Advergaming case study: Heroes of Java

One of our last published games is a great example of advergaming’s potential. We would like to take this opportunity to speak about our project and introduce a topic we’ll be glad to cover in the future.

Some people might consider this game as a plain example of advergaming. At first sight you could think that Adesso is looking for some visibility in the field of games by publishing this game. But it’s not just that. For Adesso it’s not simply a playable banner but a tool. In fact we may consider we are in front of a Serious Game.

If you haven’t read the entry of Heroes of Java in our portfolio here’s the story behind the game.

advergaming post heroes of java gorilla in the park

Damm! How good is the gorilla playing pinball. But he needs to improve his Java skills though…

Advergaming success case study

First things first: let’s introduce our client. Adesso is a german IT recruiting company. In other words, Adesso helps their clients to find the professional programmers they need.

Newcomer players are introduced to a regular pinball table. They play their first shot as they would normally do. And then an overlay new screen appears with a quiz about Java (the script language, not the island!). With every ball they lose in the game, they are asked a new question. If they answer correctly, they’ll be rewarded with an extra ball, and so, savvier players will be able to play more balls in the long run. As players lose their last ball, they are offered to register their details in exchange of participating in the raffle of a 3D printer.

advergaming post heroes of javaAs the programmer starts thinking about code, the whole world fades away. […] He will probably miss his stop.

Our game then sends the player’s info along with his answers, and they are registered in Adesso’s database. Instead of making the job candidates fill and send an old-fashioned CV, Adesso now has access to a qualitative register. They have tools to judge beforehand the knowledge of the candidates, which means having less filters in the candidate interview process. In the end, it’s all about improving efficiency.

We should make clear that it’s not like Adesso is fishing programmers in the open sea by releasing the game in the general market. The game will be distributed in the proper niche environment, but that’s just a complete different story.

An ideal scenario for HTML5 technology

We’ve mentioned about how Adesso improved their efficiency on the overall recruiting process, but there’s another aspect where efficiency shines. Instead of using a native platform to build the project, the choice of HTML5 allows to run the game on mobile devices but also on computer browsers. Although this is not the case, the game could even be wrapped to be uploaded as a native app in the Appstore or Google Play. So all in all, the choice of HTML5 was the perfect option to build the game and get the maximum ubiquity, with no need of external plug-ins. The game is accessible for a really wide audience and it’s been coded just once. No extra ports, no further development costs.

I hope you found interesting this post. Take care!

Theme and atmosphere in Algerian Solitaire

Today we would like to introduce you to our latest licensable HTML5 game, Algerian Solitaire. This exotic card game takes us to the dreamlike setting of the Sahara desert. It will also help us as an excuse to cover the interesting topic of the theme in solitaire games.

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New Foot Chinko game with new tricks

We are happy to announce we are working on a new Foot Chinko chapter.

 

new-footchinko-eurocup 

It’s been a long time since the original game was launched and we were excited about the possibility of developing a new Foot Chinko game. During this time it seems that our little creature has been growing in popularity. Although the game was released over a year ago, enthusiastic players keep on uploading videos: Foot Chinko on youtube

Is it our imagination or does it look like searches on google for the keyword “foot chinko” are growing? Results on google trends

We are going to release an HTML5 exclusive version of the game for Spil Games. This version will feature the Eurocup 2016 and will include a couple of new mechanics.

We are also considering a native version of the game for iOS, Android and Windows phone using Unity. By combining the old game levels with the new ones, we could have almost 150 different levels, but the truth is, in this time we’ve learned so much about level design that designing a complete new set of levels is an interesting challenge.

So, what kind of publisher do you think would be a good partner for this adventure? We would love to hear your thoughts…

Help phaser development

 phaser_logo

We’ve been using an html5 game engine called Phaser for over a year. It’s open source and was created by a photon storm.Our experiences with Phaser have been fantastic. We’ve tried several frameworks but found Phaser the best game engine to develop our games from the usability and performance points of view.Now Richard Davey, the man behind Phaser, has started a campaign to collect money to be able to dedicate more time enhancing his incredible framework.Please check this out:

>> Phaser on Patreon

RavalMatic defies the USA

RavalMatic has broken the embargo imposed to Russia by the USA and sold its most strategic game to Comon Games, a courageous Russian company.
The negotiations were conducted with maximum secrecy in Viena by one of our agents and high level officials of Comon Games. Once the deal was completed, we inserted an usb memory in a banana. That usb contained all the project files. The banana was part of a bananas cargo that left the harbour of Barcelona 3 weeks ago with direction to Istanbul.
Nobody of the crew was aware that among the thousands of bananas they that transported there was such a dangerous game!
The third of June, two members of the Russian embassy in Istanbul got the banana, carefully extracted the usb key, ate the banana to destroy all evidence and flew to Moscow to deliver the app-files to top executives of Comon Games.
 
 

 

bananamania – breaking the rules

bananamania_carrousel_02

Our latest game is here. After the success of FootChinko any other studio would have done a sequel, but we decided to produce bananamania, surrealism in its pure state.

Hopefully players like it. We don’t know if it’s a good game, as players have to decide on that. But one thing is for sure: it’s a game that goes round and round in circles.

Its peculiarities start at the preload scene, as it lacks of the typical preload bar or a number measuring the loaded percentage. Progress is just a collection of unconnected dots that grow to conform a big pixel banana.

It’s original! We’ve taken the risk of not producing a match 3 or the clone of a successful mobile game, which is exactly what publishers love and finance.

Opposite to the html5 casual games currently published, it doesn’t target a particular kind of player. Everyone who is bored of playing clones of clones is welcomed to bananamania.

Its title is too long. Many publishers misspell the name when answering our emails.

The home scene is too elaborated and detailed, sometimes we think that we’ve invested more time on that scene than in the whole game.

No tutorial.

It lacks a story and its setting is unrelated to the game play.

The score text, which on any other game would be just readable and noticeable, gains prominence and spins, hurting even the game play itself by doing that.

3 of its 6 levels are hidden to the player, he/she doesn’t even know that they exist! and a semitransparent and disabled arrow button leads nowhere.

Its high graphic weight doesn’t correspond to its simple game play. Graphic assets and game play are quite unbalanced. The simplicity of the game mechanic rests value to the amount of work put on the pixel art, visual and audio effects instead of praising them (as a couple of publishers think).

The basis of the game mechanic is breaking the player’s flow continuously. Opposite of what game design books recommend, bananamania is ridiculously difficult and keeps on offering frustration without any rewards to the player (as real life sometimes).

The player can’t control the game characters, which is uncommon, just throw them bananas.

The player encounters hazards without previous warning.

And last but not least, maybe just one person in the world will be able to finish the game. So much effort on a single player in the era of the online masses, doesn’t make any sense from a materialistic point of view.

Too many contradictions in your head? Don’t go bananas and play bananamania. Here is the link:

bananamania

Stories can also be told by level menus

We develop casual games, which in narrative terms means that, generally, stories tend to be overlooked in our field:

  • Some odd pigs stole your eggs and you immolate your people (birds) to erase their kind.
  • Someone leaves a hungry critter at your doorstep and you feed it a la “Home Alone”.
  • You use a machine-gun as a jetpack to burst into a factory and gather some cash that would allow you to get a green mohawk haircut (??).

The list could go on and on, and the quality of stories would diminish until we got to: “a sugar-dealer majordomo invites you to move candies around”.

Before going any further we must say that despite their minimalist stories, these four games rely on a solid gameplay that’s been proven highly motivating for millions of players.

Although we may not be great story tellers, and we definitely have replicated some naive approaches to casual games, we certainly care about making casual games move forward…

Workers leaving the factory – Inception

In the pathway we have figured out that we can tell amusing stories using not just the intros of the game. In this case, we’ll talk briefly about the narrative possibilities of level menus.
Once again, the previously mentioned games have no significant stories, so there’s no way that their level menus can build up something that is missing from the beginning.

Three classical models of casual games level menus: slots with numbers, In-App-Purchases focused screen, and pointless map. (While you can talk about a journey using a map, in most games it’s just an excuse to give a sense of progression and use different background settings in the game. In the best of cases, every new area will unlock new game mechanics vaguely related to its emplacement, but still though there’s no underlying story about a travel.)

Here there are some story-aimed level menus we used in the past.

Meet Barcenas, the treasurer of a major spanish political party. In the game Chorizos de España, this merry fellow has gathered tons of black money and needs to carry them to Switzerland, the nation where blood-stained money sleeps tight. Traveling by plane is not safe for his purpose, so you have to drive all your way through.

The narrative resource of the journey fits perfectly here. The real character made these very same travel to carry loads of 500-euro bills to Lombard Odier’s offices in Geneva. So if point A and point B are relevant to the development of your story, and there’s a story about a journey to be told… don’t fear the stiff and overused maps: they are your answer, master Frodo!

[…]
Hail soccer maniacs! This is soccer: once a sport and now a showbiz where 22 guys kick a ball on an encapsulated green meadow while earning a vast amount of money. Just that. A cheerful sports commentator here, a spicy streaker there. No big plots. And still though, there’s a competition context we need to reinforce.

 

The badge and reward system totally makes sense here. Simply by grouping different stages and arranging them inside a tournament system, we can compete for these world famous trophies, instead of playing an array of spare matches. After all, sport talks about competition, and this display of status which is a trophy cabinet is a major motivator for a sportsman.
[…]

 

When you are traveling with your friends, your plane suddenly crashes on a mysterious island. Are there any survivors? Let’s find out!

Boom Bang Friends uses a rather uncommon map through a guided tour on the island. You start looking around for your friends, but then, a magical portal appears at the end of level 3 and sends you randomly to another dimension or back to the past. The journey unravels offering you to travel to a sci-fi and a halloweenesque world. On the other possible branch, the time travel can lead you either to the pirate seas or the indian canyons. This bizarre story is widely inspired by the series Lost. The purpose here was to drive the player through an impredictible journey out of control.

 

[…]

Do you remember The Death appearing on “The seventh seal” challenging the knight to a chess match? … no? Well… remember the scene of Death playing Battleship in Bill & Ted’s bogus journey? Well… anyway… Death knocks on your door, and before you can even challenge her to a game in exchange for your soul, she proposes a basketball match, just for fun, with her and her three friends: Famine, War and Pestilence.

It may not be quite elaborated, but in Apocalypse Baskeball’s story the individual appeal of the characters is quite relevant. Instead of presenting 4 different game modes, we emplace the player against 4 challenges, 4 cocky demi-gods that make fun of you from the very beginning.

[…]

All in all, it’s pretty simple. No deep diving into ellaborated plots or metaphorical stuff, and still, with little effort there’s enough space to reinforce the theme of your game via the level menus. We just sneaked into the possibilities (we are certainly no masters at it), but there are so many opportunities for you to build part of your story using this screen. So when you discover yourself planning a 3-starred-slot levels matrix, or a map to nowhere, just take a couple of minutes to see if you are loosing a narrative opportunity there.

Pocahontas Slots features

 

Pocahontas Slots license is now available. Watch the video to see the features of the game or play it here.
Just drop a line at info[at]ravalmatic if you think it may look cool on your website.

Krazy Race trailer

Here’s the game trailer of Krazy Race, soon available on web, Appstore and Google Play.
Developed using Citrus Engine and Starling.