Deciding on a Graphical Style

We would like our Olympus Hockey Game to be graphical distinct reflecting our unique style.  TF2 worked very hard to design their characters in a way that enhanced playability (character colors, actions, silhouettes were all visual distinct and reflected the purpose of the player).  How do we do that as a top down or isometric hockey game?

Isometric Rinks

Big Isometric Hockey Rink

(click for huge version)

 

Isometric-Ice-Rink

 

NHL94

NHL94-Platforms

NHL94-Hat-Trick

NHL94-Goal

 

TF2

TF2-Graphics-1

TF2-Graphics-2

 

Cell Shaded

Cell-Shaded-Isometric

 

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Review of Camera Perspectives

As we proceed through the development process we will have to balance the costs associated with various cameras vs what the end customer wants.  We can test core gameplay mechanics earlier in the process by using a simpler camera system.

 

Top Down Camera

Top-Down-GTAUsually reminds people of Smash TV or Gauntlet.  Using this camera mode in the tech demo phase is going to allow us to test if our game is fun before investing any money in artwork.  If we can make a tight, responsive hockey game top down, that fun should be easier to translate into a more sophisticated camera.

 

 

Static Camera

The very first version is going to have a static camera which will show the entire rink in one frame and the camera will not move.

 

Scrollable Camera

The second version is going to have a scrollable camera.  It will follow the play/player/puck up and down the ice.

 

Isometric Camera

Isometric-Age-Of-Kings

Very popular for RTS games.  Basically 2D graphics drawn to show multiple facets of an object to make it look three dimensional.

 

 

 

 

How Many Mobile Game Developers Are There?

How many mobile game developers are there right now that are hoping to create a successful game? According to FreelanceSwitch.com, mobile game development is extremely hot right now. With thousands of companies looking to create a popular iPhone app, your competition as a developer is pretty stiff. If you are determined to succeed with your app, there are some books that can help you to give consumers what they want. In Brian Fling’s book “Mobile Design and Development: Practical Concepts and Techniques for Creating Mobile Sites and Web Apps”, he lays out a no-nonsense guide to creating your game and budgeting for your development project. Read the article Books for Freelance Mobile Applications Developers to find out more about Brian Fling’s book and others.

Mobile Game Development Tips To Help You Succeed In The Chinese Market

As the Western app market becomes increasingly crowded and competitive, many developers are looking for some mobile game development tips to help them market games overseas. With the right marketing strategy, you can take advantage of the booming app market in China to increase your revenue. The first thing you need to know about China is that Android is the top player.

As Western app stores grow crowded and competition for users heats up, top mobile developers are searching for ways to increase their revenues, and many studios are looking to capitalize on booming mobile markets overseas, especially in China. Succeeding internationally, however, is not just a question of letting your game loose abroad and picking up a check. To be successful, games need to be designed with a foreign audience in mind: platform, publishing partners, and player preference all play a crucial role in determining whether a game will be a hit.

Tip 1: Build for Android

While iOS has outpaced Android in the western app market by key monetization and revenue metrics, in China the script is very much flipped. Android is estimated to hold close to 80 percent of revenue in the Chinese mobile gaming market, which is expected to be worth a total of nearly $1.2 billion in 2013. Due to the wide availability of low-cost Android devices, some reports indicate that Apple devices account for less than 10 percent of Chinese smartphones, but more importantly in China the Android platform offers a more frictionless payment process for users compared to iOS.

In the West, the iTunes music business prompted many users to associate their credit cards with Apple accounts years ago, making gaming purchases much easier today. In China, Apple was not able to enter the music business, and few consumers have credit cards in the first place. These factors make the iOS payment process tricky, while seamless payment on Android devices via carrier billing is much easier for Chinese consumers. Users have been accustomed to purchasing mobile content like ringtones, wallpapers, and virtual goods via SMS payment gateways from services including China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom for some time. With this precedent set, developers can more easily prompt Chinese consumers to purchase new level packs from Where’s My Water or coins for Fishing Joy through their phone carriers.

Furthermore, in games we publish at CocoaChina, Android provides a payment conversion rate that is 10 times higher across the board compared to iOS. It is true that the ARPPU (Average Revenue Per Paying User) can be greater from iOS users who, in general, have higher incomes. However, looking at the bigger picture, the Android platform offers 5 times the ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User) to iOS for the same game in China.

For developers looking to succeed overseas, Android compatibility is therefore essential. While mid-core and hardcore iOS games can also do very well in China, the Android market’s complete dominance makes it a far more lucrative proposition, especially for casual titles. Click this link to finish reading Pro Tips: Building your Game for the $1.2 Billion Mobile Apps Market in China.

With 80 percent of the gaming market, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you didn’t build your game for an Android. You’d also be wise to find the right Chinese partner in order to develop your game specifically for the market. Without changing the core fundamentals of your game, a partner could help you to tweak some areas in order to appeal to a Chinese consumer.

How To: Hockey App Control Scheme

After playing through all the hockey apps on iOS here are the ones that have the most similar control schemes to our Olympus Hockey Game.

Very basic movement, speed burst, and shooting:

ShootOutControls

NHL 2K11 Offense controls wrist shot, slap shot, speed burst:

NHLOffenseControls

NHL 2K11 Defense controls switch player, check, speed burst:

NHLDefenseControls

Promoting through precisely targeted Facebook Ads:

Facebook App Ad

How To: Monetize an HTML5 App

We are working on the Olympus Hockey Game, a top down 3 on 3 hockey app.  The HTML5 tech demo is done, I will share when it gets to the point where it is playable.

In order to monetize the app we will start by wrapping it with a program like Ludei.  This will allow us to monetize the app just like a native app.  I played through every hockey app on the Apple App Store tonight.  Here are some screenshots with some good and bad examples of in game monetization.

 

HockeyFights_Intro

Intro screen to a game (promotional app) created for HockeyFights.com

 

 

 

 

 

HockeyFights_StudioStudio that made the game for them.

 

 

 

 

 

HockeyFights_Menu

Their main menu, notice the prominent Ad in the upper left hand corner, probably a bad idea.

 

 

 

 

 

HockeyFights_UpgradeThe game uses a standard credit mechanism, you can choose to play the game to earn credits to upgrade your player or you can pay extra for credits at any time.

 

 

 

 

HockeyFights_CreditsHere is the purchase credit scene.  Players has the choice to purchase credits in different increments or to buy the “pro” game (no ads) for $1.  If you click the buy unlimited credits button it is the same as buying the “pro” version, doesn’t really make sense, since…

 

 

 

 

HockeyFights_ProPro version costs $1, and…

 

 

 

 

 

HockeyFights_Purchase

Buying credits alone is much more expensive.
 

 

 

HockeyFights_Gameplay

The actual gameplay has no obvious ads.  The billboards are used slightly, this seems like a good use.

 

 

 

 

 

HockeyFights_Replay

An ad and a sponsor reference on the instant replay screen, these both seem like good uses.  Link should be clickable.
 

 

 

HockeyFights_Social

Game over screen contains ads and social media links, format seems a little off, but it is the right idea.
 

 

 

Sauce_Intro

Jumping to a different app.  This app was created by/for Gongshow (hockey apparel), it is a simple slap shot game.
 

 

 

Sauce_Social

I think they did a really good job with their menu page.  Logo is prominent, picture is very suggestive what the game will be like.  Great use of social icons and a link to their homepage.

 

 

 

 

NHL_IntroOther apps make you watch video ads.

 

 

 

 

 

NHL_AdSome that are skip able…

 

 

 

 

 

WaitforAd

Some that are not …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olympus Hockey App Live Action Cutscenes

A couple of the programmers and animators we are going to be working with on this game, don’t live in countries with ice hockey.  So, I made these videos to explain to them some pretty basic concepts.

 

Explaining the game:

I’m pretty proud of the beard, right now I’m trying to channel Ryan Gosling (article in GQ), but I’m looking to go in a new direction, any help/advice would be appreciated.

 

Sory Mode Animated Introduction:

 

Bad Guy Animated Intro: