In my last blog post I announced the design document had been completed and shared some visuals. Since then, I’ve been working closely with two development companies on the implementation of these designs. Within a few days I received quotes from both companies and this is when things got tricky. It probably comes to you as no surprise that the first thing I looked at was the price. However, it’s important to look at more than just the cost. I’ve listed below the key points I reviewed before deciding which company to go forward with.
Cost | Importance: High
For a small start-up company, funds are limited and have to be used smartly. If we blow all our money on the development, our marketing will suck and we could have the best product but no-one will know about it! If both companies were equal on all other points, then we would obviously select the cheaper option.
Portfolio | Importance: High
Having a healthy portfolio of previous projects is really important to attract new clients. I think this applies to almost every industry, doesn’t it? As a client, it gives me much more confidence if they’ve “been there, done that”. With each game in their portfolios, I’m looking at 3 keys components:
- Look and feel. Mobile games are very popular at the moment, so it came as no surprise that both portfolios were very mobile heavy. From a design perspective, all of the games were visually appealing and had a professional finish. I felt both companies adequately proved they would be able to meet our design requirements.
- Multiplayer functionality. For me, this was the most important component. Having a framework to be able to support a large number of concurrent users is critical to Super Club Soccer. Every game will approach it slightly differently, but again I felt both companies were able to prove they could handle our requirements given their previous projects.
- Complexity. This is probably the hardest thing to validate, without actually playing the games they made. Our match engine is going to be complex, with calculations happening all over the place. Rather than spending days/weeks playing these games to understand them, I decided to spend some time reviewing customer feedback. If they’d only developed boring or repetitive games, people are definitely going to complain about it! Luckily this wasn’t the case and some of the games had over a million downloads. Panic over.
Understanding of the task | Importance: Medium
So you’ve managed to get a really low quote from a company with a great portfolio – happy days! But what if they’ve massively underestimated the task? Making sure the developers & designers are on the same page as you is crucial, so they structure the code correctly and you don’t have any additional charges during the project. It’s unrealistic to expect them to understand everything about your game before the project starts. However, you want to have confidence that they at least understand all the high level components of the game before handing over some money. To prove their understanding of the game components, both companies were happy to produce some documents.
Subject knowledge | Importance: Low
I think the importance of this varies depending on the genre of the game and the subject knowledge of the product owner (me). As I have been following football for 15+ years, I’m not so concerned if the developers aren’t that familiar. We will need to have suitable processes in place for me to review any football logic implemented, but that’s pretty normal for a product owner. As football is a “mainstream” sport, I’d expect some of the developers to be familiar with it anyway.
The final verdict
Given the points raised above, I’ve decided to partner with Juego Studios to develop the early access version of Super Club Soccer. They’re based in Bangalore, so we may be making a trip to South India at the end of the year! We’ll be aiming to complete development in early 2018, but look out for info on the prototype and alpha/beta releases later this year.
As always, you can reach me on the forums, Facebook or via email!
Forum site: forum.superclubsoccer.com
Facebook page: facebook.com/superclubsoccer