Half Moon Helix was the final game developed in production 1. I managed a team of two designers, two artists, and two programmers. Winston Pemberton created the visual design documents pictured below, and the art assets featured were created by Thomas Harrison and Brent Edwards. Half Moon Helix was created for the mobile phone specifically to use it’s screen rotation feature. If players hold their phone horizontally, they are able to roll atop the walls (grey), but if players hold it vertically, they are able to roll up the ride -able walls (tan). Players must switch between these two modes to collect the moonstone and progress to the next level.
Designer – Winston Pemberton
Designer – Levi Rohr
Artist – Brent Edwards
Artist – Thomas Harrison
Programmer – Drew Matthews
Programmer – Ryan Sobczak
Producer – Emily Harnedy
Half Moon Helix is a ball rolling puzzler for mobile devices. Players guide a mystical ball through an ancient Aztec inspired temple filled with obstacles in order to light up the moon. To overcome obstacles, players must change the perspective of the level by tapping the screen of their phones. The art aesthetic is a mixture of ancient stonework and bronze technology, creating a curious, mysterious feel for the game.
Given the difficulty spikes in the game and the implementation of obstacles, the primary target market is young teens and young adults between the ages of 10 and 40. The flashy yet mysterious aesthetic will appeal to this audience who enjoys bright, exciting things. The game will appeal to a broad range of gamers; the ancient ruins reminiscent of the untouched ruins of Skyrim and the fast paced levels reminiscent of recent arcade hits on mobile devices, such as Candy Crush. The game combines the awe of an exploration game with the thrill of an arcade game.
Puzzlers and arcade games are common on the app store. Arcade games because they can be completed quickly, and puzzlers because the player can play them at their leisure. Half Moon Helix combines these genres for a thoughtful, exciting experience.
According to BusinessInsider.com, the mobile app revenue will reach $46 billion by 2016. This number proves that apps are not going anywhere anytime soon. Consumers seek new apps daily for convenience, efficiency, and fun. Half Moon Helix will offer a new game for users to play.
Half Moon Helix has a broad potential audience. Puzzles and ball rollers appeal to both genders. The mystical Aztec temple is a setting that both genders and multiple ages can enjoy. The difficulty in Half Moon Helix increases at a steady rate as the player progresses, but it is difficult enough that young children will not grasp the controls and puzzles. Some dexterity is required in playing Half Moon Helix, because players will need to tilt their phone to accelerate and therefore move the player. Because of this, older members of the mobile gaming community are not part of our target market.
Ball rollers already have a target audience for them. Katamari Damacy and Super Monkey Ball are just a few of the numerous ball rollers already available on the app store, each one featuring a different aesthetic and slight changes in mechanics. The fact there are so many ball roller games available showcases that ball rollers are popular and they are not going anywhere. It also means we will have to make ours stand out from the crowd. Our game differs from most in granting the player the ability to jump and, more importantly, giving the player the power to change the perspective of the level in order to beat it. Half Moon Helix is both classic and innovative in this regard.
Like most app games, Half Moon Helix is designed to be played in short bursts. We encourage this style of play through providing a level select screen. Our target market age range encompasses both students and adults. This age range is full of busy people. Students have school and adults have work. Because of their lifestyles, it is imperative we design our game with a pick up and play style.
This graph shows how age and gender factor into the games people play. Unfortunately, it does not directly state puzzle games, but I’d say strategy and arcade are the closet genres to what our game is. As you can see, strategy games are popular among males in their mid-twenties. Arcade games are gender neutral, with a slight lean in the female direction. This graph simply reinforces the point that our game can appeal to a broad audience of both genders.
To draw attention to our game, we will contact prominent app reviewers and ask them to write up a review for our game. In addition, we will create social media pages for our game on Facebook and Twitter. We will actively post on these accounts and post links on other pages related to gaming in order to get more players interested in our game.
Amy is a single mother in her mid-twenties who has been addicted to Candy Crush for the past few months. Her daily life consists of going to work, meeting with friends, and tending to her son. She is a casual gamer who likes to play app games in the line at the grocery store, at the waiting room of doctor’s, and sometimes before bed. Amy has been frustrated with Candy Crush lately and wants to try something new. She scans the app store for something similar, and stumbles upon Half Moon Helix, a ball rolling puzzler with a bright, whimsical aesthetic. Amy has not played a game like this before, but the mystical, glowing art appeals to her.
Amy begins playing the game immediately. She is fine with paying the $1.99 the game costs, because it is worth it for 10 exciting levels. Amy gets stuck on a few levels, but without having to pay to continue she is able to beat them within a couple weeks. Amy is so satisfied with her purchase she decides to buy an additional level pack which contains 10 more levels for her to master.
Because the app market is so bloated, it may prove difficult to garner popularity for our game. However, there are numerous resources and strategies available to help developers connect with the right kind of gamers for their game. One of those is App Store Optimization, which helps developers’ apps get high visibility (BusinessInsider). App Store Optimization is simply a strategy to optimize the content of your app so the search engine positions it higher on users’ search results page. It means including keywords in your app’s description that your target market will most likely use to look up games they are interested in (Kissmetrics). We will sign up for MobilDevHQ, which is an App Store Optimization resource that helps developers explore the trends in the market and develop keywords for our app that users will most likely search for.
In addition to optimizing our app for the search function of the app store, we can advertise inside other apps as well. Many apps feature in app advertising for other games. We can pay to have our game advertised inside of similar games that appeal to the same target market. It helps to have game sites review your game so in the description on the app store you can include these reviews. We will actively post about our game on social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter etc., to get the word out there.
We will price our game at $1.99 to $2.99. In the future, we may create a level pack and charge an additional fee. Players may also choose to donate an amount of their choosing to the developers in support and as encouragement to make future games.
“App Store Optimization – A Crucial Piece of the Mobile App Marketing Puzzle.” App Store Optimization – A Crucial Piece of the Mobile App Marketing Puzzle. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://blog.kissmetrics.com/app-store-optimization/>.
Danova, Tony. “The Science Of App Marketing: How To Make Your App Stand Out In The Super-Crowded App Stores.” Business Insider. Business Insider, 04 Jan. 2014. Web. <http://www.businessinsider.com/top-app-store-marketing-tips-2013-10>.
LeMonds, Kami. “Marketing Your Windows Phone App 101 – Q&A with Resident Windows Phone Developer Bernardo Zamora.” Building Apps for Windows. N.p., 07 Nov. 2014. Web. <http://blogs.windows.com/buildingapps/2013/03/01/marketing-your-windows-phone-app-101-qa-with-resident-windows-phone-developer-bernardo-zamora/>.