Adrenaline Rush - the first big Italian Game Jam has come to an end and we finally know the winners.
Over the last few months, we and our participants have been as busy as bees, and it’s been worthwhile.
More than 100 teams joined the Jam, from indie developers to more experienced studios. Over 300 developers took on the challenge of developing the next hyper-casual hit, which resulted in 30+ successful entries.
How Did the First Big Italian Game Jam Become Such a Success?
Adrenaline Rush is the start of what we hope will grow into a yearly event that will help the Italian mobile gaming scene to reach new heights!
From the 16h of May to the 15th of August, developers from all over Italy were given a chance to participate in the first big Italian Game Jam organized by myAppFree.
The purpose of the Adrenaline Rush Jam was to create a countrywide competition that would gather hundreds of Italian mobile game developers.
Both indie developers and established studios had the chance to compete – head to head.
As you can see from the numbers, the response to Adrenaline Rush was noteworthy. Especially given that it was limited to Italian mobile game developers.
Curious about what attracted so many developers to join the first big Italian Game Jam? What did the whole process look like? How did we determine the winners?
We’re revealing all this just for our readers!
One of the keys to a successful game jam is choosing the right theme.
That’s why we did extensive market research on this.
For a game to succeed in the rapidly changing hyper-casual market, it needs to be based on a trending theme. Yet, it should have long-term potential as well.
We also wanted a theme that leaves things open for creativity and innovation. At CiaoGames, myAppFree mobile games publishing branch, we believe it’s vital not to limit the developers’ creativity, and this is how we approach all our deals.
Ultimately, our research has shown us that the top charts are consistent with action games. This theme met all our criteria – it was broad, trending, and evergreen, all at the same time.
As a result, the participants of the first big Italian Game Jam were assigned the task of creating a hyper-casual action game.
Partnership with AppsFlyer and Unity
The developers who accepted this challenge weren’t left alone.
Besides myAppFree’s support, they also got some extra assistance from our generous partners – Unity and AppsFlyer.
Education with Unity
During the Jam, Unity organized a variety of educational webinars that developers could attend.
They were able to learn about the entire development process – from prototyping to analyzing, and monetizing hyper-casual games.
Here is the list of all the webinars the developers had at their disposal:
- Rapid Prototyping in Unity 2021 LTS – Part 1
- Rapid Prototyping in Unity 2021 LTS – Part 2
- Monetize your Hypercasual: Do’s & Don’ts game
- How to analyze and manage your game with Unity Gaming Services
Both we and Unity believe that knowledge should be shared.
For this reason, we made the webinars available for anyone who wants to learn new things. You can find them right here .
Insights with AppsFlyer
AppsFlyer, one of the leading mobile marketing analytics and attribution platforms has also provided significant support to the developers.
At the Game Jam, all participants received an extended free trial of Apps Flyer’s services with double the usual number of conversions.
For the winning teams, they also provided something extra.
All the teams that won one of the Jam’s awards were also given exclusive access to their unique “AppsFlyer Mobile Startup Acceleration Program”.
The first big Italian Game Jam was not only big by the number of participants.
It was also big in terms of the total prize pool, which exceeded € 100,000 considering the perks from our sponsors and advertising budget granted. The prize pool was split into two categories:
- Top Performers
- Jury Favorites
Metrics are important indicators of a game’s potential. For this reason, we also offered 3k EUR in cash up for grabs for the titles with the best KPIs.
Numbers are important, but they are not all that counts. Leaving a good impression is also a big prospect of success. That’s why we also offered our participants a chance to win 2,000 EUR in UA budget if they won the Jury’s hearts!
Guidance from our Jam Masters
One important thing for us was to empower the teams to take their games from an idea to a successful commercial product.
To make sure that everyone had the best possible chance of success, we provided them with all the guidance they might need.
That’s why every team was assigned a Publishing Manager, aka a Jam Master. Our Jam Masters were there to assist the developers in all steps from start to finish from ideation to technical implementation and iterations.
They also offered feedback for ad creatives. We can all agree that ads are a huge part of hyper-casual success, so it’s vital to know how you can catch the attention of your target audience.
In other words, the teams we guided the developers from start to finish, just as we do for the ones we work with in our publishing deals.
How Jam Masters Helped our Contestants
In what ways did our Publishing Managers help the contestants?
It’s best if you hear it from them. Here are some of their first-hand experiences!
“I got invaluable help on the implementation of UIs, color palettes and 3D Graphic feedback to make our gameplay stand out” – Carlo Monzini
“Simplification: this basic, but fundamental concept is the biggest input I received from the Jam Master, who, more than anyone, helped me shape Flag Master, by focusing on the core elements of my game!” – Christian Pulieri
“The Jam Master not only helped me with precious feedback about polishing my game’s experience but really helped me stay motivated and focused till the finish line” – Andrea Tedesco
How Determining the Winners Looked Like
You’re dying to find out some details about how we evaluated the teams’ prototypes?
It’s your lucky day because we’re about to spill the beans!
Testing the Prototypes
Once the Game Jam participants submitted their polished prototypes, it was time to test them.
The goal of the process?
Finding out how the market responds to the teams’ creations.
To do this properly, it is crucial to test in the right markets and track the right metrics. We approached this by splitting the tests for the games created during the Game Jam into two batches:
- Tier 1 countries to get accurate CPIs
- Tier 2–3 countries to get massive volume and test engagement metrics (RRD1 / RRD7 / Playtime, etc.)
Thanks to this approach, we were able to get enough data to evaluate each title - none of them got cut from our tests.
Most importantly, we got an idea of which prototypes have the best chance of turning into scalable and lucrative games.
To make the KPI chase even more motivating, during the testing phase, the contestants got a chance to put some money in their pockets.
Here are the titles they competed for and how they were judged:
- The Charmer – The best CPI performances throughout the testing period
- The Keeper – The best D1 retention rate throughout the testing period
- The Bewitcher – The highest average playtime throughout the testing period
And The Winners Are…
Last but not least, let us introduce you to some of the best titles of the first big Italian Game Jam.
Drum roll, please!
These three prototypes were the most effective at attracting low-cost players, retaining them, and keeping them in gaming mode.
1. The Charmer award goes to… TheDuckIsCrazy !
The Duck is Crazy is a fast and of course CRAZY game about a duck creating mayhem, some ducks just wanna see the world burn.
2. The Keeper award goes to… Gunman Rush !
Gunman Rush is a runner game with..believe it or not… GUNS! Running and shooting never felt better.
3. The Bewitcher award goes to… Gas Farmer !
Gas Farmer mixes all the joy of creating your farm, with the fast-paced gameplay of a runner, with a twist!
The Jury Prizes
Numbers are not everything, and we mean it here at myAppFree / CiaoGames!
There are countless examples of games that didn’t do well in the initial tests – and now they are all over the top charts. This is because someone was there to recognize their potential and keep them going.
Our fantastic panel of judges knows how to spot potential, so we gave them a task to pick out their favorites.
Here are three games that stood out from the crowd and caught our Judges’ gaming hearts.
1. Goscurry - GhostShark Games
2. FlagMaster3D - Christian Pulieri
3. AstroVortex - MNZ Games
First Big Italian Game Jam Wrap Up
We are extremely proud of everything we achieved with the first big Italian Game Jam – but this is only the beginning!
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