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This is the #1 thing to keep in mind when developing any product. But when the app is strictly about maximizing engagement — as games are — it’s absolutely critical.
Before you set about building your app, develop a clear idea of who your target user is. It can be helpful to create personas about the types of people who will gravitate to your game. Additionally, you should perform market research into the wants, likes, and needs of your target audience, so you can build a product that responds to these interests and improve the user experience (UX).
Now that you understand your competitors and your own audience, you’ll also have to identify ways to set your game apart from well-established products and newcomers alike. As you probably know, the gaming market is very large and very crowded, so your vision for your app must offer something your competitors don’t — elements that gamers can’t find anywhere else or a familiar formula with a good twist.
Your game should do something better than your competitors, elevating the user experience or addressing pain points that exist in their products.
Games are involved, perhaps more involved than most other types of apps. The experience isn’t static — it’s highly interactive. You must keep all the different elements of the experience in mind, being cognizant of, for example:
These are just some of the many moving pieces for which you’ll need to account.
The smallest, seemingly insignificant bug could derail your game. You should thoroughly and rigorously test the game throughout the dev cycle and prior to deployment. This is critical because games are interactive, dynamic products that require attention to detail.
Not only will QA testers be able to identify bugs in your game, they’ll also find ways to improve usability, performance, functionality, user load accommodation, and many others.
With so much competition in game dev, you must create a unique, engaging product. These tips will help you build a solid foundation for success.
When you’re just diving into game development for the first time, make your game straightforward, steering clear of elements that are too intricate. Otherwise, you risk deterring gamers with a confusing product. Remember that the point is to attract users and keep them there. Once you’ve been at it for a while and have established yourself as the producer of a great product, you can experiment with more intricate concepts.
This extends to UX design, too. Menus should be easily navigable, the interface should be intuitive, and the overall look and feel of your app should be simple and smooth.
Plans are, of course, critical for successful product development. Gaming is an especially complex process, and it demands carefully thought-out procedures. To manage your plans, you can use a generic project management platform, or you can use one specifically designed for game development oversight.
One example of a game-specific project management tool is Codedecks . Designed with game developers in mind, the platform has a trading card layout that essentially gamifies the development project and allows you to see the progress and status of the process at one glance.
In addition to pinpointing the interests and wants of your target users — that is, the would-be gamers — you’ll need to consider the conditions of the market itself. What ideas are in vogue at the moment? Which types of games have stood the test of time? What are your competitors up to?
You’ll want to research the ins and outs of the gaming industry to better understand the climate and the types of products that tend to succeed, as well as those that were doomed to failure to ensure yours won’t be one of them.
Dynamic characters, a special sound, an appealing storyline, a piece of animation — these are all examples of hooks. A hook grabs the audience’s attention from the get-go, bringing them into the fold of your game, drawing them to it, and making them want to stay.
What’s your hook? Every game development team must devise or discover what their specific hook is, the thing that will attract players to the game. Once you’ve identified it, you must capitalize on it, using it to bring newcomers to the app and keeping long-standing consumers engaged.
The backbone of any dynamic, engaging product is the team behind it. Gaming development requires skills beyond those of a standard software developer. It also demands the talents of a product manager who will research trends and develop a roadmap for the product, a project manager to coordinate the workflow and keep everyone on track, and a marketing manager to promote the product.
The UX designer plays a fundamental role in game dev, too. The UX designer adds engaging elements to bring your game to life, playing a pivotal role in the process.
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