Design, Play, Release: A Conceptual Model for Creating Publisher-Independent Cross-Platform Casual Games in Small Teams

The aim in creating the Design, Play, Release model is to optimise the production of casual games in small teams. This article includes the conducted research and source materials.


Advancements in technology, such as mobile devices and social networks, have introduced new audiences to video games. Thanks to newly available educations and software toolsets, it is possible for a small team or a single person to create games for a casual gaming audience. The generally low income of independent casual game developers creates the need to increase their return of investment. This report addresses this need by suggesting improvements to the production workflow, while extending the reach of the game across multiple platforms.


To develop and validate a conceptual model for creating publisher-independent cross-platform casual games in small teams based on a framework of ideas from the Spiral Model of Software Development and the Agile concepts, Scrum and Feature Driven Development.


Three cycles of Participatory Action Research and three group interviews conducted on-site.


The researcher is a participant in the Action Research process. Six professional game developers with expertise in game design, graphic design, animation, audio-engineering and programming are interviewed.


A system, owned and operated by a small development team or single person, to create a cross-platform game for casual gamers. It visualizes optimizations to the creative process of casual game development by incorporating concepts such as prototyping, iterative feature implementation and frequent assessment. The step-by-step workflow also helps avoid mistakes that lead to a technologically unviable or prematurely released product.


The conceptual model is a practical tool for creating publisher-independent cross-platform casual games. Further real-world applications of the model are needed for its evaluation.