“One day I just Stopped Playing” – What makes this phenomenon happen?

We’ve all been there before, one week you’re spending 8 hours a day grinding for gear in your favorite MMO or spending what seems to be an eternity climbing the ladder in any competitive game and then the next week; nothing, complete cold turkey.

This happened to me recently in a binge play of Path of Exile, the addictive Diablo 2 style dungeon crawler from Grinding Gear Games, I spent probably close to 6 hours a day of my leisure time in the game for close to a month and then just… stopped playing completely. It wasn’t like I accomplished a goal that I’d been working toward for a long time or that the game wasn’t fun anymore, I just stopped, not for any particular reason, just I didn’t feel like playing it anymore. Come to think of it this has probably happened many many more times than I would like to admit, not even just on multiplayer or competitive games but on RPG and single player story based games too. Games that I was incredibly invested into and then just.. nothing.

So why does this happen? That’s what I tried to think about today and wanted to talk about some of the effects in terms of the game development for this phenomenon.

My initial thought was that it is easy to start a task (I know this to be true for myself), but the longer it gets dragged out the more “fatigued” you get when working on it. When you start to solve a problem or open up a new project everything is fresh and unexplored, a challenge waiting to be conquered. However the longer it goes on and the less progress that is made on it, the more the project becomes stagnant, becoming less and less enticing to work on, eventually and inevitably leading to an endless cycle of starting projects and then abandoning them halfway to work on newer and more exciting projects.

This was my theory anyways for why it’s so easy (for me at least) to start new games instead of finish games that I’ve already started (and stopped) playing.

So what does this mean for the game development? Well… not much I don’t think, most games are so well optimized in terms of play and engagement that this “stagnant” phase of play doesn’t happen too often nowadays, there’s always something exciting to do or a new zone to explore. Besides, most people who get to this stage of a game aren’t usually the ones asking for a refund, and are probably long past the stage of being able to get a refund.

To sum up my thoughts, the lack of a new challenge to solve or content to explore is probably the biggest cause of this phenomenon, which would explain why MMOs with incredibly drawn out end-game content and competitive games are the ones usually hit hardest by this phenomenon when losing player bases, ruling out unpredictable variables like having your PC die and then never re-downloading the games that you were previously playing.

Anyhow, I hope everyone goes back and plays some unfinished games (here’s looking at you Haydee). Thanks for reading as always!



What is a Dollar? The sometimes inverse effect of digitizing currency.

Would you rather lose a dollar in your pocket or a dollar from your Google account?

This all stemmed from a conversation I had the other day with some of my good friends about spending money on phone games vs a fast food meal, it really got me thinking about how differently I perceive money just because it’s on my phone/computer. So I started asking myself some questions and ultimately came to one that summarized the argument.

The question was: Do I value $1.00 in cash in my hands the same as $1.00 on my Google/iOS/e-wallet account?

In my mind the answer is very clear, of course I would value the $1.00 in my hands more as currencies for that Google/iOS/e-wallet account are only good for that platform and cannot be converted back to cash. But that can’t be right, technically if you wanted to buy something for $1.00 on the Google Playstore you would have to first PUT IN $1.00 real money, so that makes them equal, at least when buying goods for that one platform (eg. Google Playstore dollars cannot be spent on the Apple store), this will be the working definition we use for the rest of this post.

So back to the original question now (with the definition that $1.00 in the real world is worth $1.00 in the Google Playstore). Would you be more concerned over losing $1.00 in real life than on a Google/iOS/e-wallet account?

The answer for me at least is not at all rational (from the viewpoint of the definition we just established), if I lost $1.00 in real life it would be no big deal, it sucks that it happened but it’s not that big of a loss and I wouldn’t really go out of my way to find it. However if I “Lost” $1.00 on my Google account accidentally I would be outraged, either due to technical error in the system or my mismanagement of my account I would be furious and try to get my $1.00 back immediately. This example may not be fair in that we trust these electronic companies to keep our accounts safe so $1.00 can’t just mysteriously disappear but I think it generally illustrates my point; that I as a person assign more perceived value to the digital currency than the real world equivalent even though they are by definition the same.

Relating this back to games and why I had to be so specific with the previous examples. In real life, I generally wouldn’t even bat an eye if I spent $1.49 on a pack of gum but would spend probably an HOUR debating if I should spend $0.99 on a cosmetic item for my character in a free to play game. The enjoyment of the gum/cosmetic item is debatable and it’s hard to compare physical goods vs digital goods in the first place but the assigned value is so dramatically different from something in your hands to something on the screen, for me at least.

Game developers and publishers get a lot of bad rep for putting microtransactions and DLC into their games but the reality is games cost a lot of money to make these days and the lights have to stay on somehow. I’m not wholeheartedly endorsing the practice of microtransactions but take it with a grain of salt, a cosmetic item for a character you love in a game you play for 3 hours a day is probably worth more in terms of enjoyment than a pack of gum.

That’s all I had to say for this topic and I hope that the next time you load up on $10.00 worth of VBucks thinking “THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS, EPIC GAMES IS LITERALLY ROBBING ME”, also think that’s really just the standard price for 3 value packs of gum.

See ya Later



Are MMORPGs going to disappear?

With the massive influx of people playing the beta of Fallout 76 on Twitch and Youtube I’ve been following along quite religiously as some of my favorite streamers got into a regular schedule of playing it. However, watching the game from a viewers perspective gave me a lot to think about and what really peaked my attention was how little little I seemed to enjoy the MMO (technically true with Fallout 76) experience now as compared to in my past when I spent over 1000 hours in MMOs like Maplestory. It might be just a shift of interest while getting older but I don’t believe that’s entirely it, I firmly believe that in the current gaming landscape, MMORPGs are becoming niche games that just take up too much time for the amount of satisfaction they offer to the average gamer.

Of the top 23 games being viewed on twitch right now, 2 of them are MMOs (I’m going to go for a classical definition here where most of the gameplay is mostly leveling up your character and defeating instances with increasing levels of difficulty + rewards). Now this may be due to MMO’s being not so fun to watch rather than play but I don’t believe that’s entirely it.

WoW subscriber Projection According to

According to, currently the number of subscribers to the world’s most popular MMORPG – World of Warcraft is 5.1 million players

Whereas the worlds most popular game at the moment announced on June 12 2018 that their player-base had grown to 125 million players, about 25 times the amount of WoW subscribers. This is due to a huge number of factors like Fortnite being free to play and having a much bigger segment of the market being on mobile and all current generation consoles but I still stand by my point, players are no longer willing to spend the huge time investment that MMORPGs require and would rather have short bursts of enjoyment in the form of a MOBA, Shooter, Battle Royale, or Card game.

Now, does this mean that MMO genre is going to eventually go extinct? No, I don’t believe that it will, just as the projection of WoW subscribers shows there will always be a dedicated player base of hardcore fans willing to invest the huge amount of time required to fully realize the fun of the game. It’s just that for the average person (myself included), I don’t feel that investing over 200 hours into a single character of mine in order to access the endgame content is too good of an investment anymore.

Again, these are just my thoughts but I do believe they have some merit as I have in the past been one of these hardcore MMO grinders in games like Diablo 2: LoD and Maplestory reaching the highest levels of play.

Anyhow, go out and explore the wasteland, vault dweller!



An Old/New gaming trend that might rule mobile

Ah mobile games, that thing I pull out on boring rides, what I rush to pull out to fill short bursts of awkward down-time, the responsible tool I pull out to make sure my forehead is getting a good long look at my work computer, the thing I do to cheer myself up after feeling bad for procrastinating doing the exact same thing I’m cheering myself up with. With so little I do in life, one can’t help but become a bit of a foodie for games. And if you’re a game foodie like me and you’re also reading this short article between gaming sessions of Fortnite or PUBG, You’re just the game foodie I’m writing for.

Now, let me tell you about an old game design trend that’s been rising back to the surface on the other side of the oven door in the land of mobile games. It started out in free browser game sites like Miniclip or Kongregate, these games found a foothold when they made it to mobile.

These games included in 2015, which has reached 100 million downloads by this year, and a handful of games that eventually broke into the top 10 of various App Store’s “top free” lists in the last couple of years. These games included in 2016, breaking in at #8 in the Google Play Store, and 2, the current #1 in the Google Play store and #4 in the Apple App Store.


These were the .io games.

What made them the dishes that mobile game connoisseurs paid attention to was a recipe that might sound familiar in today’s gaming landscape:

  1. Quick ques to get into a new match quickly (perfect for squeezing in game time in your life)
  2. Your allowed to drop in and out of a match without a worry about bothering other players. (perfect for frequent interruptions when playing on the go)
  3. Many players in a match
  4. King of the hill, mostly free-for-all, pvp gameplay

Sound familiar?

These are core designs that also make the battle royale genre great, and what helped made it so quick to gain popularity.

.io games and those like them, have always been the proto battle royale genre, they weren’t high profile no, they weren’t multi-million dollar making games no, but they carried the same million-dollar heart passed from one experimenting game designer to the next, refined every step of the way, and eventually making a heart beat so loud the world took notice.

With how popular battle royales are right now on Console and PC and new ones popping up from what seems like every major company, I can only see more games of this type pop up and hit the top charts on mobile in the near future. Bringing home years of design that, I feel, were always made for mobile.

If you want to check out what’s on this grand spankin’ new band-wagon now or want to prove my dumb face wrong, here’s some recommendations to checkout:

Royale games: Battlerite Royale, Realm Royale.

Mobile games: Thunderdogs, 1, 2,,,

Regular vs Premium Currency: Do you need both? (Pokemon Go Case Study)

With the release of Pokemon Let’s Go: Eevee! & Pikachu coming up so soon I’ve gotten into Pokemon Go after completely missing out on it’s release more than 2 years ago.

My experience with the game has been incredibly positive so far making me feel more active by going out and also stimulating my need for efficiencies with an enormous amount of min-max game loops. But what really really impressed me and stood out above everything else from a game designers viewpoint is how beautiful and elegant the monetization is done in the game.

So for those who aren’t well versed in freemium games (those of you who are you can skip this part) is that generally, there are two types of currencies; a regular one that you earn from playing the game and can buy most non-premium things, and a premium currency which the game generally gives a very very small amount to the player for doing achievements (daily login, watching ads, completing quests etc.) that can be used to buy the really desirable things in the game.

Clash of Clans Regular currencies vs Premium Currency

The only real ways to get a substantial amount premium currency are generally to religiously play the game for a long period of time (weeks to months) or spend real money to exchange for an amount of them, this is pretty much the way all freemium games make money.

Clash of Clans cost of Premium Currency (the cost of a “free” game)

With all that being said, in Niantic’s Pokemon Go, there is no regular currency, the only existent currency is premium currency, called PokeCoins.

PokeCoins firstly like all premium currencies are purchasable with real world money.

PokeCoins Store

Secondly, they can be obtained by holding gyms, a system where you place a Pokemon into a location to defend it for your team and for every 10 minutes it stays in the gym you get 1 PokeCoin, up to a maximum of 50 a day. So in retrospective if you play optimally and get the full 50 PokeCoins a day (this is assuming you are at the point in the game where you can do this) you are receiving the spending value of $0.50, around the standard for a login bonus among freemium games.

And as expected with the premium currency you can buy everything you would ever want with it.

Shop for Pokeballs, Incense, Lucky Eggs, Max Revives, Incubators

Everything has been pretty standard so far but the real innovation is eliminating the regular currency entirely. The beauty of this is that the moment you’re put into the game you’re already spending the currency that Niantic wants you to, there’s no nuisance of getting a regular currency to upsell you the idea of a more potent and powerful currency. You have full view of all the purchasing options and premium items available to be bought right from the start giving you an ENTIRELY TRUTHFUL view of what you’re expecting yourself to get into. They do give you a generous taste of how the premium experience feels like of course sprinkling lucky eggs, super incubators, lures, etc into level up rewards.

The game is not exactly reinventing the freemium model but I do genuinely feel that it’s a good approach paired with a legitimately well made, fun game. With more time investment in a really enjoyable game of course it will start slowly converting players into paying customers, whether you’re the die hard Free to Play player, Pokemon Fanatic, Hardcore optimizer, or Gotta Catch em’ All type there’s enough content and depth in the game to keep you playing for months, and you can be sure during that time there’s gonna be just one time you think “Wow that 1480 Pokecoin package sure is a steal, and is 20 bucks really that expensive?”.

10 SUPER INCUBATORS, RAID PASSES, AND STAR PIECES??? (too bad I only have 325)

Anyways the game is fun as heck.





1st place winners of Brilliant Pitch Finale!

Hey everyone,

August 16th, 2018 marks a bittersweet moment for us at SkyCanvas games. Our time in UOIT ‘s Brilliant incubator has come to an end. It feels like the summer just blew by. I guess that’s just what happens when you’re having fun, or you’re extremely busy, or both; yes both :’)


After an exciting summer learning and improving our pitching skills, SkyCanvas Games was able to close out on a high note by placing first in our Brilliant Incubator pitch finale! (Twitter link) Winning a grand prize of $1,000.



We would like to thank our Brilliant mentors, guests speakers, firefly funders, and esteemed guests for making this possible. It was an honour to showcase all of our progress and hard work. A special thanks to our three judges for volunteering their time.

  1. Dr, Steven Murphy, Vice-Chancellor and President – the University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  2. Nora Bieberstein -Senior Management, Innovation Partnerships and Engagement – Royal Bank of Canada
  3.  Jennifer Osborne – President and CEO, Search Engine People

The finale event was a day to celebrate the growth of this year’s start-ups as well as the success and future of UOIT’s Brilliant incubator program. It was an amazing night and a great chance for us to chat with the organizers, firefly donors, faculty, and supporters all in one room.

Although the above competition was a private event, we will be participating in another public pitch competition held by Brilliant on September 24th. If you would like to attend, please reach out to us.

Thanks for reading!

– Prudhvi Penumetcha

Game Recommendation – Thunderdogs

Hey guys,

We at SkyCanvas have been playing a new release by the name of Thunderdogs by Lucky Kat Studios.
Thunderdogs is a top-down shooter with a gorgeous art style, the charming illustrations of aviation dogs are a personal favourite of mine. The controls are straight forward and allow you to jump right into the online PvP arena.

Check out the trailer and enjoy the awesome music!

There are tons of awesome planes to try out and collect, there is a specific plane we deemed as the most OP by the name of Spark. Spark was a hard reference to Spike Spiegel from cowboy bebop. The in-game ship was exactly the same as Spikes SwordFish2 straight from the anime!

When I finallyyyy got spikes rare ship from the gacha-system, I set a strong personal record as top dog. I wrote a strategy post in the in-game community forum, This forum was really sweet and something I hope we can plug into our games at SkyCanvas in the future.

I encourage you readers to try Thunderdogs, its available on both Play Store & Apple Store. Let me know if my tips were helpful and see if you can beat my score as top dawg!

Check out my “How to get kills as top dawg” strategy post.

Thanks for reading, happy gaming!

– Prudhvi

Inspired by the mechanics of Tomb of the Mask

Hey everyone,

For this entry I will be blogging about a mobile game called Tomb of the Mask by developers Happy Magenta. I was initially introduced to the game casually by josh, it was a great and I started really getting into it. My first impression was, whoa these swipe mechanics are really quick. I started to observe and hypothesis on how they got their swipe input to be so damn responsive. As some of you might know, our game Slash Dash Samurai weighs heavily on swiping input. I felt there was a lot we could learn from Tomb of the Mask.

Here is a gameplay video of Tomb of the Mask by someone who is way better than me. Note that any one vertical or horizontal movement of the player is triggered by the swipe of thumb.

Here are some of the initial considerations and their projected pro’s and con’s. Each method is an evolution of the last and meant to solve the biggest challenges of it’s former.

To feel responsive, it is critical to be able to fire the slash within a short distance with no noticeable delay. For our game and playstyle, intermediate players will have to pair multiple swipes back to back with a high degree accuracy and precision. So, it is really important to have a solid algorithm in which users can reply on without fail.
Excited to see how these methods can be applied into our game. I recommend playing Tomb of the mask for those who enjoy challenging mobile games.

Thanks for reading!
– Prudhvi

Update – I ran into another title called Fist of Fury by Happy Magenta, this game was likely the predecessor to Tomb of the mask as its sole mechanic is the quick swipe mechanic.


Considering Game Jams?

For people who have been curious about game jams, trust me, DO THEM. There are very few times to trust a stranger, and this may be the first blog of mine you read, but other then when your chocking on a chicken wing and need a good Heimlich, THIS is one of those times.

If you don’t know how game jams work, here’s a quick rundown:

  1. You sign up for a jam.
  2. At the beginning of jam, the event holder posts a theme which could be a word or phrase.
  3. Every participant starts at the same time creating a game out of their interpretation of the theme.

Give or take whether the jam is only allowed to be attended from a specific place or anywhere with an internet connection; and whether it takes place over a weekend or longer.

When anyone asks, I always recommend short weekend-length game jams. Within 48 hours, It’s an opportunity to practice your skills in a small throw away project, with a tight time pressure to keep you focused. You practice skills in efficient development, be it efficient asset use, scoping slim, mastering some hyper speed prototyping and learning development shortcuts you’ll know like the back of a video game racetrack.


Now that’s some good game jammin’!


The hugest benefit is the inspiration/restrictions the themes provide. The on the spot improvisation tends to get you out of any creative slump you’ve been stuck in. Tons of inspired fantastic ideas and tons of incredibly fun dumb ideas get born all the time.

In 2014’s Great Canadian Appathon, a mobile only game jam competition, I was part of a team that ended up making an endless runner with size change as the main mechanic. It affected your jump height, allowed you to smash through walls and fit under obstacles. With this concept, we won the competition’s $25,000 prize. I met great talented people, some I worked with again and are still great friends with.

Its actual title was Size Matters, and yes that was my hair, I didn’t win everything that day.


Which brings me to the great side benefits. If you were looking to do a jam as a team, it just so happens that when a bunch of people all arrive to do the same thing, finding some new friends tends to be easy. Not to mention, all of your throw away projects can also be your prototypes. Super Hot, Surgeon Simulator, Snake Pass, were all wonderfully quirky games that started their life in a game jam and went on to success as fully developed releases.


Pretty cool.


You ready to check one out? Well don’t worry about looking for one, because there’s one running virtually every day. An easy place to find one is through the game jam calendar on:



Content Reveal – Why not try ALL at once?

I’ve been for a while now re-watching the various seasons of Extra Credits while on long commutes, one of the episodes I was re-watching got me thinking much deeper about the topic. The episode I was revisiting was The Waiting Game – Why Weird Games Become Cult Hits, and while I was watching it for the second time I had an interesting thought, as Dan explains these traditional unfolding or waiting games depends entirely on player curiosity for the main engagement hook of the game, starting the player with almost nothing and asking them to continue playing with no clear goal in mind. Eventually, giving a little bit of content in the form of something new to do or somewhere new to explore, but JUST enough to keep the player playing, walking a razor thin line between enjoyment and boredom. But what if, the ENTIRE game is just one big payoff, that happens at the very end of the game, and once that payoff is finally released the game is over.

Introducing TAMAGO by Baibai. A game that fascinated me since i saw it browsing Youtube.

This game, in my opinion is actually a work of art. Poetic almost in it’s execution, the game has the theoretical MAX in terms of work spent developing for playtime. With what I estimate to be around 30 minutes of development time for probably 6 months to a year of playtime (if you play conservatively).

But besides the creation of the game and getting into the content, for those of you who are fortunate enough to not be apart of the 5 MILLION INSTALLS since May 23, 2018.

The game starts of (and ends with…) a single egg and a counter of 1 million.

Every time you click the egg the counter goes down. And when you reach 0 (presumably, I haven’t downloaded or tried it myself) something incredible happens. But that’s it, that’s the whole game.

In my mind, this is a work of art, poetry in it’s purest form, it distills the concept of work to reward to it’s core. You click one million times and you get to see what happens.

So what does this teach us? I believe that with the amount of downloads, ratings, and comments on TAMAGO that curiosity, is on equal if not greater than any other engagement hooks (mechanics, graphics, story, narrative). Human curiosity to find out what happens no matter what is so incredibly powerful that clicking a screen 1 MILLION TIMES is a game that has over 5 million downloads on Google Playstore.

I think that with this success story it would be possible to expand this to an even greater extent, making a game that the reward hits all at once at the very end of the game, giving the ultimate payoff, instead of sectioning small payoffs for content throughout the game.

Whether it’s good or not or even possible, I just thought it would be interesting to have a game like that, where the payoff is all at once in one big lump sum for the entirety of the game.

Until next time, keep thinkin’ critically about your games (*´∀`)b!