What (Not) To Do When Making Mobile Games
Caroline Berg
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Many people think mobile games are a quick way to make lots of cash. And so they decide to create a mobile game - it's easy, right?

Well, here is a list of guidelines I've created from my experience working for start-ups and companies who decided to jump on the mobile game bandwagon - without fully researching exactly what they were up against!
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1. Video Game: Money Munchers [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Money Munchers
Caroline Berg
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Don't go into this thinking you are going to make money from the first game you create. Other than a few one-off mobile games which skyrocketed to the top, if you want to make money from mobile games, you need to make LOTS of them. Only then will you start to get a return on your investment.

I've seen quite a few start-ups think they have the next hot item, only to find that making the game lost them substantial money as sales petered out, getting nowhere close to their rosy-eyed predictions of what their game would make.
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2. Video Game: All or Nothing [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Caroline Berg
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Do not go into your game deciding that you want to emulate EVERY popular mobile game that came out this month. Seriously, you wouldn't believe the number of times I've had to talk people out of making a game that has everything in it.

Pick a few things to focus on. Just a few. Don't make things too complex!

And once you decide what you want in your game, stick to it! Don't go adding more and more features as the game progresses... especially not features of the LATEST popular mobile games. Feature creep = bad!
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3. Video Game: Super Programs 2 [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Caroline Berg
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If this is your first time making a game, do not create a game engine from the ground up! I don't care if you are a rockstar programmer. You might build a game engine, it might even do everything you want it to do (doubtful) but you are not going to do it fast enough to actually make it worth the money your game will bring in. This goes doubly if you left your job to work full time on your game and decided that was when you would build your own game engine.

There are literally dozens of game engines you can download and use out there. There are even websites devoted to helping first-time designers pick the right engine for the style of game they want to make.

So please, don't go down this route, unless you have another job, and don't mind the months spent perfecting your engine.
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4. Video Game: Knot In 3D [Average Rating:10.00 Unranked]
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Caroline Berg
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Unless you have some stellar artists on your team - I highly recommend you pick one: 2D or 3D, do not have both in your game!

It looks amateur if you have a game that switches between 2D and 3D. It looks like you couldn't decide what you wanted, so why not have both! And frankly, it just doesn't look good.

Basically: pick an art style and stick with it. If you want 3D, make the menus to match. If you are doing scenes like in Hidden Object games, same applies - pick either 2D hand-painted scenes, or rendered 3D scenes, don't do some weird mash-up of the two.

Granted, this is essentially my personal opinion. But games that pick one style and stick with it tend to do much better than games which flip between the two styles.
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5. Video Game: Test Drive [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:4517] [Average Rating:6.10 Unranked]
Video Game: Test Drive
Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Don't neglect to playtest your game!

Playtesting is key for catching the majority of errors before a game goes live. Doesn't matter if you are working on a small game or a big one - get as many people as you can to play it! This is especially true with video games where a simple misplaced semi-colon in the code and utterly screw things up...

If you have a specific age-range the game is being made for, test it with people of that age! Don't just assume since it works for you, everyone will get it! Which again, is a somewhat common attitude.
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6. Video Game: Stop the Express [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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So you have made a game... sometimes the hardest part can be knowing when to stop. Stop development. Stop adding new things. Just stop already and get your game out there!

However, while new features should stop - submitting your game into the world doesn't mean you should turn your back on it and never look at it again - which is all too common.

It takes far more effort than some would like to admit, but games, once released into the wilds, still need to be tended. When new iPhone versions come out, scripts need to updated, or your game could end up no longer being played. Same with later Android OS versions.

If you want to keep making money from your mobile games, you need to put in effort after it is released, not just while it is in production.
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7. Video Game: Again [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Don't have all your hopes and dreams riding on one game. It is scary the number of start-ups with this mentality. Making games is a business like anything else - you need to keep working at it, keep making goods, keep getting better.

If your first game crashes and burns, or is forgotten amidst the millions of other mobile games, don't give up and walk away. (And yes, I've seen start-ups do this too.) Instead, join game jams, challenge yourself to make more games, to make specific types of games.

The more games you have out there, the better your chances at pulling in an income from mobile games.
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