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Design tips for Free to Play Mobile Games

How to keep players returning to your freemium or ad supported game

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This course is designed for developers or game designers working on mobile games. You might be an indie game developer, or part of a professional AAA game team. All that you need is a desire to make your game better, and understand what makes your players return to the game over and over.

We are not going to go into any specific technology or game programming. This is a design course!

We will cover the following topics:

  • Player Types and what they want
  • Reward Systems
  • Core Game Loop, Wait Loop and Grind Loop
  • How to Keep Players Returning
  • Triggers - Return, Social, Events
  • Example Games with deconstructions on why they work (or don't!)
  • Premium currency
  • What should you sell using IAP?
  • How to earn that first purchase from the player
  • What Game Mechanics work for player retention?

What are the requirements?

  • Interest in designing free to play (f2p) games for mobile game platforms
  • You should understand how free to play mobile games work on iOS and Android
  • You should have played some F2P mobile games
  • Want to understand Game Mechanics and why they work

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Why players play games, and how to satisfy their unique needs
  • Design a game session with a return trigger
  • What should you sell with IAP?
  • Get players to buy that first In App Purchase
  • Build core game loops, with sessioning, and return triggers
  • Understand premium currency and economics in F2P games
  • Understand game mechanics and why you need to think about them

What is the target audience?

  • Indie Game developers
  • Anyone who wants to know how freemium games work
  • Students building their first game
  • Hobyists wanting to build engaging free to play games


Your Instructor


Jason Short
Jason Short

I am a lifelong geek who builds and teaches about app development in my free time. I contribute to open source projects as on Github, and am a frequent speaker at Code Camps and developer events.

I work for Microsoft (located in Redmond, WA), and teach at an after hours app club. I enjoy working with other developers who are building passion projects.

I have been building software professionally for about 20 years. I have worked on multiple engineering team inside Microsoft, and had my own companies prior to joining in 2010.

I started learning programming to make games on my Commodore 64! Since then I have built shareware, BBS doors, and a few commercial AAA game titles. These days I build and teach mobile development as a hobby.


Class Curriculum



Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!