“Project Makeover” (hereinafter referred to as PM) has become the last bead of domestic games at the end of 2020. Since November, it jumped into the overseas rankings, and in December it became the number one mobile game download in China with 14 million downloads.
The results in January were also very good, but I delayed the draft
There is no need to kneel here or analyze success because of success. After all, whether it is from the purchase or recycling, we still need some time to see how the game’s subsequent performance is.
In this article, I only want to talk about the design highlights and strengths of this game from the perspective of planning, more specifically from the perspective of system design, and the prospects and prospects of casual game development in the next few years that I can simply look forward to through this game. direction.
Introduction to Project Makeover
“PM” is a “Match 3 +” game. The gameplay in the level is still the traditional way to complete the goal; the story outside the level is roughly: the player plays a designer and leads a three-person design team, responsible Redesigned each sloppy customer from the three parts of makeup, clothing, and decoration to a neat and delicate look. By the way, solve the current “problems” encountered by customers in the plot-such as turning the new graduate Xiaobai into a white-collar woman who can adapt to the society, or restoring the greasy and dirty garage uncle to exquisite and outstanding Middle-aged male.
In fact, just through the introduction of the game, we can also find that the design of the game itself does not have too much “new ideas”. It seems that it only changes one goal to repair multiple goals, but its success can reflect. This level of design has been a long-term drought for the “mainstream” elimination + that we are familiar with.
Since I have praised “PM” as timely rain, let’s start with the problem of mainstream elimination +.
Mainstream elimination + project system design drawbacks are now
The level line and the plot line are too weak
In fact, in recent years, there have been too many “match-3+” types of games on the market, such as Playrix’s scapes series, or “My Little Home” and “Flower Love Elimination”, or the “Plenty of vulgar advertisements” “Lily’s Garden” and even Space-Time Fantasy’s “Wonderful Manor” follow a more traditional push level + push main line process, that is, pass the level to obtain gold coins and stars. The gold coins are used to buy level props and the stars are used to advance. The main line, the relationship between the two cycles is roughly as follows.
For me personally, under this design, the main plot line and the level line are independent, and the correlation between each other is weak. The promotion of the plot line and the promotion of the level line are not a strong connection, which also makes me personally When playing this type of game, with the advancement of the game levels, in the later stage, the plot line and the pursuit of the level line are gradually disjoined, because there is no need to advance the plot simultaneously, thus losing the fun of unlocking the plot, just treat it as pure A level-oriented game is playing-because I find the plot is similar and very long, I don’t bother to watch it.
At the same time, in the later currency system output design of the game, the stars assume the role of activity output and lengthen the main line consumption depth, which easily produces a large amount of redundancy and exponential consumption growth. If you are not careful, you will lose the currency Output consumption is out of control.
The plot line setting stands still
Another problem comes from the setting of the main line design. The concept of Renovate (Renovate) is indeed a good idea for decompression. You can also see the wide range of audiences, from disorder to order by the amount of playback on various video platforms. , From dilapidated to tidy, from stained to bright and clean windows-human beings are born with genes for the pursuit of induction, tidying, cleaning, and arrangement; moreover, regional restoration goals are born with phased long-term pursuits.
After the combination of the two, it can bring the participants a good sense of satisfaction and pleasure from a complex psychological perspective. Therefore, on YouTube, many videos with Renovate elements have high views.
However, the practice of painting walls, laying floors, changing carpets, and changing furniture will make people quickly enter the repetitive experience. It has been more than five years since “Gardenscapes” was invented. In the past few years, the dilapidated gardens and houses have been repaired and restored, or the entire garden has been transformed into a zoo, houses into hotels, castles, restaurants, etc. It may seem curious at first, but after several years of scouring, this personal setting has gradually fallen into conventional wisdom, and the refurbished setting has been nothing new, making people feel that it is conservative and lacklustre.
This has led to the current trend of three consumer + category project approvals. Project approval costs are gradually increasing, but gameplay and system frameworks tend to be outdated. It is very easy to fall into the endless loop of “projects are difficult, expensive, and dying”. In the past few years, there have been many match-3+ projects of friends around me who have gone after another and died, which makes people embarrassed.
What did Project Makerover do
PM is not a subversive innovation, but the system settings of this game alleviate the above two problems to some extent.
Make the level line and the plot line strongly related
In PM’s level currency cycle, the gold coins obtained through the level are directly used to advance the main story, and the currency for purchasing the level props is released in the main story, so that the level currency and the story currency are simultaneously advanced. On the other hand, banknote currency is only linked to the player’s dressing system. If the player has a pursuit of social gameplay, he will choose to play actively. Decorative currency only serves social gameplay. The main line currency is produced in the form of a strong loop and is associated with the level. Although the actual experience is very stingy, players can still recognize this based on the performance of the results.
Keep the experience core of the plot line and innovate in the system packaging
Another point is the micro-innovation of the main line of packaging. PM changed the original single packaging innovation to a parallel promotion from the three dimensions of makeup, clothing and decoration. Different dimensions give different performances, which can effectively alleviate the long-term fatigue caused to players by repairing in a single dimension. The three dimensions of Make up, Dress up, and Decoration have many successful products in various ultra-casual and casual games. There are many overlaps and commonalities in their user positioning and experience, which reduces these types to a certain extent. The cost and probability of failure after the gameplay is integrated can even achieve the effect of 1+1+1>3 after it is handled.
Exquisite and decent other system design
In addition, there are two good system designs. One is the avatar system that is transferred with banknotes and currency as mentioned earlier. Players can use the decorations dropped in the level or buy decorations with banknotes to dress up the players themselves. Image, and use this image to participate in the simple social gameplay of other players-like, add friends, etc…
Although we are used to this system in many games, it is very appropriate in the system and settings of “PM”. What is appropriate? My definition is to use the most restrained system design to accomplish the greatest system purpose.
I also infer that this system will play a very prominent role in supporting the fission of players and improving the data performance of social interaction with players.
The other system is a branch plot that is unlocked with the main line: as the player’s main line advances, a performance-based sub-line will be gradually unlocked to perform some extra-small plots of the size and give players a small amount of currency. In my opinion, the main purpose of this system is to provide players with more complete and expressive plots through the elaborate design of the plot, and to enhance the player’s sense of substitution experience of the game plot and the main line itself.
The complexity, proportion of functions, and performance of the two functions are actually for the main line and level services. If they are not played, they have no impact on the main line; if they are played, they are also systems that serve the performance of the main line. The system itself does not There is no extra burden on the player’s core gameplay time, but the playability and long-term goal sense are very strong, which belongs to the very heavy system design in the game.
Make a summary
Long-term ultra-casual games and moderate mixing of casual games will be the focus of casual game manufacturers in the next period of time. In the simulation experience of the ultra-casual game and the core gameplay matrix of the ASMR matrix, find the appropriate direction to combine. In some sense, the core gameplay of the ultra-casual game can be transformed into the long-term at a low cost. This combination can be the same experience with similar experiences. Directional combination can also be a complementary combination on the experience gap.
As a casual game itself, the system design must be restrained in terms of quantity and gameplay distribution. Too many gameplay systems will increase the player’s understanding cost and reduce the player’s experience focus in the core loop. Which systems are mainly for players to play, and which systems are used to add color to the game, to serve the core gameplay and systems of the game, require game designers to carefully weigh and grasp.
I think the game system to the game as a whole should not only be the relationship between the “parking lot and the playground” (from the original words of the peace elite main system planning in the sharing article), except that we should consider the positioning of the system at the beginning of the design. In addition to output, gameplay, experience, expansion…, the harmony and sublimation of the game system for the overall experience of the game should also be considered.
In the future leisure + project establishment, in addition to the mature and successful project system setting, not only the packaging is changed, but the experience of these successful projects can also be targeted to analyze what benefits the experience of these successful projects has brought to the players. And how to broaden and deepen these experiences in a purposeful and targeted manner, so as to extend to a wider and deeper group of players based on the original successful product.