I like to think of game development as if it’s like football or any professional sport. I can see a lot of similarities. To win a game, you need a great team, coaches, and the equipment necessary to play at your best. When one of those things falters, you might see a loss of quality on the field and the fans are disappointed and become disinterested in the team.
With game design, your developers, testers, management and the quality of how you work can lead to installs and enjoyment of your mobile game. What makes video games better than football is that anyone can become the champion in the charts for a while.
We have produced a few things that can help any mobile game development team big or small that are proven things that can help you improve the quality of your game. With over 4,000 companies working with TestBird, we’ve seen a lot of the keys to success.
Setup a game plan for success
Many people sometimes will get a great idea and want to do it with no plan behind it.
In a football game, calling a play you thought was great is really calling for more luck than skill. Many coaches will instead take the time to study new play ideas and spend hours of time on the field practicing these plays to know what is and isn’t working. By game day, everyone knows when to call the play and executes it with more experience and finesse than luck.
The same goes with game developers. Time is cheap in the early stages of game development and planning out everything you need in your game using post-it notes, whiteboards, or paper is time well spent to make your game development run smooth. Many of the biggest games today spend months on just planning what to do and managing the different aspects of the game. Follow their example and take a few days or weeks to plan out what is needed.
Find the right tools for you
Helmets, shoulder pads, knee pads, and mouth guard are just some of the equipment you need to keep you safe and able to play in the game. If you try playing with broken equipment, you are risking injury and not being able to perform at your best.
In game development the tools are available if you have the knowledge and skill to use them correctly. Many of the tools today are available for free and some come with forums and chatrooms with developers eager to help you. I recommend watching a few tutorial videos online to see which environment you like and is best suited to your game.
The great thing about so many game engines available are that you could prototype a game in under a week and test it for playability. TestBird’s “Eagle Eye” technology can test games in many of today’s biggest game engines like Cocos2d-x, Unreal engine, and Unity engine to help in your functional and compatibility testing.
Setup a timeline, but be flexible
Time management has always been an example of good leadership and a good team. Those who don’t know how to use time effectively can bring bigger problems on themselves that could have been avoided. Like giving too much time on the clock for the other team to score or too little time to come back and win the game.
Just as we talked about in the first tip, set up a timeline of what is needed to be done, when to get it done, and push your team to stick to it. Many companies in gaming have either given themselves too little time to develop a game because they wanted too much, or too much time that they run out of budget.
Also, make sure to add an extra 20% of time and budget to your game and what you are doing. This allows for any minor issues that you may not have prepared for to have very little to no effect on your work and lot less stress.
Don’t be late in your testing
If you don’t make it to practice on time in football, how do you expect to know what is happening and know exactly what needs to be done? Being late leads to many issues with your team, your coaches and how you prepare for game day. Many might think you are being selfish or don’t really care about the game and won’t be 100% on the field.
In game development, forgetting to test your game or getting late to testing can bring up big problems when bugs start to crash your game or things don’t go exactly as you coded. Testing should come early and often. If you are a small development team, you may need to do it yourself and setup time for testing. For larger companies, testing teams may be needed.
TestBird understands that testing is crucial, especially with mobile game development. With so many mobile devices it might also be something that just isn’t in the time or budget to test every device in the world. We can help with our over 1,000 devices and 24 hour return on any game you provide us. Contact us to learn more.
Make sure your game is exciting
No one wants to come to a game full of run plays or games that have no touchdowns. People love trick plays, long bombs, and exciting one hand catches. What makes football great to watch today compared to 50 years ago is the many different exciting plays that top athletes are able to achieve.
Never forget that your game is about adding excitement and pleasure to a gamer. If there are issues in gameplay, you may need to change or even lose it to keep the entertainment going. Many great developers today share stories of loss gameplay and game mechanics due to lack of fun in the game.
Keep that idea of excitement in your mind whenever working on all aspects like art, music, level design, and mechanics. All great and exciting football teams have great uniforms, fight songs, and a characteristics about them everyone remembers. Use that in you game and you’ll find that not only are you making great IP, but it may also allow you more opportunities to make more exciting games.
Promote it everywhere
Though I live in China, the NFL has been promoting itself with their own online store, TV shows, and having games on Chinese TV. They know that to build an audience, they need to promote their product to sports fans everywhere.
As they have grown in popularity, amateur teams have been setup, games played in China and more opportunities for people to enjoy the sport.
The same goes with video games. We are fighting for people’s free time. There are many ways we in the industry do this. But as a mobile game developer, the ways of promotion were very small and few for many years. Today there are hundreds of different companies to help you advertise your game. TestBird has been working with many of them to help give you the most accurate statistics of who these people are and how they spend money on your game.
We are able to help you with our attribution tracking system. It can help mobile developers understand which advertising is working for you, which campaigns bring players who purchase items in your game, and spend your budget more effectively in finding quality players that want to play your game. Our job is to help you monetize your game more effectively through our service and ad networks. Contact us for more information.