Hey there, Internet!
It’s Andrew writing in. I’m one of the Co-Founders of No Sleep, and our studio’s “jack of all trades”. I tend to switch my focus quite frequently, so my blog posts will most likely reflect that. I’ll try and keep them entertaining, regardless of the content. However, as a heads up, the content may include things I’m working on that week for the company, our debut game Radio Violence, or something random that I’ve found interesting that week.
One of the things I’d like to talk about, is the power of analytics. By no means am I a data scientist, or miner but I’ve since found myself responsible for implementing data tracking into our game.
Now, I know you might think we’re evil for doing so (we promise we’re not), but I believe that these tools allow for greater insight as to how our users are playing our game. We’re developers, and indie dev’s at that, and let’s face it we need all the help we can get to make a successful game! One of the ways our users can help us is by telling us how they play. Not only that, but when our game errors out behind the scenes we can see the conditions that were present during the failure and what exactly happened. With this, we can fix potential issues within our game, but also come up with new and ever more exciting ways for our game to be played. As that is one of the biggest things we want to affect on our new users, is that games can still be highly customizeable, and fun without having yourself getting slogged down in menus.
Our game records this data with events. When such an event is triggered, it will send us a little blip about what happened, and how many times it has happened. One of the issues I faced when implementing these events were simply, what do I record? As our events are sent off as plain text, I needed something descriptive, yet short enough that it wouldn’t be too daunting a task for me when I have to tabulate all of these events. With the help of some others at the office (and also with some help from the API we’re using), I came up with the follow structure: “Category:SubCategory1:SubCategory2/Event”.
This helps us in a few ways, first we can separate our events into multiple categories. Which helps us to filter our stats when we’re looking for specific things, like “How many users play our game per day?”. We can simply filter out the rest of the unnecessary information that we don’t need at that moment. Secondly, we can also tabulate an entire category, or sub-category at once! Let’s say we want to see the most popular tower in our game, with this it would be rather easy to do. Plus, it makes the balancing of our towers easier. So there shouldn’t be any massive “nerfing” in the near future (we hope…).
I think that should do for now. I hope it was as interesting for you to read about as it was for me to implement into our game! If you have any questions, or want to discuss some stuff feel free to comment! Now, we have a looming early access date, and our appearance at the upcomingEGLX event has us firing on all cylinders. Hope to write again soon!