Tips and Advice

Guest Post, Open Source, Tips and Advice

In this tutorial, we will look at ways to upgrade SOOMLA packages.

Case: You get an email from your friend “Hey, there’s a new feature in the SOOMLA module. It’s available and supports Windows phone too. Upgrade it in your existing project to use the new features.”

You are really excited and want to upgrade your existing project to the newest version immediately! You open up your project and see lots of project files wandering around and feel confused. You ask yourself, “how the heck will I update this?”

Now, your main objectives to overcome:

  • Update SOOMLA modules to newest release
  • Update it without losing any connectivity or files

So, let’s begin:

There are two ways to update SOOMLA modules:

  1. Manually
  2. Automation

Manually for smaller projects

Step 1: Select soomla files

Step 2: Right Click and press delete

Durvish1

Step 3: Press “Delete.”

Durvish2

Step 4: Download and import new package.

Manually for larger projects*:

* If your project is larger, then you may have a lot of other files in the “Plugins” folder which may result in confusion over which files are related to SOOMLA.

The easier workaround is, open a new SOOMLA project while the current project is still open. Import the respective SOOMLA package and wait for the “Importing package” screen to appear.

Durvish3

Now, cross check which files are related to SOOMLA and delete those files.

Auto process for large and small projects:

I was looking for better options over manually adjusting everything which uninstalls the assets auto. After quite a bit of searching, I came across Package Uninstaller, which helps uninstall any package without having to fear of deleting wrong files.

Let’s see how to use this package to upgrade our SOOMLA modules.

Step 1: Download and import Package Uninstaller.

Step 2: To uninstall, go to Assets > Package Uninstaller

Durvish4

Step 3 : Select SOOMLA’s .unitypackage from explorer.

exploer

Step 4: Click uninstall.

Step 5: Press “Yes Do it” and the uninstalling package process will start.

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Step 6: Download latest SOOMLA module and import.

This is how you can upgrade your existing SOOMLA package to the newest version.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below. Also, if you’d like other tutorials on similar topics let us know or visit my blog Game Development Secrets

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Game Design, Guest Post, Tips and Advice

soomla-blog-post-image

The app market has undergone significant changes in the last few years. Gone are the days where users fork over even 99 cents to install an app. In the current mobile monetization ecosystem, developers offer free apps and still generate significant revenue. In fact, free apps tend to maintain a more profitable monetization strategy with in-app purchases and mobile advertisements. Developers can deploy multiple monetization methods simultaneously, ensuring more profit and improving the  user experience- especially in gaming apps. Here are a few effective methods top gaming developers use to monetize engaged users in their free apps.
 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Induce Motivation: Play Hard to Get

Candy Crush implements drastic limits on users’ playtime to drive in-app purchases and app promotion. In America’s top-grossing app, users only get five lives at a time, blocking them from playing any further unless they progress to the next level. The time management method has become one of the pillars of mobile monetization. This approach might seem obvious, but before King implemented it in Candy Crush, the app industry didn’t fully comprehend how heavily it would drive in-app sales. The 30-minute “time-out” devilishly manipulates the brain into wanting, nay needing! more play time, especially if the user is having a hard time beating a level.

They can, of course, buy more lives or get a Facebook friend to grant them some; both options contribute to Candy Crush’s monetization and distribution success. The mandatory abstention will drive users to spend on in-app purchases or promote the app to a friend on Facebook, all for the sake of accelerating game progression. Supersonic - Soomla blog post 1

Encourage Loyalty: Make in-app Purchases Valuable

The key to success for developers with the freemium business model is to make virtual items valuable and necessary for the user. The popular strategic game of Clash of Clans does this remarkably well. Players are given a plot of land on which they build a village, train troops and attack other players to earn gold and elixir. They start with an abundance of resources which eases them into the game and allows them to start developing their plot of land. This gives the user a sense of instant gratification because they can unreservedly buy and upgrade virtual items.  But soon enough, resources run out and upgrades become expensive. Assignments become harder, updates take longer but their determination does not falter- in fact the more time users invest in the game, the more likely they’ll cough up the mere $4.99 to acquire 500 gems or a new builder to speed up their in-game achievements. Studies also show that once a user spends real life money on the game, they’re bound to do it again. In fact, the average time lapse between the first and second purchase is just an hour and forty minutes. An engaged user will clearly spend some real life currency to speed up his game success as Clash of Clans boasts an average of $36.99 per user on in-app purchases!

From Premium to Freemium: Reward Your Users

The future of mobile monetization clearly lies in ad-supported models. While the majority of users forgo in-app purchases, rewarded ad formats provide the ultimate solution to monetizing all users. According to recent studies, these creative ad units also improve user experience and retention. Rewarded ad formats are proving to be a new, lucrative category of mobile advertisement. Incentivized ads like the offerwall or mobile video awards users with virtual items or unlocks premium app features in exchange for the user’s’ interaction with ads. For example Epic Skater, a free skating game, implements both the rewarded video and the offerwall in the app to reward users with virtual currency.

Users simply watch a video or complete an offer to obtain free coins. These coins can be used to buy virtual items that enhance the user’s game, ie. speed upgrades, new outfits, cool boards or energy drinks. This monetization model allows a developer to incorporate an additional stream of revenue from ads without potentially intruding on the user’s experience. If you’re looking into this monetization strategy, choose an ad network that offers instant play HD videos, global fill rates and localized offerwalls to ensure high completion rates and competitive eCPMs.

Supersonic - Soomla blog post

Users won’t pay for something they can get for free. If we’re being honest, I wouldn’t either! A free app needs to purposely add to its value. Building a profitable mobile game starts with the early adoption of an original, effective monetization strategy. This is how Candy Crush, Clash of Clans and Epic Skater made it big- now you can too! Implementing just one of these monetization methods will enhance your game overall and provide your app with the necessary components to promote its success.

As part of SOOMLA’s partnership with Supersonic, a leading mobile advertising network, you can now discover rewarded ad formats and receive $100 bonus to advertise on their platform. Click here to redeem this exclusive offer!

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Game Design, Game Reviews, Open Source, Tips and Advice

 SurfBot and Jake
Subway Surfers – A Familiar Game With No Killer Monkeys

Subway Surfers is an endless runner type game produced by the Danish development company, Kiloo. The game features Jake, a young mischievous kid that is running away from law enforcement. The game has impressive graphics, a wide selection of character options, and is quite addicting – perfect for those who want to pass the time.

Kiloo Should Ride the SOOMLA Subway

Subway Surfers includes all the features that are provided by SOOMLA’s LevelUp, Profile, and Store. These features are clearly seen through missions (LevelUp), Facebook connectivity (Profile), and the in-game store (Store).

Bottom line, Subway Surfers could have utilized SOOMLA’s open source SDK, saved some cash, time, participated in the ever-growing SOOMLA community, and still reached the 15 million downloads on Google Play. Developers don’t need large budgets to take care of the nitty gritty of creating a game – once again, open-source is the way to go. Still have doubts? Let’s take an in-depth view of Subway Surfers and how SOOMLA could have provided the resources to create features used in the game.

Subway Surfers Missions

MissionsMissions in Subway Surfers is a perfect place for SOOMLA’s LevelUp SDK. LevelUp provides developers the opportunity to make life easy when creating tasks, levels, missions, and the sequential movement from one level to the next in a game. Specifically for Subway Surfers, each goal such as “Collect 200 coins” or “Jump 20 times” is an example of a gate, a condition that must be met in order to move to a new level, or in the case of Subway Surfers, for a new “mission” to be unlocked. When a “mission” is completed the user will receive a reward. A reward can be any virtual item including a Single Use or Life Time Good – in the case of the mission displayed here the reward would be a x3 Score Multiplier – a Life Time Good.

Depending on the goals of the developer, there are multiple ways to implement LevelUp. Here is a chart illustrating one way a developer can choose to design a functionality like the one used for Subway Surfers missions.

LevelUp

Even though the name LevelUp may imply that a game must have multiple levels, LevelUp is still relevant to games such as Subway Surfers that seem to have only one level and world. The use of multiple missions makes Subway Surfers a perfect candidate for LevelUp. The missions on Subway Surfers become more difficult as the game is played because trains move faster and more obstacles obstruct Jake’s path. SOOMLA’s SDK could be effectively applied in Subway Surfers. More information on LevelUp can be found in SOOMLA’s Knowledge Base.

Surfing the Store

Many games monetize through in-app purchases and Subway Surfers is no exception. It therefore requires a virtual store in the game. Subway Surfer’s store works the same as any store using the SOOMLA SDK.

Many developers using SOOMLA will recognize this diagram for SOOMLA Store.
Economy ModelLet’s take a look as to how this relates to Subway Surfers.

First, we have Currency – the primary currency in Subway Surfers are Coins; however since both Coins and Keys can be purchased from the market with real life money, and because they can both be used to purchase goods, we will consider the currency both Coins and Keys.

Coins and Keys

Coins are collected throughout the game and can purchase Characters, Boards, Mystery Boxes, Score Boosts, Mega Headstarts, Skip Missions and Upgrades.

Each of these goods fall into different categories in the SOOMLA Economy Model.Single Use Goods

Characters can be classified as Lifetime Goods – once purchased they belong to the user forever. Boards, Mystery Boxes, Score Boosts, Mega Headstarts, and Skip Missions would fall under Single Use Goods – goods that can only be used once.

Upgrades, as implied by the name, are Upgradeable Goods or goods that can be improved for a cost. In Subway Surfers, users can upgrade Jetpacks, Super Sneakers, Magnets, and 2x Multipliers.

Upgradeable Goods

Keys are more difficult to find in the game and can purchase other goods such as “Save Me”s and Outfits for the characters. A Save Me is a Single Use Good. Once it is purchased and used, it is gone. Outfits are Equippable Goods because characters can be equipped and wear them.

Facebook Connectivity

Facebook Connectivity At 11 million likes on Facebook, Subway Surfers has a substantial amount of social media users connecting their profile to the game. Seeing where your score falls in comparison to those of your friends definitely adds a solid sense of competition – a quality that makes Subway Surfers that much more addicting.

With the use of SOOMLA Profile, users are able to share their progress in the game, showoff specific benchmarks, like the game on Facebook and even see which of their friends is playing the game. For select studios, we even offer leaderboard options. The Profile SDK can also connect your game to Twitter and Google.

Surfs Up

All of SOOMLA’s SDKs work well with each other, so connecting a user to a social media account can be used to reward a user, unlock a gate, access an exclusive feature and so on. Moreover, a purchase from a store can unlock a mission or open a gate. When you integrate SOOMLA, you’ll save time and create the game you’ve been dreaming of.

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Tips and Advice

For years now I’ve been in a position where I could employ people. At my current job (Soomla), as well as a few previous ones, I have had the honour (and the pleasure) of interviewing and employing people – and even though that means taking the time I’d usually spend coding, I have found great joy in talking to other engineers.interview featured image

Based on this first-hand experience I understand that many software engineers have close to zero clue how to write a CV and don’t even fully understand the purpose of one in the first place.

This obviously reflects my personal experience from the Israeli tech scene – your experience elsewhere in the world (Silicon Valley or London, for example) might differ completely.

I don’t know why this is so, but I’m guessing you either haven’t been taught how to write a CV, or you have poor soft skills and are generally incompetent in writing a stunning CV. You may have never seen other CVs, so it’s hard for you to distinguish a lousy one from a great one, or you can make a good CV, but you’re simply not good enough to make your CV stand out from the masses.

Worst case scenario (and tragically – a very frequent one) – you have no clue why you need a CV in the first place.

Why you need a CV

The whole point of the CV is for you to get invited for an interview – that’s it. If your CV lands you a phone call or an interview invitation, you did well. If you send a dozen of applications and don’t get a single call back, you need to up your CV game.

Getting invited for an interview is your chance to shine. First impressions don’t get second chances, and your CV is your first impression. That is something you must always keep in mind when writing your resume. Also, keep in mind that all of that must be done with words only.

After reading dozens of resumes, I find it odd how people simply can’t get it right. That’s why I decided to lay down a couple of tips on what to do and what to avoid when writing a CV.

What to do:

Cover letter / Letter of intent

You can either start your resume with a cover letter, or attach it as a separate document. In it you should write why you decided to apply to that particular company, and show the employer what kind of position you’re looking for. It’s important because it shows character, and as you will see below – basically everything revolves around character.

Describe your previous jobs in great detail and specifics

The only way for the reader of your CV to understand what experienced you truly have is if you are specific in your description. Don’t fear you’ll bore your potential employer by going into details on what you did before. Being too vague about it is what bores people, as it is hard for them to understand what you did and they can’t relate to it. Ditch the diplomatic language and hit the topic straight on the head.  Note that when I say details I don’t mean going into extreme length, but rather focusing on exactly what you did on the job.

"You listed 'honesty' as a skill in your resume. I don't think that's a skill. - "I don't care what you think".

“You listed ‘honesty’ as a skill in your resume. I don’t think that’s a skill. – “I don’t care what you think”.

For example: Developed a large scale project as part of a client-server platform while incorporating high load database interaction.  Participated in the lifecycle of the product from inception to launch. This is disastrous as it tells the employer nothing about you, the project you worked on and the company you worked for. Remember: Character.

Instead, go for something like this: Worked on the company’s advertising portal as a web application engineer in a team of 4.  Built several web-apps from scratch using a Ruby-on-Rails + MySQL + Redis + EC2 stack, while scaling one of them to 50MM users.

Give examples

Whatever you do, people like to see you do it. If you’re a coder, that makes your job that much easier, as you can show people your code in action. Whatever you did, programmed a website or an app – show it. Make sure you add your Github account, as well.

Don’t hide your social media

Any decent employer will Google you anyway, so you should make sure they have something to look at when they’re there. Beef up your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn profiles. Keep them updated, nice and clean.

Hobbies

Remember: Character. Nobody likes working with a bookworm who can’t take a joke or crack one in the office. You’re not drones and you’re not slaves. If you don’t show character you’re doomed, and what better way to show character than to present the things you do in your free time. That can be anything from playing an instrument to hiking, to whatever, it really doesn’t matter – as long as you do something besides work.

Compare CVs

Search for “software engineer resumes” and casually see what other people’s CVs look like. Also, have a friend look at your CV and give you some helpful feedback. If you have a CEO among friends, that’s even better.

CV Graphic Design

It’s very easy nowadays to get your CV designed properly.  All you need to do is give your CV to a freelance designer to give it some touch.  This can be done for as cheap as 5 dollars with the help of online marketplaces like Fiverr.  Consider throwing in a small thumbnail image of yourself.  Remember, you’re not designing a museum, just giving your CV a touch of color and novelty with a professional hand’s help.  Totally worth it.

What not to do:

TL;DR

War and Peace. Have you read it? Most likely not, it’s 1,456 pages long. Nobody likes a wall of text. Keep your CV within a single page. If the CV needs adjusting for a specific position, don’t be afraid to craft one especially for that application. Keep only the relevant info and ditch the rest.

Seven years in Tibet

Nobody cares what you did in primary school, or how you volunteered fifteen years ago in a local supermarket. You should only list activities that are directly linked to the position you’re applying for and in reversed chronological order. I want to know what you did three months ago, not ten years ago.

Keep it clean

Seeing Word Art makes me want to vomit. Seriously, if you’re applying makeup to your CV, you’re doing everything wrong. Keep it clean, minimalistic and concise. Don’t use tables, and for the love of God, don’t use a bordered table with rows per each work place.

Sometimes, employers go through tons of CVs every day, it gets tiring very fast. Before they even know it, they’re not reading CVs, they’re simply scanning through them. Put those eyes at comfort. The employer isn’t always aware of this, but I can definitely testify that when I get a nicely laid out CV, I give that candidate some extra points without even noticing.

Avoid mentioning general skills

Like I said earlier, keep it short and sweet. Use only relevant information. Show character. Writing that you know JSON and XML will only ring the bull*** alarm in my head. Everyone works with these formats today, and there’s absolutely nothing special about knowing them. It’s like saying you know how to use Gmail.

And that’s basically it. From what I’ve learned, people who have a good CV usually do well in interviews too. Also, make sure you stick to what you wrote in your CV. If you claim to know Java, you better know Java, otherwise you’ll be looking at the door fast.

Employers won’t ask you random questions – their questions will revolve around what you wrote in your resume and what they found on your online accounts.

And don’t forget – show character!

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Startup Tips, Tips and Advice

The first time you get on a marketing call with any prospect, competitor or potential business partner might be somewhat intimidating for some people.  I recently hBlog-Post-Meme-First-Marketing-Callad a first such call and found that it required certain preparations to increase my confidence.  I’m not referring to sales calls or to cold-calling, but to a pre-scheduled call with another party that you want to learn about.  If it’s your first call on the job, or your first encounter with a new party, here are some tips that will help you steer your way through the call successfully:

Plan Your Goals

Or, in other words, start from the end.  What do you want to accomplish from this call?  What, in your opinion, would be deemed a successful call, and what would be considered a mediocre result?  What assessments or learnings would you like to come out of the call with?  What key numbers or statistics would you like to know from the other side?  If you ask yourself these questions beforehand, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to talk about and where to lead the discussion.

Set a Discussion Framework

Usually when you get on a call with another marketing/biz-dev person and you’re past the hellos and intros, you want to take the lead and layout in several points the main things you’d like to discuss.  Imagine this as a short table of contents – just like you’d expect to have a TOC for long articles in Wikipedia.  This sets a framework for both sides, a mini agreement if you may, of the call’s agenda.  It clears the smoke and helps the other side get a clear idea of what to expect from the call, and it also puts the reigns in your hands for initiating the framework.  Another valuable effect of setting the discussion framework is that it nonverbally emphasizes that this call has a time boundary.  The person you’re talking to is just as busy as you, and neither of you want to get caught in an endless conversation.  Here’s a rather simple example –

“What I’d like us to do today is to discuss your company’s product – X.  I suggest you start by presenting yourself and <your company>, I’ll follow and tell about <our company>.  Then we can discuss what plans you guys have for X during 2015, and we can talk about some mutual opportunities there.  I’ll elaborate about our new initiative Y and how it’s relevant for your company, and we can wrap up by talking about some ideas for reciprocal content publishing.”

Present Yourself and Your Company

Since we’re in a first-time contact with the other party, it’s only curtious and fair to the other party’s satisfaction that you present yourself and your company.  This isn’t exactly an elevator pitch, you do have more than 30 seconds, but don’t make it too long.  I’ve learned that people (including myself) have an easier time digesting numbers and names rather than understanding exactly what your product does and what technologies you use.  So assuming that your company and the other party are operating in the same industry and share the same “lingua franca,” there’s no real need in to dive into details.  Here are some bullets I usually use for presenting:

  • SOOMLA was founded in 2012.
  • We’re an open source company – all of our code is freely available on Github.
  • We have 500 multi-game studios and more than 4000 live games using our open source framework.
  • We’ve raised $1.4M till date and are raising another round these days.
  • Some notable publishers using our technology are Disney, Sega, Gumi, Chillingo and Kabam.
  • We’re a team of 7 strong and growing.

Let The Other Side Talk

This is actually basics of human psychology more than it is marketing.  People like to talk.  People especially like to talk about themselves and their work.  You should be generous and give the other person significant time to talk about themselves in order to build trust and to let them feel comfortable in the discussion.  As the conversation develops, you can support this by asking more “door-opening” questions to new subjects the other side is eager to talk about.  An interesting thing that happens many times is that the person you’re talking to will disclose more information than what you thought would be accessible to. This is great because new learnings are being achieved serendipitously.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Consider that one of your goals from a marketing oriented call is information discovery.  If you’ve planned the call’s goals, then you should know which key learnings you’d like to uncover, and this should drive what questions you ask and how.  When you pose open ended questions, you’re empowering the other side to choose how they want to answer your question.  What this technique does is usually gets the person you’re talking with to answer with much more detailed responses than asked, which can open new “threads” to the conversation.  An open question also avoids falling into the selection bias trap.  What I mean is that you don’t offer the other side both the question and the possible answers.  What you really want to learn about is the answers you didn’t even think of.  An example of an open-ended question could be:

“So tell me, what are your goals for project X in 2015?”

Offer Shared Initiatives

Eventually, you’d like to take action with the other party in a way that creates value for both sides.  Many of these initiatives can be from content marketing.  Some things that come to mind are guest blog posts, shared articles and hosted webinars that show how to use both companies’ products together.

Keep Things Cool

People will remember you for the best if you were nice to them.  Make sure to be polite and friendly during the call.  Consider preparing some icebreakers before the call as well.  Check up on the person you’re calling in social media, learn where he or she is from and what they like to do.  It’s always useful to be able to spark up some small talk about any common interests when you first get on the call.  Having backpacked in a lot of countries, I personally find that praising peoples’ hometown or country and sharing my experience there a nice icebreaker.

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Resource, Tech Resources, Tips and Advice

Over the last few months, we’ve been conducting interviews for various positions and it’s been difficult. Exceptional engineers are hard to come binterview handshake_shadey. So between mobile game reviews and other technical posts, I wanted to take a moment and point out some do’s and don’ts for all you smart candidates out there:

Don’t Over Sell Yourself!

Sell yourself. Of course. But be careful, over selling yourself will lead to people not assessing your character and expertise correctly, which isn’t good.  This is bad not only for the hiring company, but also for you, as the candidate. A wrong perception of who you are may cause you to:

  • … be assigned to a position that doesn’t fit your knowledge.
  • … work in a company that doesn’t fit your character.
  • … be assigned a position that you don’t want.
  • … not get the job by seeming arrogant or sometimes over qualified.

What does over selling yourself look like?

I’m not saying that candidates are lying. If I had a feeling a candidate was lying to me then, of course, I wouldn’t want to work with him. I’m talking about candidates that create an image of someone they aren’t just to get the position. When you create a wrong image, you:

  • … say you know how to do something that you actually don’t.
  • … say you know how to do something that you’re actually just 20% experienced in.
  • … will try to put on a show and act like somebody you’re not. (If you’re not a loving & caring person, don’t try to be)
  • … will try to answer questions you weren’t asked, thinking it will impress your interviewer.
  • … will try to correct your interviewer and be wrong about it. (Oh god that’s a turn off 🙂 )

How To Not Over Sell Yourself

The evident result of over selling yourself is that you will very quickly be back on the market. And that’s if people in the company you joined really care about you. Smart managers know when a new candidate isn’t right and can recognize when they’ve hired the wrong person. Therefore, the best thing is for both sides to say goodbye nicely. It becomes even harder for managers to do this when they know they took the candidate from a previous workplace, but still the smart thing to do is part ways.

In order not to over sell yourself in an interview, think how you can help your interviewer. The guy sitting across from you asking questions and assessing your abilities is not there to fail you. He’s there to actually hire you. Give him the right reasons to hire you and not just reasons to hire you. Ask your interviewer: “What do you need?” and see if you fit that description. If the description is not clear enough, ask him to rephrase and make sure you have a clear understanding of the requirements and that they apply to you.

Another smart thing to do in an interview, is stay humble. Be patient, calm and answer what you’re asked. Don’t try to show how smart you are, if you’re smart it’ll be shown.

So stay focused, answer every question you’re asked and make sure you’re the right man for the job. The goal is not to win the interview, but to win the position that fits you most.

Good Luck!!!
🙂

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Tips and Advice, Unity

(1200x600) Top 10 Unity Social

More and more remarkable social networks for games are rising, offering a great variety of features to help developers maximize the revenue of their game by increasing retention, engagement and virality. Yet, most of us only know about Facebook.
To make it easier, we have created a list reviewing 10 Unity SDKs and their features:

facebook-logoimage-facebook-logopng-moshi-monsters-wiki-dmua0wep1

Platforms: iOS, Android, Web Built-in Facebook Connect: Yes
Plug-ins Support: All Example Game: Candy Crush Saga
Known Model: Free Offers Monetization: Using FB ad network
Key Features: Facebook connect, share, invite, requests White Labeled: Yes

Download Facebook Unity SDK

NP_LOGO_BACKGROUND_400

Platforms: iOS, Android Built-in Facebook Connect: Yes
Plug-ins Support: Unity, Cocos2d-x, LibGdx, ANE, GameMaker Example Game: Safari Party
Known Model: Free (ads) Offers Monetization: Select developers
Key Features: Facebook connect , friend invitation via Twitter / Whatsapp / iMessage / Hangout and more, chat & messages, sync / async challenges, stream, multiplayer, adding other players as friends, leaderboards, search White Labeled: No

Download Nextpeer Unity SDK

Google_Play

Platforms: iOS, Android Built-in Facebook Connect: No
Plug-ins Support: Unity, Cocos2d-x, LibGdx, Corona, Marmalade, GameMaker Example Game: Fruit Ninja Free
Known Model: Free Offers Monetization: No
Key Features:
Achievements, leaderboards, real-time multiplayer, turn based multiplayer
White Labeled: No

Download Google play Unity SDK
logo-everyplay-part-of-unity

Platforms: iOS, Android Built-in Facebook Connect: Yes
Plug-ins Support: Unity, Cocos2d-x, ANE Example Game: The Crossing Dead
Known Model: Free (ads) Offers Monetization: Unity ads
Key Features: Video sharing, following players, discussions White Labeled: No

Download Everyplay Unity SDK

Soomla Logo - Blue

Platforms: iOS , Android , Windows Phone Built-in Facebook Connect: Yes
Plug-ins Support: Unity and Cocos2d-x Example Game: Guess the Character
Known Model: Free Offers Monetization:
Select Developers
Key Features: Connect, share status, like, upload image, get friends, get feed, invite. Unified API across Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Integrations with Game Center and Google Play Game Services coming soon. White Labeled: No

Download SOOMLA Unity SDK

kamcord logo

Platforms: iOS, Android Built-in Facebook Connect: Yes
Plug-ins Support: Unity, Cocos2d-x, Unreal Example Game: My Talking Tom
Known Model: Free Offers Monetization: No
Key Features: Achievements, leaderboards, real-time multiplayer, turn based multiplayer White Labeled: No

Download Kamcord Unity SDK

Apple Game Center logo

Platforms: iOS Built-in Facebook Connect: No
Plug-ins Support: All Example Game: Fruit Ninja Free
Known Model: Free Offers Monetization: No
Key Features: Achievements, leaderboards, real-time multiplayer, turn based multiplayer White Labeled: No

Download Apple Unity SDK

GetSocial logo

Platforms: iOS, Android, Web Built-in Facebook Connect: Yes
Plug-ins Support: Unity Example Game: N/A
Known Model: Paid Offers Monetization: No
Key Features: Friend invite, share, chat, leaderboard White Labeled: Yes

Download GetSocial Unity SDK

socialize_logo_w_sharethis

Platforms: iOS, Android Built-in Facebook Connect: Yes
Plug-ins Support: Unity Example Game: Pixelated – The Pixel Color Puzzle
Known Model: Paid Offers Monetization: No
Key Features: Share, invite, web dashboard White Labeled: Yes

Download Socialize Unity SDK

Logo_twitter_wordmark_1000

Platforms: iOS, Android Built-in Facebook Connect: No
Plug-ins Support: All Example Game: N/A
Known Model: Free Offers Monetization: No
Key Features: Share, invite followers White Labeled: Yes

Download Twitter Unity SDK

Each SDK offers something different and depending on what social features you want will determine which SDK is the right one for your game.

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Research, Tips and Advice

(1200x600) Walls to Monetize Your Game

In 2013, we did a 7 Offer Walls Providers to Monetize Your Mobile Game, that laid out the top players for offer walls. Since then the industry has had its ups and downs and there offer-wallare some new players to pay attention to. Many of these companies offer various advertising platforms with offer walls being one option.

For game developers, one of the main questions is how to monetize the app. More often than not, paying users are only 1-2%. Most monetization comes from advertising be it through banner ads or native ads. Offer walls are one way for app developers to monetize their non-paying users and tap into the other 98-99% of users.

 

FREE E-BOOK – TOP 10 MOBILE GAMING REPORTS

 

Top Offer Walls of 2015:

Fyber Official Logo

Founded in 2009, Fyber aims to help mobile game and app developers monetize their games by providing quality advertisements. They also assist developers execute smart monetization strategies such as utilizing offer walls. It currently serves over 320 million monthly active users. Fyber offers a Unity Plugin that integrates their Ad Monetization Platform and a Native platform for Android and iOS.

tapjoy

Tapjoy, one of the biggest companies in the industry, was founded in 2007 and currently has over 2 million daily ad engagements.  Tapjoy’s main objective is to help maximize the value for every freemium mobile app developer.  They achieve this through their Marketing Automation and Monetization Platforms, one example being offer walls. Tapjoy offers a Unity Plugin as well as an Adobe Air plugin for iOS and Android users.

supersonic-logo

SupersonicAds, founded in 2009, is a leading mobile advertising platform. They offer a cloud-based SDK for offer wall, video, interstitial, and mediation mobile advertising. Many of their ads are high quality and brand focused, so the advertisements are most likely to come from big companies such as Dove and M&M instead of Zynga Poker. Supersonic also offers a Unity plugin as well as SDKs for iOS and Android.personaly_Soom.la

Persona.ly proprietary technology supports all major platforms (Android/iOS/Unity/Adobe AIR) and has a rich video inventory, as well as a large variety of apps and surveys. They focus heavily on the user itself, smart use of data and personalization tools – like gamification engine that helps to increase retention and LTV. Lately, Persona.ly has put a great deal of effort into monetizing emerging markets such as Brazil, India, Russia, and East Asia.

InmobiInMobi, founded in 2007, is one of the leading mobile advertising companies in the industry. Offering a variety of services such as a single SDK for ad monetization, an app-install platform, and a native ads platform. InMobi’s native content ads come in a variety of formats such as a content streaming, content walls, app walls, and as a chat list. All ads are seamlessly blended into your style of game and are relevant for your users. InMobi is compatible with a variety of platforms and offers an SDKS for iOS and Android and has a Unity Plugin.

mobileCore

Part of ironSource, mobileCore was founded in 2013 to offer app developers various ad formats and engagement tools that vary from traditional display ads. mobileCore believes that each app is different, so ads and the displays should be custom designed to each app. One of their features is the App Offer Wall, In-Stream ads, Top Page Widget ads, and Stickeez (custom developed by ironSource).

TrialPay, founded inTrialPay logo 2006, developed Evergreen, a single SDK that offers app developers the ability to leverage custom solutions and third party platforms to engage the right target audience. TrialPay’s offer walls have a wide selection of categories along with unique in-store offers and in app commerce.

NativeX_Logo

Originally known as W3i and was then rebranded as NativeX to emphasize their focus on their native ad platforms approach. NativeX was founded in 2000 and has acquired over 1 billion users across 178 countries.  NativeX takes a unique approach to in-app advertising by giving mobile game developers a variety of reward and non-reward ad formats such as offer walls.SuperRewards offer walls

SuperRewards logo

SuperRewards, a subsidiary of Playerize, was a pioneer of virtual currency monetization of social games has grown since its founding in 2007.  The two main channels of monetizations are direct pay and offer walls. SuperRewards’ offer walls are highly-targeted advertisements and directed to the correct users.

Everbadge logo

Founded in 2010, Everbadge offers two types of offer walls: incentivized and non-incentivized. The incentivized offer wall is geared towards games that deal with virtual currency or have a point system in the game. The non-incentivized offer wall acts more like an added feature in the game showing off other apps.

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Resource, Tips and Advice

Game Genres for Developers

Most forms of media such as movies and books have distinct categories that were created to help users classify the different A glossary for game developers.films and novels made.  It is important to have clear, straight forward categories because they help users build relationships and correlations between the object and themselves. While movies and novels now have distinct classifications, video game genres are still evolving and changing which leaves unclear categories for players and developers.  Not only are the genres muddled, developers use different groupings for their games because there are multiple dimensions they must take into consideration.  A few ways to group games are player viewpoint, inner mechanics, and the content of the game. It’s important to realize that most games will also incorporate multiple features and fall into a few categories. Therefore, it is not uncommon to have hybrid games such as a third person shooter game that plays as a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) such as World of Warcraft.  Many of these genres also have subcategories that drill down even further into specific details of a game. To continue building the Soomla Game Developer’s Glossary, we’ve compiled a list of these genres.

Action

FPS: First person shooters are games where the player takes the role of the character in the game. Popular first person shooter games include Counter-strike, Halo, and Call of Duty. A FPS game for the game developer's glossary.
Shoot ‘em Up: This type of game is focused on shooting large quantities of enemies while also dodging enemy fire. Shoot ‘em up games are one of the oldest genres of games dating back to the 1960s with the release of Spacewars! Other examples include Ikaruga, R-Type, and another classic, Space Invaders.
TPS: Third-person shooter are 3D action games, where the avatar in the game is visible on-screen. For example, Grand Theft Auto, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Assassin’s Creed.

Role-playing game (RPG)

MMO: Massively multiplayer online games are capable of supporting large numbers of players at the same time. One of the more popular MMO games is Clash of Clans in which players build communities, train soldiers, and attack other players to earn gold.A developer's glossary for mobile games.
MMORPG: Massively multiplayer online role-playing games are designed to be played with other people. To partake, a user takes the identity of a character and works their way up the ranks in the game.  Some games with this set-up include World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and EverQuest.
MUD: Multi user dungeons are multiplayer games occurring in real-time virtual worlds.  Players take the form of an avatar and are able to interact with each other usually via online chats. A few popular MUD games are Discworld and BatMUD.

Strategy

Puzzle: Puzzle games test a player’s problem solving skills such as logic, sequence solving, and pattern recognition. Within the puzzle game genre, there are many subcategories such as tile-matching and hidden object games. A few popular puzzle games are Bejeweled, Tetris, Monument Valley, and Minesweeper.
MOBA: Multi online battle arena games have two teams opposing each other and users control a character in one of two teams. Their main objective is to destroy the other teams main structure. A popular MOBA game is League of LegendsA game developer's glossary in which a player becomes a “champion” and works with a team to destroy the opposing teams main building.
RTS: Real-time strategy games do not progress in turn, but are played in real time where players set goals and when they’re achieved the game keeps moving. A few real-time strategy games are Starcraft and the Command and Conquer series.
TBS: Turn-based strategy games have clear turns for players and users can take as much time as they need to make their move.  For example, Heroes of Might and Magic and War Chess are both examples of turn-based games.

Casual

Bubble shooter: A type of game that combines shooter and puzzle elements to the game. The goal of the game is to collect points by arranging the bubbles and then bursting them.
Endless Runner: Games where the character in the game essentially runs until they die. Temple Run, Despicable Me, and Jetpack Joyride are all popular endless runner games.
Match-3: Match-3 games, also known as tile-matching video games, have players manipulate tiles to make them disappear. Usually aligning three tiles is the “magic” number for the tiles to disappear. The most popular example is Candy Crush Saga.
Platformer: Games that operate on physical, virtual platforms and users control their character by jumping. These types of games tend to be simplistic and only involve one or two dynamics. The most well known game is MarA game developer's glossary including sports games. io Brothers.
Sports: Sports games simulate the playing of actual sports such as baseball, American football, soccer, tennis, and golf. The games are usually quite competitive and intense such as the real thing, which attracts a lot of game players.  While some sports games emulate the actual playing of the sport such as FIFA and Tiger Woods PGA Tour, other games will emphasize the strategy and managerial aspects of having a sports team.
Music: Music video games are quite popular because they allow players to “become” a music star while playing the game. Music games also include rhythm based games such as Dance, Dance Revolution. Some of the popular music games are Rock Band and Guitar Hero.
Card: This is any game that uses playing cards such as Solitaire, Gin Rummy, and Uno.
Racing: Racing games include any form of racing competition be it on land, air, or sea. These types of games are either in the first or third person perspective and can take the form of an actual racing league such as NASCAR 09 or in a fantasyland like the Mario Kart series.

Mobile Mechanics – Touch & Gestures

While the previous groupings included games that could be played on PCs, gaming consoles, or mobile
devices, this next group is geared solely towards mobile games.  Developers creating games for touch screens must recognize that games can further be categorized by the gesture or touch associated with the game. It’s also important to remember when developing mobile games to use gestures that are quick and decisive because fingers cover the screen.

Single Tap/Touch: Most mobile games involve some form of tapping, but the gameplay in single tap games use the tap-drag or tap-hold mechanic such as in Jetpack Joyride.
Slashers: Users swipe their fingers across the screen to play the game. A great example of a slasher game is Fruit Ninja. In the game, pieces of fruit are “thrown” on the screen and the player must use their finger to slice the fruit to earn points.
Swipe Action Based: The swiping gesture emulates the feeling of flicking or swiping which can create the sensation of hitting a ball, petting an animal, or rotating an object. This helps mobile games that utilize this gesture make their game more interactive and “real” for users. For example, Swiped, an Android based game, allows users to swipe the gems in the game to clear them and to earn more points. Another swipe based game is Flick Golf, an Android game in which users play golf through various swiping gestures.
Accelerometer: These types of games use various tilting motions of the device to control the game play. These games keep users’ fingers off the screen and they can usually be played one handed. One example that uses this mechanic is Cube Runner. The goal is for players to move their ship across the screen and try not to hit the cubes in the path.

A developer's glossary to hand gestures for mobile games.

It’s important to remember that not all games will fall into one category.  Most games will be hybrids and encompass a few of these dimensions.  When categorizing your game remember to look at all the various dimensions and be as specific as possible because this will help your game reach the right players.

In the next installment to the game developer’s glossary, we’ll be addressing the different types of gamers and looking at the Bartle Test which classifies multiplayer online game users.

Well, you’ve got the lay of the land as they say, so go check out our forum and put your new knowledge to use!

This is part 2 in a 3 part post. Click here to read part 1.

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Tips and Advice, Unity

Many of you have heard the term SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization. This term mostly refers to optimizing the search results of Google, but in reality so many things nowadays are search drivSEO rounden. One of these things is the Unity Asset Store.

Keywords make a big difference

It’s sometimes hard to believe that something this small could be so important, but that’s the reality of search driven discovery. Unless your package is so well known that developers will look for your brand name, your main way to get discovered is through search. Now, lets consider these search phrases:

  • Beep sound effect
  • Beep sound FX
  • Beep SFX

Go ahead, you can try them on the asset store. Pay special attention to two packages:

  • Universal Sound FX
  • Spearhead Sound Effects

SEO tester

SEO search term test

When searching for “effects” versus “fx” in the term, the package that has that keyword in the name floats higher, although they are semantically identical and the Universal Sound FX has a 5 start rating from 212 people compared to a 4 star rating from 5 people. This gets worse when you get to the last term “beep sfx” – search results do not even present the highly popular Universal Sound FX package.

SEO search terms test

How do Unity Asset Store search results work?

While this is all very interesting, can you actually do something about it? The answer is YES. There is actually quite a lot you can do. Let’s first understand what happened in the example above. The search engine looks at 3 things to find keywords:

  • SEO search in the Unity Asset StorePackage name
  • Description
  • Package content (this is top secret so don’t tell anyone)

If we look back at the results from the small test we did, you can clearly see the impact of the name. However, when we were looking for the term “beep sfx” – none of the names actually contained the term. Now remember that the engine does not know that “sfx” really means “sound effects” or “sound fx”. It keeps looking in both packages for the term “sfx” to see if the package should be included. None of the descriptions contain the term so the search engine becomes disappointed and turns to the package content to see if the term can be found there. It joyfully realizes that the “Spearhead Sound Effects” package has all the sounds named SFX, so it includes that package in the search results.

Discovering what words users search

By now you are probably convinced that you should include every possible word in the universe in the description or the package content to rank for everything. That’s not recommended, of course.  So, if your package is an aggregation of 100 sounds, including a word for every one of them will make the description unreadable for humans and might lead Unity to reject your package. Instead, try to find the top 5-10 words that represent 80% of the search volume. Unity will not give you this information, but you can actually use the Google AdWords tool to predict that. There is a special tool called Keyword Planner that is highly useful to figure out search trends and understands how people think when they are searching for something. Try running the following list in that tool. You should select “Get ad group and keyword ideas” in the first step and click on the “keyword ideas” tab once you get to the results page. Try these terms:

  • beep sound effect
  • beep sound fx
  • beep sfx

AdWords as a SEO tool

The results are surprising because “beep sound effect” is a much more popular search term.

Google AdWords, a great tool for checking SEO.

You can also use the same method to determine what sound names you should include. Let’s try this list:

  • beep sound effect
  • blip sound effect
  • blop sound effect
  • explosion sound effect
  • swosh sound effect
  • swish sound effect
  • ding sound effect
  • tada sound effect
  • button sound effect
  • attack sound effect
  • warp sound effect
  • coin sound effect
  • roar sound effect

In terms of popularity, we can clearly see that the explosion, the ding, and the beep stand out.

Focus on words that are right for your package

As you may have realized by now, these are very powerful techniques that can double and triple your downloads. However, you should be mindful of what happens once users download your package. If you optimize for explosion sounds and your package doesn’t include those sounds you are going to get bad reviews and might even find yourself banned from the Unity Asset Store. The idea is to help users reach your package when they are looking for things that you actually have.

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SOOMLA - An In-app Purchase Store and Virtual Goods Economy Solution for Mobile Game Developers of Free to Play Games