June 2010

Zynga’s newly released iPhone version of FarmVille is a passable if flawed miniaturization of its popular PC cousin. But the move to Apple’s popular mobile phone brings with it the opportunity to add some rather unique new gameplay to the familiar farming experience. Here are just a few ideas for how Zynga can take full advantage of the iPhone hardware to make a better (or at least a fresher) overall game.

Geo-location: Visiting your virtual neighbors in FarmVille is all well and good, but sometimes you want to see what’s going on with your actual neighbors. With the iPhone’s built-in GPS (and IP-based geo-location for iPod users), this should be easy enough to implement. Simply let players opt-in to share their locations, then let them visit other farms are being shared in a set radius (anywhere from a few feet to a few hundred miles should be available). In addition to helping people discover new FarmVille freaks in their area, this feature could also let businesses and attractions set up virtual farms that are only accessible by visiting their real-world locations.

(full article)

No longer just a rumor, no longer just an announcement at a press conference, Farmville on the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad/iToaster is now a reality, at least on the New Zealand App Store.

And here’s the proof: a quick video showing off the basics of the iFarmville interface. Look for more detailed impressions of the newly mobile Facebook game here soon.

At first glance, the set of five independently developed computer games that went on sale as a downloadable bundle on May 4 didn’t seem especially noteworthy. Even the collection’s name reflected its lack of pretension: The Humble Indie Bundle (HIB) — containing PC, Mac and Linux versions of indie favorites World of Goo, Aquaria, Lugaru HD, Gish, and Penumbra (plus late donation Samorost 2) — wasn’t trying to revolutionize the way indie games are sold and distributed. It was simply “a unique kind of bundle that we are trying out,” as the official Web page put it.

But when the bundle was taken off the market 11 days later — after attracting over 138,000 purchases and nearly $1.3 million in donations — that built-in humility started to look a little ridiculous. Sure, those numbers would be a drop in the bucket for a big-budget developer, but for the relatively small world of indie games, the HIB was a veritable blockbuster.

“When you’re an independent game developer, and there’s no publisher or other middle-man, you only need a tiny amount of sales in order for it to be a gigantic success,” said Jeffrey Rosen, co-founder of Penumbra publisher Wolfire Games and one of the men who organized the HIB.

(full article)