BebopBee is a small mobile game startup with a big impact in the gaming world. Their games like "Snapimals" and "Jurassic GO" won various gaming awards and have been featured under the "Best New Games" and "Best Games" category on the AppStore and Google Play store.
The mobile game category is the most competitive categories on the App Store. With over 200 new games submitted to the market every day. As a UI/UX 3D designer, I had the responsibility to help design a visually stunning game, that can keep players engaged and produce a profitable product. I faced many hurdles during the production cycle of the games, which can be categorized into three main categories.
Role & Duration
UI/UX Designer, Technical Artist 2013-2016
Moderating design sprints User Experience Low fidelity wireframes High/Low fidelity prototypes High fidelity mockup
Mobile App, VR app
Gameplay and progression As a user/player experience designer, this is the crux of the game. To develop a progression flow which seems exciting without giving away too many game features. It's a unique balance to get players engaged and addicted to the gameplay. With the attention span of players reducing by the day, it is very important to keep them engaged at all times, otherwise, we risk the players losing interest.
Virality With social media at the forefront of any successful product, it is utmost important to have a viral feature in the game which players would want to share within their network. This is a difficult task, as it requires a strong motivation for the players to promote the app willingly.
Marketing and recognition Getting positive publicity and being featured on the app stores, media and blogs are highly dependent on the success and appeal of the product. Effective and efficient marketing strategy is required to move ahead of the crowd.
Reviewing market research Researched areas related to the genre of the game, game progression, demographics and design aspects.
Competitive research Conducted research to understand the competition. Playtested these games to understand the key features.Formulated primary goals like leaderboards and quests which became an integral part of the game
Workflow Conducted A/B testing to understand the correct flow of the game, based on factors like attention span, fun, motivation, and narrative. Beyond this, I create a logical workflow to determine the core game loop
QA and testing Lead a team of testing team in India, who were responsible for unit testing of the game and opening bug reports. I was responsible for providing guidance to the testing team as well as assign bug tickets to the responsible team members. Quality assurance was a big aspect of this stage.
User story mapping Analyzed conclusion based on playtests conducted by organized players. I was responsible for setting testing requirements like demographics, country, language, and devices. Furthermore, I suggested creative functionalities based on player test analysis.
Analytics Post soft launch and release of the game in Canada and Australia, I analyzed the user data by using the traffic analytics software called Amplitude. I then helped tweaked game mechanics to prepare the game for global launch
Product Launch Post-launch helped the studio with game promotion by attending popular game conferences and by reaching out to game bloggers, influencers, and media personnel.
My primary tasks at BebopBee was to create 3D models and incorporate a digital skeleton system into the characters, through a process called rigging. Furthermore, I coded a python based tool to automate the character rigging process. Using this automation tool, I was able to create 80 unique animal and human character for the games Snapimals and Jurassic GO.
A sample of game characters
UI Configuration Next, I built wireframes for the game user interface to get a sense of user flow. Beyond this, I created a low-fidelity mock of the UI system in the 3D game engine, Unity. I then created UI prototypes using Invision and delivered the framework to the engineering team using in-house CMS. Additionally, I helped the UI/UX team to add animation and effects to the enhance the final design.
Visual framework examples
Player Experience design and workflow As an experience designer, my next role was to make sure the game was fun, engaging and most importantly set up to earn revenue. I contributed to developing and testing the core loop of the game, which is really important in retaining new users..
Core user flow
Player engagement I played a key role in formulating and designing the two most engaging features in the game. Both these features analytically proved to be the deciding factor in keeping high DAU (Daily active users).
Quest I took initiative and help formulate a quest based system for the player onboarding. Quests were designed with an intention to give players direction and to keep players engaged via interesting puzzles and upgrades. They also motivated players by rewarding them with in-game currencies upon completion of each quest. Furthermore, I automated Daily quests using spreadsheets and JSON configurations and further incentivized the quests.
Quest feature to engage players
Achievements Achievements are the rewards that players receive once they complete a certain number of small goals. If quests are considered as short-term goals, then achievements are long-term goals with greater rewards. This feature enabled the user to foresee what lies ahead in the game and eventually gave them the motivation to keep playing.
Achievement feature to provide players with long-term goals.
In-App Purchase The goal of any app is its ability to utilize the in-app purchase features for greater revenue. My contribution for this feature was to design weekly sale events, creating purchase bundles and implementation of the in-app purchase UI.
In-app marketing to boost app revenue
Virality My contribution in the social aspect of the game enabled players to invite other friends from Facebook and share unique pictures from the game. I also took initiative and planned a seasonal twitter competition where players with a unique picture were rewarded big in-game currencies. This turned out to be a great success as many of the pictures were shared through word of mouth and the new players got introduced to the game.
Virality feature to share quirky animal pictures
Animal auto-rig tool
As a designer I was also presented an opportunity to automate the process of rigging characters. Snapimals has over 50 animals and rigging all of them individually would have been a long process and to overcome that hurdle I coded a pipeline tool in Maya using Python and MEL language. This made the process easy for anyone to rig characters for the game with a few clicks of a button.
My understanding of the game from its initial stages of development was a huge factor in the success of the product. I lead the research process by conduction player testing, unit testing, and refining through analytics. I was even part of the research and development phase of the game, which entailed a Virtual Reality version of the app that I represented at the Los Angeles VR Game conference.
Represented the game at VR Game Conference in Los Angeles
The game on global launch was a huge success with over a Million downloads in the first few months. The app got multiple features under different categories, including the "Best New Games" and "Games We Love" category on AppStore. The game received similar recognition on the Google PlayStore and Amazon store.
Snapimals featured on the Apple AppStore
“You’ll have a blast capturing nature’s silly side in this fun photographic romp. Delightfully whimsical, this one is achingly cute and honestly fun” – Apple Editorial Board
App Reviews Users loved the app leaving positive review, which confirmed the game was a huge success and people loved the game globally. The reviews and suggestions from players indicated that they wanted a paid version of the game, which would have no free-to-play friction. This gave me an opportunity to lead studio's second game called, Jurassic GO The game was a great success as well and received an overwhelming response and high praise. In the following months both the games were featured on the various news, gaming blogs, and by Youtube influencers.
Reviews on the Apple AppStore
Reviews on the Google Play store
My contribution as a User Experience designer, Technical Director and as an artist was noticed by various gaming blogs and media websites.