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katej

Dogs' adoption game - feedback appreciated

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Hi friends!
 
I am new here, but it does not mean I do not want an honest opinion!
 
Recently I have been working on a mobile game that relates to the dogs' abuse and adoption issues. It is a time management game, where player runs a dog shelter. Through the game player learns how to treat and heal the dogs, experiences situations with mistreatment of the dogs and its consequences, faces many challenges associated with maintaining resources flow, manages volunteers to keep all dogs happy and healthy and of course seeks to adopt the dogs to the good and the most relevant people. Thanks to such lessons player becomes more aware of the issues associated with dogs’ adoption and abuse, as well as gets to know what the needs of real shelters are and how she/he can help them in real life.
 
To perform the tasks with the dogs, player needs to swipe the dog to the proper facility to make a use of it. In a form of windows appearing on the screen (pop-ups) or screen-sized menus, player decides what she/he wants to do with the dog – diagnose or heal. Once player heals all scars that the dog has (i.e. dehydration, flu, broken leg, etc.), she gets to know what the hidden talents of the dog are (i.e. kids friendly, intelligent, independent nature, etc.). While allowing for adoption, player needs to consider dogs’ talents and adopter characteristics to make sure that the dog will feel good with such person.
 
Game will be directly connected to the charities to help them raise funds and awareness. In the game player needs to perform certain tasks to be able to organize charity events in order to raise donations to keep the shelter running, as well as increase the awareness of local in-game community to progress in the game. While organizing such events, player chooses real charity from the given list, which she/he wants to support in the course of such event, as well as buy in-game currency to donate it to the charity. Through such in-game support, charities collects points that later are compared on a ranking list - the most supported charity in a week/month will be donated with revenue share gathered by the developer.
 
Charities that wants to be mentioned in the game can create a profile on game’s website and to be added, they need to share a post about the game on their social media profiles, which help the game become viral. In the game, charities are sorted by their popularity among players, but also can be filtered through their location (country and city). Game shows short description about the charity and directs to their created profile to learn more about their profession.
 
 
To summarize, game creates strong emotional attachment to the dogs and their stories, as well as through maintaining their basic needs like hunger, sociability, energy and overall mood. The micro and macro management in the game is well balanced to direct player’s focus on different issues and needs of the shelter and the dogs, as well as properly maintain the fun of the game and player’s retention.
 
 
I will be happy to hear your thoughts about the game, what is your opinion are the weak and strong sides.
 
Let me know if you have any questions, I will be happy to assist.
 
Thanks!
Kate

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The general gameplay you described sounds like it has potential and I think it fits your goal of creating awareness. Of course, the more experience that you and your team have meeting the challenges of programming a game and dealing with the business side of things, the greater the chances for being successful on your over all goal.

While reading your description my first impression was that the idea of playing a game where I'm facing incoming animals that have been mistreated makes me a little uncomfortable. And then I'm thinking well, maybe that's the point with taking on a cause like this. While I do think the game has potential, if I have that uneasy feeling at the description I wonder to what degree would that be an issue with other people. Given a vast number of games out there to choose from, it doesn't take much for a person to dismiss a title.

Another thing I was wondering about was how would the game progress? Is there a final level of achievement or something to aim for?

I also don't know about the whole component working with charities. It makes perfect sense to provide an easy method for providing donations but I wonder about what sort of business or legal issues there might be bringing a real life charity into a game. And managing relationships with multiple charities might involve more work than you're expecting.
 

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What is the goal of the design/development of this game ?

aka, is it money from sales, or is the goal to make players aware of how hard a dog's life can be ?

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I think time management is not the best core mechanic for this one. It's hard to "create strong emotional attachment to the dogs and their stories" if you are under the time pressure and treat the dogs as yet another commodity, especially since you will be constantly making a decision which dog is to be treated and which one sacrifaced due to time contraint.

 

I would also remove the charities part, it's too complex and disconnected from the rest of the game.

 

"Charities that wants to be mentioned in the game can create a profile on game’s website and to be added, they need to share a post about the game on their social media profiles, which help the game become viral." - That part won't work :)

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As I read your post, my mind began to internally bullet point every feature...strange.

 

Anyway, I think it's a good idea and you should jump straight into it. I like the premise. The gameplay you mention indicates an entertaining experience as well. If you are able to, I recommend that you post updates or further questions as you continue to develop here on GameDev for more feedback on your progress.

 

Regarding the charity bit. It seems a little complicated. What I would do is offer in-app purchases for various items (like many mobile apps). After the player taps an item that he or she wants to buy in your virtual shop, display the usual confirmation "Buy X item for X amount of money?"--but on that screen, you can include a text bit to the effect of "X percentage of all revenue will be donated to X charities." Also, when you post the app on the app store, you can disclose that information in the description. Just a suggestion. I'm not a mobile app developer, so you should take it as a grain of salt. wink.png

 

Oh. And welcome to the forum!

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Hmm... In the healing stage, is healing the dog just a matter of swiping it to the appropriate set of hot-spots? How does one decide which hot-spots are appropriate (in particular, is it clear and unambiguous, or does it call for judgement calls on the part of the player)? Are there any trade-offs to be made--perhaps healing methods that heal one "wound", but prevent full healing of another?

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