This document details several of the most popular ad monetization spots we could implement for Nickelodeon Kart Racers, keeping in mind the majority of players will be organic, and the majority of those, minors.
The ideology of this doc is not the old strategy of making players suffer through repeated ads just to continue, but rather giving them the choice to watch a brief spot for benefits.
Click the image to check out my Ad Monetization Spots - Global Release!
Of of the main problems with Nickelodeon Kart Racers was an incohesive meta system that not only didn't communicate how players performed in the game, it also didn't successfully drive players to other game modes or encourage them to upgrade their inventory as there was no quantitative value attributed to their Kart and Parts.
This document prioritizes a list of proposed meta improvements for NKR that will not only give better transparency as to how a player performs in races, it also ties together existing game systems like RBEs and Challenges better and will also achieve the ultimate goals of retention and both horizontal and vertical Kart growth.
Click the image to check out my Proposed Meta Improvements!
A lot has happened in the last few months as new projects have come along and NBA Ball Stars seems to have entered a sort of "keep the lights on" phase. I have taken over scheduling all the Live Ops content for that project while I've also been brought on to try and salvage Nickelodeon Kart Racers!
This title had been in production for over a year if my memory serves me correctly, went through various designers, and was only a month from global release. As I drafted my 1st impressions doc I discovered the game needed a ton of work, as nothing in the store was hooked up properly, there were a ton of bugs and design issues, and the gameplay was inherently broken as there was a disconnect on how players earn checkered flags; the core part of a racing game!
It's fitting to be working on this title right now, it's a sort of full circle, since SpongeBob Moves In was the first title I worked on when I started at Kung Fu Factory nearly 10 YEARS AGO!! I have added what few docs I have for that game to the Concepts / Specs section.
Click the image to check out my 1st Impressions for Nickelodeon Kart Racer!
This brief details improvements that can be made to the early game progression of NBA Ball Stars to help improve D1 retention. These improvements are entirely data driven, relatively easy to implement, and can be AB tested.
One of the key improvements proposes revising the early game contextual tutorials to not fire so early and so often, as that cadence may frustrate both seasoned and novice gamers.
The document also recommends improving Contests, the game's main meta, with more unique challenges that will encourage players to participate in all the game modes, as well as unlock this feature much earlier, since the average play session would not unlock this until D2-3!
Lastly, the brief details how the Dailies could be improved and made more appealing by reducing the time and session commitments, as an example.
Click the image to check out my NBA Ball Stars D1 Improvements Brief!
After researching several competitive products, I did a deep dive on our own Store's products, analyzing the layout and content included on the Offer plate.
Not only did less valuable flavor text take up a woefully large percentage of the real estate, we didn't even feature the items in each Offer like other games. Players don't read! They look for the amount of currency they need, taking into account the cost of the Offer and the value.
To the right is a mockup of what is current (top) and what I've proposed (bottom).
What do the numbers mean? Click the image to check out my Offer UI Improvements Brief!
The company wanted a Store solution that not only featured more content above the fold, it also provided a way for players to easily access Superstar information. They also felt the countdown timer was in a sub-optimal location on the bottom right.
These Gacha UI improvements will not only add an auto-cycling, scrollable carousel to the top of any tab to showcase more content easier, they will also market player packs better by featuring the Max Power, an Info button for more details, and an improved countdown timer.
Fun Fact: I love working in Photoshop, doing mockups like the one to the right, and the satisfaction that comes from finding the best use of the space to communicate the info you need. Hmmm, maybe I should have been a UX Designer. ;)
Click the image to check out my Gacha UI Improvements Brief!
Since we no longer have a top cycling banner carousel system, we needed another way to feature our Store content, so engineers brought over the Sidebar Link code from a previous title, and I was tasked with writing a brief on how they should function.
Sidebar buttons should promote the game's biggest strength, our elite Gacha, and the Superstar preview should showcase the skill and athleticism of the players to get fans hyped; this feature will accomplish both!
Located on the left side of the screen, a button would highlight as the Superstar's animation played, and would then cycle to the next icon and animation. Each button could have a countdown timer below the icon, text above, and would deep link to the appropriate Gacha or Offer. If players tapped the "Lineup" button, the game would cycle through the animations of the Superstars on their current Lineup.
We ultimately went with a simpler, less risky design, but I still stand by this concept and think it would have been more engaging and made a better connection between Sidebar and Superstar.
Click the image to check out my Sidebar Superstar Combo Brief!
Added new section under Gaming > Concepts / Specs for NBA Ball Stars!
While I still manage ALL the Live Ops content for Hotel Transylvania Blast, I have been brought over to our latest project that just released a few weeks ago, NBA Ball Stars!
I'll mainly be writing briefs, specs, and instructions to help improve target metrics as well as our company's processes.
Click the image to check out my Store Expand Collapse Brief!
Added new LEVELS section under Gaming w/ 250 of the 316 Levels I've created!
It's been an absolute blast (HA!) working on this title and all I've learned, but one of my favorite tasks has been designing levels; constantly coming up with deliciously evil concoctions for players to try and survive.
While I'm glad I've transitioned away from Levels to be more focused on improving retention before we resume User Acquisition, I still look back on some of the levels I've made and smile, like Level 511 featured here; a tongue in cheek homage to the classic arcade game Dig Dug.
Click the image to check out my Levels section!
Complete Solo and Club Challenges all February to unlock VAN HELSING!
To celebrate Valentine's Day, we have some fun festivities lined up including:
We also have Win Streaks and Club Challenges running all week long so there's always something to do.
Complete Solo and Club Challenges all January to unlock JOHNNY!
Not only does Johnny look cool strumming a sweet power cord on his axe to destroy an X on the puzzle board, there will be Events next month where players must use his Power, like we're doing with Ginger this month along with Color Gem Challenges, so check out his Power!
Speaking of Power, we're currently A/B testing Power Targeting V2 where designers now have the ability to not only set the percent chance a Power will target an Objective, they can also set a loss threshold and a secondary percent chance that will be higher to help mitigate loss frustration; it serves as a sort of adaptive difficulty. Follow the link above to check out the spec!
Complete Solo and Club Challenges all December to unlock GINGER!
Not only are we introducing Frank's cousin who seriously packs a punch by destroying a random 3x3 area on the puzzle board, we are also unveiling the first variant characters in the game, SANTA DRAC and FRANKEN-ELF, whose Powers are enhanced versions of their standard counterparts.
There's also a sleigh full of new Event types, including Snowflake and Color Gem Challenges, as well as Win Streaks and Club Challenges running all week long, so there's always something to do this holiday season!
Complete Solo and Club Challenges all November to unlock TINKLES!
This is not the first time we've run a Tinkles Event, but it's a great chance for players to collect more Monster Pieces to add this huge, lovable pup to their collection. It's a rerun so we can plan and execute something really special for the holidays, so stay tuned!
I've also completed a Power Targeting V2 spec that will be shared soon that makes Monster Powers more helpful and allows me to tune Obstacle targeting percentages based on loss rates to help mitigate frustration and churn; a sort of adaptive difficulty. HAPPY FALL Y'ALL!!
Uncarved Pumpkins have come to HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA BLAST!
These orange Obstacles, along with their multi-color counterparts, are introduced with Level 851 and are the perfect addition to the game this fall season. Adding an extra layer of difficulty to the game's first Obstacle, these ghoulish gourds take two adjacent matches; one to carve and another to destroy. Orange pumpkins can be destroyed with any color match, but other varieties requires two matches of that exact color, making this even more challenging than the Sugar Skull.
Make sure to pick up the magician Harry Three-Eye from the SHOP, whose Power destroys 3 Jack o'Lanterns!
Hope you don't get too tricked while playing this Halloween and get lots of treats!
Better rewards have come to Hotel Transylvania Blast!
To improve D1-D7 metrics, I've implemented Project Better Loot which includes:
Very excited to see these improvements move the needles for retention, engagement, and potentially monetization. We are currently running an A/B test for new players who install version 1.15.0, but we'll be rolling out these changes for everyone soon, so stay tuned!
Halloween has come to Hotel Transylvania Blast!
Players can collect Candies to complete Solo and Club Challenges all month long to unlock Zombie Beethoven! This event is for a limited time, so make sure to play everyday to add this creepy classical composer to your Monster collection!