Exclusive: My Town Interview Reveals Big Plans
Social Game Central was lucky enough to sit down with Broken Bulb Studios President (and My Town developer) Jason Moore recently. We covered a wide range of topics, including details on traffic animation, the addition of trophies, and Broken Bulb’s plans to add over 100 new buildings to their rapidly growing title. We also solve the mystery of the “old man” who provides the tutorial voice-over when players first join My Town. Last but certainly not least, Moore gave us a visual sneak peak of one upcoming building.
Social Game Central: For those that aren’t familiar with Broken Bulb or My Town, can you tell us a little about the company, and give us an overview of your biggest game, My Town?
Jason Moore: Broken Bulb Studios is a brand new game studio who’s sole intention is improving the quality and experience of social games. Although the game studio is new, it was founded by a team who has been working exclusively on social network content for over 5 years.
Our biggest game, My Town, was designed with the idea of taking successful “harvesting” games to the next level. Our main goal in My Town is to allow users to express themselves via customization and control over building a town that they feel represents themselves personally. As we continue to build My Town, personal expression is our main goal.
SGC: Where did the idea for My Town come from? How long did Broken Bulb work on the title before flipping the switch?
JM: We wanted to build a harvesting game fit three main criteria. First, we needed it to be familiar. We didn’t want to invent some cool Space Planet World game that players wouldn’t inherently know what to do. Second, we wanted to create something that wasn’t being done in our market yet instead of being like every other developer who simply copies popular genres. The last criteria was that our users could use the game to express themselves. Eventually we landed on My Town and we launched the first Beta version after 3 months of work.
SGC: My Town has taken off like a rocket, and now has 5X the number of players it had a month ago. What about the game is attracting the Facebook community? Do they just love the music, or wise old tutorial giver? Or maybe they’re just lapsed Sim City fans?
JM: I think there are many reasons why My Town’s popularity is taking off. First and foremost I would be lying if I didn’t give credit to the fact that this is a game developed using every avenue Facebook allows to interconnect and grow the game organically through their channels. But more importantly, the game is fun and expressive. No matter how many users you can acquire, the question is always how many can you keep. That’s where we succeed and we believe it’s due to our player-centric mindset where our game players come first, second, and third.
SGC: Speaking of the old-man tutorial voice, I have to ask, who in the office provided it, and how did you all first discover his talents? Do you force him to answer the phones? Inquiring minds want to know!
JM: Haha, funny enough I personally did the voice over for the Mayor. I wanted to make sure our game stood out right when people signed up to play. I guess it’s not often that the co-founder and President does the “acting” in a game, but it’s also not often that the co-founder and President of a game studio went to college for “Acting / Directing.”
SGC: Right now, the more serious My Town players have unlocked all the game’s buildings. Are there plans for more high-level content? Can you give us an example of what that content might be?
JM: The plans are endless! We have so much in development it’s mind boggling. We will have over 100 new buildings added in the game by the end of the year. We are working on building famous structures and landmarks of the world.
SGC: The two icons in the upper right of My Town have been “Coming Soon” for a while now. Can you tell us about them? I’m assuming the trophy is going to be an achievements/accomplishments system… what types of things will players earn trophies for?
JM: Yes, the top two icons have been coming soon for a while, but the wait is almost over. Next week we will be launching our Trophies system and achievements will come shortly after that. One of the most exciting things about this system is that it will reward and entice users to build unique and meaningful towns. You won’t simply be able to mass build the one item that makes the most money to get ahead in the game and we believe this will make self expression much more prevalent.
(Question submitted by My Town fan) Are you considering adding animation (like moving cars or people)?
JM: We are already working on adding traffic and animation into the game. The two features we get asked for the most are traffic on the streets and a full-screen option. They are both currently being developed and should be seen within a month.
SGC: I’m enjoying My Town, but one criticism I have is that the game is really not too different from farming games, with players “harvesting” buildings instead of crops. Is there any desire to add elements like requiring power plants, or requiring buildings to be connected to roads? Or is this all part of the game’s balance between accessibility and complexity?
JM: We definitely will never require a normal structure to how you build your town. We want people to build their towns however they want to. That being said, the Trophies and more specifically Achievements system will completely remove the one dimensional harvesting feel. We’re very excited for this launch.
SGC: Finally, if I ask very very nicely, will you give us a sneak-peak at an upcoming My Town addition?
JM: Yes, I’ve included the image of an upcoming building. This will probably be released next Thursday, Jan 28th:
(click image for full-size)
I’d like to thank Jason so much for taking the time to speak with us. Keep your browser pointed to Social Game Central for all the latest on My Town and all your other favorite Facebook games.
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