BitCake Studio @ GameFounders – Week 1!

Posted by | 18/04/2014 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Hey People! Ok so we’re in the middle of April right now but we’ll give a retrospective of our GameFounders experience week-by-week until we arrive on where we are right now! 😀

Week 1

Ok, so the rest of Week 1 was CRAZY! After we wrote that First Post we had 2 very awesome, crazy and exhaustive days with mentors!Some of them are the best mentors we’ve had since the program started!

Here we were, 5 Brazilians with this crazy Multiplayer Game showing it to some of the guys from Tencent, Hidden Path and other crazy big companies on the FIRST WEEK! It was mind numbing, and exploded our heads so many times with knowledge that we didn’t know what to do next!

By the time week 1 ended we had changed our WHOLE development plan 2 times.

Tutorial!

Week 1 had some great feedback on our Tutorial, we realized our Tutorial wasn’t as good as it could be, we had some metrics in place to check it but they sucked. Our funnel looked like this (no picture because it doesn’t exist anymore, sorry):

  • Player Started Tutorial: 100%
  • Player finished Tutorial: 50%

WTF Right? We didn’t track all the steps, out of this metric is only possible to identify you have a problem but you can’t point out where exactly it is coming from! So we figured we needed to work on our Tutorial, but not only that, we needed to work on our whole New User Experience for Project Tilt.

Retention – a driver of success

We also had a very, very good talk with Mark Terrano from Hidden Path. He talked to us about game feel and how we could improve our gameplay by adding stuff like Camera Shakes, he also gave us some tips on lean development. Having worked with Valve, he shared some insights that the Steam company has on how to develop games.

First of all, go watch In-Game Economies in Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 here

One key thing you always have to have in mind: Retention. That’s a recurrent theme in all of Valve’s talks, retention drives not only a games success but also its financial success.  Its easy to hear someone saying it, other is REALLY understanding how important retention is as a driver and how to measure and improve upon it. Mark helped us a bit, but we’re still working on this (and will be for some time). In the future I expect doing a post on this topic, so stay tuned 🙂

Our Retention problem

So Project Tilt had a pretty big problem with retention, our numbers were bad (we measured it using www.gameanalytics.com) and we needed tips on how to deal with this.

Continuing with the mentors, when we told them about our retention problem we couldn’t really say what was happening. We clearly needed to do some deep digging and discover the reason behind why players weren’t coming back to play Tilt! What we figured out (through metrics and pure observation of player behaviour) was the classic multiplayer problem. A quick tip: if you are doing a Multiplayer only game you WILL go through this unless you have a publisher or someone to market your game or do User Acquisition – even Awesomenauts had this problem.

  1. User finishes the tutorial, logs in the game and there’s no one to play with
  2. User finishes the tutorial, logs in the game and there’s Hebertpro (level 500) and BossofallBosses (level 300) killing all the noobs

This is classic. You can’t do matchmaking and separate Hebertpro from the New Player because you don’t have enough players to fill those 2 rooms that will be created, but if you don’t do matchmaking you’ll keep loosing those players that repeatedly dies to Top Players – classic dilemma.

Solutions? Well, mentors gave us plenty! I bet you thought of some already: Add A.I. bots? Check. Add Single Player? Check. Add Time Trial? Check. Do matchmaking? Check.

Do Bots? We could… It would delay new features and many additions to the game for a month or two… Single Player? That could be potentially simple, would it fall in line with or vision for what Project Tilt is? Probably not. The solution will come on a future posts (because by that time we didn’t know enough about GameFounders, what the program would have and we only had gotten through 2 Mentoring days).

How is your Monetization?

Monetization was also a hot topic on our discussions.

How do we monetize the game? That’s a question that has been popping up every time we speak with a mentor (even now)… “We don’t”, that’s our answer. “We have a prototype store in place that we were using to gauge players interest in buying customization stuff to show off, but no one buys anything anymore”. That’s the only thing we could say at that time, we had a small plan and a vision for what our monetization would be, but we had more urgent matters to address.

Facebook? Don’t stay there.

Oh, and Facebook? Our friends at Aquiris had warned us about how Facebook is not very good for monetization. Don’t ever say your game is only on Facebook. The platform is on a rapid decline by now, no one plays there (even worse for our target audience), its hard to monetize and you can potentially scare investors by saying that. We needed to work on this and Greenlight was our first step.

End of Week 1

So we ended Week 1 like this:

  • Our Tutorial was terrible, the metrics and the way we measured it was horrible
  • Retention is something that we need to tackle, and fast
  • Monetization is a huge interest for every mentor and we needed to know how to talk about this
  • Facebook sucks
  • Social Media!

One thing we did as soon as we got there was starting our Social Media campaign.

Since we got to GameFounders, there hasn’t been a day without a post on Project Tilt’s Page. This has almost single-handedly made our retention WAY better 🙂 (more on a post later)   So that’s how Week 1 ended! We were screwed! We didn’t have a clear focus, yet we had many things to do! Our heads were spinning and we couldn’t think straight, the dust had just been thrown on our face and we needed to wait for it to settle.

Week 2? It was awesome tho….