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Backyard Monsters: Free Shiny
by Stan Faryna
Backyard Monsters Spoiler: Pick mushrooms outside your construction zone for more shiny. The mushrooms keep growing. So be sure to go full screen every few days to harvest your shiny. Save your shiny for damage protection. Or expand your construction zone – if no one is raiding your village.
Or almost right.
It’s about making choices – thoughtful or otherwise. It’s just like real life. <grin> And Backyard Monsters doesn’t accomplish that. But it could, Dave.
And Dave could be rich and carouse with Russian expat hotties and various uberly cool digerati from Silicon Valley.
I’m not saying Backyard Monsters sucks. It’s not bad considering all the thinness out there in terms of Facebook games. I’m just saying that Backyard Monsters could be better – better as in more popular and receipt ringing than Desktop Tower Defense and Desktop Defender. And that would be an accomplishment worthy of admiration and kudos.
Of course, Backyard Monsters has some things going that support mass consumption. It’s cutesy, it’s easy to play, and it doesn’t demand the same kind of dedicated madness required of advancing a bid to win a server on Travian.
If David Scott wants a Ferrari, future updates to Backyard Monsters must address as many of the bottom line business objectives as possible within each quaterly business cycle. Eight of the most obvious business objectives are as follows:
1. Retention (Life Cycle of Game Play)
2. Engagement (Richness of Game Play)
4. Transactions (Buying, trading and gifting of Shiny)
5. Community Development
6. Product Placement
7. Performance of Technology (scalability, reliability and security)
8. Business Partnerships
I could write pages on each objective as it specifically relates to The Casual Collective and Backyard Monsters, but The Casual Collective has a third wheel. And I’d like to think that Will Harbin knows what he’s doing- especially when it comes to building online customer communities. Harbin was a co-founder of Affinity Labs. Affinity Labs is an online community builder, that sold to Monster for $61 Million in 2008.
But what if Daves quirky sense of humor translates into fantasies about an old Romanian Dacia Berliner? Obviously, he won’t be shooting very high. <laughing>
The foremost challenge for David Scott is extending the life cycle of the game. If I was unsympathetic, I’d say there’s nothing that ever begs oomphf. That’s a problem. By Level 30, it’s pretty much “been there and done that”. This is when the quality game play has to be taken up three notches. By Level 40, the game experience, the stakes and the rewards have to get intense. Mice and men must be sorted. In fact, the game play should intensify every five levels thereafter.
There’s many thousands of suggestions on the Backyard Monster’s forum. As of today, there’s 5000+ requests just in the Wish List thread. And some of Dave’s favorites <grin> have titles like, “So what do I do now?”
Among the most frequently requested and suggested updates are new monsters, turrets and buildings. However, most of the requests are short-sighted in that they don’t address the bigger picture of trying to touch two or more business objectives. This shouldn’t be a surprise as player’s proposals are coming from a player perspective as opposed to a game development and business perspective.
Game forums have always been a great way to crowd-source content concept. But they can also be overwhelming. Dave seems to hardly reply there and I don’t blame him for side stepping those cow pies.
if they haven’t already done so, I suggest the team develop a scored litmus test which would allow someone to easily test the conceptual contribution of the various things proposed in the Wish List. The score should be based on how they contribute toward the teams business objectives, fit with the game play of Backyard Monsters and the general expectations of the community.
How about more free shiny?! The shroom shine is sufficient in my humble opinion. More free shiny would ultimately do more harm than good.
Other blog posts (by me) that people love:
June 10, 2010
May 2011 Update
If you want to dominate your neighboring tribes, my new Backyard Monsters cheats are here.
January 2012 Update
Check out my Castleville Guide.
About Stan Faryna
Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.
Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.
His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.
Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.
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