Clash of Clans has been dominating the app store of both android and iOS?because of its smart implementation of the free-to-play model which ultimately enabled?COC?to b a part of people’s?daily lives since the game came out for the iOS in August 2012. Gamers who have installed COC in their mobile devices has made the?game?a part of their?daily routine as they frequently scampered to check their base for loot as well as to attack enemies in Clan Wars. The secrets to how developer Supercell has made their game successful??was revealed by COC Server Programmer Jonas Collaros at?the 2015?Game Developers Conference (GDC).
Collaros talked about the roots of the game on how it was initially made by roughly six people, to how they set their priorities towards improving the game to earn the success Supercell now enjoys. Collaros also revealed the scrapped features from the game that hindered players from enjoying it as well as how they also try to improve their game.?He also revealed Supercell’s principle in making the game and?debunked notions that their company was born out of greed that continues to prey on?people’s wallets.
?They took this game into their daily lives and it?s our job to sort of continuously earn that position,? he told attendees at GDC 2015.
Clash of Clans Update: Designing Games That People Will Play For Years
?I fundamentally believe that this long-term game experience is what defines this modern phenomenon of mobile everyday entertainment,? Collaros humbly but confidently quipped as he has been working for Supercell for two years already. ?In a real way, people are looking for games to bring into their daily lives.?
Collaros said game developers should aim for releasing a game that they will continuously improve over the years as people want to play something that they are excited to go back to everyday.??Let us not misunderstand this modern phenomenon of mobile everyday entertainment as a sort of fleeting and fickle world of users constantly flipping through the latest app, the latest game, the hottest game.?
Focus On Core Gameplay First, Dynamic Design Is Essential
Collaros revealed that the entirety of the time they spent on the early stages of the game?s development was focusing on making a solid core gameplay. They didn?t think then of how they wanted to expand the game, hence, it took a whole year for Supercell to release new troops (Minion, Hog Rider, and Valkyrie) and two years for them to introduce the Clan Wars feature.
The latest available troop, the Lava Hound, took a whole year for the devs to make before implementing into the game as they wanted to improve existing features first, he said.
He says that developers need to take the game experience as a whole and use a dynamic design in improving the game. He said that developers must expand it ?in smart ways that matter to the players.?
?If you don?t appreciate the way the game experience needs to grow and breathe over time, I find it unlikely that people are gonna play it for years.?
This was referenced by the implementation of Replays in COC as this helps players determine how to better improve their defenses and they can also use this to replicate the strategies of other players. The Troop Death was also initially implemented before which resulted in all of a player?s troop perishing when an attacker destroys an army camp.
?It was such a big roadblock to enjoying this core game experience?? He said this?hindrance was?removed by the developers as they were guided by their focus on the core gameplay.
Supercell looks to be on-track of their vision as the latest COC update introduced new features along with a free gem-boost update for a whole week. Of course, trumping above the competition is still achievable with the proper COC tricks and tips.
Reason Why COC Wasn?t Immediately Available for Android and Across Asia
The game was exclusively available for iOS and was unavailable across Asia for an entire year because they wanted to make the core gameplay experience ?as solid as it could possibly be? and make sure that players would continuously play the game in the long-term. This was more important than immediately jumping into more platforms and more regions.
?The number one goal was making sure there was a long term game experience ahead of the players, it was ensuring this long life of gameplay.? He said this was achieved by adding new troops and upgrades for players to use.
He stressed however that the core game play experience must first be strengthened before the devs expand their game.
Devs Played Though The First Town Halls Hundreds Of Times
He said that the COC developers have no control on the user reception of the players, thus, they themselves needed to play the game numerous times to personally experience the quality of the game.
?What you have control over as a game development team at the beginning is the quality of the game experience and the way the clash of clans team approached this was just playing the game. Playing it over and over, finding things to improve and playing it some more. Some of the original developers of the clash team that I talked with admitted to playing though the first levels of clash of clans hundreds of times.?
Freedom to Focus
Supercell was able to craft a great core experience because they had roughly 6 people in the early development of the game, and now with only roughly 13 people. He said this was beneficial to them as it gave them the freedom to translate their vision of a great game.
?When you have a very small group of experienced developers, who are very passionate about making a successful game, and you give them the freedom to develop the game as they see fit, you are giving them the freedom to focus on the game as they see fit.?
This was also important as they themselves needed to internalize that the game they were making was good before they release it to the public.
Monetization Is Their Least Priority, Pressure Comes From Players
Clash of Clans is one of the biggest earning mobile games in history as the game enabled Supercell to earn $892 million in 2013 and is now making $5 million in revenue each day, Air Herald and Forbes reported. Despite their feat in earning money through their freemium model, monetization was never the priority of Supercell, Collaros said.
Collaros said every game company needs to factor-in monetization in order for them to reap profit to their games. However, he reveals that monetization was the least priority of their company. This is because they wanted to cater first towards improving the game for the players so they will continue to patronize the game.
?Its never been market pressure or pressure from within the company, its always been trying to keep-up with what they want.?
This focus can be seen on why Supercell never made players pay for new content such as Clan Wars and new troops and upgrades. They felt that these features were necessary as they saw it as an important element of the game that helps contribute towards the overall enjoyment of players in COC.
?Monetization is a factor of your game design. Monetization is not the purpose of your game design. If any of us falls into the trap of thinking that monetization is the purpose of our game design, then we fail as a game designer.?
The Clash of Clans GDC Conference was held this March 2015. The video of the presentation was only uploaded this August 5. You can watch the whole presentation below.
The GDC Vault offers free videos that can help aspiring video game developers. According to GDC, their event is the largest professional-only game industry event in the world which attracts over 24,000 attendees.
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