Our Creative Director Sami Kalliokoski featured in PocketGamer.biz as a guest author, sharing some insight on the two different approaches to User-Generated Content that we have discovered. Read the article below:

 

User-Generated Content is often associated with social media, where all posts, shares, and comments are user created. However, UGC is no stranger to games either – level editors and modding has been a common occurrence in games for decades.

At Traplight, we see UGC as enhanced player autonomy – an increased pool of choices and possibilities the players have in the game. That autonomy starts with how you control the game and create your unique playing style. The playing style as such is rarely cited as UGC. But when you look at, for example, placing points on talent trees to twist game mechanics, customizing characters and all that express our identities as players, it is not so clear where the player choices are UGC.

This is especially true in social F2P games. The same goes for user-created characters, storylines, and tactics that become popular. In Clash Royale, Supercell has named decks after players who started using a particular unit combination in a successful way.

 

“Jason’s Deck” became popular after his win at Helsinki Tournament in 2016.

 

While UGC has been a big part of games for a long time (in the form of autonomy), there is one question that divides UGC games into two main categories. This question is about how UGC is used in a game: how does the created content help the content creator achieving their goals in the game? We have identified two-high level approaches to UGC games: Player Centric UGC and Creator Centric UGC.

 

The first approach – which we call Player Centric UGC – is the more popular one of the two. It is used through enhanced player autonomy to give the players an edge over another, via strategic city layouts, counter-decks, and tactical character synergies. The signature of this approach is direct competition between the players. In other words, players customize their gameplay to win. Thanks to the success of this approach, there is a high population of city builders, RPGs, and MOBAs in the mobile F2P market.

The second approach – which we call Creator Centric UGC – is used to gain social validation. Instead of optimizing player power to win, the creators use their enhanced autonomy to craft enjoyable gameplay experiences by setting flow, pacing, elements of surprise, and unique visuals of their creations. If they succeed in entertaining other players, they receive likes that convert into other rewards. In this approach, players create content for other players’ enjoyment – much as game developers do. Big Bang Racing – with it’s 8 million player-created tracks – was born from this approach.

 

These two high-level approaches have different end goals. The player-centric is aiming for power through winning and is rewarded by more power and higher social standing (leaderboard, rank) based on your success. The latter aims for social validation and is rewarded by increased social influence and size of an audience. Large audience grants players a possibility to start their own trend in the game – an achievement that is comparable to having a deck named after you in Player Centric UGC.

 

In Big Bang Racing, the level creators receive likes from other players. Top creators have tens of thousands of in-game followers.

 

The Creator Centric UGC has lots of similarities with UGC in current social media. They both rely on people delivering interesting content, giving and receiving social validation, and growing a following. They both also allow opportunity for becoming an influencer, much like streamers in YouTube and Twitch, but inside a game, by providing your unique content to your audience of other players. In Big Bang Racing, the highest rated creators have tens of thousands of followers.

 

But in social media, there is no direct way to monetize you UGC content creation process. This is because the content creation tools – cameras, cell phones or animated gif makers – are external to social media platforms. The camera and the skills used to take great pictures for Instagram or Facebook, attracting thousands of likes, are external to the publishing platform.

In UGC games, the content creation tools are internal to the game, creating a new kind of potential for monetization. Here lies the unique puzzle in UGC gaming – how to monetize player creation process and longing for social acceptance.

 

Our Community and Marketing Manager Veera Rouvinen was recently interviewed for the influencer marketing focused website InfluencerUpdate.biz about the interesting and successful YouTuber campaign we built for the launch of Big Bang Racing.

 

In short, we organised a pre-launch party for our game Big Bang Racing on June 27th 2016, and invited a group of YouTubers from USA, Spain, Netherlands, Norway and Croatia over to test the game. We asked them to give us feedback on how to improve the game, and to make it more ‘YouTubable’. We got great results: amazing feedback and valuable info that we wouldn’t have gotten without hanging out with these people face-to-face.

The relationships we built with the influencers and the learnings we got about how they work are super valuable to us. In addition we were able to find new ways to work with the influencers, and to provide them and their channels value for example with custom in-game items.

 

Check out the full article in the link below for details about the campaign and how it went down:

http://www.influencerupdate.biz/feature/66721/how-traplight-used-influencers-to-build-big-bang-racing-awareness/


YouTubers focused on testing Big Bang Racing at Traplight office in June 2016.

 

Season’s Greetings from Traplight!

 

We wish Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Amazing Holiday Season for all of our friends in Finland and abroad. Thank you for sharing the year 2017 with us. For us, 2018 will be full of exciting things, and we are ready! Please join us for the ride.

 

 

Traplight Xmas Party

 

We had a traditional Finnish “Little Christmas Party” (pikkujoulut in Finnish) on 15th of December. The program of the day included going to sauna, the Friday Open Mic meeting where the teams shared their current progress, Secret Santa gifts, gingerbread baking competition, Mexican bingo, Stiga Table Ice Hockey tournament, decorating the tree with our own UGC decorations and of course some delicious food and drinks!

Thanks to the whole Traplight team for an awesome party, and for the amazing year 2017. We worked hard to create new teams, new games and new ways of working, and we are excited now to see things move forward. Let’s make awesome things happen in 2018!

 

Here are some pictures from our party:

 

The UGC tree and Secret Santa gifts decorating our living room corner.

 

Finland vs. Sweden, the ultimate ice hockey match!

 

Checking out the current state of our games.

 

Getting ready for Secret Santa. Santa’s Little Helper on the right was too eager to stay still for the panorama photo.

 

The final moments of the first ever ‘Peter’s Peppars’ gingerbread competition. The judge has the difficult task of evaluating the submissions.

After the launch of our first User-Generated Content mobile game Big Bang Racing in the summer of 2016 our team went through massive changes. During 2016 and the beginning of 2017 Traplight grew from 13 to 25 people, and the tight group that once was just a single team working on one game was now separated into 3-4 small teams. This change brought us new challenges.


We noticed that it was harder and harder to maintain great communication between different teams. After moving to a new office in July 2017, the teams got their long-awaited working space and peace, but the downside was that we were quite separated now. In the old, small office we were literally right next to each other all the time. Communication flowed then, but soon after moving to a larger office we realised that our communication was based on physical proximity rather than practices that were scalable. We needed something new to help us in this situation.

 

We chat a lot with other game companies to share experiences and to learn. The idea of having weekly, casual and open-ended meetings came from our good friends at Space Ape. They have had a tradition of teams telling about their current progress during Friday afternoons. After hearing about this habit, we decided to make our own version of it. And so the Friday Open Mic meetings were born. Every Friday at 15.00 we gather in the living room for an hour of sharing.


The teams took on this habit quickly and started to show their current product progress in the Open Mic. This turned out to be an excellent tool for keeping everyone up to date on what the teams are working on, and how they are doing. It’s also the perfect place for teams to ask feedback for everything from different art style tests to early game play prototypes. The fact that no progress is too small to show to others has encouraged everyone, and each presentation or talk is met with applause as a thank you.

 

In addition to teams, everyone else can also step up and show things. More and more people have taken this opportunity to tell about their work outside the game teams (like marketing, support and analytics), or share things they have recently learned. All new game ideas are presented in Open Mic as well. The inquisitive and open atmosphere of the meeting has also encouraged us to bring up issues, worries and problems: It is a safe space where those kinds of things can be discussed.

 

The idea of the Open Mic is to keep everyone on the same page and excited: Hearing, seeing and learning new things every week. It’s an amazing tool that we are constantly developing. Based on a recent round of feedback we, for example, set more defined time slots for each topic to make sure the meeting stays condensed and started to share notes from the meetings on a dedicated channel. We also decided that if interesting discussions start during Open Mic, those would be continued later in another meeting or after Open Mic has ended. Issues, problems and worries that are brought up are also treated the same way: If the problem is not solved in 10-15 minutes, it is acknowledged together and appointed another time for the solving or deeper discussion.

 

All in all, the Friday Open Mic has been one of the best habits we have taken on recently. As simple as the idea is, it has done wonders for our communication, team spirit and collaborative effort to move towards the same goal. It has already caused other interesting habits to spin out of it and helped us to understand each other’s work and the company’s direction a lot better.

 

Finland just turned 100 years on 6th of December! Happy birthday Finland, we love you <3

To celebrate the occasion, PocketGamer has gathered a list of the Top 25 Finnish Mobile Game Companies on their website. Guess what, Traplight is on that list! Thank you PocketGamer for the honor, we are glad to be there among with other greats like Supercell, Seriously and our fellow Tampere based friends 10Tons. Cheers!

 

Here’s what they wrote about us:
“User generated content isn’t a big thing for mobile games, but Tampere-based Traplight is out to change all that. Its game Big Bang Racing lets players build, share and race their own crazy tracks, and with millions of tracks created, it’s clear people love the opportunity.”

 


 

Read the whole article:
PocketGamer: Top 25 Finnish Mobile Game Companies

Why Do Influencers Matter For Your Game?

Traplight’s Community & Marketing Manager Veera Rouvinen spoke about Influencer Marketing at Aalto University’s Games Now lecture series today. The topic of the lecture was “Why Do Influencers Matter for Your Game, and How to Work With Them?” The lecture covers the basics of what influencer marketing means for games right now, and how can developers market their game in a way that benefits the influencer and their audience as well.

Check out Veera’s lecture in the video below. You can also check out the slides of the lecture in this link.

Our Community Manager Veera Rouvinen is part of Viral Visionaries expert panel on Steel Media’s Influencer Update website, which focuses on unfurling the essentials of influencers and influencer marketing. Each week Veera and a group of other marketing experts answer some of the hottest questions revolving around influencer marketing right now.

 

First week’s question: “Is influencer marketing all about who’s got the most followers?”

“Careful audience targeting is more important than just the pure scale of the campaign. We’ve noticed at Traplight that the most engaged and best monetising players have come from smaller, but very well targeted campaigns. This type of players have a huge role in shaping your community and giving your games longevity. [—] Broad targeting with the main goal of reaching as many eyeballs as possible is something you will probably want to do at your game’s global launch, but before and after the situation is different.

During soft launch for example it’s good to work with smaller influencers whose audience is in non-English speaking countries. You will get very specific and well targeted audience this way. After launch you will want to reach the players who are most likely to download and enjoy your game, so working in huge scale to get general attention is not a good tactic. You will need to find those pockets of potential fans, instead of just shotgunning at scale.”

 

What do you think about the subject? Do you have own experiences with launching successful influencer campaigns in different sizes? Share your thoughts with us!

Read the full article and other influencer and marketing experts’ comments in the link below:

http://www.influencerupdate.biz/viral-visionaries/66581/is-influencer-marketing-all-about-scale/

Traplight Creative Director and Co-Founder Sami Kalliokoski speaks about creator motivations in our User-Generated Content games in Casual Connect 2017 in Seattle.

 

In his session, Sami speaks about how fundamental human motivations promote self-expression and social validation, and how we here at Traplight create value for our players through core loops built around dynamics of player creativity, empathy, and competence.