Dare to challenge yourself and your team members to drive company and personal success.
Create a friendly and relaxed work culture, where people listen and have respect for each other.
Innovate through swift and efficient experimentation.
Create a rewarding work environment that is educational for all.
Foster an honest and collaborative culture, where everyone is held to the same standards.
It’s what the team behind puzzle game Samsara felt after releasing its game across 6 platforms to widespread acclaim, winning awards and making it onto the Geekiverse’s Top Ten of 2018 list, yet achieving only modest commercial success. Guided by JaffaJam’s COO, ex-SEGA Producer Alex Humphries, the Auckland-based development team had already produced over 70 games under contract from some of the world’s biggest entertainment brands such as Disney, and released original IP in the form of much loved multiplayer word game AlphaJax for Windows Phone.
Taking a step back and with encouragement and guidance from CEO Jon Beattie, team members sat down to devise a new way of making and marketing games – from a clean sheet. They quickly identified that being able to grow and nurture a community of players whose habits they knew intimately was hugely valuable. In this way, the team would be able to bridge the gap between the developer and the audience and reduce the cost of, and increase control over, the marketing process.
Building communities at scale is difficult and expensive for independent developers with the lengthy game development schedules that high-risk premium game experiences demand. Instead, the team decided to focus on building snackable, rewarding, fun mobile games with short development cycles – with multiple titles in the pipeline simultaneously. A steady stream of new games supports the creation of a large community relatively quickly, especially as each player’s preferences become better known.
To achieve this with limited resources, the team had to maximise efficiency, so a modular system was conceived as a framework built within Unity to provide common functionality for all games. The experienced technical team, led by Alexis Rabadan and Freddy Weng, built an all-new pipeline for the studio that enabled prototypes to be built, tested and iterated upon rapidly. With some excitement, they also realised that the same toolset could be transformative for partnered development teams, freeing up resources to focus on their ideas, creating and tweaking the player’s gameplay experience instead of coding basic systems.