A Year in Review: Pleasantville by Night
A year ago today, I sent out the first invites and officially opened the doors of Pleasantville by Night to the public. I’d previously been involved with another game called Xenos (in fact, a lot of Pleasantville’s code is based off of it), but there I hadn’t been the only one working on it. There were others able to fix bugs, and to give me feedback on my content before I went live with it. Pleasantville was a solo effort, and I was nervous.
Would I be able to handle it? Was I a good enough programmer? (The answer: “Not really, but turns out it doesn’t matter”)
Most importantly…would people even like it? This was a world that nobody had seen but me, and here I was about to put it out there for everyone to see. I had no idea if other people would think the jokes were funny or if the content was too dark or bizarre. Would people I know start giving me strange looks, calling the whitecoats on me, or maybe performing impromptu exorcisms to cure me of what is obviously a case of demonic possession? (No demons here, aside from the ones in the game. This stuff’s all 100% me. I dunno if that’s better or worse).
Well, here we are a year later. While new user retention isn’t as good as I’d like, a large number of the people playing the game today joined a year ago, so obviously I’m, at least, OK at this.
To those of you who play the game, thank you. It is fantastically, monumentally cool to see other people enjoying something you’ve created, and without you, there wouldn’t have been a year to review. The pride I feel I guess is kind of like the pride of having a kid, but less expensive and with less pooping? (Probably about the same time commitment, though)
For those of you who used to play, come on back! I’ve been putting a lot of effort over the past few months to make the game a lot more accessible. This round, for example, I massively simplified the stats so it’s more clear what things actually do. Give it another go…for me? (And if you still don’t like it, please, let me know why! I can’t promise I’ll make every suggested change, but if it’s a good idea, I probably will).
To those of you who don’t play, give it a try! (http://www.pleasantvillebynight.com) It’s free, the community is friendly, and it has zombie nerds, werehippies and Beelzebros! What more could you possibly want?
Some numbers, because everyone loves statistics. Since February 15, 2012:
- 217 user accounts have been created.
- We’ve had 7 complete rounds, and we’re now on the 8th. The shortest (the first) lasted less than two weeks. The longest (the 7th) lasted almost three months!
- 4 Beelzebro Wins
- 2 Inquisition Wins
- 1 Cthulhooligan Win
- 0 Weirdfellows Wins
- Besides the original content, I’ve added:
- More than 60 creatures
- Almost 200 items
- 11 of those items were donator-reward Items of the Month. 2 of those actually came out on the first of the month. Obviously there’s still room for improvement.
- 6 areas
So, in the end, tl;dr as the kids say, thank you for playing Pleasantville by Night, or at least putting up with me talking about it. It’s been a great year, and I’ve got some good things in store for next year. They say the first year of running a browser-based massively multiplayer team-focused role-playing game is the hardest, right? (Please someone tell me they say that, I don’t know if I have the strength to keep going otherwise! This thing is horrible…I’m going gray!)
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for putting up with my rambling. Much love to all y’all,