The Worldwide Status of Leap Day

Home Forums Archived (Inactive) Forums Leap Day LD – General Discussion The Worldwide Status of Leap Day

This topic contains 24 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  dornbeast 5 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #16915

    colemanpants

    Hi Leapers!

    First, I apologize for how quiet we’ve been lately. Part of the reason is that we wanted things to settle down for the game and just see where it stands without all the noise of constant change. It helps to get some distance from the game. The other reason is we’ve all really needed to pay our bills. But now we feel like we have some clarity.

    The short story is that we love Leap Day, the Leap Day community, and believe there is a place for the game. It does so much that we envisioned and it has always been heartening to see how it clicked with people who understood it.

    Unfortunately, the game has not panned out as we’d hoped it would and it is clear now that the overarching direction just isn’t working. I think I can speak for Danc as well as myself when I say this is emotionally tough to stomach. We had a bold new vision and we believed we could make it work. But we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time, and, even ignoring the “time is money” thing, we’ve spent a lot of actual money on this game. We’ve taken a big financial loss. We’ve made a ton of changes as you’ve witnessed, but the changes haven’t helped.

    So now what? We are still working out the details but we’d like to find the right natural place for the game. At the moment, that is looking like making Leap Day into a retail, downloadable game, single-player and session-based multiplayer.

    What would this be like? We have some clear ideas, and we think there are some natural directions the game wants to move, much of it harking back to what got us excited during the early prototypes. That said, we welcome your pre-emptive feedback. Where would you like Leap Day to go?

    What happens to the current version? We will keep it up and running for as long as we can. We’ve been losing money every month on hosting and bandwidth, but thankfully some of you have been purchasing crowns here and there, so our losses have been disappointing but not overwhelming. I know there have been some server stability issues lately and we’ll do our best to keep things running.

    Once a new version of Leap Day is available, which isn’t guaranteed to happen but I’d say is very likely (we’re all committed to making it happen if we can afford to do so), we’ll make it available for free to anybody who has purchased crowns in the old version of the game. We’ll also try to give a few extra keys to folks who have really supported us by spending more than average, so they can share the new version of the game with friends and family.

    I’d personally like to thank everyone for giving Leap Day a shot, for the wonderful feedback, and for sticking with us through a crazy amount of churn. The overall tone of these forums has been incredible. One of our interests was in having this game where strangers were thrown together and had to genuinely work together on a common goal. To a degree, I’d call it a success in that regard. It’s like the game just attracts thoughtful, kind people.

    All the best,
    J

    #16920

    oscan

    :(

    #16924

    dornbeast

    I’ll miss the game as it was.

    As for where it could go:

    The single-player version might be a place for a Story Mode, allowing you to make use of any back story that exists about the frozen flan realms. I’m sure there’s room for simply going out and saving worlds, but it seems clear that there was a story behind the game, and it would be nice to see it come out.

    It might not be practical, but perhaps the single-player mode could include a factory-based version, possibly as unlockable content.

    Badges/achievements: I’m sure your team can invent these easily enough, although implementing them may be a different story.

    #16932

    Delha

    I’m very sorry to hear this. I’ve greatly enjoyed the game, and wish it would reach a point of profitability. While there have definitely been a lot of choices I didn’t necessarily agree with, I very much appreciate the work you guys have done. I’ve played Bunni, Panda Poet, Steambirds, Triple Town, and Highgrounds… This is the game that really convinced me to shell out cash, and more for the purpose of supporting you than the in game benefits.

    I’m sorry this one wasn’t a winner for Spry Fox, and wish you guys all the best in the days to come.

    -Delha

    #16983

    colemanpants

    @dornbeat: What parts would you miss as it was? Those are the parts we would try to keep. :)

    One of the questions that immediately comes up during internal discussions is whether we would go back to factories. My guess is we would support both ideas as different modes of play.

    #16988

    dornbeast

    That was poorly written; I should have said that I will miss the game as it is. I don’t know how you’ll handle the multiplayer aspect, and being able to team with people who could take on challenges like Ye Darke Lorde could become harder or easier.

    Now that I think about it, I do miss lesser spirits in some ways. When they were around, I was tempted by the idea of a map where the boss was defended by lesser spirits, each of which would be a challenge in their own right. Defeat them, and it becomes possible to run a road around the remains to reach the boss’s ice towers.

    In a single-player constructed map, it could be even more interesting – a row of lesser spirits that can be defeated by oak, or barrels, or lumber, blocking the way to the only field of food, for example.

    I also miss phone booths; while the general chat is good, it’s hard to sort through eight hours of chat to find the part that’s relevant to my part of the game. Chat may need to have two or three tabs in order to break down the information into manageable chunks. It wouldn’t hurt to have it be searchable, either – or to have something where I can filter out anything without an @playername.

    #17000

    garmichael

    It’s sad news any time a project like this hits the dirt. I’ve tried to get people into it, and i’ve found that people are either “Eh, it’s okay.” or “O_O I WANT TO PLAY THIS ALL DAY EVERY DAY.” I believe there may be a way to make the game more appealing to casual players, like TripleTown is, but any progress in that direction alienates your hardcore players. Some of us seasoned veterans of the game didn’t like the Shop-mode as much as the Factory-mode because it was less hardcore, but I’m sure there are many others who liked factory-mode more because of the same reason. However, even though I personally felt that the design decisions made over the last few months have progressively moved further away from my ideal version of the game, I will admit that this last week of server outages is making me feel like a heroin addict without a fix. That core game play is highly appealing to me, while others just don’t find it so appealing. It’s pretty niche. Also, with TripleTown, an unskilled player can get better over time and always feel like they’re accomplishing something, even if the best they’ve built is a cottage before filling up the board. Leapday is very much structured where you have to reach a certain level of understanding before you can really do anything or feel any accomplishment. I know you guys have tried to mitigate that and lower that bar, but you can only lower it so much before the ease of the game contradicts its own nature.

    One thing that I’ve found to be true with Leap Day is that very small changes in design lead to a very large changes in game play.

    With that said, my one true wish for a standalone, purchasable version of Leapday is for it to be totally moddable. I realize making a game moddable is kind of a pain and requires special attention, but i think it would breathe new life into the game while simultaneously taking pressure off you guys to try to appeal to all types of gamers. I also have a feeling that you guys might get a kick out of trying out some community mods.

    Mods can come in ‘Packages’ and be turned on and off from an options menu during the game creation phase. Maybe some mods can only be turned on if no other mods are turned on. Mods could include new rules, buildings, flan/train types, shrines, maps, game modes, and so on.

    The game’s core mechanics are so simple and unique, that there are countless design directions the game could take, all of them spidering out into unique concepts of their own.

    For example, imagine a mode that pits two players/teams against each other. You build barracks to train soldier flan. Regular flan build recipes that make weapons and armor of various strengths, and the soldier flan have to pick them up after they’re made. When two flan of opposing teams are on the same tile, they battle and the better equipped one wins. The goal is to get X number of your soldier flan to your enemy’s castle in one leap day.

    That’s just one high level concept idea for a game variation, of which there are literally infinite ideas.

    I believe part of the reason Minecraft is so successful is because of the modding system – how the core game play is so simple and unique, and how mods can take the game into infinite directions. I feel that Leapday is similar in this regard.

    So yeah, making a game moddable is a pain because you have to consider moddability throughout the architecture phase, but I can’t think of any other game I’d want to be moddable more than Leapday.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by  garmichael.
    #17022

    Silverthorn

    “[…] It’s like the game just attracts thoughtful, kind people.”

    This is the most amazing and important thing about it, to me.

    When I found Leap Day, it was in the middle of a binge on a game that has only this one thing in common with it: part of the creators’ interest was setting up a social experiment. System disbalance had tipped it the exact opposite way in all other regards – its addictive charm was much the same as that of a certain part of 4chan, if that says anything.

    What I took away from it was all kinds of negative reinforcement, such as, assholes are everywhere, and they are always the loudest, and the loudest are always favored, so trust noone. Be terrified. Isolation is the best strategy. Wall yourself in. You know, all the things I was doing in my day-to-day life already, anyway.

    I remember my bafflement when people kept showing up here who, despite having proven that they could easily solo whatever there was to solo and that their cerebral skills were far above average, would wait around for days for someone, anyone, to share the miniboss they were going at. Who would let me sell all the things they were producing when it meant less income for them than I got from it, despite all the work being on their side. Who would, in their sharing and cooperation, go way beyond what the game forced us to do and who never met me with anything other than respect and courtesy, even when I was being something of an idiot.

    Interaction with these players taught me a lot.
    At the very least, it was a catalyst for bringing out things in me I’d been looking for, things worthwhile far beyond the scope of an online game.
    My generally hostile and wary attitude towards all things and people new softened over time, in all areas of my life. I started actively wanting to be less judgemental, started looking for things to honestly compliment people on instead, started being more at ease with me and the world around me. It made me want to be a more kind person, myself, irregardless of whether that kindness would come to fruition or not.

    Sublime mechanics and brainfodder aside, my greatest ingame enjoyment became getting a feel for the synergy of every new group I joined, helping it to become a unique one-game clockwork or adapting into it. Making everyone feel included as much as possible. Encouraging talented newbies. Finding the keys to get everything to mesh.

    Recently, when random groups started frequently being hopeless due to the huge and extremely diverse clump of nabs unleashed, another unexpected thing happened – a small semi-regular group formed that I was lucky enough to be part of.
    In this group, it would happen that I was obliviously building something, and halfway through I’d hear “here’s that other thing you need”, without ever having asked. Or we would be setting up and troubleshooting systems entirely without words, just by watching the same spots at the same time. Or we’d take down maps entirely too fast with entirely too little hands at an entirely inappropriate time of day.
    It was a most elevating feeling of effortless teamwork and community, not to mention great fun, and it, well, it just made me happy.

    So my very personal loss when our common playground here goes down (or goes “download, single-player”) will be this small place I found where I felt I could belong, however inflated that sounds.
    Thankyou for keeping it up while you could.

    #17023

    colemanpants

    Wow, @silverthorn. Just wow.

    My hope is that we would preserve all that you describe. Of course, that play exists partially because it has been the only way to play. Our trick will be accommodating a broader range of playing styles while still getting enough people experiencing the full co-op version of the game.

    #17053

    qonen

    Without knowing what the devs see as a success or failure, it is difficult for me to form targeted suggestions. Here are a few thoughts that come to mind:
    1) While cooperation is essential to Leap Day, at times it seems forced. For example, new players after the tutorial are led to a Sad Uncle map where they seem unprepared for the trade requirement. I cringe thinking about how many players could have joined the community but gave up after being trapped in a week-long game with the ring tower blocked. Remove the trade requirement from the first game to keep things smooth. There is plenty of time for that in subsequent maps. Maybe have a ring shrine that does a cool effect if you really want to introduce trade on the first map.
    2) Again, while cooperation is at the core of Leap Day, some single-player content seems useful. For a downloaded title, it seems essential. Encourage or enforce completion of a single-player map involving trade before unlocking multiplayer maps with rings. Maybe have players complete an item of moderate complexity alone before offering a Twins-level or Cougarina-level game. In the end, some players would enjoy challenging single-player maps that depend on optimization, although those would be most suited for a leaderboard or such, rather than as a prerequisite for cooperative content.
    3) Good maps are hard to design. Yet new maps seem important to keep things fresh. Perhaps a scenario builder could be offered that allows players to create and publish maps. They could be rated by the community, so that the best contributions are more prominently offered. These maps could be both for cooperative play and solo.
    4) To fuel the cooperative spirit, consider gating content based on community objectives. I don’t know what the backstory is, but I think it would be neat if the community helped progress the story, rather than just the individual. Once enough people do something, whether it be many people doing something easy (a participation goal) and/or a few people doing something hard (a challenge goal), advance things along. Unlock new recipes, new maps, or new buildings or just advance the story.
    5) In the end, though, the most important point is similar to Silverthorn’s. Playing the same maps and making the same items is only interesting a certain number of times. Soon a far more interesting element of the game is interaction with other players. In the end I think success hinges on encouraging (although not necessarily forcing) this interaction.
    6) Factories. I agree that “?” components are confusing, and I have enjoyed shoppes, but factories were really something special. I’d consider resurrecting them without “?” components through multiple recipes. For example, lumber could have two recipes of wood + water + water or wood + wood + water. Discard miser factories and make all recipes have three components. Large factories could exist, as a separate set of 5-input recipes if desired. Old-school mana was interesting, although the other 5-input recipes (mainly stacking 5 of a basic good) were not interesting. It might be okay to have factories co-exist with shoppes. Players could choose between 3×3 shoppes that filters inputs, or 2×2 factories that processes all inputs (or mix and match both).

    #17068

    jamesdenem

    The biggest challenge a single player version of this game will face is how to handle the whole gem crafting tree.
    Will you have AI players strategically set up delivering the gems for trade, or will you have some way for the player to either create different gems or craft the goods without needing different gems?
    Or will you completely remove the whole crafting items tree needing gems, and leave that for the multiplayer side of the game?

    On the thought of a single player version, I came up with an interesting scenario/gameplay mode:

    The boss will require some complex item such as pink flamingo, and have no time limit.
    The player will start with their entire recipe list “hidden”, where they won’t be able to craft any goods.
    Delivering goods to the castle will “unlock” recipes after x goods for that recipe are delivered. For Example: The player starts by collecting food from bushes and delivers them to his castle. After delivering 5 food, the recipe for bread unlocks, and maybe also the other recipes that use food will appear, but with the other goods currently listed as unknown. If the player then delivers water to the castle, they could unlock both barrels and spirits.
    The goal will be to uncover the required recipe for the boss item, and then craft said recipe to deliver to the boss.

    #17089

    Tempus

    Hello colemanpants,

    I haven’t been playing Leap Day lately, due to frustration with a number of things, along with life issues. However, I do pop by the forums to see what changes are in the works, etc. I’ve been reading this thread, and I have a suggestion for you which may help your bottom line.

    I believe you should package Leap Day as a stand alone Mac/PC application, which should not be too much of an issue since it’s Unity based. With this stand alone, you should build a hosting module, allowing individual players to host their own servers, which would then be sent to your main server to be listed. Leap Day would then connect to the main server only for the listing, then directly to the player server for the specific game world. The Leap Day web client would act the same, except without the hosting module. You could then downsize your server to any cheap VPS or dedicated, which can run as cheap as 2 or 3$ a month.

    I know I would run a game off my dedicated, and I’m sure others like Garmichael would as well. Having player servers would give much more variation and population to the game list, and would offload your current costs. There are many games that function this way.

    I envision the hosting module being a simple GUI or command line application, which would start and run the host, choosing a single stage to be listed on your main server at any one time. The creator could choose from any specific level to constantly rehost, or make a rotating system from a list, or if you were slightly more ambitious you could set them up as a queue which could be updated at any time. If you wish to retain full control over the levels, you could keep the levels encrypted within the application, or host the levels from your server directly in a one time download. Another option would be to allow the player to host any level he desires, including modified levels (I’m presuming your level format is XML based like your other data types seem to be). A compromise could be that ‘official’ levels are verified and give XP, gold chests, crowns, etc., but modified levels do not. These checks can be built into the client to keep server requirements as low as possible.

    That said, I’m sure you already have some sort of existing system, and would prefer to work off what you have if you would decide to allow user-hosted games rather than build one from scratch. With player hosted servers, the only time a player would need to connect to your server would be when choosing a game, and when purchasing crowns. If high server costs are an issue due to server load, bandwidth, or required processing power, then implementing the above or a similar system should allow you to lower them drastically.

    As long as I’m on a spiel about financial issues, I might as well offer some suggestions regarding monetization. Currently, you have it set up so that players pay (quite large, in my opinion) amounts of money for in game items that are intended to increase convenience. I’ve talked about this before in the past, but the sums required for the some of these items are extremely high for the payout, even when compared to AAA console titles. Lowering the price point and offering combo packs may increase sales.

    However, another option may be to monetize user created content. Many of the Leap Day players above seem quite ardent, and might be more willing to pay for things like a custom level to be made for them, or a unique recipe. This is a tactic many kick-starters have been using successfully – offer a more expensive package that allows players to add features, levels, or other content into the game that they desire. The benefit of this is two fold: your most passionate supporters can support you directly, and get exactly what they want out of it, and you get the advantage of having player input directly implemented into your game which gives you a great idea of what players want or do not want.

    If you combine the two, you get a steady stream of small income from casual players, who are paying 1-2$ for items like stout towers or fast rail, while more devout players could get a personalized custom level, recipe, or feature added to the game for 10$, 25$, 50$, 100$, or more (within stipulations provided by your team, of course) which would steadily improve the game.

    You could also, of course, just try selling the game for 15-20$ or so, like many other small PC games, and remove the purchases. You could also produce a mobile version (again, you’re using Unity…) and while the price point on mobile is lower (2-8$ is common for quality games), the reach is much larger. Or keep it free with IAP like you currently have.

    #17107

    jchrisholmes

    Can you share some of your metrics? I am particularly curious as to the size of the player base over time.

    I do think that this game can do very well as a single player sort of game. Levels can be pre-configured with non playable characters that you could request goods from. “I need your gems” or “I need wood”, etc. and have some pre-built drop off loops.

    In the end, this game is similar to Manufactoria, The Codex of Alchemical Engineering, SpaceChem, etc. It’s just programming recast into another form – which is lovely.

    #17280

    kheldar633

    I know I’ve been absent for a long time, but you know what I think about where the game has gone. I dislike being negative over and over again so I’ve remained as quiet as I was able.

    That being said, do you guys see any potential value in re-trying this game as-is (Spryfox-server-based) from just before you rebooted it into the specialized factory era? You had a brilliant–and I mean BRILLIANT–programming simulation at the time with an avid following (from my point of view). I think the development time from there should have been focused on new bosses, new items to craft, item tree tweaks, and resource generation balancing within various maps–alongside UI stuff and the like, of course.

    There were many threads on these forums, started by devs, soliciting new content ideas from players for bosses and crafting combinations. Those threads are full of great ideas. With the reboot of the game, though, no new bosses came. New items felt mainly like contrived hurdles to conform to the new crafting system than anything truly clever and complexity at the end game ramped way out of control.

    I know I haven’t played lately, but those are my last perceptions of the post-revamp game. Is there any chance of trying again with the incredibly solid base that you had and, instead of messing with the base, messing with the scenery?

    #17465

    kheldar633

    I guess not. Cheers.

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