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Report #5 | Interview with Game Designer Nils: What Awaits Us in 2014?

Discussion in 'Headquarters Archive' started by Fluse, Feb 10, 2014.

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  1. Fluse

    Fluse Community Team Team Zoomumba

    Dear Community,

    Quite some time has passed since our last Developer Blog post and a lot has happened since then. Thanks to the release of the new forum, we're already keeping you in the loop about bug-fixes and minor improvements with our tech announcements. But we also know that you would like to receive background info about our the general vision of our zoo game.

    Last year was strongly influenced by introducing long overdue updates into the game, such as the Management Center, a new play field and a few comfort functions. But there is more to it than just that – our team worked behind the scenes, already laying the groundwork for new game mechanics … and today we'd like to pick our game designer Nils' brains, so that you can get info to the following question: What is the general strategy for Zoomumba and what do you have planned for the coming year?

    Hey Nils, why don't you introduce yourself to our players. :) As a game designer for an animal game, you're an animal-lover, right? Do you have a favorite animal?

    Hi, my name is Nils and I've been working as a game designer for Zoomumba for some months now. My interest for computer and browser games began in my early childhood. But it's just one of my passions. :)

    Another one of my passions is nature. I like going for long walks, above all, in the forest, mountains or marshy areas. I am a real nature-lover and I can spend hours observing my surroundings and wildlife. I think pretty much all animals are awesome – except of course, spiders :eek:.

    Unfortunately I don't have a pet of my own right now. I just wouldn't have enough time to take care of it properly. But since I lived in a shared apartment with roommates, there are always two nice male cats by my side (Blacky and Tiger – their names pretty much describe how they look :D). And then there's Maya and Kelly, two adorable toy poodles, who have a few cool tricks up their sleeves, for example, twirling around on two legs and bowing down. :) Take a look, this is Maya:


    When I am not romping around with the dogs or thinking about new features for the zoo, then I like spending my free-time “Tricking“, a type of martial arts with acrobatic elements, such as flips and twists. I'll have to wait and see if I can teach the two toy poodles that, too. ;) Oh, and I also create my own music.

    But that's enough self-promotion for now. You asked what my favorite animal is: I think the axolotl is really cool. It reminds me of a real-life Pokemon. :) Oh, and of course, CAAATS! :D

    The axolotl is an aquatic animal. Will the zoo soon have such animals too? Tell us a little bit about the general vision for Zoomumba? Where is the future taking us? Can you give away some secrets maybe?

    Perhaps, there will soon be a chance to collect a whole new species of animals in our zoos, and thereby honoring an old promise at the same time. This however represents a greater challenge, but we've already worked out a few good ideas. It's a long-term goal however, which we'd like to approach with multiple milestones.

    With regard to the general vision, it can say that I'd like to transform Zoomumba into a full-scale game with more gameplay and game depth, thereby also granting you more possibilities to do things. You should spend as much time playing Zoomumba as you want, and therefore be able to master many different challenges in the process. This means, that we'd also like to add new game mechanics to the game to offer more variety. And it also means that there will be even more elements which require your creativity and which should be rewarded in return.

    In concrete terms this means:

    We'd like to change the game in multiple steps so that you can add themed areas to your zoos. This means that you can, for example, create desert- and ice-scapes for your animals to accordingly feel at home in. Of course, there will be matching streets, gates and fences to go with them so that everything is just as real in a real-life zoo and everything fits together harmoniously.

    Naturally, not everything is about taking care of animals, but also about placing even more emphasis on designing zoos. And above all, we want you to tap into your creativity. To help you here, there's already a building in the Management Center provided for this, which offers entirely new game mechanics. Here's a draft version:

    We're going to try to give additional functions to some elements already existent in the game, in order to create some sort of game cycle and so that you can use your possessions in even more ways.

    After a series of new features which we are going to add to the game in this context, we will then fulfill the wish for the long-desired and very old “promise“. Altogether, the level of fun in the game should increase, because you should be able to spend an unlimited amount of time in your zoos – since there is always something meaningful for you to do there.

    It's obvious that it will take time to complete such a large feature. But in the meantime, will there be any events too – do you think that it would be possible for us to introduce a couple of new concepts to the events? The players have already collected a few good ideas.

    What is important to me, is that you know that I actively read the forum and I look at each and everyone of your suggestions and I think about if and how we can implement your ideas. Your voices are heard more than you probably think. Many ideas – not only for new animals, but also on how to improve event mechanics – have already been taken from the forum and realized. And that will continue to happen in the future! So, if your ideas sometimes don't make it into the game, than it usually has something to do with with the following:

    • It's not so easy to alter something, because many background elements are interconnected and by changing something other mechanics could be heavily influenced;
    • or the players from other countries have expressed wishes for exactly the opposite.

    To add to this, we must also consider any developer objections about technical implementation as well as develop a sense of what is most desired by the international gaming community.

    But even when your idea hasn't been implemented yet: Keep trying, your suggestions are always very, very welcome; request animals you want to see in the Traveling Circus, suggest ways in which we can modify existing event mechanics and post your opinions about all improvements to the game as well as about events. That way we can tune the game to your wishes.

    Take the board game, for instance:

    Overall, we can see that you like, for example, trips around the world. And that's why we are very cautious about changing something here. Additions to the game are good, but in most cases, we receive mixed feedback. That's why we developed, for example, the shooting events in order to offer something different. A lot of players like them, but not all. We always have to be very careful what we do in order to make all players happy. Many people like the current event mechanics and for that reason we won't throw them out completely. We will definitely modify them and continue to add completely new events.

    Through all the trips around the world, we want to make it easier for you to create themed areas in your zoo, whilst making beautiful visuals possible and providing your animals the opportunity to feel at home in their habitats. After all, many of the new animals and decorations you get from events want to be put on display, too. :)

    It's very important to me that you know: You are what makes the game! Without you, there would be no game. And therefore the following applies: The more active you are, the more additions will be made to the game. After all, many active players, who voice their opinions and express their wishes, help to actively shape the game. We read your posts, we listen to you and furthermore we receive feedback which is collected from our busy bees – the Board teams. And this is how the road map for events and new features comes about. :)

    OK, the players have often complained that it's not really worth leveling up because after a certain point you don't really get great rewards. What's with the new level rewards which were promised to us a long time ago?

    We are still working on new rewards for players in higher level ranges. The first pack is almost done and will be implemented soon.

    We know that it's a major concern for you because they also provide you with attractive intermediate goals to repeatedly complete in the game. And we've already starting working on the next pack for this too. We are making progress, but having to stock up all level ranges, takes time. Everything should be properly balanced, too.

    First of all, many thanks to Nils for providing detailed answers to our questions. We are bound to hear more frequently from you – so that the players can find out information first-hand. :)

    I'm very happy that I could introduce myself. After all, you, the players, are the most important source of information for my work. In the future, we hope anyway to carry out more surveys in the forum so that you can give your input about planned game additions.

    Now, that sounds like a good outlook. Nils and I look forward to a lively exchange with you. There are surely many players with unanswered questions. Just add your comments here in this area if you have any further queries or feedback for us. We'll answer gladly them. :)

    Here's wishing you lots more fun,

    Nils, Fluse and the entire Zoomumba Dev team

    Lluvia, ag206, crock and 3 others like this.
  2. fatzollo

    fatzollo Junior Expert

    the main question wasn't asked: when the Game will become multiplayer one.
  3. Fluse

    Fluse Community Team Team Zoomumba

    Hello fatzollo,

    Thanks a lot for your feedback. I'm going to collect all your questions and I will discuss them with Nils and the team tomorrow.

    Have a nice evening! :)
  4. kimunka

    kimunka Forum Pro

    Good evening, I would like to ask if you will be in the game cheetah.
  5. RomanianOwl

    RomanianOwl Active Author

    WoW....omg, the "themed areas" thing (something similar, but more complicated) was in my mind for a while...but i thought it won't be put in practice. I'm very glad now to hear that it's working on something like that for our zoos :3...i love decorating my zoo, and it was decorated for a while, but now there are just to many animals, so i just put as many animals i could in my zoo....i know there are more areas now, but i have this stupid obsession to put all the animals in the main zoo :)))...don't judge me :p :)...anyway...i have lots of ideeas, exactly like this "themed areas " thing, but i never wrote them...to much time to explain everything i have in my mind :))...i put one of my ideeas once the Romanian forum, which doesn't exist anymore, when it was a contest for this...my ideea was a new building, a workshop in which we could be able to creat habitats however we want, ading decorations we already have in our inventories, and of course, depending on what objects we aded to the habitat, we will pay for it an amount of petpennies and/or zoodollars :)...it was the first time when i actually write everithing i had in mi mind for this new building, and i also create some images :3...it was fun, and i took first place for it :3..and i also realized that contestes like that one should be organized often, so the players will be more motivatid on expressing their desires for the game...anyway, i'm sure you guys do a great job, so good luck for the future too :3..and btw, just like kimunka asked, will the cheetah ever join our zoos? I wish to have it in my zoo since i started to play the game, two years ago...it's my favourite animal, a great animal, and i'm pretty sure you could do some awesome animations for it, considering that is the fastest land animal in the world :)..Have a nice week guys, and good luck on developing the game :)
    Fluse, BeastMasterXXX and feej1274 like this.
  6. TYLER97

    TYLER97 Exceptional Talent

    Congrats on all of the milestones that have been accomplish
    Can't wait to see more milestone being accomplish
    Thanks to the Dev Team and everyone who work hard to accomplish these milestone
    one suggestion I am hoping that can be accomplish is giving presents or trading it to friends such as animals, decorations, habitats, and stands
    Fluse, BeastMasterXXX and feej1274 like this.
  7. Complexs

    Complexs Forum Pro

    La verdad es que es sorprendente lo que acabo de leer. Me alegra saber que se están planteando muchas de las ideas que he dado en el foro español.
    Es como digo siempre, este juego tiene para dar mucho mas de lo que esta dando, creo que ah mucha gente le gustaría ver un zoomumba ''estratégico'' en la cual tienes que pensar mas de una ves lo que estas por hacer.
    He visto una fabrica de reciclaje, buenísimo... no solo nos enfocamos en la naturaleza, si no que también en como mejorar las cosas para que esta no se destruya.

    Vamos que aun se puede seguir progresando mas de lo que se progresa..

    Lo único que sigo insistiendo es que hagan los recintos mas originales. A lo que me refiero, es que no metan casas, o adornos que no quedan bien en un recinto con animales..
  8. crock

    crock Forum Expert

    I really like this idea, especially the idea of recycle factory , this interview made me come over wanting to play more, and if you see that I misspelled something, it's because I'm not from this forum and my english is not professional, but I understand the interview and I liked it very much.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
    BeastMasterXXX likes this.
  9. Fluse

    Fluse Community Team Team Zoomumba

    Hello kimunka, RomanianOwl and Tyler97,

    Thank you very much for your feedback. I'm going to propose the cheetah as the next animal we will produce for our zoos. And keep your fingers crossed that we will have it very soon. :)

    Thank you very much RomanianOwl for all your ideas which slipped into all our plans. We collected all your input during the last months and also the Romanian boardteam sent us all the feedback from their forum last year. :) This is why we want to realize some of these ideas in the following months. ;)

    Concerning the question of Tyler97, the gifting feature is very very hard to realize, as well as all other interactions between the players. This is also the answer to fatzollos question concerning the game to become a real multiplayer game. But we already thought about it a lot. It still takes its time because those features influence a huge part of the game logic.

    Dear Spanish players Crock and Complexs: We are very happy to discuss with you here in the thread. But please keep in mind that the language of this forum is English. This is why I cannot answer questions which are posted in other languages. Thanks a lot for understanding :(
  10. zoophile

    zoophile Forum-Greenhorn

    Hello I was wondering when traveling circus is coming next?
  11. Fluse

    Fluse Community Team Team Zoomumba

    Hello zoophile,

    The traveling circus is coming regularly to our zoos, but before it comes again, we would like to do a general poll and ask you which animals you wish to come back. Last time, the animal selection hasn't been very appreciated so this time we would like to get to know your wishes.

    We will organize a little poll in the following weeks and after that, the traveling circus will come back. ;)

    I cannot announce an exact date but I hope that this answers your question. :)
    kimunka likes this.
  12. Cuu9396

    Cuu9396 Forum-Greenhorn

    Hi at all, will you ever introduce the ability to exchange animals between other zoos (for example, other friends zoos)? Thank you very much for the hard work you're doing ;)!
    Fluse likes this.
  13. zoophile

    zoophile Forum-Greenhorn

    answered yes, and I voted for cheetah
    Fluse likes this.
  14. lpsak

    lpsak Active Author

    Going cooperation with some celebrities?
    It would be interesting if you've worked with Lady Gaga :) BTW Unicorn in ZOO :)
    Fluse likes this.
  15. Complexs

    Complexs Forum Pro

    Hello Fluse!
    I you will translate on what I have commented previously.

    The truth is that it is surprising what I have just read. It makes me happy to know that there are appearing many of the ideas that have been given in the Spanish forum. It is as I say always, this game has to give many mas of what giving this one, I believe that ah many people he would like to see a "strategic" zoomumba about which you have to think mas about one you see what these for doing.

    Changing topic, you said that it might create for the animal landscapes as deserts, ice and forests. These landscapes, will they be able to be created in the current enclosures?

    Do I say a thing to you? When it is big .. I want to be like vos. I say this, because we have almost all the same tastes. A taste to have known yourself. :rolleyes:

    Complexs. ;)
  16. Adrian021

    Adrian021 Advanced

    In the nearest future, there will be new continents on a safari?
  17. kimunka

    kimunka Forum Pro

    One question will be Valentine's actions?
  18. Fluse

    Fluse Community Team Team Zoomumba

    Howdy everyone :)

    Thanks a lot for your questions, and sorry that it takes me a little while before I can answer your questions. I hurry up to collect them and to discuss them with Nils and the team to answer them as quickly as possible.

    One question, the one of kimunka, I can already answer: Yes, there will be a nice and romantic Valentine's event very soon. :) Yay!

    Concerning the exchange of animals between the zoos (Cuu9396 asked for it), it's more difficult. This would be a completely new feature which has to be programmed from scratch. So we don't see it in the near future but perhaps later on. Our roadmap is already full of work with what we presented here for 2014. But for sure we will keep that in mind, too. ;)

    lpsak asked for the work with some celebrities like Lady Gaga or to integrate unicorns into our zoos. Unfortunately, Lady Gaga hasn't been seen in our zoos until now. I'm not sure if she has time to play our nice zoo game. :( Concerning the unicorns: Why not? In general, we have the impression that you, the players, like more realistic animals. But perhaps you can post your idea in our idea thread and we'll see if there are others who like the idea as well?

    Thank you Complexs for translating your post for us. :) Yes, sure, we work on all ideas which come to us from all international communities. Also from the Spanish forum. :) And I'm happy that you see your ideas in our vision - this is the goal: to realize your ideas. And you're right, we also think that the game should become a more strategic one with more depths.

    To answer your other question: Yes, the new landscapes can be integrated into the existing enclosures. But we are also working on new maps so that we have more space to decorate our zoo areas. ;)

    Regarding the question of Adrian021 for new safari continents, we will discuss this with the team again. Actually, we are already thinking about it but it will still take a while before we can realize this. This means that at the moment, we focus on the new gameplay elements mentioned in the interview. But it's great that you are mentioning all these other features so that we can consider them for the planning of the next steps. ;)

    I hope that we've got all your questions right and that we answered them. If not, don't hesitate to ask again. We are doing our very best to answer them. :)
  19. carissimulus

    carissimulus Forum-Apprentice

    Hello Fluse and Nils,
    I wonder whether Exchange Event or The Critter Cruiser is ever coming back to our ZOOs. For me, these were the most exciting events so far.
  20. Fluse

    Fluse Community Team Team Zoomumba

    Hello carissimulus,

    You're absolutely right, the critter cruiser hasn't been in the zoo for a very long time. We stopped to organize this event because there has really been a lot of criticism from the whole international community. Nobody liked it. :(

    And we didn't want to have so many negative feelings because this game should be fun. But if you like it, perhaps there are other players too. Therefore we will note it down and start a poll in all forums to see how many of our players want it to come back. :)

    We will start with these polls after our Valentine's event. Until then, we hope you have a lot of fun and we keep our fingers crossed that the mountain of hearts will be filled up rapidly. ;)

    Good luck!
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