Traplight’s debut mobile title Big Bang Racing is as UGC as a game gets: since it was launched in July 2016, the Traplight team has created only 0,002% of the 10 million levels in the game, while the players have created the rest. By using a clever voting system in the game the players constantly curate the top content.
To understand our Creators, we asked ourselves: Who are the people behind the Top Creators? What makes them tick? We set out on a journey to understand them and we discovered some interesting facts.
Which players enjoy creating content?
Almost 10 years ago, Minecraft’s sensation gave way for a new generation of players to create with a lot of freedom. It created a shift in paradigms where peer pressure to perform was lowered as everyone was creating, and not only a select few. The goal was not to create one single masterpiece, but to have fun in the process of creation. These players have grown to be known for their ability to dive into creation platforms with ease, and quickly adapt to different technologies and platforms.
While we understand the effects of the phenomenon and its impact in the UGC genre, we have observed that not only the younger generation of players are ruled by this increased creative participation, but it seems that they permeate the game and also facilitate other players into being able to create as freely as they do.
We have studied the BBR player participation and behavior since launch, and our data shows that players in all age groups participate and consider themselves creators. According to a survey we conducted in early 2017, the largest age segment that considers themselves as creators is between the ages of 11 and 15. However our Top most Liked creators, voted by the community through social validation, are between ages 15 and 48. The largest concentration in this age range is around mid twenties.
Big Bang Racing is targeted at a male audience with 70% of our player base being male. Yet, we’ve noticed that female players tend to participate more in creation. According to our poll, 71% of the females consider themselves creators, while males scored slightly lower at 65.5%. With these indications in mind, it’s only natural we consider tailoring UGC games for female audiences targeting their creative expressiveness.
BBR’s Top 30 players have made 1685 levels combined, which have amassed 31.4 Million Likes. This translates to roughly 470,000 play hours on these levels in total, with an average of one minute per game. Our studies also show, that these players are 15+-year-old males, with the median age range being between 25 and 30.
We interviewed some of these Top Creators, and they told us that they started creating just to see what happened, and to see if they could get some Likes. Others started to make simple levels for their children to play on. All in all, players create to express themselves in one form or another. And naturally, after getting used to the process of Creation, they grow to love it.
Below: Toy Factory was one of the themes in the Level Creation Competitions that we organised for the Big Bang Racing community.
Serving the creators drives the whole community
The Top Creators not only produce amazing quality content for all players to enjoy, but they also activate the community in ways that we as developers can’t. For example, by strengthening their relationships with other creators, they encourage each other to increase the quality of their creations.
We can see this very clearly in our Level Creation Competitions, which have been running bimonthly since October 2017. In these competitions players are challenged to create a level under certain restrictions and following a Theme. The first time we ran an event like this, we had a low 25.4% of the entries considered of high quality. We tested their fun-factor, play-ability, flow, visuals and design, and adherence to a theme. In the latest event, in comparison, the high quality content percentage rose to 42.3%. This number has been steadily increasing, even considering that some participants are new and had not participated before.
The Top Creators also change the Meta of the game. When a creator figures out a novel new way to use an Editor item, many newer creators begin copying this new method and create trends that change over time. This is because the Top Creators have a large audience following their every move.
The other creators start following the Top Creators and start looking up to them so they can learn how to become better creators themselves. We encourage our Top Creators to become Stars in the game by featuring them inside our games. We also do collaborative events where, for example, players are encouraged to follow our hand picked Creator in exchange for exclusive in-game content such as Hats, like we had in one of these events. Some of them, with their in-game popularity, even began their own Youtube channels and started their Youtubing careers.
With their success and encouragement from their followers, some of the Top Creators even approached us with much more ambitious plans. One of our most recognized and loved Creator is also an artist and wanted to create his own 3D hat to use in the game on a competition of his own. He created the assets and we revised and included them in the game, making our first asset collaboration: The Time Traveling Hat.
Top: Original concept created by one of our Top Creators, Bottom: The final 3D hat in game
Building a player community around mutual collaboration and friendship
These are some of the reasons why we believe that working together with our players creates the most satisfying relationship, and as a byproduct: a game that nurtures creation.
We at Traplight have created the tools to offer our players this creative freedom, and cultivated our community to be built around mutual collaboration and friendship. We strive to understand our players needs and build features for them.
We know first hand that our players can create amazing content beyond our wildest expectations. Hence it’s easy for us to trust our players with the enormous responsibility of developing quality content for the whole player community.
Players can be driven by many different motives, but ultimately, we at Traplight want to give them the means and opportunity to express themselves to their potential.