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Building communities from the ground up is no easy business. But having recently created the company’s first Snapchat channel – for @nonstopknight – and seen record engagement figures for some excellent creatives from our studios, it’s a good time to be leading the social charge at flaregames.
To reflect on the last few months and discuss what it takes to build engaging content across multiple social channels, meet Jona, our social media team lead and a former community manager.
Don’t worry, he doesn’t only communicate through memes and emoticons…
1. Firstly, tell us about yourself and what you do at flaregames?
As flaregames’ Social Media Team Lead, I’m responsible for all our games’ social media channels in terms of strategy and content. Facebook and Twitter take up most of our time right now, but we are constantly looking into exploring new channels as well. For example, we have taken first steps in the (slightly crazy) world of Snapchat recently with Nonstop Knight.
2. What’s it like managing so many content channels and how do you manage your time?
It’s difficult really. Each game and their respective channels are all pretty close to our heart. Of course you want all your channels to become widely popular community hubs. But once you start juggling a certain number of channels, you realize that managing the time you can realistically invest into each one is key. Our wider strategy at the moment is to keep our players entertained with a steady stream of content between updates and ramp up activity more and more as we move closer to the new version. This way our content has a natural cadence and ensures we can continually engage players over a long period of time.
3. The Royal Revolt 2 Facebook channel now has over 850k likes. How do you go about devising content that you know will appeal to such a wide player base?
Knowing your audience helps a lot with this. In the case of Royal Revolt 2’s Facebook page, we found out that the page’s most engaged and active followers are veteran players that have been part of the community for a long time. This definitely influences our decision-making process when it comes to planning content. As it turns out, a tutorial about a basic in-game mechanic is not that interesting to somebody who has been playing for years (shocking, I know). Realizing which phase of its community life-cycle your game is currently in goes a long way to help you come up with the right kind of content.
4. Can you give us some examples of the most engaging content in your experience?
As a lifelong gamer myself, I know that playing a game can be a powerful experience. That feeling you get when you manage to pull off a successful raid against one of your rivals is great and really tends to stick with you after you put the game down. Social media plays into this nicely, since it lets you share your achievements with others. We often ask our players to tell us their stories or have them to react to a specific in-game situation that they might run into. This goes a long way to not only create a sense of community among our players, but also to foster an emotional connection to the game itself.
5. What are some of the newer channels you’ve recently explored, and how are they effective?
Like I mentioned earlier, Snapchat is a channel we have been investing more time into recently. Diving into a new channel head first is always fun. Having this immediate way to interact with your players is an amazing tool and engagement has been extremely high as a result. it’s also a great place to simply be creative and try out slightly off-beat content that wouldn’t work for more traditional channels.
6. What are some best practices you would share with social media managers starting out in the gaming industry?
It’s called social media for a reason. Listen to players and their feedback. I know it sounds obvious, but when I started out working on RR2, I had been playing the game for a while and thought I knew all there is about the game. Oh boy, was I wrong on that one. Also, make sure not to turn your social media channels into one way streets. You might not be able to reply to all comments, but a helpful word or funny remark at the right time goes a long way!
It’s been a busy year so far with the global launches of both Olympus Rising and Nonstop Knight and thanks to their success, we continue to grow as a team.
We currently have a host of positions available and welcome those with a passion for awesome games and a love for working in a truly international environment to apply!
Last week, we asked our office – and our friends over at Keen Flare – to contribute to a shared map to mark their birthplace and add a sentence that reminds them of home. From Seattle to Southampton, Chennai to Cologne, we’re proud to have people from all over the world working here in Karlsruhe and Frankfurt!
It’s super important to give our players the most direct ways to share their gameplay with friends around the world. With Royal Revolt 2, Dawn of Steel and Olympus Rising, we’ve already integrated a replay share function into these games so that players can record their best moments and easily upload them to channels such as YouTube.
In effect, anyone can create a “Let’s Play” video in a matter of minutes. A few months ago we even did a competition around the Dawn of Steel replay share function with UK YouTube celeb MasterOv. As a result, we received a load of cool entries, gave away an iPad Pro to the winning replay and even received a shout-out at Google I/O 2016.
But moving forward we are delighted to confirm that the iOS version* of Olympus Rising – developed by Keen Flare – will include an in-built livestreaming function as soon as the feature is enabled by the upcoming iOS 10 update. The function will allow players to livestream their gameplay on the fly and will include renowned streaming services such as Mobcrush within the integration.
The news of livestreaming features in iOS games was announced yesterday at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2016.
This awesome new feature is a key step towards further empowering gamers and giving them simple tools to create amazing content. As Olympus Rising is such a tactical experience, we can’t wait to see how this feature enables our players to share their strategies with fellow players and gain instant feedback. And with Mobcrush being one of the available services for this integration, using such a rapidly-growing and renowned platform is ideal for players to gain visibility for their skills!
We can’t wait to talk more about this exciting feature when it is closer to being rolled out.
* Olympus Rising available on both iOS and Android devices
If you haven’t yet heard the battle cries echoing around the world, Olympus Rising is live and available to download now from the App Store and Google Play!
It’s been a special last few days for the team at both flaregames and its Frankfurt studio, Keen Flare, with the game receiving rave reviews and Editors’ Choice honours. With the game now out in the wild, Pete Walentin, Keen Flare CEO and Producer on Olympus Rising took the time to talk about the game’s development process and the lengths the team went to in bringing the glorious Mt. Olympus and its surrounding world to life.
Firstly though, check out an overview video showing just how much the game evolved during development.
1. What were the key development tools/services you used to make this game look so good?
For Olympus Rising we are using the Keen Games proprietary Game Library. Keen’s library is a set of modules, allowing us to pick what we need for Olympus Rising. This keeps us pretty flexible and combined with Keen’s tools, their support and their decades of experience in console game development, it was relatively easy to create such a good looking game.
2. What are some of the key challenges in developing such a high spec mobile game?
The biggest challenge is always to deliver the same experience to different devices with different hardware specs, keeping the performance where it should be and ensuring a smooth performance for every user. We are supporting from iOS8 upwards, so it needs to run on an iPad Pro as well as on an iPod Touch 5th generation. Quite a difference in hardware specs and that is always a challenge.
3. Tell us how support and feedback from Apple helped the development process?
At some point in development you should always ask for external feedback. Apple sees a lot of high quality games and are a good source for honest feedback. Apple always set the bar as high as possible, which helps us to push what we are doing even further.
4. How did you take on their feedback and implement it in the final game?
The game was already looking good, but the feedback told us we had to push ourselves still further. The good thing about the feedback was we already had things in mind to improve the visuals. As we had already implemented Metal, it was relatively easy for us to add things like bloom or color grading without losing much performance. The feedback was very welcome and it helped us greatly in going the extra mile and be even happier with what we created.
5. What are some of your personal favourite features – from a game content point of view – you’ve included in the game?
That is a tough one. There are so many. Besides just enjoying the visual appearance of the game – whether it is Mount Olympus and the beautiful, detailed buildings, or all the Vfx we are firing in battle – the thing I like the most is the integration of the island world in the game. Besides looking beautiful – it’s even possible to do a bit of whale watching – I like the way we handle the matchmaking in the game. Having my own realm and pushing intruders away feels better than clicking „next“ in a menu to get the next opponent.
How is it already April?! Taking a quick break from a year that has gone crazily fast, our CEO Klaas took the time to chat about the year so far, plus what lies ahead for the flaregames team. With three launches scheduled for the coming months, it’s certainly going to be an exciting time…
1. How has 2016 been so far for flaregames?
An awesome year so far, we currently have several games in soft launch including Olympus Rising, developed by our Keen Flare studio and which we will release in early May. All have the unparalleled top quality we at flaregames seek, including smoothness of interaction, graphical quality and general fun they bring to the player. Secondly, the numbers in the game are looking great – we are seeing players stay in the games, interacting with the features and recommending the experience to their friends. These are just a few reasons why we are super optimistic about the coming months.
2. How has the reaction to Dawn of Steel been following its release on Android/Windows platforms?
We are delighted with how it’s been received. We got a lot of love from the platforms, who supported us with big features and this led to a lot of users! Securing close to one million in one week is an impressive result and testament to the great work that our team put in together with Superweapon to deliver such high quality.
3. What lies on the horizon for Q2 in terms of game launches?
We want to launch Olympus Rising, Nonstop Knight and Fieldrunners in the first half of this year, perhaps with some overlap into July. When all three hit the market this will be very interesting to see them out in the wild and watch how players across the world interact with them.
4. Having announced Nonstop Knight in February, what other publishing deals are being lined up at present?
We are in a great situation that a lot of developers want to work with us. There is a natural synergy between what a great developer can do and what we can contribute, helping them become more successful with their game and creating something better than what they can achieve on their own. That’s a clear value we have proven on several occasions now and our reputation precedes us. We have great pitches, prototypes and games to consider in our upcoming portfolio for 2017/2018 and are already talking to a lot of developers. Great games, great developers… we’re already excited for what lies in store.
5. What are some of the most dominant industry trends you’ve already noticed emerging in the early part of this year?
There are two to mention, both of them driven by Supercell to a certain extent, plus Vainglory on the other hand. Both are moving towards establishing “e-sports capable” franchises on mobile devices. There is nothing like a League of Legends or World of Tanks style experience yet, but Vainglory is off to a great start and is obviously a great game. Clash Royale, with replay sharing and viewing the strategies of other players, is also going in that direction. It’s great how the game is sharing the knowledge, skills and expertise of players, which is definitely a predominant trend. Another trend we are seeing, again set by Clash Royale and which we already see in a lot of the game pitches we receive, is an emphasis on synchronous multiplayer. Especially in the past there has been a lot of focus on asynchronous multiplayer, but with this recent shift it’ll be interesting to see where that drives the market.