Author Topic: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?  (Read 7644 times)

Jon Shafer

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Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« on: April 09, 2013, 11:22:34 AM »
As I'm sure all of you know, we'll be making an iOS version of AtG. In part, this is an experiment to see 1) how difficult it is to do so, and 2) whether or not complex strategy games are really viable on that platform. Given what I've seen thus far, I'm expecting the answer to #2 to be "no," but you don't know until you try. Plus, I'm a mobile junkie (although not with games), so the prospects of working on that platform seem fun.

What do you guys think of mobile games? Obviously the majority of the current selection isn't really targeted at strategy gamers, and the business model in some are a bit exploitive. But how likely would you be to play AtG or games like it on mobile platforms? And how much would you be willing to pay for them?

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2013, 12:30:07 PM »
I've been known to play various tower defense games and currently am playing Rage of Bahamut, both of which are either cheap or free.  I agree that it is unlikely a complex strategy game will do well on a phone.  Though the new fad of tablet is a different question, could do well there.  I couldn't imagine paying more than $5 for a game I would only casually play here and there when needing to kill time.
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Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2013, 07:44:13 PM »
In short, I've been waiting to play a game like AtG on a mobile device. I'm a little embarrassed to say I didn't realize you were planning to release a version for iOS. Now I feel kind of awkward asking, "why not Android, too?"

Besides obviously being fun, I expect a mobile game to be extremely polished and pretty inexpensive (< $2 usually). It's peculiar in some ways that I expect an inexpensive, relatively-simple game to be even more polished than a complex PC game. I've probably been conditioned over 20+ years to expect bugs and patches for PC games, whereas I've immediately given up on mobile games that showed even the slightest annoyance. Perhaps I'm willing to endure more frustrations with PC games because they tend to be fairly expensive, and maybe I feel like I have an investment to protect.

It's very cool that there's relatively small risk on the part of consumers in trying new games. I guess a downside is that you basically get only a few minutes to make a solid first impression on a consumer, which has all sorts of implications for how you will make the opening few minutes of AtG as interesting as possible. You also need to test the living daylights out of the mobile version, which may make releasing it seem inordinately time-consuming.

I'm curious as to how well some of the algorithms in the PC version will scale to mobile devices. For instance, you may have to take into account the processing power of the mobile devices when you develop your AI approach to maintain snappy gameplay on relatively low-horsepower devices. Long AI turns in Civ-like games are a huge, huge turn-off.

Pricing is, of course, the $64K question. I like the idea that Steam and others appear to have: they play around with pricing to gather some data on what generates sales. The curious thing, I've heard, is that when a low price or deal of the day is presented, it generates increased volumes of sales for several days after the sale has expired. So experiment! Also, I vastly appreciate relevant ad banners in free versions of games instead of in-app purchases, to the point where it is a discriminating factor in my purchases. In-app purchases raises a red flag in my mind. For one, I think in-app purchases tend to target and exploit children who do not realize what they are doing. For another, I think the inclusion of in-app purchases signals that the developer is more focused on structuring a game to generate revenue than bringing to life a creative passion of theirs. It may be a little silly, but the motives of the developer matter to me.




Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2013, 11:36:20 PM »
It's always sounded better in theory. In practice, I don't really pay for good mobile games, and the ones I do play are dead simple, like Words with Friends. As I've become more aware of the industry, I've been open to the idea of spending $15+ for a mobile game that is as good as some of the classics from the early 90s. (Those would be simple enough to be playable on a phone.) But, again, I wonder if the onslaught of free/99 cent games wouldn't make the $15 game seem like a rip off, no matter how much value there is in that game.

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Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2013, 06:53:55 PM »
I'll be the strange guys who says absolutely, it CAN be successful IF you understand the market. I understand XCom is going to be ported to the iOS. I don't know what the sales figures were for CivRev, but they probably made money. You'd have really problems arguing that those aren't strategy games.

CivRev is an example of a decent port, I would have liked to see a more complete experience, but it works well enough and has strategy. BGEE(Baldur's gate) is an example of a straight port. It plays like it too.  :'(

What I would like to see...
  1) Simplify everything. If it is a rarely used option, pick it for me. If it doesn't provide an 'interesting decision' automate it. Cut down to the core 4X's and automate everything. You can always allow future patches to remove the automation if people scream for it. For instance, let me say that this city is for growth or industry or defense instead of picking buildings. KISS. Keep it simple stupid.
  2) Make it an iPad UI. No heavy text menus, everything bigger.
  3) Make it discoverable. Mouse-over doesn't work. So don't rely on all those nifty text tips you have.
  4) Old school (Windows 3.1) did everything on mouse-up, you might try to pop a tool-tip up and give people the chance to move their finger if they don't want to do it, but I don't know if that would work.
  5) Make it multi-core please. It would probably run 'ok' without it, but faster is always better...
  6) Fingers aren't mice, please make the targets big enough for me to hit. ;)
  7) Allow me to play for 5 minutes, that means give me a good overview of what's been going on since the last time I picked it up. Bonus points for allowing me to see what my strategy was since I started.
  8) Make it an iPad UI (repeated for emphasis.)

Marketing
  0) Marketing has to start as soon as you have a plan.
  1) Consider providing a free version , possibly one that represents a world generated from a specific random seed but with random starting points and opponents. Let people try it first and allow them to upgrade to the full version. Don't cripple it aside form the map selection.
  2) Consider offering different unlocks but don't get too greedy and silly about them.

Jon Shafer

  • Lord of the Forest
  • *
Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 09:14:11 PM »
Now I feel kind of awkward asking, "why not Android, too?"

It mainly comes down to cost effectiveness. We have a small team and budget. Each mobile platform we release on requires us to spend money licensing middleware (Xamarin, for those of you who are curious). These seats are not cheap, and the Android one costs just as much as iOS. It's possible we don't even make back enough money to pay for the iOS seat with iOS sales, let alone what we'll face with Android, where game sales are significantly lower. Maybe it's because the market is more scattered, maybe it's the audience, who knows - but there's no denying that games sell far more on iOS.


Quote
I'm curious as to how well some of the algorithms in the PC version will scale to mobile devices. For instance, you may have to take into account the processing power of the mobile devices when you develop your AI approach to maintain snappy gameplay on relatively low-horsepower devices. Long AI turns in Civ-like games are a huge, huge turn-off.

Good question! And honestly one we won't have an answer for until we actually get the game running on iOS, which probably won't be until the end of this year at the earliest.

For better and worse, we won't be making any accommodations for the iOS version when building the PC version. This is a PC game through-and-through, and I don't want to compromise that experience. If we have to modify AtG to get it working well on mobile (performance or otherwise) we'll cross that bridge once we get to it.

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2013, 10:55:10 PM »
I don't generally see the point. It is nice to have some fun games on my Ipad for the times I might want to play them while travelling or so on, but largely I have access to a PC, and would prefer the better ergonomics and processing power of that.
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Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2013, 09:40:46 AM »
I mostly use the mobile for more casual games, but I think turn based games should work perfectly well on mobile. If you offer the same product in PC and iOS (with the changes on interface and interactions) I can see no reason not to charge the same price. The best example I know is Battle Academy, not only it is the same game in both platforms, but there is cross platform multiplayer and scenarios created in PC work on IOs also. I have read it has been a great success even with a "high" price point for IPad.

Peter

  • wannabe game designer
Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2013, 08:27:34 AM »
i'm not sure it's possible to make a strategy game for phones as they have no mouse or keyboard :)
strategy game implies quite complicated controls ...

Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2013, 01:49:26 PM »
I love to play strategy games on my phone and with good emulators like the MD.emu for Android you can already play nicely some advanced strategy games of the 16bit era like Avanced Military Commander for the Megadrive



Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2013, 10:40:31 AM »
I think mobile games have to be either very simple to play or very complex (and I say that as a developer!) to work well in the market, so AtG might just work! It will certainly be interesting to see how XCOM does, and closer to home, my friends at Blazing Griffin are working on a 4X space game for iPad. Also, Full Control are doing Jagged Alliance and Space Hulk, which I'm looking forward to.

http://pockettactics.com seems to have a good community going around the genre, so might be worthwhile connecting with them to see what they're thoughts are (or perhaps they're here somewhere already!).

-David

Jon Shafer

  • Lord of the Forest
  • *
Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2013, 10:44:26 AM »
I think mobile games have to be either very simple to play or very complex (and I say that as a developer!) to work well in the market, so AtG might just work! It will certainly be interesting to see how XCOM does, and closer to home, my friends at Blazing Griffin are working on a 4X space game for iPad. Also, Full Control are doing Jagged Alliance and Space Hulk, which I'm looking forward to.

http://pockettactics.com seems to have a good community going around the genre, so might be worthwhile connecting with them to see what they're thoughts are (or perhaps they're here somewhere already!).

Haha, I've actually spoken with the owner, Owen, quite a bit already! Before we even announced the iOS version he was asking if we were going to make one. I was glad I could deliver him some good news. :)

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Stratos

  • Strategy games 4ever
Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2014, 03:04:26 PM »
Mobile gaming is fun. I am not sitting at a computer all day long, but I always have my phone. But for a game to be playable on a 4 inch cell phone screen it has to not be too complicated. 100 ingame menus and 400 buttons would probably be a nightmare.

There are a growing number of strategy games available for android, iOS, Windows Phone etc. I have tried a big bunch of them. Some are quite entertaining.
:)

Mobile gaming will probably keep on growing since the new generation of kids all will play games on their phones. Some during school time... probably... hehe.
Since I have read a few threads on mobile gaming I can recommend a free iphone/android mobile game called:
Strategy Rome in Flames
Google Play
App Store

Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2014, 07:16:39 PM »
Now I feel kind of awkward asking, "why not Android, too?"

It mainly comes down to cost effectiveness. We have a small team and budget. Each mobile platform we release on requires us to spend money licensing middleware (Xamarin, for those of you who are curious). These seats are not cheap, and the Android one costs just as much as iOS. It's possible we don't even make back enough money to pay for the iOS seat with iOS sales, let alone what we'll face with Android, where game sales are significantly lower. Maybe it's because the market is more scattered, maybe it's the audience, who knows - but there's no denying that games sell far more on iOS.


Quote
I'm curious as to how well some of the algorithms in the PC version will scale to mobile devices. For instance, you may have to take into account the processing power of the mobile devices when you develop your AI approach to maintain snappy gameplay on relatively low-horsepower devices. Long AI turns in Civ-like games are a huge, huge turn-off.

Good question! And honestly one we won't have an answer for until we actually get the game running on iOS, which probably won't be until the end of this year at the earliest.

For better and worse, we won't be making any accommodations for the iOS version when building the PC version. This is a PC game through-and-through, and I don't want to compromise that experience. If we have to modify AtG to get it working well on mobile (performance or otherwise) we'll cross that bridge once we get to it.

- Jon

I would much rather see the game designed and released solely for the PC. Doing so would save money and put limited resources to work where they are most needed as well as insure the best gaming experience for the PC.

Re: Your Feelings on Mobile Games?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2014, 12:25:22 PM »
Oh, I didn't even know there was going to be a mobile version. I hope you don't need to buy the game a second time to play it on mobile.

Being able to exit out of PC and then open up that same save on your phone or tablet would be neat.  :)


(The following is just a rant and can be ignored by anyone.)

Godus hit some major problems with customer relations when they first made it mobile+PC (mostly because PC players HATE seeing a micro-transaction screen in the corner of their UI).

They solved the problem by making micro-transactions only apply to the mobile platform -- having it free-to-pay only on mobile, and pay-up-front on PC. This may cause complexity for the developers, since they have to design features to work with the free-to-play model, yet not annoy PC players who paid for everything up-front. They still get community backlash due to questions like "Why do I have to pay up-front for features that mobile users get free?" and "Will feature X work on the other platform and will it be annoying?"

To me, it looks like Godus is going to be a fine PC game. They've upset quite a few of their fans over the development cycle, though.
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