Using Heatmaps to Build Games Players Love

3 min readMar 26, 2021

Get Deep Insights Into Player Behavior and Turn it Into Continuous Game Improvement

The world is filled with examples of innovators charging ahead in an attempt to give the world the next great thing. They run off instinct and are ruled by the Steve Jobs saw about product development; “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” When this works, it usually delivers a product users fall in love with. If someone had told you in 2010 that they were creating a picture-sharing app, would you have paid a billion dollars for it? Google did two years later when they acquired Instagram. It made no money, but people loved it.

In the absence of grand inspiration and without the promise of perfect luck, what are your plans to build a game that players love? Well, let’s first consider what you’re competing with:

  • Attention: every player has a ton of options, each of which grows every day with cool, interesting games becoming available for mobile and console platforms.
  • Resources: indies have to compete with billion dollar companies. For what it’s worth, I think indies build better games, but players will only know about them if they break out from the competition.
  • Reputation: indies that consistently deliver great, interesting, cool, fun games build a loyal following. If they can continue to be consistently great at delivering games, that following will grow.

The question then becomes, how? How can you build the right games that will get player’s attention, that will become popular, and will communicate to your players that you care about them? Then the answer is, you have to know who they are, what they want, and how you can deliver it to them.

GamerGraph’s goal is to give indies the platform on which they can see how players use all aspects of their game — where they drop off, where they invoke social interactions, features they like and don’t like, how long they play, what they’re doing while they’re in your game — so they can turn those insights into better games. Our cloud-based data analytics and gameOps solution gives game devs access to all of this information in the simplest way possible — no servers to configure or maintain, no compliance management. Developers can use our API or our Unreal or Unity plugins to connect to our platform in 90 seconds. They immediately begin seeing data, which they can track in real-time and refer to over any period of time.

We recently launched a heatmaps feature that now pinpoints specifically where behaviors take place within games. For each feature or action, developers can identify the activity — what was used, what wasn’t used, what is encouraging players to spend money, what is discouraging playtime, and a host of other data points.

In the screenshot below, X/Y coordinates on a game map show how many times a specific action took place at that location, and you can see the exact locations where actions took place.

GamerGraph Heatmap Example

GamerGraph customers have updated their games based on these heatmaps to provide an overall better experience. In some cases, a game may be simply too difficult and that’s causing players to bail. Well, if you know where it’s too difficult, you can modify so encourage more playtime. In other cases, customers have identified the sweet spot where users click to purchase more tokens. By knowing where that happens, devs can add more opportunities like that in the game to increase monetization options.

We talk with game developers every day about the creative, innovative work they’re doing. I’m blown away by what they’re creating and I love it when their games are successful. Our goal is to help take the guesswork out of game development so that developers can align with players. There aren’t many industries where you can take actual data about your product and immediately use it to improve that product. In our industry, it’s not only a great advantage, but it’s a necessity for indie developers to break out from the noise and make their games hugely successful.

Try GamerGraph for free to see how you can use data to build better games.

Photo: Katya Austin on Unsplash




Continuous game insights for continuous game improvement.