so about three and a half years ago i created my first content management system-based web site, lastdaysjournal.com. it was the “world’s first social network for survivors of the zombie apocalypse” i would boast – and in all my research, since ldj.com went live in october 2007, i think that boast might actually be true – but that’s neither here nor there really.
the point is i had high hopes for it. i very much loved (and still do) the story upon which it’s based and the world of that story, and the point was to sort of create a sandbox of sorts wherein people from all walks of life all over the world could create their own stories in that same, rich post-apocalyptic world. and so not knowing what the hell i was doing, i created lastdaysjournal.com. and in the 3 1/2 years since, i’ve continued behind the scenes to develop the idea further.
Should i re-boot lastdaysjournal.com?
- Yes (88%, 14 Votes)
- Undecided (13%, 2 Votes)
- No (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 16
i sketched out a pretty intricate blueprint for a “new” lastdaysjournal that had three different levels – two of which i can definitely create myself, but the third and most important level (which was to be a browser-based web game – like a more serious zombie farmville, or more accurately a zombie travian) i simply lack the resources to complete at this time. i did try though. i really did.
acting on the advice of my good friend JC, who designs games for Microsoft at the moment, i created a board game that’s actually quite fun on its own. i used the basic structure and rules of Settlers of Catan (best board game ever IMHO) as a kind of basis for the game, and kendall and i played it many, many times. in fact, pretty much everybody we played it with had a good time and would want to play it again. then i met pawel and with his help i was able to create the basis of an actual, playable browser-based web game – until we hit a wall. the wall of multiple, intricate systems. you see, it’s really not difficult to design an interactive system in a vacuum. even a complete hack like me can create a piece of software that lets you create a character or three and a space for them to run around in and maybe even drop some resources for these characters to pick up or drop off. but then adding in character interaction, zombie interaction, time-based resource depletion, etc. – for every different type of interaction with other players or non-player characters – you add what can seem like exponentially complex issues. and that’s not something you can hack and slash your way through – not me, at least not without completely dedicating my life to it. if you want it fast, you need a team, and to even do it at all with only one software engineer that guy better a) know what the hell he’s doing and b) be able to spend a ton of time on it – and the truth is i need to eat! and keep a roof over my head. and so the independent development of the new and improved lastdaysjournal.com stalled out and died.
have i given up entirely? no, of course not. for a while i was pitching the show ‘last days’ around town, planning to spend any money i’d get if it got greenlit or sold on hiring real developers to help me finish the dang thing – or better yet, to get whatever production company wanted to do the pilot (or even better, the whole first season! a man can dream, right?) to kick in the dough for the completion themselves. but then i heard AMC was developing The Walking Dead and knew development execs all over town would want to wait and see how that did before even looking at another zombie series. so we pushed off onto other projects and even though now that Walking Dead is out and done and did well, the inertia is still going in other directions, for the time being at least.
but what about all those fun, imaginative guys and gals on LDJ that i made promises to? many of them went away i guess, others stuck around and tried to have as much fun as they could, and they played in that crazy Wild West sandbox that i left them alone in without fulfilling any of the promises i made them. i am sorry for that. i really am. and i want to make it up to them. and i don’t want to wait another couple years to do it.
i’m considering a simple re-boot of the site, but i want their input before i do it. the plan is to keep the original version of lastdaysjournal at a slightly different location and to have a completely fresh re-deux of the original site at lastdaysjournal.com, but perhaps with some new and better rules of engagement – something that would allow more people to participate and interact. my hope is that we can come up with some good old-fashioned low-tech solutions for a new version of lastdaysjournal.com.
so would this be a good idea at all? should i just leave it alone or re-boot? and if we re-boot, what could we do to make it better and more easy for new people to join in? it’s the loyal players i’m more interested in serving honestly but i’d like to reach a kind of balance. any ideas?