How a Software Development Kit Can Help You Create a Great Game
Fabien Nicot – Nov 23, 2022
Creating a video game involves long hours of demanding and sometimes repetitive tasks. To help them streamline the process of game development, editors, programmers and development studios use specialised programs known as Software Development Kits or SDKs.
SDKs provide creators with a suite of tools they can use to make the development of video games simpler and more efficient. These powerful tools and programs can provide shortcuts that remove hours of work from the development process. SDKs are also used to incorporate features that would not otherwise be available to game studios.
By using SDKs, developers can create exceptional quality games and applications that are marketable, provide excellent user experiences and incorporate advanced monetization features. With an SDK, this can all be accomplished in much less time than it would take otherwise.
How SDKs Enhance the Game Development Process
Also sometimes known as a ‘dev kit’, you can envision an SDK as being like the box of tools a construction worker uses to build a house. In some cases, the construction worker cannot complete a task without using the tools. In other cases, the construction worker may find that the tools allow them to complete the task more efficiently. SDKs work just like that box of construction tools.
In relation to video games, SDKs are mostly used to add features that are not directly related to gameplay development but are integral to the functionality of the application. They also assist developers in creating the building blocks for the game itself. SDKs often feature tools to build software for specific platforms, debugging tools and code libraries that allow for the fast inclusion of routines for different operating systems.
SDKs speed up the game development cycle by providing shortcuts that make the process of building the game and deploying it easier and more efficient. Instead of wasting time writing long reams of code for basic functions, developers can simply use the tools in the SDK to create them instead. These functionalities can include things like notifications, remote configs, and game assets. SDKs are also commonly used to add networking capabilities to enable multiplayer modes in a game.
Increasing the efficiency and ease of the game development process are not the only benefits associated with SDKs. There are three other main benefit categories that SDKs provide:
- Analytics – SDKs follow and analyse the behaviour of users during in-game time
- Monetization – SDKs allow developers to display ads in the most efficient way possible
- Tracking – SDKs provide developers with valuable tracking data so they can know exactly where their users come from
We will now look at each of these three other SDK domains in more detail.
Improved User Data Analytics
For game developers, knowing the behaviour of the users is extremely important, both for marketing and product development purposes. User data provides crucial information about the global functioning of an application and how users interact with it.
SDKs provide developers with the tools to analyse user data quickly and accurately. Typically, an SDK will provide analysis on the following user data points:
- Playing time – information on how long the average user uses the application for
- Retention – The percentage of users that return to the application. This data allows developers to assess how attractive an application may be in the long term
- Progression – How quickly users progress through the game. This metric allows developers to better calculate the difficulty of the levels
- Churn – The percentage of users who do not come back to the application after completing or attempting a level
- AB testing – Also known as split testing, AB testing tests a new feature on two different audiences, providing accurate insights into the real impact of the feature
More Efficient Monetization Techniques
Monetizing a new game can be a complicated if not impossible process without the use of an SDK. SDKs provide access to an inventory of advertisements that can be easily incorporated into an application.
Usually, SDKs will include mediation tools in three formats: interstitials, rewarded videos, and banner ads. The mediation tool allows developers to combine dozens of ad networks so they can sell each impression for the best price.
SDKs also allow developers to easily incorporate the following monetization tools:
In-game ads – A feature that allows for advertising that is placed in the game’s background
Audio ads – This feature gives developers the ability to monetize the sound of the application
Cross-promotion – A feature that promotes other games from your portfolio which can result in greater user acquisition across the board
Enhanced User Tracking Capabilities
Tracking tools are known as mobile measurement partners (MMP) in the gaming world. MMPs are used to track user behaviour outside the application. An MMP is used to provide insights into how users interact with ads and marketing campaigns.
This information allows developers to calculate the overall cost and the overall value of each individual user in regard to an advertising campaign. This data can then be analysed to determine if the advertising campaign was effective and provided a profitable return on investment. In addition, developers can use this tool to limit the cost of buying users by calculating how much revenue each individual user brings with them.
Why the Success of Your Game Depends on the SDK
Game studios and editors use SDKs for a variety of reasons. SDKs provide editors and developers with the ability to more effectively control data and incorporate it into analysis tools. These tools provide crucial data on user behaviour that can be used to further enhance gameplay or create more effective marketing campaigns.
SDKs cut development time because they provide coding shortcuts and allow editors to reuse features developed for other games. Editors can use SDKs to compare results from all the games they have created to easily see at a glance what features are successful, and which are not. SDKs provide developers and studios with the tools they need to develop and promote innovative new technologies.
The choice of SDK is a major factor in the success of a game. An inferior SDK will hamper a developer’s ability to produce their game quickly and efficiently. The right SDK will provide you with all the tools you need to create a great game, analyse user data and monetize and market your game as effectively as possible.
At TapNation, we help developers produce high-quality games using the most innovative and effective tools, including the very best SDKs available. Partner with TapNation and your next game is sure to be a massive hit!