Interacting with your player base in a meaningful way is an important aspect of running successful Live Ops. Whether that’s by running events, special promotions or supporting players that are experiencing problems, there are many situations where you will want to be able to gift players game items, or even ingame currency, on a bespoke basis outwith standard game progression.

There are multiple ways to use ChilliConnect to achieve this, but before you start to integrate gifting functionality into your game, please take a moment to understand the various options that are available. Think carefully about how you plan to use them during your Soft Launch or live phase.

Player Messaging

ChilliConnect provides the ability to send messages to a player. Messages can contain a subject, body and title as well as free form JSON data. Messages can also contain gifts – items and currency that are awarded to the player when you call the Redeem method from the SDK.  You can send a message to a player from the player view:

 

ChilliConnect Live Game Management Best Practice 4 Gifting Send Message example

 

From your game you can check for available messages, mark messages as read and redeem messages using the Messaging API. Using messages provides a great way to communicate with players on a one-to-one basis and in a personalised way. This can be particularly useful for handling support requests, or perhaps running offline competitions. The disadvantage of Messages is that you must undertake development work in your client side game code to fetch and render Messages at the appropriate time and in the desired format.

Support Scripts

Support Scripts can be used to modify player accounts directly, either for a single player or for a player segment. The great thing about Support Scripts is their flexibility, anything you can do through the ChilliConnect API and Cloud Code you can also achieve in a support script. For example, the script below gifts a set of items to a player:

var sdk = ChilliConnect.getSdk(“2.0.0”);

var updatedCurrencyBalance = sdk.Economy.addCurrencyBalance(“COINS”, ChilliConnect.Request.Amount);

return { “Original” : updatedCurrencyBalance };

Published Support Scripts will automatically appear on the player account view. The other advantage of Support Scripts is that you don’t need to have implemented any code or hooks in your client game code in the way you would if you were using the Message functionality. This makes Support Scripts particularly suited to situations where you have to modify a player account in an unanticipated way. It’s also possible to send messages from a Support Script, so assuming you have added the correct hooks in your client game code, you can send a message to the player from your script.

One-time Virtual Purchases

One-time Virtual Purchases are best used when you want to offer a group of players a similar set of free items or currency. For example giving all players some free coins to celebrate the start of a festive holiday. They can be considered a non-personalised version of Messages, but can be applied to a group of players rather than just an individual.

You can retrieve available one-time Virtual Purchases by using the Get One Time Virtual Purchases API method. One-time Virtual Purchases can also specify Tags and Custom Data, so you can provide additional information, such as a label, or description, to render them to players in game.

One-time Virtual Purchases can be added to the base Catalog and made available to all players, but a really cool aspect of their design is that they can be specified as overrides as well! These overrides can be permanent for particular player segments, as part of a time limited event, or as an A/B Test. For example, if you wanted to gift all players in the UK 100 free coins on Christmas Eve, you could set up a Scheduled Event like this:

 

ChilliConnect Live Game Management Best Practice 4 Gifting Add Scheduled Event example

 

Then add a new One-time Virtual Purchases as part of the overrides for that event:

 

ChilliConnect Live Game Management Best Practice 4 Gifting Add Virtual Purchase example

 

Summary

There are multiple ways to gift items to players in ChilliConnect, with each method having its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Messages – Best for personalised one-to-one communication such as resolving support tickets. Requires upfront integration into your game.
  • Support Scripts – Best for one-off, bespoke changes to be applied to a single account. Does not require upfront integration.
  • One time Virtual Purchases – Best for global gifting, or gifting items to a specific player segments in combination with Scheduled Events.

The time you spend in the design phase anticipating how, and when, you want to display personalised messages, or send gifts to your players, will pay off during the live phase with greater flexibility and more effective Live Ops management.