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Game Design Secrets by Wagner James Au

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Turning Hit Web Games into a Hit Web Game Factory, the Nitrome Way

Created by just two people working in a spare room, Nitrome (www.nitrome.com) has become one of the most successful developers of web games, with 3 million monthly unique players and an enviable, advertising-friendly 50/50 gender split. Its biggest games, Rubble Trouble (see Figure 9-5), Icebreaker, and Skywire, have been played tens of millions of times. Their distributed games Flipside and Twinshot 2 have each been played around 100 million times across the web.

Figure 9-5: Nitrome’s Rubble Trouble

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And while it only earns revenue through advertising, the company, as co-founder Matthew Annal tells me, has been profitable from the first day. Now 10 years in business, the company currently has 15 employees and is operated from an office in London. “But,” says Annal, “we still try to hold true to the values we had starting out, as we believe it is what makes us special.” Unsurprisingly, Nitrome designs all its games and now has more than 100 in its library, the result of building one successful game after another, using the revenue from the previous hit to finance the next.

In the following sections, Annal shares some secrets that made Nitrome the hit-maker it is today.

Nitrome Games: Action Puzzle with a Novel Mechanic

“Most of our games would fall in the category of action puzzle games,” says Annal. “We do, with ...

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