Why Your Single Player Game Needs a Backend

Game development and psychology aren’t so different. Human behavior is difficult to predict and predicting online player processes is just as difficult. Therefore, when creating a single-player game, developers need a backend to help them figure out how their players are playing, why they’re playing the way they are, what problems they’re having, etc. Typically, a backend uses an SDK to make it easy for developers to consume the backend in their game so that they can focus on the fun part. Read on to learn why your single-player game needs a backend not only for your players but for you as well.

Going Online Can Enhance your Single-Player Experience

In this blog, we will go over why going online and using a backend can enhance your single-player experience. Below, is an overview of the four major reasons why:

Data

  • Game statistics
  • Telemetry and business intelligence

Community and engagements

  • Player (async) messages
  • User-generated content
  • Leaderboard
  • Community events

Quality of life

  • Cloud save and tweakables
  • Companion experience

User Experience

  • Own your user’s data
  • Market directly to your most loyal customers
  • Incentivize player engagement and feedback

Data

Using your game data and analyzing it through a backend can help you answer the questions: Is it a gameplay issue? Is it a UI/UX design issue? Is it something deeper? And it can help you get to a solution.

Game Statistics

Studying your player’s data through statistics is a great way to understand your players, their motives, and what’s working in your game and what isn’t. For instance, if you know how people are playing your game, you can figure out why and how they get stuck, better adapt your content to your players’ needs, and learn what they want to see more of.

Telemetry and Business Intelligence

One of the most important reasons why you should invest in a backend is to understand what exactly is happening in your game. As a game developer, knowing exactly what’s going on in your game can allow you to better help your development team. By implementing telemetry as a way of measuring game performance, you can capture your player’s journey. Using game telemetry as a source of business intelligence can help you to identify, highlight, and scrutinize the actual player’s journey through your game on a massive scale.

In understanding issues through the use of a backend, developers can make small changes along the way and work with their team to address any and all player issues to improve the user experience of their game.

Community and Engagements

Community is important, especially in a virtual world and especially in single-player games. That’s why having a backend service to aid in creating and encouraging player messaging and engagement is vital to shipping an awesome game.

Player Messages

Using a backend and, depending on the data you collect, you can market directly to your fan base by tailoring messages that specifically relate to the games they play or even how they’ve played your game. You can then use this data to customize each message directly, reference their in-game activity and achievements, and forge a feeling of connection between the player and the game. We also suggest using preset instead of free-form text to allow the community to self-moderate.

UGC

User-generated content is everywhere and for good reason. As a player, creating your own games and content gives you the chance to increase your personalization of the game and connect with other players. As a developer, UGC adds endless benefits, some of those being:

  • Taking advantage of content creation
  • Boosting SEO
  • Gaining audience insights
  • Discovering unique content
  • Raising your game’s credibility
  • Converting new leads
  • Increasing audience engagement

Having a backend platform allows developers to give players the chance to contribute their creativity to the game, personalize their gaming experience, and build connections with each other even in single-player games. For example, using AccelByte’s backend platform, game admins can select items to be used as presets, which players can then modify. When a player creates a new design for one of the preset items, they can upload their design to be downloaded and used by other players that already own the preset item. Then when a player uses a custom design they’ve downloaded, that design will be visible to other players.

Leaderboard

Leaderboards come in all shapes and sizes. They include high score lists, time-based boards, wall-of-fame boards, ranking boards, etc. Coming full circle, leaderboard services allow game developers to keep track of their players’ scores and ranking in their game by collecting data and analyzing it through telemetry. Using a backend can make this process go smoothly by automatically coming up with data and analytics that reflect your player’s in your game.

Community Events

Getting lost in a game is one of the best feelings. However, community events are a way for single players to feel like they’re truly a part of the game and gives them a chance to interact with like-minded players. On the development side, hosting community events can give you even more insight into what players are saying about your game and what needs to be changed, added, or fixed.

Quality of Life

Quality of life, in gaming, refers to removing all the wasted time a player has when dealing with unnecessary game issues. So, as a developer, you want to make sure that your players never have to worry about anything other than the game they’re playing, which is where a backend comes in handy.

Cloud save and Tweakables

Using server-side game data can give your players fresh experiences and provide you with high player retention. Storing game logic online also gives you one huge advantage: you can add new content to your game quickly and easily by adding quests, swapping in/out NPC’s (or even create entirely new ones if your game has a character creator!), and daily challenges. You can even run once off events to help drive player engagement and retroactively grant players an item they may have missed due to a bug.

What’s more, with a backend, you can store attributes of any/all characters in your game and tweak what’s needed seamlessly and efficiently. Your player’s save data and progress can also be easily synced to the cloud, so you never have to worry about your players ever having to go backwards.

Companion experience

Companions are game characters that accompany the player throughout a longer part of the gameplay, complementing their character or skill set, and serving as part of the narrative. Because of the nature of single player games, having a backend to support the companion experience contributes to an even more immersive and interactive game.

User Relationship

Having a backend allows you to build direct relationships with your players easily.

Own your user’s data. When another platform sells your game, owns the player account, and processes all non-client interaction, you might ask is that player truly yours? Having your own backend allows you to form a direct relationship with your player base. Your players can still come from other platforms like Steam, Epic, Xbox or PlayStation, but by logging into your platform you own the player record.

Market directly to your most loyal customers. Depending on the data you collect, you can market directly to your fan base, you can tailor your marketing efforts specifically to the games they play, or even how they’ve played your game. You can use this data to customize each message directly, you can even reference their in-game activity/achievements to really help forge the feeling of a connection between the player and the game.

Incentivize player engagement and feedback. Encourage your players to link their social accounts and talk about your game to their followers, and implement a rewards system to incentivize players to play your game.

Does My Single Player Game Always Need to be Online?

The short answer: No. The long answer: Having to go fully online with a single-player game is a common misconception. It fully depends on how you want your game to work, however, given that you are developing a single-player game, you can have players on slightly different versions of the game balancing / available items or quests and not have it be a problem. It is not much different from players of single-player games not being on the same title update.

The general integration flow is as follows…

  1. Player boosts the game
  2. Game attempts to contact the server
  3. If server is online
  4. Download and cache latest versions of balancing/items/quests/events
  5. Play game
  6. If server is offline
  7. Use existing cache of balancing items/quests/events
  8. Play game
  9. Occasionally go back to 3
  10. Player continues playing their game

The main takeaway here? Enhance the single-player experience by making it optional, seamless, and engaging.

So, why does your single-player game need a backend? A backend platform gives you the chance to learn what your users really like about the game, keeps your game fresh and exciting, helps you fix balance issues on the fly, syncs player data and progress to the cloud, and provides you with ownership over your user’s data, incentivizes player engagement and feedback, and much more. To learn more about AccelByte and how we can help accelerate and scale your game, click here for a demo.

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