The Dirt Farmer LIVE! Farmville Studio Interview Transcript 8th April 2015

On 8th April, 2015, Farmville Executive Producer Srivatsa, Farmville Game Designer Mayur, and Farmville Chief Technical Officer Felix, joined your Dirt Farmer team for an exclusive interview to update you on the status of bugs and issues and let you know what is to come in the game. Special Thanks to Dirt Farmers Beatriz, Wendy and Stassi for assistance with this post. Please share so friends may see what's to come as well.

This post is very lengthy as it is a COMPLETE transcript of the interview, aimed at making it accessible for players who are hearing impaired or need to use a translator. If neither of these applies to you and you would prefer to listen to the PODCAST, click here. If you want clarity on a specific topic that you heard, use your browser's search feature (ctrl key and f key pressed at same time, then type in box that appears on upper right) to find what you are looking for. 

If you were confused by any of the terminology that they used, explanations of Studio- specific terms will be inserted in blue italics, the questions will be in blue italics as well.

Locke - And here we go,  I am the Dirt Farmer Locke Michaels here with Miss Heather Quattrone.

Heather - Hello Everyone

Locke - We are here for a special Wednesday edition of the Dirt Farmer LIVE! We're here tonight to talk about Farmville hopefully we've got a lot of new listeners because of the content we're going  to bring you tonight. Most of  you know, I hope by now, that FarmVille is a digital agricultural game that was launched by Zynga, as a Facebook app on June 19th 2009. The game was created by Mark Skaggs, and we've actually had Mark right here on the show, our regular show which is Sunday 8 p.m. Eastern time here in the United States. 

We've interviewed the former general manager of Farmville Heather Sinclair and we've  had two follow up interviews with members of the former Farmville Studio Team which was located in San Francisco. We've also had two very successful interviews with the current Farmville Studio and tonight will mark our  7th Zynga interview. In fact Tonight's Show this interview that we're going to do is actually at the request of the FarmVille studio. They wanted a chance to come here tonight and talk about some recent issues in the game and let us know what's going on which we would have never thought would happen in a million years just a few short years ago. 

Locke - Tonight we're going to be talking  FarmVille with the FarmVille Executive Producer Srivatsa 

Srivatsa - Hi everyone, and thanks for this opportunity to talk to you folks.

Locke - and we've also got Farmville game designer Mayur

Mayur - Good evening everyone so nice to be here again.

Locke - I think you've both been on the show but new to the  show we've got the FarmVille Chief Technical Officer, Felix is with us tonight.

Felix - Hey guys it's a good opportunity for me to interact with all you guys.

Locke - Always, always, and like I said before we never got this opportunity, when the game first started with tens and tens of millions of players were playing. Every single day it seemed like something happened and it wasn't greeted warmly the players were  just ignored so it's a great opportunity that we're able to actually interact with the people that are making the game, fixing what goes wrong in the game, and bringing us the new content. And I'm going to hand the whole thing over to Heather right now because she's got a whole list of  questions that we're going to be asking the FarmVille studio.

Heather - Well welcome all of you, and I'm so glad to have you join us tonight and give the players some information on what's going on in the game. I know Srivatsa ,you wanted to give an  introductory statement before we get started, so what would you like to tell us?

Srivatsa - First of all thanks to all our players who are listening right now. So it's like mentioned on this call we wanted  to focus on some of the farm issues that our players are facing. Some of you  are facing these glitches and issues for the last few weeks, and it has definitely made playing the game a bit less fun for you. We do understand the impact, and thus we are taking this very seriously. Again looking at these issues some of them were related to Facebook ,and we are in constant touch with them to get this sorted out but we also know that there are some issues in the game itself mainly around the farms freezing,  loading and other performance related issues. So Felix, who is  Farmville's Chief Technology Officer, is constantly looking at most of these issues.  He's actually on this call today, mainly to address some of these issues our players have been having, and also to talk about some of the steps we are taking to address these issues on a permanent basis on a long-term basis. So finally while we are doing all of this I'd like to thank you for your patience and hope you folks continue to enjoy the game that's the context I wanted to say Heather. 

Heather - Okay excellent, and folks listening in the dirt box  and those listening to the podcast later, I just want to let you know where the questions we are going to be asking tonight came from. It's our ASK the Dirt Farmer group if you are not a member yet, join because we see things in there and we communicate with these folks ,and they read the group so if you want your voice heard it's an excellent place to be.

We're going to start off  with  recent issues, and the first question which is a burning question on many players minds, is has any progress been made toward ending the endless pop ups when we accept and return gifts in the Zynga message center. Which is the envelope when you load the game. We had one day when the do not ask again check  box returned, and after we checked that it stopped. The next day it came back and it's been back since then and any updates on  that?

Felix -  Hey Heather I will be taking that question. This is one of the issues which we know players are badly affected with. And we know that it is an issue  from the Facebook site, so we have been actively pushing Facebook to put in a fix for this issue. As we know Facebook has not been prioritizing this issue so far, so what we have been trying to do with in the game so far, that’s been to issue a workaround for the players. And that's when we saw that the check box had returned ,but again we noticed that is causing some of the side issues in the game, so we couldn't do anything but to roll back to fix that we did. The recent update is that we are actively pushing Facebook to fix from their end. and as a matter of fact we got a confirmation from Facebook that they are actually looking at the issue but they haven't given a fixed time when the fix will be ready from Facebook's side, but we know that they are working on it and it should be available in the coming few days.

Heather - Okay so not much longer on that, that is really great news because that is really driving people crazy.  In a similar thing that is also going to involve Facebook,  there is a lot of concern in ASK because on the Facebook news site and all of the general news, is news of a mandatory upgrade to all apps to the Facebook api 2.0 versions in mid April.  People are afraid that you can't post anymore after that, that  your friends won't be able to see your posts... pretty much that everything in the game is going to go wrong. Do we have anything to worry about?

Felix - That's an interesting question. So Facebook recently introduced API 2.0 versions and as a  game we have already started migrating to this API 2. 0  Now I would say up to 95% of our game is already operating in 2.0  API As of now we haven't seen much disruption  to the game,  things are working smoothly. April is when Facebook will be forcefully migrating all the games to 2.0 and we're taking every step to make sure that the migration is very smooth from our end and from players perspective. Having said that one thing we need to kind of keep in mind is that there could be some third-party tools out there, which I'm not sure about if they're using some Facebook cause to do some operations like aggregating all the game feeds in one place, that those might be broken , those are out of our hands, but from the game perspective we are  making sure that the migration is very smooth and the player's behavior is not affected at all.

Locke - I've got a question was this done all over Zynga because we know  Zynga has quite a few games on Facebook, was there a huge conference or was this basically split up into the departments of the different game heads?

Felix - Yes It's a big initiative that's been driven across all the Zynga games so Zynga's been taking it pretty seriously because it's something that could have a very big impact if things go wrong  so we are very fastidious about it.

Locke - good to know

Srivatsa -  we do have a central team Locke which kind of sets the direction then each studio just goes and executes.

Locke - Oh Great!

Heather - The next one is a big thank you for removing the friend requirements to collect from the feed again, that makes people very happy, because a lot of people when the friend requirements went back on and before they were turned off the game was not playable because 90 percent of their friends, Facebook did not recognize that they were friends and they get an error message that you have to be friends, and they were thinking well we've been friends for 4 years. Even if they un-friended and re-friended, even if they  poke they could neighbor they could do anything and they still couldn't collect from each other. So now the game is playable for those folks again, but since they were turned off, and on, and off again there's a lot of concern among players that the friend requirement is going to be turned on again and they're not going to be able to collect or help their friends can you give them some reassurance?

Srivatsa - Heather I'll take that question. Sure let me assure our players that there are no plans to bring back the friend requirements to the feed right now. If you remember, in one of our previous calls we did say we wanted to move towards open feeds, that is feeds that are clickable by everyone, but what we wanted to do was to  do it in a more gradual fashion, but then we saw all these issues with Facebook happening over the past couple of weeks so therefore we decided to make all the feeds open across the feed.  So as long as  we see the  issues with Facebook we will keep our feeds also open, so we are not going to bring back the friend requirements.

But having said that we request that our players also keep their feed posts public, read  post these on their walls, rather than making them private and post to close groups. That  way there is a greater chance of Facebook surfacing more Farmville feeds in the future. If you keep them private and post to just close groups there is a chance that the feed might be suppressed in the future, so that is a request for our players.

Locke - I can see why you would want to do that. You would want to keep everything public but a lot of Farmville players they don't want anyone to know that they play Farmville so they only post to their friends or to certain lists that they have made, and this has actually been going on for 2,3,4 or more years. What you are saying is if more players post publicly, then just anyone could grab their feeds, that is something that they are just a little bit afraid of. If they did post publicly that would give Farmville  a bigger footprint with Facebook and they would have more prestige again when it comes to actually getting back on the newsfeed correct? 

Srivatsa - That's right and I'm also guessing that there is some algorithm out there that is looking at the number of feeds posted and then determining what to surface to our players.
Heather - Does it necessarily have to be public because is part of what you're saying something where - post your post to your friends because if you're locking to 5 or 6 people then that's going to lessen the number of your posts. If you lock all of your  good posts to the same five or six people or group, then the rest of your friends are probably not going to see all your help posts and that kind of thing in the news feed. Is that what you're saying? 

Srivatsa - Yes that's right Heather

Heather - Okay another thing you can do folks that will help you surface posts in the news feed ,if you notice that your not seeing one of  your friends, go to their wall,   chat on their status, chat on their posts,  because you have to tell Facebook what's important to you and if you just click posts and you never comment on anything and never interact with that person in any other way it's probably not enough.

Locke - Just on a side note Facebook was doing a great job of keeping track of what you wanted to see - they had your closest friends you'd always see them,they had your closest games and apps, your closest  pages and so forth, don't know if anybody noticed this but they all got wiped out all of your habits  that it was keeping track of. They need to build those habits again. Go to the FarmVille website go to the Farmville page go to the Dirt Farmer Page, check in with your friends like Heather said a lot more often so it builds up that pattern again and you'll be able to get to where you want to go on Facebook a lot quicker.

Heather  -  You have to tell them you care about that person or they're going to assume that you don't.

The Money Tree was last released on April 3rd 2014 and folks are unhappy because theirs are going to expire pretty soon.  We have quite a few very active  posts in ASK seeking their return. Are there any hints as to when we might see those in the market again?

Mayur - Yeah, Heather we listened to you folks and we are bringing them back within a month. That's the update.

Heather - Excellent! My next question that we discussed,  is kind of almost a moot point right now, because players have been asking for un-wither rings for older farms to come back and this morning we got a re-release of Winter Wonderland un-wither rings Lighthouse Cove un-wither rings  and Jade Falls  un-wither rings so now all we need is Home Farm un-wither rings back is there time frame for that to come back?

Mayur - So what we're doing is we're trying to do this in a gradual fashion, so we released some in the last update that we did. More will follow in the coming days,  I will come back to you to discuss the dates

Locke -  You know you cost me $200  when you released those rings right?  I didn't have any so I had to go buy them all.

Mayur - Thanks Locke 


Locke - Good Answer

Heather -  With the advent and frequency of the seed spitter buildings,  a lot of them also give deco and now people are seeing a lot more decorations in their gift boxes.The fences, the paths,  the bushes and it takes forever to place those it's kind of an arduous task, it bugs people because they have to open the gift box back up every time. so is there any chance that the gift box could open back up automatically when you place those types of items please in succession in a chain like it would with the market.

Mayur - Hey Heather, Mayur here, so I'll take this one up, so this has more to do with the overall decoration in the game this is something we're even if it's not, we did not repair not doing the draggable thing where you can click and place multiple and in a row immediately, they can just click and drag  place a whole bunch of them -but we are definitely looking at reopening the gift box as a quick-fix coming out very soon you should see that soon, however the hot fix that we talk about we just click and drag for the hay bales in the center that is something we are currently contemplating about doing that.

However I want to inform you guys that's something else also we will be writing up and putting up a survey today, Specifically about a reset feature. A reset feature is somewhat like reset button in your game and it is especially for all of our decorators. I am myself part of the Farmer's Showcase group and get to see all of the awesome stuff that people build with hay bales and decorations, putting all of that together, but one of the key problems that group faces is it once I have decorated my entire farm and I have to restart again to make something new it's a gigantic chore to just you know remove everything and put it back in the gift box and then just rearrange the entire thing. So you know we are looking at a reset feature but I want to know from our players how many of you are interested in such a thing. The reset feature to put it concisely is something make a temporary reset where when you click on reset everything goes in temporary storage and you put it all back on the game board and rearrange the game board where you want it. So  that's one of the features that we're looking at  and we will put out a survey regarding that. if you are a decorator and you really want to see this feature in the game ,definitely partake in the survey.

Heather - That reset, would that be something that would reset every item on the farm? Would it pick up all your loose animals or just ...

Mayur - So it will pick up everything  from the farm except for stuff that you cannot move like say treasures for example. And it will put all of that in a temporary storage from where you'll be able to place all of those back.

Heather - Including  things that can't normally be stored like harvest-able buildings?

Mayur - No , so when I talk about harvest-able buildings  there are two kinds of harvest-able buildings one which is on board which is in the playable area, and there are buildings that are off board which is in the non playable area. So we won't be able to store the building that are off board in the non playable area, but definitely everything that does get stored will go to a temporary storage.

Locke -  Can I make a suggestion this is so difficult to explain. What you would probably want to do is somewhere on your website, on your Facebook page do some type of instructional video, not just still pictures, but an actual video with a video capture and try and explain to people what's going on. If you need help with that I'll be more than happy to do the voice over for you,if you'd like me to do that. We can get together and work on that a little bit later. This is so complicated though just to explain it, I think people would have to actually see it to buy into it.

Heather - I tend to agree, I think people would need to see it.

Mayur - So we've done a survey with a short description listing out what we are looking to build as the reset feature perspective. So if you are a decorator, and you want an easy option to be able to wipe your farm clean and start over, definitely go ahead and participate in the survey.

Heather - We do have another question from one of our team members Ioana. She wants to know if the reset would just be the farm that you are on or is it going to store everything on all of the farms?

Mayur - No it will just be the farm that you are on currently.
So we'll set out a detailed description of what the reset feature means, and we'll share the link for the survey with all of you guys including Dirt Farmer annals and the rest of the community channels.

Heather - Okay I do agree though a video because it's kind of hard for me to wrap my head around, and I think it's about the same for all of us. The next question Bob's Berry Farm is a very very popular feature, people love it. People are still struggling to get even the rainbow combine because it takes so many berries.  Right now it is coded to end on the 4th of May, however when the latest set of rewards was added, the French themed rewards, the timer on them shows a number of days left that would end on 9th of May. So 5 days beyond the end of the feature so is that a hint at an additional extension that would be much welcomed by players who love it and players who are struggling to get what they want?

Mayur - This is definitely going to be extended, we are looking at extending this to the end of May, however we will not be updating or adding any new rewards to the future but we are definitely looking at extending the feature to the end of May.

Heather - That's great because people are really having a hard time getting that,  and I think actually that's a great choice not adding additional rewards because when you add additional reward for people who are struggling end up with more that they want so  they go back and get more small items and they still can't get enough to get a big item that they want, so it's great to give them some time to catch up.

Our next topic is daily delights  and we have to remember this feature, and Lord knows we don't want another pop up because everybody screams about pop ups and everybody is constantly begging for less pop ups  when they load the farm.  Because we have to remember it, and its off the farm,  its not on Avalon it's not on Hanging Gardens, it's really easy to miss a day, and if you do miss a day or even if you don't need you click on it but you don't realize you're out of sync then you don't go back and check then you go back the next day even though you clicked on it you lost your prize and there's no second chance to get it back. So players have requested a possibility to buy back a single missed day for like five farm cash or something? Is that something that could happen?

Mayur - So that's something that we haven't  considered yet, but we have received a lot of input from the players on this feature, so we are looking at how we can modify it and it will make it better. But we have not really locked down on the specifics for that yet ,so to be honest you have to wait for that. We are looking at how we can change this feature up, we have taken all the feedback into consideration we have  not locked down what we're going to do with it yet do you have to wait for an update on this one.

Heather - So is that a hint at the next interview?

Mayur - Most likely yes

We don't mind doing these interviews. It's just a great way to reach out to our players.

Locke -But just remember the next one be at 4 a.m. your time so...


Heather  -  You know it's nice. It gives you a chance for their questions to come directly to you, and for them to hear the answer directly from you instead of having to come second party through us. It's just really nice to have these.

The next question and I see there was a survey.  Actually another survey on the survey. Since we sent these questions in. We recently saw a survey asking about future farm themes. The themes that were listed were India, Pirate and Stone Age. In the past, and I sent you guys a link of what they used to look like, these surveys included brief description that helped us imagine what the farm might look like in our minds. What it would be, how we might be able to decorate it and this time it was just theme names.  That is a little bit confusing for players.

For example the Stone Age was 65 million years after dinosaurs went extinct and some people are seeing that as a dinosaur farm. That would be taking poetic license on prehistory, a big generalization, which is not something you guys normally do so we were wondering if that would be something you were thinking of.

Pirate, it's hard to decide if you want a Pirate farm without knowing if you would have a cave, island, water or just one or the other. We did see that there was an additional survey asking if we wanted just land just water or land and water. Folks in the Dirt Box don't be afraid of water, they already have water it's not going to do anything scary like Earth did.

India would that be a historical farm a modern farm  or both because a lot of people want a real life right now destination and a lot of people might vote for that thinking it is going to be India right now, and you guys are actually planning  something from a century ago.

Can you give us some general hints along the lines of those given in past surveys of what those farms would be.

Srivatsa - So Heather this is a great suggestion yeah I think we should probably have  added some descriptions, for those one liner ideas. we can definitely start doing that. on the question of the upcoming farm as you have seen in the survey we put out yesterday, we are trying to bring more clarity into what  we are looking at in terms of player interests, so the pirate-themed we're asking if you want to do it on land and water or only land or only water so putting some specifics out there. but we will definitely use this for the upcoming farms.

Heather - Do you have any hints for us on if one of those won or  which ones are still being considered and what they might be?

Mayur -  So I am going to bite the bullet and say yes we are looking at, we are kind of leaning towards a Pirate theme. so just to clarify a little bit and ease the suspense it's not really a pirate-themed it's more of a seafarer and explorer with pirates in the background. So we are out in the sea exploring the Lands End. so that's all I am going to divulge to you today. No more

Locke - So  just make sure if you've got ships in it that they go in the water because nobody likes those ships that go on land in the little puddles unless it's a shipwreck, they don't mind those that's a nice little deco. In the past I don't think it was your current team either the Hawaiian or the Atlantis, I think it was the Hawaiian they had water and the ships wouldn't actually go into the water. Some of the boats and so forth. So the boats have to go into the water or everybody's going to be upset.

Mayur - we definitely have that locked down Locke. We had released a seed spitter recently that was a ship and didn't go in water and that's when we realized that we need to get that back. So we are definitely going to keep that in mind when we do this.

Locke I've got a Mayflower from an old Thanksgiving theme right in the middle of my home farm not even a creek.

Heather - Mine  is right up against the edge of the Cove, it kind of looks like it belongs there.

Are the Stone Age and India themes still being considered? What might they be about if they are or are they kind of off the table now?

Mayur- So Vatsa do you want to take this one or should I?

Srivatsa - Go ahead Mayur

Mayur - So for the Stone Age as we definitely have a few ideas around it. But currently we aren't  considering them for immediate release` but they are definitely up for consideration for maybe future farms.

Heather - Alright would it be though a dinosaur with all of prehistory or just the Stone Age with the cavemen? What are they looking at so they know if they get asked to vote again

Mayur -  So just to give a rough idea it will be somewhere along the lines of the Flintstones. But I will just be painting  the wrong picture right now, with just words.  I would rather wait for you guys to wait for it, ask you guys to wait for it ,and see when it comes out. Because words will not do any justice to you. Like if I went ahead and tried to explain to you how the Avalon farm would look. That it's going to be a medieval fantasy farm. You would never be able to imagine the scale and the grandeur of the farm itself by just some words that I'm going to say.

Locke yeah but we're impatient

Mayur yeah


Mayur  - but it's not going to be a dinosaur farm that's for sure. 

Heather can you tell  us on India if you go with that one will it be historical or modern?

Mayur so we haven't even thought about that yet just to be frank. we will take that up again when India is back in the top runners for the farm consideration.

Locke - I'm not sure if you listen to a regular Sunday night show but we talk about all the new features that come out in the game much like  the Bollywood farm stand just came out and we will go down and we will read  the prizes I think the players well  we are getting a kick out of it and I am sure the players are too  obviously you folks know more about India than we do and there's certain things coming into the game now that we have two Google we have to look up we have to research we have to figure out what is that  what was the one `item Heather the item code dancer or something

Heather - Yeah that confused us, and then Prash explained it to us.
Locke - Yeah we thought it was a whole the name for it

Prashanth - It was an item number gnome

Locke -`Yeah the item number gnome and that is actually a real thing you know we are actually getting educated it's kind of neat to learn all this new stuff about another culture so were hoping to see more of the India themes if not an entire farm you know having them hit the Bollywood farm stand and so forth and the current quest that is going on we think  those are pretty cool.

Mayur - great to hear that Locke

Locke -  obviously you could pull those out of your hat it's like  the back of your hand  take from your own culture and share it with us

Mayur Definitely, Yes we will definitely look at some of the other niche subcultures   also to do market updates around like some of the ones we have done in the past have included things that are as obscure as the Matsui from the Japanese culture to say something as mainstream as Bollywood from India so we look all over the globe trying to find out what themes are the best we can bring to our players .

Heather - The Harajuku theme recently, was really nice, really well done.  and La Tomatina too it's like you guys are really in tune with that. Moving on. Players have been asking for the return of the different Instagrow consumables, we used to have available a Capital One grow that would grow all animals out on the farm, an instagrow flight  which is different from the potion because it does crops and trees , and then there was one with an AVG promotion that did everything on the farm including Pens and obviously the ones with the promotional name would need to be re-branded. They were hoping to maybe have some variance in the rewards between  just the crop  ones and the ones that did other things, and maybe packages that would allow you to buy a couple at a  time and have them in the gift box instead of having to see what it did on the Farm every time, because sometimes that greys out anyway. Sometimes it works sometimes are there any plans for that to happen soon?

Mayur -So we are definitely looking at updating the reward in the class to Instagrow to do more than just your crops  that itself should help you address the entire problem.We are looking at how we can develop consumables that will let you grow your animals as well as trees apart from crops. So you will get instagrow grows  from quests that will let you do those also.

Heather - Is that something that would just be available for purchase or would it also be something that could be in the leaderboards as well and swap around?

Mayur -  That's something we haven't decided yet as to how we are going to formally put that into the game, but we are definitely looking at changing up the rewards in the quest from the instagrow grow that just allows you to grow your crops, to  the stuff that allows you to grow everything. The other parts of it, we haven't considered those yet.

Heather -  Players have also been requesting for quite some time the ability to sell mastered animals  directly from their pens instead of having to click to take it out and a pen will re-open for them now which is a great improvement, but once they take them all out they still have to click and delete each one individually on the farm. Is that something planned for the future? Along the same lines, they would also like to be able to tell if an animal is mastered in the gift box so they can sell it without having to place it on the farm and click multiple times. is there any possibility of showing mastery or would showing mastery slow the gift box down like the craft shop? If that is the case but at least the word mastered appear on fully mastered animals?

Mayur - So there are two parts to the question the first is about being able to sell animals from the animal pen directly. That is something we are definitely doing. It is in our road map (transcript clarification - road map means the plans and schedule that the team has for releasing new things and changes to the game).It should be out shortly, within the next month or so.

Whereas on the second part where players want to be able to tell if an animal is mastered directly from the gift box itself, so we looked at this and we are still going to be considering how to do it best, without cluttering the gift box UI ( transcript clarification - UI means user interface or the screen players use to interact with the gift box) too much. If you have a whole bunch of items that are mastered for you in the gift box then  there will be a lot more noise in terms of the information that you have to look at  as a user while  you are looking at the gift box UI. So we're still in the process of figuring out how to best show that information in the gift box, but that's definitely something we're looking at doing. However, selling animals from animal pens, that's definitely happening it's already in the road map and you should see that coming in within the next month or so.

Heather -  This is another one that keeps coming back and keeps coming back. The thread is almost as long now as the one for the stables and the nurseries, which those coming back was a big win for players and something that made them very happy with you guys. Is there any update on the possibility of new breedable pig and sheep patterns? The request thread in ask just keeps growing and growing and growing.

Mayur - This is definitely up on the cards but we want to, release out dragon breeding first. So we know we told you guys that it was going to release sometime in late March, but it was a much bigger beast than we thought it was. So it is now being released in early May and as soon as dragon breeding feature is out the door, we will immediately take up sheep breeding as well as new patterns for pigs, breeding pigs. So you'll be able to see that  within a month or so. I'm not sure but very soon as soon as the dragon breeding is out the door. We are currently focused on that. Once that is out will focus back on this.

Heather - You just said that the Dragon Breeding was going to release in May. Am I correct?

Mayur - Yes

Locke -  Let me interrupt for a minute. I don't know if you're familiar with a Justin Timberlake song called I'm bringing sexy back? I'm planning on releasing a song and I'm going to sing it myself called I am bringing sheepie back. in honor of bringing the sheep breeding  back. I started this a while back and I started posting the love potions all the time and every time I posted one I said I'm bringing sheepie back. You know you don't want to hear me sing, trust me. `You know I'm going to start working on this song, so if you can get the sheep breeding out  before I make the song everybody will be happier.

Mayur - That's  a real threat

Heather - Well , you know though, he says that,  but then he recorded the theme song for Sweet Acres and the Dirt Box made him put it on YouTube. So there's that.

Locke Yeah it's horrible.

Heather - He's got a couple of fans that have it as a ring-tone even. So you just mentioned that the dragon breeding was going to release in May. Now originally, that was tied to the Avalon farm and there's a little building that says "coming soon" on Avalon.

Is Avalon going to go on longer? Or  how is that going to work out? A lot of times people when they start a new farm don't really go back.

Mayur - So dragon breeding going to be available to you across all of your farms. Avalon is just a starting point. You will be able to breed on every other farm as well. It's just that we wanted to tell our players up front with Avalon since that was the newest farm,that hey dragon breeding is coming your way. You'll be able to play it on every other Farm as well.

Heather - Okay, well that makes it a little bit easier. Since we know the next   farm is Wild West are we going to have cowboy dragons?

Mayur - No

Locke -  We've got  macaroni and cheese tree why can't  we have cowboy dragons ?  Nothing is off-limits in Farmville. I think we know that by now.

Heather- Hey where's the fire lasso you know?

Are there any updates to the confirmation pop-up for purchasing the bushels, the licenses for the farms, the market items, and the extremely expensive locked stations for the self-contained crafting. Because people are still losing a lot of  Farm cash and a couple of  interviews ago you guys  asked us to do a poll in ASK. We had like 1000 votes within a couple of hours saying that they wanted a confirmation pop up at 1 farm cash. It is a huge issue and they are still losing cash. A lot of them, we know that you are rolling support back out slowly but there are still a lot of players that do not have any support and are losing money and they don't know where it went. Are there any updates on that?

Srivatsa - Heather. Srivatsa here I will take that question. So,  lost farm cash through accidental purchases I know this is  a big issue for our players. We have covered it in the previous calls as well. So rather than introducing more pop ups in the game which might be a bit excessive in this case because if you had a pop up coming up every time you make a purchase, that might be a bit too intrusive. So what  we are doing is looking at areas where these accidental purchases are currently happening, in trying to see where we can improve the screen or the layout in just those areas so people don't end up accidentally clicking on buttons that they did not want to in the first place. In fact we have already done some of these changes, improvements to the craft shop screens in the game and they should be rolling out very shortly. In a few days or so. Based on that we continually see these accidental purchases happening in other areas of the game and we will take them on exchange their interfaces. (interfaces = the screen you interact with ) So, essentially, what I am trying to say is that based on each case we either make changes to the screen itself, and where none is possible we will just introduce a confirmation  pop up, rather than put a confirmation pop-up for  each and every purchase. But yes we are actively looking at this.

Heather - What kind of changes could you make to the screen that would prevent them from...

Srivatsa - Yeah, so if  you look at the craft shop screen and you'll see it when it comes out very soon. We are trying to increase the distance between the plant under and the buy button. The simple fact is that the plant and buy buttons are placed so closely together that while trying to click on plant you might end up clicking on buy so we're trying to increase the distance between those and then trying to make similar changes in some of these self-contained craft in cottages as well. So we're making some changes.

Heather - Farmer's Square is very popular and a lot of players still play the Dairy, Yarn Barn , the Sweet Shop, the Apothecary, the older self contained crafting buildings. The  Dairy, Yarn Barn , the Sweet Shop,especially. The ones we never had to do, because as soon as you tell us we have to do it we start to hate it.  That's  just we're fickle like that. Those are all very popular and the prizes for fulfilling orders for Farmers Square and the Dairy Yarn Barn and Sweet Shop,have not been updated since they were released, the same with the Apothecary. 

The Dairy, Yarn Barn Sweet Shoppe and Apothecary especially, there is one part that you have like a 10% chance of getting and then you have a 45% chance of getting the other two. They are very different from the self-contained crafting buildings now. Is there any chance of updating the prizes to those and in the process making those other expansion parts a little bit easier to get? Because  most people still have the original storage amounts after 2 years.

Mayur - So regarding new  rewards for some of the older features, Heather, so we definitely have a list that we look in terms of refreshing those  rewards. Some over the recent ones that we have done in the past is mystery babies that  we released last month with an entirely new reward update, and another old feature that we are looking to bring back is the garden shed for our  flower decorators. I know I love decorating with those flowers. I know a whole bunch of players do too. `Whereas  Dairy, Yarn Barn , Sweet Shop and Apothecary goes along with the Farmer's Square it's something  on our list. We are definitely looking at it , but we haven't started this on the road map  (transcript clarification - road map means the plans and schedule that the team has for releasing new things and changes to the game)
yet.  It's  definitely on the list of all the old features that we want to refresh and make an update to. So you'll just have to wait for these ones. but they're definitely there on the list.

Heather- OK  you just said decorating with flowers, what barn was that that you were looking at bringing back

Mayur - Garden Shed

Heather - So - the garden shed, if you have it, it still works. If you have some stuff left over you can take it out and place it. Are you talking about flowers giving perfect bunches again so that people can put them in there and decorate with them?

Mayur. No, no, no. It's going to be an entirely new refresh for the feature. Wait for it. I'm not going to reveal my thoughts more to you

Locke <laughter> I don't know what that just did.

Mayur - I  just had a look at the flowers that came in for that feature, a few days back. They just look fabulous just wait for it. We've also played arranging of those beautiful flowers.

Locke - That's what I did. I spent at least two hours a night, I don't want to admit it but I spent at least two hours a night putting down perfect bunches  and then when they withered, I would go and replace them. And I actually had a portion of my farm was  for plots, a portion was for horses and an entire portion was a garden, `that I would put flowered decos in and perfect bunches and little paths and stone and everything else. That was  a big part of the game when I first started playing.

Mayur - That's the same case for a lot of our players where flowers have been a very big part of everyone's farm so we are just looking at bringing those back out in an interesting way. So just look forward to that and the other thing that you mentioned that are definitely are on the list, but you just have to wait for an update on those.

Heather- Hey we got to try you know?

Mayur - Yeah I see

Heather - And you know I always do because I drive you guys nuts.

Are there any updates on a fix to Pen building error. The bug where the animals go into the  the orchards, the buildings revert and lose expansions and things disappear.We are still seeing a lot of new cases in ASK I know when in our last interview the news was that a fix was being tested but it is still happening and anything new and hopeful with that?

Felix - Hey - Felix here I will take the question so we know that it has been a long-standing issue and we know that our players are still getting affected by that. One good news is that after a thorough investigation we actually narrowed on what is the root cause of the issue and we rolled out a fix or we started rolling out a fix for a small set of users and we know that it is causing some other adverse effects in the game. 

So  currently we have rolled back that fix that we did and in the meantime we are working on a fix for it then we will do a slow roll out of the fix. Also the good news that we know what is the actual root cause that is causing the issue which was not the case a few months back so now we know what is causing the issue and we are working on a fix for it. It should be out soon.

Heather - That's good news because that's kind of a terrifying thing.  For a lot of players, because people just invest their heart and life in this. There's a lot of people who play this game that use it to battle depression, disability, being shut ins - it's their social these farms mean the world to folks and if something goes wrong it's really bad.

Felix -Right

Heather - Some players have been getting whoa farmer when using consumables such as instagrow, un-wither, well mainly instagrow grow and un-wither. A lot of it is concentrated on Avalon but I have heard of it on other farms as well. As well as needing to refresh before they can re-check the turbo box for the past few days. Is a fix in the works?

Srivatsa - Yes Heather - I think the whoa farmer fix should already be out in the game. The other things are being fixed  as well, and we should see all of these problems go away within a week or so. 

Heather - Great! There is a lot of stress  around the month-long quests,  running concurrent with the same farm's chapter quests as Avalon  Wilderlands and Kingdom have.  A lot of folks just can't get it all done because we have community goals, royal rescue as well as the chapter quests and the month-long. Is that something that is planned to continue or are they going to be a little more distant.

Mayur - So, some good news for players like Atlantis. The next month long quest after Avalon Kingdoms is going to be on Atlantis. So, after that whichever Farm comes after that or whatever 30 day quest or month long quest that comes after that we'll have a much lesser overlap,  as  compared to Wilderlands or Kingdom so players won't be stressed that much. Where  - Hey I have to finish my chapter quest and also pay attention to my community goals and also pay attention to my month-long quest. So - That's a definite problem that we are cognizant of so you should see that solved with the next farm. Definitely.

Heather - Great. The magic deer are very popular and folks love the ability to grow them up. Is there a possibility of a building to harvest for fawn feed or a recipe that  yields more than one because the craft shop is difficult to interact with for many. There are also a lot of players asking for a building to harvest for super fertilizer is there any possibility of those?

Mayur - So for the first part of the question and I really want to thank our community live group. For our listeners who are coming in for the first time we have a separate group of very engaged players and representatives of the community, Heather is one of them, we call them the Player Advisory Council that constantly keep us updated of all of these small little needs of our players.

This was one of the issues raised in the Player Advisory Council last time. So  we are definitely looking at introducing fawn feeds  where you can get multiples from the same craft.  A three and a five recipe model. However,  for super fertilizer that is something that is not in the cards currently. So we haven't looked at super fertilizer as of yet.

Heather - Just a suggestion from the group (specifically from Farmer Dawn in The Dirt Farmer LIVE! special show event ) was that maybe the beehive could be changed to super fertilizer. 

One more question from our end and that is that there is a lot of stress around bushel storage. Folks never seem to have enough room to hold everything. Are there market stall expansions planned?

Mayur - So definitely expect one with the new upcoming farm. However, I just want to add here something that we discussed in the last call as well, where we were looking at and talking about bushel enhancements to the market stall . You know largely that problem stems from the fact that players are not able to cycle their bushels fast enough. We considered a couple of other solutions towards fixing the problem, where you know the market stall bushel inventory would work like say for example the gift box. But that is a solution that we found that was not working for us. Then we realized that hey we can try and solve this problem if we can somehow help speed up bushel swap for our players. So that is what we are currently concentrating on and we are looking at how we can do that. So  we will give you an update pretty soon on that. How are we going to allow players to speed up the entire bushel swap process.

Locke - Oh we'd like instantaneous bushel swap. We don't want to wait one second.

Heather - And we'd like six of them too. That would be really nice.

Locke - That was actually a suggestion  on our show  a couple of weeks ago. Because we have had the crafting recipes that were instantaneous  in the past. Was it the Santa's Cookies or what not? 

Heather - The royal rescue gems right now.

Locke - Okay the Royal rescue gems are doing it right now. To have the bushel swaps be instantaneous,  That would be huge tool. It wouldn't really take. It would not really give any advantage to the game know you guys are game developers you have to make the game a challenge. I don't think that it would`take any of the challenge out of it and it would allow people to get rid of all of the bushel that they are not sure if they need or not. And that would clear up all of that space and there would not be that issue of having to expand the Bushel storage every so often.

Mayur, Yeah okay, yes definitely. That's one of the roads we are on currently  for fixing the trouble

Heather - Tell us about the Wild Wild West

Mayur - So as you guys already know that's the next farm. We at the Farmville Studio are already you know overwhelmed with the way the players have received and loved both the seasons of the Avalon farm. However, despite that success we've run into a few issues because of the seasons format. Since we released Avalon farm in two parts it's also one of the biggest farms. We ran into a bunch of loading issues and some whoa farmer issues. Felix do you want to talk about it a little?

Felix - Yes, so regarding the performance issues. We ran into some performance issues with the Avalon farm. Given that there are so many assets (assets are the Farmville Studio term for pictures, meaning the images of animals, treasures and everything else on the farm) and the quality of the background and everything we kind of had an issue . And to give an oral view of how we are approaching the performance issues you know, it's one of the biggest problems in the game right now and we know that the players are... its making the game less fun to play. So at this point right here, it is the highest priority that we are  working on. Working on making sure the game takes less memory, that the game runs smooth on every PC. 

 So that's  our primary focus right now. So  we have been looking at the core areas of what contributes to huge memory. So  we have listed out a bunch of  things that we want to tackle and we are actually actively working on all of them. And we should start seeing improvement, gradually in the coming days. It's not a fix that is going to go over night,  it is a gradual thing. We have started working on it , and there are already  some improvements which have been rolled out to our players as we're talking. We are  actually, actively working on it.  It is one of the biggest areas that we are currently focusing on right now. 

Mayur - Okay, So like Felix said, that  it is one of our highest priorities,  and since performance is, you know so top on our list, we did not really want to risk anything with the new farm as well. Because if the farm is not working, no matter how good, how well it is designed, or how beautiful it looks, that really matters if your farm does not work really.

 So the Wild West expansion is just  going to be one season. Currently, that is mainly due to these reasons. However there is some good news with that as well. In Avalon, both seasons,  when we started out, the players could unlock up to 6 land expansions via game play tasks. Whereas, in the  Wild West in  one season, you will be able to unlock eight land expansions with game play tasks. 

And also one of the other new things I want to talk about is, you know there are these very annoying treasures on all of the farms, where the  UI (UI stands for user interface which is the screen or pop-up that you use to interact with the feature) for those treasures opens on hover. So even if  you are just you know,  making your mouse trying to go from one end to the other on the farm and you know you are just trying to move stuff around, you are just trying to plant your crops. The online UI keeps popping up in the air because it is on hover. So we have changed that to on click. So that will be a very big quality of life change when you are trying to play on the newer farms. 

So that is just one of the more interesting updates that we are doing with Wild West. And this is my 7th new expansion that I am working on, 7th new farm that I am working on. This is by far my favorite and the best looking farm, even if Avalon is just right up there  along with it. So it is a very interesting time for us as well at the studio. 

Heather - Oh Really? Now are you going to be evil or are you going to let us see that nice and early?

Mayur - So we will share an update with you guys or at least will bring the game boards (basically the overall look of the farm) to you guys within the next week itself. Well before the farm starts. So a week before the actual farm goes out to all of our audience, we will  share updates about how the game board looks .

Heather - So we have just a minute left I know we have some upcoming fixes to talk about, to discuss  as well. But maybe we -  Locke do  you want to sign off now and then  we'll record that and post it to our site? Or how do we want to do this? 

Mayur - So - the only other thing I definitely want to talk about is our Player Advisory Council. So this is something I touched upon previously as well. 

Locke - Let me cut you off right there, because I was sitting here talking with my mic turned off the whole time. We're going to sign off right now. We're going to keep talking, it will be on our podcast, so if you download the podcast and listen to it you'll be able to hear us. But that is all the time we have right now for our live broadcast. If you are a first-time listener we hope you will come back and join us every Sunday as we talk about everything that happened in Farmville that week. Be sure to check out for all of your Farmville info. I will be picking that $25 game card winner,  just as soon as we get off the air. Be sure to like us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute Farmville news thanks everyone have a great night. And tune in to the podcast for the extra content. Thanks a lot.


Mayur - OK Thanks Locke. So what I was saying was, one other thing that I definitely want to call out before we wrap up  is that I really want to thank Community Live Group or the Player Advisory Council, in helping us identify what areas are you know  are irritating to our players and I admit I am unsure of the best needs of our players . So just to name some of the fixes  that we have already done, or are in the pipeline,   
because of these guys are - so  you guys  should have seen the turbo toggle fix going in recently,  where we allow the player switch off the turbo  toggle, to toggle off turbo  basically,  which was not there initially. So  this is entirely due to the persistence of our Player Advisory Council, they have kept informing us that these are the most highest priority issues and they have pursued them which eventually led  us to adding them in the game. That is one of the issues and a couple of other fixes that we did recently is stuff like adding the search box to the gifting page as well as the effort that's the multi friends selector page (the page where you choose friends to send gifts to) where you are sending out requests to your friends. 

Another thing that we are looking at to come in the next month or so is an update to the craft shop UI (UI means user interface, the screen that you use to craft in the craft shop) to help speed up the craft shop page itself. So that will help to improve crafting experience significantly in the craft shop I know that crafting is one of the pain points for most of our players, since a lot of times  the crafting window freezes, and stuff like that happens so we're looking at improving those as well. So I really want to give a big shout out to our Player Advisory Council and keep up the awesome work. Thanks a lot guys.

Locke - You know, there's something that I brought up in a post, about two years ago. And I'm not sure if anybody at the old Farmville studio actually saw it. But I want to put it out there to you right now since you folks actually make the game right now. Are you familiar with Cafe World?

Srivatsa - Yes that's our game.

Locke - Did you ever play the game? It started out with like structure, you could actually see the inside of a building. 

Srivatsa - Yeah Locke, some of the folks on the FarmVille team are from the Café World team as well 

Locke - Well there you go. This is what I proposed. A side farm  much like Hanging Gardens, or`Farmers Square, but have it be a farmhouse that can be expanded to multiple rooms.  Where you could use decos  like furniture the same way in Cafe World, have a little side arm that is your farmhouse. That you could access maybe from a farm house icon or a farmhouse deco on one of the farms, and it slides to the other farm where you actually have indoor farming. That was my idea years ago I thought it would be kind of cool and I don't know if you would something a little outside the box.  I know you have the technology because it is  the same technology that would have been used, the same layout that would have been used  in Cafe World.

Heather - That's kind of like Toy Town, on a bigger scale.

Locke- But there would actually be rooms. I played Cafe World before I played Farmville and I'm a chef so it drove me nuts. It was like a Viet Nam Veteran playing a war game. It kept me awake at night. With the things burning and overcooking and so forth. I fled Cafe World to Farmville, that's how I got started there same person dragged me into it. I always thought that would be kind of neat if you were looking for something a little bit extra ordinary and I don't believe that game exists anymore does it? 

Felix - No it doesn't.

Locke - So that technology is just sitting there, you could do a little side farm. I'm sure a lot of people would find that interesting putting paintings on the wall and putting furniture in and you know and you don't need stoves though because that would drive me crazy. Was there one other thing that we had our list to talk about?

Heather - Any more on the upcoming fixes? And I am kind of curious about what you were saying Mayur,  about improving the crafting UI so it does not freeze so much? Can you tell us any more about that we are still recording.

Mayur -So in that, what we are doing, right now you see six crafts at a time - so and after that you have to click on  make it. And then it shows you the recipe and from there you can make it. So from there, we are moving to showing you  only one craft at a time, with the recipe directly up front. (meaning that clicking make it once will actually make it instead of  seeing the screen we currently see before the one where we buy bushels and make it)  So that's one step less for you guys. And because we will only show one craft at a time that is less amount  of memory the craft shop window has to hold with just one craft. So that ought to speed up the  craft shop window significantly, in terms of its performance as well. And since you guys already have the search button, so if you want to search for specific recipe you will be able to search for that as well.  It is just a  quality of life improvement.

Heather - The crafting cottages really do the same thing the freezing as a craft shop. Is that planned for them too? And we don't have a search in there, there's no workaround. 

Mayur - For the crafting cottages, we will look at a fix once the craft shop fix has been rolled out. We want to fix this first and then we want to change that. Because the craft shop is something that a lot more accessible, like it is available across all of the farms. Whereas, the crafting cottages we have to do it for every farm that we have done previously. Whereas, doing a fix for the craft shop will affect across all the farms, so we first want to address that and then move on to the crafting cottages. 

`Locke - Yeah that does make sense. 

Mayur - Yeah

Locke - Now we do have a workaround. We tell the people to search the one item that they're looking for, that way it won't have to populate the entire thing. We say it over and over and over again, but it takes a while to get - what do we have 5 to 7 million people still play monthly? Takes a while to get to all 5 to 7 million people.

Mayur - OK

Heather - Are there any final thoughts or any other topics that you folks would like to leave the players with? Because I will be posting this part of the call to our website as well. 

Srivatsa - So the underlying thing, Heather that we mentioned earlier, is (that) we are aware of the recent set of issues and we are working on these. Just  want to assure our players that our focus would involve fixing these issues. That's the final message that we want to leave our players with.

Locke -  Well, I'm going to end the podcast right here, so be sure and join us next Sunday. We are here every Sunday night at 8 o'clock Eastern Time. For those of you listening from different parts of the world that are not in the United States, Eastern Time is New York City's time zone. We  also have countdown clock on our website. The Dirt Box page that you can actually hear the show live, that tells you how many days, hours, minutes, seconds until the show starts. So if you have trouble with the time conversion,  just go there. And I want to thank everyone for joining us tonight. We have Srivatsa, we have Mayur and we have Felix - did I get that right because I didn't have my notes in front of me?

Srivatsa - Yes  you got it right

Locke - Oh I got it right! I can't believe that. Good night.

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