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Overview of the Casual Games Space with a focus on the needs of developers. Ivan Tkachenko Vice President of Production Nikitova Games / Kenjitsu. Nikitova: Outsourcing. 6 years of experience 5 offices Chicago, LA, Kiev, St Petersburg, Dnepropetrovsk 3 dev teams

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overview of the casual games space with a focus on the needs of developers

Overview of the Casual Games Space with a focus on the needs of developers.

Ivan TkachenkoVice President of Production Nikitova Games / Kenjitsu

nikitova outsourcing
Nikitova: Outsourcing
  • 6 years of experience
  • 5 offices
    • Chicago, LA, Kiev, St Petersburg, Dnepropetrovsk
  • 3 dev teams
    • Kiev, Ukraine; St Petersburg, Russia; Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine
  • 250+ employees
nikitova casual games projects
Nikitova: Casual Games Projects
  • Wild Tangent
    • Fire Fly
    • Polar Golfer
    • Polar Bowler
    • Shrek 2 Ogre Bowler
  • Big Fish
    • Mystery Case Files
  • Anarchy Enterprises
    • NDA Project
nikitova casual games development service
Nikitova: Casual Games Development Service
  • Full game development
  • Development of Game Design Document
  • Art creation
    • Characters
    • Levels
    • Special Effects
  • Programming
    • C++
    • Java
    • Flash, Director
  • Porting to alternate platforms
developer s goals
Developer's Goals
  • Make hits (top 10)
  • Own popular IP
  • Increase revenue
  • No excess in value chain
scope of work what developer needs to reach his goals
Scope of work: What developer needs to reach his goals
  • Management
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Production
  • Infrastructure and artefacts
  • Postproduction
management
Management
  • Project management
  • QA Manager
  • Lawyer
project management
Budget

Typically produced for approximately $50,000 to $200,000 USD

Small Team

Roles overlapping

1 person plays a number of roles

Number of projects go simultaneously

Planning / Tracking

Meetings

Coordination

Communications

Reporting to stakeholders

Conventions

Project management
qa manager
QA Manager
  • Test Plan
    • Looking for bugs
    • Compatibility testing
    • User Surveys
    • Usability testing
    • Focus Groups
    • Play balancing
    • Linguistic and Functionality Testing
sales marketing
Sales & Marketing
  • Research
  • Pitch
  • Negotiations
research
Research
  • What is your Target Audience?
  • Who are your publishers?
  • Game mechanics
  • Setting
  • Art Style
pitch
Pitch
  • Look and feel
    • Prototype?
  • More pictures
  • Key Selling features
  • Short description instead of GDD
negotiations
Negotiations
  • IP holder
  • Type of contract
    • Publisher
    • Self-publishing
    • Work-for-Hire
  • Funding
    • Share Risks
    • Give up rights
production
Production
  • Stages
  • Team involvement
  • Technologies
  • Processes
stages
Stages
  • Concept
  • Prototype
  • Alpha
  • Test
  • Beta
  • Test
  • Gold
team involvement
Team involvement
  • Art
  • Programming
  • Game design
  • Management & QA
  • Sound
slide17
Art
  • 20-45% of budget
  • Art Director
    • Style
    • Light
    • Color
    • FX
  • Outsource
    • Sketches
programming
Programming
  • 20-25% of budget
  • Lead programmer
    • Architecture
    • Flexibility
    • Handles
    • Tools
  • Outsource
    • Prototype - No re-using
    • GDD
    • TDD
game design
Game design
  • 20-25% game design / narrative / script
  • Idea
  • Producer
  • Game Designer
  • Game mechanics
  • Key Design elements
  • Outsource
slide20
Idea
  • Reference analysis
  • Thinking Organization
    • Number of people
    • Brain storm
    • MindMaps
  • More Ideas - wider choice
  • Test you choice
producer
Producer
  • Is it fun enough?
  • Creative opposition to PM
  • Marketing support
game designer
Game Designer
  • GDD
  • Levels
  • Balancing
  • Explaining features on production stage
game mechanics
Game mechanics
  • Matching Games
  • Chain Popper
  • Find Subsets
  • Shape Manipulation
  • System Management
  • Breakout Variants
  • Casual Sports Games
  • Card & Parlor Games
  • Other Arcade Variants
key design elements
Key Design elements
  • Simple and Meaningful Play with Transparent Rules
  • User Interaction
  • Depth & Complexity
  • Rewarding Players
  • Showing Progress
  • Forgiving Game Play
    • No stress
  • Visuals and Themes
  • Narrative and Characters
  • Using Sound and Interactive Audio to Enhance Gameplay
outsource
Outsource
  • GDD
  • First phase of outsourcing full title
management qa
Management & QA
  • 15-20% of budget
  • Project Manager
  • QA team
sound
Sound
  • 1-10% of budget
  • Outsource
    • Sounds list
    • Music list
    • References list
    • Playable demo with Handles
technologies
Technologies
  • Engines an Framework
    • Director
    • Flash
    • Torque
    • HGE
    • Popcap Framework
  • Web + PC + Mac
  • Network
    • Community based and multiplayer casual games.
processes
Processes
  • Small Team
  • Small Budget
  • Agile method
infrastructure and artifacts
Infrastructure and artifacts
  • CVS
  • Feature & defect tracker
  • Art asset management
  • Project Plan
slide31
CVS
  • Documentation
    • GDD
    • TDD
    • WIKI
  • Code
  • Graphics
  • Variants
    • CVS
    • AlienBrain
    • Perforce
feature defect tracker
Feature & defect tracker
  • Test Track
  • Bugzilla
  • OnTime
art asset management
Art asset management
  • AlienBrain
  • Perforce
  • Art Tracking Tools
project plan
Project Plan
  • Microsoft Project
  • Tracker
postproduction
Postproduction
  • Porting to alternate platforms
  • Localization
  • Support
porting to alternate platforms
Porting to alternate platforms
  • Open own division
  • Outsource to porting house
open own division
Open own division
  • Long term
  • Experience
  • Risky
outsource to porting house
Outsource to porting house
  • Short term
  • Nikitova Mobile
nikitova mobile
Nikitova Mobile
  • Nikitova Mobowise
    • Service
    • Product
localization
Localization
  • Plan at preproduction phase
  • German, Japanise