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Best Practices for Social Game Development - Visartech Blog

Developing a Social Game Like Jackbox: Everything You Need to Know [+ Steps to Get Started]

9 min read

Yana Dzemyantsava

Game Designer. Specializing in cooperative games. My goal is to build gaming systems that provide people with interactive, fun, and meaningful experiences.

Yana Dzemyantsava

Game Designer. Specializing in cooperative games. My goal is to build gaming systems that provide people with interactive, fun, and meaningful experiences.

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Social game apps are everything when it comes to entertaining activities. Apart from bringing old friends together, and helping children learn new subjects in groups, they open up lots of opportunities for workplace socialization. The popularity of such games is attributed to the lack of communication and interaction during the pandemic. People did not get many chances to see each other in person therefore they turned to online solutions – social games.

One of the much-hyped ones is the Jackbox game which boasts a feature of a similar operation principle. Namely, based on the first developed social game, it is possible to create several more games in a fairly short time and release a whole series. Let’s learn what Jackbox is and why businesses have to consider it for different corporate activities.

What is Jackbox?

Jackbox Games Inc. is an American video game developer studio best known for the You Don’t Know Jack series of quiz-based party games. The most well-known ones include famous games in the series such as Quiplash, Fibbage, and Trivia Murder Party. Jackbox is especially popular because it allows people to get together, even if in reality they are in different parts of the world. Additionally, social games are constantly improved so that players interact with updated content tailored to trends.

To join a game, players have to use a social platform. For instance, Discord allows the host to share the screen and participants to communicate with each other easily. During the social game, players will be required to answer different questions, draw pictures and make difficult yet funny choices.

Generally, when playing this kind of game, players need to have the following:

  • Game host. A person who is responsible for successful game running.
  • One screen. The main action happens on the TV or wherever the game is launched.
  • Extra devices. Players complete their tasks using mobile phones or tablets.
  • A group of players. The number of people playing might be up to 8.

So what are the social web game rules? The host creates a room and gives the players the password for it. Each participant enters their name and chooses an avatar. When a new person joins the game, their avatar and name are displayed on the screen. After all, players have entered the room, the host can start the game.

Each game has a low entry threshold. The player does not need to spend time learning the rules, because each task is explained simply by a voiceover. The controller of a game is a player’s phone or tablet. Finally, the main task left is to type answers and make smart choices.

What Are the Most Vivid Examples of Jackbox Social Games?

Jackbox games consist of so-called Jackbox Party Packs. Each pack consists of 5 different social games. However, to get the main idea of how they work, we will consider the most popular ones in more detail.

Quiplash

Players are given funny questions and time to answer them. Some players might come across the same questions. As soon as the timer is over, the answers appear on the screen in a specific order. Players vote for the ones they like or consider right. In the end, players receive points. The player with the most points wins.

All this is accompanied by a huge amount of laughter and jokes. This makes Quiplash a great instrument for team-building activities and corporate parties.

Quiplash Jackbox Game Example - Visartech Blog

Fibbage

The game is played in three rounds: two regular rounds involving three tasks, and a final round including one task only. Each task begins with the category selection. Assignments look like interesting facts with a missing word or phrase in them. First, the players come up with fake answers on their devices. After that, the correct answer and all false answers from the players appear on the screen. Players need to guess the right one. The player receives points if he guesses correctly, or if someone chooses his/her false option.

Thanks to the different categories available, such a game can be used as a learning tool for online education. The same content might depend on your needs.

Fibbage Jackbox Game Example - Visartech Blog

Trivia Murder Party

In this social game players need to answer trivia questions correctly in each round or else they’ll find themselves on The Killing Floor. This is a place where they compete in devious minigames that determine whether they survive another round or become a ghost. Mini-games include a wide range of activities: doing Maths, creating long words, memorizing tasks, logic exercises, etc. In the end, all players are waiting for the final quiz after which only one person comes out alive.

This is another example of a unique educational game helping to increase learners’ engagement.

Trivia Murder Party Jackbox Game Example - Visartech Blog

How Can Jackbox Games Be Used in the Corporate Life?

As can be seen above, players get unique experiences through the functionalities of the Jackbox series games that are quite similar. Nevertheless, the biggest advantage of game-based learning apps is their wide usage. Particularly, at the workplace.
Depending on the kind of game content and added features, it serves different purposes.

Collaborative Learning

When playing social games, people work in teams and create different projects together. This way they build better communication and relationships with each other. That, in turn, has a positive impact on their further team collaboration.

Additionally, there’s an option to add customized content in the form of questions. Namely, participants create their quizzes and save them. Thus, making material revision more engaging. For example, employees can play these types of games to check their knowledge gained from the last visited workshop or training session.

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Team Building

Nowadays, there’s nothing unusual about working from different parts of the world. However, such a type of teamwork doesn’t provide enough communication and interaction with others. Therefore, online activities such as social game apps might be a solution.

Games challenge employees, they play in different teams and study to help out each other. Moreover, in the process of solving problems, common interests and jokes might appear. This assists in building a good rapport between teammates and motivating employees to reach further achievements. Also, communication goes more smoothly since people become more open to suggestions and willing to ask extra questions.

Read more: The Best Educational App Illustrating Successful Business

Get a clear picture of what is in demand in the e-learning market

Competitive Activities

Do you want your team to push back the frontiers? Social games come to the rescue again. Teams solve challenging tasks, fight different puzzles and then receive the coveted prize.

Furthermore, these social games teach healthy competition. Teammates support each other on the way to victory. The communication is rather enjoyable than intense. Which makes the feeling of victory pleasant, and defeat not offensive. After all, everyone plays intending to have fun. And this behavior is transferred to the atmosphere at work and corporate culture in general.

5 Technologies Powering Jackbox-Like Game Development

To find out how social games can create such engaging and interactive experiences for players, you need to understand what’s behind the internal structure.

So let’s have a look at the main technologies used for social game development.

Unity

This engine is still the best instrument when it comes to the development of Jackbox-like games. Unity functions allow developers to qualitatively implement the necessary features without loss of performance.

Web

The main activity of the social game takes place on the website. Namely, small cut-scenes are shown, rules are explained, and winners are determined there. To build a website for such a game, you can choose various frameworks. For instance, Javascript Frameworks – Backbone.js and jQuery, Web Framework – Bootstrap, or Content delivery network (CDN) – Amazon Cloudfront.

Art

Interactive and engaging art is what makes social games stand out. Moreover, when developing new social games for a series, the art is just slightly modified, but the overall style stays the same. Simple 2D is combined with funny 3D characters.

Interactive app orange banner - Visartech Blog

2D

Raster-based image editing tools are used to create 2D art. For example, Photoshop/Gims. But if the game is in an artistic illustrative style like watercolor, pastels, or oil paint, then Paint Shop Pro/Krita will be a better fit. Designing a user interface (UI), it is preferable to use Figma, in which, in addition to a high-quality image, one can get a simple clickable prototype.

Read more: Interactive 2D/3D Graphics for Web Projects

Discover WebGL capabilities your business can benefit from

3D

By adding 3D to gameplay features, you provide more immersive experiences to players. The best tools for creating 3D models include the following: PlayCanvas, Babylon.js, and three.js.

What Are the Top Features of a Social Game Like Jackbox?

One of the most proven ways to keep players engaged during game time is to offer interactive elements and smart features. Below we explore a list of main social web game features you can implement in your business solution. Read on.

  • User & Web Server

Each group of players is in a room. Each room has its capacity, from 8 to 10 people. A password is required to enter the room. There are many rooms and teams at the same time.

On the player’s side – there is a site in which game information is displayed, this is the client side. Somewhere on the Internet, there is a server that transmits the necessary information and synchronizes everyone in the team. And a website where all actions take place: voting, project submission, leaderboard display, etc.

  • Leaderboards

During the game, players receive points for completing tasks. After each round, players are ranked on a leaderboard depending on the number of points scored. People playing get points according to their task performance by voting for the best answers

  • Spectators

Viewers can join the broadcast. Spectators do not count as players, however, in each game, spectators can perform certain functions. In some games, they vote for the best answers, and in others, they even participate in quizzes.

  • Live Broadcast

All players must have access to a live stream of the game. It can be broadcast via Discord or shown on the TV screen if all people are in the same room.

  • Interactions

There are 3 ways a player interacts with the game: writing responses from the keyboard, choosing from available options, and drawing items. The combination of them all creates that unique experience.

How to Develop Your Own Social Jackbox Game?

Before getting down to game application development, it’s important to define all things you have to do in the first place. Thus you get a smart solution adjusted to your business requirements.

To make the app development process efficient, take the following steps when creating your own social game.

Step #1. Determine the Game Purpose

Think of the way you’re going to use a social game: an e-learning solution, a corporate education tool, a teambuilding app, etc. Come up with the game’s logic, its rules, and the main things people could gain by playing your game.

Step #2. Define Game Mechanics

Enjoyable gameplay is reliant on good game mechanics. Consider different ones: timing, puzzle, merging, or growing mechanics. Then go for the ones that meet your game requirements. It’s also a good rule of thumb to do a market analysis and figure out unique selling points your game might have.

Step #3. Create Tech Specifications

All ideas must be written down. Particularly, project requirements. Documentation helps an entire team to understand the game’s purpose and navigate the current status of the game app development process.

Step #4. Develop an App Prototype

Creating a social game MVP accounts for a great performance of a final product. You can test your solution, define what’s working well or not, and come up with further improvements. Moreover, initially, well-developed architecture can be a good base for new games.

Step #5. Work on UI/UX

It is important to think about the experience a player has when switching screens. The parts of the social web game should be easily understood so make the intuitive interface as good as possible.

Step #6. Decide on the Art Style

The key role of art in games is to convey the right vibes. So make sure your social game is aligned with its core features and the game’s main idea is well communicated to players.

Step #7. Test Your Game and Release

Time to check what you have designed. Better to do it at once by the whole development team. If you want to find out the comprehensibility of the social game, ask people who were not directly involved in the game development. When everything is tested, the game can be sent to the end users.

Step #8. Analyze and Upgrade

Once you release a game, you will receive a lot of feedback. And it will be different. Take into account your users’ opinions, fix bugs, and improve the game. After that add new social game apps based on the ones you already developed.

Summary

A social game like Jackbox is a fantastic way for companies to advance their corporate e-learning or enhance team-building activities. It brings teams together through problem-solving tasks and puzzles, as well as funny jokes and facts.
Gamification creates engaging environments for communication which people actually lack these days. Meanwhile, interactivity increases the level of interest in new knowledge and thus increases employee productivity.

Wanna know the details on how to make a social game for your business, contact us now!

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