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Indie Games 
Tips & Tricks 
Nov 2014 
By Anna Grueter @ ReignDesign
Anna Grüter 
Studied Computer Science 
& Digital Media
Anna Grüter 
Studied Computer Science 
& Digital Media 
over 10 years a developer
Anna Grüter 
Studied Computer Science 
& Digital Media 
over 10 years a developer 
5 years experience making mobile games
We made a lot of indie games
Successful Ones 
Games with 
4M downloads 
Main App Store Feature 
in China multiple times 
Ranked #2 Best Games 
in the U...
A ton of failures 
1 year of working hard 
== minimal users 
no return of investment 
bad reviews, nono or minimal revenue...
Original Ones
And less original ones…
Why Make Games?
Why Make Games? 
MMoottiivvaattiioonn
But there are lesser known 
rewards
Pigs picture
Thats 
Awesome!
Thats 
Awesome!
THATS AWESOME
A scientist contacting us for the flocking algorithm he 
saw in our game, because he is working tiny robots 
that enter th...
Thats 
Awesome!
#1Connect 
with your users
#2Prototype 
Or 
Fail Often
1. Make a Quick Prototype. 
Strip out anything but the absolute essentials 
that make it fun. No special graphics either, ...
1. Make a Quick Prototype. 
Strip out anything but the absolute essentials 
that make it fun. No special graphics either, ...
1. Make a Quick Prototype. 
Strip out anything but the absolute essentials 
that make it fun. No special graphics either, ...
4.Don’t expect everyone to share 
your vision from day one.
YEAH ITS A LOT OF FUN BUT… 
IT’S LIKE TETRIS IN BLACK & WHITE WITH BALLS.
What did she really say?
YEAH ITS A LOT OF FUN BUT… 
IT’S LIKE TETRIS IN BLACK & WHITE WITH BALLS.
#3 
First time 
Experience
Why?
Why? 
How do you use apps?
Why? 
How do you use apps?
Why? 
50% 
How do you use apps? 
1 day 
Retention
Why? 
50% 33% 
How do you use apps? 
1 day 
Retention 
7 day 
Retention
Why? 
50% 33% 8% 
How do you use apps? 
1 day 
Retention 
7 day 
Retention 
30 day 
Retention
100 
Levels
10 
Levels
#4 
Tutorials 
Or 
Show, don’t tell
1. Show Don’t Tell 
Tutorials should be noticed as such
Teach the user seamlessly 
through your level design
Teach controls in a safe environment
Introduce each new challenge or obstacle 
in a controlled environment… 
… where you can learn without 
immediately dying.
Too 
hard 
Boring
Too 
hard 
A fun Challenge 
Boring
Too 
hard 
A fun Challenge 
Boring
2. Create smart levels - or why your game 
should be as smart as a dog.
#5 
Branding
Especially indie developers 
should make use of this.
Are you making more than one 
game?
Your games need 
a posse.
Make use of these branding rules:
Make use of these branding rules: 
1. Brand the icons (findability)
Make use of these branding rules: 
2. Brand the names (findability) 
If one game is successful and its called 
• Crazy Gra...
Make use of these branding rules: 
3. Cross-promote your other games 
If you’ve gotten one user, and he played your 
game ...
Make use of these branding rules: 
4. Brand quality & visual style 
When you brand something there is a 
expectation invol...
#6 
Know your 
Game 
Or 
Not all Success looks the same.
Know your audience 
Is your game targeted at China?
Know your audience 
Are you making a gap-filler game?
Know your audience 
A game for kids?
Know your audience 
A game for middle aged women?
Summary 
#1 Connect with your users 
#2 Prototype - Fail often 
#3 First time experience 
#4 Tutorials - Show don’t tell 
...
Thank you
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)
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Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)

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Indie Games - From Prototype to Polish, Tips & Tricks making your own indie game. (Shanghai 2014)

  1. 1. Indie Games Tips & Tricks Nov 2014 By Anna Grueter @ ReignDesign
  2. 2. Anna Grüter Studied Computer Science & Digital Media
  3. 3. Anna Grüter Studied Computer Science & Digital Media over 10 years a developer
  4. 4. Anna Grüter Studied Computer Science & Digital Media over 10 years a developer 5 years experience making mobile games
  5. 5. We made a lot of indie games
  6. 6. Successful Ones Games with 4M downloads Main App Store Feature in China multiple times Ranked #2 Best Games in the USA App Store Ranked higher than Angry Birds in their good days Featured New & Noteworthy sections in many countries
  7. 7. A ton of failures 1 year of working hard == minimal users no return of investment bad reviews, nono or minimal revenue ranking store-versions with bugs, crashes, bad UI
  8. 8. Original Ones
  9. 9. And less original ones…
  10. 10. Why Make Games?
  11. 11. Why Make Games? MMoottiivvaattiioonn
  12. 12. But there are lesser known rewards
  13. 13. Pigs picture
  14. 14. Thats Awesome!
  15. 15. Thats Awesome!
  16. 16. THATS AWESOME
  17. 17. A scientist contacting us for the flocking algorithm he saw in our game, because he is working tiny robots that enter the human body and that need to be controlled like a flock. THATS AWESOME
  18. 18. Thats Awesome!
  19. 19. #1Connect with your users
  20. 20. #2Prototype Or Fail Often
  21. 21. 1. Make a Quick Prototype. Strip out anything but the absolute essentials that make it fun. No special graphics either, nothing.
  22. 22. 1. Make a Quick Prototype. Strip out anything but the absolute essentials that make it fun. No special graphics either, nothing. 2. Give it to someone. Observe them, is it as good as in your mind? Do they think it’s fun? No?
  23. 23. 1. Make a Quick Prototype. Strip out anything but the absolute essentials that make it fun. No special graphics either, nothing. 2. Give it to someone. Observe them, is it as good as in your mind? Do they think it’s fun? No? 3. Throw away your idea. Work on something else. This is essential for all parts of the process. If it sucks, throw it out.
  24. 24. 4.Don’t expect everyone to share your vision from day one.
  25. 25. YEAH ITS A LOT OF FUN BUT… IT’S LIKE TETRIS IN BLACK & WHITE WITH BALLS.
  26. 26. What did she really say?
  27. 27. YEAH ITS A LOT OF FUN BUT… IT’S LIKE TETRIS IN BLACK & WHITE WITH BALLS.
  28. 28. #3 First time Experience
  29. 29. Why?
  30. 30. Why? How do you use apps?
  31. 31. Why? How do you use apps?
  32. 32. Why? 50% How do you use apps? 1 day Retention
  33. 33. Why? 50% 33% How do you use apps? 1 day Retention 7 day Retention
  34. 34. Why? 50% 33% 8% How do you use apps? 1 day Retention 7 day Retention 30 day Retention
  35. 35. 100 Levels
  36. 36. 10 Levels
  37. 37. #4 Tutorials Or Show, don’t tell
  38. 38. 1. Show Don’t Tell Tutorials should be noticed as such
  39. 39. Teach the user seamlessly through your level design
  40. 40. Teach controls in a safe environment
  41. 41. Introduce each new challenge or obstacle in a controlled environment… … where you can learn without immediately dying.
  42. 42. Too hard Boring
  43. 43. Too hard A fun Challenge Boring
  44. 44. Too hard A fun Challenge Boring
  45. 45. 2. Create smart levels - or why your game should be as smart as a dog.
  46. 46. #5 Branding
  47. 47. Especially indie developers should make use of this.
  48. 48. Are you making more than one game?
  49. 49. Your games need a posse.
  50. 50. Make use of these branding rules:
  51. 51. Make use of these branding rules: 1. Brand the icons (findability)
  52. 52. Make use of these branding rules: 2. Brand the names (findability) If one game is successful and its called • Crazy Grandma in the jungle or • MiniApps - The Race All games will show up in the search results.
  53. 53. Make use of these branding rules: 3. Cross-promote your other games If you’ve gotten one user, and he played your game - make your own in-game ads for your other games. It can even be tied to achievements even.
  54. 54. Make use of these branding rules: 4. Brand quality & visual style When you brand something there is a expectation involved when people download a second app. Make sure that the visual style + level of quality are comparable / consistent.
  55. 55. #6 Know your Game Or Not all Success looks the same.
  56. 56. Know your audience Is your game targeted at China?
  57. 57. Know your audience Are you making a gap-filler game?
  58. 58. Know your audience A game for kids?
  59. 59. Know your audience A game for middle aged women?
  60. 60. Summary #1 Connect with your users #2 Prototype - Fail often #3 First time experience #4 Tutorials - Show don’t tell #5 Branding #6 Know your game
  61. 61. Thank you

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