FarmVille’s Golden Game Mechanic

29 09 2010

At the Social Gaming Summit 2010, Mark Skaggs, Zynga’s VP of Product Development and FarmVille’s lead designer talked about time-based gameplay in FarmVille.  Appointment Dynamics, also referred to as a “Golden Mechanic” by Mark Pincus, is a game mechanic  where a player is presented incentives  to return at a predefined time to take an action.

In the case of FarmVille, the appointment dynamic is to return to harvest crops before they wither.

Mark shares further points in the video:

– Zynga tries to tap into implicit understandings: small plants take less time to grow than larger plants

– Analyze play patterns: offer variations for different player schedules

– Some people plant in the morning, return at lunch, return again at dinner, and then repeat the next day.

– Some people only play during work hours

– Most popular periods seem to be in 4 hour “chunks”, although they also offer 6 hour and 2 day (to cover players who play at work)

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