Tiki Rush: Escape from Lava Island

Sony via Mercury Active

Game Design, Game Development, Server Development
PlayStation Mobile, PlayStation VITA, Android

Mercury Active approached Karman with a special opportunity. Using Mercury's own IP develop an addictive, infinite side scrolling game for Sony's PlayStation Mobile app store. The catch, PlayStation Mobile games aren't created using familiar frameworks like Unity and Cocos2Dx but a specialized tool set and SDK. Unfamiliar frameworks and technologies? Sounds like Karman's specialty!

Beyond the inherit platform challenges, Karman was asked to collaborate on the game design outlining gameplay balance, player economy, and fleshing out the core mechanics. We were also tasked with developing a sound QA strategy and recommending device purchases based on Sony's list of PlayStation Mobile Certified devices.

Custom system allowed Mercury to setup the next 6 months of promotions in a day, click publish, then sit back and watch the analytics come pouring in.

Challenges

  1. Sound quality assurance. We were also tasked with developing a sound QA strategy and recommending device purchases based on Sony's list of PlayStation Mobile Certified devices.
  2. Rapidly tweak the game. After launch, Mercury needed to run in game promotions and modify gameplay values without needing to submit an updated app to the store.
  3. Analytics system. An easy to understand analytics system was also required to enable Mercury to monitor the effect their changes made as well as the overall success of Tiki Rush.

Delivered

Given the unfamiliarity of PSM platform, Karman rapidly completed a preliminary evaluation of the platform and documented any potential risks before the pitch phase was complete. This initial research allowed Karman to provide early game design feedback and an accurate quote.

Once in production we really sunk our teeth into the game design. We defined new achievements, in app purchase strategies and a system to generate game item values independent of how a round of the game actually played. One of our key focuses in this phase was making sure the financial balancing of the application could be tweaked independent on how the gameplay resulted so that we could focus on balancing the economy on one end, while ensuring the in game experience was as fun as possible.

To allow Mercury to rapidly change game parameters, Karman developed a custom CMS like solution which allowed their team to modify everything from player jump height to the cost of the diamond mask without requiring users to update the app through the store. Changes to parameters could be made permanent (game balancing) or any value could be changed for a temporary period of time (promotions). This system allowed Mercury to setup the next 6 months of promotions in a day, click publish, then sit back and watch the analytics come pouring in. We call it community engagement on auto pilot.

As projects relying on new technologies go there were many challenges. From low runtime memory limits (just 96mb!) to vastly different performance profiles between devices. Throughout the whole process Karman worked hard with the teams at Mercury to maintain expectations, schedule and product quality. Karman delivered on time and budget. We even heard word from our contact at Sony that Tiki Rush was one of the most polished games on the store to date. Not bad for our first project on PlayStation Mobile!

MORE PROJECTS

If you liked what you saw, check out some of our other projects.

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Bring it on

With an active industry presence built on a foundation of award-winning work, and full-service capabilities that include animation, 3D modelling and more, there's nothing we can't handle. Partner with our exceptional team and come to expect the unexpected.

contact@karmaninteractive.com

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