Township: A Game that Combines Farming, City-Building, and More
Gamification refers to the use of game elements to drive behavior without changing the underlying nature of the tasks that have to be completed. In fact, individuals might not even notice when gamification is being used. On the other hand, game-based learning is a more holistic experience that may involve immersive environments, sophisticated rules, competitive elements, engrossing storylines, and more.
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Furthermore, teachers can leverage game-based learning to promote social interactions in the classroom and beyond. This can take the form of collaborative learning exercises where students share their enthusiasm for game elements with one another. Alternatively, classroom activities can involve a competitive element as teachers provide additional recognition for learners who log the most practice hours or accumulate the most points in a game-based learning environment.
Social features are interactive elements that allow creating an engaged community of users, similar to the social networking platforms that we all have downloaded on our phones, e.g. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, etc. Here are a few examples of social features that you can integrate into your game:
The history of the Animal Crossing series has been going on since 2001 when the original appeared on the Nintendo 64. Players liked the interesting concept, which eventually developed into one of the flagship franchises. New Horizons has been doomed to success since its announcement. Animal Crossing is hard to compare to other games. The creators were inspired by the Japanese series Harvest Moon and added elements of The Sims while making a completely unique product.
Animal Crossing is a social life simulator and a sandbox with farm elements. One of the foundations of the gameplay is real time-binding, that is, the time of day and time of the year correspond to their counterparts in the game. Seasons alternate, sunny weekdays are replaced by rainy and snowy ones, and ordinary days turn into holidays. The mobile version, Pocket Camp, was released on November 21, 2017.
Candy Crush Saga is a match 3 puzzle game created by King, a Swedish game development company. Players need to complete the levels by rearranging the pieces of lollipop candies in order to make three or more elements in a row. The game contains various levels, numerous complex combinations of lollipops, and rounds with a time limit to perform a certain action.
Township is the first game on the genre to introduce elements such as a mine and a zoo and they can be unlocked as you increase your levels. Also, it features islands that you can fill and lots of events as you progress.
You can mix-and-match more than 150 elements to build a unique world of your own. To complete the experience, this building game is paired with 8-bit music giving it a retro feel. And like Struckd, you can build your own games and share it with other people online.
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The TFT: Teamfight Tactics APK takes up about 60 MB, but you'll need to download additional content the first time you start the game or after some updates, which may increase the total size of the game.
How these renovation and construction elements are implemented in-game often varies according to the core gameplay mechanics and narrative nature of the game. That said, we can usually class renovation and construction elements into one of or a combination of the following styles:
For many mobile game developers, their game is an ever-evolving work in progress as they grow it with new features. This means that the implementation of renovation and construction elements is constantly evolving too, and there are some surprising uses of this meta across various games.
Player-centred design builds on and extends user-centred design to a whole new level; it is a process that Janaki Kumar and Mario Herger coined in their book, Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software. We can use user-centred design to develop applications as much as we can to develop games. Player-centred design acknowledges that a game is to be played and looks at the key ingredients of making a game work for the player. You can see those elements on the diagram at the very start.
Gamification, the process of adding game-like elements to real-world or productive activities, is a growing market. By making a product or service fit into the lives of users, and doing so in an engaging manner, gamification promises to create unique, competition-beating experiences that deliver immense value. In fact, TechSci Research estimates that the global gamification industry will grow to reach $40 billion by 2024.
Have you ever seen an ad for a mobile game that looked fun, only to download it and discover that the game isn't anything at all like the game in the ad? It's been happening for a long time, and despite blatantly false advertising, there doesn't seem to be any indication it's going to stop. Luckily, one app developer came up with the perfect solution: actually develop the game from the ads.
In episode #156 of the internet-culture podcast Reply All, Alex and PJ take a call from a listener who has been sucked into a mobile game called Homescapes because of an ad that looked completely different from the actual game. Alex relates to the caller immediately: he too is caught up in a mobile game (Matchington Mansions) because of a similarly duplicitous advertisement. The game both players thought they were signing up for was a problem-solving puzzle game about choosing the right tool to stop an out-of-control leak or some other domestic catastrophe. What they got instead was a Bejewled-style match 3 game with no puzzle-solving elements at all.
This growth is great news for both game developers and players. 2021 has seen more titles embrace hybrid gameplay elements and spin out into new genres while the rise of social features we experienced in 2020 has evolved even further, transforming how we socialise online. Roblox's virtual concerts mean you no longer need to travel for miles to party at the world's biggest music festivals, while the renovation features in Perfect World Mobile let you invite your friends over to hang in your virtual home.
So what does all of this tell us? People want to connect, play, and socialise together in digital worlds, and slowly, this is becoming the new norm. We can see this reflected in the popularity of social play elements such as guild mechanics, which are up 20% in the top 100 US iOS games. Deeper social mechanics, such as hang-out areas where players can socialise in digital environments outside of game lobbies, are starting to trend, too.
Is the mobile gaming market experiencing its very own Animal Crossing effect? We've noticed a lot of casual games are embracing renovation and special game modes as part of their hybrid gameplay elements, primarily through events. The meta elements outside of their core gameplay are one of the most significant selling points of popular match-three titles such as Playrix's Homescapes and Metacore's Merge Mansion. With the popularity of 'merge' games spiking in 2021, we're not surprised to see these hybrid gameplay elements popping up in other casual genres such as puzzlers and even casino games.
The popular card game Phase 10: World Tour introduced renovation elements in its Halloween event, allowing players to construct and renovate their own Halloween theme park. Solitaire TriPeaks lets you renovate and clean up your estate on the Enchanted Island (main game environment) outside of the main card game, while the casino game Caesars Slots uses renovation elements in its Fortune Palace event.
Other examples of games experimenting with different gameplay styles include the popular tycoon game Township. Live ops for the title has always been strong and its popular events are essentially mini-games where players can experience varying types of gameplay. Similarly, AFK Arena's Wondrous Pouch mode introduced match-three mini-games into the game to offer players a new gameplay experience outside of the core RPG elements.
Speaking of match-three, these puzzlers are leading the way with innovation right now. The fast-paced Royal Match enjoyed a massive launch thanks to its quirky visuals and room-by-room progression, while the slower-paced Zen Match combines match-three gameplay with Mahjong style puzzles and interior style meta elements.
Square Enix utilizes PVP battle royale and PVE monster-hunting elements in First Soldier while also using the title to fill in some of the narrative gaps around the popular Final Fantasy 7: Remake on PS4/PS5. Ultimately, this encouraged many core Final Fantasy fans to download the game on mobile, resulting in over 200,000 downloads in its first two weeks.
Casino games are evolving. If you've not played them before, casino games involve way more than just cranking slots handles, turning cards or spinning roulette wheels. Many feature hybrid gameplay elements, opening up new gameplay experiences outside of the core casino gameplay.
So why is this system suddenly getting so popular in mobile games? It's a psychological pay-off to players when they've got something to show for all of the hours they're investing in a game. Similar to renovation elements -- in the sense that you're continually working towards something more significant -- collectable elements keep players engaged with games for longer by encouraging them to grow their collection of items.
Not only do we expect to see more casino games outside of the Top 100 embracing collectable elements (they're relatively simple for developers to implement), they're proof of the growing popularity of hybrid elements. As the casino genre shows, there's plenty of room to think outside the box and do something different to keep players engaged.
We can also expect to see more mobile games keeping their players guessing thanks to hybrid meta elements creating crossover genres. As 2021 has proved, there's still plenty of innovation left in the mobile market.