A few suggestions

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kmzano
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A few suggestions

Postby kmzano » Sun May 24, 2015 3:04 pm

I love this game! I know that David and others have worked so hard on it and are incredibly busy improving it every day. So the below is NOT criticism. Just a few thoughts I've had about possible improvements if and when the developers have time. Some of these may already be in the works, and if so, that would be wonderful. NO rush; I've very happy with everything as it is. :)

1) Consider placing a prominent link to the forum somewhere on the My Pets page of the game.
2) Consider adding a search feature in the editor, similar to the search feature in the mall. As people acquire more more items in their inventory, even with the category divisions, it can be hard to scroll through everything to find a particular item.
3) It would be awesome if there was a way to link up slides on my My Pets page with the same slide posted in the gallery, so that I could see the same comments in both places, or at least be able to easily get to where it is posted in the gallery from the My Pets slideshow. It is easy to lose where a slide is posted in the gallery.
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David J Weston
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Re: A few suggestions

Postby David J Weston » Sun May 24, 2015 9:08 pm

Hi, first and foremost I'm glad that you like what we have done already :)

I have a habit of replying in detail and being analytical when I do so, so if the following is too much, please forgive me: I do not want to be like SGN.


1) Forum link on 'My Pets'. I am thinking of a more comprehensive feature for new users which introduces them to all parts of the app as well as the forum. This will take time. Think of the 'quests' in fluff: inadequate prizes and therefore no real reason to do them. I would rather provide real prizes (say size 7 pets, simple backgrounds, etc.) which would enable the new user to get started in the game with a larger inventory, and preferably asking the user to do things with a little bit of a challenge in them to make getting the rewards fun. One of these would be to register with the forum.

I think if we do things that way, we will train up new users in how to use the game and retain more of them than fluff did (only 10% of adopters went on to play fluff regularly). So as usual I'm looking at wider objectives and taking longer. In the meanwhile there are now two references to the Forum in the 'welcome' page and I'll find more ways to refer to it elsewhere, now that we finally have a forum which we can maintain.


2) The editor was designed with a search feature in mind, hence the two 'trays'. Making it possible to find things in a variety of ways is definitely on our agenda, as this was in the original design document for the editor, dated April 2011. Yes, we were so sure that fluff was dying that we prepared for a better alternative before it had even died. Only now that we have gone 'inventory only' does this begin to matter.


3) Rather than link up the comments as they stand, we intend to replace the Facebook comment feature with one of our own. If at that time we think there is a good reason for connecting comments in the gallery and on the user's page, we can address it then, but there are privacy considerations which make that difficult to do without making users opt in to doing so each time they post - and that's another button to click.

What I would like to do, but which is going to take time, is to create an in-app notifications system, which would get round the privacy issues completely. As for anything prior to that, making Facebook's comment feature do anything 'helpful' is a serious problem. If you just want one page with one set of comments on it, that's simple. As soon as you want multiple pages which might have the same image on them, or one page with multiple images, it becomes a nightmare getting round the limitations of the Facebook software - plus Facebook comments cannot be relied on to load quickly anyway.

When we first put in the comment system, allowing comments on pages as well as for individual slides, it ended up taking TWO WEEKS to find a way round the cross-domain issues involved. The fact that it all now works well disguises just how much work was required to make it do so. I would very much rather not mess with that all over again --- so I am much more minded to wait until we have our own comment and notification system.

It would be possible to link images in the user's slide show to the equivalent post in the gallery, but unless a comment has been made, how is that helpful? So again, an in-app notifications system would be more useful for this and so many other reasons. If you get a notification you don't even have to find your own slide to see if any comments have been made about it in the gallery version.

==============

More generally, to all readers who make game play suggestions:

Game play suggestions are always welcome, as long as users keep in mind that I not only do 90% of the programming but also a whole load of admin work. When we are earning enough for Lisa to take the admin off of me, we will get a lot more done, and when we can pay a programmer a programmer's wage, the site will grow much more quickly. But note that game programmers typically earn $70,000 a year.

I have worked on this app for four years full time so far and only began taking payments in October 2014. So far the app has been funded by Lisa working very long hours just to enable me to keep on working, and there is no way that major changes can be made to the game quickly until we have at least one full time administrator and one full time paid programmer.

I am a Systems Analyst; I design things and tell computer programmers what to write. I am not as good at getting things done quickly as a career programmer and my skill set has holes in it. That's why it has taken four years to get this far, and why the pace will not improve until we have enough users to turn this into a viable business. I suffer with the pace of development more than anyone else, because I have ideas for game play which are well beyond anything that has been suggested by our users and I have very little patience myself.

My current priorities are:
- to make the existing features as simple to use as they can be made.
- to provide videos for every aspect of the game which the users find difficult.
- to enable the forum to become a means of logging in to the stand alone version of the site, enabling users to play a game which is not dependent on Facebook in any way.

Those objectives must be completed before we can move on, or we will get new users only to lose them, and fail to convince ex fluffers that we can give them a game that will last in place of one that did not.

This year we have opened all of the shops, made the wish list feature work and added other forms of gifting, introduced the forum, made the editor work 'inventory only' with a system of sizing which I am most relieved everyone has taken to without issues, priced and introduced over 1000 items in the shops for sale. So we do get a heck of a lot done, but there is also a mountain of things which we still need to get done, and very limited resources with which to do it. I can't say how much I wish it could all be done quicker, but the only way to do things quickly is to build them fragile, and it was exactly that fragility which killed fluff.

I hope that explains why I do things the way that I do.

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kmzano
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Re: A few suggestions

Postby kmzano » Sun May 24, 2015 11:30 pm

Thanks, David; I appreciate your reply and hearing your thoughts.
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joli3ma3
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Re: A few suggestions

Postby joli3ma3 » Sun May 24, 2015 11:44 pm

David Joshua Knight wrote:Hi, first and foremost I'm glad that you like what we have done already :)

I have a habit of replying in detail and being analytical when I do so, so if the following is too much, please forgive me: I do not want to be like SGN.


1) Forum link on 'My Pets'. I am thinking of a more comprehensive feature for new users which introduces them to all parts of the app as well as the forum. This will take time. Think of the 'quests' in fluff: inadequate prizes and therefore no real reason to do them. I would rather provide real prizes (say size 7 pets, simple backgrounds, etc.) which would enable the new user to get started in the game with a larger inventory, and preferably asking the user to do things with a little bit of a challenge in them to make getting the rewards fun. One of these would be to register with the forum.


David, amazing idea! Creating something quest like to reward new users for learning to play is so superb!

Keep up the great work, appreciated by many!

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vey_chyryn
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Re: A few suggestions

Postby vey_chyryn » Sat May 30, 2015 1:39 pm

David Joshua Knight wrote:My current priorities are:
- to make the existing features as simple to use as they can be made.
- to provide videos for every aspect of the game which the users find difficult.
- to enable the forum to become a means of logging in to the stand alone version of the site, enabling users to play a game which is not dependent on Facebook in any way.


I hope with that last one, we can have contact between the standalone site and facebook and choose to switch between them. (I assume this is the idea, just verifying.)

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tx2001aggie
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Re: A few suggestions

Postby tx2001aggie » Sat May 30, 2015 4:40 pm

vey_chyryn wrote:I hope with that last one, we can have contact between the standalone site and facebook and choose to switch between them. (I assume this is the idea, just verifying.)

I believe this is the plan, and personally I cannot wait to break free from FB! :mrgreen:
~Stephanie (tx2001aggie) & Freddie Feelgood~
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David J Weston
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Re: A few suggestions

Postby David J Weston » Sun May 31, 2015 8:58 pm

The basic idea is to have one site with many ways into it. This already works in testing, but the issue of public registration has not yet been overcome.

Facebook have made this as hard as it can be made without infringing the law - for reasons which make a great deal of sense as protection for their own future, but which are in no way helpful to creating a cross platform community . (I am not an expert in commercial law, but it appears to me that any more than they have required of developers would breach the law in England, though I cannot say what the situation would be elsewhere).

Facebook's current changes appear to be aimed at providing security features and enhanced access to apps without divulging one's identity. Al and I had a better solution to those problems working for PnF (under the 'hood') in 2012. As far as I can tell, nothing FB are currently doing will prevent us from doing anything we have planned.

Despite the extent of the contractual limitations on Facebook apps, we have a complete solution to the problems of creating cross platform apps which has been tested and has already been working for well over a year. What we have not had so far are the time and the resources to put everything into operation in a way which is simple for users to understand. That is following as fast as possible. The main thing which would speed this up would be being able to pay Al, who knows how to do everything required, but cannot increase what he does for us until we can pay him, like all his other employers do.

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Misslalaa
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Re: A few suggestions

Postby Misslalaa » Sat Sep 19, 2015 11:00 am

hi! thank you david so much for bringing all this spirit and love back :)

you have drawn sheepies.. they are so cute.. can we have them as pets.. i would love to buy one :) thank you for everything AGAIN :)


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