How to Make a Mobile Game that Cuts Through the Noise

How to make a mobile game

The mobile game market has never been so competitive. Yet, as practically everyone in the world has a smartphone in their hands and time to play, the rewards for coming out with the next killer game have never been so great. 

Making a game today is very easy, but making a great game takes planning and innovation. Buildbox is the platform behind more Top 100 games than any other no-code game builder, so if you want to learn how to make a mobile game a success story, this is the place to be.

Research the Gaming Market

It can be overwhelming to start developing a new game from scratch. However, If you have the imagination and drive to make a mobile game, you should first research what games are currently in the market to make sure your idea is unique and offers players a new experience. There’s no point in copying a game that someone else has already done, particularly if it’s already successful or comes from a major studio with a massive marketing budget. Any attention this would get you is all bad – like the reviews you will get from players who feel cheated, lawsuits from studio copyright lawyers, and takedown notices from app stores. 

Whatever kind of game you’re going to create, take a look at what’s already available. Make notes of features you want to incorporate into your design and – even more importantly – pain points and underwhelming aspects to the game you can make better.

Start Creating Your Game Now, Be Perfect Later

Once you’ve decided on the game you’re going to make, get started — today. In business, this is a strategy called rapid prototyping, and it’s the secret behind companies that get new products quickly on the market. Start today and tweak, modify and perfect the game as you move forward. 

  • Don’t know how to code for mobile platforms? Use Buildbox — you won’t need to code.
  • Don’t have a budget yet? Start a free account today and upgrade later.
  • Haven’t decided on a great name? Call it “MyGame” for now and rename it next week.
  • Haven’t found a graphic artist yet? Use placeholder images, like squares and triangles, until your art is sorted out.

The point behind this is that if you try to be a perfectionist from day one, your game won’t be any better and will result in many delays. In fact, the things you learn as you dig in and work on your prototype will almost always spark new ideas and help you uncover problems that you can more easily overcome than if you wait and think about it.

How to Make a Mobile Game With Buildbox

After you download Buildbox, you can get started immediately. The easiest way to get started is by using a template. You can choose from over a couple of dozen pre-installed templates, including 360 Shooters, Racing, Running, Wall Jumps, Motocross, Jetpacks, etc. You also have the option to start completely from scratch. 

Once you select your template, you’ll have a fully-playable game prototype up and running, which you can begin modifying and enhancing immediately. Most game programming is done by dragging and dropping in the features you want to use, while you can modify the features even further by specifying your own settings, like speeds and distances. 

Because there are so many options to choose from, you’ll want to use Buildbox’s video tutorials to explore the possibilities if you’ve never used the program before. There are several tutorials available, including tutorials specifically for 2D or 3D games.

Using Your Own Artwork

To make your game unique and truly memorable, use your own artwork. You can find great graphic artists at affordable prices through services like Fiverr. If you are creating 2D artwork, any decent graphics program will work well, like GIMP or Pixelmator Pro (if you have a Mac). When your graphics are ready, you can literally just drag them into Buildbox where they are needed.

Giving Your Game a Performance Edge

Game performance can be an issue on mobile platforms, so you should always keep in mind that your players don’t have unlimited time or system memory to play with. Here are just a few performance tips you should keep in mind:

  • Always include a pause button. You should also consider having the game auto-pause when players get a phone call to ensure they can come back to where they left off.
  • Delete unnecessary functions. If an early feature idea you put into your game doesn’t do much for the player’s experience, get rid of it, so it doesn’t suck up processing power or memory.
  • Use detailed graphics only where you need to. Every image pixel takes up memory. Simplify background images so you can pack more detail into those in the foreground. 
  • Consider all players. Is your game friendly for players with hearing or vision problems? How about the roughly 1 in 12 males who are colorblind?

Hidden Game Development Secrets

If you have never developed a game before, it might surprise you to learn that the player experiences aren’t always what happens under the hood. Take some time to research some of the “dirty little secrets” successful game developers have used to make playing more enjoyable and more addictive for their fans. 

If you want new players to come back to a shooter game, for example, make sure they can get an easy kill in at the beginning. If you want to make a fight more exciting, make the displayed health count lower than what it really is. If you want to make an obstacle easier to avoid, make its collision shape smaller than the displayed graphic. If you use a few of these developer secrets strategically — and sparingly — your players will have much more fun playing. 

Test, Re-Test, and Test Again

Once you have your game practically finished, test it. Look for ways to tweak it. Use Debug mode to see potential problems you may have missed. Ask your friends to test it and give you feedback.

Perhaps the color scheme could use some work. Maybe the graphics don’t flow smoothly during some parts of the game. Whatever feedback you receive, take notes, improve it and test again.

Marketing Your Game

Before your new breakthrough game is ready to go live, you’ll need to put some thought into how you will market it. After all, nobody is going to play your game if they don’t know it exists.

This is where the experienced creators in Buildbox’s community forum come in. They have posted a whole treasury of tips based on their experience, with ideas and tactics that will work in today’s market, not the app market as it was five years ago. If you have a marketing budget and are monetizing your game, for example, you’ll find the best places to spend on ads. If you think you can get your game on the Editor’s Choice list, they have suggestions on how to get those editors to see it. 

Creating Your Mobile Game Using Buildbox

If you’ve ever used a movie editor or a graphics program like Photoshop, you’ll find Buildbox’s interface intuitive, fun, and quite easy to use. When you use our software and game development tips, your game will be a success in no time! But if you do hit a snag, the Buildbox community forum is extremely active and will likely have the solution you’re looking for.

There’s no cost to get started with Buildbox today. Let your gaming imagination flow by downloading our free software for both Mac and Windows computers. 

Tiana Crump

About Tiana Crump

Tiana Crump is a journalist and social media manager at Buildbox with a passion for inspiring others and driving brand awareness. As a gamer and creator, she enjoys sharing game development insights, tips, and success stories from the Buildbox community.