Roughly a month ago we released our first casual game: Shaman Doctor.
Shaman Doctor features 36 one minute levels and two survival modes, where each level has a high score and a starred punctuation. There are several power-ups and it also features an in-game currency named karma. Finally, the game includes a store where the player can get power-up improvements and new power-ups. The player gets karma points (money) by getting good scores and playing more levels.
We used Google Analytics in the process to track and monitor some events that we think are worth sharing.
We are keeping track of completed levels and failed levels. This lets us perfect the score needed to get each number of stars. We discovered that it was too easy to get 3 stars in some levels, while it proved to be almost impossible even for the skilled players in the final ones.
Tracking completed levels also shows how engaging the game is. If 90% of the players never get past the first few levels then all the fancy stuff beyond them is never going to be enjoyed. That’s why we are considering moving more cool features to the first levels.
Using analytics in the store has several advantages. First of all, you get to know which are the most liked items and which ones are unattractive or just too expensive. Because of having our own currency it’s also possible to know how many users are buying karma using their credit cards and how many users are only playing more to get the necessary amounts of money.
With these results we have been able to adjust the prices for the next update, as well as balance the different power-ups better.
We sometimes offer the player a special discount at the end of a level. These discounts are usually in the form of buying specific items at half price or less.
Knowing the most liked items and cross-referencing that information with the current stats gathered on discount purchases will let us work on more interesting and effective offers in the next update and drop those that aren’t attractive.
Achievements often involve some kind of checkpoint in the game cycle: “Killed 1000 cells”, “Used 25 health potions”, etc. The number of unlocked achievements helps understand how your users are interacting with the game. I.e: if almost nobody unlocks the “Used 25 health potions” achievements we should start wondering if potions are just unattractive because they result too expensive or perhaps the game is easy enough so you don’t really need to use potions.
We also use achievements to summarize data that we could derive from basic events such as levels completed and failed. I.e: include achievements like “Completed first 10 levels”, “Got 3 stars in all the levels!”, etc. This has proven to be a real time saver and a great way to avoid overlooking events.
The default has always been English. However, after a month in the appstore, we realize that half the downloads are from Asia, mainly China and Vietnam. This imposes a challenge and maybe a good opportunity of expansion, as a Chinese translation would probably help a lot in gaining more momentum inside the Asian giant.
Keeping track of these kind of events is essential for measuring the level of engagement your users are experiencing. Even if a hundred people tested the game before launching, nothing can beat the real data provided by thousands around the globe.
The only way to continuously improve the game is to measure, introduce modifications you think are going to make your game more awesome, measure again. Repeat.
Analytics is also a core part to any marketing decision. Being able to measure the items attractiveness is invaluable information to set the right price and work around discounts and special offers.