Making a hit game can be hard to plan. In some cases, you're riding the wave of existing trends and making something more fun--or scratching a certain niche--based on something that people already know they want. Other times, you're basically an artist with an idea, and lucking out because other people love your idea. If you're not sure where to go and not entirely sold on current trends, here are a few gaming and financial angles to consider.
Puzzle Games Aren't As Easy As They Look
Puzzle games can keep people entertained for weeks, months, or even years if new puzzles are released, but what kind of planning goes into making a puzzle?
The short answer: mathematics.
This is true whether it's a matching game, putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, or entering the real of adventure puzzles like The Legend of Zelda's Water Temple, The Piano Puzzle in Silent Hill, Name That Gnome from King's Quest, or The Babel Fish from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game.
These games often have professionals who are already experts at making games, or made by previous generations of programmers who already have a strong background in mathematics and logic, and who probably have a huge love for puzzles to begin with.
Before setting out to make a puzzle game, you need to answer one of three questions:
- Do you want to copy puzzles and make artistic changes?
- Do you want to hire someone to make your puzzles?
- Do you want to make your own puzzles?
If you want to make long-term money from selling a puzzle app and selling hints to your puzzles or additional chances, they need to be at different difficult levels, and designing random puzzles probably isn't worth your time unless you've got a secret knack for puzzle design.
Online Games Are The Best, Worst Ideas
Before the era of Candy Crush, gaming on Facebook, and gaming on mobile devices became a huge industry, online games were at the top of the game earning world.
Games like Everquest, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, and Guild Wars sold a game for a set box fee of around $40-$60, then charged a subscription. Later, freemium games disrupted the market by offering a free game that allowed players to pay for additional bonuses.
Freemium games are arguably the predecessor of modern microtransactions and the entire culture of paying more than once inside a game. Learn from their lessons by avoiding a few common pitfalls and asking questions about how your game should be programmed:
- Will you sell cosmetic items only? This includes clothing, special appearances called skins, and other appearance-based services.
- Will you sell items that can be sold for in-game currency?
- Will you sell in-game currency directly?
- How will such sales affect the in-game economy? Keeping in mind that some players actively enjoy playing as fantasy world merchants without using their credit card.
- Can you afford to host an online game with minimum monthly sales?
Contact an app developer and discuss your game idea and discuss these questions to figure out not only if it's a good idea or not, but if there is some hybrid answer that takes the best of multiple gaming app worlds.