This is the project we recieved from Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE). SIE is looking foward to be more competitive in the quality and quantity of games pubilished on its platforms, so it is super valuable if great indie developers are willing to publish their works at their store.
However the present publishing system is not doing a great job to attract developers. They said the current process is lengthy and requires usage of a variety of tools which often frustrated indie developers, and confused them. At the same time, SIE wanted to reach to the best of the games. Thus they gave us the task above, seeking a new system to improve the workflow.
Who are the indie developers? For this question, we listened to many developers, and summarized their self-definition as:
● Highly motivated and skillful individuals who are independent from a publisher.
● Making use of inexpensive software/tools to help bring their stories into the world.
● Often working with one another to explore their shared passion.
“Sometimes I feel like walking blindly, it's easy to get frustrated."
- Rollossus Developer
● It’s hard to get feedback from early stages of developments
● Process is non-linear and can be
difficult to map out and plan for
● Process can be emotional, start and stop, fast and slow, motivating and demotivating
● One developer is hard to be a master in all fields
● Sony is currently separate and does not heavily interact with the community
Developers are Gamers
● Game developing is a hard process need a strong passion to persist
● Developers are mostly big fans of games,
and will be interested in any great ideas about games
● Inspirations often come from playing other games
Independent Developers Needs Others
● It's possible to make a game by yourself but to make a game really work it's a collaborative effort, need to have people with different skills sets and mindsets
● Game development is social and a
community is built around a game through shared experiences, as well as critique and encouragement based on those experiences
Mentorship can alleviate intellectually draining periods
● A real person leading you through process can save you time and effort
● Lowers the learning curve for new game deve-lopers
“Mentoring from another developer or developers before who have made really nice documentation that goes over the major things or are around to provide guidance and assistance [would be helpful] -- especially for people self publishing”
- Akupara Games Developer
Our design solution is "PlayStation Club": a user testing and feedback network populated by developers currently working with Playstation. The idea was inspired from a developer we talked to. He mentioned that in the virtual world, their is always a culture of collaboration. People share their challenges in blogs, and the most amazing solutions popped up, everyone benefits from it. Like Github. There are actually many great softwares built by the whole community instead of single programmers.
Then we thought of a community for gamers.
In our community, developers can upload demos of their work and specify what they are seeking feedback on, and other developers will be able to browse game demos by genre, new versions of previously tested games, etc to give feedback and create a community of camaraderie and cooperation, as well as opening channels for devs to communicate with each other outside of the realm of their demo feedback.
While a dev is responding to the feedback questions about another developer's game snippet, they have the option "endorse" the game, which will be an anonymous tally toward a certain quantity of endorsements that will notify a "Sony Mentor" to reach out to this developer.
PlayStation Club then allows SIE to delegate their limited human resources in the form of hand on hand mentors, leading devs to go throught the tedious process of publishing, also shorten the long waiting period of censoring and quality checking.
Indie Developers now have a play space to test and interact with other. The home screen is a game library for developers to choose games to test and give feedback to.
Games are categorized by test type
or game type and popular games are featured.
On the Game Page, a description,
rating, and test type explain each game.
The developer also has the opportunity to put certain kind of demo of the game, as action, storyline and so on, with word explaination to point game testers
in the direction they want specific
Once the game is tested, scroll down the page and feedback to
specific questions are left for the
The final part of the feedback
section is an endorsement.
The goal of endorsing a game is to
boost the developers confidence
and eventually bring the game to Sony's Attention. The number of endorsements are counted by the system and available to the developers.
On the developer page, developers can view the feedback that has been given to them and their total number of endorsements on their game.
Feedbacks are anonymous to keep developers from giving 1:1 feedback and endorsements.
Once an endorsement criteria has been met developers are assigned a Sony mentor.
Replacing the endorsement section
is contact info for the developer's