Targeted rake collection and analysis in the development of games for social networks

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This article is actually a continuation of the first , which clearly explains how to screw up before reaching the publishers. The current one is a little more serious and is designed to ensure that you have a minimal understanding of the development process.

Taking myself and my friends together, I took another leap of faith - and developed another game for social networks based on previous experience. At the moment, the project is frozen for an indefinite period, after which I caught my breath and am happy to tell you what else I learned. If you are developing or want to develop computer games (in particular - social or mobile) in today's conditions - here you are. And do not lie that you do not want! We all went to study as programmers for this.

As it turned out, a lot to learn and learn. I really hope that my rake will help someone in the future.

Milestones are vital.

And the point here is not self-reporting, but goal-setting and prioritization. Let's just say the last three and a half months I live, knowing that three hundred bugs were found in the game. If I were a programmer with eyes burning, I would rush to correct them, no matter what. And, I feel that I have come to the same thing as with my past project, described in the article above.

It is impossible to simultaneously promote the game, think over further plans, search for game designers, collect statistics and write offers to publishers. At any given time, you are doing one thing. Milestone “Issue first playable to the first” says that the player should not have problems with loading, that payment should work, that the basic mechanisms will be implemented. At the same time, the player will not get a full story, his experience will be fragmented, they will forget about promotion. And that leads us to the next point.

Priorities are more important than ideal

Resources are limited, stop scolding yourself and your work for imperfection. There is a very implicit trap of perfectionism related to the fact that people always do something better than something else. In the previous draft, when a question arose that required a solution, and which I did not understand, I allowed myself to say, “Hey, okay, somehow it will resolve itself! Let's fix all the bugs better, and better introduce another functionality! ” Time passed, bugs were fixed, chips were screwed on, the issue was not resolved. At the same time, I felt some anxiety, but I was not able to formulate any claim to myself. Indeed, the thing is being done, what other problems could there be?

I hear an objection from the second row: do what you like! I agree, that's fine. But to do what you do not like, you need in two cases:

- When we have not yet figured out the issue, we simply do not know how to get pleasure from this matter.
- When no one else will solve this issue. If you are an independent game developer, you are in this situation. But there is a life hack! Look for those people who want to do just that. This is also a solution to the issue, and not suppressing it through another work.

Do not write to

Sooner or later you find a company with which you want to establish mutually beneficial relationships. In my case, these were the publishers. First, of course, it is useful to find out what the company is doing and on what conditions it is ready to cooperate. Based on this, you formulate your proposal in a letter - and send it by mail indicated in the "contacts". The answer does not come. Call in a day to clarify whether they even received your letter. No, they didn’t.

And here it turns out that writing on faceless open mails is pointless. A letter with statistics, a business plan, market analysis and all-all is forever lost in spam.

What to do? Send the same offers to specific people, and, importantly, by warning them about it. By people I mean those with whom you will continue to communicate - with the head of the department for working with partners, with producers, with directors.
The easiest way to do this is to write to people on Facebook. Social networks are a working tool, and do not neglect them. True, they may simply ignore you, but to prevent this from happening, I have highlighted the following point.

Communication is cool. To ask for help / advice - also

Usually, when talking about connections, the following images pop up in my memory:
- Aunt Zina, a dentist from the USSR who worked all her life in a district clinic, is not very professional, but she treated someone a couple of times, therefore has CONNECTIONS
- Some semi-criminal pictures, imposed by the media and TV shows from the nineties, when someone is roofing someone
- A typical case of blat, when someone gets a job / institute through relatives and acquaintances.

Therefore, I understand people who seem connected by something immoral and dirty. But in this article, we are talking about other connections - contacts that a person has gained during his life, both business and personal.

Elementary, at work you communicate with people with whom you share a passion for a common cause. And of course, you will never guess what kind of person fate can bring you into after hours - keeping your eyes and ears open is very useful.

Inspired by my failure, I wrote my first article on Habré and promised to adhere to the rules that I formulated in it. Not to keep the project a secret, to communicate with friendly former colleagues is really very useful and productive. It is they who can give the contacts of the right people, whom you can always write “Hello, Igor advised you ...”

Coworking helps

Dismissal from hired work usually has a very specific plus “All the time now is mine!” Time goes on, work is being done from home, and then the next problem pops up - you literally live at work. And I would like to go home after a twelve-hour working day, but nowhere.
In this case, places where you can work without bothering yourself with the organization of the office: cafes and coworking are quite natural. Ordinary cafes were discarded as absolutely unproductive: the feeling that you are here on bird’s rights with a laptop and you can’t get your head into work - destroys any undertakings. Constantly chewing something to justify being in a cafe is a direct path to obesity.

I tried several time cafes, the atmosphere is perfect for any creative acts, but not for the planned implementation of the intended (which is more in game development).

But coworking is exactly what you need. People work there alone or in small teams - and literally feel that they are paying for the opportunity to work there. This additionally motivates not to be distracted by trifles, concentrate on fulfilling the weekly plan and suppress procrastination until it appears. For myself, I chose a daily payment - this allows me to plan my time more flexibly.

By the way, it was the atmosphere of coworking that led to the following error. Fortunately, it turned out to be pretty easy to recognize.

Game development is not a startup!
What is usually meant by a startup? Some innovative solution to the problem that will bring money over time.


Games do not solve problems. Games are not innovative. Games do not scale. If your decision is innovative and scalable, then this is something else and you can skip the paragraph.

This issue was worth studying at least in order to understand why venture investors - the second facet of startups - are not interested in investing in games. They want to buy back a stake in a start-up, but promising business, make it profitable or even more promising - and resell their share to investors of the next round. Your cool game will not have billions in profits this year or ten years from now. So if someone invests in you, resale will not be needed, it is better to receive dividends. However, here the question is more likely in the volume of potential profit: serious investors are simply not interested in small markets, there are more troubles.
So if you need money to develop a game - earn it yourself, borrow from FFF or get a loan. You should not rely on investors. Is it much more realistic to rely on publishers - they are needed for that to publish games, aren't they? Well, there are nuances ...

Publishers will pour traffic to you. Do not expect more - the nerves will be more whole.

They are not engaged in exactly what is entitled. Well, or you do not have exactly those expectations. With reference to mobile phones and social networks.
It’s not known from what year the idea popped into my head, they say, this is how the work is going on: the developers gather, make the prototype. They go to serious people in gray jackets with lapels. They say, "We need n time, and then we will m profit!" They beat hands, solemnly returning to the office on unicorns.

For one reason or another, this scheme does not work for several years. That is, in general - no one will give you money for development. Even for a month of polishing and bringing to mind. Is there a product that can be poured onto Facebook, which today will explode tops due to the inhuman combination of virality and retention? Here you have the traffic. No - not our problems.

Write down there for yourself - no one will invest in development. If you are currently developing in the hope of this, make a U-turn before it is too late.

Rest is important.

Some entrepreneurs do not fully understand that they must force themselves and their colleagues to rest. Moreover, at all levels: take five-minute breaks every hour, do not work around the clock, two days a week and at least a couple of weeks a year.
Yes, it is hard to understand by intuition, but experience speaks for itself. There is no more productive week than after a vacation, and no more stupid working hours than the fourteenth in a row.

Your mood, your energy - this is the most important thing in your life! In the end, depending on the current state, you either force yourself to go to your favorite job, or deal with any tasks with enthusiasm, or get annoyed with your beloved people, or ironically miss problems through yourself. You yourself are important. Your well-being is important. Your mood is important. If you feel that you are slipping or working through force, ask how long you have been on vacation and how many hours you have been working. The same applies to your colleagues: let them work at their own pace, but you can always remind a person that he has already been in the office for fourteen hours - and there will be more sense from him tomorrow morning.

The main reason for procrastination

If you just sparkle with energy, and it goes nowhere, here is a minute of introversion. Let's just say that I do not believe in such a struggle: “Hey, I, well, close the contact, do not engage in procrastination!” Your brain needs reasons to do or not do something. He will say "ok, I will close the contact." And he will offer you to open Facebook.

At such moments, it’s very important to understand that you can ask your brain to do something. Usually, after the next mailstone last weekend, I sat at the computer and in a stern voice demanded to stop being distracted, to do, in the end, work. He motivated, scolded, treated to sweets and music, until he received a reasonable question: “What needs to be done? It’s clear that you have a priority project, but what needs to be done in it? ” Chew yourself goals. Use the brain to understand what you demand from yourself. You will have to engage in the most energy-consuming activities that our smart organisms are trying to avoid - to think.

The main reason for procrastination is a fuzzy, immeasurable, or unattainable goal. While there is no crystal clear goal with clear criteria and a clear way to achieve it, you should work it out in more detail. Actually, the first point of any plan is the identification and concretization of the meaning and volume of work. If you're stuck right now, write it down to yourself. This preparatory work will help you defeat procrastination at the same time and, believe me, will save a lot of time in the future.

In the gaming industry, development is far from everything.
Returning to where the article began: there is a lot to learn if you are interested in making and releasing your games. To assess the scale of ignorance, here's a good article describing what you need to know for this: A lot of smart letters from a smart person .

Do not pay attention to what is there about Growth Hacking, it seems to me a temporary phenomenon. Better notice that the purely technical skills that inexperienced developers like to reduce game development to are practically not mentioned in the article. And immediately, some sadness wakes up when you hear someone’s plans “We made a prototype with balls on a unit, we just need to stretch the textures, make the menu and put it on the Apple Store.”

Resulting paragraph

From the outside it may seem that everything is very bad. I will not undertake to judge, because I am inside the system. For me, the direction of movement, changes in relation to previous experience is more important. And they are very, very positive. This time the project is not closed, but only frozen - the team and I agreed to return to it as soon as possible. So the next article will already combine a rake collection description and a success story. We will work on it!

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