PlayerFinder: Connecting Gamers with FlutterFlow

4 months ago   •   4 min read

By Amman Waseem


Introduction:

In the evolving landscape of mobile applications for gamers, PlayerFinder seeks to connect players worldwide in the age of loneliness. Developed by seasoned web developer James Helms and his team, PlayerFinder addresses the gap in the gaming community for mature gamers seeking peers with similar interests and play styles. With 3,600 users already on the platform and by utilizing FlutterFlow's open low-code platform, PlayerFinder is transforming the concept of gaming connectivity, offering an easy way to find the perfect gaming partner.

The Story of PlayerFinder:

The journey to PlayerFinder began with James's extensive 20-year background in application development, including his prior project, CrouchJump, and a pivot to Fangagement - a platform focused on identifying genuine fans for Esports organizations. After these ventures, James and his team took a brief hiatus, which led to the inception of PlayerFinder. His discovery of low-code/no-code platforms, after a detailed exploration of Adalo and Bubble, eventually led him to FlutterFlow, attracted by its balance of aesthetics and functionality without the lock-in found in other platforms.

Development Journey:

PlayerFinder's development kicked off in April 2023, starting with three weeks of design in Figma followed by six weeks of intensive development in FlutterFlow. This accelerated timeline from concept to launch underscored FlutterFlow's efficiency and ease of use for James & the team. James's goal was to expedite the development process without compromising on quality.

James highlights the pivotal role of FlutterFlow in PlayerFinder's development:

"FlutterFlow allowed us to go from zero to published apps in just 4 weeks... Without FlutterFlow, the process would have likely taken months and a substantial financial investment."

Features and User Experience:

PlayerFinder introduces gamers to a suite of features designed to enhance connectivity and social interaction within the gaming community:

  • Lobby Creation and Filtering: Gamers can create and join lobbies tailored to their game preferences and play styles. Individuals can create lobbies from directly within the application, as well as, through the discord integration.
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Discord Channel Integration: A native discord bot and channel creation functionality elevates the LFG (Looking for Group) experience to new heights. It is a pivotal feature that has a two-tiered approach to the app's functionality.

Discord Bot Integration within FlutterFlow:

A Discord bot was created on PlayerFinder's server to facilitate authentication and permissions for using the Discord API. This bot enables the app to interact with Discord, performing actions such as:

      • Creating Discord Voice Channels
      • Generating invites for these channels
      • Deleting channels when a lobby is removed

The integration process is streamlined in FlutterFlow, involving straightforward configurations for headers, body, and variables. The API requests are initially built and tested in Postman before being imported into FlutterFlow for final implementation.

Native Discord Bot Hosted on Google Cloud:

  1. A separate, backend-focused server hosts a native Discord Bot, giving other Discord communities the ability to install the PlayerFinder Bot on their servers. This bot mirrors the app's functionality, enhancing the Looking for Group (LFG) process within Discord.
  2. The bot allows for the creation of LFGs in Discord using the same mechanics as in the app, with data being synchronized between the two platforms. This integration is achieved through custom Python coding, a dedicated Google Cloud server, and integration with PlayerFinder's Firebase database.

The goal of these integrations is to improve user connectivity to the Discord Bot, enhance the visibility and usability of LFG lobby cards, and ensure that lobbies created from Discord are easily identifiable. By extending PlayerFinder's features to Discord communities, James aims to add value to these communities, enhance the app's offerings, and foster organic growth through increased app usage.

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  • User Profiles and Realtime Chat: A comprehensive user profile system, coupled with realtime chat, facilitates deeper connections among players.

  • Friends Lists: A core feature of the application - PlayerFinder lets you find and addd friends that share similar interests and are online for gameplay.

  • Freemium & Pro Plans: PlayerFinder provides advanced user experiences depending on a user’s payment tier.

James Helms and his team prioritized native app capabilities, integrating Firebase for backend services and leveraging custom functions and widgets within FlutterFlow to create a seamless user experience. The team also built out a separate FlutterFlow project, with the same Firebase connection to build an administrative control panel for the PlayerFinder app that provides management, statistics, and moderation.

Tools & Integrations:

PlayerFinder's development was marked by innovative use of native FlutterFlow elements and the open ecosystem, notably:

  • Discord Voice Channel Integration: By utilizing open API and custom-built Discord bots, PlayerFinder enhances the gaming community's connectivity.
  • Firebase Backend: Ensures reliable data management and real-time interaction capabilities.
  • Custom FlutterFlow Components: With a few custom coding components, the app incorporates advanced features through FlutterFlow's flexible environment.

Results and Metrics:

Since its launch, PlayerFinder has achieved significant traction within the gaming community without any marketing spend:

  • Active Users: 3,600 users, demonstrating organic growth and a strong market fit.
  • User Feedback: The app has been well-received for its innovative features and user-friendly design, fostering a mature gaming community.

Conclusion:

PlayerFinder exemplifies the potential of FlutterFlow in bringing innovative ideas to fruition swiftly and efficiently. It stands as an example for developers seeking to create impactful applications without the overhead of traditional development processes. James and the team are currently working on building out their web app, and eventually windows desktop app in order to offer a more refined product to PC Gamers.

Discover PlayerFinder and embark on your journey to connect with the ideal gaming community. For more insights, visit PlayerFinder on the App Store and Google Play.

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