The First 2012 Game to 1 Million, and How It Got There

July

05, 2012

by Andrew Haak


Archive

ROBLOX Games PageEvery ROBLOX user wants to get to the top of the Games page. It’s symbolic of success. A place reserved for the best. It turns games into trends.

“It feels really, really unbelievably good and exciting when a game you’ve made hits the top of the first page,” said ROBLOX user Playrobot, whose creation, Lakeside, was the first game created in 2012 to reach 1 million game plays.

But it’s certainly not easy.

There are many ways to get noticed on ROBLOX – users can spend Tickets to display advertisements, promote games within their social networks and on relevant forums, and offer incentives, like badges, to players. But users’ core priorities, from Playrobot’s point of view, should be high-quality building and scripting.

“Never underestimate the value of scripting because it opens up endless possibilities for making exciting things happen in a game,” she said. “The more you practice building and scripting, the better and faster you get at it.”

Lakeside - Game Plays by Month

A monthly breakdown of Lakeside's game plays. Click to enlarge.

One of Lakeside’s GUIs (graphic user interface), “Morph Magic,” includes the game’s most complex script, allowing players to change their look, and even transform into various animals. It’s that sort of depth and flexibility that keeps players engaged, and coming back for repeat visits.

Playrobot also recommends that builders think about what their audience enjoys playing. There are many ROBLOX users who love simulations of real life – the classic Welcome to the Town of Robloxia has been played almost 15 million times, illustrating that point – but they’re always willing to try something new. She tapped into that interest with Lakeside, where players can get jobs, socialize, change their looks, and buy and customize houses.

It can be as simple as “figuring out what players feel like playing,” according to Playrobot.

Play-testing is important, too. Each time Playrobot finishes an initial build of a game, she invites about 10 people to come and play it simultaneously. If the game is in good enough shape, and her friends stick around to play for an hour, that initial seed of 10 people usually leads to an “avalanche” of visits.

“If the avalanche doesn’t happen, then I know I need to keep working on it and also get suggestions for improving the game.”

While there’s no silver bullet — no surefire way to be number one — an understanding of building and scripting, familiarity with your audience, and a bit of virality among friends go a long way toward developing the next “million-seller.”

Clearly, it worked for Playrobot.