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Game Design Secrets by Wagner James Au

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Getting Started: Some Basic Concepts

This section contains some starting advice from Smith and a couple of other successful indie designers on creating an iOS game that you can be proud of and that stands a better-than-average chance of being successful.

Design for Short Play and Socialization; Market Effectively

Just as Tiger Style’s Smith has a lot of ideas on how not to make a popular iOS game, he has much advice about the features that help a good game succeed, including short play sessions, social sharing, and a visually compelling design. These ideas are described in detail in the following sections.

Short Play Sessions with Emerging Complexity

“It’s important to be aware of the types of games that are already succeeding on iOS,” says Smith, “because that will give you some insight into how this demographic uses devices and what types of play patterns to design for.” One common element is play session length.

NOTE “Most of the successful games can be played and enjoyed for just a minute or two while standing in line at the grocery store,” says Randy Smith of Tiger Style.

“Their design is very immediate, dropping you straight into the play experience with minimum overhead,” says Smith. “These games tend to be casual, focusing on one mechanic that is simple to understand, but in the most successful games the core mechanic is often something new you haven’t done before, with depth and complexity that unravels over time before you get bored with the basics.”

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