Supercell: It takes more than one great idea to make a successful game

Studio veteran Touko Tahkokallio shared his granular approach to development at this year’s GDC

Supercell: It takes more than one great idea to make a successful game

Supercell's Touko Tahkokallio warned an audience at GDC against the idea of blindly following "one great idea".

The game lead and veteran designer took to the stage at the annual conference this year to share his granular game development insights.

During the hour-long session, Tahkokallio described his approach to game design. Rather than attempting to flawlessly execute one initial idea, he described how Supercell prototyped and tested to find the best approach to a number of problems faced in the development of its games.

“In practice, game development is more like being in a jungle,” he said.

”You have a team, maybe a rough idea of what kinda game you are trying to make. The game is somewhere hidden in the jungle and you try to find it.

“A game designer is like a scout in the jungle. You try to find the best path through the jungle and minimise the time spent lost there.”

Carving a path

In the talk, Tahkokallio talked an audience through the way Supercell settled on a number of design decisions in Boom Beach, Hay Day and Brawl Stars.

He detailed how the team created an in-game economy for Hay Day, and also how it iterated on various control schemes for Brawl Stars before going all-in on virtual joysticks. The full talk is available on YouTube (below).

It’s been a strong year for Supercell, which made seventh place in our Top 50 Mobile Developers list. Revenue for its latest title, Brawl Stars, is said to be up 616 per cent in soft launch.

Staff Writer

Natalie Clayton is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer and game developer. Besides PCGamesInsider and, she's written across the games media landscape and was named in the 2018 100 Rising Star list.