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JunichiTodo

Report: a study of social games from the first project I was involved.

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Hi everyone,

I'm a Japanese game developer. Lately, I was thinking about a mindset when you design a social game. Months ago I was suddenly assigned in such a project but my client hoped that the game would be the one that you have seen somewhere and I revolved around the dead line so there was no room to ponder what a social game is and people ask for it. Now I have some spare time to reconsider and want to share you with what I learned and found in the design term. I hope this helps you with something.

1. Analysis: the four key elements consisting of social games I referred.
1-1. Easy to play:
You can start the game in a moment and never need any manual but help messages.
1-2. Successive small quests for leading players to the game:
Each quest only require few minutes. If you forced them to play longer they will probably quit it. And these quests must provide for them without a pause if not they absolutely shut the tab on their browsers.
1-3 .Competition and corporation with friends:
Communication; no doubt, it is one of essential parts of it.
1-4. Sense of superiority for other players:
This part always stimulates to get an item to brag your situation to neighbors.

2. Definition: a social game is an ecosystem including a game element.
I noticed while developing a social game that my co-workers, who have been dedicated to develop console games, tend to focus the gameplay on which they are tackling and they have been skeptical of what they've made. 'Where it is exciting in this game?' often said a game designer in my team.
Ecosystem itself has no exciting element because it's just a mechanism, and a social game is not an amusement machine but an amusement park-- you don't enjoy it under constriction. Various people gather there for enjoying themselves. If you have such a point of view you can understand what you prepare to accommodate them.

3. Potentiality: you can expand the field of social games as your imagination.
When you design a social game you shouldn't refer other ones. On ordinary video games, copycatting is definitely the way to lead to success, yet that will fail your project in social game because the social gaming world is the one to take all or nothing like others on the net such as the Facebook. Never forget social games are something managed and contesting for ever. So you have to create your own original world, which is the most competitive. A new world is naturally accompanied with its own rule. If you ask yourself 'how do I distinguish between mine and others?' you will catch a mental trap. We've got to get back to ask what a social game and the nature of it is whenever.

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