Chapter 1 | Game Design
Game Design, the first think the comes to your head when your going to make a game. As a Game Designer on the Roblox Platform I’ve assisted my clients since 2015 in developing concepts for their projects. Anyone can design a game ultimately, but this 101 guide will give you some tips on how to make that process easier.
During the process of designing a game you must cover the following aspects no matter what, Game Mechanics, Gameplay Feasibility & Gameplay Reward. Now let me be clear, their are around 200 different design aspects in the Game Design industry, the three I’ve listed are the ones I believe will help you create a successful & enjoyable game on the Roblox Platform.
The Game Design Process is arguably the most important part of producing a game, so this post is purposed to help you get the basics right.
Core Gameplay Mechanics
So you’ve started the process of designing a game. What should you do first? Before anything you must decide what a player is ultimately responsible for doing in your game. This means its time for you to design the mechanics behind your gameplay. This phase of the Game Design process will ultimately decide whether your game fails or succeeds.
To understand success you must first understand failure, so how can you detect signs that the design of your Gameplay Mechanic is flawed? Well firstly ask yourself if you would play this game, and if after playing it around four times you’d get bored or keep on playing, ask yourself if one part of your game is not engaging and leaves the player bored, if you detect these in your game restart from scratch, and go back to the drawing board. Yet, lets say you have a game thats constantly engaging, is diverse & stimulating and can be updated easily, then you have a succesful Gameplay Mechanic.
The goal your attempting to reach during the Game Mechanic Design period is to design a fun, interesting and captivating core mechanic around your game. An extremely simplified example of this is an Obby, ultimately the player is doing the same task repetitively, but the game remains fun to play due to the fact that new sections with higher difficulties are presented to the player as he/she progress’s through the course.
Once you have your Core Gameplay Mechanics figured out its time to move onto the next phase.
Your game needs to be easy to learn, thats a simple fact. If you want to be able to target a wide audience that will consistently play your game you need an easy to learn game. A player should spend more time having fun instead of learning, in fact most people who are playing a game on the Roblox Platform are there to have fun, not learn (I’m aware of great projects such as Lua Learning, and this post should not discredit them) .
Doomspire Brickbattle is a perfect example of an easy to play game, the single objective is to destroy the opposing teams tower. You don’t need to read a rulebook or see a tutorial to understand this when you join the game, you just naturally come to the realization that this is the objective of the game.
Now how do you put this example to work in more complex games, its easy. Allow your players to dedicate more and more time to your game so that they develop new abilities within the gameplay, allow the further complexities of the game naturally expose themselves to the player overtime, this will allow for longer play time, and more captivated players within your game.
Now let me leave a disclaimer, you want your game to have enough depth so that your players don’t get bored of it after five minutes of gameplay. An easy to learn game, doesn’t mean your game should have a lacky design that has no depth to it. Your game should be easy to learn, but fun to play.
In-Game Reward Complexities
Humans have a complexity reaction to reward, meaning humans most of the time won’t do something if it doesn’t carry a reward. This is why games with scoring systems, in-game economies, in-game cosmetics and developed login reward systems, preform highly better then simple objective based victory games.
Rewards you can offer your players can be as simple as a rank on a scoreboard, to a developed in game economy to upgrade their gear or cosmetics, this furthermore leads into game monetization but we’ll be saving that for another post of the 101 series.
Simply put, you want to excite your players about coming back, and you want them to feel that they’ll get something in return for doing so.
Chapter 2 | Project Management
No matter what project your making, if it involves over two people you’ll usually have someone managing it. With this being the case, and Development Studios becoming larger, I have noticed a trend of some projects being irresponsibly managed, or in some cases even neglected, and this is due to a lack of organization most of the time. Let me be clear, organization is one of the most important factors when your managing a project.
So how do you organize your development team? How do you help your project get on track? How do you guide your partners through the hassles of game development? How do you manage your project? This all depends on your project size and the people your working with, but I’ll be listing a few basics that might help you out.
You’ve gathered a development team and your ready to start your project, ready to assign tasks, ready to get to work. Take this moment to stop, your managing a project but remember, you’ve got other human beings who have lives who are also going to be working with you. So take the opportunity to get the entire development team in touch with each other to participate in an initial meeting. I usually facilitate this for my clients by setting up a discord group chat and figuring what time is best to have a group call, in some situations your developer might not be able to communicate his voice, but I usually recommend to have it as a requirement that they can listen in (ie. exception can be made in circumstances). Once you’ve gathered your new development team in a group call, your going to want to let everyone introduce themselves and then go over details such as, payment plans, workplace expectations and go over your formal agreement (ie. always sign a formal agreement for any projects your contracting developers for) one more time.
Once your team has participated in this initial meeting your ready to move onto the planning phase!
Planning & Managing
Effective Project Planning is key to development within any game on Roblox. During the planning phase, it is a Project Managers responsibility to make sure each developer is getting their right work assigned, and making sure they complete it, this meaning any development team working on a project should ideally meet on a daily basis (ie. via call) to discuss what tasks have been completed and what tasks are laid out for the coming day, less ideally your development team should at least be meeting twice a week. Project Planning continues all the way through development, and post development to help push updates out that keep your game fresh.
Project Management Resources
The internet is a library of resources and you should take the opportunity to use them, when it comes to project management I use the following,
Chapter 3 | Game Advertising
I’d say in the Game Production Community, a majority of Game Producers (ie. the people paying developers and funding advertisements) are spending their funds incorrectly or irresponsibly, and this isn’t a fault of their own, the reason behind this is due to the fact that the younger age demographic which houses a majority of Roblox players will click some of the most ridiculous thing you’ll find out there, and while some people may want to invest into a ridiculously expensive piece of art for a banner or skyscraper advertisement, you’ll probably be able to generate something in Paint .Net or Photoshop in less then an hour that will receive a higher CTR. This comes with the rise of clickbait on the internet, and consequently Roblox.
So with this being the case, how do you successfully advertise your game? This really depends on which type of players, and how many players enjoy your game, but following the steps I’m listing below will most likely help you successfully advertise your game.
Understanding CTR & Basic Advertising Logic
Click Through Rate
Click Through Rate, CTR, or more commonly known as Click Rate, is the number of clicks your single advertisement receives. When you run an advertisement you want to reach the minimum threshold of 1.0% CTR and aim to be in the 3.0 % area, something that you should allow do though is not run any advertisement that has received under 1.0% CTR, advertisements that don’t meet the minimum threshold will almost always have horrible return.
So when advertising your game you have to set a goal on the purpose of the Game, are you looking to target the wider Roblox Community and Playerbase, or are you looking to only target a specific community? To be more specific this means, do you plan on hosting a community of 40-90 consecutive players who are playing your game for the community surrounding it, or do you plan on hosting 100-1,000 + players who are constantly circulating around your game and joining it because they think its a fun new discovery that they’d like to try out, maybe even purchase a Gamepass or Developer Product from. You need to answer this question before running advertisements, once you have you can start deciding what type of advertisement you want to run.
Now as mentioned before, clickbait advertisements are usually the dominant force in the world of Roblox advertising. Here are some examples of how they look (keep in mind I didn’t make these),
Now let me be clear, none of the creators of these advertisements should receive any hate,
their is nothing wrong with taking advantage of a marketing strategy. In fact we should learn from the creators of these advertisements that Roblox Advertising is all about reaching your target. Advertisements like the ones above usually boast a 1%-3% CTR meaning they’re in the ideal threshold for CTR rates.
Initial Launch Research Period
So your about to launch your game, what should you do? Well you should take this as an opportunity to research your games performance. I usually do this by following these steps, lets say you have a R$100,000 Launch Budget for your game (using this number since you can exponentially narrow it down while still following the same concept). Your going to want to run R$10,000 on a Clickbait Game Advertisement, R$10,000 on a Game Advertisement relating to your community and R$10,000 on a mobile sponsor. This will give you the opportunity to see the return these advertisements bring to your game. After you’ve narrowed down which one had the highest CTR your going to want to run R$10,000 on a daily basis for three days, if your making return, congratulations your games succeeding in terms that it can now sustain itself. Make sure to archive the advertisement/sponsorship that had the second highest CTR, your going to need it later.
During this period take the time to research the average time your players stay in game, which gamepasses or developer products are popular sellers. But congrats once you’ve finished this, you’ve concluded your Initial Launch Research Period .
Post Launch Research Period
Post Launch Game Performance
Now that your game has launched and houses a playerbase, your first advertisements might start to become saturated by the market, reaching all time lows in CTR, most games on the Roblox platform need to keep running advertisements constantly to maintain a playerbase of 500 +, if you remember, during the Initial Launch Research Period you ran three different types of advertisements/sponsorship, if you followed the directions I provided you archived the what ever had the second highest CTR during the Initial Launch Research Period, your going to slowly run smaller advertisements on this image, preferably advertisements that your game revenue is paying for, and see the results. In most cases your advertisement should continue to help you maintain a decent playerbase.
Target Audience Post Game Launch
Game Evolves, your Players do too
So now you’ve got a successful game, and its been a while, you want to maintain your game up there. At this point your advertising strategy is fully up to you, and only you know whats best for your game since you can provide the most tailored strategy towards it.
Chapter 4 | Conclusion
Hopefully this resource helps someone out, its a culmination of my most popular posts. Game Advertising 101 , Project Management 101 & Game Design 101 . And if you disagree with anything feel free to challange my views in the comments. Everything here is from my personal expirience in the Game Design sector. Thanks for giving this a read