Bridging the gap between UX and Game Design

From grand jackpot payouts to new themes, Feric answers some introductory questions suppliers ask when developing a new game

Words by Feric Feng, founder of Manna Play. Feric is a designer and concept artist passionate about connecting the words of art , technology and design. He has worked with some of the heavy hitters in the industry such as Dreamworks, Squares and Avatar Reality and collaborated with Google io, Sony Playstation VR., MSD, China trust Bank and HTV VIVE.

I started my career as a concept design artist, working with some of the heavy hitters in the industry such as Dreamworks, Squares and Avatar Reality. 

No alternative text description for this imageYou may be familiar with the super popular game empire Final Fantasy; working closely with the American and Japanese team to develop ground breaking game graphics.  During this early journey in the artistic side of the game industry, I gained a serious passion towards the structure of gaming, hence I took on the opportunity to enroll in the Master program of Graphic Design at Yale University to further strengthen the design theory of gaming.  

As the whole world begins to move into virtual reality in gaming, I was fortunate to be contacted by my former boss right before graduation to join a new startup working with some of the best in the gaming industry to create VR games that can be played throughout various platforms.  During this phase of my career a large learning curve was thrown at me to be exposed to the operation of a gaming startup, from product design to research and development.  Back in 2007-2010 the industry was too premature for VR technology, so many of the goals and dreams the company had aimed for did not come to fruition. 

No alternative text description for this imageIn 2010 I made my way back to Asia, started a new company named: Fevolution to tackle mobile games for various age groups and target audiences.  Educational and lifestyle apps such as Eggo To Go, Time To Eat, Togather were just a few of the titles and original IPs we created.  The games did well, and at one point we had raised USD 6 million in working capital.  

In 2016, VR had made some significant progress in both hardware and software sectors, and that was also the year Fevoloution started working with Google and HTC VIVE to create software contents for their hardwares for integration, some of the titles successfully made their way to Google store as well as Sony’s Playstation platform.  

Manna playFast forward to 2018, I saw and realized the market potential in iGaming and launched Manna Play to tackle the world of remote gaming.  Keeping many of my trusted brothers and sisters in arms from Fevolution with an abundance of experience working with both Western and Asian gaming and aesthetic, Manna Play has all the ingredients and knowhow to understand the needs and preferences for Asian players worldwide.  With the team's strength not only on the artistic side but also technical side in algorithm and calculations, we were able to grow exponentially, with less than two years in operation, we managed to come up with 25+ quality casino games and a handful of brand games on its way.  When we make our games we always ask ourselves these questions:

What makes a good game?

We believe that a good game quickly pulls the player into the theme, with lasting memory, something that can be played over and over again, on various devices.  A fine balance of odds that satisfy the players and the operators.

How can games be more innovative?

There is also a fine balance between modularisation and customisation.  This is very different from how games are made in the past.  Today we study data on player behaviors based on their region and age group to make customisations. 

How can design be improved?

We try to make the games to be versatile to accommodate all platforms, in the design language we also want to keep the games simple and light, not necessarily pursuing an overly fancy graphic.

What appeals to players?

a group of people posing for the cameraFirstly, we need to understand in various regions, what attracted the players to play your game.  Is purely for entertainment or is it a pursuit of a thrill, or something completely differently. 

I have an example of a game that we made, which is very simple but it attracted a lot of attention and popularity. This phenomenon can be seen as a regional appeal that in the Asian culture, receiving fortune and blessings is very well liked, so in the design of our game, we placed a lot of elements in this nature, so that as the player plays, they continue to receive the sense of blessing.  Usually working closely with operators will give you the best insight to the cultural and regional preferences. These insights could be as detailed as the players’ economical status, age and gender.

We realize over the past two years that the top tier young players are the easiest to transition from traditional gaming to iGaming and embracing social media sharing features.

With MP games we ensure that they possess innovative gameplays and odds in accordance with the regional playing habits backed by seasoned mathematicians and state of the art programming.

As game developers, we are always looking towards our next game, how it could be more innovative, more appealing and more fun for the players.  We believe in 80% sticking to the tradition and 20% innovations, being culturally sensitive, and understanding the core of casino gaming.  

Manna Play has some great plans for the coming year and is currently looking for more platforms to partner and grow with!

About SiGMA Europe Virtual Expo

SiGMA Group is excited to announce the launch of their November event, SiGMA Europe Virtual Expo. The online event, which runs from the 24th to 25th, will focus on the European gaming and tech marketplace.

For more information about how to sponsor this event please contact Hamza and to explore speaking opportunities get in touch with Jeremy. To register for the expo click here.

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