In the first week of this blog I had a traffic spike for the Techthulhu article, but it fell back quickly. This week traffic has been more sustained and I am starting to see traffic from search engines as well as referrals. My unique user count for the month has risen to 614, and other stats like bounce rate, average page views and time on the site are all improving. I expect there will be some fall-off in the next two weeks because of Christmas, although I do plan to maintain a schedule of light, short posts over the holiday period.
In the second week of writing and publishing, I decided to focus the majority of the week on a single case study: CityVille. In talking about what games are, it’s not enough to only speak airily about magical engineering and experience, it’s important to ground these observations in real games too.
I changed the blog’s layout to put the posts on the left and the sidebar content on the right. I added a dedicated Twitter account, a Facebook Page, and a new Featured Posts page to help you more easily find key articles. I also installed a great plugin named LinkWithin, which generates suggested further reading at the bottom of posts algorithmically.
A head cold interrupted my publishing schedule a little, but in tracking performance of articles I think that my initial stab at publishing times (2pm and 9pm GMT) is wrong, and I should make them earlier (10am and 6pm) instead.
This Week’s Posts:
- Amusements: The second in the series about the different levels of the Engagement Hierarchy.
- CityVille Explained, part 1: This part talked about what CityVille actually is, and then discussed how visibility is incredibly important on a platform like Facebook, and how Zynga gains visibility.
- CityVille Explained, part 2: In the second part, I talked more about the gameplay of CityVille, how it creates open loops for players to follow, how it rewards players and how it uses timers to oblige players to leave and return at regular intervals.
- CityVille Explained, part 3: In the third part, I discusses the social features of the game, and how they use Facebook to encourage a vast amount of reciprocal trade through wall publishing and request notifications.
- Are You Fooling Yourself? : A short post, in which I talked about the tendency of developers and publishers to misunderstand the kind of engagement that their games generate.
- CityVille Explained, final part: In the final part, I talked about the monetary aspect of CityVille, how the economy of the game is structured to sell game cash, and finally made some observations on the game as a whole.
- The Complete ‘CityVille Explained’: This post simply gathered all of the other parts of the CityVille article in one easy place for reference.
- Beware the No-Brainers, part 2: This is the second in a series of three whimsical articles talking about the tendency of people to come up with no-brainer ideas that are actually unworkable and unrealistic.
- Platform Shift: To round out the week, I talked about platform shift, and how changes in platform have a tendency to junk the game cultures of the past.