In the last post, I sent the game developers my mockups of how I thought the game would work. This is when I really discovered how good it is to have a knowledgeable team working on this game. They took my terrible mockups and turned them into a Project Definition document, which we could discuss and modify on Google Docs before they wrote a single line of code. Measure twice, cut once, as they say.
It’s a lot easier (and less expensive) to get the bulk of the ideas written down and agreed upon before code starts being written. It also shows a commitment on their part to having a great final product, instead of just making a quick buck. I could also tell that they did their homework on Stunning, just based on the questions that they asked. And I was excited to see that Zuma was mentioned. It’s one of my favorite games of all time (I still have an iPad that’s on iOS 10 just so I can play Zuma, which sadly has never been updated or gotten a sequel on iOS).
Here’s what the final doc looked like, with my answers to their questions included:
This game serves to illustrate the drawbacks of having no system in place when payments start failing, and demonstrates the effectiveness of using a failed payment recovery system like Stunning to recover your payments. The goal is 90% to educate people about failed payments, and 10% to offer Stunning as a potential solution for them.
Players will cycle through several levels of play, applying more and more effective strategies to recover payments with gameplay similar in style to “bubble shooters” such as zuma.
Each level will be similar, so that players can see each dunning technique being more effective on more or less the same failed payments.
As the player attempts to recover all the payments, the Churn Beast, a wandering entity on the screen, attempts to gobble up failed payments before you can recover them. Your task as the player is to recover as many payments as possible.
In the first stage, you will always fail, because the player has no dunning in place. Without dunning, the beast always wins. In the first level, you’re given the controls, but you’re helpless to watch as the churn beast grows so large that it takes up the entire screen, taking your business with it. This shows that if you don’t do anything to recover failed payments, eventually your business will fail.
However, as you progress through the game’s five or so levels, you get better and better methods of recovering payments. Between levels, these features will be given to the character as a more effective tool for them to collect payments.
Eventually, you are fully equipped to deal with recovering payments (Thanks to Stunning’s toolset), and in the final level, you accomplish your task with ease.
The game then forwards you to a final screen, with a closing thought and a call to action, forwarding you to either the stunning.co home page, or a landing page.
Declares how much money is on the field. Counts down as more money is lost to the beast. On each level, the total displayed initially represents the amount of money in the entire system, and then as payments fail, the counter shows the money minus the failed payments.
Shows total money currently outstanding due to failed payments.
Notes: We are concerned this may be a bit too much and we could cut it to reduce clutter. This information could come back on a screen between levels. We notice that the website does not attempt to “shock” the user by lost revenue, but instead, focuses on the potential recovered revenue.
Shows money that was recovered through player’s dunning attempts.
The serves as the countdown until the end of a level. We are trying to time this as such that the entire game takes 5-10 minutes. We were thinking of visualizing the timer as a month’s time.
The Churn Beast bounces around the stage reflecting off the edges and objects. If he touches a Payment (represented by a credit card), he will grow larger, making the chances of him hitting other payments greater.
The player applies dunning to the Payments and attempts to coerce them to recover, protecting them from the Churn Beast.
Represented by a credit card, payments can either be in a failed (unpaid) or successful (recovered) state. Payments likelihood of being converted back to “recovered” status is determined by the dunning type “strength”. When a failed payment becomes recovered, it no longer can be hit by dunning effects, which instead pass over to cards higher up the screen.
Between Level Splash Screen
This screen tells players how they did on the previous level and shows them their new unlock: The latest and greatest dunning method. The player can then click a play button to continue on to the next level.
- How does the player progress to the next level vs fail?
I see each level having a timer that counts up for a calendar year (we could just show month names, nothing fancy). In each level, they recover as much as they can in that time period and try to avoid having their business taken over by the churn beast. I don’t see there being any way to actually fail, but perhaps we can show what percentage of revenue was recovered in each level, so that players can compare and maybe even replay and try to get better scores.
- Do the cards persist in their current state between each level? Perhaps greens stay and new reds are introduced.
I was thinking that you’re basically playing the same time period over again each time, so nothing should stay between levels.
- Does the Churn Beast “consume” the card, or does it stay on the board until revenue can be recovered? If he doesn’t eat it, he can just grow. If he does eat it, perhaps we can turn it black with and X over it, showing its “final” state as unrecoverable.
The Churn Beast consumes the cards, which removes them from the board, since once a customer churns, you’ve lost that revenue, potentially forever.
- We had the idea to make a level a month’s timespan. Is it common for your customers to think in this timespan as well? Is there a better way to portray time? Abstractly? A fiscal year?
I think I basically answered this already above. Let me know if you need more clarity here.
- When you get to a higher level, do you always use the best dunning strategy? We think it should in order to show the efficacy of the new technique.
Yes! I considered letting people switch “weapons” at one point, but it’s cleaner and less confusing to have one weapon per level, I think.
Smart Retries – Sometimes, just retrying a failed payment at the right time can recover it without sending any communication to the customer, because maybe they hit their credit card limit on a particular day, etc. It would be nice to have this mechanic working to recover random payments automatically for the user across a few of the levels. Maybe it’s something that they can toggle on and off.
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