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Video: Building killer game loops in social games
August 22, 2014 | By Staff

August 22, 2014 | By Staff
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing, Video, Vault

"If you don't have YouTube videos with people showing off optimal layouts of their city or restaurant, then you don't have smart depth. The best example of having smart depth is people starting to share a picture of 'Hey, take a look at how smart I was.'"
- Wooga chief Henric Suuronen breaks down his "smart depth" design principle at GDC Europe 2011.

The game loop is at the heart of social games and of paramount importance in retaining users and developing successful games. Speaking as part of the Social Games Summit at GDC Europe 2011, Wooga studio head Henric Suuronen shared some interesting insight into how developers can create engaging game loops in games that are meant to be social.

Using practical examples from his previous titles as well as contemporary social games, Suuronen discusses the ins and outs of designing sustainable reward cycles and reminds developers to build games with "smart depth:" an extra layer of strategy on top of your core game loop that rewards players for making canny strategic decisions.

It's an interesting talk, so we've gone ahead and embedded the free video of "Killer Game Loops in Social Games" above. You can also watch it here on the GDC Vault.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC Next already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.

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Karstein Roesnes Ersdal
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Hello Staff! I was wondering why you made a new article about this exact talk, when you did the same back in 2012?

It's a good talk, but I'm curious.

Alex Wawro
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Because it's a good talk! We thought it was worth highlighting for folks who weren't reading Gamasutra two years ago.

Karstein Roesnes Ersdal
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Alright :)

Robert Green
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It's a hobby of mine to play "spot the contradiction" in talks like this. In this case, it was fairly easy. He claims (as they always do) toward the end that of course you have to make a core game that's fun to play or it won't succeed. But he also said in the middle that without the 'closure' - without rewards waiting for the player when they return to the game after a break - people wouldn't come back to these games. These two statements don't seem like they can both be true - if your game is really fun, people will want to play more of it because it's fun, and you shouldn't need to rely on other incentives.

Ryan Christensen
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User generated content to show off how smart the player is in a way just show and tell, and it definitely gets rotation. Minecraft operating systems and hard drives etc.