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In the Spotlight: Team Coconut and Their Approach to Addictive Gameplay

Step inside the world of Team Coconut, an experienced group designing some seriously addictive hyper-casual games here at Sunday. This agile team has been shaking up the whole scene with their innovative approach to game design, showing time and time again that there’s no challenge too great for them! In today’s article, we’re lifting back the curtain to show you how this talented bunch approaches creating truly addictive hyper-casual gameplay.

Meet the Team

Team Coconut is a crew of industry pros, each with a history of hyper-casual hits:

  • Umut, the team lead, is a seven-year hyper-casual veteran with award-winning games in his portfolio. He’s done it all from game art and game design to marketing and definitely knows his stuff. 
  • Süleyman, on the other hand, is a joyous game artist with a record number of hits. He adds liveliness to the team’s work environment and is as creative as one can be. 
  • Gökhan, also a game artist, has a knack for coding. He artfully designs user interfaces so intuitive you don’t even have to think about it.
  • Aykut, a game developer, keeps everything running like clockwork with his flawless coding skills. He’s cranking that code out at lightning speed!
  • Subhashi, is also a game developer and the newest addition to the team. She’s a wild card whose new perspectives have already made waves in Team Coconut.

What makes team Coconut a powerhouse of Sunday’s in-house production is their tremendous experience. Süleyman, the team’s game artist, agrees, “Most of us have worked on hit games that reached the top charts in many countries. We know what we’re doing and that makes us really strong.”

Productive Workflow: Team Coconut Way

Rather than just one person making decisions on their projects, Team Coconut operates under a set of rules where everyone has an equal say in how things are done — even if that means some good ol’ fashioned disagreements! As Umut says: “We might argue sometimes but getting 100% consensus is worth it – even with all our differences. By working together as one unit we can make decisions that are closer to the 100% truth”. 

“The communication and the fun we have together makes us different,” adds Aykut, “we talk a lot and always try to find the best solution. We listen to each other, and when we find something everybody agrees on and believes in, that’s when we know we’ve found the right idea.” Sure enough though, these Coconauts have learned how to stick together no matter what. Now more united than ever before on their mission for game greatness — it’s onward and upward from here on out!

The Coconut’s workflow is always on point. To optimize efficiency and productivity (aka get more done), they split into two groups to work on two projects at once. This way, everybody gets to use their skills and knowledge to the best of their ability. The priorities are also straight when it comes to new features: the ones with the highest impact and minimal required effort go up the list to be implemented first.

Challenges of Addictive Gameplay (and How Team Coco Overcomes Them)

Crafting a truly standout game that keeps players hooked can prove quite the challenge, but this team is up for it!

The Gut Feeling

What’s the secret to creating addictive mobile gameplay in hyper-casual? Part of it, according to Team Coconut, is instincts. Having worked in the industry for years, they’ve developed a gut feeling and can sense pretty early on whether features and mechanics are going to work or not. 

Besides that, everyone on the team is an avid gamer with a taste for an enjoyable gameplay experience. And why is it important? Because grasping the player’s perspective is vital to creating engaging gameplay. What are their expectations from the game and what feelings are you trying to evoke? Do they seek to satisfy a sense of success or find a way to reduce their stress? Once you comprehend what the player seeks, you can craft hyper-casual game design that will meet those wishes and drive the engagement up.

We caught the team during their ideation session for a new prototype with a cleaning mechanic. There, Süleyman shared how he would approach making the game more addictive from his side: “When we talk about games based on a cleaning mechanic, players would be looking for the ASMR-like satisfaction, and i’ll be focusing on giving them exactly that. I’ll try to simulate the experience as much as possible: I’ll make the contrast between the clean and the dirty parts higher, and add extra particles to evoke the feeling of cleaning something. This needs to be an almost physical experience, so players could really feel it.”

Refining a Rewarding Experience

Another fundamental feature of captivating gameplay is instant gratification. Hyper-casual games should be designed to be quickly learned but hard to quit. To make sure this happens, developers must make sure that there is a consistent feeling of progression and reward with nothing standing in the way. This can be done by having power-ups, locations, or characters that can be opened. The main objective is to give players a sense of achievement, advancement, and reward, even if it’s minor. To ensure this, Team Coconut is constantly watching user behavior at every level and acts accordingly if there’s a drop in metrics.

Sometimes it’s the increased difficulty of a level or an annoying ad that causes a churn, which can be fixed with a better reward afterwards. Sometimes, it’s something like a controller issue. However, at times the reason is not very clear, and then the team comes together to get as much feedback as possible, and feedback, sometimes, is the real gold. According to Süleyman: “Don’t underestimate anyone – even if they’re totally unaware of gaming culture; their experience as an audience could be invaluable when trying to improve your game.” Now there’s some sage advice worthy of playing into any project plan!

While hyper-casual games aren’t known for deep storylines, an added hint on the story or the background of the characters can go a long way when it comes to making users invested. Umut remembers facing a problem with this and coming out of it a winner: “Before Mr. Pain, our latest hit game, we were working on Hurt Me a Lot, a game where you are supposed to throw the enemies around, just like in Mr. Pain. However, there was no protagonist other than the user, and at some point we realized that it was a problem – people didn’t connect to the game. They couldn’t understand who was throwing the enemies and why. Then we brainstormed and came up with the main character armed with a gravity gun. This not only made the gameplay more engaging but also gave players a sense of control and understanding. And now it’s one of our most addictive games with incredible KPIs”.

Team Coconut sure knows how to get it right! They understand the need for constant testing, refining, and improvement – even if that means rolling back. Speaking of, they “test like crazy” when implementing new features. That should come as no surprise, as to bring the team’s innovative ideas to life, Aykut often has to come up with code that is as innovative. Solutions that haven’t been done before require extra attention. Trust us, all of the buttons are getting pushed at once! This is important to us because bugs in a game take players out of the game loop and, in general, contradict the mission of creating an engaging experience.

Main Takeaways

Team Coconut has experienced a good amount of success in the hyper-casual market, but what can aspiring game developers learn from Team Coconut’s way of work? 

  • Communication is key: making important decisions together and resolving conflicts thoughtfully leads to a stronger team dynamic. 
  • Trust your gut; never be afraid to test out ideas even if they go against conventional wisdom in the industry. 
  • Feedback, feedback, feedback! Listen closely to constructive criticism – you might just find something inspiring that’ll bring life into your design concepts. 
  • Be creative not only with your game art, but also with the code – there’s always a way to fine-tune it and bring your vision to life.
  • And don’t forget about emotional triggers – without them addictive gameplay isn’t possible.

That’s A Wrap on Team Coconut!

This is how addictive games are made in Team Coconut: with lots of passion, love for the craft, and a ton of experience. Hopefully, this peek at their work process will inspire you to seek more creative solutions to making engaging games that are impossible to put away. Stay tuned – we’ll be back soon with a spotlight on other teams at Sunday and more industry insight!

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