Hey there Clammers!
TinyCo announced recently that they wanted to try out a Live Q&A on their Facebook Page, and a bit like their previous Reddit AMA there were mixed feelings about them doing this, but I think it was long overdue that they reach out to the community again and as much as this didn’t go quite as I’d hoped, (more on that later), hopefully it’s a start.
For those of you who missed the Q&A, it was live on Monday 20th March, and you can still watch it in full via TinyCo’s official Family Guy Quest For Stuff Facebook page, but incase you don’t want to go there, I’m going share my thoughts on what was a rather unusual Live Q&A for me.
THE TINYCO TEAM
Left to Right we have: Jason (Lead Artist); Jay (Lead Producer); Kimberley (Narrative Designer); Damon (Animator) and Kate (Lead Community Support).
THE LIVE Q&A – MY THOUGHTS
Now this was a 30 minute forum, and I’m not going to sit and do a word by word transcript as I’m not sure who would lose the will to live first, me writing it or you reading it. Instead I’m going pull out and highlight any interesting info and just give my general thoughts on what worked in this format, and of course what didn’t.
I’m going to be straight up honest before we go much further and say I was disappointed by the way the Live Q&A went, and I don’t mean due to the comments and questions being hijacked by trolls. No, it was the fact that from the outset this whole Live Q&A came over as very scripted, like when politicians give a Live Q&A briefing but the questions have actually been wrote by their own team and the answers rehearsed earlier, this just lacked the spontaneity i associate with a Live Q&A. I’m sorry TinyCo but this was the way it came across, the questions were too much about the Team and not the game. And that’s not the type of questions we see day in day out from players.
There was possibly too much talk about who the guys were, where they came from and the Family Guy show rather than the game itself, after half an hour of listening I feel I learned very little about the game I didn’t already know but I sure as hell felt like I’d known the TinyCo guys all my life. I felt by the time things ended I wanted get them all friendship bracelets as a token of my affection, lol. And hey, maybe that was the point of it, so we’d get to know them as people and not just TinyCo employees, and hey they all seemed awfully nice but by doing this the Live Q&A lacked spontaneity, fun, the unexpected and the down right bizarre that anything linked to Family Guy usually demands.
It also seemed to lack a lot of player questions, the whole point of going live is to answer questions that aren’t only asked before but actually asked live on the timeline, encouraging quick fire and fun responses. Check out this Addicts LIVE stream to see what I mean. Instead I sensed some nerves from the guys, although not the gals, and pre-rehearsed responses to pre-set questions. I’m sorry if that wasn’t the case but it’s certainly how it came across listening to it live.
So that’s my main criticism, and as this was a first outing I can forgive that, I guess some performance nerves combined with not knowing what to expect from what can at times be a very hostile Facebook audience, probably made this a who drew the short straw jaunt for the guys we got to meet. But on my 2nd, and 3rd listen of the Live Q&A I started to look past this and pull out little bits of info I thought players might want to hear about, and yes I’m going share them with you soon.
I’m also hoping if you watched the Live Stream you’d give us your thoughts in the comments. But please no hating, this isn’t what this post is about, it’s about saying a little Thanks to the TinyCo guys for making the effort but also telling them what worked and what didn’t in order when the next Live Q&A happens we might see more of our questions and less strategically planned answers. Also we might see a bit more interaction with what’s going on on Facebook as they chat, I’d have loved for one the guys to have joked about sending them some love and likes as that sea of little angry faces ran across the bottom of my Facebook screen. You know an instant reaction but in a joking way, jesting with us, playing with us, truly interacting with us. Even a “hey you guys, stop mocking us” in their best Stewie voice. Sometimes it’s ok to show us you’re only human after all…..
THE LIVE Q&A – WHAT THE TINYCO TEAM TOLD US
Well they told us a lot about themselves, which I’m guessing most of you don’t want to know so I’ll try to be brief. But suffice to say, although they weren’t jumping up and down Tiny Tom style they all appeared to love working on FGQFS as much as some of us love playing it. Even Kate, who surely has the toughest job of any at times.
Here’s a few of the things they said about working on FGQFS: It’s a dream; It’s wonderful; It’s great; Every day is different; Can’t wait to go to work everyday; Paid to do what we love; Get to spend the day making stuff up and playing; Team is like a family; Gives you an adrenalin rush and that’s despite the long hours, stress, the brutal nature of the mobile gaming industry and even at times being so busy you end up sleeping in the office.
They are also all big Family Guy fans, they said this about the show: Love the humour; The random nature of the show; How it always comes back to family & friendship; It’s got heart at the centre of it.
And Brian & Stewie seem to be their favourite characters from the show, so it must frustrate them as much as us they can’t use Stewie more. But it’s great to know they all have a passion for the game, and want to be there devising content and events for us for a long time.
Now the second overall thing I took from this is the way they all talked about the game going forward, as let’s face it there’s been a lot of speculation that with the Futurama game looming the end was nigh for FGQFS. But the TinyCo’s teams general chat and body language did not seem to signal the end is imminent in any shape or form so it could be the game everyone loves to hate it going to endure for a while yet.
What made me think this, well talk of bringing in more land once we see more of the older devices disappear from our lives, so they talk in terms of the game outliving these devices. They also talked about the issue with The Blimp, in fact they referred to the ongoing problems as a horror story as every fix causes a new issue, so they are planning to remove it and redo that part of the game, now that’s not something they’d consider if the game were on its way out surely? There’s also still a team of 40 or so working on the game, so it’s not down to one guy and his computer just yet. And the artists continue to create 3 new characters a week. So this all says to me FGQFS isn’t going anywhere just yet, so don’t unbuckle your safety belts guys as this crazy ride continues.
Ok now onto more specific bits and pieces, as I mentioned above there’s a team of about 40 that work on FGQFS, so next time we moan about having to buy a premium item I guess we should think that those folk need paid, they ain’t doing voluntary work. And Kimberley revealed for every 4 week event they need to come up with at least 200-250 new jokes. I take my hat off to that as like Kate, I struggle to come up with one joke, never mind being able to roll off a production line of them. I’d be laughing all the way to the Bunny Asylum if that were my job.
They told us how they plan an event, sometimes they pick an episode and build the event around it, and I must say this is the events I like to see, ones where I recognise characters and costumes from the show. But they also confirmed sometimes they do the opposite and they get the rights to an Intellectual Property, say for example, Power Rangers, then they look to see if it has links to the show and if it doesn’t they devise a way to merge the two together in a funny Quahog kind of way. They also revealed they still working very closely with the writers at the Family Guy TV show who continue to share ideas with them.
They also talked about something we see in our comments a lot, a desire for new gameplay and features during events, many of you have recently felt that too many events are the same format onl with different content to unlock. And they talked about this revealing that even when they reuse a format they do endeavour to make it better, for example they said the Quahog Heat gameplay features were based on those of The Hauntening, only with some tweaks to improve it.
But they also added not only did they understand our cries for new features in future events, they were actually going to be delivering some in the next event, Mighty Morphin Power Griffins. So as much as many of us say they don’t listen, they obviously do!
Likewise they touched on the ongoing demand for old event characters to return, the most popular requests being for American Dad characters; Superheros characters and of course Star Trek characters. This is a question that they’ve now answered many times, but did so again. Basically they only get a limited time contract to give them the rights to use these characters during an event. If they want to bring them back they need to agree a new contract, so they can’t just drop these characters into the game at any time to please new players. But Damon stressed he’d love see some return himself as he hasn’t got them in his game either.
They chatted about their favourite Family Guy characters that they get to work on in the game and for everyone who’s fed up with Peter having so many skins, please be kind to Jason as they’re one his favourite things to work on. And Jay, well Joe’s his go to guy, and as for Damon, he’s got a soft spot for Bruce. And Kimberley well it’s all about Brian & Stewie. And Kate well she kept that her little secret, lol.
They also found time to chat about all us multi-millionaires and tried to explain why some of us have more coins than we’ll ever be able to spend. They said they will try introduce items to buy but in order to try keep events balanced and fair they will always use an event currency or else us multi- millionaires would just burn through events too quickly. And they are right, we would and then we would probably complain we’re bored, cause hey we’re entitled multi-millionaires aren’t we. Lol.
There you have it, hopefully the start of a new relationship with the Staff at TinyCo currently working on Family Guy: The Quest For Stuff.
Did you see some things you were curious about answered? Have some helpful suggestions/replies to some of the questions you saw or the LiveQ&A setup adopted? Thoughts on the Current Staff? Let us know.
~ Russian Tigger