Game Development Reference
Design for Short Play and Socialization; Market
Just as Tiger Style's Smith has a lot of ideas on how not to make a popular iOS game, he has much advice about
the features that help a good game succeed, including short play sessions, social sharing, and a visually compel-
ling design. These ideas are described in detail in the following sections.
Short Play Sessions with Emerging Complexity
“It's important to be aware of the types of games that are already succeeding on iOS,” says Smith, “because that
will give you some insight into how this demographic uses devices and what types of play patterns to design
for.” One common element is play session length.
NOTE “Most of the successful games can be played and enjoyed for just a minute or two while standing in
line at the grocery store,” says Randy Smith of Tiger Style.
“Their design is very immediate, dropping you straight into the play experience with minimum overhead,”
says Smith. “These games tend to be casual, focusing on one mechanic that is simple to understand, but in the
most successful games the core mechanic is often something new you haven't done before, with depth and com-
plexity that unravels over time before you get bored with the basics.”
Apply that observation to iOS's biggest hit: Angry Birds. It's relatively simple to complete level challenges
in Angry Birds (and often a matter of dumb luck). However, to succeed while earning multiple star ratings, the
player must learn through experimentation the game's subtleties—how different bird types interact with various
environmental barriers and physics, and so on. See Figure 12-1 .
Figure 12-1: Angry Birds' deceptively simple gameplay.