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Ravenwood Fair is out!

October 25, 2010

Our new game, Ravenwood Fair, has been released on Facebook. If you’re curious about my radio silence, now you know why. Hope you’re able to play it.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2010 7:26 am

    Entertaining and very much like Frontierville. After I got over my initial disenchantment about not being able to be a male raccoon, I moved on to my next character issue and that was the difference between childish and cute. While the graphics of the game are very cute, the characters in the game strike me as childish and unappealing. Not only do they seem to be a different art style from the rest of the game, but the style and the animations just reminds me of Wubzy which kills a certain amount of the entertainment factor of the game for me. Being a middle-age male, it’s entirely possible that the issue is that I’m not the target audience and the characters work just fine for the game.

    The ‘friend’ character is interesting! That he provides a constant flow of nominal rewards as long as you keep the game window open is a neat feature to keep people playing or at least engaged in the game longer. The scare/comfort mechanic is a nice counter to simply AFKing it.

    It’s the first FB game that has interested me in a while. I plan to waste a significant amount of time on it this week! 🙂

  2. Twigg permalink
    October 25, 2010 8:41 pm

    My wife has been playing for a while and seems to enjoy it, she also commented on lack of character selection.
    I would like to know your specific role in the production of this title and was there a lesson that you learned while do so.

    • October 27, 2010 3:41 pm

      Hi there, I was creative director on it and supported Romero in game design.

  3. miles permalink
    October 25, 2010 10:24 pm

    The game is indeed very addicting and fun.

    Did I somehow miss the significance of the picture in this post?

  4. October 26, 2010 12:22 am

    I quickly discovered that you don’t have to click on the mountains of things that drop in order to get the reward; that frustrated me greatly about Frontierville, where I felt continually obligated to click tons of things to play the game. With Ravenwood Fair, I can ignore the drops and they’ll collect themselves after the time expires, instead of fading out.

    I have a big shortage of ladybugs; not so much that I can’t solo the game, but enough that I’m wondering if the game intentionally varies the drop probabilities from person to person so that people have different things they are short of.

    I found the female raccoon to be much more appealing than the male bear, so I picked her. I would like character customization options — I tried the stubbed in makeover option, and was a little disappointed that it only let me switch to the male bear and back!

    After I looked around the map, the presence of a 800+ fun thorned game in the woods gave me something outside the mission structure to work toward.

    The rapid tree cutting beaver was fun to have while it lasted, and I like that it’s time-based instead of use-based; it forced me to just enjoy having it and cut quickly, instead of letting me think too hard and ruin the moment. It was a nice demo of a purchasable bonus, though I didn’t catch how I got it in the first place, so I’m left wondering if there’s a way to earn these bonuses without buying them in the future.

    • October 26, 2010 12:23 am

      I should follow up to say that my shortage of ladybugs hasn’t stopped me from soloing YET — no bets placed for the future, as I imagine the difficulty of soloing may or should increase.

  5. October 26, 2010 10:54 am

    “I can ignore the drops and they’ll collect themselves after the time expires, instead of fading out.”

    Ah, good to know! And, yeah , the beaver was a good introduction but I also didn’t notice how I ended up with it. I think it may have been a quest reward.

    BTW, what is the difference between friends and neighbors. I invited people as friends, but do I have to have them accept a second request to become a neighbor?

  6. October 26, 2010 11:01 am

    On the Facebook currency items…

    The lowest item in Ravenwood Fair is 19 Facebook coins, however the free 20 Facebook coins have been out for a while and many have tested the waters with them, minimum buy for most things seemed to have been 2 coins. It means that most people who are testing microtransaction waters will not have the 19 coins to buy the cheapest thing in Ravenwood Fair. If there were 5 FB or 10 FB items, it would probably open things up for more people to try, and get invested in, buying stuff for Ravenwood Fair

  7. October 26, 2010 7:48 pm

    Was disappointed to have worked toward the goal of reaching the 800+ fun dunk-a-bug in the forest, only to be denied my prize by an arbitrary restriction that told me to come back later, presumably once I had the quest to get it. I don’t mind being led along by the quests, but I’d prefer to not be held back by them!

    Got a quest to harvest 24 wood; after harvesting many times that while trying to fulfill previous quests, this seemed like pure filler rather than a real task.

  8. October 31, 2010 9:13 am

    energy is obviously the coveted item, and there are way too many dobovoys and Grimms that suck it up. Kind of boring and predicatable. I came here because nothing new is happening in frontierville – where are the “coming soon” quests of those wooden post signs?
    OK, this one is at the beginning stage, but asking for 4 more hot dog stands and 4 more thunderboxes while you can’t get those ladybugs and vitalin drops. It’s just too obvious: you either sit around waiting for the energy to refill, or you buy some.
    Been there, done that!

  9. November 2, 2010 7:46 pm

    Hi, I happened across this site (I’m currently working through your and Ian Schreiber’s “Challenges for Game Designers”, Brenda) on the same day that you announced Ravenwood Fair and have been playing it for the last week or so.

    I have to say that I’m not at all the target demographic of this sort of game. I’ve played a few of them while researching social media games, but I am a hard Explorer on the Bartle archetypes and as such I’m not particularly interested in the “grow it and show to your friends” dynamic that these games seem to appeal to (and thus I don’t have any real incentive to use FB credits to advance), and I also don’t have many friends who play them (and none who play this RF yet).

    With that said, I do have a few things to say regarding the game mechanics that I’ve noticed. I realize that it is still in open beta and thus please don’t take these comments as denouncing the game or saying that it is broken or any such thing, I’m merely offering these as points that you may want to consider as you continue to develop the game.

    Before I get to any criticisms, I would like to say that there are a number of things I really like about Ravenwood Fair. First off, not having to click on all the rewards spawned is a godsend, and the concept of NPCs visiting the fair and spawning rewards as they do so — including when you are offline — is brilliant. (One minor nitpick, you might want to give xp rewards while offline too, as you are encouraging people to keep the game open in the background while doing other things on their computer, but I understand you may not want to let people advance their level while offline.) The theme is really nice for this time of year, although I have to admit I did explain the game as “sort-of aimed at kids but with furries who are at a creepy fair with monsters and also there are toilets you have to empty” to a friend, but I do give you credit for trying to make a game that can appeal to adults but is not inappropriate for children.

    To start my criticisms, a couple of minor nitpicks; sometimes I have to play hunt-the-pixel to finish chopping down a tree I am clearing (behind a building, etc.) or similar task. It would be helpful if the game prioritized an already-started landscape item (much as WoW stopped making the player hunt-the-pixel to loot an enemy in a pile of bodies) over ones that are not started yet, and also if rarer drops (saps, bugs, etc.) were prioritized over more common ones (stars, coins, wood) for the same process. This would also be helpful when a frightened attendee is hiding behind an not-frightened one. More and/or customizable avatars would be nice but I assume that is coming in a later update.

    As others have noted, the quests seem somewhat unstructured and this can be confusing. I suspect that they may be randomly assigned from a predetermined pool (which is a mechanic I have a lot of fondness for) and as such I shouldn’t expect them to be particularly linear, but getting a quest to collect 20 Candy Corn (as I did, and which took me a very long time to complete) which is followed by a quest to collect 100 wood (which took me a tenth of the time) seems counter-intuitive and even frustrating to a sense of long-term development in the game. If these are randomly-given, I think it should be clearer that this is the case, as it would increase my tolerance of these quirks. The quests that seem structured along a storyline (I think) sometimes have a strange line of progression — I received a quest that had as one of its requirements to build an Inn, which requires me to be level 15, when I was level 5 or thereabouts. It is somewhat frustrating to have one of my five quest slots filled by something that I can’t hope to complete for many days if not weeks.

    Along this line, sometimes it will take me so long to achieve a quest that I have already accumulated the needed requirements for the followup quest. There is a bit of a problem here as the quest completes without showing me any information other than the quest name and the rewards, as such my inventory of saps, bugs, etc. can be greatly depleted without me really being aware of it. It would be a big help to me in these situations if, when a quest was completed, it showed me what it was that the quest required for completion so that the next time I checked my inventory I didn’t wonder what happened to 10 of the 12 bugs I’d accumulated.

    As I mentioned, I don’t play with many other people, so it is difficult for me to accumulate the crystals, sap, etc. that seem to be crucial for me to advance in the game. This approaches being a slap in the face for the Halloween items, as far as I can tell I am completely unable to get any sugar skulls. I think the game would be improved if there was an exchange mechanism (maybe at exchange ratios of 2:1 or 3:1) for solo players to get these items in return for ones they have excess of — I had about two dozen candles at one point and would gladly have sacrificed half of them to get the two skulls and two pumpkins I needed to build something. Granted, players are (and I am) able to buy these items with credits, so it may not seem necessary to privilege players who are unwilling to spend money on your game, but I wonder if it does not seem to these players as though they are being penalized for not spending money, instead of spending money to gain in-game advantages over other players (which I think is a more appropriate way for social media games to frame this exchange).

    Related to this, I would like to know how many lady bugs/sap/etc. a building requires before I choose to buy it, as well as how much energy it will take to build it. I recently bought a pumpkin house, and after spending 15 energy to build it I was disappointed to see how many corn/skulls/pumpkins/candles it took to complete it — if I had known it would take all of them as well as that much energy, I would not have bothered with it until I was sure I would be able to get all those resources.

    Finally, the last major thing I noticed that seems like it could use attention (at least from my perspective) is the creeps (Domolkoi – sp? – and Grimms) have some problems. They seem to both spawn far too often and to be far too variable in the amount of energy needed to defeat them.

    In the first case, it usually seems that I cannot spend more than 3 or 4 energy consecutively without spawning one of these (although I think it may have just been reduced slightly), which is frustrating, especially when my fair has just had trees and roots spawn all over it and I am trying to budget my energy to clearing as much as I can. A creep pops up (usually blocking me from the tree I was just trying to chop down) and I have to spend anywhere from 2 to 6 energy to destroy it. Since I have more currency and wood than I know what to do with, and levels seem to mostly be gained by building, I mostly look at the game as converting energy to lady bugs/sap/crystals/etc. for more buildings — so these creeps are getting in the way of that process, and thus wasting my energy and destroying my conversion ratio. Alternatively, they could simply drop these items, or you could reduce their spawn and have them often drop rare items if you want to make me really happy. (;

    Secondly, the damage range when attacking creeps seems far too variable. I would prefer to see the damage range flattened (maybe slowly increased per level) so that when they spawn I can be 90%+ certain that a Domolkoi is killed in 2-3 hits (barring a critical) and Grimms are killed in perhaps 3-4 hits (again barring a critical). It should not be the case that I ever spend 6-7 energy to kill one creep, but it has happened and almost made me quit right there. Also, the damage caused maybe should be displayed more prominently — when the creep is near the top of the screen, I often forget that it will not show the damage, although I would like it to. It should not be possible to not notice a critical, or you will think (like I did for a while) that you are able to 1-hit a Domolkoi and then get upset when it takes 3-4 hits (and energy) to kill another one. To be honest although criticals are nice, I think they are maybe slightly apt to confusion and you might want to rethink their role in the game.

    Again I hope this does not come off as being excessively negative. I offer these comments merely in the hope that they will help you balance the game in the beta process and make it more successful. You have made a great start, I hope you have a lot of future success with it!

  10. Andreas permalink
    November 19, 2010 10:07 am

    I love the game so far, but I do wish that there were more options for customizing your character’s look and species. I also hope that you can release it in a form for mobile devices, particularly as an iPhone/iPad app!!

  11. Linda Borland permalink
    January 16, 2011 9:25 pm

    It is not clear enough in this game where all the things that you gather go. I had a lot of sap accumulated and now when I need them to finish a quest I have none. Nothing is stated as to where these go. Very frustrating. It also takes too much of your energy to restock and restocking and reviving the protectors is a very slow process. Not sure I will continue with this game. It has some fun play value but the bad outweighs the good..sorry.

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