you are developing apps the way you are describing your tolerance for risk is legendary.

Your prediction of big productions dominating the stores doesn't take into consideration the ingenuity and sheer volume of small developers. Strength in numbers and desperation are lethal combinations that will produce amazing titles by the little guys.

STR8TS , STR8TS 6X6 , DOMINO DICE , PUZZLE DICE,
CAVEMAN TEST, 1 TO 25, SUDOKU+STR8TS, ZARTE, ABSORB WATER, YOU, TIME SHEET (PHOTO VERIFIED),Office Alarm, Travel weather, dock clock,

Last edited by Syndicated Puzzles; 04-02-2011 at 10:40 PM.
04-02-2011, 09:39 PM
#10
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinthNinja View Post
How to stack luck? In my case this is what I am doing.

1. A game concept that has never been done before... It can be played in short bursts and on the move.

2. The games controls can be configurable - from one finger touch (very casual but AI takes over the main movement) to various more than one finger control (this caters for more of the hardcore gamer).

3. Polished art that works for all displays.

4. Working with a team of people that I worked with on commercial Snes/Megadrive/Gameboy/Gameboy Advance projects. Because we have done this before the development money probably is worth more because of experience.

5. Online leaderboards, achievements, and challenges.

6. Multiplayer aspects to the game.

7. Language support.

8. HD output to TV.

9. Multiplatform support - iOS, Android, WM7 and maybe Symbian.

10. $80,000 development cost.

11. $5/10,000 marketing.

12. Focus testing.

My views are if you are not doing the above you will not be competing in this market in a years time. This is a very serious business now and effectively money and experience are the key factors to succeed and the days of lone game makers making games for the App Stores will be coming to an end.

In away it's very sad that it's come down to this now because people like to dream and dreams will be shattered for most people.
After reading this, I had to try really hard not to cry.. But, as much as I'd like to deny it, I know deep down that this probably is the sad, sad truth..

Regardless of the effort it will take to make a hit, I will continue to try. When making a game, I try as hard as I can to enjoy the journey of making it instead of all the money it will or won't make. Even if the game is a total flop, you can say that you know how to make an iPhone app. That may not sound like that great of an accomplishment to yourself, but to others, that's amazing.

I've only made one game that I've released and it was terribly unsuccessful, but that's expected, right? Despite the disappointment it gave me, I told myself that I knew it wasn't going to be popular and then I moved on. Hopefully I'll come up with something better in the future.

Yes, it is like the lottery to make that hit game that will make hundreds of thousands and be played and loved, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. Someone's gotta have that #1 spot so why can't it be you? As long as you're not throwing crap into the App Store and hoping for success, there's always a chance.

I may be completely off, but that's how I see it.

Indie iPhone game developer

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@JFPro_Games