How did Army Commander achieve success in such a short time?

We talked to the Army Commander’s Project Manager about the success journey of the game.
Army Commander Success Story
We talked to the game’s Project Manager about Army Commander’s journey through its success.

Gameguru is an experienced game company with experience and roots dating back to ancient times. The gaming adventure of Gameguru Co-founders, which was founded in 2018, dates back to 2010. Cumhur Onat and Veyis Dinçer, who entered the game world under the name of Mobilecraft in 2010, founded Gameguru in 2019. Focusing on casual games between 2010 and 2020, the company has signed many successful games and released many hit games.

Gameguru, which started hyper-casual production in 2020, made a quick entry into the hyper-casual game world with the games called Jump and Shoot and then Slap Kings. Slap Kings managed to become the most downloaded game of March in 2020. Approaching 150 million downloads, Slap Kings is just one of Gameguru’s successful games. Gameguru, which had 16 different hits from March 2020 to 2022, released its last hit, Army Commander, in 2022.

Army Commander climbed to the top of both Android and iOS rankings quickly. Army Commander, which managed to become the 4th most downloaded game in March 2022, exceeded the 20 million download threshold quickly. We talked to Army Commander Project Manager about the game’s production process and how it was successful. We also took a brief look at the construction phase of the Army Commander.

Where did the idea come from?

There are small groups of ideas in Gameguru. These groups closely follow current developments in the mobile game industry, new games, new mechanics, and trends in social media and try to produce new game ideas in this direction. Arcade idle games have been on the rise in recent years, with high game times and simple design priorities. The number of resources to collect and spend increases.) With the rise in such games, we asked our idea groups to think of themes that could fit the arcade idle genre.

Army Commander 1
A new idea was introduced to combine the new mechanics with the arcade idle genre.

We started to think of an idle arcade game around the theme of war, one of the most common themes. The source we interacted with had to be original. We started to think about the idea that we could collect identification tags from soldiers who died within the framework of the war theme. Later, we thought about how we could apply the rank and command systems we encountered while researching war games to this genre. Thus we developed the idea with the mechanics of ranking up and ordering more soldiers to fight as we collect resources. The charge mechanics, the rank system, the type of resources contained, and the spawning of resources set this idea apart from other idle arcade war games.

From idea to prototyping

After determining the content we thought was sufficient for the prototype stage, we rolled up our sleeves with a designer and a software developer friend. In the first stage, we started to create the basic mechanics with the assets and codes we extracted as soon as possible to see if the idea had potential. In about one week, we completed the prototype of 3 different ranks, 1 type of mount, and one tank unit, with only two military tents. We continued to develop the idea during the prototyping phase. One of the primary audience’s favorite things is the feeling of completion. We tried to give this feeling as we captured the enemy borders.

Army Commander 2
Among the prominent features of the game is the charge and rank system.

The idea of seeing the borders go a little further with each attack also emerged during the prototype process. We wanted the content in the prototype to be composed of content that would both reflect the fundamental dynamics of the game and attract attention in this version. The most critical factor we paid attention to was to ensure that these dynamics were as understandable as possible to the user. The simple approach to design was also a result of this concern. Afterward, we prepared our creative videos together with the advertisement scenarios in which we could reveal the original aspects of the game, and we started to take the pulse of the players.

Soft Launch phase

After catching the values we wanted to see in the prototype version, we quickly started preparations for a longer game. First of all, we tried to illuminate our way with good documentation. The game loop was so firmly grounded that it was up to the team to add content that only diversified the game in the middle of this main loop. As Gameguru, we exchanged ideas at all stages of the game. We have determined much content with the same fundamental concerns. Many of the ideas that We put forward were shaped by questions such as whether it is easy to understand, is it fun, does it feels like a burden, and does it disrupts the game economy.

Army Commander 3
While developing the GDD, it was said that ideas were discussed among the team.

In addition to these exchanges of ideas, another point that helped us while creating GDD was the successful arcade idle examples available in the market. We often tried to understand what they did pleasantly and well by playing these games. We tried to implement the structures that we thought worked correctly in Army Commander. The excitement level of the team increased with each content we added. I can say that the basis of our belief in the project is the values in the first tests and that the main loop of the game gives us pleasure when we play it and that every content we add fits perfectly as if it needs to be there. I can say that seeing the game turns into a more fun, more profound, and valuable job with every content we added kept our excitement and motivation alive.

We started long-term marketing strategies when we saw that we achieved the values we wanted after Soft Launch. We produced creatives to be consumed in different periods.

Challenges and bits of Advice

It was a complex process to prepare a good document, but it shed light on the whole team when we completed it. I can say that a detailed document also speeds up the answering questions that you may not have thought of before that may come your way during the production process. For such a document, as I mentioned before, it is necessary to include different ideas, examine the excellent examples in the type of game and make correct inferences and make these inferences compatible with the logic of your own game. I can say that the biggest problem of hyper-casual and casual mobile games is originality.

When most studios see a working system, they do the same instead of taking it and blending it with their original ideas. They expect similar success from an already exhausted idea. Top-ranked games in the mobile game industry are progressing cumulatively. In other words, it is necessary to stop imitating previous successful works, discover the fundamental dynamics in successful games, present these dynamics to the user in untested ways, and add new things.

Army Commander 4
Producing original content instead of imitation is the way to success.

The biggest challenge we faced was making these contents understandable and placing them in tight spaces on the stage. The playing field gradually filled up with new content coming on each level. Identifying development areas according to their importance and frequency of use was necessary for a smooth gaming experience. When we wanted to make the player do something, we had to make it enjoyable. Unfortunately, the store is full of fun arcade idles where players are constantly rushed from one spot to another. Nobody wants to be guided all the time without enjoying it as if they are getting a job done in a game. I can say that making this whole process enjoyable was one of the most important but also one of the most enjoyable challenges in the production process.

In short, I have a few humble pieces of advice that I can give to game developers. They need to build their games on unique aspects that will make them different from other games; while doing this, they have to discover methods that the player can directly understand and have fun with and use many of the weapons they have in their hands, such as color choices, camera angles, lighting, etc.

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