Funkitron Studios: Finding Purpose in Game Design
By David Walls, CEO and Founder of Funkitron
At Funkitron, we strive to push the boundaries of creative, purposeful design – it’s what drives every aspect of our development process and has allowed us to create games that players love. Our team has over 30 years of experience in game design, yet every new title we develop is a learning experience full of interesting challenges and opportunities.
The Skillz platform enables us to integrate meaningful competition across our game portfolio from our casual bubble shooters to match-three titles. Games powered by Skillz deliver a fun, multiplayer experience that allows players to compete for rewards and real world prizes.
As we developed each title, we didn’t want to simply shoe-horn the Skillz platform into our games. Instead, we carefully considered how we could provide players with an optimal, competitive experience.
Challenge Players, Challenge Yourself
It’s vital to align each game element thoughtfully so that it naturally engages players and encourages them to enjoy the excitement of competing. It’s not always easy or apparent, but discovering new ways to challenge players is an art just as much as it’s a science.
Designing a competitive game encourages us to consider some interesting questions. Is the game fair and easily understood by players? What activities should players be rewarded for? Are the mechanics unique and interesting enough to keep players engaged past the first few matches?
Some of our games, like FunkiBlast, merge elements from both bubble shooter and match-3 genres, resulting in a unique title that challenges players in different ways. Titles like TapBurst Challenge feature tap-style, match-and-blast mechanics you won’t find anywhere else. These hybrid games are often some of the most challenging but fun titles to make.
Cascade Challenge is another great example of how we optimized our original title by adding Skillz, which resulted in increased downloads and player engagement. Our newest match-3 title, Candy Prize, is designed from the ground up as a fun, fast, multiplayer experience.
We noticed how players were enjoying the competitive casual style of match three, and it inspired us to take the game to new heights – including a complete artwork redesign and an original candy-themed game that’s sophisticated and appealing. We also built our game’s universe in a real-world environment, deriving inspiration from TV baking shows that I love watching with my daughter. This also led to the creation of our game’s mascot ‘Candy,’ who hosts our game’s matches.
We’re constantly seeking innovative ways to surprise and delight players with our games. Working with the Skillz Developer Relations team and sharing best practices with other studios has been a great experience. We’re excited about what’s next on the horizon and can’t wait to reveal more titles from our pipeline in 2020.