Game Development Reference
Interview with Jason Decker: Love Letters from
who send goodbye emails when they're leaving; they post on the forums
when they're going to be away on vacation and won't be around to help
each other. We have a cast of game characters around the office that we
know because they are regulars. And you need to nurture those people.
If you're talking about social games, nurturing the community is a
big part of it. And by social games, I mean where people are actually in
the world together. This doesn't really happen that much in most “social
People want to show off their characters. If you hold up a Shield of
Impossibility in the game, the 12 people who manage to get it will be
proud of that. As a developer, I've gone into the game world before with
gear that I just made to test out. And within seconds I'll have 25 friend
requests and a dozen messages from people asking me, “Where did you
get that, and how do I get one?”
That's awesome and terrifying. Our customers know much more about our
game than we do. They're in it more than we are. We created a game that
we thought we'd get people to play in 15-minute bursts when they weren't
playing Wo W or other games. It turns out, they play it all day. They plug their
phones into the wall—almost as if being on a phone didn't matter at all.
You can't forget that at the root of a social game, it's a community.
People are there to be heard. And it can be a nice thing to be a bigger fish
in a smaller pond. When I play Call of Duty , I get killed every two sec-
onds. It's inaccessible, because it's so mainstream in a way. Social games
can be a sort of niche market, because players can be so fanatical about
their small niche in the community.
Q: Does Pocket Legends use a dual currency system? What's the economy
of Pocket Legends ?
A: Platinum is our in-game currency. You can convert U.S. dollars into
platinum, which is a pretty straight conversion. Platinum used to buy
you access to different parts of the world map, stuff like that. Now that
we're completely free, though, platinum buys you potions, vanity items,
extra boosts that make you faster or stronger. But gold, which you earn
in game by opening chests and killing monsters, can also buy you most
of the same things. So if you want to grind up and play zero money, you
can play for tons of hours and have a lot of fun; there's no limiting factor.