Mobile gaming has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and game developers have had to adapt their existing titles to take advantage of this trend. Adapting a game for mobile involves making a number of changes to the game’s controls, performance, graphics, and monetization models. Here are some quick tips on how to successfully adapt a game for mobile devices:
Controls: When adapting an existing PC or console game for mobile, one of the most important considerations is how the controls will be changed or modified. Mobile gaming is often done with touchscreens instead of a controller or keyboard/mouse combination, so you need to make sure that your controls are intuitive and easy to use. Consider using virtual buttons or gestures instead of complex button combinations. Also think about how you can use tilt and motion control options as part of your control system. Be careful to not cover the screen with buttons that block the view, nor to make buttons too small and unreliable.
Performance/Graphics: Mobile devices have less processing power than PCs or consoles, so you need to optimize your code for mobile devices in order to ensure smooth performance. This means reducing the size of textures, lowering the resolution of the game and optimizing your code for better performance on low-end devices. You can also consider reducing frame rates and adding lower-end graphics options that players can select from based on their device’s capability. I wrote a more in-depth article about this topic before.
Monetization: The main difference between monetizing a PC game and a mobile game is the way in which monetization is implemented. On PC, games are traditionally monetized through one-time purchases of the game or in-game items and expansions. On mobile, games are more likely to be monetized through microtransactions, ads, subscription models, or “freemium” models with in-app purchases. Additionally, mobile games tend to focus on shorter play sessions and quick rewards for players due to the nature of playing on mobile devices. Majority of the user base will usually have limited time/focus when playing your game, so keep that in mind.
Difficulty: Adjust difficulty levels if necessary. Mobile gamers may have different expectations than PC gamers when it comes to difficulty levels in games, so it may be necessary to adjust these accordingly in order to ensure a positive experience for all players regardless of their skill level.
Use the cloud: Add cloud saving functionality if you want players to be able to play across multiple devices or continue their progress from one device to another without having to start over from scratch each time they switch devices or reinstall the app. Keep the game file small by separating the high-end graphics textures from the main game and uploading them to the cloud, so only players who want/can run the game on the highest quality will get it.
Adapting an existing game for mobile requires careful consideration when it comes to controls, performance optimization, graphics optimization, and monetization models. It’s important that developers make sure their adapted games feel faithful to their original versions but also make use of all the features available on modern smartphones and tablets in order to offer players a great experience no matter what device they’re playing on!