Square app icon, depicting a chrome ball on a wooden background.
Circular app icon, depicting a chrome ball on a wooden background.

These days everyone has a mobile phone, and mobile games have become incredibly popular among both children and adults alike. While there are a number of games which are designed for other platforms and then ported to mobile, the purpose of this project was to take advantage of mobile as a platform by building a marketable game around one of the key mobile control methods - tapping, swiping or tilting.

Using the tilt control method as a base, I built the 3D endless runner game depicted on the left, “On A Roll”, where players control a ball and need to avoid the incoming obstacles and collect coins to get the furthest distance they can. I also had to build in menus and a suitable monetisation strategy for the game, as well as take into account the intended audience and what kind of aesthetic would appeal to them.

Main menu UI basic mockup.Game UI basic mockup.Game Over UI basic mockup.Store UI basic mockup.In-game main menu screenshot.In game screenshot.In-game game over screen.In-game store screenshot.

In order to create this game, I firstly had to select a control method (tilting) and then come up with a simple core concept for the game - the ‘core loop’ - what the player does, what the goal is, and what makes the game feel good to play. Secondly, I needed to work out how to incorporate the control method into the gameplay - which in this case involved moving the ball when the phone is tilted.

Thirdly, I needed to select a business model for monetisation, considering both user acquisition and user rentention. The model I chose was a Freemium business model, which is free to download, but offers users in-app purchases. Making the app free to download without a trial period is an effective means of user acqusition, as users do not need to worry about whether the app is worth their money or not. My monetisation strategy for the game was linked to in-game currency - coins - which can be collected through playing the game, and the player’s lives, which are reduced every time they play the game and have to refill over time. However, coins are sparse in the gameplay, meaning that players would either have to wait for their lives to refill, be extremely good at the game to collect enough to refill their lives, or pay real money to buy in-game coins. Allowing players to collect coins without spending money is also an effective method of user retention as technically, if they are skilled enough, they will never need to buy coins, making the game 100% free without any limitations (though by design this is highly unlikely to occur).

The final step was developing all the game assets, artwork and levels. I developed a novel but widely-appealing art style, and then developed all the 3D models, icons and sprites which would be needed for the levels and the UI. I created a series of different levels with varying obstacles and difficulty, which would be spawned in at random. I also had to consider what UI screens would be needed, what elements they would need, and when they needed to show. This stage required creating mockups (seen on the left page) to visualise how all the different components of the game would work together, before making all the assets and then making them work in the game engine.