In hyper-casual gaming, coming up with the next hit game idea can be one of the most challenging parts of game development. Choosing the right game idea is crucial to avoid losing time and money spent building an unsuccessful game. So what exactly is the best method for game ideation in hyper-casual and how can you start implementing it today?
Luckily, we sat down with our gaming experts here at Coda to understand the best methods developers can utilise in the initial ideation phase to help increase their chances of success in publishing.
1. Monitor Trends
One misconception when it comes to game ideation in hyper-casual is that your game idea needs to be entirely brand new. This is not to say that your game idea shouldn’t be unique or that it has to be a copy of an existing game, rather you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the mechanics and themes of your game concept.
Work smarter and not harder by brainstorming concepts around current trending mechanics or themes that are performing well in the market already. As a starting point, we recommend monitoring the current landscape of hyper-casual games and learning to identify the core mechanics and themes that exist. Some questions to ask include:
- What hyper-casual games are currently trending in the top charts?
- What game mechanics do they feature that are the most entertaining?
- Are there any patterns emerging in the artwork, mechanics, themes?
- What topics are currently trending on social media or in gaming right now?
After you’ve thought about these questions, continue your research on external platforms such as Youtube, Game Industry Blogs, App Annie and Coda Platform to pinpoint some key themes and ideas that are trending and start brainstorming new concepts based on these trends.
2. Rapid Testing
The next method in which you can use to help guide and optimise your ideation process is through rapid market testing. Once you’ve brainstormed your ideas based on your market research, it’s imperative that you work fast to produce a basic prototype (3-4 levels) for a CPI test.
The reason why it’s called rapid testing, is because it should ideally take you less than a week to come up with this basic prototype. Trends can change quickly in hyper-casual, which is why it’s imperative that you look to test your idea as soon as possible. Furthermore, the sooner you test your idea, the sooner you will know whether to scrap your prototype or carry on. We talk more about making this decision in our previous article here!
3. Document your Progress
We cannot stress enough the importance of documenting your ideation process and making note of the results of your prototype builds. Just because your current game idea doesn’t take off right now, doesn’t mean that it won’t appear later as a trending theme, so keep note of it!
Whether your working solo or in a team, we recommend keeping a record of how your CPI test have performed as well as your initial ideas through programs such as Miro, document or collaboration platforms that help unify and simiply your work processesboards such as Miro, Trello and Google Docs.
4. Game Jams
Another way in which you can help to improve your ideation process is through the participation of Game Jams. Online Game Jams such as those facilitated by itch.io allow you to participate in game jams built on varying themes. While not necessarily directly related to hyper-casual, they encourage you to think outside the box and may inspire you to think of a new concept in a different light.
5. Publisher Programs
Finally, there are ways in which you can bypass the initial groundwork of researching new game ideas by going directly to the source. Many publishers in hyper-casual nowadays are looking to streamline the publishing process by offering new opportunities to collaborate directly with developers.
This type of collaboration can be delivered in different forms, whether it’s an exclusive collaboration or via a program inviting numerous studios (you can discover more about Coda’s Partner Program here).