I am not a huge fan of free-to-play games. I find the typical tactics surrounding ads and micro-transactions (especially in mobile free-to-play games) to be intrusive, annoying and often enough to completely destroy the experience of the game. For me a solid, fun, and well-designed game that I have to pay up-front for is almost always worth the investment.

However, every once in awhile I find a game that successfully navigates this world and produces something that I keep coming back to play. Most recently this has been Tap Titans, by Game Hive Corp.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Tap Titans. Not only is it a ridiculously fun game with a dead-simple mechanic — tap the screen to do just about everything — but they approach ads in a rather unique way.

Every once in awhile as I am playing, tapping furiously on the screen to take down the next boss with my adorably cute army of followers, a small screen will pop over the interface of the game delivered to me by the in-game fairy. It will ask me if I want to watch a short video (ad) to receive an in-game bonus. If I say yes it shows me the ad, gives me the reward, and returns me to the game. If I say no, then I simply continue in the game unhindered.

While you are watching the ad, or when the game is closed in general, your little army continues to beat upon whatever critter or boss you happen to be trying to take down at the time and collecting money as you go, so no game progress is lost.

The first time it happened I did not even notice it. I was already tapping on the screen and it took no effort at all to tap the “no" button and move on. The second time I actually stopped to watch the ad because the in-game bonus it offered me was worth the time.

This is a wonderful mechanic. The game is rewarding me for taking the time to watch an ad, but it is not punishing me because I choose not to. It is also placing the ads in the context of the game, rather than just overlaying them awkwardly over the interface.

This is a model that so many other free-to-play games could adopt, and in my opinion should. There is a lot to be learned from what Tap Titans has designed.

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AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesGaming

The first week of the fall semester at CCAD is over. In my first lecture, I talked about the value of design, and how important it is for students to understand why their profession matters.

By and large, the design decisions we make on a daily basis are informed by disciplines like human factors and cognitive psychology and can directly impact our ability to interact and engage with our audiences. The ability to craft successful experiences by utilizing this knowledge is where the value of design is readily apparent.

Design engages at an emotional level, it can help to ensure that the path of acquiring information, or using a product or service, is as easy, intuitive and successful as possible, and can provide novel solutions to problems by offering a framework through which resolutions can become apparent.

From these overarching ideas, we can distill down a set of guiding principles that act as the core tenets of a design strategy and frame and support creative practices, regardless of media or medium.

Posted
AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesDesign Strategy

Ever since I started playing Warmachine/Hordes, Hand Cannon Online (HCO) has been a regular destination for me. They provide tons of resources, army lists, strategies, and advice for how to approach the game and the site has really helped me to become a better player.

I wanted to give back, so I approached them with the idea for a series of articles about my experience actually diving in a playing -- the successes and failures I had along the way and the many things I have learned.

The first article is out today -- My Experience with Warmachine/Hordes -- check it out!

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AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesGaming

I've had a chance to play around a bit with Fates Forever (FF), the new MOBA on iOS. And I have to say that even though I am not traditionally a MOBA fan, FF really pulled me in. The game is dead simple to learn and play, the characters are interesting (even if they are a bit cartoonish), and it looks fantastic.

My only real criticism of it is that the maps are not that interesting. I realize you need to have dedicated channels for the players to run, and can't get too overly complicated with the environments, but I would prefer to see more variety.

I'm not likely to be playing League of Legends or DOTA 2 anytime soon, but Fates Forever is definitely worth taking a look at if you want to get the feel for that kind of game but don't want to spend hundreds of hours playing. FF is definitely something you can pick up, play for an hour, and put back down.

Posted
AuthorJoshua David
CategoriesGaming