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Zombie Lane: my initiation to free-to-play

These days I feel nostalgic. I was thinking about which game caught my interest for f2p games. In my case, it was a game called Zombie Lane for Facebook.

It was the early times of free-to-play, and the success of Farmville was already there. I was receiving everyday notifications to help my friends with their crops. This game looked like a satire of that fashion, in my eyes. I discovered it thanks to Marc, a colleague from Zitro. And the irony is that a few times later I ended up working for the company that developed that game, Digital Chocolate.

The core loop is quite simple:

  • You get a set of tasks to complete to advance throughout the story
  • Completing a task means using energies to perform certain actions which include: harvesting, building, crafting, and zombie elimination.
  • Every time you use energy to perform some action, you get XP to level up. Leveling up grants improving your maximum energies to be able to perform more and more.
  • When you complete a task, you unlock 1+ extra tasks and characters

The long-term goal is to complete the storyline, which is organized into tasks. You also have to design and maintain your place, as a mid-term goal. You need defending it from the zombies. When you are out of the game, zombies can destroy things.

The adventure-farm genre is really interesting because it involves economy and systems but also an intense dose of narrative. Zombie Lane had barks, dialogues, stories, animations, and enemies with meaning. It was a simple game, and I have a tremendous respect for that game.

Maybe now that Discord launched activities: the possibility of making games for its vocal, it would be cool to recreate a game like zombie-lane. Many Discord users of today were the Zombie Lane players of yesterday.

Fun fact, the game already had many mechanics (especially resources) that are still widely used today in video games. Another innovation could be to thing in other kind of currencies.

Image taken from here.

Published inGame Design

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