Randomnade targets simple, shareable strategy for serious gamers
Randomnade allows users to create and share strategies for any video game. Screenshot courtesy of Rick Knudtson.
Take time to talk with Rick Knudtson — as I do almost daily, since Silicon Prairie News and Tripleseat, Knudtson’s employer, share an office space— and two of his favorite forms of leisure quickly become evident: competitive gaming and football.
So it’s fitting that Knudston often explains Randomnade, the competitive gaming strategy site he co-founded with Mitchell Shaw and Joe Crum, using football terms. Randomnade, which launched its public beta on Oct. 24, aims to help gamers simplify the process of creating, browsing and sharing strategies for video games. Think making a football playbook online and sharing it with teammates. Or opponents. Or anyone, really.
“You’d think that if you create a strategy, you wouldn’t want it to be public because you’re going to use it against other teams,” Knudtson said. “Just like you don’t sell your playbook if you’re a football team.”
Not so in competitive gaming. The sharing of strategies is widespread because, among other reasons, it’s a way for top gamers to gain notoriety. That's what fuels Knudtson’s vision of what Randomnade, which at the moment is a self-funded side-project, can become.
“People create these things all the time,” Knudtson said. “My hope is that people start sharing them outside of their little circles and make them public and Randomnade becomes an outlet for competitive gamers to try to strategize together.” (From left: Knudtson, Shaw and Crum. Photos from randomnade.com.)
The site started as something slightly different, originating in April 2010 as a blog through which Knudtson and Shaw shared video game tips. Then about six months ago, with Crum on board, Randomnade took a new direction, aimed at becoming a site for crowd-sourced game tips. From there, the site evolved into its current form, and in July launched a private beta, which Knudtson called an “attempt to see if anyone cared.”
People did. Randomnade had to cap its private beta at 550 users — a number that included a handful of high-level professional gamers. After two weeks in public beta, the site now has some 1,300 users and about 800 total maps.
Using Randomnade — whose name comes from the popular gamer portmanteau for “random grenade” — gamers can create maps of strategies for any game. The site has a library of overhead maps for many games — users can upload maps that aren’t already in the library — and a map-builder tool with the icons needed to edit those maps and build strategies. Once completed, the maps can be kept private, passed along to a select group of people or shared with the public.
That public sharing is a big part of the public beta launched last month. The site’s homepage features a feed populated by updates of user activity, and gamers have public profiles that other users can peruse.
User profile feeds are part of the social side that Randomnade introduced in launching its public beta last month. Screenshot courtesy of Rick Knudtson.
Competitive gaming can be a lucrative endeavor, with winners of big tournaments taking home sizable cash prizes. Knudtson hopes Randomnade can become lucrative, too. The site intends to bring in revenue by helping promote tournaments hosted by gaming sites, which are constantly competing for users. Knudtson also believes there’s an opportunity for Randomnade to make money if it's used as a telestration tool for commentators who broadcast professional tournaments.
A serious gamer himself, Knudtson is excited by the potential to make a business out of what's long been one of his favorite leisurely pastimes.
“I’ve also been a super competitive gamer, so I love the community around competitive gaming,” Knudtson said. “So if it ever took off, it’d be an amazing thing.”