Ride or Die - The Evolution of Casual Gaming to Hybrid gaming

Introduction

"Ride Or Die" is currently a prototype of a high-speed motorcycle arcade game, conceived in a dazzling neon-lit synthwave universe.

Overview

  • Using Scenario saved 40% of the game’s budget
  • Scenario was used to create 70% of the games icons and trophies

In this early stage, players experiment with weaving through traffic, dodging obstacles, and attempting gravity-defying jumps across evolving, dynamic levels.


In the future, the game will feature intense boss battles against Micron, demanding quick reflexes and strategic gameplay. It will offer an array of unlockable content, including new drivers, motorcycles with unique and destructive abilities, tracks, and music, all set against an immersive backdrop of vibrant colors and music.

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Currently working as a Monetization Manager at Voodoo, Samuel created Speed Demon, a video game studio focused on mobile gaming.

Discussing the creation of Ride Or Die, the first game of the studio, Samuel spoke of the initial challenges encountered, particularly the high costs associated with artistic capabilities. He pointed out that a major hurdle for many solo game developers is the artistic component – possessing the vision but lacking the comprehensive skills to deliver professional-grade assets. Samuel also stressed the challenges in cutting costs, especially during a time when the gaming industry is shifting from hyper-casual games to a more hybrid approach. Scenario was key in addressing this issue, which was used to create 70% of the game's icons and 2D assets, making the game richer and more vibrant.

Generative AI - An opportunity for Hybrid Games

Hybrid casual gaming, mentions Samuel, represents an evolution of the hyper casual genre, which is known for its extremely low Cost Per Install (CPI) and low Lifetime Value (LTV) of users. However, with rising CPIs, the focus is shifting towards creating more profitable games while maintaining a reasonably low CPI. This approach emphasizes retention over a longer duration, moving from a 7-day retention focus (D7) to 30-day (D30) or even 90-day (D90) retention periods, by making deeper and sometimes flashier games.

In terms of monetization, this strategy focuses on longer-term, more addictive gameplay, potentially leading to higher revenue.. Creating a purely hyper casual game with short-term engagement and minimal depth is becoming less viable. Instead, the trend is towards creating 'true games'—those with more depth, engagement, and longer-term player retention.

In hybrid games such as "Ride or Die," the use of generative AI for asset creation and quick prototyping is pivotal. It facilitates the swift generation of a wide array of high-quality game assets and allows studios to sustain a fast prototyping pipeline, even after the shift to hybrid.

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Compressing Production Pipelines - Shortening it by 3 months

Samuel noted that Scenario's role in creating 14 out of 18 icons significantly expedited the development timeline and contributed to a total time saving of three months at this stage of development. Additionally, the integration of generative AI in the game's production process has proven to be cost-effective. Samuel estimates a 40% reduction in production costs, highlighting the significant financial advantages of utilizing AI in game development.

Samuel extensively leveraged various capabilities of Scenario, including image generation, img2img, isolate, canvas, and upscale. The user-friendly interface of Scenario significantly eased the development process. Its straightforward design allowed for a quick learning curve, yet it had a considerable impact. A particularly notable feature was the ability to bulk select and organize generated images, which greatly streamlined the workflow.

Besides using Scenario, Samuel highlighted the use of ChatGPT, which was immensely helpful to him, especially with the copilot feature assisting in writing and debugging his code.

Outcome

From riding his motorbike through Paris with a camera to actually building a playable game, Samuel used multiple generativeAI tools including Scenario to significantly speed up his production. He strongly believes that indie developers greatly benefit from AI, as it enables them to extend their reach across various aspects of game development, giving them the ability to build more complete and comprehensive games on their own. In the hybrid casual gaming sector, AI is especially transformative. Developers can generate a vast number of prototypes daily, creating rich and diverse game worlds. AI enables the rapid and comprehensive development of prototypes, including artistic resources, basic game features, and even simple icons that surpass standard offerings like those from Google, resulting in superior aesthetic appeal.

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