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Sanity check: any flaws with my envisaged project plan?

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Dear all -

 

We're a small start-up working on our first F2P social game for iOS devices. Because it's our first time doing something like this, we're kind of learning as we go along, meaning that we have no one on the team with end-to-end direct experience of take a product from concept to launch. We're stronger on the business side of things, but I'd say there's a risk of a disconnect between the instructions we pass to our developer and our own end-state vision (correction: there's always a risk of a disconnect, but it's particularly big here).

 

Following the old saying that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king I've spent time researching the typical process for developing and launching an F2P game. I think I've got a good handle on things by now, but I'd welcome any criticism / omissions of the workflow I've outlined below, which envisages the steps we're going to take to bring the project to completion:

 

1. Create 2D assets (done)
2. Establish game systems and logic on the business level (done)
3. Identify data to be stored in the cloud and on the device (animations and sounds) and in the cloud via a BaaS soltion (character level and XP, IPA history, etc)
4. Define metrics for analytics purposes
5. Instruct the programmer to develop the code for the game, with "hooks" into the BaaS
6. Create a working prototype and iterate on it until it is feature-complete
7. Commence QA and QC
8. Soft-launch the game in a single market
9. Monitor analytics for revenue optimization purposes based on soft-launch data
10. Introduce adjustments as necessary
11. Global launch backed by marketing muscle
 
Our end-state vision is to have a game that's monetized through IAPs and driven largely by analytics. Our marketing campaign is being developed in parallel with all of the above.
 
Some additional questions related to backend-as-a-service solutions, which seem to be key to any social game these days:
 
  • As progression will occur through largely modular content, we want users to download these content chunks (e.g., a new map) one at a time, rather than downloading all of them in a single go. Is this something that a BaaS solution can handle? Is there a BaaS solution you can recommend (I was looking at GameSparks as they seem to offer everything?)
  • What is the relationship between the Apple Store and BaaS-powered IAPs? I always thought that IAPs are just something you buy from the Apple Store, but I see that a lot of BaaS solutions seem to offer customization of pricing and labeling of IAPs. In such scenarios, where does Apple Store end and BaaS begin?
  • In your experience, does a programmer need any special skills to work with BaaS solutions, or is it equivalent in complexity to integrating, say, AdWords into your website - you just need to copy and paste the code, so you should be fine if you know enough about HMTL/CSS to figure out where the code goes?
  • We want integration with Facebook, but it's our understanding that Facebook offers it's own BaaS. Is it better to go with Facebook's own BaaS or use a BaaS that offers Facebook integration?

There are a lot of questions on BaaS above, largely because we feel that it's the only thing we haven't quite visualized in terms of how it works. Or, to put it another way, I can understand and envisage the logic of storing game data on an iOS device that sort of stays there. I have enough rudimentary programming knowledge to understand the concept of variables and how they're retrieved in the course of code execution. Am I correct in that BaaS is basically that, but done in the cloud?

 

Thanks a lot in advance for your thoughts and expertise!

 

George

 

 

 

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