Our apologies for the long delay, but we FINALLY have a text transcript for you of our FarmVille Studio interview from December 16th, 2015. The transcript has been edited to eliminate now outdated information, ,and has been transcribed by DIRT FARMER KAREN, Enjoy the review and please share.
Locke: And here we go. I hope everyone can hear me, my ear drums are bleeding right now listening to Sir Darryl sing us in. We are live tonight, it's a Wednesday night show, it is 10 pm Wednesday here on the east coast of the United States and we have a special interview with the Farmville studio. I would like to welcome to the show Aneesh and Ratheesh, both product managers with the Farmville studio, they're the people that actually make the game. Hi you guys, how are you doing tonight?
Aneesh: Hello, hello. We are doing excellent. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be here.
Ratheesh: Hi Locke, this is Ratheesh here, and hi everyone, we are very glad to join you guys on the call. We love to talk to the players, and hear from them and we are very glad that we are part of this call. So myself, Ratheesh, I am a senior product manager working in the Farmville studio and I handle features and other metrics for the game. Specifically I look at the expansions part of the game and Aneesh handles the rest.
Locke: I am going to turn this show over to Miss Heather Quattrone who is with us tonight with Miss Wendy Maris and Mr. Eric Pond. Beatriz is keeping an eye on the dirt box, and the show is yours Heather, take it away.
Heather: Awesome. Just so you folks know too, a lot of times we will put up posts, we at the Dirt Farmer that say "The Farmville Studio asked us to let you know" or "We got an answer back from the Farmville Studio" . Ratheesh who is joining us this evening is the source of most of those, he very often gives us information to give you, so now you get to know him a little bit personally. We will get started tonight with discussing a hot topic, the feeds, which basically involves making the game posts more accessible for players. Take it away, Wendy.
Wendy: Good morning gentlemen, and good evening everyone here listening to us. Gentlemen, the feed below the game cancels outs locking items and we also have people commenting that they miss their like button. Are their any changes planned to change either of these?
Ratheesh: So Wendy here, the idea is to reduce the dependency on Facebook, right? So that's why we introduced this feed panel. Because of Facebook changing their algorithms very frequently, we saw a lot of player complaints about they missing, they are not seeing their friend's posts on their walls, right? So we have been seeing these kinds of complaints for quite some time and this feed panel was introduced to basically address this problem. So we do understand players miss the like button and locking our feeds part of that, but we felt that this solution is addressing a larger problem, and right now, there is no plan to add more features to the feed panel. So this was aimed at making the feed clicking easier for our players.
Wendy: Ok, well I know Heather put together something on our site for people who do want to ensure that an item can get Locked for a certain player or for certain groups of players, so thank you very much for the info.
Heather: Renee' has put together a complete guide to the feed panel as well. Our next question: What effect will the feed panel have on our unclaimed feeds, will this feature still be maintained and updated for those who prefer likes, I know I saw some reports that it was blank today, and a lot of people really love the feature.
Ratheesh: So Heather, we really understand that players really love that part of the feature. We are not changing the unclaimed feed feature, everything that was working with that feature will be there going forward. It will remain as is, there won't be any changes, there is no plan to change that unclaimed feeds feature.
Eric: All right. Farmville 2 recently posted to their fan page an extension with feed panels anywhere. Heather and I have tried it out, and we love it. Is there a possibility of seeing that for Farmville 1?
Aneesh: So as of now, we are actually looking at that, but there is no plan to introduce that right now. We are certainly looking at that and seeing what people like and seeing whether we can introduce something like that over here, but there is no sure plan as of now.
Heather: Well it's something that we can tell you we definitely like it, and we think that the players would like it too, based on our experience, running ASK, and other things.
Wendy: Gentlemen, what progress has been made on fixing the my mastery tab? For example , Locked items do not show on any other farm and level two trees do not show at all if the player does not own the Level 1 for that same tree.
Aneesh: We have had a recent fix for that, so that is being rolled out , and the particular issue that you mentioned basically that all the level 2 trees not showing up, that should be fixed , we are actively monitoring to see if there are any additional issues with regard to that, but with the recent fix, it should be truly fixed.
Eric: That's good.
Heather: With the Locked items, are they supposed to be rolling out a fix too? She also mentioned Locked items, like for example, if you have Locked an item to Alpine Jingle and you open my mastery on Phantom Valley, you cannot see that item that is Locked to Alpine Jingle to find out if you have mastered it. Has that been fixed?
Aneesh: Ah, so that's not yet looked upon, but that is one of the things that we are looking at moving forward.
Eric: That's good. What else is being done to reduce memory in the game?
Aneesh: So this is kind of ongoing and continuous effort from our side to make the game stable and the loading time shorter, reducing the memory. So we are putting a lot of work from the studio to kind of improve it going forward with game, so a lot of incremental changes are coming in, and we have a bunch of them in the road map for the next year actually. So you should be seeing a lot of posting changes that are going to happen in the game. With regard to reducing the memory and with regard to reducing the load time itself.
Heather: Time to move on to upcoming features.
Wendy: You guys have talked to us about giving players more choice, different tracks in features, like the Ghoul Ball for completion and a new mechanism to provide more choice on how to do features. Could you please tell us more about the new mechanism and what choices will be available?
Ratheesh: Sure, Wendy. So what we are focusing on currently is two things, or two areas. One is as I mentioned earlier is the game performance and making the game stable, reducing the crashes, reducing the memory and all sorts of stuff. And the second area that we are looking at is making it fresh for our players. Making it exciting for our players. So one of the things that we tried out like a few months back as you mentioned is Ghoul ball. So in Ghoul ball what we have done is that we wanted to test out how our players like the choice of three different tracks and the ability to complete a given track and finish the feature and obtain the goal of the reward. So what we find is that the majority of our players really love that, really love the choice of having different tracks and the ability to collect the ball's rewards. Now what we are planning to do is, we are looking at giving a lot more glandular choice to our players in certain features, so that players can actually choose to play the way that they want. So for example, if you are a player who loves lets say harvesting crops, so you should be able to finish that particular feature just by planting and harvesting certain crops. For example, there's another player who loves crafting, so he or she should be able to finish the feature with a lot of crafting in the feature. So, we can even have a combination of both. So what we are trying to do here is , we are giving the players a lot more choice on how do you really want to play that particular feature and get the rewards. So we are still at the design and development stage of that feature but that should be coming out sometime in the next months, about March basically.
Heather: Just a quick interjection but you may not be able to answer this because we did not prepare you for this. Some of the recurring themes I'm seeing in the dirt box tonight, farmer Patricia was asking about if there was any progress or possibility of giving more than 3 re-gifts per day, she would like unlimited, and most players would like more. Farmer Ellie was asking if there was progress on a use all button for turbos in the gift box, or if the sell buttons would be rolling out to more pens soon.
Aneesh: So what we have mentioned on here is that some of them are, what we see is that there are a few improvements that we can do to enhance the player's experience. So , how we do it is that we take a bunch of those players asks and see which are the ones that would make the biggest impact for our players, for a majority of our players. So we have a list and we will add these to our list to go see which of those ones that we can do in the next few months, we can certainly add these ones to that list.
Heather: Ok, if there is something you want, if you ever want a poll on something to get a feel for people, if you want something out of ASK, just let us know, we're happy to do it if it will get the folks what they want.
Heather: Sheep breeding. This has been discussed on prior interviews as far as how much people want new patterns with exactly the same functionality, no changes, as the old sheep pens. They especially want double color changers in which both the body and the pattern change colors. Are there any updates or progress on the sheep with the old DNA coming back?
Aneesh: We know that you have been asking for this for a long time, and we heard you. so we are getting new patterns and we are close to rolling this particular feature out. ok. I will be a bunch of new patterns and it will be out pretty soon.
Heather: Will it be color changers?
Aneesh: Mostly, it will be very similar to the patterns that we had earlier, and from there we looked at what the players want and we take it to the next step after that, so the initial part will be similar to what we had earlier.
Heather: We did have DCC changers before, and they were everybody's favorites, so we want to know if we are getting more of those.
Aneesh: So the first set of patterns will be very similar to the earlier ones, and then we can certainly look at what we can improve on that.
Eric: So can I ask a question about that? Sorry, Wendy. Will we be using the same pens, the sheep pens?
Aneesh: Yes, you will be using the same pens.
Eric: Ok, good, that's great.
Wendy: Should we start collecting love potions now, is it that soon? Or what's the story?
Aneesh: It will still be the same functionality actually, but there is still some time for you to do that and everything, so once we are ready we will let you know very soon, we will announce that and you can start doing that.
Wendy: Another item that's very popular and I know I've been bugging you for awhile on. What's the story on our cash harvesting items? Players have been clamoring for the re-release of the cash calf and other farm cash harvestable items such as the money bush and money plant for months now. What's the status on the re-release?
Aneesh: Hey, Wendy, so we had some issues with the cash calf and a couple of the other ones that you mentioned earlier. So we are kind of taking a re-look at that. We know that our players love it, so we are looking at that and seeing how we can release that. So we are designing that and we roll out one in some time.
Eric: Alright, I'm going to talk about daily delights. Since well before the revamp, players have been asking for a way to make up missed days. Ideally for coins, or possibly for a small FC price. Given the fact that players often collect these, and then discover the next day that their click did not take, and they missed one, the lack of the option causes immense frustration. Has any progress been made towards this? I actually had this issue last week with it.
Heather: I did too.
Aneesh: So the daily delights basically we are kind of rewarding the players who come daily and collect the candies on that. So, even if you don't come every day you will get some part of the rewards. But for someone who has collected everything, they will of course get the bonus or the completion reward for that.
Heather: But as Eric said,the problem with that, and this actually happened to me last week, as well too. A lot of times players will click on that and then the next day it is grayed out like they didn't click on it. That is happening very often to a lot of people and that causes a lot of frustration because when their click doesn't take, even though they came every day, and missed one, and they can't get it back, and they really wanted that animal.`
Aneesh: So that's a very serious issue and we actually dig deeper into it, we tried to dig deeper into it and found the issues so there is a fix that rolled out out, that would basically fix all of the issues with the collection of the candies. So if you collect a day, it wouldn't be grayed out anymore, actually.
Heather: When did that roll out?
Aneesh: A week back or something like that.
Heather: Because Wendy, Eric and I all had it happen at the end of last week.
Aneesh: So we will be taking a look at that to see if , we know that it has been effective for a lot of players so if they are still issues regarding to that, we will take again a look at that and fix that particular issue. That's for sure, we will do that.
Wendy: I'm going to change topics a little bit. Having items Locked to specific farms so folks can't use them where they see fit is a source of immense frustration. I know that there are a lot of things back on Mistletoe Lane and Winter Wonderland, things like that people would like to move to Alpine Jingle. Can you give us some insight into why items are Locked?
Ratheesh: So Wendy, this is more by the performance kind of view for the game. So what happens when you allow people to move items seamlessly between farms is that it increases the memory consumption, by a lot. By increasing the memory consumption it would increase load time also. So what happens is that these items need to be loaded when a player loads the game, right? So the more and more items that I have in my gift box and on the game board the more time it takes for the game to load. So that option would lead to a substantial increase in memory consumption and would also lead to a bad user experience in that you would have a great lot more time for the loading of the game. So that is a constraint that we have from a technical point of view and hence that is why we lock items.
Heather: So you are saying that players would tend to overload one farm or another because lets face it, a lot of us are hoarders. Then why are crops Locked? Because you can only plant one at a time, or a certain number at a time, it's not like you can plant every crop in the game.
Aneesh: So, Heather it's something like this. It's not just that it is dependent on individual players, so what happens is that if we release a building as accessible from all the farms, right? Everything , all the details about that particular crop or item or asset that has to be loaded much much earlier in the game. So that basically increases the load time a lot and leads to a decline in memory. So it's not just what a player do in this particular farm, it's basically across all players, this will affect all players, if we do change that. So there are technical or performance constraints regarding to unlocking all the items, we do unlock a bunch of them to be available everywhere, and there are in certain cases design constraints, for example for certain things it wouldn't make sense to take it out of that particular farm and put it elsewhere. So with these two constraints that we have, we kind of restrict access in certain farms or lock items to certain specific farms.
Ratheesh: So another reason is that the crops, when we release a new farm, these items are also themed around that new farm, right? We believe that practice gives a better experience for the players. So you have a game board, and you have the crops and they are themed to that game board, so that it would make more sense to use those crops on that particular game board.
Heather: But in situations like the North Pole Toy Works they only have 9 days to do it, and a lot of these people only have like a 100 plots and that makes it almost impossible because they are all Alpine Jingle crops.
Ratheesh: So for this particular feature, this is something that can also be gotten through asks, so crafting is one way you can get the items, so we have here in this case we have tuned the click side of the feature very simple, you can actually collect 30 items by clicking on friend's feeds, so crafting is one way you can collect the items.
Heather: Right, but you are only allowing people to collect up to 30, so a day from clicking so that is like 270, they need 360 they still need craft an awful lot to get it done.
Ratheesh: So 30 is only by clicking, you can also collect by sending. By posting to feeds so that is another 20 you can collect the maximum per day.
Wendy: Heather, anything else?
Locke: Did we lose Heather?
Heather: No ready for your next one. We did not lose Heather, Heather had to push a kitten off her microphone.
Wendy: I'm going to change topics again, guys. Players have been enjoying FV express much more since the update a few months back. When will Phantom Valley and Alpine Jingle be added to it?
Ratheesh: Thanks for the question, so we will be adding these expansions soon.
Heather: Like within the next month or so, will the India expansion come at the same time? Or how is that going to work?
Ratheesh: So we don't have a particular timeline in mind for this but it should be done within a months period for sure.
Eric: Ok, that's great. I'm going to switch over to the craft shops. Not long ago, you all put in a fix for the craft shop, for the crafting and collecting which believe me, a lot of people were happy about, because that was a major issue. Now there's one other issue that we have, and that is about the slowness in collecting bushels from the friends in the crafting shops and in the crafting cottage. Is there any update on trying to get that time down, so we can get that fixed. and so it won't take so long? I know it's like about the neighbors, it populates all their bushels but is there any way to make it so it's like if I'm in the Alpine Jingle crafting cottage I only populate those bushels from my neighbors, not every bushel they have?
Aneesh: What we are doing is that we are taking a re-look at the bushel system and how our players are using it. What kind of crafting is actually going on between players. So we are looking at the whole system and we are looking at basically how to improve that particular area of the game. So it will take a bit more time for us to look at that and improve that area. So don't expect something in the very short period of time, but it is part of our ongoing effort to improve the player experience. So we will certainly look at that and try to improve it.
Ratheesh: So here's one point, we are certainly committed to improving to improving the players experience on the systems side. And these systems have been in place for like maybe 6 years now, more than 6 years? So it's not very easy to change the system in a short span of time. So definitely we are committed to doing it and we are looking to improve this experience. And the craft shop fix that we put out was one of the things in that direction.
Eric: All right, that's great!
Wendy: Changing topics again. Bob's Berry farm is set to expire on the 31st, the end of this month, only a couple of weeks away, will it be extended with new prizes, with the same crops?
Eric: Alright, I'm going to talk about something that people talk about every time a new farm comes out. Market stall expansions. When are we going to have one? How many?
Ratheesh: So Eric, we will be having one soon. The happy news is that we will be having very soon, maybe within the next few days. So we will be increasing it by 50. So we will let you know as soon as that happens. So just one point that point that we want to let you guys know. We don't purposefully lock you guys out. We always want to expand the market stalls as well. But we are constrained by the performance part of the game. Right? The more we expand the market stall, the more the load time is going to increase with this. We will be having performance issues. So it is all done with the experience part of the player in mind and hence we have a cap on that. Right? So we do understand that every time a farm comes out players need extra capacity and hence we are doing this. That is the only thing that is stopping us from doing that is the performance and the experience. The only reason that we don't expand 100, 150 is that the performance and experience of the player will be deeply affected if we do that. But for this AJ we will definitely be having` one soon and we will be increasing by 50.
Locke: Now Eric, let me ask you a question. Let's say that you need more market stall expansion because you've got a bunch of useless bushels. Where do you go to figure out where are the useless bushels are?
Eric: I'd go to farmvilledirt.com, we have a nice little article of useless bushels in the game.
Ratheesh: So we are planning , we are thinking about how players can reuse the worthless bushels, what they can do with the useless bushels, so we are thinking about how we can make that capacity more useful for you guys, how you can optimize the usage of that. That is something that is under the works.
Locke: Let me ask you a question, to go off key. This is probably nothing that you've thought about but it just popped into my head. Now when we had parts for treasures, way back in the day, we didn't have any description. Now when you hover over the part in the gift box it tells you that it goes to Haunted Hallow or it goes to Hawaiian Paradise or whatever. It tells you where it goes. Is there any way to hover over a bushel and tell you if you actually need it for a quest or for a craft or some such.
Ratheesh: So it is hard for every bushel in the game storing that kind of information, that would actually cause a lot of problems.
Heather: Moving on, we have about 9 questions left. page break discussion about AJ and it's theme. 46:18 47:39
Eric: Ok, I'm going to talk about some popups. Popups are a hot button issue. Players do not like the accept popup in the crafting cottage, which is useless because they cannot deny it, and it causes loss of FC because it is right over the buy button for bushels, and they feel that there are too many when harvesting crops, not enough has been done to prevent accidental farm cash purchases, what progress has been made on this?
Aneesh: Alright Eric, there are two things here. Players are accidentally purchasing items which they are not intending to, and the second one is that there are a lot of unnecessary popups and informational widgets which are coming up. So what we are doing is that we are making a few changes in the game to avoid players from purchasing something accidentally. So a few things are coming up pretty shortly, we looked at a few areas where players are having trouble basically purchase some stuff accidentally, certain focus areas. So we are improving the UA and the back end functionality of those and other parties are looking at unnecessary popups. So we have actually removed a bunch of toasters from our game which we thought that players don't really need that particular information. And we identifying a few other ones that we can certainly remove. So with these changes, we should be able to make it a much better experience.
Heather: UI and toasters are kind of internal terms, can you clarify those for the players please?
Aneesh: Yeah, sure sorry. So the frame that you see for example the crafting shop where you click on something and you accidentally click on the back side, the frame that is not at the foreground, that's where people make the mistake of purchasing something accidentally. So we are kind of graying out the areas where people can't click on it if they don't really want to, the have to make a conscious call to actually purchase something. So we are making those changes.
Heather: So that accept popup is going to go away in there? Or it is going to be somewhere not over a buy button?
Aneesh: Ah, yes. It won't be over the buy button so we are taking a look at a lot of these ones together, most of the areas where players have trouble in clicking, players just click it double time or are having trouble differentiating between a buy and another button. So we are spacing it out, we are kind of graying out the one in the back so that you don't click it twice, and make these accidental purchases. So a bunch of those improvements will come shortly in the game.
Heather: And toasters, you mentioned toasters, those are rollups, right?
Aneesh: Yes. So the ones that kind of come up and go out we remove a lot of them which are not really necessary.
Heather: mystery babies page break51:22 52:14
Eric: When we have new players to the game, come join the game, how long does it take for them to get all the farms? We are getting reports that some do not even get a second farm until they are in the 90s.
Aneesh: Actually, once the player reaches level 15, she can actually travel to other farms. So ideally, a player should be able to go to any farm and get access to it once she crosses the level 15.
Heather: A lot of them cannot.
Aneesh: Right. So we will take a look at that and see what the issue is. So if you guys can pass on a couple user IDs when a player is having this issue, we can take a look at it and figure out what is going on over there.
Wendy: Ok guys, this is a really hot topic with folks. Can you tell us what is going on, there is an overwhelming number of players who have recently lost access to support. They had both, or they had email or then over the last several months we just keep getting report after report that more and more people have lost any sort of access to support. What can you tell us about plans to fix this?
Ratheesh: Yeah Wendy, we realize that players have been having issues with this. So there are some major changes planned on Zynga's support portal, that will address all of these issues. A communication will be coming out soon, from Zynga, for all of the players about this very shortly. So at this point what we can say is that we will request your patience until that happens. So there will be a communication coming out from the support portal that we will be adding. We will request all players to be patient with us.
Eric: So you all should have known when I was added to this call that I was going to talk about coin expansions. Now it's been really great that we got the coin expansion for Jade Falls. Any plans to get it on par with Haunter Hollows as it is still two expansions behind? Also, Summer Meadows in one expansion behind Enchanted Glen and Mistletoe Lane is an expansion behind on Atlantis.
Ratheesh: Ok, Eric so we usually plan for releases of coin expansions across the past farms that we have, and usually do a mix of old farms and new farms so that the players, all the kinds of players get something out of it. A lot of players love the new farms, some of the players like the old farms, they like the Haunted Hollows, some of them like the new ones. So we usually do a mix of old and new farms, right? And we will be continuing to do that in the coming months. So it is good to know that, it is good to know your preferences, it is good that you stated the things that you wanted, so we will consider that when we come out with the next coin expansion.
55:58 page break, alpine jingle stuff 57:09
Eric: Farmville 2 and Farmville Country Escape both have a popular co-op feature. When is Farmville going to try and have one again? After the interview that we had in Feb. we did a poll on past features that players would like to see. Co-ops was the overwhelming winner.
Aneesh: Hi, Eric. So we are actually looking at the possibility of building a co-op feature within the next year.
Heather: I'm sorry, could I interrupt for one second? We are out of time officially in you all are willing we will stay on and finish up the last couple of questions, and that will be on our podcast? Is that ok with you?
Locke: Yeah, anyone listening right now there's probably going to be an extra five or ten minutes on the podcast. And this is the after show so we can keep talking about a few things now and it will actually be on the podcast when we put it on for people to hear it later.
Aneesh: Alright, as we were saying the co-op feature, we see that a lot of players want it, and we are actually seeing what and when we can do in that particular regard and when we can do it. We are still in the initial part of the discussions with regard to that.
Eric: Ok, so you all are definitely looking into having something.
Aneesh: Yes we are definitely looking into the possibility of basically building something for our players.
Heather: As we had discussed at the beginning of this show, could you all make a statement about the new bug that is exhibiting the same behavior as the pen building error. I know you folks have told us to communicate to players that the pen building error was fixed, but people are still having an experience similar to that. Is there anything you can tell us?
Aneesh: So we had fixed the pen error that players were having before, and it should be fixed for all the players. Now we need to, we will take a look at this particular issue that you are having. We probably can communicate our plan with regard to the exact, which players are having this and what exact kind of symptoms that players are having with regards to this bug.
Heather: They are identical. The symptoms. Animals in orchards, everything.
Aneesh: Ok, so let us take a look at that, and we will kind of get back to you with regard to that.
Heather: But you believe it's a different cause and the other one is fixed?
Aneesh: Yes. That's what we are believing, yes.
Locke: I didn't actually get this on our previous interview but a lot of people believe that the beehives are going to be replaced with super fertilizer that they now give fertilizer. Did I completely miss that on another show or did, or is that just something somebody dreamed up?
Aneesh: As of now, we are not really looking at that. We are again, as you said, a bunch of things that players are asking, we are kind of taking another look at which are the ones that are making the largest bang for our player base, so that's what we are doing right now.
Locke: We have a lot of people asking about missing friends and neighbors. I believe Heather has actually a solution to that.
Heather: Our Ask The Dirt Farmer Admin, Tammy Jo discovered that a lot of times, and you guys might want to put this up on the support page or something too, folks are saying that their neighbors are all missing, you guys get a lot of reports of that
Aneesh: We get a few complaints about that.
Heather: Tammy Jo discovered that a lot of these folks do not, when you go into Facebook settings and you go into Apps and you open up Farmville, most of us have a happy little check mark that says Farmville has access to our friends list. With a lot of these folks, if their neighbors are missing and have been missing for a long time, either that box has somehow become unchecked and the game does not have access to their friend's list, or that friends line is missing altogether, in which case that is a very difficult thing to deal with because the only way to get it back is remove the game and re-add the game. If they are VIP, that means re-upping their subscription and it's rather a large issue so that is something you might want to look into with support and posting on the site because every single person she has gone through this with it has fixed.Ratheesh: Heather, we will definitely look into that part
Locke: Just as a wider scope. Is there anyone at Zynga who actually gets complaints, not just from Farmville, but every other Zynga game. Is there anyone there, and I'm not really asking you a question, it's more of a suggestion, possibly you could pass this along...Someone at Zynga support, someone who knows how one program interacts with another, like say someone uses a timeline remover or someone uses ad block, or someone uses some other kind of little something that messes with their script, there should be someone at Zynga support who is actively testing these types of things out to see how they interact with and mess up your games. Now its nothing directed at the Farmville Studio, this is Zynga as a whole and possibly every gaming, every online gaming entity as a whole. Just my suggestion, maybe they should have someone at the headquarters there at Zynga customer support that actually looks, and actually add ad blocker, however many there be, be it two, three or four, and see how it messes with your game, or when they unclick something on Facebook, or when they add some kind of little doohickey, that could possibly, you know, cause....These little things as a whole that is causing Zynga to lose millions of daily users a day. You think hiring someone just to do this for eight hours a day and debug all of this would be very beneficial to the company.
Aneesh: Right, Locke. So what we do here is that we kind of look at a lot of the complications or the possibilities, what our players do in their own systems and that affects the game. So we do a lot of testing when we roll out any system level changes that we have, and we test out these complications how it affects. But there are like thousands and thousands of combinations, so that most of it we can't really test every single one of that. So we test different sets of browsers with our tests, test different kinds of combinations of like ad blockers and things to understand how it interacts. So we certainly do that and kind of understand what the impact would be in most of the majority of the situations. But that's a good suggestion.
Locke: Yeah, we try to do that as much as possible, too. We did have a couple of suggestions, as the show progressed. Self contained crafting, someone pointed out that it's always animals, we're always making animals. I think at least one person wants to see something else, possible decorations, maybe trees, maybe something that you could do just to mix things up in the future. Obviously you can't really answer that now.
Aneesh: Yeah sure, we will keep that in mind.
Locke: And I believe that we've talked about this in the past, and you have to excuse me, I was kind of half way listening to everybody but I was in the dirt box answering a ton of questions also. Someone suggested having more than one farm, or having more than 3 or 4 farms show up on the travel menu, and we had talked about that. Is that something that probably can't be done, or just something that hasn't been put on the list yet?
Aneesh: We may take a look at how to simplify that a bit, the travel menu, but as of now, what we are seeing is that it is a simplification that might help players a bit.
Ratheesh: So the question is Locke that you want to add more farms on one page right? That's what you are saying?
Locke: Exactly. Or even have all the farms on one page. I know it's easier for you folks at this point because we are adding more farms as we go. And we saw issues several years ago with the travel menu, I mean the shipping license, it was on one page and then we finally got so many farms that it wouldn't fit on that page anymore.
Ratheesh: So Locke, having all the farms so you know there are banners like on the travel menu. So having all the farm we have about 30 of them, on one page would be very difficult. So one of the things that we did in the past was have most recently visited farms sorted, so we have added options there, right? We can think about that, I mean we can keep that in mind, how we can optimize the travel menu but at this point this is not on our radar at least because we don't see a lot of player complaints in that area, a lot of suggestions in that area, but definitely can keep that in mind.
Locke: We hear about it once in a blue moon, but honestly the way it is set up right now doesn't bother me at all, but I'm just passing that along because I saw it in the dirt box.
Wendy: One thing though that's been happening recently is that that order changes, you'll go into your farm one day, and it will indeed be in the order of your last visited farms, but then all of a sudden you go into later, or you go into it the next day, and there's a farm you haven't been on two weeks, showing up as most recently visited.
Eric: A suggestion, along the lines of the bushels, I think that something that would really help with the bushel storage problem, is honestly to maybe expand the bushel swap, or even lessen the time for the bushel swap
Aneesh: So Eric, we are actually taking a look at the whole bushels systems and how they work for the bushels, so once we kind of come up with a solution for that, I'm certain that the issue with limited number of bushel swaps and those things should go away. So we taking a re-look at that.
Heather: Ok, one more question, because I know you guys need to head out. On the support site you guys recommend, it recommends using Firefox to play Farmville. What do you guys actually use to play because we have a lot of player confusions because originally the support site told everybody to use Chrome, now it tells everybody to use Firefox and on different computers it works differently like we had a member who went to the support site, went to use Firefox, he was starting to play again after a long time, He does video editing and he had 12 gB RAM and an I7, has a pretty powerhouse computer and it was slow and it crashed every 5 seconds and it said script not responding and I said are you using Firefox? And he said yeah, I went to the support site and that's what it said to use, and I'm like don't use Firefox, it can't keep up with your machine, use Waterfox if you want a Firefox look, or use Dragon. What do you guys actually use to play and is there a chance that something could be put out with which browser to use depending on the specs of your machine? We have something, but is there a chance that you guys could have something also?
Aneesh: So in the studio what most of us are doing is that we play both on Chrome and Firefox, for most of the features to see if there are issues, and our tech team especially they test out different versions to see if there are issues. So, with regard to which one, in the support portal or whatever, which browser we recommend, it's mainly based on how the flash gets updated. So when they update the browser, the flash version changes, sometimes Firefox and Chrome kind of doesn't update the latest flash version or they take one earlier version or something like that. So that is mainly the reason why we recommend a certain browser versus the other one, so at some point in time it used to be Chrome which was much more better for that particular version of Flash but now what we are thinking is that Firefox gives a better experience for our players. Or for most of the players, let me put it that way. So it's not that every player might be with all the different combinations of the computer that they have, but the majority of players the recommended browser will be Firefox as of now.
Heather: Ok, Firefox just added a 64 bit version, which should probably dissolve a lot of those problems, because you can't support more than 4gB of RAM on 32. Would it be possible to get that added? So that they can use one that is compatible with their system as well?
Aneesh: So are you asking us 64 vs 32 bit?
Heather; Yes if you would recommend both versions of Firefox if that's the one that has the best flash update, so that folks that have a higher amount of memory, a faster computer, don't get script unresponsive every time they try to load the game.
Aneesh: What I think is that depending on your system you basically install either the 32 or 64 bit and it kind of takes care the performance issues in that regard. So I wouldn't recommend one version or the other with respect to that. If you have a 64 bit machine you should use that version.
Locke: I'm sure that we could talk all night, and into their night which is morning right now but I got one more recommendation and this one I actually like. Unlimited regifting. Right now we can regift three items, whether it be 1000 of each three items, but it seems like you'd have a lot more posts and that's what makes the game go. More posts getting posted to Facebook causes more interaction, causes more game play. If we had unlimited regifting I don't know if it would put any strain on the game, but instead of just deleting, I probably delete a million items a year that somebody else may want because I can only regift three items at a time.
Heather: A lot of players are finding that even if they re-gift 1000 of one item, only 5 farmers can claim it.
Locke: I can understand not being able to do everything, if it puts an additional strain on the game, but if just by making that, you know changing the script that says you can only do three re-gifts a day to unlimited , might cause a lot more people to post a lot more FarmVille stuff and a lot of people that actually need stuff to find it. I don't think it, I personally understand the point of having the game be difficult to play. Not difficult, but being a challenge because if the game isn't a challenge, if we gave all the players everything they wanted, the game would play itself. They wouldn't even have to log on, it would just play itself and send the an email every week telling them how great they're doing. So there has to be some challenges, some hurdles to make it a game, and you guys create games, you understand the whole game theory. It has to be a challenge or it doesn't keep people involved. But I believe this would actually cause people to actually post more. But that's all we have for tonight. Do you two guys have anything that you'd like to say before we sign off?
Aneesh: Oh, yeah, certainly. First of all, thank you all for giving me the opportunity to kind of talk to you and talk to our players through this medium. We are very excited about the stuff that we are doing in the game and seeing the reactions of you guys on a lot of the things that we put out all day. So, I think that two areas that we are focusing right now, one is basically making the game much better on, much more stable, reducing the memory, reducing the load time and everything. The other one is putting out really refreshing and exciting and interesting content for you to play. All the features, all the new expansions, and everything. So we are trying to do a bunch of things on that regard to. So, exciting times ahead for us.
Ratheesh: So, thanks all for listening to us, giving us this opportunity. So just one point that we want to project to you guys, is our excitement. When we read the comments that you guys have, we you play the feature, hearing that you like the feature, you love that part of the feature, that's what makes us work, and that's what keeps us going. We are really committed to making Farmville better and better every single day. That's the mission that we have here in the studio. Looking forward to interacting with you guys more and listening to you guys, making the game better. That is what is keeping us going. Thanks for listening to us today.
Locke: One final comment, I know that you go into Ask the Dirt Farmer, and you read the Dirt Farmer and you see all the both positive and negative comments every single day. Just as someone who's played the game for years and years and who has been an advocate for the players for years and years, I'm actually seeing it swing from less negative to more positive, so congratulations. There are still people out there who have problems and issues and you're going to see those negative comments but we're seeing more and more positive comments each and every day. I think that's a reflection on the job that you are doing. Job well done!