(This is the second in our series of posts on Live Ops. Part 1 can be found here: https://tech.spaceapegames.com/2016/12/07/space-ape-live-ops-boot-camp/)
Last week at the annual Games Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, Space Ape’s first product guy, Joe Raeburn, took to the stage to share what we’ve learned about Live Ops.
The full video will be available in the GDC Vault soon, but we thought we’d share a summary of the talk and annotated slides for those who can’t get access.
Apart from some quality trolling of Kiwis and puns of goats the point of the presentation was to help frame how studios should think about Live Ops. Joe’s personal experience was formed at his previous company where he was a Product Manager on the hugely successful Sims Social. That game rocketed to over 60m users in a matter of months but the studio paid a high price with 75% of the studio’s headcount consumed with running the game. At Space Ape we nearly fell into the same trap with around the same number focussed on operating our live games in 2015.
The solution: we radically transformed how we develop and operate games to comply with Joe’s first commandment:
“LEAN COMMANDMENT 1: Thou Shalt Go Lean … or thine studio shalt be encumbered with unsustainable weight and die.”
Today, we are 100 people, with a little over one third of the studio working on live games that more than pay the bills, freeing up the majority of developers to work on new transformative games.
Joe’s talk shows how we quantify the impact of Lean Live Ops and how we designed systems to ensure that the most desirable content we wanted players to chase, was able to be produced cheaply without reliance on developers. He also shows how we’ve carried this philosophy through to the design of our new games Super Karts and Fastlane: Road to Revenge.
The full slideshare presentation can be found here: https://www.slideshare.net/SimonHade1/lean-live-ops-free-your-devs-annotated-edition-joe-raeburn