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How do you save user's progress across devices/platforms? - Gideros Forum

How do you save user's progress across devices/platforms?

stan_idesisstan_idesis Member
edited November 2012 in General questions
tl;dr We're building a new platform for mobile game devs to
store/retrieve users and their progress across devices, how
do you do this currently?

Hi everyone, my co-founder and I just started work on a brand new
platform for mobile game developers to help make their games
even better.

Our first goal is to manage your game's user base with real user
authentication and allow you to store that user's progress securely
on our servers. Your users will be able to recover that progress on
any device/platform that they play your game on.

Let me know how you do this currently and if you're interested
in our platform, check out http://playerful.com to sign up for beta,
it's open to any and all interested!

Thanks for reading!

Likes: Teranth

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Comments

  • I'd be interested to know what's going to make your offering different to all the other such systems that have popped up. What's your USP?
  • Pretty much what @moopf said, I would love to hear more details as I always like to hear about the cutting edge, but there are a LOT of services out there that do that sort of thing, what is your power feature? :)
    ThumbHurt Games / FB: ThumbHurt Games / FB: Eli/Teranth | Skype: teranth37
  • Would love to see a stable and commonly established/stable system, however for a more realistic approach, wouldn't having your own web service be the way to go? A simple php wrapper on the server that accesses data using JSON. Fast and effective and will last as long as you want it to ;)
    twitter: @ozapps | http://www.oz-apps.com | http://howto.oz-apps.com | http://reviewme.oz-apps.com
    Author of Learn Lua for iOS Game Development from Apress ( http://www.apress.com/9781430246626 )
    Cool Vizify Profile at https://www.vizify.com/oz-apps
  • Thanks for the responses, guys!

    I'd really like to know what you're using currently, if anything.
    I know this can be accomplished on Parse, Stackmob and I
    believe Scoreloop but the functionality I'm talking about right
    now is really our MVP, the bare minimum value proposition.

    We want to set ourselves apart by going strongly vertical
    on game developers (which Scoreloop has done) but in the
    end, the grand vision is to have a plethora of services
    surrounding and supported by this base functionality.

    More importantly, I want it to be more of a gated community
    than our competitors where the developers belonging to our
    platform are effectively receiving an endorsement for the
    quality of their products. Furthermore, I don't like the pricing
    model of our competitors where you pay-per-use, we were
    looking into doing a flat pricing model.

    What do you think?

    Thanks again for replying :)
  • Well that was a whole lot of marketing blurb without actually answering the question or saying anything concrete! It sounds an awful lot like you don't have a real USP or you'd be shouting about it.

    I wish you luck but I see nothing in your reply that suggests you're anything other than doing the same as what's already around, and you're behind them as you have nothing to market and are starting from scratch. Not that that's a bad thing, everything has to start somewhere, but maybe try to get developers interested when the offering is a little bit mature and you've found your USP, otherwise there are plenty of services around already.
  • I don't like to quote myself, @moopf, but I stated in paragraphs
    2 and 3 how I'd like to set ourselves apart from the competition:
    vertical approach on games and gamers, gated community of
    developers, a flat pricing model vs pay-as-you-go and future
    services planned.

    I'm not going to say specifically which services we'll offer because
    we really don't know yet, I'm trying to get to know more game
    developers and find the right solution to help ease their
    development process.

    I still want to know what you personally use as a solution to this
    problem or whether or not you think it matters, what problems
    are more important/difficult to solve in the long run?

    Cheers
  • None of that's unique, is my point. And it's all fluffy, wrapped in terms like "going strongly vertical on game developers" which really means nothing as all these competitor services are aimed at developers. And some are incorporating cross promotion (that's not new either, Open Feint was doing that years ago). In terms of pricing, I'd check your research as many offer flat payment tiers, rather than pay as you go.

    To be honest the only thing that would really interest me is a cross-platform system that doesn't require the user to have accounts with a third party. On iOS you have Game Center and iCloud, Amazon recently launched Game Circle (along with sync facilities) and Google is rumoured to be launching their own Game Center social gaming thingymajig.

    So, I guess the only thing that would really interest me, is if somebody could link those altogether otherwise you're relying on users opening accounts with whatever service a developer uses and that gets pretty boring after a while so they don't bother.

    Cross-platform social/saving sounds great, but until the systems play nicely with one another, it's a fanciful dream that no amount of middle-men (like Playerful) can help with because they all fall at the same first stumbling block - requiring the end user to have an account on their system.

    So, in answer to your question - at present cross-platform saving and restoring doesn't really matter because the hurdles to users actually using it are too great (and it doesn't take much of a hurdle to put people off at the best of times).

    Oh, and besides that, I'm not sure the average person would really have the same game on multiple platforms, which further makes the cross-platform facility a bit moot for most.

    Likes: ar2rsawseen

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  • gorkemgorkem Maintainer


    Furthermore, I don't like the pricing
    model of our competitors where you pay-per-use, we were
    looking into doing a flat pricing model.

    What do you think?

    Thanks again for replying :)
    This might be a grey area. A few questions popup here.

    1. Why do you force a flat pricing when your customer can pay you more?
    2. Would a flat pricing model be adequate for all customer types?
    3. What will happen when you start collecting several hundred events / big data repository request from a customer so cost of a customer exceeds their montly payment?

    I believe such "big customers" will only make a few percent of the whole customer base, but if you dont divide your plan into different levels, chances are you might be missing a big opportunity. Moreover "pay-as-you-go" model is nowadays very popular among devs as small agencies/project houses/devs wouldnt be willing to "feel like" that they are subsidizing other fat customers.

    Here's a good read on pricing models:

    http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/84427/Freemium-Pricing-for-SaaS-Optimizing-Paid-Conversion-Upgrades.aspx

    Best of luck with your new venture.

    Likes: moopf

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  • stan_idesisstan_idesis Member
    edited November 2012
    @moopf That's entirely fair, I was more focused on the case
    where a user has upgraded to a new device and loses all progress.
    That is something I've experienced several times and it is
    painful when you lose everything in one of your favorite games,
    it basically becomes DOA as soon as you re-install. Also, there's
    a growing audience of mixed phone/tablet users (myself as
    an example) that own an Android smartphone and an iPad.

    Our goal with playerful was never to force login, actually. We
    have designed it presently to create anonymous users using
    hashed primary Google accounts on Android and hashed
    personal e-mail addresses on iOS. Without ever logging in,
    it's feasible to recover their blob cross-platform as long as
    these pieces of information remain identical, a perfect
    login-agnostic solution is not something we have come up
    with (yet).

    @gorkem Thank you for the insight. To answer your questions
    here's how plan currently:

    1. There will be tiers but they will be flat individually, i.e. flat
    monthly rate with no cost per extra usage. The tiers will be
    based on how many games you want to support + some other
    details (TBD)

    2. #1 answers #2, it's flat at its various levels with no extra
    usage costs.

    3. Yes, some customers may certainly take off and become a
    huge expense on our end and we'll have to figure out a solution
    for that. Silver lining? One or more of our customers really hit
    it big! Congrats to them and to us! :-D

    Regarding free pricing and the freemium model, it definitely
    applies to some and I'm sure it works but I see it more as a
    manipulation, not at all too dissimilar from drug dealing.
    Here's a free taste, once you're hooked (and can't get off of
    our platform now that users rely on it) you'll be heavily
    incentivized to pay.

    With playerful I want the developer to feel first that it's
    a premium service, not just anyone can use us, I want it to
    feel exclusive and like an endorsement of them and their products.
    I want them to know that each and every developer on playerful
    gets attention and that they are not subsidizing a bunch of free
    users that are costing us time and money and therefore you, the
    developer, quality service and possibly uptime and latency.

    Thank you for the good wishes and best of luck in your endeavors!
  • @moopf That's entirely fair, I was more focused on the case
    where a user has upgraded to a new device and loses all progress.
    That is something I've experienced several times and it is
    painful when you lose everything in one of your favorite games,
    it basically becomes DOA as soon as you re-install. Also, there's
    a growing audience of mixed phone/tablet users (myself as
    an example) that own an Android smartphone and an iPad.
    Oh right, it's just that the title of the thread was across devices and platforms. I'll be honest, especially since iCloud backup on iOS for instance, I've never had an issue with losing progress. I'm sure Android's a different kettle of fish (never had the need to keep my Android devices in sync with each other), but I also generally get bored with games after a period of time and don't really care if my progress isn't carried over to a device I buy 6 months later.
    Our goal with playerful was never to force login, actually. We
    have designed it presently to create anonymous users using
    hashed primary Google accounts on Android and hashed
    personal e-mail addresses on iOS. Without ever logging in,
    it's feasible to recover their blob cross-platform as long as
    these pieces of information remain identical, a perfect
    login-agnostic solution is not something we have come up
    with (yet).
    Are you serious with that? It sounds like it could be incredibly easy to forge and if it can be, it will be. If you're doing this across platforms and devices without any other user input, it's not like you can have a matched up shared secret for the hashing. If it's anonymous with no password then you're also not asking for any input for the user on first authentication of a device - or are you? It's not like people don't share their primary email address.

    I must be missing something in your description of this, because I can't quite understand how it could possibly be secure.
  • @moopf On iOS you can spoof it since we'll be trying to recover
    it from your contacts but if there's no password on the account,
    it will just automatically attach.

    On Android, this is tougher since a registered Google account
    requires user authentication.

    On both platforms we plan to open up full login with email and
    password.
  • Yes but presumably you'll link together accounts cross-platform using common email addresses, so your security is only as good as your weakest link.

    And what about on other platforms - a lot of your competitors support a large number of platforms (in fact many are platform agnostic)
  • Yes you can certainly hijack someone's account, in theory, if
    they've never password protected it. However, this isn't mission
    critical data from the user's perspective, i.e. not credit card
    information or anything too personal unless the game has
    managed to store that in the blob (why on earth would anyone
    do that?) So imo, I see it as a calculated risk worth assuming
    for the sake of the experience.

    I'd love to know of some examples of competitors, keeping in
    mind that we don't expect to be a development platform like
    gideros, for instance. Our goal is to be a set of cloud services
    provided for mobile devs, at least, that's the plan for at the
    moment.
  • I don't agree with your laissez faire attitude to the worth perception you place on a user's data. I think most users would disagree with that, regardless of whether you consider it mission critical or not. If IAP purchases have been used and there are balances of in-game currency stored in your 'blob', for instance, then surely that's something that the user would consider theirs and if their account was hijacked they could well lose that. Don't think they'd be happy about that at all. That's a quick example off the top of my head, I'm sure there are others.

    Also are you asking us to let you know who your competitors are? Shouldn't you be up to speed with your competition if you're planning on going into that market?
  • I listed some competition earlier, no one seemed to acknowledge. You keep
    implying there are several yet I've only managed to find a few and not many
    focused on mobile games.

    Regarding the currency tracking, one of the services we were thinking of
    branching into is virtual store management where you track the products
    you sell through us and pull them down through our SDK. Furthermore, we
    would track currency quantity and item ownership independently of the
    user blob. This is also something scoreloop does but I haven't found others
    yet.

    I had imagined the blob to be strictly game state and not particularly
    economic information in order to avoid that security hole.
  • @stan_idesis I know that @moopf sometimes can be grumpy and always says what he actually thinks, but bear with him. If you'll get pass the @moopf filter, you will know for sure that your idea is something you should hold on to. ;)
  • Lol, @ar2rsawseen, thank you for the morale booster but I think
    it's definitely more helpful in the end. I'd rather not have people
    convince me it's valuable when in fact they think otherwise.

    I do think that @moopf agrees a solution to the problem is
    valuable but our particular permutation isn't perfect nor offering
    something above and beyond what the competition offers.

    This is really just our starting point, actually. I also wanted
    feedback on what would help mobile developers the most.
    Some of the directions we're considering include:
    - A/synchronous multiplayer support
    - Cross promotion engine
    - Localization tools
    - Economy management (inventory, virtual store, transactions, etc)

    Let me know what you guys think could make our offering more
    substantial, I'm all ears.
  • Here are some for you @stan_idesis. Some may be aiming where you are, others are more general. The point is that there are a lot (this list isn't exhaustive):

    Moai Cloud - http://getmoai.com/moai-direct-services.html
    Appcelerator Cloud Services - http://www.appcelerator.com/cloud/
    Kii - http://www.kii.com/en/technology
    Gameminion - http://gameminion.com/
    Scoreoid - http://www.scoreoid.net/
    Mobeelizer - http://mobeelizer.com/
    Flurry AppCloud - http://www.flurry.com/flurry-appCloud.html
    Cloudmine - https://cloudmine.me/
    Cloudant - https://cloudant.com/cloudant-for-web-mobile-games/
    Kinvey - http://www.kinvey.com/features

    Don't discount Amazon's services as well.
  • @stan_idesis,
    while the idea is great, from a developer's perspective, what happened with Microsoft Visual Basic, OpenFient are exactly the reasons why a lot are cautious. Your service can grow into a wonderful service, but what happens if down the line you are unable to sustain the load or provide the services for free.

    With some technical developers, it would be perhaps easier to develop their own little web-services to cater for online scores, etc. MoaiCloud is quite an easy to use service.

    All in all what I am suggesting is that developers will take time to create trust or their own solutions which can last as long as they want.
    twitter: @ozapps | http://www.oz-apps.com | http://howto.oz-apps.com | http://reviewme.oz-apps.com
    Author of Learn Lua for iOS Game Development from Apress ( http://www.apress.com/9781430246626 )
    Cool Vizify Profile at https://www.vizify.com/oz-apps
  • @moopf, thanks for the comprehensive list! Some are definitely
    right in our crosshairs while others are more tangentially
    capable of the same basic feature.

    @OZApps that's a really good point I hadn't yet considered. What
    if we had an atomic solution that could quite literally be transferred
    to the developer's control via an EC2 instance?

    Alternatively, what if the service helped develop a custom backend
    for the developer using a set of basic functionality developed by us
    but deployed and managed by you?
  • gorkemgorkem Maintainer

    Alternatively, what if the service helped develop a custom backend
    for the developer using a set of basic functionality developed by us
    but deployed and managed by you?
    Make it open source ;-) It may open interesting doors to an alternative business model in a world no similar players are present.

    This is what Countly (http://count.ly) exactly is doing in mobile analytics world, for example.
  • @gorkem That is very interesting, how is your beta going? ;)
  • gorkemgorkem Maintainer
    @stan_idesis it's no more beta - installed on 100+ servers through the world now :) you can download and try it for free on a Linux box (Ubuntu), or request a Countly Cloud account and start experimenting yourself hassle-free. Read more on Countly Cloud here:

    http://blog.count.ly/post/33372524266/countly-cloud

    Likes: OZApps

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  • you will laugh, but no, I don't think there is :D
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