We've all been there. Maybe your inspiration is having an off day, or a feature isn't coming together how you'd hoped and just isn't fun. Perhaps your design team are already working at full tilt on a current project, and an unmissable new pitching opportunity has hit the table. Or are you completely new to making games on mobile, and would like a steady hand to talk you through this "free to play" thing people keep telling you is the future?
We can help. We've been around the block a few times, clocking up 15 years of experience in the games industry and working for companies such as Rockstar Games and ActivisionBlizzard on tentpole franchises such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption and Call of Duty.
We've been Lead Designers. We've been Associate Creative Officers. And now we're here for you.
Ant Workshop performed a design audit of our game during soft launch. The result was enlightening. More importantly it was useful. We walked out with at least 20 easily actionable changes that noticeably improved the quality of our game.
It's easy when you're developing a game to be unable to see its problems, whether big or small. You're so close to your baby, and carrying knowledge of all of the sunk costs (in time and money) it took to get to where it is. That's why there's huge value in having an experienced outsider take a critical but constructive look with a fresh pair of eyes. An audit's like a full health check for your game, covering onboarding, user interface, core gameplay, monetisation - you name it! The only thing we don't do is ask it to stick out its tongue and say "ahh".
You'll find this most useful during your soft-launch or beta phase, when the game's feature complete and you still have the greatest opportunity to make that critical first impression with your players. That said, we're confident you'll find our report insightful at any stage (though we might ask for some design documents if there are missing features!)
Every audit includes a meeting (either face-to-face or through Skype, depending on where in the world you are) to talk through our suggestions and how to blend them with your own vision for the game's design.
Like a Design Audit, but for somebody else's game! It's always smart to know what you're going up against in a marketplace, so find out where similar games are making their money, how they're retaining their players and where they're going wrong. And if you're not sure who your competitors are, give us a quick rundown of your game and we'll tell you. As with audits, we'll have a meeting to go over the findings and talk about how they can influence your game's design.
It started with a flash of inspiration, and now you and your team have built what feels like a really solid idea around that core. But just before you pull the big lever marked "let's get developing" and commit time and money to the production, wouldn't it be a good idea to have a fresh pair of eyes double-check that you've got your ducks in a row? We'll spend a day making sure your bases are covered, and root out any design gremlins that are waiting to trip you up.
No company has an infinite number of designers, and most likely when you're looking to sign your next game your staff will be up to their eyeballs in an ongoing project. Rather than breaking that concentration and focus, some clients find it useful to outsource their concept pitching. We can work to an existing template if you have one, or are happy to create one for you. Ideally you'll provide the artwork required, but if you don't have free artists either we can work it out.
If you're fresh to the free to play business model it can be an imposing place, full of jargon, acronyms and "rules" - you don't know your ARPPU from your elbow. Let us help you to make sense of it all. Starting at the basics of why the model exists and how it works, we'll cover the range of ways that people make money and techniques that will keep players happily coming back day after day. By the end of our sessions you'll be talking FTUEs, retention mechanics and social proof with confidence.
These are just the highlights, and the things that people tend to ask us about most often (always lead with your most popular products - there's a storefront design tip free of charge!)
But that's not to say it's all we do!
We can plan your analytics, help to implement them and show you how to understand the data you get back. We've organised soft launches and live operations, vital to the concept of Games as a Service. We've designed economy systems, tuned currency faucets and sinks, wireframed storefronts and user interfaces, written more game design documents than we've had hot dinners, and heck, we've written mission flows and designed core features for some of the biggest names in games.
In short, if you've got some design you need designing, we can design it!