Card collecting game
About the project
The GameHouse Original Stories app is an app where you can see the entire catalog of games, get more background information about the games and characters in the games and receive a notification when there is a new game launched.
We were losing a lot of players, players didn't open the app that often and uninstall numbers were high. If we wanted the app to be successful in its mission, we needed to increase the retention.
Engage our players and get them into the app 6 times a day. You might think, why 6? This was researched by our UA team and apps that have a good retention rate are apps that you check at least 6 times a day.
- Visual design
- Card design
How can we get our players more engaged with the app? Multiple brainstorm sessions were held with all kinds of people around the office, user interviews were held and surveys were put online.
From all this research it became apparent that our users like to collect things and they like to get the full collection. For example, they play the levels in a game multiple times to get 3 out of 3 stars and want to earn every trophy there is. We knew we had something here, but how can we trigger that collecting mindset inside the app, since our app isn’t a game, it’s just a catalog of our games.
Since creating games is the company's bread and butter, we created a mini-game inside the app where the player can collect cards.
Very nice idea, but who is going to create all those cards? Limited time and limited access to designers (I was the only one). We wanted to have content for our players for at least 3 months. So we needed a way for the player not to collect the cards too quickly.
Every card consist of puzzle pieces, the pieces can be collected by opening a Mystery Box every x seconds/minutes/hours. We will have multiple card sets containing on average 25 cards and each card consists of 4, 6 or 12 pieces. To keep it interesting we wanted the player to complete 2 or 3 cards every day and complete a set every week. This is based on the assumption that a player will come back to the app 6 times a day to open a Mystery Box. With these goals in mind, I setup the game economy together with a backend developer.
Wireframes & prototype
The card collecting game has quite some screens and functionalities.
- Clear overview of the card sets.
- A card set page where you can see all the cards of the set and your progress.
- Opening a Mystery Box.
- The puzzle game where you complete a card.
- Reward screens for when you completed a card or card set.
- Option to share a card.
The biggest challenge was the amount of assets that were needed. Since not only the UI had to be designed, also all the card sets had to be created.
In the business planning we had time to create 1 card set a month, however, if players can complete a set every week, they will soon have a full collection and stop coming back to the app.
A player can collect the set multiple times. The first time they get a bronze medal, then silver, gold and finally a diamond medal. This way the player can keep collecting the set until they earned the diamond medal.
Creating one card set meant creating a lot of images. Not only the cards itself but also the puzzle pieces and some other images for the UI. You don't want to create around 125 puzzle pieces per card set by hand, so I've created an action that cuts and saves all the puzzle pieces from the cards in a set.
It was the most successful iteration of the app where we exceeded everyone's expectations.
- Daily active users: +40%
- Page views in the app: x6
- Day 1 retention up from 1% to 15%
- Day 7 retention up from 0.4% to 5.6%
What I've learned
- How to create a game economy which is balanced and fun for the player, but also meets business requirements.
- How to create actions and scripts in Photoshop.
- A new way to brainstorm with a team