Even though browser 3D games have become a trend, few of those who would like to tap into the huge market really know just what it takes to make (a good) one. Here are a few ideas on what to pay attention to like the team specifics, costs, and more.
In fact, trends are no more new- they just keep coming back from the long forgotten past. Take Oculus Rift – the idea is far from being brand new. It originated in the 90s, when you’d go to gaming clubs and wear this huge gaming “virtual reality helmets”. As soon as that vanished… it reappeared again. VR is dead, long live VR.
The same concept is the case with browser games. Since the dawn of browser oldies like ‘Adventure Games Live’, ‘Samorost’, ‘Codename: Gordon’, to ID Software’s ‘Quake Live’ – technologies have been advancing rapidly. At some point the industry came to a still, as creative teams (and players, of course) were all up and ready to conquer new horizons in browser gaming, but Flash just started to lag behind. That was a downtime for browser games world – no one took the risk of pushing the boundaries with new projects. No breakthroughs, no six-digit incomes, no stunning success. Erroneously, we though that was the end. Explore new mobile application development in Chicago.
The rise of the social web added to the anxiety. “Farmgames” were easier to make, their audience was no all that sophisticated and hard to please. Such toy-games took less time and money to develop. However, the social evolution made an important step for the whole platform – getting that casual audience back to the browser again, with more readiness to play. The social has not replaced browser games. It’s the contrary, in fact.
It took relatively little time for AAA-like browser game projects to appear. ID’s “Quake Live” was (and is to this day) one of the most successful examples. The social boom was a huge boost. Now, it’s much more than a farm, it’s a strong and complex product, with a serious development team behind it. Unity developers quickly infused the development with powerful engine, while top-notch artists became a must-have for every team behind a browser game. Such teams actually brought traditional games (action, MMORPG, and others) to the social environment. The industry standard today is the stand-alone browser game.
The software team you’ll need
For such a project, you will need a team of the following or similar configuration: a Unity Developer, a Lead Server, a Server Developer, a 3D artist, a 2D artist, and a game designer. That’s what can take you to production state in a sensible time and cost, having come up with a couple of working prototypes. Don’t fall prey to the temptation of throwing huge resources at once – that is very likely to play against you.
Why server developers matter
These guys are likely to cost you the most. The lead server developer will actually be vital to the project, and the main point of your expenses. You may do with a single front-end developer, but for a PHP-oriented game you may need two server devs (or one total ninja). This sounds trivial, but it’s the ultimate truth – uptimes matter. The users have to be sure that they can access your game (the game they invest into) at all times. As soon as they see constant downtimes, lags, crashes, glitches or cheaters – you’re pretty much out of business. Face this – the players will always be complaining, but the server is the most objective reason for that.
Browser game development stages
The development of a mid-core gaming project can take something around 9 months to complete.
1) First two months are the most risky ones – in case you fail to get a team of three (a server dev, a front-ender and a game designer) – you’re pretty much out of business with a considerable loss;
2) The next three months should get you through to a working demo. In this stage you’ll surely need a team extension: one more server developer, and a 2D/3D artist or a few.
3) The remaining four months are what you get for polishing and rolling your game out. The whole team works jointly.
The typical mistakes
1) Buying a ton of traffic right away. Don’t buy traffic just because you can. Do some testing with smaller amounts though – that’ll definitely do you good. When you have enough information about your audience – then consider driving traffic.
2) Poor Unity installation landings. What you will inevitably face is the installation of the Unity player. Do you know what it takes to persuade the security-obsessed (and lazy) user to install a 40Mb binary which will then do some downloading again? Just a great landing with a ton of amusement available while you wait. There is of course the issue with Chrome blocking the Unity Web Player. That can make you want create a section with guidelines on how to disable the blocking, which includes some manipulations with the browser.
- Do some research on what genres are popular in social networks
- Emphasize PvP
- Get the extended cache
- Choose a recognizable setting
- Be careful with cloning other projects
- Make the primary download as light as possible (3Mb or less)
- Create an engaging Unity Player installation landing page
And good luck with your browser game development!