Maze Mash

Appturn is a game dev studio from San Francisco

  • # GAME DEVELOPMENT
  • # MMO RPG
  • # UNITY3D
  • # 3D MODELING
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AppTurn Inc.

Maze Mash is an entertaining mix of a role-playing and strategy game. Papercraft visual style makes it stand out and look unique and fresh. Along with cool visual style, the game consists of dynamic battles, smart construction of home dungeon, collecting stylish armor and weapon for the main character, and many more fun things to do.

It has been a long journey to build the game from an idea to a release and a series of updates. The idea was born in the head of a bright man, who was an investor, and then it was carefully refined and diligently crafted by a talented creative team.

After an extensive creative process and following it persistent production, the game was released to iOS and Android players. The development took about a year of efforts of the team which consisted of 16 specialists: game developers, artists, and other roles. Live operations gave players a year and a half of subsequent feature updates and improvements.

02Challenges

Challenges
01

Fun gameplay is mandatory for a successful game. That's why the goal of finding a cool game concept was so important for us. We had to experiment with lots of ideas that should have resulted in advantages in engaging core game loop and core game mechanics

02

Another essential component of an outstanding game is an appealing visual style. Thus our game designers and concept artists had to try and test many guesses and draw tons of sketches to find an enjoyable entourage and game setting, which would have been consistent with the game concept

03

The third crucial element of the great game is its balance. It's often said that the most important tool of a game designer is Math. So a well-balanced math model was our highest priority goal

04

For such a huge project it's critical to manage its budget wisely and efficiently. The goal for our Game Producer (who was both Product and Project Manager for the game) was to choose proper software development methodology, built a steady development workflow and smooth pipeline for developers and artists interaction. These arrangements along with other measures had to lead us to effective money use

05

One of the significant requirements was the security. It's vital for a Free-to-Play (F2P) Massive Multiplayer Online (MMO) game that players can't cheat and hack it. That required us to carefully and meticulously think through the game client-server architecture. The goal was the secure architecture, scalable and convenient to work with, as well as one that shouldn't have excessively limited both the developers and players

03Solution

Solution
  • At the first step, after we completed the initial discussion and drew up a game concept, we created a simple yet illustrative Prototype. This way we were able to test our idea with a small development budget.
  • When we made sure it was fun, we started to write a Game Design Document (GDD), which is the primary game documentation. We were maintaining it during the whole production and even after the release when we were updating the game with new features.
  • The next stop was to produce a Playable demo, which we wanted to test once again and also intended to showcase to major game publishers. We received great feedback from the publishes and their proposals. Although it was decided to move forward on our own, the interest from game publishers was a good sign for us.
  • When started the main production phase we built a team workflow and cooperation pipeline between developers, artists, and game designers. It allowed us to develop the game as fast as possible. We applied various Agile Methodologies such as Scrum and Kanban that fit the best at the particular stage of the development.
  • Our software engineers designed very sophisticated game code built around a massively distributed client-server architecture.
  • We had Game Designers and Game Producer, who were dedicated to tuning the game balance. They elaborated complex math models and dug into dozens of spreadsheets to come up with dynamic combats, engaging game progression, and mild yet forceful monetization.
  • We wanted to be sure that the game was fun, so we conducted several playtests (focus groups) during the development. They gave us invaluable input, so we even made several pivots to ensure we could satisfy the players’ desires.
  • When the game was sufficiently ready, we launched it to the market. From this point, we were promoting and advertising it to gain good players base.
  • Our Data Analyst collected and analyzed game statistics so that we could apply “the best-next-step” strategy. We made educated guesses (along with talking to gamers), which feature to release next and how to tune the balance.
  • Also, after the launch, a hot period for our live-operations team began. They took care of servers and update routines.

04Result

Result

After all the efforts the MMO RPG F2P game was launched.
The players start to grow their heroes and equip them with the best armor and weapons to become the strongest! Also, they build their mazes and defend them from other players with dangerous monsters, dead ends, and more! Then they raid and conquer other players’ mazes in pursuit of treasure and glory!

Engineering practices

01
Continuous Integration

Our engineers integrate their code into a shared repository several times a day, which benefits us with a robust workflow and better quality assurance

02
Test Driven Development

TDD leads to more flexible and extensible code and gives the confidence to change the architecture of an application when adding new functionality to address new business requirements

03
Code Reviews

Systematic examination of completed work is a part of our workflow that allows us to deliver defect-free software. We keep continuously updating and improving this process

04
Pair Programming

Fewer mistakes are introduced into the code, and more of them are detected earlier rather than in QA Testing or in the production. Also, the software design is better and code length is shorter, and multiple teammates understand each piece of the system

05
Unit Testing

The purpose of unit testing is to validate that each unit of the software performs as designed. It results in a more reliable codebase, smooth integration, and faster development

06
Automated Testing

Automated testing allows us to simplify testing efforts. Once created, automated tests can easily be repeated testing the same areas over and over at no additional cost

07
Code Refactoring

Refactoring is a controlled process of taking existing code and improving it. It makes the code more maintainable, extensible, and clean. Thus, it requires less effort to add new features and build large applications

08
SOLID, DRY, KISS, YAGNI

When working on new solutions development, we keep things simple and clear. Our developers follow industry best practices, and also make sure that our applications are easy to scale and maintain over time

09
Static Code Analysis

Static code analysis allows our software engineers to examine code without executing it. Meaning, it is used to find potential software quality issues and ensure that the codebase conforms to coding guidelines and industry standards

10
Coding Convention

Coding standards define a programming style. It makes the code easy to understand and provides consistency which leads to saving working hours and making the code easy to both manage and maintain in the longrun

Team
01
Unity3D Developer x5
02
3D Artist x2
03
2D Artist x3
04
UI/UX Designer
05
Game Designer x2
06
QA Engineer
07
Data Analyst
08
Game Producer
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