5 Challenges Android Game Developers Face

The rise of mobile application has spiraled up. With the popularity of smartphones, it’s not a surprise that almost everyone is eyeing at mobile application as a profitable enterprise.

Many developers are now obsessed with creating games for Android. As of March 2018, the number of available apps in Google Play Store was most recently placed at 3.3 million apps, surpassing 1 million apps in July 2013. Amongst these apps, games are the most popular category. In fact, 41.2% of Android app downloads are mobile games, which makes them the predominant category. This is the exact reason why Android games market offers a fierce competition.

Android mobile game development is not an easy field to get in though. You have to experience your fair share of challenges and sometimes frustrations. Before you start embarking on this road, you must have a clear picture of what lies ahead. Knowing the possible challenges will make your ride less bumpy. Below are some of the most common challenges and problems that game developers encounter.

  1. Fitting in the Android Market

The biggest challenge that you will have to face is finding the right niche in the vast world of Android game. It’s important that you find an area where you are passionate about and that it could reach a vast herd of players.

You can’t just simply pick a particular niche out of whim. Sure, you can pick racing games if you’re an avid fan of cars, but you have to ask yourself first, “Will this be niche profitable?” “Is it easier to get into this market?”

You have a lot of things to consider before you can finally find a place that you can call home. You would need to conduct an intensive research and studying of the current market trends first. Investigate which niche is the most popular right now. Check what type of players will you be attracting and what’s the population of your possible target market.

Fitting in the Android market is indeed challenging, especially in the beginning phase. As soon as you find your perfect place though, you can just sit peacefully on your couch and watch as your game rises to popularity and stardom.

  1. Setting Up a Good Story

If writers have a writer’s block, game developers also experience a time when they’re completely blank and can’t think of any concept or story.

A good game story is as important as breathing. Without a compelling and exciting plot, your game will just sit idly in the App Store with no downloads whatsoever.  Creating a good story is definitely not an easy thing to do though. With thousands of Android games that deal with fantasy, war, racing, etc., how can you make yours unique and outstanding?

No matter how challenging it may sound, you must endure this phase. Keep on looking at different angles and see if you can come up with remarkable characters or a captivating story. You may throw several papers with draft story a lot of times; you may even cross out some characters or plots or totally start all over again from scratch. Remember that great stories don’t happen overnight.

Work hard to make your game a stand out. Offer something that other games don’t. Creating a captivating story with its internal logic, characters, sounds, music, etc., will give you retaining users.

  1. Mobile Game Development Team

No man is an island.

This is especially true when it comes to designing and developing an Android game.  It’s almost impossible to do it alone, unless you’re Captain America, Dr. Strange and Tony Starks combined. Since it’s less likely that you’d get to assemble a Marvel Superheroes team, what you can have instead is a team of app professionals to make it possible.

You need to assemble a development team made up of Android programmers if you want your endeavors to be successful. You may need more professionals, especially if you’re designing a more complex game. You should also have an all-purpose design expert to ensure that the game is well defined from an aesthetic point of view. It won’t hurt if you add an app marketing expert too, even just as a consultant to help find out how you can make this project profitable.

  1. Create User-Friendly Android Games

You may have found your niche and may have created a compelling storyline, but these could all go to waste if your game is designed as too difficult and too complicated.

Just as fitting in and creating a good story is important, so as making your game user-friendly. By this, you should make your game simple and easy to understand. It has to be something where players can just play intuitively without having to go through a 10 minute tutorial just to get a grasp of the game.

How can you create your game user-friendly?

You have to know where to draw the line. It should be something that is not easy to beat but rather have a clear rules and dynamics. If you want to reach out to more potential users, having your game available in several languages is a brilliant idea.

Be wary of using too much technical terms in your game also. Use language that is very basic and easy to understand. Before you launch your game, have it tested first by several players. Through this, you can have a clear picture of what users like and may not like in your game.

  1. Making it a Success Story

So many developers have attempted to create a game. Yes, they may have successfully created and launched their games, but only a few have made their game successful.

Game development is a never-ending process. You should not stop when you have already launched it in the App Store. Just as how hard you have worked with the production process, you must work harder in marketing it. Make your game known to the public in all possible ways. Use strategies to obtain more download and offer promotions to entice new customers and reward loyal ones.

Click here to check out Playdom history and games.

Best Programming Language for Game Design

Mobile gaming has become one of the most profitable industries. More businessmen are attempting to go to this path for the hopes of earning huge amount of money.

Whether you want to design a game of your own because you’re a thriving entrepreneur who wants to have a 6 figure savings account or simply a game-enthusiast, you need to learn the basics in mobile game development first. One of the things that you must tick on your “to-do” list is learning the programming language.

While there are thousands of programming languages, you don’t need to master each and every one of them. Experienced game developers use only a handful of them. Below are some of these most common programming languages that you must know.

  1. C++

C++ is a high-level language that teaches you the basics of object-oriented programming. It’s also the language used in building most huge Windows and console games. Scripts like UnrealScript, Lua, Python or some in-house scripts will thread through the code. With its vast usage, learning C++ is a brilliant idea.

Learning C++ is critical if you want to tackle big games in the larger gaming companies. The optimizers and compilers are solid, plus you get a lot of control over memory management. Designing and powering complex graphics would become easier because of its extensive libraries.

C++ is not an easy language to learn, but this has been the programmer’s language of choice for decades so you will find plenty of literature and resources around for your reference. You may not have an easy-peasy time learning this programming language, but you will find the experience rewarding. Not only because C++ games are easy to distribute across various platforms, but also because you can quickly learn C# and other object-oriented languages if you already know C++.

If you’re serious about creating games from scratch, then learning C++ is critical. Thanks to this language, many of the most popular games today such as Dark Souls, The Witcher 3 and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have come to life.

  1. C#

Developed by Microsoft, this set of tools and runtime environment is suitable for games on Windows or Xbox platform.

While C++ adds another dimension to user experience and performance of the game, C# provides support for software engineering principles such as array bounds checking, strong type checking, automatic garbage collection and detection of attempts to use uninitialized variables.

  1. Java

Java is one of the most commonly used programming language because it supports sockets and multithreading. Sockets help in building multiplayer games while multithreading uses less memory and makes the most of available CPU. Using Java will make your game easier to distribute because it runs on a virtual machine.

Are you familiar with Angry Birds Chrome for mobile devices?

Java was used in making this game. It also powers RPG games like the Barkley, Aveyond series and Eternal Eden. It runs on 3 billion devices worldwide so it’s safe to say that this programming language will be around for many years to come.

Click here to learn more about Java Programming.

  1. Web Languages

If you’re planning on making games for browsers, you would need to learn a couple of different codes to be able to provide a complete user experience. You need to learn:

  • HTML5

This latest evolution of the standard that defines HTML contains new attributes, elements and behaviours. You can build more diverse and powerful Web sites and applications because it has a larger set of technologies.

It has been designed to deliver almost everything you’d want to do online without requiring additional software such as browser plugins. It does everything from music to movies, animation to apps, and can also be used to build incredibly complicated applications that run in your browser.

  • CSS3

This style sheet language is used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language like HTML. It is a cornerstone technology of the World Wide Web, alongside JavaScript and HTML. CSS is designed to enable the separation of content and presentation, including colors, layouts and fonts.

  • SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a domain-specific language used in programming. It is designed for stream processing in a relational data stream management system or for managing data held in a relational database management system. It is particularly useful in handling structured data where there are relations between different entities/variables of the data.

  • JavaScript

This high-level, interpreted programming language is characterized by weakly typed, dynamic, multi-paradigm and prototype-based. JS is an essential part of web applications because it enables interactive web pages.

It’s entirely a different process if you’re making games for consoles and making games for browsers. If you need complex graphics or 3D graphics and a content management system, you must learn SVG or WebGL.

What about Smaller Games and Mobile Game Development?

Some people find learning C++ too daunting so they just easily give up and settle for an easier language.

If you find yourself burning the candle at both ends yet still can’t absorb the basics of C++, you have other programming languages that you can resort to. Small console games can be created with the use of Visual Basic, Java or C#.

Another language you can start learning is Objective C. Just like C++, it’s an object-oriented language but it is much easier. It is a hybrid of Java and C, both of which are learned in the first-year curriculum of programming courses. Objective C is used typically for the creation of iOS games for the iPhone and iPad, though you may find the punctuation or syntax not likable.

If you’re creating games for Android, the best route that you can go to is the Java. Though some people prefer coding in C++, it could pose a challenge when it comes to dealing with cross-device compatibility. Java, on the other hand, runs on virtual machines, so it’s easier for your game to be compatible across different devices.

Click here to learn how iPhone Mania is spreading around the globe.

Essential Tips on How to Create Amazing Character Models

What makes a mobile game outstanding is its compelling characters.

If you’re trying to create a game of your own, it has to stand out amongst its thousands of competitors. Aside from great gameplay and amazing graphics, you have to create characters that players would have a strong emotional connection to.

Creating great characters is not an easy task. But trust me when I say this, it is not impossible. Below are some tips that you must know when creating character models for games.

  1. Know Your Restrictions

Before you even get your hands on starting any game character, the first thing that you must do first is knowing your working restrictions.

Though understanding the texture page and polygon limits are necessary for your creation to be successful, you must evaluate the environment settings and how your character will be seen and used in the game.

Environment settings are variables such as working units. These variables should stay consistent throughout the game or you’re sailing yourself to failure. Understanding how your character will be used and their capabilities can have a dramatic effect on your model. For example, will it be animated? If so, will the mouth need to open or will individual fingers need to bend?

  1. Conduct Your Research

Starting a project with no research material is like sailing through a dark ocean without a compass. Even the most talented and experienced artists need to have plenty of references around them while they are designing their model.

You may have a photographic memory and you could probably work from your memory, but you’ll do even better if you have a wall of concept sketches or a folder of photographs to work from. A simple one hour researching the web can go a long way if you want to create great images.

  1. Start Simple

Simplicity is still the best, especially when you’re a beginner in game designing.

We all want to create a fully detailed character, but not every one of us is Picasso. You’ll have to go through a lot of model designs and failures before you can create a masterpiece of your own. There’s no rush when it comes to designing a magnificent model.

Before you can finish the whole painting, you have to start with the first stroke. If you start simple, you’re more likely to succeed. You don’t have to necessarily start with a detailed head or hand; you have plenty of time to master that later. What you need to do first is to use basic primitives and stitches together in blocking out the whole figure. Doing so will give you a broad overview of the proportion of your character.

  1. Try Subdivision Surfaces

If you want to create a smoother model with an initially low polygon count, then using subdivision surfaces is the perfect approach. This method enables you to create a higher-detail model from a low-resolution ‘cage’ mesh so you don’t have to push around lots of geometry.

Once you’re satisfied with your creation, you can simply bake out the model and convert it to a fully polygon-based mesh. Now it’s ready for further optimization and editing.

Click here to know more about subdivision surfaces.

  1. Avoid Adding Too Much Details

When it comes to game designing, more does not necessarily equate to great. Having too many details does not mean that your character will be great. More often than not, these unnecessary details will just add confusion and useless purpose to your creation.

You may be tempted to put detail into every area of your creation, but you should fight off this temptation. Instead, you should only add details wherever it is needed. Always bear in mind the purpose and usage of your model.

If it will be seen from a distance, it’s unnecessary to add fabric detail or the inside of its mouth. It’s a complete waste of time and effort trying to create very detailed fingers when it will not be seen.  What you can do instead is to use mitten-style hands in scenarios like this.

  1. Be Economical

If you want to avoid the trouble of having to revisit your work later, you should know how to optimize your models and become economical.

You should apply these two basic rules: First, remove all unseen geometry: if you can’t see it, delete it. Second, remove all unused geometry: anything which doesn’t directly benefit the shape of an object, or how it deforms. A cube is a perfect example. It should only ever be made up of 12 triangles; unless they add to the shape, any additional divisions are a pure waste.

  1. Follow Natural Muscle Lines

You should always think ahead as you build your design. The topology of your character should mimic the natural muscle layout of a real person.

Whilst it’s not necessary that you etch every muscle into the surface, using a normal map will add a nice detail for your model. If done correctly, when the arm raises the shoulder and upper arm, geometry will twist and crease as real muscles do.

  1. Retain a Seamless Model

Many designers are guilty of adding lots of separate elements into their models. This is not only painstakingly hard to do so; this can also shatter the game experience. Many parts will intersect with the main model as it moves around and deforms the screen.

This also holds true when it comes to clothing. It’s always a bad idea if you want to create the body beneath the outfit. The skin under the clothing will inevitably pop through when the model is animated if you don’t make these two elements part of a single model.

How do you stop this from happening?

Simply physically build these into the mesh. Not only you will have a magnificent model, but your life as an animator will also become lots easier.

Creating a perfect model or game character does not happen overnight. You need to pack lots of patience and determination compounded with plenty of practice to become successful in game designing.

Click here to read more interesting articles and helpful tips.

6 Useful Tips in Speeding Up Your Game Design Process

Designing or developing a mobile game is clearly not a walk in the park or a bed of roses.

First, it’s challenging to think of a fresh concept or idea for a game. You can’t just create a cooking puzzle game as there have been tons created already. You must possess a creative and somehow crazy mind to be able to come up with this one of a kind concept.

While making an out-of-this-world concept is one thing, making this concept into reality is another thing. Game designing requires a lot of hard work, patience, creativity, strategic planning and tons of perseverance. You would need to invest a lot of time in it. Creating a game that will become a massive hit does not just happen overnight. Some spend months on it, while others could even take years. Click here to know how much does it cost to develop a mobile game)

Is there a way that you could expedite the process?

Whilst there is no shortcut, you can certainly speed up your game design process. These tips will show you how.

  1. Make Your Prototype Short and Brief

You can’t possibly create a design document for the purpose of accurately portraying what your game would feel like. No amount of words could ever give justice to that. There’s no sense in wasting too much time and energy in writing a corresponding detailed design description.

On the other hand, you can code and test the essential mechanics of most game concepts in little time. By developing a prototype, you both provide means to assess and describe the quality of your game concept. This should be your starting point for the preproduction process.

When you create a playable sample, you give every member of your team a first-hand experience of what the game could be. It gives an opportunity to get feedback from everyone and see which area needs to be worked on or what features need more improvement. Having a prototype is fun and motivating.

Spending a lot of time and money on this initial implementation is not necessary. Fancy visuals are out of the picture. They are not only an effective way of wasting your time, but they could also prevent better assessment and judgment of the game. Pretty drawings tend to mask the pitfalls of your design choices.

  1. Write With Your Peers in Mind

Game designers often write design documents for others – it may be for a client, developers, managers, etc. Writing for these audiences could be a headache though and will take a lot of your time. Know that these people have different needs and expectations. Your developer will probably need thorough details to estimate the technical constraints that will arise from your choices. On the other hand, a client may not care about the details of your chosen technology for implementation.

As a designer, it is your job to understand the needs of your teammates. You should write in a way that each of your team members would gain necessary resources for them to perform their roles. It’s also your job to facilitate what they are doing.

Improve your writing skills and you will be doing a huge favor to your peers. Don’t be shy to ask your readers what they feel about your writing. Get feedback and improve your craft using these feedbacks.

  1. Run Tests to Prevent Unnecessary Chatter

Sometimes, actions are more powerful than words. Though you can’t really dismiss the strength that words bring, there are scenarios where actions speak louder than words.

Before you can even fully develop your game, it will go through a lot of discussions and prodding. If you’re client is not working in the game industry, it would be challenging for you to explain every moves or features. Instead of explaining what this arrow does, why not demonstrate it to him instead? It’s easier to convince with controller in your hand that this design choice will work, rather than explaining it.

  1. Organize Your Workload

Looking for new ideas can be mind-boggling; you could end up exhausted only after a few hours of wracking up your brain. Bouncing back and forth between concept research, drawing, programming and writing will eat up all your energy in no time. You don’t want to spend the whole day only to find out that you’ve been going around the same track.

If you want to be productive, you must create a strategic plan on how to go about your day. List all the things that you need to do and prioritize them according to their importance. Then assign the most difficult tasks in the beginning part of the day. This is because your energy is still at the highest level so tackling these hard chores would be bearable. You should always have a solid plan for all the structures of your work.

  1. Learn How to Code

Any game designer should know gameplay programming. In fact, it’s the most fundamental skillset that all designers must possess. Gameplay programming is important in so many reasons.

For one, developers often communicate with one another. It’s harder to hop on board on this communication if you don’t know the basics of coding. Also, coding permits you to test your ideas by yourself. In addition, most studios are looking for game designer who codes. Learning this skill is your golden ticket to success.

  1. Shorten That Iterative Loop

Don’t wait for your entire cake to be fully baked before you can hand a piece of it to the testers.

Same thing goes for game designing. You really don’t need to wait for the entire gameplay to finish before you hand it over to the testers. By then, you could have committed many mistakes such as focusing on a technical aspect that doesn’t matter to your players, wasting time polishing poor controls, or working on the system so big that you can only backtrack at an unpleasant cost. In any jobs that are related to designing, it is important to iterate, and to do so fast.

Are you a Playdom fan? Click here to know more about its history and games.

 

Most Common Mistakes Game Designers Are Guilty Of Making

A lot of us want to be a game developer. Many of us have basic ideas or concept on how to create a compelling game. Unfortunately, not many of us can bridge this concept or idea into reality. Game designers are only some of the few people who can translate these wild thoughts and ideas into a real exciting game.

Who exactly are game designers?

They are a group of people whose job is to see what the game is going to look like even before the start of the developing process.

Game designers understand how to transform an idea into reality, considering the technical possibilities and highlights features that players find interesting. They should have a perception of the weak and strong sides of his games and know what makes his game captivating. Click here to learn more about what they do.

Unfortunately, game designers are also prone to committing mistakes while developing their project or submitting it to the publisher. Some of these mistakes lie at the intersection of creative areas of activity and management. Take note of these common mistakes so that you can avoid making them when you’re trying to design your game.

  1. Too Many Features

More does not necessarily translate to greatness. Sometimes, simpler things are even better. This holds true in mobile gaming.

When trying to design a game, you have to think first what particular features will attract the players. You need to understand what features that people are looking for. Once you have found out which certain features tick, you have to highlight them.

Many developers, especially the beginners, are guilty of adding as much features as they can.  Though having many features could attract potential buyers and players, most of them are unnecessary. Some of them may not even be used by players at all.  When you’re including a certain feature to your game, make sure that it’s going to be beneficial.  If not, they’d just be empty resources that the sole purpose is to crowd your creation.

  1. Waste of Time and Resources

Every great developer does not only have a genius idea but also understand the components that make up a good game. He exactly understands what are the things he needs to do to translate these genius ideas into reality.

Sadly, not all genius ideas are translated into great games. There’s something missing somewhere between the concept making to the production. This could resort to wasted time and resources.

Before you even begin with the production of your game, make sure that it’s feasible and that you have enough resources to support it. Don’t start a project when you can’t possibly finish it. You also have to closely work with the leading specialists of the project (programmers, designers, artists, project manager) at the stage of pre-production.

It is such heartbreak if everything that you have worked for will just be in vain. Avoid wasting your time and resources as these are two very important assets that you should not take for granted.

  1. Unclear Message to the Production Team

Communication, regardless of what field you are in, is critical to the success of the project. It’s almost impossible to get favorable result when you don’t know how to clearly express what you want and expect from your subordinates.

As a game designer, you must not only possess creativity but you should also be an excellent communicator. Not knowing how to communicate your concept and expectations to the production team is a perfect recipe for disaster. If you have unclear explanation to the production team (programmers and artists), it’s hard to make your concept into reality.

So how do you avoid this from happening?

Use a game design document to properly describe your concept to the other team members. It is helpful if you want to describe accurately what you want to see in a game. It’s better if you attach a sketch or use photos or drawings for real objects. Be as thorough as you can.

It’s not an easy task to write a game design document for programmers. You need to use n an exact, logically correct statement of the problem, preferably in the language of formulas. Write down all valuable instructions to make your concept as realistic as possible.

  1. A Game for Everyone is a Game for No One 

When it comes to game designing, your game should not be a jack of all trades. Meaning, it should not cater to everyone. Whilst you would want to have a larger audience as possible, you have to have a specific target market only. Is your game specifically created for shooter gamers? Or do you want to reach out to young individuals who like games that have the element of partying and social media?

Having a specific target audience will narrow down your list of to-do-things. Instead of doing a thousand things to cater to everyone, you can focus more on specific features that your target market will find interesting. This way, your planning has more direction and purpose. You don’t go around just chasing the end of your tail.

If you want to avoid a lot of possible mistakes, focus on your target audience only. Select the main elements of the chosen genre and make sure they are all present in the game.

Remember no one is interested in a game created for everyone. Someone who loves quest are more likely not interested in puzzle games with riddles.

  1. Realism vs. Gameplay

Players prefer games that have realistic elements. They are more likely to patronize your game if there are scenarios or challenges that they can relate to in real life. That’s the concept part. But when it comes to graphics, your role is to create more beautiful and realistic image without forgetting about the performance.

There is always a compromise between gameplay and functional realism. And this compromise can be challenging since a realistic game is not always playable and interesting.

Learn more about interesting tips and exciting articles about mobile game development here.

7 Characteristics of a Successful and Profitable Mobile Game

Mobile games have cemented their role into our lives.

Everywhere you look, you’d see someone playing games on their mobile phones. From the person who’s on the subway to someone who’s falling in line for his coffee fix, almost everyone is keeping their fingers busy pushing those phone buttons.

The popularity of mobile games has rapidly protruded like hot mushrooms. Majority of the population have games or two (or probably several) installed on their phone. These games are accessible; you just simply go to the Google Play Store or App Store and download as much games as you want.

Whether you’re a thriving game developer or simply a game fanatic, you must wonder what makes some games better than the others. With thousands of mobile games created, what makes a certain game standout against its ocean of competitors? There may be a plethora of games out there, but the sad truth is that only a few of them are successful and profitable.

What are the ingredients of a successful mobile game? Below are some of the most common characteristics of these games.

  1. Possess The ‘Profitability Formula’

Mobile app industry is undeniably one of the most profitable in the world, with roughly $46 billion worth in 2016.

You could hit a jackpot if you’re able to develop a successful game of your own. The makers of popular games such as Clash of Clans, The Sims, Pet Rescue Saga and so on must have purchased an island in the Caribbean or spent their entire life on a luxury cruise ship.

What’s their secret formula in creating a profitable game?

The three requirements for profitability include:

  • Achieve a huge number of installs
  • Players continue playing the game for a long period of time
  • A percentage of these players are willing to pay for speedups, upgrades or higher status.

So if your main objective is to create a game that could increase your savings account tenfolds, you must have these 3 ingredients in mind.

  1. Has a Compelling Platform

The world has gone mobile.

If you check your mobile phone, you must have tons of applications installed. From your games to your social media accounts and even fitness routine, your phone is crowded with these applications.

Mobile games are not only competing with other games; they are also in competition against 25 other apps. To make your game compelling, you must offer one that has an outstanding platform along with other dimensions.

If your platform is just plain and boring, your app would be swallowed alive with huge competitions such as Snapchat, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Netflix and more.

  1. Socially Competitive Features

We are all competitive by nature. We find anything that promotes competition quite addicting. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of performing against other people and the success of triumph is just simply euphoric.

If you’re trying to create a game, take advantage of this competitiveness. A game where you play alone is good, but a game where you play against your family or friends is even better. If you want to add a critical layer of engagement depth, offer the ability where players can play with and against their friends. Playing on teams with friends against other teams is referred to as “guild/clan” competitions.

Let’s take Clash of Clans for example. This game has been created since 2012 and it is still popular until now. Nothing sounds more fun than expanding your base and upgrading your troops while raging war against other clans.

If you get 6 or more friends to play the same game, you’re more likely to continue playing that game 30 days later.

  1. Be A Brand that Resonates

Another factor that you must consider in creating a game is its core mechanic. Whether your game is about an old gaming IP, film or celebrity match, it should be matching with the core mechanic of the subject.

Deer Hunter is a popular hunting brand while Cooking Dash 2016 is the leading game for lovers of food and hospitality. Your game will have exponential growth if it resonates with your audiences.

  1. Has an Element of Surprise and Delight

How do you achieve the element of surprise and delight?

You can do this through the innovation of presentation, graphics and core game-play mechanics. Your game to be successful should not only be perceived as “new” but it should also be understandable and recognizable. Having these qualities will make your game popular among gamers and non-gamers alike.

A perfect example for this is Glu’s Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. It’s an innovative concept for fans of fashion, fame and climbing your way to Hollywood popularity while blending the virtual and real world of the life of Kim Kardashian.

  1. Include ‘Monetization Depth’

Who does not want to get something for free?

While a huge fraction of players won’t spend a dime in a free-to-play game, a small portion is only willing to pay $1 to $10. Among those that are willing to pay though, a small fraction of them are willing to spend hundreds, thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars over their lifetime of engagement.

If you want your game to profit, listen up.

You must include monetization depth as an element of your game. Your players must be able to purposefully spend money on upgrading dimensions of items in a game, with recognizable differentiations between and among the various spend levels.

  1. Be Frequently Updated

The success of your game should not stop upon its creation.

Yes, you may have created a game that appeals to lots of players, but you must constantly update it as well. This means only large updates with additional contents, levels, characters and items.  Daily or weekly live events are also effective in enticing players to keep coming back.

Your game should stay updated to what’s the current trend. For it to be included in the top 25 apps on a player’s phone, you must compel your players to log in and play daily.

Smartphones have dominated the people all over the world. Click here to read more how iPhone Mania is everywhere around the globe.

 

Mobile Game Development Tools Worth Having

By 2020, it’s projected that global gaming industry will likely be valued at 128.5 Billion.

The popularity of mobile technology has rapidly risen over the past few years. Almost every one owns a smart phone now. Aside from the availability of smartphones, the improvement of augmented reality and virtual reality has also paid their contribution to the development of mobile gaming. Many innovations have been made which resolved or drastically improve the ongoing mobile problems such as limited storage, heating issues, battery issues, processing limits, etc.

If you’re a thriving businessman, mobile game development is a good investment. Many are trying their hands on this field of business in the hopes of scoring it big. Bear in mind though that this is not an easy market to get into, especially if you don’t have any background with technical stuffs.

No worries though, there are tools that you can use to help you. Below are some of the mobile game development tools that you can use to begin your project.

  1. Unity

This intuitive game development engine offers many features for both 2D and 3D game development. If you want to easily and quickly port games into Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android and BlackBerry platforms, this is your best pick. It supports assets from major 3D applications like Maya, 3ds Max, CINEMA 4D, Softimage, Blender etc. A new version Unity 4.3 was released with features like supporting sprites, native 2D capabilities and 2D physics added to its design capabilities.

Though Unity can integrate with all major 3D applications, it has some limitations specifically with its editing capabilities inside the engine editor. You would need to use a third-party 3D application, apart from some primitive shapes. You also have the alternative to purchase assets from the asset library. Undeniably, Unity is a strong contender among the mobile game development engines.

This engine comes with many pricing options. You can get the Pro version at $1,500 or $75/monthly per seat and per platform. You can also get your hands on Unity 5 Personal Edition which includes many common features like Physically-based shading, Profiler, Reflection Probes etc.

  1. Unreal Engine

Released by Epic Game, UE4 is the next version of UDK (Unreal Development Kit). It comes with immense options for console, PC as well as mobile game development. It carries graphical capabilities like advanced dynamic lighting and a new particle system that can handle up to a million particles in a scene simultaneously. It’s an absolute heaven for any 3D game developer.

The new Unreal Engine 4 has been made better compared with its predecessors. It replaced the popular UnrealScript with C++ as the scripting language. More user-friendly Blueprint system also replaced Kismet. Because of these many changes, it’s normal to go through a learning curve before you can master the updated version.

Apart from Android and iOS, you can also use Unreal Engine 4 for Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game development. It’s also great that it comes with tools for leveraging augmented reality technologies and virtual reality for mobile game development. Development of stunning games of any size is now possible, plus making it in superb quality is another advantage.

  1. Lumberyard

This free AAA game engine can be used for iOS, Android, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The developer used CryEngine – a game development kit developed by Crytek – as the basis of this tool. You can create AAA quality games thanks to its cross-platform functionality.

It comes with great features like networking, full C++ source code, seamless integration with AWS Cloud and Twitch API and Audiokinetic’s feature-rich sound engine. The graphics are made better with acceleration in character, range of terrain, rendering and authoring tools which help with the creation of photo-quality 3D environments at scale.

What makes Lumberyard a competitive advantage is its pricing. You don’t have to pay any licensing fees or royalties. Instead, you would only be paying the e necessary usage of AWS Cloud for online multiplayer games. It’s definitely worth the cost because it comes with an advantage of faster development and deployment.

  1. Corona SDK 

This cross-platform 2D game development kit is perfect for games development for mobile platforms as well as Android TV and Apple TV. Lua, a popular scripting language, is used which ensures that you will have a short learning curve.  It comes with over 500 APIs for a range of functions from networking to animation. You can conveniently code, ideate and have your validation in one go. Corona SDK is available for Windows operating system as well as Mac.

What makes Corona a good choice for mobile game developer is its pricing. The basic version is free which makes it a popular choice among many developers. It also comes with an enterprise solution for $79 per month while another version priced a little higher at $199/month.

On the downside, Corona is only applicable for 2D game development. It has limited to no capabilities in VR, AR or 3D gaming. This platform is not ideal if you are planning to create AAA game.

  1. Cocos2D-x

Just like what it says on its name, Cocos2D-x is a 2D game development kit for iOS, Android, OS X, Linux and Blackberry mobile phones. It’s a highly efficient resource tool because you can make games of a size as low as 1.5 MB. To create optimized 2D graphics, it utilizes OpenGL. Cocos2D-x is a great choice because it comes with detailed documentation and community support.

Over the past few years, this platform has improved dramatically which is why many developers around the world prefer to use this application. Amongst the popular games that use this platform are Clash of Kings, Badland, Contra: Evolution and Hardest Game Ever 2. It’s a good competitor for 2D game development due to its library of existing resources and free pricing.

Take note that it has limitation in 3D game development though. Apart from this, it is a superb game development SDK for a small to mid-size project.

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What You Need to Consider When Choosing iOS or Android

If you compare the latest models of Android and iOS, such as Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone X, there’s not much to choose from anymore. Both of these gigantic mobile phone companies offer the same apps with almost the same approaches to quick settings and notifications. Even the appearance looks identical; you can easily confuse one with the other.

Because of so many identical features that they borrowed from one another, you might think that choosing iOS over Android (or vice versa) does not seem to matter anymore. After all, why bother when they almost have the same features?

This may seem rational, but if you take a closer look there are three main ways where the mobile platform of Apple is different from Google. Let’s take a look at these factors and see why your choice of smartphone OS is still important.

  1. Privacy

Over the last few years, Apple has been proud to introduce the user privacy advantages if you go with iOS. According to Apple, more of your data gets stored securely on your device and less is sent to the cloud. In the first place, Apple does not want to collect as much of your data as possible. You can click here to know more about the privacy policy of Apple.

A lot of data that are sent to Apple are made anonymous and aggregated, including map locations and search queries. Your anonymity is not applicable to all of their apps and features though. For example, if you want to use “Find My iPhone”, Apple would require you to enter your details such as your name and phone location so that it can help you reunited with your phone.

This is called “differential privacy” where Apple scrambles all the data collected so that it can’t personally identify a person. According to Apple, this means “we see general patterns, rather than specifics that could be traced back to you.”

Google, on the other hand, wants to gather as much personal information as possible to create much more personal services. You can learn more about Google’s Privacy here.

Though Google collects as much data that can be linked to you personally, they claim that these data are used responsibly and only in a helpful way. According to Google, “We collect information to provide better services to all of our users—from figuring out basic stuff like which language you speak, to more complex things like which ads you’ll find most useful, the people who matter most to you online, or which YouTube videos you might like”. In other words, Google needs to get to know you better so that they can provide a more personal service or help generate more relevant results if you use Google search. It’s up to you if you want to trade off your privacy over more personalized service.

Apple has a firmer stand for user privacy while Google promises to handle your data responsibly. The decision boils down on how much trust you have for these giant tech companies.

  1. Compatibility

Apple really wants its users to use Apple software and hardware and nothing else – as evident to its latest product which is the HomePod. This Siri-powered smart speaker offers no support to Android or Spotify (unless you use Airplay). If you don’t like variations or choices, iOS is fantastic for you.

Rather than specifically focusing on iOS and Android, let’s take a look at the whole ecosystem. Once you’ve started investing in Apple devices, such as Apple TVs, HomePods and iCloud, you would be having a hard time getting out. Google on the other hand, enables you to easily jump between platforms, whether that’s Windows, macOS, iOS, Android or Chrome OS. If you make a switch from Android to iOS with a Google account, you can only get your calendars and emails set up on Android but Apple Photos, iCloud or iTunes are not supported.

Your choice of getting compatible devices actually ends up bigger with iOS as other manufacturers have to offer their support. If you have iOS, you can have beam content to your Apple TV or Chromecast, choose an Android Wear or Apple Watch for your next smartwatch or send audio to an Amazon Echo or HomePod. These devices are not on your options if you go for Android.

If you’re currently on iOS and think that there is a possibility that you change your sides to Android, it’s a smart idea to use Google for your services and apps.

  1. Security

When it comes to security, more favors are stacked heavily in Apple. Android devices don’t only attract more malware but they get through more often. Also, security updates are slower in rolling out.

Though iPhones don’t have invulnerability when it comes to hacking attempts, they are more secured and tightly locked down. Though there are some restrictions with using some apps, the downfall of this limit is outweighed by its benefit of malicious apps not having control over your device so easily.

If you’re using Android and wants maximum security, it’s important that you take extra caution. Stick to the Google Play store and buy from a reputable vendor only.

A little bit of a bad news to Android users though – malware authors are more likely to target the operating system of Google. This is probably because there are more devices to attack, fewer hoops to jump through and more devices are running on an outdated software version. These security vulnerabilities offer so much potential for hackers to target Android.

Android is working on how to improve their security feature. This is evident in a recent update where apps are now scanned automatically from the Play Store appp, with any suspicious activity being flagged and stopped. According to Google, there’s an improvement in lowering the percentage of Android devices that had potentially harmful apps on them. 0.05% may seem to be an improvement from the previous year but this number is still too many.

iOS still remains to be on the lead when it comes to their security feature.

Click here to read interesting facts about Playdom.

Factors that Contribute to the Success of Mobile Gaming

Mobile games have tremendously come to full rise in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Just as everyone started to own a smart phone or tablet, mobile gaming has turned from a non-existent market to a $17.5 billion industry as of 2013.

From being difficult to access and complicated to navigate, mobile games have dramatically improved in terms of mechanics and graphics. It also gave birth to many genres as target audiences have doubled. Anyone with a mobile phone, regardless if its iOS or Android, has installed and played a mobile game at one point of their life. As the time progresses, it’s clear that mobile games are here to stay.

What could be the reasons why mobile gaming has been this successful? The factors below are contributors to the rise and popularity of mobile games.

  1. Evolving Technology

Mobile devices such as PDAs and Blackberries were the first models designed that could actually handle mobile games. On the downside, they were marketed as business tools rather than for entertainment which is why there was limited potential for game developers. This perception was totally changed when iPhone was introduced by Apple in 2007. The iPhone was a massive success, as its entertainment systems were highlighted on top of its phone capability.

iPhone has changed the perception of phones. With its features, it has made mobile phones not just for businessmen or professionals but for everyone. With the rapid success of iPhone and development of competitors, the future for mobile games has become brighter. In a quick span of time, traditional gamers were outnumbered by new potent players. According to a 2013 US market statistics, only about 70 million own PS3s while 200 million have iOS and Android devices. Learn how iPhone mania has ruled the world by reading here.

Because of its portability and accessibility, a lot of players preferred to play their games while they are on the road instead of being tied into their living room TV set.

Second, producers have saved huge amount of money with the new distribution mechanisms of smart phones. Developers realized its full potential when App Store was opened by Apple in 2008. Game distribution has now transitioned into simple and inexpensive way.

Not only mobile games are easier to publish, it’s also easier to obtain wider audiences. It costs more money to copy and transport physically distributed games while there is a tough restriction from established publishers for the digitally-distributed console or PC games. The distribution potential as well as low cost made the production and distribution of mobile games so much easier.

  1. Early Mobility

Do you remember the game Snakes?

This popular game in the ’90s was the first mobile game cited by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the governing body of video game industry. For those who weren’t born yet when almost everyone was crazy over Snakes, this game only existed on Texas Instruments graphing calculators. Player would need to use the arrow keys to navigate a small snake around the screen. You would also need to avoid walls, obstacles and running back into the snake itself if you don’t want the game to be over. The snake has to eat numbers that randomly appeared across the screen and grew as it eats.

Though the popularity of snake was unquestionable, graphing calculators were very expensive which is why portable game had limited potential. Games stayed limited to specific portable systems such as PlayStation Portable or Nintendo Gameboy.

It was only until 200s that game development purposes have been leveraged for both entertainment and technology.

  1. Costs and Funding

Another factor that contributed to the rapid success of mobile games is the cost of production. Aside from the fact that mobile games have easier contribution compared to traditional games, they also cost less to develop.

Mobile games don’t need detailed cinematic graphics. Developers draw in their audience by creating great characteristics and innovative mechanics. These appealing traits are easier to code than detailed graphics hence small teams are only required to develop the game. It means lower overhead and cost of the company.

Aside from that, less overall codes are required in mobile games which speed up the production time. There’s a bright future for small developers as investment only costs a few hundred dollars compared to about $50 million in traditional games.

Another contributor to the rapid growth of mobile industry is the development of funding patterns. Crowdfunding sources such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter have helped insure that development of mobile games is continuous. The interested parties can donate small amounts of money to support a certain project. If you have a creative and innovative idea but don’t have enough budgets, you can simply turn to crowdsourcing for help.

  1. Traditional Games Stagnation

Mobile industry remained strong and stable thanks to available funding and low developmental costs. While traditional games are having difficulty adapting on these factors, it proves to be an advantage for mobile games.

Mobile games have made a huge competitive leap against console interface. Console makers are stuck with improving decades-old mechanics and graphics while there’s a consistent upgrade of mobile devices every year. The innovation of new products and improvement of new phone features make the life of mobile games developer easier.

In addition, traditional games cost more than mobile games – from its production to its distribution. This limits the developers when it comes to taking a risk. Many large studios rely on a few popular blockbuster titles as their primary source of income. Almost all of these blockbusters are established franchises or sequels. If you’re someone who is looking for new game experiences, traditional games may meet this need. Whereas in mobile games, upgrades and innovations are not uncommon.

Mobile gaming is here to stay. It appeals to many potential gamers because it is innovative, low cost and accessible. As long as there is a demand from consumers, developers will continue to create new and exciting features. In conclusion, we can say that the future of mobile gaming has never looked this brighter.

3 common mistakes a mobile game developer should avoid

With so many competitors in the mobile game market, the game developers are always trying to attract the users with great features, stunning animation, and attractive storyline. Yet, many game developers cannot be successful in the market. There are some common mistakes that many game developers make and these prevent them from being successful.

Not considering the target group

You should have a target group for your game. That way, it will be easier for you to add the different features to your game. You can make the difficulty levels of the game according to your target group. If the game you develop is not appropriate for the users, then they will lose interest in the game. So, it’s very important to choose your target group first.

Not having a proper business goal

You should have a solid business plan. You should decide what kind of strategy you will adopt. You can make your game a premium one and put a high price tag on it, or you can release it as ‘free to play’. You should have a good monetization plan. If you are releasing the game as ‘free’ then you should decide whether you are going to make money from advertisements, in-app purchases or other means.

Not testing the game properly

Many game developers don’t become successful, because after release they get many flaws in the game. Bugs and other problems can make you lose your customers. You should vigorously test your game before releasing.

Mobile game developers must try to avoid these mistakes to increase their chances of being successful in the market. No matter how brilliant your game looks, if you make any of these mistakes, you may not get the result you had expected after the release of the game.