Winter Nights 2013: Play your game as much as possible, says Supercell
#wnconf Advice from Clash of Clans
A good opportunity then for product manager Michail Katkoff to kick off the Winter Nights conference in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Titled 'Clash of Clans: Secrets of Success' Katkoff - who previously worked at Digital Chocolate and Rovio before joining Supercell - described the interdependence of the game's economy.
"It only take 30 minutes to train a dragon, but to get to that stage it takes four days to upgrade your barracks," he said.
You also have up upgrade your town hall, and upgrade your gold storage in order to have enough gold to purchase these upgrades. Of course, with a lot of gold stored, you'll also have to build up your defences to stop enemies stealing it before you can spend it.
Hence the entire process take weeks, but player can always see that they are making progress Katkoff said.
"Providing them with visual progress is very important for us."
Behind the curtain
In terms of the game's development, Supercell spends a lot of time playing a wide variety of games on different platforms to gain creative inspiration. This is combined with a strong vision and theme for the game.
Five people worked for two months to create the first playable version of Clash of Clans.
Supercell keeps its development teams compact, and significantly, doesn't have dedicated game designers. That is something everyone in the team feeds into. Each team has a data scientist embedded, however.
And playing your game was one of Katkoff's key pieces of advice to developers.
"We play our games a lot," he said. "Before I joined Supercell, I didn't know people could play their games as much as we do."
Of course, Supercell also followed the usual process of soft-launching the game in Canada before the full global release.
"You need to test your infrastructure and analytics," Katkoff said. "No matter how much you've played your game, you will have to tweak your economy. It will shift a lot when consumer start playing."