The Dirt Farmer LIVE! Farmville Studio Interview 29th July 2015 Podcast Transcript

On July 29th, 2015 your Dirt Farmer Team sat down with Farmville Executive Producer Srivatsa and Farmville Product Manager Aneesh. Join Dirt Farmers Locke, Wendy and Heather for a very special Dirt Farmer Live INTERVIEW. We asked them the questions you ask daily in ASK The Dirt Farmer and more. This post is a full transcript of that interview, for the hearing impaired or those who wish a quick reference and thus it is lengthy. To listen to the podcast for yourself Click Here. Please share with friends so they may take advantage of the info within.

Images by Dirt Farmer Mary Beth, Proofreading by Dirt Farmer Wendy & Dirt Farmer Ioana, Transcript by Dirt Farmer Heather.

Locke - And here we go welcome to a very special Dirt Farmer Live Farmville radio show the Dirt Farmer interviews the Farmville studio.  We've got two very special guests with us tonight, first of all I want to introduce Mr. Srivatsa he is the Executive Producer of Farmville. Srivatsa how are you doing today?

Srivatsa - I am doing great Locke, and thanks for having me on this call in giving me this opportunity to talk to our players again.  I appreciate it.

Locke - Oh it's our pleasure it's our pleasure .  Tell us a little bit about what you do at Farmville and anything you might want to say to the players before we get started.

Srivatsa - Well I am the Executive Producer and basically I work closely with the team in determining the roadmap of the game.  And basically doing all we can to keep the game running and fastly.  A couple of things we want to discuss in this call, actually in the previous call we had addressed some of these issues, we want to talk about them again.  Some of the performance issues that players are facing, and some of the flash crashes that they're seeing more often these days.  And apart from that we will also probably touch on what we have in store in terms of expansions ( by expansions they mean future farms) and any other questions you folks may have.

Heather - one quick interjection, you mentioned road map, that is the plan, that is what's going on going forward am I correct?

Srivatsa - That's Right.

Locke - and we all know how video gamers are and everyone out there who plays Farmville, everyone out there who plays video games, they expect what ever is broke to be fixed right now.  Actually they want it to be fixed 5 minutes ago.  A lot of things in Farmville take a lot longer than that.  If you try to fix one thing too quickly, you're possibly going to break five other things.  So that's why we're going to sit here again tonight and talk about some of the things that we may have talked about on previous shows, but they're going to tell us exactly where they are as far as when we can expect progress on this, on the various different subjects that we're going to touch on tonight but we've also got another very special guests with us tonight.  The Product Manager, I said that right? it is Aneesh from the Farmville studio.

Aneesh - Hey Locke it's great to be here and it's wonderful to talk to our players.  And you know take the questions an answer them and talk about some of the exciting stuff that we have planned for Farmville.  It's great to be here.

Locke -  It's Great To Have You Here and like these two gentlemen just said we're going to be talking about what is ahead in Farmville.  What you can expect in the upcoming weeks and months and  years.  Hey, have we got years left in Farmville?  I think we've got 10 more years. We could do it 10 more years.  I might have to have somebody do what I do but y'all can do it for 10 more years.  Heather will do it for 10 more years I know that and speaking of Heather,  I'm going to turn everything over to Heather Quattrone and Wendy Maris right now so they can start the interview. 

Heather - well hello everyone and Locke has just outed me as a Farmville addict I see.  So let's get right into this.  Srivatsa you wanted to tell us about steps being taken to improve performance of the game.  People have a lot of freezing a lot of slowness, what is going on to make that all better for them especially folks with older machines?

Srivatsa - let me start off by saying the primary reason why players are seeing performance related issues in the game, it's because of the memory that is required to run the game on the player's machines. Right.  This is especially true with players who have slightly older computers and are more likely to face these issues.  So what we are doing is focusing on this specific area on memory needed to run the game, with some urgency.  And we're making some changes that will reduce the memory needed to run it.  To talk about a couple of  changes that we're looking at currently one we are planning to remove mastery signs from the game.  Players will still be able to see the mastery level of all the items they have mastered just that we will not have separate mastery signs.  This is expected to reduce the memory needed to run the game by a large extent.  We are also looking at cleaning up some of the old quests and the game that are expired, cleaning up some of the items that are no longer being used.  This should free up some additional memory.  Now all these changes will take time to roll out we expect that it will roll out within a month or so.  After that players should expect to see improvement in the game just in terms of the slowness and the freezing and the lag. 

While we are doing all of this we're also looking to build a self help tool for players who are not able to load the game at all.  Now what this tool will do basically is perform some of the basic cleanup actions that our support folks perform together that what you're doing a great deal on players machines when they contact them for these loading issues.  We'll make this tool available to our players so they can run it themselves, and we'll make it available in such a way that they can run it may few minutes and this should greatly increase the chances of solving the loading issues.  So these are a couple of the ways that we think will address performance issues.

Heather - okay so you said you're going to be removing mastery signs from the game.  How is that going to work because people have done all over their farms and they have them in storage, they have them in billboards are people going to have to delete those or what is going to happen?

Srivatsa - Not to get into too many details because it's still under design and implementation, but nothing is expected from players in terms of manual actions, it will all be done by the game, but we will definitely give players significant heads up before we start doing it.

Heather - okay that's good to know because we don't want them wondering what's going on what's going to happen where their mastery signs went.  With the performance issues and reducing memory a lot of the recent farms have a huge background around them.  Is anything going to be done with that so they don't have to load so many graphics that they can't actually use?

Srivatsa - so we are looking at that for some of the upcoming expansions as a matter of fact the background that is used in Africa compared to other expansions of a lot lighter, just in terms of the memory needed to render the background.  So we definitely know that the background causes some of these memory constraints and we are working on those and we are keeping that in mind for upcoming expansions (expansions in Zynga speak means new farms)

Heather - We're also hoping and I know we didn't talk about this but we are also kind of hoping that you will reduce the dead space between in the land expansions because the more  usable space the less room it needs to take up. 

Our next topic is flash crashes, a lot of people are having not only flash crashes but plug in unresponsive something where you have to wait a little longer and that's getting steadily worse.  Folks who used Chrome Comodo Dragon Opera any of the Chrome based browsers can no longer use traditional flash without a workaround and even that workaround is going to be gone as of September and they will only support pepper flash.  Now pepper flash takes a lot more memory as we just talked about well a significant amount more memory than regular flash and folks are worried that the crashes are going to get worse.  Folks who are trying to use pepper flash now are having more and more crashes.  What's being done to help out with those flash crashes? 

Srivatsa - So the steps that we are taking around erasing the memory needs should actually help with erasing the flash crashes as well.  On the topic of pepper flash, we know that chrome and other browsers will only support pepper flash in the near future.  What we already started doing is using only pepper flash for all of our testing activity in the studio.  So far we have not encountered any breaking issues.  From the memory issues you spoke about yes we know that some of the players have issues on pepper flash and we started looking at their cases individually.  We're also running some memory requirements to check for the memory usage on pepper flash vs. other versions of flash to authenticate needs and seeing if any optimizations are needed.  It's an ongoing process and we are doing incremental changes, but so far we haven't seen anything that is going to break the game because it's running on pepper flash.

Heather - I have used pepper flash exclusively for years.  It works really well if you have the memory to support it, but it kills you if you don't.  That's why that is a big concern for players with the flash crashes.  Is there anything else being done besides the memory management to help the game run better on flash?

Srivatsa - So as I mentioned earlier, we are actually looking at players who are unable to play the game on pepper flash and seeing what is going on there.  In case it any improvement is needed whether in terms of memory or of making changes in the game itself.  We are actually looking at that.

Heather - and I will hand it over to Wendy now she has some questions for you as well

Wendy - Along those lines of the flash crashes and games freezing and so forth, we have a lot of players who have issues with the craft shop freezing on them.  Either when they are trying to make goods, get goods out of it, has this been addressed

Srivatsa - so Wendy, I know this issue has been around for awhile and we definitely had a lot of player complaints.  This was a rather complex problem and I am happy to say that I think we have a fix now.  This is something that we have been working on for a while, putting our best minds to work and finally I think we do have the fix and that should be rolling out within the next week or so.  Once we roll out the fix, we will start  to monitor the results and see if the problem is truly fixed.

Wendy - another question regarding the  craft shop, we've had a lot of requests to have it open on all instead any of the other little tabs in it is that being addressed?

Srivatsa - This is something I need to get back to you on Wendy, I know this was planned earlier but I don't think that we made any progress.

Wendy - Well it will be interesting and look forward to see the issues with the craft shop freezing, Heather did you have something?

Heather - No you got that covered perfectly.

Wendy - Okay with the animal pens, wondering if there's been any progress with the bug?  We had three or four players just that we are aware of hit with the pen bug this past week alone.  We are seeing more and more.  They are trying to empty the older pens that they built to 100 because that's what was pushed on everybody you can expand to 100.  Now we are finding that they can't without throwing off their game and the sell button has certainly helped but that's part two of my question.  How about the pen bug?

Srivatsa - So I remember the time we had a fix and we rolled it out and ended up breaking some players farms.  So we are being doubly cautious with this.  Along with the craft shop, the animal pen remains  and while I do not have an answer on whether we have a fix ready, I can assure you that we are working on this and will have something very soon.

Wendy - Excellent that will be good because as I said we continue to see players getting hit with it.  Also as I said that sell button from the pens was a great addition and I did notice a couple of weeks ago it seems to  only instead of when you hit the sell from pen it brings up only the animal that you have requested to sell instead of having to scroll through all the animal in that pen.  Are we going to see a sell button from the playpens?

Srivatsa - This is again something that we have on our road map.  In fact we have multiple requests to add sell buttons in other storage buildings as well.  We are planning on addressing this on a priority basis.  The first thing we wanted to do was introduce this in the animal pens because that is where we saw a lot of player activity happening just in terms of managing the items stored there.  But yes this is part of the roadmap, and again I do not have a concrete date that I can give you, it's part of the roadmap.

Locke - I've got a very quick question.  A lot of players out there - see want to clear up a little bit of misconception here on behalf of the Farmville Studio - when we talk about fixing something like this and putting a sell all button in for a certain item.  This isn't something that takes 30 seconds.  This isn't something that you can just pop in and type a little code and boom it is all fixed.  This takes a little bit of time, takes a little bit of research, you have to test it, you have to make sure.  Give me an idea, just off the top of your head, something as easy as putting a sell button in, which players may think only takes 2 minutes.  How long does it actually take?  How many work hours does it actually take to perfect something like that?

Srivatsa - Do you want me to take this specific example of the animal pen?

Locke - Exactly yeah.  Just so players know how much work actually goes into something that may seem simple.

Srivatsa - Multiple weeks.  About three or four weeks at least, because what happens there and you kind of hit the nail on the head, because it's just not about changing the code.  That is the simplest part.  It is also about changing the UI that has to accommodate the sell button. (UI stands for User Interface and means the screens we interact with in game)  It is about making sure that none of the functionality breaks.  There is some instance of testing that goes in around it.  So we follow kind of a rigid process around implementation.  We actually start with  laying out exactly what it is we are going to change in terms of design, and when that gets approved, we start looking at implementation, the UI and finally constrictions.  With all of that put together we are looking at about 3 to 4 weeks.

Locke - I want all the players out there to realize you know " Oh why can't they just put a sell button in it only takes 2 minutes?" No it doesn't just take 2 minutes.  You just heard it from the man that has to do it.  It could take three or four weeks.  And that's if everything goes perfectly, if something goes wrong then they have to roll it back and plan it out again and that could take another 3 to 4 weeks.  So that's why we don't see some of these changes for months at a time, because they're not going to do something and let it break.  They're going to do it and test it and get it right.  That's all I have.

Srivatsa - Thanks Locke 

Wendy - Great point though Locke because a lot of them think how long can that take?  They have no idea what steps go into the programming and testing and everything.  Moving on there is an ongoing issue with a treasure on the Treasure Tides farm that they cannot open.  I know not everybody is affected by it, but we do have a lot of players out there who have  unusable spaces for planting, because they fed the parts to the treasure and had the screen do all the stuff that it normally does and when it was over and done with they still have a treasure sitting on their farm.  Has anything been done about that?

Srivatsa - Yes Wendy, we are again in the process of rolling out a fix.  We have identified the issue.  And you are right this is not something is happening across all players.  It is specific to user accounts.  So we actually have to fix for each individual account.  It is going to take a while, but we are rolling out a fix.

Locke - this is why it's so important when you have an issue that is not widespread, and the Dirt Farmer will tell you when an issue is widespread, when it's affecting everybody 100% we will post on it, but when it is very specific like this specific incident.
We ask you to contact support or get in touch with us so we can contact the Farmville Studio with your UID.  So they can look at your account specifically so they know which accounts are being affected and they can figure out how to fix it for everybody being affected.

Heather - And by the same token this is also why we ask you not to click a vote to fix to help your friends only click it if you are really having the issue.  Those votes to fixes do not mean do you really want them to fix it.  It is their way of gathering UIDs of accounts that are affected, and if you clicked it in your not affected then it actually slows down the fix for your friends.

Wendy - Great we had an issue I guess about six weeks or so ago, back at the beginning of June and I believe it was.  With the inbox or the gift box not being able to accept anything or clear them.  It was not the feed dialogue, but the gifts returning to the envelope and instead of to the gift box for a long period of time.  We know you did a fix for that, but we still have a lot of players out there who can not empty their inboxes.  Has this been brought up to you all?

Srivatsa - So along with - if I had to name some of the top priority things that we are working on just in terms of issues and their fixes the craft shop, the animal pen, and the ZMC (ZMC stands for Zynga Message Center and is the name of the envelope you click to get your gifts) would be right on top. ZMC we did roll out a fix and it seemed that it fixed all the player issues, but then we started looking at more complaints coming in.  So we have reopened that issue and we are looking at what changes have happened since that time that the ZMC was working to now where it has apparently stopped working and trying to roll back some of the changes to see if things start working.  But yes to answer your question this is a problem that is currently being worked on and I am hopeful of having a fix within a week or so.

Wendy - Great great We have a lot of players who do not have contact with support either by e-mail or by chat and they have not been able to interact with the dragon eyrie because the tutorial is overlaid twice can you tell me where we are on getting that fixed? (19:31)

Srivatsa - To be honest we did not know that some players were affected by this issue until you folks brought it up.  Now that we have we're going to take a look at the Eyrie and see what is going on but this is something that we did not know existed the issue.

Wendy - Okay so there is hope that they will be able to complete those then.

Srivatsa - Yes

Wendy - Excellent.  Many players have had an ongoing issue with been unable to open buildings on various farms without having to refresh.  Do we have progress on that?  Celestial Pastures seems to have hit most recently.  No matter how many times you go back if you tried to open one pen after another, you are just not going to be able to do it without refreshing.

Srivatsa - Yes so the Celestial Pastures issue we are fixing right now, but we are also looking at why this issue occurs on additional farms in the first place.  Really within the studio we have not been able to replicate the conditions at first.  So for now we are definitely fixing the Celestial Pastures issue but we are also looking at the root cause and trying to identify the fix.  The fix for Celestial Pastures should go out very soon within a week or so.

Wendy - Oh good, good I know this has been brought up before our infamous pop-ups that affect the loading of farms and things like that.  Lately the big culprit has been the old seed spitters.  Every time you load your farm you are getting prompted with another pop up, place this, place that, do this, do that.  Is anything being done to stop those again?  They had stopped for a while but what's happening now is people are putting them in their gift boxes and of course it is crowding up the gift boxes but it stops the popup.

Heather - and you also can't place a horse or a tree without getting prompted sometimes three times in a session for the clubs.

Srivatsa - Yes on the specific instance of the seed spitters pop-ups coming up, we are doing a clean up of the system itself so these pop-ups would stop showing.  On the topic of existing pop-ups, that of a larger discussion that we are having within the team, again it is not something where we can just go around turning off pop-ups at will.  It requires several systems being approached and that will take time to plan.  But the seed spitters yes that should be solved any time now we are just cleaning up the system. 

Wendy - Treasure Tides farm specific coop once again but similar to the problem we had with Avalon it gives a blank pop up with no egg. (22:45) What's being done to fix this?  Or is this being worked on?  It has already been several weeks and the farm specific coop is still giving the blank pop-ups.

Heather - Excuse me - and the Savannah Safari one works with an egg but gives a blank pop-up to feed chickens so similar issue. 

Srivatsa - Yeah so this issue we have seen it happen across multiple expansions and the Treasure Tides one is definitely being fixed if not already.  I think we just have to roll out the fix any time now.  This again goes back to looking at the root cause of the problem itself and making sure it doesn't come back.  That is what we're doing right now.  So while we fix the Treasure Tides chicken coop issue we are also looking at why this issue happens consistently across all farms and trying to get rid of it all together.  So that fix should also come up pretty soon.

Wendy - Great!  Well, speaking of which can you give us some insight on the upcoming expansions?

Srivatsa - Sure!  So first I wanted to kind of share the themes that we are considering for the next two expansions.  So the one after Africa will be a Halloween themed farm.  And we are looking at something along the lines of going a bit wacky with Count Dracula, Transylvania kind of thing.  So you can expect to see something real good pretty soon.  The one after that will be, I suppose a Christmas themed expansion.   I think our players have been really wanting that for a while now and this time we thought we should have a Christmas themed farm. (24:33) So that's going to be the theme for the next two expansions and also wanted to share a couple of changes, a significant change that we are doing just for these two expansions.   I know players have  been talking about expansions coming always soon and not having enough time between these expansions.  So at least for the next two expansions we are looking to increase the duration from seven weeks I think to eight weeks (This means early access quest would overlap chapter 9 not chapter 8 - one additional week)so players would get a little more time to work on these new farms during the holiday season.

Heather - From seven weeks to what?  I am sorry I did not catch that.

Srivatsa - From seven weeks to an eight week gap.(25:22)

Heather - so there's nothing else you want to tell us about maybe colors, maybe themes, anything you could, any more hints you want to give us about those two?

Srivatsa - So we will start posting some of these assets (assets are the images in the game, animals, trees, backgrounds etc) as soon as we can Heather so watch out for that.

Heather - Well you do, but they are invisible, so you tease us, so I've got to bug you. (laughter) if I can't see them I can't report on them.

Locke - and real quick I'd just like to add a little bit when Srivatsa said that it was going to be a Christmas farm, everyone out there is probably going " but we've already had three or four Christmas" No we didn't have a Christmas farm, we have not had a Christmas farm.  They have always touched around a holiday theme but they have never called it Christmas.  And that's what you are actually speaking of now, it's actually going to be a Christmas theme as opposed to a Winter Wonderland, as opposed to something that's holiday-ish you're actually going to focus on Christmas correct?

Srivatsa - Absolutely Locke, it is going to be completely in that spirit of Christmas.

Locke - I am sure a lot of people will like to hear that.  Because here in the United States, we get , we seem to get a little offended when people say happy holidays, and they won't actually say the word Christmas.  So you are going to make a lot of people really really happy. And you might make CNN news too.


Heather - and on that Halloween farm are we going to have a lot of owls?  I've got to ask that one too.


Wendy - Heather and her owls.

Heather - yup

Do we get owls for Halloween?

Locke - As long as we don't get any monkey for Halloween were good.  Well I guess you could have the monkeys like the little scary monkeys from the Wizard Of Oz but we had those on the Wizard Of Oz farm didn't we? A lot of monkeys lately

Heather - I'm sorry I didn't get the answer are we getting owls?

Srivatsa - I didn't catch the question

Locke - Heather loves the owls, the little animals,owls

Srivatsa - Oh yeah the owls, well I expect you'll see some owls on the farm, but I just ask you to wait and we will start giving you more images.

Heather - Ok

Locke - She doesn't really care about anything but the owls, so you don't have anything to worry about (26:42)

Heather - Player requests is our next topic and coin expansions.  Do we have any more coin expansions coming soon?  Folks are looking forward to these.  They really enjoyed the one on Fairy Tale Fields and especially Jade Falls.  Jade Falls is a very popular farm.  Anything good coming up?

Aneesh - Hey Heather this is Aneesh.  So in the last few expansions if you noticed, we have actually started giving out tiles (Tiles are what the Studio calls the square land expansions that we have gotten from Avalon on) to players when they do certain tasks right?  So, not just FC, but when you do certain tasks you get it right?  So along with that, we have started, as you said, I know Jade Falls and Fairy Tale Fields, recent land expansions for coins.  And we will continue to do so and it will be in very regular intervals now.

Heather - Okay great there's a lot of farms still stuck at 20 by 20 and they frustrate people, because you can't do much with that, you can't decorate it.

Aneesh - Yes we understand that.  So that is why we it are going to revisit it on a regular basis.  On a pretty frequent basis actually.

Locke - one thing I want interject we didn't talk about this in the pre show, it's something I always harp about.  It's one of my little crusades.  And it's nothing you guys have to do is merely a suggestion.  You know we had the Hanging Gardens farm and it wasn't really a farm it was more or less a game that we played.  Then we had the Farmer's Square that wasn't really a farm.  What I've always suggested and this is just for you guys to consider we posted on it a lot but I have been harping coin farm for about the last year or two.  What I have always considered coin farm in the farm that isn't really a farm it does not have quests and obviously you couldn't travel from the farm because everything on that farm would have to be purchaseable for the coins.  Maybe you could release of few horses a few trees that could be purchased for coins.  All the expansions up to 50 by 50 would be purchased for coins.  All the vehicles would be coins an obviously they could only be purchased on this farm.  My theory on this is it  would give all the people that have never decided to spend farm cash say for vehicle, maybe they would spend coins for a vehicle see how it works and maybe they would want to do it on other farms for farm cash.  It would give players who want to play for free and it wouldn't be able to connect to any other farm where it would give them a chance to experiment with some of the farm cash items kind of like a test drive. They could expand all the way up to see what a 50 by 50 farm looks like.
Maybe they would turn all the other farms into 50 by 50 farms for farm cash.  Something I've always suggested and wanted to bring in up since I've got you on this call you don't have the answer.

Srivatsa - That's certainly an interesting idea Locke and we could think about it yeah.

Locke - it could be a coin themed farm like buffalo nickel daisies quartermaine horse.  Could do the whole thing with different currencies from all over the world and that be the entire theme to the entire farm.  And everything would be coins.  But any way who's got the next question.

Wendy -  Reference player requests.  We've got a lot of players who really liked the Bob's Berry Farm and the ability to trade the berries for various prizes and goods.  Are we going to see Bobs Berry Farm come back or a feature to similar to it?

Aneesh - Hello Wendy, yes we are going to bring back the Bob's Berry Farm and it would be available in the game pretty soon within the next few weeks actually. Yes.

Wendy - Oh good I know that will make a lot of people very happy.  Of course they will start planting like mad again.

Aneesh - We hope so.

Wendy -  That is good news thank you. (32:17)

Heather - and the Daily Delights is that coming back?  What's happening with that?  We were told to tell people when it disappeared, that it was being revamped.  The players pushed back, they don't want it revamped they want it exactly the way it is.  They want maybe a way to buy a day that they missed.  What is going on with that?  Is it coming back?  Is it going to change much?

Aneesh - so Daily Delights, we took it off, there were few issues, and we are fixing it, and it will be back in the game pretty soon.  Probably next week itself.  There will be minor changes.  But it is structurally very similar actually.  So there is no major revamp.  It is going to be structurally pretty much the same.

Wendy - That is good.  That too will make a bunch of people happy out there.  Bringing up another issue, we've got the cash calves that are expiring soon, as a matter of fact mine expired today.  Will they be returning to the market?  If so do we have an idea when?  There are a lot of cash harvestable decos out there and I know there was less interest in some than others, but the cash calves, cows and trees are very popular.  To see them disappear from the market never makes people happy.  Can you tell me what's going on?

Aneesh - Cash Calf we are planning to experiment with this particular one, but we are having discussions on how to revamp farm cash generating decos and how to we make it a bit more interesting.  So we're having discussions on that and we will get back to you soon on that one.

Heather - Is something coming out soon though?  Because you know were out of them now and people get antsy.  Plus there have been requests to have them in the market for early access week of every farm.  So people can have  a money tree on every farm if they want to, plus these decos are expensive.  When you only have them out once a year, or every six months people cannot afford to buy as many as they would like.  If they were broken up more they could.

Aneesh - Right so it is still under discussions and we're trying to figure out how to make it a bit more interesting.  So lets kind of think about that a little more and get back to you.

Heather - Just to let you know we want it now because they're expiring.

Locke - I'm sure both these guys have worked in the video game industry long enough to know everybody wants everything now.But it has to be done right.  I've never been a fan of the cash spitting trees cows whatever.  I like the subscription myself I don't have to worry about anything its always there and that's the best value for farm cash that is just my personal opinion.

Heather - In my opinion I like the trees and stuff better, because I don't trust Facebook with a credit card. If I could put it right to Zynga it would be a different story. I don't trust Facebook.

Heather - The Mystery Babies revamp was very popular.  Players loved the ability to try for new things.  When it came out we were told we would probably get new content every 90 days.  On July 24th, the baby's expired without renewal for the second time.  Then that means when most pens are harvested you can't share anything, it just goes into the ether.  The couple pens you can harvest and share from there are about three or four things you can get off the feed because there's no contents.  Pens are an integral part of the game, most people harvest them every day, and it was a fun and engaging feature.  They get very frustrated when it doesn't work.  What updates are planned and how soon?

Aneesh - So Mystery Babies, we are refreshing some of the content and we are bringing back some of the old ones as well.  We will refresh the content periodically.  It won't be completely new ones to start with.  But some would be new and some would be old.  But we are bringing it back.

Heather -  Well right now the pens do not work at all!  So when is that going to happen and if it is not going to happen in the next couple of days can the other ones be extended again so they actually work?  (36:58)

Aneesh - We are planning to bring it back in a couple of weeks actually.  We are looking at the possibility of keeping it open as of now.

Wendy - has there been any progress on the return of the breedable sheep and pigs in their original form?  In some cases we would also need to see the sheep pen and pig pens brought back into the game.  People love those.  They love being able to try for different colors and patterns and things like that.  Are we going to see those return?

Aneesh - Yes we know how much players love breedable sheep.  People keep commenting that.  So we are thinking about it and we have put that in the road map.  But it will take at least a few months before we see any progress on that. But yeah.

Heather - Please, please please don't change it.  They loved it exactly the way it was.

Wendy - Yeah

Heather - Players would love to have more colors of hay bales for coins, the fences for coins the little coin decos that people used to accent their farms along with the deco that they buy for cash are becoming more and more scarce.  Plus they would love to have more colors of hay bales.  There are a lot of beautiful pieces that you guys put out like Tzigane and her wagon.  Everybody wants the gypsy wagon to decorate with.  I have had so many people say please ask Farmville please ask Farmville.  Is there any chance of this happening?  And happening with any of the other off farm decos that they come out as an item that we can use to decorate with?

Aneesh - So yes we will actually have the gypsy trader wagon that will be granted to the players finishing the feature.  The colored hay bales different colored hay bales right?  We are looking into that and putting it in the road map maybe sometime later in the year actually.  Because, yeah we could certainly look at that.

Heather - Wait- the wagon is given to players completing the feature?  Because is not set up like that now and there's not a lot of time left on the feature and a lot of people have not done the feature because they don't really care about deer that they would like the wagon.  Is there any way that folks could be able to buy that or is there another way to get it because now with us not  having known that that can be gotten that way  most of us didn't start it because that would have been the only thing we wanted. 

Locke - So you better get cracking. You better start making them deers right now if you want that wagon that is what he is saying.

Heather - I've got 36x36 farms, the free players are not even going to be able to do this there's so many crops it's not even going to be possible. 

Locke - That makes it a challenge he just told you.

 Aneesh - Heather, yeah let us look into that, but I am not making any promises as of now.

Wendy - Moving on players are constantly asking for increases of 1000 or even unlimited space for the market stalls and the gift box unique items.  Is this something that is possible and coming or is it not possible?  And if it is not possible could you please explain why for the players understand why it cannot happen.

Aneesh -  So we looked at this one and there are some actual technical challenges involved in increasing the number of items storable (in the market stalls and unique items in the gift box).  Currently as Srivatsa said, we are trying to reduce the memory consumption and trying to reduce the issues related to performance in the game. As of now increasing the storage limit would adversely affect the issues in the game.  We are looking at a different way to solve this problem.  So our technical team is looking at that.  We are trying to figure out how to help the players without having these performance issues. 

Heather - Now the is that for both for gift box unique items because that's been 500 for a long time and people keep saying they want that increased.  Is that something that will also create performance issues?  I want to make sure that we are covering both that and the market stall.

Aneesh - Yes actually, it is a similar factor for both actually.  So we're taking a look at both and seeing what can be done about that.

Heather - To actually increase them would pretty much crash people farms is what you're saying?

Aneesh - I wouldn't go to the level of saying that it would crash people farms, but it would certainly impact some of the memory consumption (this means these increases would use more memory for your computer to run and cause the game to run significantly slower) the and maybe leading to the memory crashes itself. (This means it would cause more flash crashes).  So  all of this right, it is not a very simple thing to figure out how much it would impact, so that's what our technical team is trying to figure out right now.  So what are the options to do that and how best to do it?  We are certainly taking a look at that and we will get back to you, once we figure it out. 

Wendy  - Thank you for the explanation on that.

Heather - Can we get an update on the possibility of beat English Countryside or the re-release of the original quest chain for those players without the license?

Aneesh - That would be a good thing.  We will certainly put that in the road map.  We will take it up.  After some of the stuff that we have to do right now, then we will do that and we will take it up.  Later.  Yes.  

Wendy - Players would like to know, looking at the travel screen, if it could be updated to show more farms per page so they don't have to scroll so much. Is that possible?

Aneesh - That's a good suggestion.  We are, we you know the design team and the UI team, we are looking at this and we are figuring out that yes there may be a better way to kind of do this and we will take a look at this.

Heather - Players would like the search in the market stall updated to include the use bushels section.  Is this being considered?

Aneesh - Yes, so along with the other ones that we are talking about, the previous ones, the re-release of the English quest and the travel screen this is one of the things that we are considering and we will look into that and we could will put in the road map.

Wendy - There are issues around the feeds.  So along those lines is there a possibility of updating Unclaimed Feeds too include trees and timed features with the difficulty of surfacing posts on Facebook?  Many features lately have very low feed claim limits.  Clicking 8 to 15 times and posting for 20.  When friends can only click 8 to 15 times and it does not go through if you have hit your limit, it is impossible mathematically for everyone to get the 20 clicks they need.  The feeds often do not surface for people who are not playing a given feature.  Even if they do, with gift box management issues people do not click what they do not need.  Many times, people get cut off before the coded limit at five or six and this creates a huge amount of player frustration.  What are the chances of raising these to 50 clicks or something that is more player friendly?

Srivatsa - Wendy, I will take that question.  We are aware of the issues that our players are facing with the feeds.  In fact, some of the changes made by Facebook have severely impacted the way our players are able to see and interact with these feeds.  We can't control what Facebook does.  What we are doing is that we are working on a tool that will reduce the dependencies that players have on Facebook for these feed interactions.  What we are trying to do is make it possible for players to have access to feeds right within the game, rather than depending on Facebook or actually going to Facebook to access these feeds.  We do have this Unclaimed Feeds tab within the game that is part of it.  The idea is to extend it a lot more and bring in a lot more feeds to the player within that tab.  Now all of this is kind of early in the works.  We are designing it.  We want to make sure we get it right the first time.  It is going to take a while to come out.  But I think this will go a long way towards addressing our players concerns with feeds and also toward feed limits that features currently have.  At the same time, we are looking to ease some of the feed requirements in our new feature.  So you should start seeing some changes in some of the features coming out.

Locke - That sounds good especially the part about getting away from Facebook, I don't think any of us like Facebook anymore.  Real quick I want to thank Srivatsa and Aneesh for joining us today actually this evening.  Do you guys have anything that you would like to say to the fans wait before we leave tonight?  Srivatsa?

Srivatsa - thank you to Dirt Farmer for this opportunity to talk to our players.  We just hope we have addressed most of the main concerns and questions that you folks might have had.  As stated in this interview, we are doing our best to make this game better and a lot more fun.  So thanks for your patience, have a great day and happy farming thank you.

Locke - Aneesh would you like to say anything?

Aneesh - Well, thank you guys and happy farming.

Locke - that's short and sweet right there.  I want to thank Wendy and Heather for conducting the interview and I want to thank all of you for joining us tonight.  Goodnight everybody

Wendy - Good Night Everybody

Heather - Good Night All

Srivatsa - Bye

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  1. Thank you for taking the time to transcribe this. It it very appreciated!!!!!

    1. You're welcome :) I do it for every interview, unfortunately it takes too long to do it for the normal podcasts.


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