Supercell game designer Alex Roque recently celebrated a year working on the hit game Clash of Clans, and has spoken to Game Developer.com regarding his work on the game, including his work on the Builder Base mode.
Clash of Clans was first launched in 2012, and has launched Supercell into the enviable position of being one of the top game makers in the mobile space. However, the Builder Base mode went some time without an update. Supercell announced a 2.0 rework in November 2022, with Roque as one of the developers working on the project.
And uncharacteristically for the ever-evolving mobile hit, Supercell had attempted and been unable to find a path forward for the mode.
"It was just a lot of meetings and discussions where the whole team was present," Roque told Game Developer. "Everybody could pitch in. Then, the designers stepped out, discussed the meeting, went back to them with ideas, discussed more, and so on. It was really cool how over time these big ideas took form. At some point there was even a pitching round where people could be like, okay, 'what do I want to do with builder base?', and some of the ideas of those pitches actually went into the game. After we had kind of the direction, then it was discussing details and executing basically."
Building on success
Roque explained that while the team appreciated the mixture of tactical and puzzle gameplay, they identified several issues with pacing, which simply offering additional levels didn’t address. As such the team had to think outside the box in order to find a solution which would allow them to expand the game mode.
"It was an interesting decision, instead of making more content, let's go back to the core and fix the problem, so that then we can add more content," said Roque.
Although a core team worked on Builder Base 2.0, discussions regarding its future involved a much larger team, giving everybody the opportunity to make suggestions and understand the reasoning behind any changes.
"I think, when you're doing something this big, you need the team to be aligned on the direction and understand what they're doing. The usual process is like, somebody comes up with a solution or something they wanna do, pitch it to the team, and see who else wants to join in. A small group attends, discusses it in depth, and comes back with a solution."
The team also consulted with the game’s community, helping them identify problems from the perspective of a player. Research had shown that players weren’t particularly invested in the mode, which led to Supercell putting more effort into other areas until they had a firm plan in place to drive engagement. However, Roque stated that while players could identify problems, they were less successful when it came to suggesting any changes.
We listed Supercell as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.