21 questions a software house will ask you about your HTML5 game

Every good Marketing Specialist is on the constant lookout for the most creative methods of promoting their company or products. One of those methods is creating an HTML5 game. If you want to commission an external firm to work on such a project, then it’s highly likely that you will collaborate with a software house. To help you out I wrote down questions you might be asked at the beginning of your cooperation.

Expect to be asked few general questions at the beginning of talks with a potential contractor. It’s an introduction to more precise discussions. After this stage of the debates, two parties are often able to verify whether the cooperation is worth pursuing.

  1. Aim of the project
    Game development should be supported by the desire to achieve an established goal. A target must be measurable so that implementation can be revised after the publication of created game. Here are few examples of good aims:
    - a 10% increase of website traffic one month after the launch of the game;
    - the increase in the number of transactions by 15% during the first three months after publication of the game;
    - obtaining 100,000 customers on Facebook with game’s promotional campaign;
  2. Target group
    You should specify who is going to be the target group of your HTML5 game. Interesting parameters are gender, age or location. To clarify such data, it may be effective to conduct a design thinking workshops that are dedicated to (among other things) creating personas. Knowledge obtained during those meetings will help the contractor to prepare an adequate layout, the course of the gameplay and pick the suitable the difficulty level.
  3. Deadline
    The potential contractor will ask you about the expected completion date. Every professional software house precisely planes their resources. Therefore, a really short deadline may be a big disadvantage and prevent the conclusion of cooperation. However, it’s often possible to keep the established deadline by reducing the requirements and scope of work connected with the production of the game.
  4. Budget
    I won’t make a significant discovery by saying that the scope, time and budget of the project are closely interdependent. As a marketing specialist, you will surely want to get the perfect combination of these three values. However, if your company has established an impassable budget for the game’s implementation, don’t hesitate to talk about it with the prospective contractor. It will either allow you to come quickly to a satisfactory compromise or spare further negotiations if the prospective contractor is unable to develop your game within the specified budget.
  5. Devices and browsers
    It’s always a good idea to require from the contractor that created game properly functions on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. However, if your target group is carefully defined, you can take their preferences under the consideration and focus only on one family of devices. The money you save can, therefore, be spent on the implementation of additional features. You should also think whether it will be necessary to support older browsers because such a requirement would significantly increase the development time.
  6. Platforms
    The equally crucial issue is to determine where you want to publish your game. You can publish your game in many different places — you might dedicate new website for this purpose, use the site you already have (that your customers know about), publish it on Steam or take advantage of your Facebook profile.

Gameplay

You have reached the agreement with conductors on all described matters. Right now you can pursue more precise discussions about details of your HTML5 game.

  1. Aim of the game
    Try to describe your goal in two or three sentences. The simpler and more clearly you do it, the easier it will be for other people to understand the idea that stands behind the game.
  2. Story
    You can’t start the game development process without the creation of its story. You should, for instance, specify user actions, establish the rules and determine what will change in the gameplay during the whole game. However, you can leave this task to the conductor, who will determine all aspects of the game’s story in close consultation with you.
  3. Design
    Before graphic designers get to work it’s necessary to define the style of your game. Of course, the most crucial in this decision is the target group — your game will look very different if it is dedicated to kids, students or older players. The most useful for designers will be when you give them examples of other games that are your inspiration.
  4. 2D vs. 3D
    Another crucial decision to make is whether you want your game to be created in 2D or 3D. Three-dimensional games can look attractive, but on the other hand are much more technically demanding.
  5. Game’s physics
    In some games, it will be expected that characters and other objects from the production realistically reflect the principles of the physics. For example, in our Kopanito All-Stars Soccer, it was necessary to use the physics module to calculate the behavior of a bouncing ball. However, notice that the physics module causes a higher loading time on the users’ devices. In other words, some mobile devices may not cope with portraying the principles of the physics.
  6. Singleplayer vs. Multiplayer
    Many types of games are fully playable in a singleplayer mode. But if your idea involves playing the game with a second player (or in a group), you should determine exactly how many users can play at the same time or whether you want to allow players to play in a player vs. computer mode.
  7. Saving the progress of the game
    If you assume that the gameplay will take longer than several minutes, you should consider the introduction of saving the game’s progress. Then the players will be able to return to the game after some time and continue playing from the moment they stopped.
  8. Creating rankings
    In many cases creating a classification of the best players works great as a way of increasing popularity of the game. Especially, if you enable players to publish their results easily on social media. However, this requires having a database server that stores players’ scores.
  9. Sounds and music
    Specify whether you want to add music/sounds to your game and, if so, what kind of music you would like to use. In many cases, the contractor will use the services of an external partner to provide them.
  10. Interface
    There are many approaches to using game interface — it mostly depends on game’s genre. This part of the project will be extensively characterized during the phase of graphic design, but initially you should have a knowledge of your initial assumptions.
  11. Instructions
    This is a compulsory element of every HTML5 game. As creators, we assume that new players would like to find out for instance what are the rules of the game when they use it for the first time. There are two popular ways of presenting the instructions:
    - a separate screen with rules description (example: Defend your Homes)
    - hints that are given when users play a game for the first time (example: Skytte)
    The decision which one of these options you should choose will depend on the type of your game or the target group. However, you should really think it through, because players who are not given precise information about the rules at the beginning of playing can quickly become discouraged and abandon your game.
  12. Game controlling

The unique advantage of HTML5 games is the ability to play both on desktops and mobile devices. Therefore, when planning the type of control in RWD games, you need to think about separate solutions for the desktop (e.g., Keyboard) and mobile devices (i.e., Touch). In many mobile games, it gives a great result when you use an accelerometer.

Additional questions

Since you explained your expectations related to the issues above to the contractor, now you are very close to starting the cooperation. In the meantime you should discuss the following matters:

  1. Hacking protection
    Browser games (in which the goal is to score points) have a relatively low level of hacking protection. Frankly, every JavaScript programmer can send scores to the leader board without the necessity of playing the game. Depending on the game genre, there are opportunities to protect against this type of fraud. If you care about such protection, then you should talk it through with the contractor of the game.
  2. Integration with external services
    In some games, it may be a good idea to synchronize them with external services. The example of that is using Facebook API to retrieve data from the users’ accounts or sending a result of the game directly to their timelines.
  3. Project management approach
    To make sure that your project will be run as efficiently as possible, the contractor will certainly want to establish the principles of cooperation, such as the frequency and type of communication, reporting method, etc. With the adoption of these arrangements, both parties will have the certainty of what to expect regarding running the project.

And that’s it! With those questions, you are ready to find perfect software house that will help you to create an awesome game. Do you want to know more about the process of game design? Check out another article on our blog — Kopanito All-Stars Soccer: game development in the eyes of Designer.


Originally published at www.merixstudio.com.