Case Study

Overview

Developed in partnership with established mobile games studio Tag Games and renowned global games publisher Activision, Downton Abbey: Mysteries of the Manor is a free-to-play hidden object game released to coincide with the final series of the popular period drama. Mysteries of the Manor was developed using the open source ChilliSource game engine and extensivley utilised ChilliConnect in order to provide social and online features, live updates and KPI tracking.

Facebook Login and Leaderboards

As a free-to-play game, Mysteries of the Manor was designed with a strong emphasis on social features from the outset. The game used ChilliConnect to provide players with the option to associate their game account with their Facebook profile, allowing them to log in and resume their progress across multiple devices. Once players had logged in with Facebook, Tag Games could then leverage the Leaderboards feature of ChilliConnect to provide players with a ranking of their score in comparison to that of their friends every time they completed a stage. In addition to score comparison, the ability to associate player accounts with a Facebook profile also allowed Tag to implement an energy request feature where players could send their friends in game energy via Facebook.

With any free-to-play game retention is key and allowing players to share their experience or compete with friends provides a strong incentive for them to keep returning to your game. ChilliConnect allowed us to very quickly implement Facebook login support and social leaderboards early in the development cycle with minimum cost.

Richard Carr

Head of Game Design, Tag Games

Defining the Game Economy

Mysteries of the Manor made extensive use of the ChilliConnect Economy Management feature to define and manage the game economy as well as keep track of player inventory and currency balances. Every item in the game was defined as part of the Economy using ChilliConnect, including Currencies, Power Ups, Levels, Collectables and Crafting recipies. This allowed the team to use ChilliConnect to maintain the players progress through each level using the custom instance data stored against each item as well as keeping track of all collectables, power ups and currency balances.

In addition to utilising the built-in Economy item types, the development team also used the Metadata type to define additional, bespoke configuration releated to the economy including player level progression, level completion rewards and quest information. This allowed both the core economy definitions and additional game Metadata definitions to be maintained in the same place and versioned in parallel.

The ChilliConnect Economy Management feature was a perfect fit for many of the gameplay mechanics implemented within Mysteries of the Manor. ChilliConnect’s out of the box support for currency conversions, purchases and the ability to securely redeem In App Purchases allowed the code team to rapidly implement many features including crafting, buying and selling items, and a dual currency system without having to write a single line of server code.

The game economy contained a large number of items that could have been difficult to manage and organise but the Economy Import feature allowed us to follow a well defined process whereby all items were defined in Json files, versioned through our own github repository and then imported in to ChilliConnect when any changes were ready to be tested. This made it easy for the team to quickly update the Economy based on user feedback and A/B testing during soft launch without having to distribute a new build of the game.

Nicolas Tanda

Lead Programmer, Tag Games

Analytics and KPI Tracking

Mysteries of the Manor used the built-in analytics features of ChilliConnect to track essential KPIs including daily, weekly and monthly player numbers, retention, and revenue metrics. The game also made use of the custom event tracking feature to record and monitor specific player behaviours such as tutorial and level progression. The analytics dashboard provided project stakeholders with a clear, high level overview of the game’s performance with the daily SQL and CSV exports being used by the analytics team for more detailed analysis.

The ChilliConnect analytics dashboard allowed me to walk in and instantly gauge Mystery of the Manor’s strengths and weaknesses as a product and see what was happening within it’s economy. This made setting our soft-launch and post-launch development priorities easy. For detailed work that required queries specific to Downton; Chilli’s custom charts and the ability to directly query the aggregated SQL tables removed any technical impediments and meant we could focus on the game rather than writing complex jobs in other languages

Robin Smith

Senior Economy Designer, Tag Games

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