Mafia Game Monday (MGM) – User Retention Idea

May 26, 2015

To those who do not live in the USA, it was Memorial Day yesterday here, so that explains why this post was not available yesterday. Make sense? Ok, good. Moving on…

User retention is one of the most important components of any game. Enticing users to join your game is certainly one thing, but once they are playing your game, you want them to keep playing your game. Yes, I know, that is a very basic concept, but what is something that you can do in order to keep users playing?

One thing that I personally really enjoy doing is keeping things festive. What does that mean? Celebrating the holidays, of course! To those of you who are in the USA and are game owners, what did you do for Memorial Day weekend? Anything? Think about that for a minute…if you celebrate the holidays, you can entice users to be active in order to receive those bonuses, thus keeping them playing! Of course this cannot be the ONLY thing you do, but nonetheless it is very helpful.

Keep this in mind for the future holidays everyone. To those of you in the USA, the next major holiday is Independence Day (July 4th). What are you going to be doing on you game to celebrate that holiday weekend?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

PS: I know that this post is rather short. I am working on a much larger post for next MGM, so stay tuned for that. 🙂

Mafia Games Monday (MGM) – Importance of Project Planning – Part 1

May 18, 2015

Hello all!

I know it has been a while. To those who have checked out my Facebook page within the past month, you know why I have not been posting recently, but to those who have not checked out my Facebook page recently (or at all), I had a pretty busy end of the semester to finish up for college. I finished the semester about a week ago, and I now have my Master’s Degree! 🙂

(Ok, enough about that, onto the post for today…)

So, for ANY project that you decide to go about, whether that is a programming project, a DIY project (like making cabinets), or just getting ready for a new job, planning for that project is extremely important. Why is this you ask? Well, to do that, I think it’s time for a story. This story is about me, a project partner of mine, and a recent college programming project that we had to do together…

It was about a month before the project was due. The professor JUST handed out a project guideline, which by the way was extremely open-ended and full of gaping holes in what was expected of us to do. We had to pick out a topic that was related to the course, but not something that we have done already. Immediately, this got us thinking about what we wanted to do in terms of this project. We picked out a project, let our professor know what it was, he gave the thumbs up of approval, and we got to work.

What was this “work”, you ask? Well, we got together and started coming up with some kind of design right away. We made a design in say…three hours. After that, it got handed off to me to do the implementation (as I was the stronger programmer in the group). I built a prototype in three weeks, which for a project of this size was a rather quick turnaround (the project had 2000+ lines of code in it). The prototype worked for the most part, but it was nowhere near perfect. There were some flaws that we did not think about during the design. We just threw something together to attempt to fix these flaws within the next week, as the project was due in a week. Some of the flaws were fixed, but there were still plenty of flaws there. We did not get the best grade on that project.

What did we miss? What did we do wrong? You guessed it…there was NO planning! We just dove into the design right away instead of planning out how we were going to go about doing this project. Thankfully there was nobody playing the blame game because we both did not care once we both knew we were going to pass the class with flying colors, but that does not dimmer this point. We probably could have done MUCH better if we knew how we were going to go about doing this project before diving into it.

Wait, how do you “plan” a project? What does that even mean?

The best way to explain this is to think of a project that is not programming related, such as making cabinets like I said earlier in this post. If you attempt to make cabinets right away, THAT is not using any project planning. Would you be doing this? No. I sure hope not anyways. Where is the wood? What size cabinets are you going to make? How do they have to look? Where all of the other materials that you will need (level, pencil (to make lines to cut), a saw (or table saw), some knobs or other fixtures, etc)? Those cabinets would look terrible without any kind of planning, right? Not even master cabinet makers attempt to make cabinets without knowing or having these basic items, so what makes you think you could make cabinets without it?

So, how does this relate to programming projects?

Think of the program as the final product of the cabinets. What are the materials you need to make a program? A computer (for cabinets this is the wood), the programming language you want to make the program in (this is the size of the cabinets), knowledge of that programming language (drawing the lines and cutting them to the appropriate size), what you want the program to do (a vision), etc. Pretty important now that you think about it, isn’t it?

There is much more that can be discussed on this topic, which I be continuing on a part 2 on a later post, so stay tuned! 🙂

Have you had any projects fail from lack of a project plan?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470