3 min read
Video: How Zynga convinced Facebook users to play an action adventure game
Zynga designer Seth Sivak peels back the curtain on the creation of Indiana Jones Adventure World, a social title that looked to find a solid middle ground between hardcore design and social game appeal.
[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website] Is it possible to make a social game that can appeal to both casual and hardcore players? It's not easy to find a satisfying middle ground between these two polarizing audiences, yet that's exactly what Zynga Boston tried to do with its recent Facebook title, Indiana Jones Adventure World. The game sought to blend traditional action adventure game design with Zynga's accessible social mechanics, and at GDC 2012, Zynga Boston lead designer Seth Sivak offered an in-depth look at how these seemingly disparate concepts came together in one package. Sivak explained that Zynga wanted to capture the essence of popular action adventure games like Ocarina of Time or Tomb Raider; it was a lofty goal, but making these types of games in a social context is far more difficult than you might think. "The real question comes down to, how can we make this kind of game for everyone?" Sivak said. "There are some very basic differences between [those games and a social title]. We can't use a normal D-pad or any sort of controller; we just get a mouse. And when you're dealing with Flash games...you just get one button, since you don't get the right click." Zynga had to work within these and other limitations to make sure that the action adventure gameplay would make sense even to the most inexperienced players. It was a complex, challenging, and exhaustive process, but Sivak said he and his team learned quite a bit about social game design along the way. To learn more about the creation of Indiana Jones Adventure World and to get an inside look at Zynga's development process, be sure to check out the above video, courtesy of the GDC Vault. Simply click the Play button above to start the video.