2. About Lamp Post Games
Lamp Post Games is a Singapore-based company that aims to become the leading casual
mobile games company present in the African market. We have a funding of $250,000 SGD.
For the first 6 months, we aim to develop and release our first title. After the release of our first
game, the company will start work immediately its next title. The first year will be used to build
up our team competency as well as to gain an understanding of the African market. For a start,
we will only be focused on 5 countries: South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya. These
countries have a comparatively high mobile penetration rate in Africa.
Country No. of mobile subscribers Mobile phone penetration rate
South Africa 45 million 92.5%
Nigeria 65.8 million 44.46%
Morocco 31.3 million 100%
Kenya 22 million 55%
Egypt 76.43 million 94.4%
Our first game is targeted at lower-end, low resolution Nokia phones. According to our market
survey conducted through Facebook Ads, out of 36 responses, 24 users use Nokia phones of
models such as 6300. Research on the internet has shown that Nokia is a dominant and
preferred brand in Africa. In addition, Nokia is currently developing new phones for its S40
series such as the Asha 200 which targets developing countries.
Game Design - Emulating Plants versus Zombies
Our first game will be a tower defense game modelled after the mechanics of Plants versus
Zombies (PvZ). PvZ is a successful hit with 150 million copies sold worldwide in 2010. We have
identified core components of PvZ which we believe are crucial to the success of the game. We
will be integrating these aspects into our first game:
1. Accessible Character Theme
Zombies are popular characters in games and other media. By contrasting it against an unlikely
opponent, the plant, it is easily memorable and comes laced with a tinge of humour. As such,
we came up with similarly iconic character themes to emulate the success of PvZ. Proposed
ideas for characters include cowboys, wizards and mummies.
2. Quirky Atmospheric Theme
a. Art - The cartoonish art style by Rich Werner of PvZ defines the game. It features bug-eyed
cartoon characters with exaggerated expressions, drawn with thick lines and bright contrasting
colours. Since we would be working with a relatively small screen resolution at 240 X 320, it
would be a requirement for our artist to produce low resolution cartoon characters of similar
b. Music and Sound - Uniquely identifiable music and sound effects make the recognisable just
by a short sample. The designated soundtrack must feature simple chords and a small number
3. of layered instruments. The desired result is expected to be reminiscent of 8-bit music rendered
in stereo for the mobile phone.
3. Simple Learning Curve + Interestingly Varied Gameplay
According to an interview with PvZ creator George Fan, the game is inspired by 3 different
game factors: The tower Defense genre, PopCap’s Insaniquarium and the arcade game Tapper.
These three games from different genres are combined to create a game where enemies are
gunned down by turret placements, resources are queued up for timed usage, and actions
require multitasking of several lanes. Despite the apparent complexity in game mechanics, the
learning curve of the game is really low and makes it easy to pick up and play. These are key
mechanics that will be implemented in our game.
4. In-game Rewards System
In PvZ’s rewards system, a player earns new plant towers and unlocks different game modes as
progress is made in the main adventure mode. The in-game currency system allows the player
to buy more advanced plants for his/her plant arsenal as he/she earns more money by playing
the game. Such a feature makes the game more addictive, compelling and increases replay
We will therefore be implementing an in-game rewards system. The player will earn credits as
he/she makes progress in levels. The credits can be used to buy new, more powerful units,
items and unlock special features of the game. Some units and items can only be unlocked by
buying special credits with real money. We aim to provide leader boards for players to upload
their game scores to an online game site. The web site will feature the weekly top scorers and
be giving out prizes and awards accordingly.
We came up with two themes: grave robbers against mummies, and hunters against wizards.
To better understand the appeal of each theme for the African local culture, we created two
separate Facebook Advertising campaigns for each theme. The advertisements were targeted
at Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigera and South Africa and were ran for a week.
4. The results were surprisingly positive, with each campaign having a click through rate of above
0.06% which was above the average of 0.056% of most Facebook advertisements. However,
Spells & Bullets turned out to be slightly higher, and thus we have proceeded to work on the
Game Play, Flow and Mechanics
The title of our first game will be called “Spells versus Bullets”. Our mobile phone tower defense
game pits big game hunters armed with hunting rifles against wizards that shoot lasers out of
their wands. Players get to choose to play on either side of the battle.
Choosing the side of the hunters would involve bullet shooting turrets such as machine gun
posts, Gatling cannons, rocket launchers and flame throwers. Choosing the side of the wizards
would give the players a selection of lasers, thunderbolts, water guns, fire balls and so on.
Mock-up of in-game screen 1 Keypad Controls
Each side of the battle would contain the macro towers which generate credits for placing turrets
on the field. The credits are displayed on the top right corner of the gameplay screen. Both
sides would also contain the classical tower defense mechanic of area-of-effect towers, enemy
slowing towers, and rapid fire towers, but coated in a different graphic sprite.
I. Game Controls
Image shown is a mock-up screenshot for explanatory purposes. Not to be confused with final
product nor art style.
5. The selection process is carried out by the number keypad. The buttons 2, 8, 4 and 6 controls
up, down, left, and right respectively. To select a menu option, a player presses the number 5.
II. Game Field
The top of the game field would be a menu bar which generates a turret option as indicated by
the coloured boxes in the mock-up screen. As the player levels up through the stages, more
turrets will be unlocked for usage. Following the mechanics of Plants versus Zombies, the
player will only be allowed to bring a limited number of turret types onto the field.
After choosing a turret using the left and right buttons, the player may press 5 to confirm the
selection, from which he would be required to select one of the 5 X 8 grid blocks on the playing
Enemies spawn from the top of the field and move downwards. Players are not to allow any
enemy to pass through the defences to get to the bottom of the screen.
III. Levelling Up Through the Stages
Following a progress in a somewhat nonsensical story, players level up and earn in-game
currency. These in-game credits can be used to purchase and unlock new and more advanced
turrets. As the levels get higher, the turrets become more sophisticated and powerful.
Certain turrets would be priced to be unrealistically costly to support our in-game purchase
system as would be discussed in a later section.
Management of Game Resources
Gameplay graphics will be drawn with pixel art to handle the low resolution screen estate.
Animated sprites would utilise a single sprite array graphic to produce animation from
sequencing the images in successive changes using the coordinates.
The resolution of sprite graphics would be fixed during the programming process so as to make
changing of character sprites an easy and modular process. This would make any theme
changing process a painless procedure.
A significant number of countries in Africa have English as their official language. However,
during the launch of the first game, we will be localising the game in Arabic for both Egypt and
The game will be distributed primarily through the Nokia Ovi Store as a free download. The
store provides access through the internet as well as on the phone.
6. Revenue Model
The game will be free for download to play but we will build in game purchase features which
focus on a micro-payment using M-PESA. Users will be able to unlock in game item by making
payment through M-PESA to us. Once payment been received over M-PESA, a time based
code will be sent to the user to allow them to enter in game to unlock the item.
A web page will be built for the game to host a leader board. The game enables the user to
submit high scores to the web page. The top 3 submitted scores will win an actual prizes every
week. We will utilise part of the page’s screen estate to sell advertisement space. In addition,
we believe that the nature of real prizes will attract more visitors than normal to check their
We will also allow advertiser to purchase advertising spaces on our in-game splash screen
which will be served whenever the game is going through a rendering process. Users can
choose to remove all forms of advertising by making payment over M-PESA.
In-Game Purchases and M-PESA
In order to adapt to the African market, the team has customised an in game purchase
mechanic. This feature would allow players to directly access higher level turrets using in-game
currency bought through M-PESA. This would effectively make the game easier and more
satisfying for players who can breeze through the higher stages with an incredible arsenal. The
in-game currency can also be used to unlock hidden mini-games for additional entertainment
7. M-PESA (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is the product name of a mobile-phone based
money transfer service for Safaricom, which is a Vodafone affiliate. It allows users to transfer
money among themselves by sending text messages over their mobile phone. M-PESA users
can then draw cash from their M-PESA accounts through service desk around the country.
Since its inception in Kenya in 2003, its services have become extremely popular among rural
areas which lacks proper banking services. M-PESA is now available in most part of Africa
(Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria) and boasts a user base of 12 million as of 2010.
As shown in Figure above, our In Game SMS Purchases is built around the M-PESA system
utilising text messages. In order to purchase in game credit, users just have to make payment to
our M-PESA account. We will then reply with a game code over SMS to the M-PESA register
mobile phone. The code will allow the player to activate in game credit. To prevent users from
sharing the code, the in game code is time-based and will become ineffective after 5 minutes. In
order to make our offering attractive, we will be pricing our price points very aggressively and
allow users to get started with as little as $0.50 as shown below.
Price (USD) Credits
8. We will also be tinkering with the price points to carry out analytics once the game is released.
In this way, we can find out what’s the optimal pricing strategy.
Marketing & Sales
We will have a full time marketing director who will be based in South Africa. He will be actively
promoting the game and working with local telecom while the game is in the development
phrase. He/she is also responsible for looking for advertising partner to which we can work with.
From our short Facebook survey, we believe that Facebook can be a effective platform for us to
reach out our to our customer directly. At such, we would continue our effort in reaching out to
our target audience through this platform.
We will also collaborate with Nokia so that phones that are sold in Africa will already have our
The initial game will be based on flash-lite, which is supported on the Nokia s40 series of mobile
phones. We will also need to develop and build in-house an automated SMS purchasing system
which will be powering our micro in app payment system using M-PESA.
We will also be monitoring the smart phone penetration rate of the Africa market to decide on
the next platform to adopt.
2x 1x 1x 1x Rent & Monthly
Programmer, Game Marketing Game Utilites Burn Rate
$3500/month Artist Director Designer
Cost $7000 $2500 $2500 $2000 $1000 $15000
The table above shows the breakdown of monthly expenses that need to be made in order to
stay in operation.
Marketing Contract Others(software,
work(music, etc.) etc.)
Cost $50000 $5000 $5000
We will be setting aside a large budget for marketing which will cover costs for prizes in our
game leader boards, and advertisements, etc.
We also expect to make one-time expenses to cover the development of music, which is
contracted out, localisation and development software. At the monthly estimated burn-rate of
$15,000, the company would be able to operate for at least 12 months with $250,000 SGD
9. funding. This should be viable as we expect to launch the first version of our game in 6 months
and predict to see revenue almost immediately.
The team aims to be able to cover our own monthly expenses after 12 months of operations.
This means our estimated monthly revenue after 12 months has to be above $15,000 SGD.
Total Payment Goal for 5 countries only
Mobile Population 223,000,000
Total Available Market: 60% Nokia Users 133,800,000
Accessible Market: 2% Gamers 2,676,000
1.5% spend $0.50 USD/month 40,140
Total Payment Volume / Month $20,070 USD
The table above is our Total Payment Volume goal at the end of the 12th month. Assuming that
we are only targeting 5 countries, there is a mobile population of 223 million. We make
estimates that we will only be reaching 60% of mobile subscribers who are Nokia users. From
there, we estimate that our accessible market is really only 2% of gamers which makes up 2.67
million people. Of these, we only expect 1.5% of them to spend $0.50 USD a month. However,
that will be good enough to meet our requirement of $15,000 SGD monthly revenue. It should
be noted that a small portion of the total payment volume will be taken by M-PESA.
Above is our projection of our monthly revenue growth.
To conclude, Lamp Post Games will adopt an agile and adaptive approach towards developing
games for the African market. We understand that the gaming territory in Africa is greatly
unexplored, and therefore risky, but this is a great opportunity to penetrate the mobile apps
market to establish pioneering advantage. We will be relying heavily on feedback from user
experience, Facebook and analytics tools to make important changes to ensure the success of
Lamp Post Games.
1. Bell E. Interview with Plants vs Zombies Creator George Fan. Retrieved 29 Oct 2011 from
2. Yglesias M. Mobile Phone Penetration in Africa. Retrieved 12 Oct 2011 from
3. HASH. 2007 African Mobile Phone Statistics. Retrieved 14 Oct 2011 from
4. Wikipedia. List of mobile network operators of the Middle East and Africa. Retrieved 12 Oct
5. HASH. Mobile Apps in Africa. Retrieved 14 Oct 2011 from
6. Vermeulen. Most Important Phones in SA. Retrieved 14 Oct 2011 from
7. moseskemibaro.com [Ma3Racer] the missing link to ignite Kenya’s local mobile gaming
industry? Retrieved 28 Oct 2011 from
8. Nation Reporter. M-Pesa transactions surpass Western Union moves across the globe.
Retrieved 28 Oct 2011 from
Survey Results (36 Respondents)
1) What is your mobile phone model?
24 respondents are Nokia users. The rest are distributed between Samsung and LG.
2) What is your favourite game?
This is to check out what games people play on their mobile phones. Interestingly, 3 responded
with games that are available on telco stores. 15 responded with Snake which is preloaded into
the Nokia phone. The rest of the entries were invalid.
3) Will you pay for a mobile game?
28 people responded that they would not pay for a mobile game while the rest responded yes.
4) If you were to buy a mobile phone game, where will you buy it from?
This question allows the user to check multiple options. 24 users surveyed that they would get
their games from the Nokia App Store. About 6 surveyed responded for each of the other
options which are game stores, internet and telco.