The Fundamentals of Flarie Branded Game Design
1st August 2022 by Graham Thompson
Flarie has developed 100s of casual games for companies looking to entertain and engage audiences. All these games are fully brandable and can be distributed on any platform. As pioneers of branded games, we want to share our learnings on what is needed to make a game great. These can be boiled down into 5 fundamental elements.
Flarie view games as ‘machines for delivering emotion’, and for casual games, played as ‘pick-me-ups’ at different moments throughout the day, that emotion is mostly enjoyment or FUN! Ensuring we deliver that feeling is by far the most important aspect of any game. At Flarie, fun is actively engineered through blending fun ‘events’ (what happens in the games), high pace and keeping the challenge at just the right level to keep players in that perfect state of achievement. All this helps to make people feel like their time with Flarie games is time well spent.
Pick Up And Play
A key element of casual games is the ease at which they can be picked up, understood, and played immediately, without the need for long tutorials or prolonged 'onboarding'. The games Flarie design must follow this rule, so we try not to overcomplicate the player input required or game mechanics. As a result, most Flarie games use either a swipe or tap control input, avoiding the need for digital joysticks and buttons.
Feedback from the game, or 'Game Juice', as Flarie calls it, is incredibly important. This includes sound, animations, particle effects (eg shards of light, explosions or smoke) and haptic feedback (a sense of touch eg vibration). The right mix of these elements makes a good game come to life. It’s like taking a black and white image and splashing it with colour. It can also explain why certain things are happening and help the player to understand how to play the game. Take a simple match three-in-a row game; the matched tiles could simply disappear, or they could expand and burst with satisfying 'popping' sound and vibration. Game Juice helps deliver that reward sensation that players crave and love.
Every aspect of the design needs to be considered and developed in a way that entices multiple plays. Due to the overall simplicity of Flarie games, this can be quite a challenge, but finding a rewarding, gratifying core mechanic is a great place to start. That core mechanic could be swiping the screen to kick a ball into the top corner of a goal, or tapping the screen to jump over an obstacle or dodge an enemy. The mechanic is core to the feel of the game and that is especially important in casual games to get people to come back time and time again.