Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Hyatt puts the distinction in the form of a question: “Is the way you're architecting the game generating two
things: a high intent to share—why people would want to share in the first place—and is the thing they're shar-
ing highly shareable, [something] that they'd want to share widely?”
A player's high scores or other in-game accomplishments are the worst things to share because they're totally irrelevant to non-players—and
probably not that interesting even to fellow players.
In Hyatt's view, special game decorations or customizations that express a player's personality have a mid-
range sharing value (for example, a customized FarmVille farm), whereas fully user-generated content (as in
Draw Something) is on the high end of shareability.
Another kind of highly shareable update is humor. Leading Zynga game designer Brian Reynolds once noted
that the most popular and viral updates for his game FrontierVille featured a cartoon of a character busily shear-
ing a sheep. This update became highly viral, not because people were particularly interested in wool, but be-
cause inadvertently, the cartoon looked like the dude was, well, getting romantic with the sheep. Once the deve-
lopers realized that, they pushed for more updates with comical double entendres (lots of LOL-orific references
to players who “get wood” or “need a few good screws”).
Daily Game Features Help Drive Daily Usage
As noted in Chapter 3, daily usage is generally considered to be among the most important factors of a success-
ful Facebook game and correlates to strong revenue: Someone who plays every day is more likely than not to
pay. What's more, daily usage also contributes to the health of the game's ecosystem—players competing with
each other and sharing their game content with other Facebook users, both of which in turn encourage even
more daily usage.
Designers can encourage players to log in every day by introducing fun features that unlock once every
24-hour cycle. For instance, in Tetris Battle (as in many other Facebook games), a day's first game session be-
gins with a “Daily Bonus Spin” (see Figure 4-3 ), which offers players a chance to win game bonuses and then
invites them to come back tomorrow for another chance at a spin.
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