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Game design focused on Free to Play type game?


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#1 hardcoreDEV   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:52 AM

Hi.

 

I want to know superb and proven technique about free 2 play type game. 

 

Of course I have been played many of them and know how they design paid items and etc, but copying them is not enough for theory. 

 

So I want to investigate and research seriously before deeply make my game's design document. 

 

So eventual purpose of this strategy and research is to know,

 

[how to earn maximum money by F2P type game?]

=

[how to make user eager to buy paid item continuously? how to make them fanatic?]

 

 

Any useful comments or information site, articles? 

 

Thanks.


Edited by hardcoreDEV, 23 October 2013 - 02:53 AM.

www.perfectionofwisdom.com 

 


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#2 Deadghost GreenGrass   Members   -  Reputation: 146

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:07 AM

1: Never force the player to buy something just so they can keep up with the competition, everything in the game that changes gameplay, the player should be able to get by just playing the game and not spening a singel cent on it. You want to make the player want to buy something not force them.

2: You can use commercial ingame to make money instead of ingame purchases. I can't recall I have seen this in any game that is not a mobile game so I really can't say that it will work.

3: To make people "fanatic" you need them to be coming back every singel day to play the game. Here the balance in the game comes in. You do not want to make a chess like game with perfect balance because then you won't need to balance the game. Why do you want to make balance changes all the time? Because that require patches, people love patches and people love when a game changes the meta, because then they can discover the new strategy that work for that patch first. Extra Credits talks about this in one of their videos, worth a look. http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/perfect-imbalance

Cheers!



#3 ShiftyCake   Members   -  Reputation: 482

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:02 AM

As we should all know, a huge successor of this type of free-to-play is League of Legends, created by Riot. Their only in-game purchases you are forced to spend money on is skins, which only change the aesthetics of the game. However, because I appreciate all the work and effort that is being put in this game; I spend plenty of my money on skins to keep their money going.

 

In effect, it's not about what you're giving your audience in terms of bought items; but rather putting them in a position where they WANT to support you. There are various ways to do this but, in reality, the simplest one is to put the player first.


Edited by ShiftyCake, 23 October 2013 - 04:02 AM.

If, at any point, what I post is hard to understand, tell me. I am bad at projecting my thoughts into real words, so I appreciate the knowledge that I need to edit my post.

 

I am not a professional writer, nor a professional game designer. Please, understand that everything you read is simply an opinion of mind and should not, at any point in time, be taken as a credible answer unless validated by others.

 

I do take brief bouts of disappearance so don't worry if I either don't reply to you or miss certain things. I am quite a lazy fellow.


#4 AlanSmithee   Members   -  Reputation: 958

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:09 AM

As ShiftyCake points out, vanity items is a very good way to make revenue in a F2P game.

Selling items that directly effects a players ability in the gameworld is risky to say the least.

A reason why many people are wary of F2P games are because of the unbalance these purchasable items causes.

Some of these F2P games are even refferred to as a P2W (or Pay to Win) games.

 

I must say that I dislike the way you are talking about your potential players.

 

 

how to make user eager to buy paid item continuously? how to make them fanatic?

If your aim is to make "users" fanatic in order for you to make money, I suggest not making a game at all.


Edited by AlanSmithee, 23 October 2013 - 05:11 AM.


#5 hardcoreDEV   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:40 AM

you know,,, with no money, no devs, means poor quality, or break down of team or company. 


www.perfectionofwisdom.com 

 


#6 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:57 AM

you know,,, with no money, no devs, means poor quality, or break down of team or company.


I'm not sure I follow. Care to explain further so I can maybe help you with this?

#7 Deadghost GreenGrass   Members   -  Reputation: 146

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:21 AM

You never enter the gaming development world with eyes on getting rich, you mkae games because you love it. If you can make a living on it, good for you! But you have to put that as a secondary "objective". Yes, making games cost money, alot of it, it's a sacrfice we do as developers.

If you are only after the cash, enter a business school and educate yourself to something fancy and join EA Games as a Production Manager, they don't know shit about games but they make alot of money :P



#8 hardcoreDEV   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:26 AM

You never enter the gaming development world with eyes on getting rich, you mkae games because you love it. If you can make a living on it, good for you! But you have to put that as a secondary "objective". Yes, making games cost money, alot of it, it's a sacrfice we do as developers.

If you are only after the cash, enter a business school and educate yourself to something fancy and join EA Games as a Production Manager, they don't know shit about games but they make alot of money tongue.png

 

even if I do that, I just earn salary. and not my game, not my team. 

 

Its not truly my thing. 

 

At there, I don't have my own users, my real comrades. 

 

Its just all for EA's owner. 

 

I don't want to serve as slave to someone else for just a small shit salary. 


www.perfectionofwisdom.com 

 


#9 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1103

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:31 AM

The idea is to create something ahead of time on your own. It's really hard to get team members. If you make something substantial, you can start a Kickstarter - just make sure to get your friends and family involved as well, don't just rely on strangers for money, because that can sometimes fall through. With the money, you can improve the art and hire a composer. You might want to focus on a small, polished game, because large games are a pain and can really drain money you don't have.

As an example, this game cost me 100 hours of my own time, with 60 of those 100 hours just me lollygagging, and at least $80: http://games.softpedia.com/get/Freeware-Games/Block-Critter.shtml - the Postmortem story wasn't very successful, but at least I learned from it.

#10 rpiller   Members   -  Reputation: 655

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:56 AM

 

 

 Extra Credits talks about this in one of their videos, worth a look. http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/perfect-imbalance

 

 

This is an interesting video. What I really got out of it was that you want an evolving more complex rock paper scissors game even though players always seem to complain about rock paper scissors games.



#11 cardinal   Members   -  Reputation: 798

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:59 AM

To make any real money in free to play, that is to say more than a "shit salary" as you put it, you need critical mass of players engaging with your game and having a high retention rate with your game.

 

I am by no means an expert on F2P, as I work for a AAA developer, but there seem to be two successful models.

 

1) Pay to win in a non-competitive game. Pay to win allows people desiring to spend the money to do so to progress faster. Faster progression in a competitive game gives no incentive to people who don't want to spend to win so in general you will lose these players and you won't have a critical mass to support your paying customers, which results in your game being abandoned. In non-competitive games this doesn't necessarily disincentivize non-paying customers, as they can still progress naturally at a more deliberate rate. This type of game tends to be supported by people called "Whales" (it's a gambling term for big spenders). Where a small percentage of the population supports the game financially.

 

2) Pay for aesthetic/customization. Another model doesn't stall progress at all, but rather users can pay to make their characters look unique. Special skins, cool effects, items to decorate your house, etc. This type of game doesn't turn off non-paying users as much, and can turn non-paying users into paying users more easily. Some ideas for increased monitization could be to have limited time/quantity items for sale, which might convince people to spend money if something cool is a limited edition skin. You could also have a resell option and take a cut off of the sale of those items.

 

In the end, neither of these models will work if you don't have a game that will both attract and retain a critical mass of players for an extended period of time. This comes down generally to having a great game that is continuously fun to play, and a LOT of marketing spend. At the end of the day, research other successful F2P games out there and choose the model that appeals most to you.



#12 hardcoreDEV   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:49 AM

I know how it hard to make game that is both attract and retain a critical mass of players. 

 

So first there need investor, then dev team. 

 

So the cost of game dev can kill easily most of challengers who can't make this structure. 


www.perfectionofwisdom.com 

 


#13 emcconnell   Members   -  Reputation: 804

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:26 AM

I've worked only in mobile f2p since joining the game industry. Here are a few tips:

 

1) Limit players daily gameplay through artificial means (stamina, energy, etc)

   a) If a player wants to play more a day, they pay more

2) Have monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly events

   a) You want players to develop appointment style gameplay where the game becomes a habbit and they check the game multiple times a day

3) Use exponential curves for difficulty

4) When it comes to items/monsters/classes, never let the player buy what they want, let them buy a chance at getting what they want (i.e. gotcha in puzzle and dragons)

5) At minimal, have some social mechanic

6) Make sure everything is data driven

    a) Track the metrics for everything

7) You will lose 50-90% of players within the first 2 minutes, so make sure your NUF (new user flow) is amazing

8) Your art (style and theme) and game icon will be a large component of drawing in players, much more than interesting gameplay

9) If they game doesn't work, drop it and start a new one. The games as a service phenomenon means don't try and find the silver bullet, build a new gun

10) Correct economy sinks are CRUCIAL, if your game takes off you don't want to have numbers growing to an unmanagable size

 

Hope this helps



#14 emcconnell   Members   -  Reputation: 804

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:44 AM

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/200157/Freetoplay_tips_from_Triple_Towns_studio_head.php



#15 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6332

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:51 AM

Here's a bit of advice from my 4 years developing F2P games:

 

1) Don't scam your players. Do the introspection; how do you feel when the game is trying to rip you off?

Understand that your game may be funded by only 10% of the players, and 90% of them will play solely for free (its quite possible, even perhaps, desirable!).

If the players that are playing for free have a great time, they'll contribute by spreading the word, and getting you valuable players from the 10% you need to stay afloat.

 

2) Provide meaningful, but not game-breaking advantages to paying players:

Though customization items only represent roughly 2-4% of the entire purchases in F2P games, they can be considered valuable in that they don't affect the game balance. If the game is MMO, it gives the paying players bragging rights to look "involved" in the game.

If these customization items are also available to free players, albeit through grinding, it could help establish a social order within your game. Some games have managed to finance themselves solely on this model.

 

3) "Side-Grades"

As per the above, you can't include balance-breaking items for paying players, but you can give them versatility.

The Planetside 2 model is especially great here as each gun is more or less the same (they are fairly balanced) but players will feel more comfortable playing with guns with faster/slower rates of fire, better/worse accuracy and damage, etc. Let them choose their playstyle, but attach a price to it. Make them understand they can kill everyone with the basic gear, but that choosing their favorite gun will allow them to match THEIR playstyle.

If you game allows specialist-type guns by default (say, sniper, shotgun and smg), make sure you put a versatile gun for sale (auto-rifle).

 

4) Launch and watch

It's possible that your model will be flawed day one (technically, all game's model is flawed upon release). See what people ask form, consider it, and apply as needed.

If players ask for a feature in sufficient numbers and there's a way to make it balanced, do it and sell it, it will sell. Though its often true that players don't know what they want until they see it, once they've seen enough of your game, they can have very insightful feedbacks to provide. YOUR game becomes THEIR game upon launch.

This is critical.

 

5) Audience

I'm part of the school of people that believe you're not trying to create fanatics, but rather, want to convert fanatic players to your game. The best way to do so is make it appealing to them.

Define the playerbase you're trying to get to, see what they like.

If you're making a City-building game with elements of combat, make an Evony account. Log into that game. Join a guild. Play for 6 weeks.

Notice who spends money, and what they do it for. Look at the chat what their reasoning is for spending this amount of money.

Learn and watch.

Once you feel confident you understand these players, build your game with these people in mind. Remember what matters to them, and choose accordingly.

 

You can't build a successful F2P game without having an intricate (psychological) understanding of your "whales" (expression that defines roughly a user group that is a minority in your game, yet constitutes the majority of your sales).

When you consider item #4 above, remember that your whales carry more weight. If a decision would not be unanimous, check whether the whales will be happy about it, and choose accordingly. While it's important to keep the free players happy, your whales are more important.

 

For anything more specific, you'd need to show us a concept of what you're trying to achieve.



#16 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1289

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:04 PM

One thing to consider is, making your game cheaply, hence you won't need to spend a lot to keep the game running.

 

For example, a game i play used to only use images, not moving visuals, and added the option for players to download an imagepack and directly load images from there instead of from the server, which was faster for the players and decreased server-usage.
(this is an example, server-cost are getting lower and lower, and thus the game i talked about is allowing high-res images to be taken from the server during play nowadays)



#17 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6332

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:39 PM

Indeed, if there's one thing you want to optimize is server usage. This is the single reccurring expense you want to cut on, so using as little server power as you possibly can is key to making a profitable F2P game.



#18 ActiveUnique   Members   -  Reputation: 770

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:11 PM

I am sure you know most free games are only seen for a few minutes a day by the masses, where they'll usually collect or spend their daily stuff. Make sure there is randomization or it will not be entertaining to revisit each day.


Mr. obvious was too ironic - ActiveUnique


#19 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4580

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 03:13 PM

2: You can use commercial ingame to make money instead of ingame purchases. I can't recall I have seen this in any game that is not a mobile game so I really can't say that it will work.

Gaia Online and Neopets have both used sponsored product placement as part of their money-earning strategy.


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me.

#20 hardcoreDEV   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:08 PM

Thanks to useful tips.

 

I want to target middle-hardcore gamers but easy to start game for casual users, which is defense+rpg+skill selection and combination like Diablo3 style for Android/iOS.


Edited by hardcoreDEV, 23 October 2013 - 05:08 PM.

www.perfectionofwisdom.com 

 





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