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Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar Figimon! Mon 28th Feb 2011 3:19pm


It feels like my head has been buzzing with new ideas lately!
It may seem like I'm all over the place, talking about things then immediately moving on before doing what I said I would, but really these are all just various ideas for paths to one goal: I want to work out some way to make the site both fun and profitable.

I want to implement the Fig Coins as soon as possible, but I'll need to do some reading about how to actually get it working; I've never made an online shop before, and I need to make sure that it's secure. Most likely we'll have some 'beta phase' for a while where you can 'buy' coins without actually giving any money, to find any holes...

Anyway, I don't want the coins to be a mere 'add-on' feature. Instead, I want to revamp the site itself so then the coins are a deeply integrated aspect of how the site in general works... There are other reasons that I want to redo it, too, like simply being tired of the current layout and realising - from what I've read about online shop making so far - that my code and site structure aren't as elegant as they could be.
It's mainly 'behind the scenes' stuff that I need to improve on, and it's always better to start anew than to try to mould what's already here.
I know it's not been too long since the last renovation, but hopefully this will be the last one for a while.

I've been trying to think of other uses that the coins could have, and I've started developing an idea!

Some of you older members might remember the time when there was a little virtual pet thing up in the corner; a 'Figimon'.
I had great plans for this, but never really got anywhere with them since development of it was interrupted...
However, it would probably be a good idea to try to bring it back!

There are many possible paths that I could take with this.

The Keychain Pet Approach
Back when it was first added, the Figimon was basically just a clone of the Digimon virtual pets, the keychain ones, that some of you might remember. The pet needed feeding and training, and it aged a 'year' each day and died if you neglected it or it got too old. It evolved after it reached a certain age, and its form was based on how you'd looked after it.
I don't want to do that anymore, though; it's not something particularly engaging, probably.

So, of course, I've been thinking about what I could design it like instead.

The Dress-Up Avatar Approach
I thought about those 'avatars' that some sites have (notably Gaia Online... though I've never actually been there), which you can dress using clothes that you've actually paid for. It seems to work; amazingly, some people do pay for these vanity objects because they want to show off or feel 'cool'. Or pretty!
As far as I'm aware, though, the avatars don't actually *do* anything, so it seemed a bit... uninteresting to me; not something I'd personally like.
It also raised some difficulties... What would the figimon look like? Would it have one form? Several different forms? Would it evolve? Would it be immortal? Would you buy hats, or heads? Could I take ideas from Chimaera to use for it? Why not call it a Monstrosity, then?

Anyway, I didn't much like that direction... But an idea struck me, which isn't really something I've seen done identically elsewhere and which squeezes my excitement glands a whole lot more firmly!
Perhaps, instead, I could copy the Pokemon formula somewhat?
I'm already going to do Beast Signer at some point, which is essentially a Pokemon clone, but I don't see why I should only do one of them...

The Pokemon Approach
Instead of each person having only one figimon which exists only as a static avatar to dress up, perhaps each person could have a collection of figimon, each of which would be a different species and which could evolve as Pokemon do?
Rather than feeding them or looking after them or anything, instead I could add genuine gameplay elements, like wandering into dungeons and battling with them to level them up... HMM.

With this idea, each figimon wouldn't really be very customised - if you got a 'Gruul', it'd look basically the same as anyone else's... probably - but the 'customisation' would come from the team that you'd gathered (as is the case in Pokemon).
I'd be able to sell individual rare 'Legendary' figimon for fig coins; I know how much people love legendaries and how much they'd want to show off such a trophy...
And speaking of trophies, another idea is that while this site would eventually get achievements which you could win from games - it seems like a must - some of those achievements *could be Figimon*.
So if you completed Alora Fane, for example, rather than just getting a flashy medal or T-shirt that said 'Completed Alora Fane', you'd get a figimon based on one of Alora Fane's in-game monsters, to train and battle with, so that your reward was 'useful' in some way.
I think that's an idea that could really work...

I know that people base their opinions of ideas based on assumed or imagined details; potential difficulties or frustrations that could arise... So I'll try to explain some of the details that I've come up with so far; bear in mind though that this is very much a brand new idea that surely needs more refining.

Acquiring Figimon
Perhaps if you had no figimon at all, you'd be able to go somewhere on the site and acquire one, free of charge... Or maybe there'd be a Figimon shop, where you could buy any that you wanted (at level 1) for varying numbers of Fig Coins. Some might cost hundreds, others only a handful; you might be able to acquire one for 10 coins, for example, meaning that people who'd just joined the site would have to wait a while to get one (this may be a bad idea; as I've said, this whole thing needs refining as an idea).

You'd also be able to go into dungeons (I'll mention this later), and capture wild figimon that were wandering around in the grass; or at least, capture their essence/DNA/code/whatever (described below). Perhaps you'd need an expendable item to do this, and perhaps they'd cost fig coins to buy? If that were the case, the items wouldn't fail like pokeballs do; they'd be guaranteed to succeed.

You'd also be able to win figimon as achievements, as I mentioned, from games on this site, such as Alora Fane, Raider, the New Deliverance, etc.

The Bestiary
There'd be a Pokedex-like catalogue of all the figimon in existence, and a copy of this would perhaps be shown on every account page, under a tab just as the Personality and Performance stuff are currently.
Each person's Bestiary would show how many Figimon species they'd collected. Once you'd 'captured', bought, or won any Figimon, you'd acquire its 'DNA' or 'code' or something, which you could then use at some special 'Lab' part of the site to create for yourself a level 1 version of that Figimon.

So unlike Pokemon, where you'd go out and catch a level 70 Rayquaza or something, instead you'd merely acquire the 'essence' of things that you captured, allowing you to make a potentially infinite number of clones later. I think that this would ensure that money spent on any figimon felt more worth it; you'd be buying the 'cloning licence' for it, rather than an individual.

Party Size
You'd have a limited number of slots for Figimon on your account; I'd need to prevent each member from having hundreds because the server just couldn't take it. So perhaps each person could have about five, and maybe you could buy more slots, to a maximum of twenty? Of course, it'd be unpleasant to lose your favourite figimon if you wanted to clone a new type, so I'd need to think more about this...

Selling Figimon?!
Each Figimon would have a level, which would increase by training it in dungeons (described below). Training would be a fairly lengthy process, so the level wouldn't grow very quickly.
Perhaps, instead of deleting or 'releasing' Figimon to free up space, you could 'sell' them, which would essentially convert them into a number of Fig coins based on their level?!
So a level 20 figimon would give you 20 coins and free up the space for another one to take its place...
This might lead to too much coin accumulation, though, so I'm not sure about it. I do want people to *buy* the coins, after all.

The gameplay would be fairly simple; simpler than any of my other games, but it'd be based on them in a way because I'd be doing what I already know how to do.

You'd control a human character to walk around tile-based dungeons; perhaps since the human is largely irrelevant (despite representing you) and wouldn't be seen by other people, there'd only be two variants; a male and a female, both fairly generic-looking. Allowing human avatar customisation would be overcomplicating things.
(I even imagined playing as your actual square 50x50 avatar, but that might look too weird, sliding around mazes without any animation... o_O)

Dungeons would be typical things like caves and forests, and each one would contain their own type of figimon that you could battle for experience, or capture.

Sites that are meant to be long-term attractions need to limit how much you can do in a day, in order to keep people coming back regularly; there should be no way to 'win' quickly by playing all day.
I'd follow this rule, so perhaps each figimon that you trained could only regenerate its HP at the end of each day, and there'd be no healing magic (there might be items, however, bought with fig coins). This would limit how much battling it could do each day. It'd probably need quite a bit of experience to level up, too...
Or perhaps I could give each one a 'stamina' stat or something which would decrease by 1 for every battle? I don't know.

Anyway, these dungeons would be added fairly regularly to the site, and they'd be located in various parts of the site rather than just in a menu somewhere; I'll explain this in a later section of this absolutely humongous post!

A Toy more than a Game!
I don't mean the Figimon to turn into a proper game to replace Beast Signer (I still intend to make Beast Signer!), or to distract me from Alora Fane or MARDEK or whatever else. While it'll use the same techniques I use in my games, it'd be very much a simplification; there'd be no plot, perhaps no music, it'd lack other significant features of my other games... It's mainly the sort of thing that'd entertain you *between* the games I release; it'd keep people coming back, but wouldn't be the main attraction in itself, or something.
Of course, I'd try to make it entertaining enough, but don't expect something which requires clever strategising to win battles or something you could play all day or anything like that.

I may try to start on this soon, because as I imagine it, it wouldn't be too difficult to set up, and I want to redesign the site with it in mind...
Speaking of which...

More about the site redesign!
When I've redone the site before - which has happened quite a few times - usually I just tweak parts of the layout, moving a menu here, adding a sidebar there, that kind of thing... The site stays mainly the same. But for ages, I've been trying to come up with an idea for a more interesting and unique layout for my site that might make merely visiting it an enjoyable experience.

And something has come to me, an idea for just that!

Again, this isn't an idea I've refined very well; it's more of a 'hey, THAT might be interesting...!' sort of thing rather than something I've written a 100-page word document about, planning it in detail...
It might not even work out, but if it could, it might be rather intriguing and might make the site more memorable.

I'd want to make navigating the site feel sort of like a game in itself...

Years ago, when I first started planning Fig Hunter Online in its earliest form, I wanted the game to use the whole site; the site would BE the game, in a way. While there'd be Flash-based aspects like dungeon romping, I imagined that you'd be able to visit different worlds by clicking on links, which would take you to different pages where you'd find new dungeons and shops and things, and the site's look would change accordingly; the template would stay the same, but the colours would reflect where you were, so the site would go green if you were on a forest world, red for a lava world, etc.

From as early as I can remember, I've been interested in sci-fi and the idea of multiple worlds, different planets to visit. I used to draw various alien races from the 'Draco System' when I was little; a whole collection of planets with vastly different environments...

This fascination remains with me, and it's that that's inspired a new layout. It's sort of hard to explain vividly though - it'd be useful if I could draw up some mock-up images - so maybe you'll get the wrong mental image... But I'll try to describe what I have in mind.

Planets and Moons!
Rather than being made up of the boring menus that every site has, like it is now, the site would instead just show the dark-coloured top bar that exists currently (with your username and a link to your inbox and stuff), a footer like the one currently, the logo in the top left... and everything under that would be some big, black, starry void... Individual stars would be created by code, and amongst them, there'd be *planets*; basically little icons which you could click on.
Each planet would represent a page of the site (and it'd be labelled accordingly), like 'Blog', 'Games', 'Community', or whatever.
And interestingly, each planet could have *moons* orbiting it; for example, the 'Community' planet would have moons for 'Forum', 'Chat', 'Members', and so on. The moons would move in circular paths using code.

Though you'd only be able to fit a certain amount of space on the screen at once, there might be planets outside your view; to 'move', you'd hold your cursor near the edges of the screen or use the arrow keys. If any important planets were offscreen, some arrows with their labels would show at the edge of the screen to indicate the direction that you needed to move in.
I'd try to plan it so that everything important was easily seen without moving, but I could perhaps use some small planets as Figimon Dungeons and you'd have to search space manually to find them! o_O

Clicking a planet or moon wouldn't necessarily change to a new page; instead, a panel would appear over the top of the space screen; the page content would be loaded in here.
I'd need to come up with a way to make it easy to link people to specific pages of the site...

There'd also be a 'classic version' of the site available for people who didn't want to bother around with the planet icon things; it'd look very much like this version does, but it might be less interesting. I know I'd need to do it though because some people don't like the unfamiliar!!1

These posts are so long! D:
So yes, these are some ideas that I have been going over.
It seems like a time of big change for this site... It might look and work very different in a few months!
Sorry again for writing an immensely huge post! If you've read all this, then congratulations. Have a, uh... pat on the back. Or something.


22 Commentson 18 roots

Eragon`s Avatar
Rating Orb Eragon 14 Italy MelancholicPhlegmatic 142C 31F
7 years ago | (0)
FIGIMONS BACKS?!HOORAY!I really liked the old figimons(even if the only thing that I can do was feed them.)and adding this dungeon thing will be fantastic,but you can give to everyone a basic figmon that's of the element of the user,or a basic figmon whitout element...
I also like the idea of planets and moon,but maybe sometimes I can want to back to the old version,simple because I dont want to serch for the thing that I want,so making the old site version button is a good idea.Actually all sounds good,except for the idea of selling figimons for get fig coins 'cause people can use this and you won't get pay.You will insert the special figimon thing for all your games or only for some?Because I can't image a figmon from CBC,what you can use?A dog?I don't say that it's a bad idea,but only for some games.Also maybe you can make the MARDEK''s medals appear on the member page.But all the idea are good,so...god job,Pseudo.
Green Reuben`s Avatar
Rating Orb Green Reuben 16 New Zealand CholericPhlegmatic 167C 2F
7 years ago | (1)
Members selling figimon for coins sounds like a great idea but people could abuse the system easily, if they spent money till they had 20 slots for figimon then they could easily train them up a sell them (I'm assuming when you said they could sell them you meant they sell them to the site instead of members (otherwise money wouldn't be an issue)) and never have to give you money again, just have it so people can only sell them to other members, this way you will profit instead. People could even auction off figimon. This would work even better if the figimon could benefit them in some other way or if the figimon game was really complex.

For rarity of the figimon there should be common ones that you get from playing the game and occasionally a rare one. Other games like Mardek or Beast Signer (Beast Signer would work well because they seem similar and it would be pretty cool getting a figimon for finishing a mission) can get rare ones and then people can buy the rarest ones from you.

The new layout sounds like a good idea, hopefully it works out, because I've seen something similar and it got kinda annoying.
Ajbcool`s Avatar
Rating Orb E β Ajbcool 23 United States SanguinePhlegmatic 290C 148F
7 years ago | (2)
Framing the site as a whole universe? Interesting theory.

From what I know, interactive pages tend to require more data downloaded than other, less flashy pages. So the type of full-flashsite, where everyplace is a planet with moons and such, seems to be a way to tax your servers even more, especially when this novel idea brings in more traffic. I mostly draw experience from reading updates on MS Paint Adventures. While updates bring a lot of people to read at the same time, it's usually the large flash updates (especially the playable ones) that require some sort of more stable mirror to draw away traffic temporarily so it doesn't crash the site. So the type of page that you want, I would imagine, would be similarly taxing, especially when you release a new game. Thus, you'd have to make sure your servers could handle the load that you could expect it to handle.

Though, if you've already considered this and are incorporating it into the costs that FigCoins would help cover, then by all means try it out.
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
7 years ago | (2)
I'm not going to be using Flash for the 'planets' thing; it'd just use images and JavaScript, so it should load as quickly as any other web page. I suppose it'd look a bit sloppy while you wait for the images to load, but they'd only be small - avatar sizes, mere icons - so that shouldn't take long.
It'd use the same technology as those 'snow' scripts that some sites have around Christmas time, where a bunch of 'snowflakes' are all moving on the screen. That's just JavaScript.
uugr`s Avatar
Rating Orb uugr 12 United States MelancholicSanguine 230C 35F
7 years ago | (1)
I love the idea. Seriously. A possible idea would be that instead of just some random planets, it could be a solar system, perhaps? The sun would probably be community or maybe even the main page, I don't know. There could also ben an asteroid belt of sorts, that could be probably chat. Of course, like the rest of the stars and planets idea, it's not really that defined, it's just a possible suggestion. Also, I like the idea of fig coins, but I'm not exactly sure about the figmon idea, you just weren't specific enough.
gnome`s Avatar
Rating Orb gnome 19 United States PhlegmaticCholeric 386C 81F
7 years ago | (2)
I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself. :P I won't say that this spark of productivity isn't good, because well, it is, but you seem to have worked yourself into a dream-world frenzy of uh, money and stuff. And I just wanted to remind you that you're making everything much larger/flashier than it really should be. Especially the Figimon. :P Right now, it's about as big a project as FHO or Beast Signer would be, I imagine. "A toy, not a game"--nope, your ideas about dungeons and hats and exploring make it sound a lot like a very large game. :D

I don't mean to burst your bubble, I mean, yes it'll be amazing when (if) all of this gets sorted out and happens and is executed brilliantly, but I really think you should be taking one step at a time, instead of uh, this. :P
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
7 years ago | (2)
It really, really isn't anything nearly as complicated as things like FHO or Beast Signer, at least not from what I've actually *planned* (though what you may have interpreted from what I wrote is a different thing, I suppose)...
There are a bunch of technical things that make it relatively simple; basically I'd be omitting much of what makes my games take as long as they do.
Things like 'dungeons' might sound like a big idea, but I've done so many of those in other projects that it's something I could get working in a few days. Drawing and designing the figimon is going to be the hardest bit.
And I don't know if it was clear, but I said that I *wouldn't* do things like 'hats'; accessories and stuff, since instead the 'customisation' aspect would merely come from the party that you had.
Deaven`s Avatar
Rating Orb Deaven 17 Canada 28C 0F
7 years ago | (1)
The planets and moons part of this was interesting, but I'm curious to how this would effect the games section. I think it would be interesting if the games section/page/star was basicly a small galaxie. When you click it, it zooms in, and you can click on individual stars which would/could be a game series. For example: you click on the games 'galaxie', then you click on the mardek 'star' which then takes you to the mardek 'solar system', with each planet being one of the mardek games.

If a game isnt unlocked, the planet would still show up, but maybe it would be crossed out, with a sign under it that sais something like: (Insert game name here) is currently locked, and costs X amount of fig coins. Click here to unlock the game, or click here to buy more fig coins.
Acer rubrum fox`s Avatar
Rating Orb Acer rubrum fox 12 United States PhlegmaticSanguine 14C 1F
7 years ago | (2)
I do remember the little virtual figmon in the corner of the screen that was even before I had a real account but when I merely got on to play MARDEK. Although I like the key chain idea I think the Pokemon type idea is defiantly the best. I really like the bestiary thing because I always want to complete those kinds of things. I think selling figmon is a great idea and a good way to earn money. I think everyone should get a free starter figmon. The planets and moons idea is a great and you should try to do it.
SavageWolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb β SavageWolf 17 United Kingdom CholericMelancholic 533C 105F
7 years ago | (5)
Here are a list of things I would be enraged about if they were paid:
* Capturing items, any item which I have to buy would become ToAwesomeToUse. So, my mentality will stop me from using it...
* Legendary Figimon, I want to earn them!
* A too restrictive stamina or HP system, charging for a refilling item, see Dream World.
* Party slots, if you have less than 3-5.
* A starting Figimon.

And things which I have *no moral objections* to:
* A legendary DUNGEON with a legendary Figimon in.
* More than 3-5 party slots.
* HATS! :D And other cosmetic items, I guess...
* Stuff for our profile planet thing...

I'm such a moral person, aren't I? Or whatever.

Anyway, I like the idea of there being body parts you could make your FMN out of parts, and you could charge for BRIGHT PINK LEGS!!11! or something...

I close this by saying:

On an unrelated note, say I charge 50F for a FHO RPG, and 20 people buy it, that nets me a neat 1000F! Yay!
amelt`s Avatar
Rating Orb amelt 15 United States SanguineMelancholic 69C 0F
7 years ago | (2)
The whole Figimon idea certainly sounds interesting; on that note, I only have one pertinent idea:
Perhaps, partially to separate it from pokemon and partially to make a little more cash, you could sort of combine the dress-up avatar idea with the pokemon idea; that is, one could buy, say, a monocle and top hat for one's Figimon for a few Fig Coins, and that would be pasted on to your Figimon when you were exploring a dungeon or battling. This would still make you a little more money, and also separate the player's individual Figimon from other Figimon of that type. The clothes or paints or whatever wouldn't be able to be cloned, though; this way you could probably afford to sell them for cheap, and as long as you kept releasing new clothes every week or so. I'm willing to bet that many people would be willing to go that extra length to stylize their Figimon; on its own, its not nearly as appealing, but seeing your Figimon disembowel foes while wearing said monocle and top hat would be entertaining, at least for me.
My only other comment is that while your idea for the new site design sounds entertaining, I'm not sure it really conveys the idea of the whole site as a game; it seems more like a really cool interface, which, while far from a bad thing, is not a game. On the other hand, you could implement something similar to Kongregate's points system; you could get points by doing various interesting things on the site, and perhaps a user could redeem, say, 1000 points for a few Fig Coins. I admit it would decrease your pay flow a little bit, but it would also encourage people to browse the site for longer and more often.
hlbeta`s Avatar
Rating Orb hlbeta 22 United States CholericMelancholic 144C 131F
7 years ago | (3)
Since you still seem to be considering market tactics for Figimon, I'd like to chip in on the various elements you mentioned.
General Mechanics
-A stamina/time/turn limit system seems pretty reasonable. Many browser games use this as a means of controlling content intake and people are fairly used to it. It's probably best to tie this to the party instead of specific creatures to make it easier to control.
-I like the idea of incorporating inter-game rewards into Figimon. It provides the customer with a cute little extra and encourages investment in the site. I still want to get unlockable Figimon t-shirts as clothing options in Beast Signer.
-I'm against limiting any part of the game's content entirely to paying members and believe that there are better ways to monetize the bestiary (see Fig Coins, below). Even if it's exceptionally rare and/or difficult to encourage purchasing coins non-paying players should at least have the opportunity to obtain any monster in the roster.
-Similarly, non-paying players should be able to expand their roster via conventional gameplay, even if they can't do it as quickly as someone who pays with Fig Coins. Limiting capture items to monetary purchase is a sure way to kill the game.

Fig Coins
As stated above, I feel that Fig Coins would likely work better as a sort of expedient access mechanism instead of a content gateway. I also think that there are some slyer ways to get additional funds from the store without much extra work. The way I see it there are three major things you can sell:
1. Stamina/turns/time boosts. Either a simple recharge (cheap), increased storage capacity for when it builds up between inactive days (middling) or an increase in one's daily allowance (expensive and rapidly growing in price up to an arbitrary cap).
2. Easy success. Sell Masterball-equivalents, revival items and instant levels. If it's consumable and overcomes a simple gameplay hurdle without being the only practical means of doing so, you should sell it.
3. Critters. For extra fun and a likely increase in profits, don't sell specific critters. Divide them into themed packs with varying degrees in-game commonality. Then sell an item that gives you a random unowned creature from a given theme, priced by the rarity and popularity of the creatures in that theme.

In general, I'd recommend dropping in new theme packs every few weeks to keep it interesting and offering special events or unique gift monsters on special occasions to keep interest up. I like the notion of rewarding players for giving up high-level creatures but can't think of a good way to do so without compromising gameplay or Fig Coins. Possibly introduce some kind of "player level" that gives access to more dungeons while possibly also improving growth rates and party stamina/turns/time and is fueled by that sacrifice.

As starting creatures go, I'd say it's probably best to let players pick a specific creature from a starter set and then give them two or so tokens to spend on some of the lower-end theme packs. It should give them enough variety to avoid getting stuck at some early point while also subtly advertising the in-game shop and its enticing theme packs.
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