One Button Design

Been playing a few ketchapp apps today to check out what kind of techniques they use to make their games well suited to both the mobile platform and the app supported model.

Ad-supported model: The game lengths are usually very short, with the vast majority of “lives” taking less than a minute. It seems like having an avatar on screen is helpful for intuitively communicating the game loop mechanic. Restart button is featured prominently.

The ways that this design is influenced by monetization reminds me of coin-op arcade games. Simple to pickup and play punishingly unfair. Crucially though the player is given some small taste of success so they can see how they could have done better. (Only negative feedback is the one moment of game over)

In terms of the mobile platform, many of these games hinge on one button control schemes (either tapping or holding or both). It’s an extreme way to circumvent the imprecise input on a touchscreen device, and is pretty restrictive design-wise. On the other hand, one thing these games also have in spades is elegance, which I value highly. 🙂

Thoughts on Ads

I decided to put ads in stock shock!
On the one hand, the traditional paid games model is attractive because the deal with the customer is extremely clear. Once they have purchased the app, the developer has no other considerations other than designing a compelling experience (hard enough by itself).

On the other hand, on a platform that tends towards bite-sized experiences like mobile, it can be hard for a potential player to justify spending money on something that they may only play once or twice, especially when there are a ton of free alternatives available. On a platform with intense device diversity like Android, it can also be hard for them to know for sure whether the game will even RUN before handing over their cash.

Cons for ads
-Can be distracting/invasive
-Can cheapen the feel of the experience

Pros for ads
-Allows players to try with no risk
-Can extend with ad disabling in-app-purchase to get best of both worlds
-Less impact on game design than free-to-play model

Later posts will probably go into my experience with the app providers I’m using, further details about F2P vs Ads, and the different types of ads that can be used.

Design Musings about “Stock Shock”

1) Probably should have been obvious from the beginning but people don’t read when they are in a time sensitive situation, so the stock ticker probably can’t provide more than flavor

2) ”Juicy” effects like tweens and screen shaker DO go a long way to making your game enjoyable to play

3) Color certainly makes things visually exciting, but changing a background color can make it difficult to design a UI that works with all possible backgrounds

4) The timer bar communicated effectively as a game over timer, esp with the countdown and screen shake. Most players understood that activity replenished it as well. Don’t think most people understood the transaction cost

5) Big wins are the exciting part of a game like this, nickel and diming your way to success isn’t that fun

6) The best moment stock shock creates is when you buy a lot for $1 and sell for much more. Did a good job of having the achievement text tweens and additional SFX tied to this moment

7) @codemedicine on twitter suggested that it might be better to have the stocks auto scroll. The difficulty here comes from selling. Maybe the ownership buttons are the sell buttons, and the stock window has one big buy button. (see terrible mockup) might be a problem where you just don’t have any good moves most of the time/less frantic

8) Even this fairly simple design might have too many rules for its frantic nature, as it seems to tend towards a bite sized-mobile experience. The title card was good at communicating what was needed, but some nuance was lost in translation. (i.e cost per transaction).

Stock Shock – Android Apps on Google Play

Stock Shock – Android Apps on Google Play

Crazy/insane/nutso week this week. Got 500+ plays on CubeMaze, released Stock Shock on the android store, and now started this blog! 

It feels like this making games stuff is what I need to be doing right now. I hope you follow along with me so I can share some of my excitement!!