Existing studies frequently identify two significant motivators for game play – social and self improvement motivations among others. People will play more when they play with others (or feel that they are playing or competing with others) , and when they achievable goals that indicate they are improving their performance. Leader boards, to a large extent help you achieve both objectives.
As an independent game developer (like me), designing the game mechanics already takes up all your resources and leaves little energy for implementing “extras” like leaderboards. Unfortunately, things like leaderboards , when absent, can mean obscurity and certain death for game apps. Enter scoreloop to the rescue!
What is Scoreloop
Scoreloop is a cross-platform social gaming network for the operating systems including BlackBerry (Tablet OS and BlackBerry 10), Android, Bada, iOS and Windows Phone 7. As a developer, you can implement country leaderboards, global leaderboards, friend networks, player activity feeds, social network integration, achievements, in-game currency purchases and more, by simply making API calls. Everything is hosted and deployed for you! All they ask is that you add a their icon to your game logo to indicate its Scoreloop powered!
5 Reasons You should Use Scoreloop
Screenshots of Trivia Monkey leaderboard implemented using Scoreloop .
I recently decided to work on a game concept I had for a while and chose the Windows Phone Platform to start out. Learned C# from scratch (Im quite fluent with Java so it wasn’t too much of a hassle), and worked though the sample windows phone leaderboard code provided by Scoreloop. With only 2 weeks C# experience, I was able to integrate Scoreloop and roll out a decent leaderboard in 24 hours. Here are top 5 benefits I think using Scoreloop provides . To start with, IT IS FREE ..
1.) Ease of Integration – its SIMPLE!!
Scoreloop provided a fantastic sample app , extremely useful for people like me who learn by doing (inspecting sample code). They also provided very helpful documentation and hence I was able to get my leaderboard up and running in about 24 hours. I once tried to integrate the defunct openfeint/gree into my previous game and the stressful nature of the integration process made me give up on leaderboards as a “complex extra”. Scoreloop has changed this opinion and I am grateful!
2.) Extreme functionality with little effort
With Scoreloop, I don’t have to have to write my own code to manage leader-boards. It would have taken me atleast a couple of weeks to hack out a decent leader-board engine (probably using laravel) . Instead, I can post scores, display scores based on rank, paginate them, create and update player profiles, post player activities , create game news feed etc. All by making API calls using the Scoreloop SDK.
3.) Cost Offloading
I’m an independent developer. A one man army . Architect, designer, coder , (1st) tester . Before you cry foul, its not by choice. I handle multiple roles at denvycom (as do many other small startups) for several reasons. First, I can’t afford to hire right now (the student paradox) . Second, over the years , I have built skill in different areas and thus can perform these roles with decent expertise . Third and most importantly, because it ensures the development process is not held hostage by an MIA designer or coder or tester. Revisiting the issue of cost, its very easy to see how scoreloop saves me money. In the near future I optimistically envisage millions of users 🙂 playing my game and each posting multiple scores each hour! Wow, that’s ALOT of server resources being used there and can get expensive VERY fast.
The Scoreloop API is FAST. Under decent internet conditions, leaderboards load up in about 2 seconds or less.
5.) Data storage
You can use Scoreloop to keep track of your users information. Given that the game I’m working on allows users to purchase consumable virtual items, there is need to build a robust sub-system that ensures their item states are maintained across app uninstalls, and app upgrades. This means each time their items are updated (e.g players buy some new coins or spend some of their coins in-game), a server call needs to be made to track the virtual item updates. Again, expensive! With Scoreloop, you can keep track of this, expense-free and focus on improving the game.
How To Add Scoreloop
The best way to get scoreloop integrated into your C# app is to download the WindowsSample app, import the project, run it and understand how it works.
To download the package, you will need to create a scoreloop developer account .
Login > Download SDK > Core Social SDK (Windows Phone OS) > Download .
Extract the zip file and import the “SampleWindowsPhoneApplication” into your Visual studio IDE as a project. It also contains an integration guide which describes how to use the basic features .
Scoreloop provides a whole lot of services , and you can find out more about it here.
Finally, I do agree that there’s some uncertainty here – i.e what happens if Blackberry (which acquired Scoreloop in 2011) decides to cut the service down ? Well, lets just hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon 🙂 .
Now .. convinced about Scoreloop ? Its time to take it for a spin and the best place to start is the developer portal . Register for an account and download the sdk package for your platform of interest. A sample application is included in the downloaded bundle as well as detailed documentation. Goodluck and Godspeed!