Our journey of developing games has not been totally smooth. It was more of a rocky path paved with development ups and downs, multiple code refactors, user feedback, design tweaks, and the occasional data-driven detour. But hey, the scenery is incredible, and we're here to share our souvenirs with you.
- Lack of user feedback affects the work.
Sometimes, we are so occupied with giving the best that we forget if it would be easy for users or not. One such case was of our Circles feature in the Marriage Card Game. We wished to incorporate a feature where people could interact with their friends and families, ping them when online, talk, chat and also keep track of all their game records. However, as we dived deep into it, we got more and more confused. Before, we know too much complexity came in, and we stopped.
Keep the process simple. If it is confusing to you, it would be more confusing to others.
- Who is the boss? It’s the users.
Currently, we ran a Dashain Upahaar ChallengeMeaning that people from anywhere can connect with a game of callbreak., which was quite a simple campaign. It was connecting with friends over Hotspot and then playing with them. Meanwhile, they needed to click a picture while playing to be eligible. However, we realized people are actually more interested in Friend’s network, where people can join the table of other players by a pin code. Meaning, people from anywhere can connect with a game of callbreak.
- User is always right.
- Community is Currency.
Gaming communities are quite popular these days. We also made two communities for Callbreak and Marriage game each. Slowly, the players started to join, and it was not long enough, before they started helping each other.
- Create a platform and let the magic happen.
- Give Treat to the Users
Our end goal: building a platform where anyone can play, connect and share laughter anytime from anywhere around the world. So, when we gave the Dashain Upahaar winners a dinner treat with loved ones, it wasn't just a prize, it was a celebration of shared moments and laughter.
- Celebrate Diversity of Users
Our games are popular across many countries such as Nepal, India, Bangladesh and many others. We understand the need to create content and messaging, catering to each kind of audience. For instance, our Callbreak fam are from many parts of India mostly speaking Bangla. We celebrate their special days by making posts in Bangla language.
- Respect the users.
- Hard work will eventually pay off.
Starting from a web-based multiplayer Marriage Card Game to making apps for many different card games, we have came a long way. Between this we have many learnings in development, design and writing process. Each commit in the git repository, each design change, each copy rewritten speaks about the lengths of hard work we have undergone. In the end of the day, we all are happy to give our best.
- Change is always difficult.
Our Marriage Card Game(the older one) was much loved, but it had many flaws. Ironically, people loved it with its flaws. We changed the UI/UX to shreds, added bots, achievements, themes and much more. For a first-time player, it would be more appealing; however, some of our users hated it. However, they adapted to it through time.
- Change is the only constant thing.
Analyze and Test
- Eat your own dog food.
Our lunch and snacks breaks are not just about eating or talking, we play our games. Testing is quite a process that gives us confidence that what we are engaged in is actually working and will continue to work. On a scale of 0 to 10, Bhoos developers are aiming to move in the right direction as far as possible.
- Leverage A/B testing to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Most of our designs and write-ups, actually follow a A/B testing pattern. While some might feel, that if you know the audience, why beat around the bush? But, as this entire world has been so competitive that if there is no hook, there is no conversion. A/B test actually help us to reach target audience more precisely.
One such example:
- Flex your Achievements.
- Share your Scores.
Here, the words “flex” and “achievement” is more concentrated towards Gen-Z. But, our games are also played by many elderly people too, for whom “share your scores” sounds about right.
- Rapidly scaling can backfire.
In Marriage Card Game, we were crossing a million sync requests(activities from the user end), and our user base grew daily. We had some database schema decisions that seemed good and performed decently until, down the line, these decisions started giving issues. Jsonb was giving us quite a headache, we migrated into new database resources, when user activities was very low. It took us two weeks to fully migrate to the newer schema.
- More Isn't Always Merrier
- Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.
Trends and changes move faster than the wind. To catch up with the evergrowing trends and change, people who are reluctant to change almost fall behind. For instance, even Facebook Ads, have added new Special Ad Categories for Employment and more, and if such ads are posted directly, they are rejected with reasons like “Discriminatory Practices”.
- Keep Up with Time.
- Documentation is Diamond.
Documentation is everyone’s work. For a developer or a designer, documentation is equally important as it is to other designations. From time to time, we have documentation day for which each developer is required to document each and every work. For design team, documentation was introduced recently when Shyam yelled, “Where’s the Documentation?”.
- Always prepare for the worst case.
Especially on Saturdays, we have seen our ratings and feedbacks hit a downfall, the reason being game crash and sync issues. For such times, we keep in ready with some quick fixes, so that no user experience is disrupted. Yes, we look into them in the coming week for sure.
- Make Data-Driven Decisions
For things we do, we have an attachment and believe that people will love it as much as we do. But, that’s not the case. How do we know if people are liking a feature? Here’s where data comes in. It gives us insights as per which part of game needs to be improvised. For instance: Marriage Card Game is quite a hard game for beginners, and hence we are looking forward to make a tutorial for the new users.
- Let Data Decide.
- People, culture, and values last.
It’s been eight years since our existence and each person associated with us holds a very special place. Understanding the workforce, their needs and personal growth is another way to look into things. More importantly, if each one is driven by the same values, for us, “building games to bond with,” then such values last forever.
- Nurture employee innovation.
Since day one, we have believed in giving space to employees to explore different ideas and foster innovations. Many of our development, design and writings comes through their innovative ideas. For instance, an idea to build game in two daysIn our leisure time, we like to read, talk about the knowledge we gained, and much more. sparked the origin of building a platform design with multiple games.
- Understand that some failures are inevitable and even good.
We have realized that putting end to something early than late is good. For instance, the Circle feature in Marriage Card Game was quite hectic and we eventually dropped it.
- Build a learning culture.
At Bhoos, we are mostly bookworms. In our leisure time, we like to read, talk about the knowledge we gained, and much more. We believe it is important for each organization to build learning habits.
- Sharing is Important.
We do not have standup meetings, we have standup documents in ClickUp, where everyone put their daily schedule. They also mention that if they get stuck in something and if anybody knows about the problem, they can look into it. Moreover, we have a discord channel #stuffs_to_explore, where anybody can put things that others can explore. It’s quite a team-building activity.
- A person never fails, but a team fails.
There's no "I" in team, and there's certainly no "fail" either. We believe in collective responsibility, there is nothing like a person fails, it is always a team failure. When one stumbles, the team catches them, dusts them off, and keeps the game rolling.
- Determine a big-picture mission.
No matter what a company is doing, it is very necessary to have a bigger picture to give sense of direction. Our vision is to build a platform for both developers and players. Developers can develop games and push it into the platform and players can play whenever they want.
- Invest in Research.
Research on what users want is fundamental. Moreover, to understand whether the users are getting the intended value from our games or not is of utmost importance. This helps us to improve the games and also our process of making games.
- Never forget, why you started in the first place.
Our only motive is to build great games to bond with, and we wish that you remember yours, too, in each step. :)