How will your game work? What will gameplay be like? And how do you plan to build it? There are a number of excellent options to answer all of those questions, and one key element to keep in mind: players. When choosing how to build your game, remember your audience -- they'll ultimately be the ones who determine its success.
Mobile Gaming Engines
The first thing to consider when building your gaming app is choosing a mobile gaming engine. While you can choose to develop your game without one, having a gaming engine simplifies the development process by providing a pre-made software framework for your game. Be sure to think about the types of players you want to attract, since some gaming engines work only with either iOS or Android devices, not both.
For an app geared solely towards the iOS market, the SpriteKit engine offered by Apple is a great starting point due to its ease of use. However, SpriteKit only works with iOS, and when it comes to mobile games, the Android market is larger. It's a good idea to work with an engine that will support both systems.
Another option is Unity which is quickly gaining popularity. It is compatible with both iOS and Android, but does cost a fee. Unity is fairly simple to use, but its main attraction is the large asset library developers can access. While many of the assets come at a cost, there are free ones; every month, some paid assets are made free for a limited time.
Unreal Engine, developed by Epic Games, is a powerful gaming engine which has been used to produce some very advanced gaming apps. This engine is free to use, but if you release a game using the engine, Epic Games gets 5% of the games royalties. Unreal Engine is extremely efficient and powerful, and works for both iOS and Android.
Mobile games are often open-ended, what's known in some circles as a loop system. Looping through a game has been used for years in console and PC gaming, but it is even more effective with mobile gaming. The addictive nature of this type of gameplay keeps players coming back and increases time spent in the game. Looping can involve leveled gameplay, such as in "Two Dots" or "Candy Crush." It can also include numbered gameplay, which is all about increasing troop count, building levels, production levels, unit power and so on. This style of gameplay is quickly becoming more popular with mobile gamers, and most of the current top grossing mobile games rely on this style of looping.
There are pros and cons to both level-style looping and numbered gameplay. Leveled gameplay is quicker and easier to develop, and also allows for new content to be released easily. However, leveled games can become monotonous after a while. Numbered gameplay has more options, including quests and other in-game activities that will hold players' interest, but it is far more complex than leveled gameplay, increasing development time and costs.
Keep Color in Mind
Color may seem like an afterthought, but selecting a color scheme that is eye-catching while also being crisp and clean is more than just an aesthetic choice. You may also want to read our post on 10 ways to improve your creative design. On small mobile screens where color plays a role in being able to easily determine what's going on in an app, color palette can make or break your game. So how do you choose one, especially if you don't have a background in color theory? Luckily, there are dozens of color palette generators online, from those that will generate a random palette -- complete with RGB, CMYK or Hex values -- to those that will build a palette around the color of your choice. Play around until you find something striking.
Building a game with the audience in mind takes deliberate planning and development. But in the long run, putting your players first will make them more likely to enjoy themselves -- and that will keep them coming back for more.
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