Since the early days of gaming, passionate gamers have wanted to make their favorite titles like Dota 2, Hearthstone, and League of Legends even better. This passion to enhance games has evolved over the years and has taken many forms – including creating content and tools that make gaming more fun and entertaining, help gamers improve, and enable gamers to share their top moments during game sessions.
In general, the more content and customizability a game has, the more likely a gamer will repeatedly come back to it, extending the game’s shelf life and generating more value for game developers and publishers in the long run.
Community-based creations are becoming even more prevalent in recent years, and are being recognized as a significant value add for gamers and publishers alike. But how does the everyday developer get started with building a gaming-related product?
The Rise in Creating Content Around Games
Let’s first take a look at the different content that can be created around games. Some of the most popular ways to enhance games is through content guides, websites, mods, and in-game apps.
Content guides have become a vital resource for gamers. Typical guides cover things like explanations of basic mechanics, strategy tips, and updates on meta shifts. To get started with creating content guides you’ll need a strong understanding of the game mechanics. Most guides are shared as video content on platforms like YouTube, so video filming and editing skills will go a long way.
Most commonly used in the competitive game genres like MOBAs and FPS games, gamers use statistics websites like Tracker Network to access rich data, stats, and analysis on both themselves and their teammates, and enhance their gameplay experience. To get started with building a stats website you’ll need to become familiar with the relevant game’s APIs and parse it for data. With that data in hand, you need to build a web-app style website next in common frameworks.
Players and fans of a video game often modify, or alter, different aspects of the game to bring a different experience to the game that does not already exist. Hence the term – game mods. Modifications could be something small like taking a game and changing all the characters to goats or they could also be big and essentially create a whole new game using the engine and assets of an existing game.
Many of the popular PC games today were born from a mod of a different game. Skyrim is a great example of a decade-old game that is still going strong due to cool mods and user-generated content. Unlike websites or guides, most mods require deeper-level coding.
Some games have supported modding environments and documentation (like building add-ons for World of Warcraft), and for other games, the experience will be more hacking and less coding. The best first step will be to seek the help of other modders or connect with a modding community.
In-game apps are able to take the information from existing websites and make it available for gamers in real-time, directly inside the game, without interfering with gameplay. These apps can also react to what happens inside the game, providing gamers with insights and content that is relevant to their current in-game situation and context.
Building an in-game app from scratch could be quite challenging as you have to figure out native Windows app mechanics, installing and patching, and integrate with the game itself. Luckily, there are services and frameworks available that can significantly cut down the effort involved.
Introducing a New Career Path in the Industry
Talented creators have built products and services around games including websites, mods, and apps for over 20 years. Some of these creations are adopted by millions of gamers and are even considered must-have by the players, yet most creators are still out of the spotlight.
Despite the tremendous value and massive adoption, 3rd party creators rarely get the credit or the compensation they deserve for their incredible creations. A lack of advanced tools, distribution capacity, and the resources AAA developers already have holds third-party developers back.
Adam Williams AKA MysticalOS created one of the most popular mods for World of Warcraft called Deadly Boss Mods, and there’s hardly a raider anywhere who doesn’t use it or at least know of it. Despite hundreds of millions of downloads, Adam shares the difficulties and financial instability he suffers by investing in his mod.
Getting started is fast and easy, even if you’ve never built an in-game app before or if you’re new to programming. Apps could also earn you some serious cash as the top 25% of app developers on Overwolf make over $25,000 each month, with the leading creators earning over $1M per year.
A great example of a successful creator on Overwolf is Matt Hawkins. Matt is the CEO of TRN (Tracker Network), a company that builds leading stats websites and in-game apps for many games, including Valorant, Apex Legends, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege, and more. Before founding Tracker Network, Matt had a career in software and built HaloTracker as a passion project.
After some initial traction, he decided to partner with Overwolf and was able to turn his websites into in-game apps and scale incredibly fast. Matt went from a one-man show to a company with a team of five employees and over 2.5 million registered users across the most popular game titles. Tracker Network’s monthly revenue from Overwolf alone is in the mid-five-figures.
Time to quit your day job?
Building in-game apps on Overwolf is a great new opportunity for game developers or creators who are passionate about gaming – an opportunity that could offer a new career path. With simple APIs, sample apps, all the support you need and additional services like design advice and funding, getting started is easier than ever.