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Overview of the Casual Games Space with a focus on the needs of developers.

Overview of the Casual Games Space with a focus on the needs of developers.

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Overview of the Casual Games Space with a focus on the needs of developers.

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  1. Overview of the Casual Games Space with a focus on the needs of developers. Ivan TkachenkoVice President of Production Nikitova Games / Kenjitsu

  2. Nikitova: Outsourcing • 6 years of experience • 5 offices • Chicago, LA, Kiev, St Petersburg, Dnepropetrovsk • 3 dev teams • Kiev, Ukraine; St Petersburg, Russia; Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine • 250+ employees

  3. Nikitova: Casual Games Projects • Wild Tangent • Fire Fly • Polar Golfer • Polar Bowler • Shrek 2 Ogre Bowler • Big Fish • Mystery Case Files • Anarchy Enterprises • NDA Project • …

  4. Nikitova: Casual Games Development Service • Full game development • Development of Game Design Document • Art creation • Characters • Levels • Special Effects • Programming • C++ • Java • Flash, Director • Porting to alternate platforms

  5. Developer's Goals • Make hits (top 10) • Own popular IP • Increase revenue • No excess in value chain

  6. Scope of work: What developer needs to reach his goals • Management • Sales & Marketing • Production • Infrastructure and artefacts • Postproduction

  7. Management • Project management • QA Manager • Lawyer

  8. Budget Typically produced for approximately $50,000 to $200,000 USD Small Team Roles overlapping 1 person plays a number of roles Number of projects go simultaneously Planning / Tracking Meetings Coordination Communications Reporting to stakeholders Conventions Project management

  9. QA Manager • Test Plan • Looking for bugs • Compatibility testing • User Surveys • Usability testing • Focus Groups • Play balancing • Linguistic and Functionality Testing

  10. Sales & Marketing • Research • Pitch • Negotiations

  11. Research • What is your Target Audience? • Who are your publishers? • Game mechanics • Setting • Art Style

  12. Pitch • Look and feel • Prototype? • More pictures • Key Selling features • Short description instead of GDD

  13. Negotiations • IP holder • Type of contract • Publisher • Self-publishing • Work-for-Hire • Funding • Share Risks • Give up rights

  14. Production • Stages • Team involvement • Technologies • Processes

  15. Stages • Concept • Prototype • Alpha • Test • Beta • Test • Gold

  16. Team involvement • Art • Programming • Game design • Management & QA • Sound

  17. Art • 20-45% of budget • Art Director • Style • Light • Color • FX • Outsource • Sketches

  18. Programming • 20-25% of budget • Lead programmer • Architecture • Flexibility • Handles • Tools • Outsource • Prototype - No re-using • GDD • TDD

  19. Game design • 20-25% game design / narrative / script • Idea • Producer • Game Designer • Game mechanics • Key Design elements • Outsource

  20. Idea • Reference analysis • Thinking Organization • Number of people • Brain storm • MindMaps • More Ideas - wider choice • Test you choice

  21. Producer • Is it fun enough? • Creative opposition to PM • Marketing support

  22. Game Designer • GDD • Levels • Balancing • Explaining features on production stage

  23. Game mechanics • Matching Games • Chain Popper • Find Subsets • Shape Manipulation • System Management • Breakout Variants • Casual Sports Games • Card & Parlor Games • Other Arcade Variants

  24. Key Design elements • Simple and Meaningful Play with Transparent Rules • User Interaction • Depth & Complexity • Rewarding Players • Showing Progress • Forgiving Game Play • No stress • Visuals and Themes • Narrative and Characters • Using Sound and Interactive Audio to Enhance Gameplay

  25. Outsource • GDD • First phase of outsourcing full title

  26. Management & QA • 15-20% of budget • Project Manager • QA team

  27. Sound • 1-10% of budget • Outsource • Sounds list • Music list • References list • Playable demo with Handles

  28. Technologies • Engines an Framework • Director • Flash • Torque • HGE • Popcap Framework • Web + PC + Mac • Network • Community based and multiplayer casual games.

  29. Processes • Small Team • Small Budget • Agile method

  30. Infrastructure and artifacts • CVS • Feature & defect tracker • Art asset management • Project Plan

  31. CVS • Documentation • GDD • TDD • WIKI • Code • Graphics • Variants • CVS • AlienBrain • Perforce

  32. Feature & defect tracker • Test Track • Bugzilla • OnTime

  33. Art asset management • AlienBrain • Perforce • Art Tracking Tools

  34. Project Plan • Microsoft Project • Tracker

  35. Postproduction • Porting to alternate platforms • Localization • Support

  36. Porting to alternate platforms • Open own division • Outsource to porting house

  37. Open own division • Long term • Experience • Risky

  38. Outsource to porting house • Short term • Nikitova Mobile

  39. Nikitova Mobile • Nikitova Mobowise • Service • Product

  40. Localization • Plan at preproduction phase • German, Japanise