A terrific deconstruction of Farmville

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Musenik, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. Musenik

    Musenik
    Expand Collapse
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Messages:
    796
    Likes Received:
    0
  2. ChrisP

    ChrisP
    Expand Collapse
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    971
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bravo. This article elegantly articulates a concern which I've personally held for quite a while.

    My favourite quote:
    Too true.
     
  3. ragdollsoft

    ragdollsoft
    Expand Collapse
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    0
    My theory is people play farmville (and even rpg games where your character becomes more powerful/better equipped) because it gives an illusion of becoming richer, and as humans we "genetically" get pleasure from becoming richer, regardless of what we can practically do with those riches.
     
  4. zoombapup

    zoombapup
    Expand Collapse
    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Daniel James? of three rings did a nice talk at GDC where he talked about social games and right near the end of it he talked about his unease with some of the ethics of current social games.

    Frankly, the zynga boss is a sleaze and I'd urge everyone to read what he's said to get a picture of what his motivations are. But lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Social games CAN have an impact in a positive manner just as it can be manipulative. The fact is that social games play to an inherent socio-psychological need. The things we can learn from the psychology of play can be used in plenty of other games too.

    As ragdollsoft mentions, there are plenty of other psychological factors being shown in game (and lets face it they have been for some time).

    I'm interested in designing social games because I think they offer an interesting design challenge and that they seem to offer a reasonable chance of monetization (and likely wont be directly pirated at least).

    The most amazing thing in terms of social games for me is the analytics based approach to design, which I'm very interested in because I think design has been too poorly studied and we could use some cold hard data for once.
     
  5. Game Producer

    Game Producer
    Expand Collapse
    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,418
    Likes Received:
    0
    This article is very good except I have some concerns:
    - If people are mindless sheep who follow other because they ask, we are doomed. People... like use your own brain brain for a freaking heavens sake. :D

    As a side note:

    Scamville articles: (bit of the old side, but worth checking though)
    http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/01/scamville-hotornot-plentyoffish-facebook-myspace/
    http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/02/sc...revenue-comes-from-lead-gen-and-other-offers/
    http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/08/zynga-to-stop-all-in-game-offers/
     
  6. Jack Norton

    Jack Norton
    Expand Collapse
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Anything that is exploiting the mass-idiocy of disturbed people with money to spend, is a winner :D

    p.s. when I was 20-24 and was playing EQ I was like that too, now I don't bother anymore with any MMO/social game, so maybe there's still hope!
     
  7. Asvarduil

    Asvarduil
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's games like FarmVille that make me wary of publishing for FaceBook. While I myself have no sinister intents on FaceBook users, the current "norm" is FarmVille/Zynga's technologies.

    I've bookmarked that link and will refer to it in days to come, I think - that article is as good a definition for a "sociopathic application" as I think currently exists, and if I see any of my creations fall into the dark, dank pit that this article defines...well, that's a project that needs to be scrapped for ethical and legal reasons.
     
  8. princec

    princec
    Expand Collapse
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,873
    Likes Received:
    0
    I plan to take as much from this article as I can in my plan to extract wealth from the feeble-minded masses. Their money is safer with me.

    Cas :)
     
  9. Jack Norton

    Jack Norton
    Expand Collapse
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Caspian switching to the dark side! :eek:

    Be ready to face some tough competition. FB/social gaming is the new trend of this/next year and everyone will be jumping on it! Only last year I knew nobody who was working on a FB/MMO social game, now I know so many people who are doing it...
     
  10. princec

    princec
    Expand Collapse
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    4,873
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't worry, I'll sabotage our efforts by making whatever it is we produce slightly quirky and different. Y'know. Independent and all that. None of this herd-following business.

    Cas :)
     
  11. zoombapup

    zoombapup
    Expand Collapse
    Moderator Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    True, but with this goldrush, at least you can still publish the game on your own website anyway outside of it being on facebook. Its not a completely locked-in platform. Just one with a lot of potential.
     
  12. rcburrell

    rcburrell
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can't discount what Farmville has done for "gaming" in a broad view. It's the latest in a growing line of items that have brought video games out of the realm of the elite few gamers and into the eyes of the common people. And I think that makes us nervous. We want people to play the games we make and we want to make money, but we'd really rather those people be "our people" - fellow gamers who can appreciate it on levels deeper than "Oh look! I can buy some onions now!"

    I don't like Farmville and I'm not a big fan of their parent company, but they've done what game developers (especially the indie crowd) have always ostensibly aspired to do: make games for all and make money from them. Leveraging something so insanely popular like Facebook is just good strategy, whatever my personal feelings are on it. And it's helped make gaming a popular pastime, albeit with sort of a slimeball image.
     
  13. andrew

    andrew
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    487
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm working on exploiting the idiocy of Facebook right now, only with the hope of maybe providing people at least a tiny bit of something called.... gameplay?

    BTW if you think Farmville is bad:

    RANK APP MONTHLY ACTIVES

    1. FarmVille 81,476,924
    5. Café World 29,799,911 <- farmville with food
    7. Mafia Wars 25,017,233 <- farmville with guns
    9. PetVille 21,619,990 <- farmville with cute animals
    10. Happy Aquarium 21,359,721 <- farmville with fish
    12. FishVille 20,231,954 <- a competitor to farmville with fish
    14. Pet Society 19,429,717 <- farmville with more dogs and cats
    15. Zoo World 18,555,290 <- farmville with lions and zebras
    17. Treasure Isle 16,559,711 <- farmville only your crops are sand and you're on an island digging for imaginary treasure
    19. Restaurant City 14,699,587 <- see #5
    21. YoVille 12,204,221 <- i don't even want to talk about it
    23. Happy Island 11,064,850 <- see #17
    25. Bejeweled Blitz 10,442,512 <- WAIT AN ACTUAL GAME
    27. Country Life 9,499,132 <- more farmville
    28. Farm Town 9,492,501 <- the game farmville ripped off originally
     
  14. ChrisP

    ChrisP
    Expand Collapse
    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    971
    Likes Received:
    0
    Agreed!

    Games can wield enormous psychological power, and it's our duty as responsible game developers to use that power wisely.
     
  15. bantamcitygames

    bantamcitygames
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,682
    Likes Received:
    54
    Great article. It really gets you thinking about the psychological aspect of that sort of game and of games in general. I never really thought about social obligation being the reason why certain games are so popular, but it totally makes sense.
     
  16. electronicStar

    electronicStar
    Expand Collapse
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,069
    Likes Received:
    0
    Add to that the soon to come GangstaPets from Zinky Zonky.... :rolleyes:
     
  17. lightassassin

    lightassassin
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0
    It will be just like all previous games that have expanded the number of gamers.

    From Doom to WoW, they spawn heaps of clones trying to cash in quick. But instead all they do is scare the people who aren't core gamers away because they can't decide which one is actually a game worth playing.

    Your list of Farmville with XXXX is excatly the thing I'm talking about. Actually you could relate it to Atari and now the Wii also, the amounts of shit being pushed out is crazy and facebook is the new wii I guess or iphone app store.

    Take note of what is going on, but don't get carried away with it. The people who play other types of games are always going to be there, and are growing on their own. Even though it might be slower than what those fads create it's still happening.

    Market to your part of the market and you'll win. Make the games that will sell to who you want and ignore that is not relevant to your goals.
     
  18. golergka

    golergka
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I recently saw this definition of sociopathic games in similar social games discussion (http://dtf.ru/blog/read.php?id=59417), however it had a different meaning: in social games we either socialize or pay to avoid socializing. In other words, the most profitable (from the point of developer) user is a sociopathic user.
     
  19. tolik

    tolik
    Expand Collapse
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    0
    andrew - you'll like this one - doom is just like farmville - you invest time finding bullets and then you use bullets to kill monsters and get bonuses to find more bullets. and there are levels too which are bigger and bigger with more monsters and bullets.
     
  20. KNau

    KNau
    Expand Collapse
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,165
    Likes Received:
    0
    Except Doom requires skill to play and it's possible (probable) to lose.

    You can't lose any of the Facebook games as far as I can tell. The best of breed are like the perfect implementations of flow theory. You never fail and you advance or shrink at your own pace. As much as it's fun to hate - from a psychology and game flow standpoint there's a lot we can learn.

    What worries me is cloning. Cloning works. In fact, when it comes to mature portals cloning works better than originality.

    I have two casual / social game designs that I could alpha fairly quickly and neither exist in any way on Facebook yet. I fear I'm going to go broke for being "original" when I should be making FishFarmPetCafeville instead.
     

Share This Page