This chapter provides a high-level overview of the game development process. The roles and responsibilities between game designers and developers and the various departments within SpilGames are highlighted.
Unleashing Your Games
There are nearly three million apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play. To create an edge within this crowded market, game producers need competitive intelligence that reveals the most attractive opportunities. Spil Games can provide this intelligence, together with benchmarks that help game producers measure the success of their games and identify areas of improvement. Our team of experienced marketers can help you define your brand and manage it for you. We can perform market research to optimize your game’s categorization, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and App Store Optimization (ASO). We can also ensure that your icon and visual assets stand out from the rest. Moreover, through our platform we can help the cross promotion of your game across our 200 million mobile installs, as well as help promote your title through our vast social media channels.Insight is key to successful games development and deployment. Spil Games customized analytics solution provides direct insight into user engagement, virality, and monetization. This is complemented by industry-standard analytics tools, such Google Analytics and Adjust. Tracking your users’ behavior is an important tool that will help you build future updates for your game, and keep them coming back for more. It is essential to understand that your game is not a product, it is a service, and you must keep your customers happy.When preparing your game for release in a new region or country there are important factors to consider. Not only translation of text, but also recording new audio, and the replacement of portions of the game due to differing cultural sensitivities. Spil Games can provide practical localization solutions. We can ensure that your game is delivered on schedule to your target market, with the added benefits of cultural sensitivity and flawless representation of key game expressions and ideas.The issue of customer support is also an important aspect of game deployment. Integrated customer support is available for the Zendesk platform. See “Implementing Customer Support” for a detailed explanation.
This section presents brief description of the overall process by which games are designed, developed, and delivered within the Spil Games framework. The games development life cycle is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Game Development Life Cycle.
The genesis of all games is a concept or idea. This is expanded as a game outline or concept proposal. The concept proposal is the high-level document that sells the game idea to whoever is going to pay for its development into a real game. Typically, it highlights the game’s key features, genre, targeted platforms, and concept art. Spil Games can provide important input into this phase. We can provide market insight into target demographics and market trends, as well as suggesting specific features. Moreover, we can help game producers to identify new business opportunities, and to implement a strategy to achieve competitive market advantage and long-term stability.
During this phase, producers, designers, artists, and writers will work on things such as writing the storyline, creating storyboards, and putting together a comprehensive design document detailing the game’s goals, level designs, gameplay mechanics and overall blueprint.The storyline defines the main characters, plot, setting, and overall theme. Once completed, the next step is to piece together a storyboard for the game. Typically, this is a visual representation of the storyline that includes sketches, concept art, and text to explain what happens in each section or scene of the game. It may incorporate scripted elements within the action portions, as well as graphic rendering and cut-scene requirements.The goal of this phase is to produce a design document that can be given to a game development team, and turned into a working game. It highlights the functional and technical specifics of the game. It incorporates the overall blueprint for exactly how the game will be played, what each menu or screen in the game will look like, the controls available for the characters, the game’s goals, maps of the different worlds or levels within the game, and the rules for how players win or lose in the game.
This is undertaken by a development team, and is overseen by an internal producer who manages the development team, schedule project reviews, reports progress, and assigns staff. A Spil Games producer (or Account Manager) is also assigned to the project and is responsible for PR, contract negotiation, liaising with stakeholders, quality assurance, release management, and localization.
Typically, an agile development methodology is followed. The Spil Games SDK provides direct support for this phase by providing a powerful and stable framework that allows developers to focus on games features and scenarios rather spend time “reinventing the wheel”. Once a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is available, early versions of the game can be delivered to QA for testing.
By making continuous testing an integral part of development, the Spil Games QA process supports the building of better and more robust games. It incorporates extensive automated testing and the use of real devices. This can significantly reduce the time spent on firefighting issues, and allows developers to focus on the delivery of new features, enhancements, and bug fixes. See “Understanding the QA Process” for a detailed explanation.
This is when the game goes live to end users. This is handled by the Spil Games Live Operations(LiveOps) department. During this phase, a Release Manager is assigned who works collaboratively with the game’s stakeholders. The Release Manager is responsible for negotiating release content, as well as planning and managing game releases.
Visual Assets Requirements
Spil Games will create the game icon, store graphic assets, and other promotional images. To provide greater store visibility and higher install rates it is critically important that the icons show the game play and the unique features of the game. Any additional artwork submitted should meet the requirements described at Visual_Requirements_Native_Apps_Spil_Games.pdf. All visual assets required to publish your games will be created by Spil Games. To create the best presentation of your game, please provide us with all the following:
If your game is planned to be released through the Apple App Store, it must:
- Meet the requirements outlined in https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines.
- Work on the following iOS devices: iPhone 5 (all versions), iPhone 6 (all versions), iPad Mini (3rd generation), iPad Air (and above), and iPod touch 5G (and above). We will assist in testing your game on all relevant devices, and provide detailed bug reports whereapplicable. Please test on any devices to which you have access, after validating it works properly in the simulator.
- Work on iOS 8 (and above).
If your game is planned to be released through the Google Play store, it must:
- Meet the requirements outlined in https://developer.android.com/distribute/best-practices/launch/launch-checklist.html.•Work on the following Android Devices: Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, Nexus 7 and above, and Google Pixel. We will assist in testing your game on all relevant devices, and provide detailed bug reports where applicable. Please test on any devices to which you have access, after validating it works properly in the simulator.
- Work on Android 4.4 (and above).
- Have a final build file size not exceeding 100 MB. This allows users to download it over 3G networks. Exceptions can be made to this requirement if agreed with your Spil Games Account Manager.
- Main characters.
- Level designs.
- Main screen designs.
- Game items.
- Additional artwork.
The following steps are required to publish a Unity game (with Spil SDK) to WebGL, as compared to iOS or Android.
- Import the Spil SDK Unity package into your project. Except for importing Android/iOS libraries/plugins the SpilSDK setup steps are the same for all platforms (creating a SpilSDK game object on the first scene, etc).
- In the Unity player settings panel, select WebGL as the platform, then in the inspector under “Resolution and Presentation” select the “SpilGamesDefault” html template provided with the SpilSDK, or create your own template based on it.
- Configure your chosen IAP provider in Unity and implement it in code, the IAP library required depends on where you’ll be hosting your app (we’ve used Facebook IAP’s for our example app). Note: Spil SDK automatic IAP validation currently does not work for WebGL.
- Implement achievements / leaderboards using a WebGL-specific library.
- Optimise the game for WebGL (texture compression / lower quality assets etc).
- Disable/remove any incompatible libraries.
- Create WebGL-specific asset bundles.
- When building for WebGL, be aware that enabling exceptions may drastically reduce performance.
- Some SDK features are not (currently) supported for WebGL; Interstitials, Reward videos, More Apps, Push notifications, Deep linking, Adjust (tracking + attribution), Analytics (No google analytics, no store reports except those from the chosen IAP library (if it has a reporting solution).
Spil Games Image Pack
An image pack is available for download at http://files.cdn.spilcloud.com/10/1418741993_SpilGames_brand_package.rar. This provides a set of portrait and landscape images, and includes the common aspect ratios and screen sizes. If a different screen size is required, the vector image (.eps) file is also provided. Examples illustrate the use of the game’s logo. The logo should not be resized, and no form transformation should be performed upon it. While a developer brand can be displayed, it must be shown separately from the Spil Games splash screen. The Spil Games splash screen should always be displayed first, followed by any developer splash screen.
Spil Games Branding
The Spil Games logo must always appear on a wholly white background with sufficient space around it. It must be placed straight, and should not have form of transformation performed upon it. The logo cannot be overlapped with other graphic elements or have elements stuck to it.
Any further requirements for the visual assets used by your game should discussed with your SpilGames Account Manager.
Before starting the development process, developers should ensure that you have been provided with the following:
- The finalized game QA subpage. This is described in “Understanding the QA Process”.
- A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that details all events within the game that require tracking. This is described in “Event TrackingSupport”.
- A JSON configure file detailing all required game parameters. This is described in “GameBalancing”.
- Confirmation that all required packages and promotions are set up within SLOT. This is described in “Smart Advertisements Support”.
- Confirmation that all required splash and daily bonus screens are set up within SLOT. This is described in “Splash and Daily Bonus Screens Support”.
- Confirmation that all required currencies, items, bundles, wallet and shop items are set up within SLOT. This is described in “Supporting Wallet, Shop and Inventory Control”.
- An Android sign-in key (SHA-256 and SHA-1 fingerprints). This is described in “Deep Linking Support”.
- A SLOT username and password combination with access to your game’s configuration settings. This is described in “Using the SLOT Interface”.