lastdaysjournal

lastdaysjournal

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

Loading ... Loading ...

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.

last days onlineacting 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.

lastdaysjournalbut 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?

Be Sociable, Share!
Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email
  • Anthony Pate

    I’m Kamarov over on the site, used to be fairly active but in the last year or so thongs have petered out. Personally, I’m in favor of a complete reboot with an archive being set up of the older posts. I think that by now, eery crazy half baked thin that could be done has been done in one entry or another, and noe of the older members can think of what else to do, and none of the newer members know what’s come before them. A rebor would fix all of this, and reverse the worrying trends we’d developed over a few misguided years of storytelling.

  • dwight dunn

    i was commander dunn and i would like a second chance i screwed up and went too far last time. so another chance would be awsome.

  • Quouar

    I confess, I keep trying to get back into the site, but can never really do it because I have no idea what’s going on anymore. When I was actually involved, I did enjoy myself, though I suspect I made the plots utterly ridiculous and impossible. Very fun, though.

    That being said, I am looking over at the comments bar and while people haven’t posted in a week and a half, it does look like there are still some stories still being told. There is also a long history of interaction between the old people on here, interactions that can’t really be forgotten. Yes, I know the plots and stories and histories will be preserved, but the identities that people have crafted – lovingly, if they’re anything like me – will be gone.

    Honestly, I’m probably not the right person to respond to this at all. I haven’t been on here in months, and even then it was only a brief sojourn in the hopes that I could get back into the flow of the sit. Still, this site did do something excellent for me when I was a regular poster. It’s thanks to this that I have some of the friends I do, and I like that.

    Still, a reboot wouldn’t necessarily fix some of the problems that make the site stagnate. We would make new kudzu plots, and there would still be huge lulls in posting times. This always happens on forums with relatively few regular members, and this always will. As for Kamarov pointing out that most of the good ideas have been used, I agree with that. Most of them had been used by the time my Quouar character died, which was years ago. But there’s only so much you can do with a zombie apocalypse, and I don’t think it’s wrong to think that the same plotlines we used on the original site will be rehashed on the new one.

    Ultimately, I think I would vote for the reboot not because I think it will end up any more understandable or easier for new people, but because it would grant everyone who dropped the site and couldn’t get back a chance to start again. It really is a fun site, and I really do miss it from time to time. I’m just pointing out that a reboot isn’t necessarily going to solve all the problems that sprang up.

  • Fergusson

    On last days journal, I had several different characters that I blogged over the past couple years, none of which were consistently active. However, I enjoyed some of the plot-lines quite a bit even though a lot of them were beyond ridiculous. I think the whole idea of the project is really interesting and a lot can be done with it. I support the reboot for a couple of reasons. One, it gives people who posted before a chance to rework and represent a better version of their story; two, events of the past could no longer prevent further development; and three, if anything, I think this could spawn a lot more creativity, old members could come back with some great tales to tell and new comers would have something great to come in on without the worry of all the events that came before them, I think there’s nearly an endless amount of things you can do with zombie apocalypse stories, it just takes some creativity. The more people you have the more diverse stories, the stronger the content.
    It might be worthwhile to start something like a kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/ to raise money to expand the site and project, it does have the potential to be great.

  • HaroldJ

    I’ve been with LDJ in some capacity since ’07, lurking or otherwise, with several characters, and we’ve pretty much burnt out the world of Malaysian Rabies, I’m afraid. I’m all for a reboot, it would give us a chance to (no pun intended) rebuild our community, and bring back some members that have reached a state of inactivity. A new site would probably be the best hope for our community to revive itself.

  • thanks for all your responses, guys (and perhaps gals). so far opting to reboot seems to be winning the day, but what i’m wondering is does anybody have a simple idea or two for making it better? for instance Quouar, do you have any ideas about what would might solve some of the problems that you see as intrinsic to the site as-is? i definitely could as Fergusson suggests, start a kickstarter campaign, to raise some funds to implement the changes that i already have blueprinted out, but it would take a lot more money than i think i could raise on kickstarter and a lot more time than i think you’d all like to wait.

    on the other hand, if there were some simple low-tech changes we could make to the current setup – even just a kind of set of agreed-upon rules that we have in an FAQ of sorts – that might buy me some time to spend on the full, brand new version of the site.

    the kickstarter idea does have me thinking though – perhaps i could try to implement just the first two parts of the blueprinted site i have cooking up in my brain and hold off on the hard part, the web-game. but the web-game really does seem to be keystone of making that part work.

    you see my main exception with the site as-is, is the lack of some kind of independent, indisputable arbitrator of conflict. as long as everybody agrees on the specific development of a particular story, everything works fine. but as soon as there’s some kind of conflict, there’s no real way to decide who wins and who loses. there’s no way to sort of allow powers or strengths or even dumb luck to decide how any particular point of conflict resolves.

    so what we were working on was a simple, easy-to-understand web-game that players had the option to either use or not use. if they opted out, it kept there characters safe from being destroyed by another player and they could let that character live or die based on their own particular wishes, but if they wanted to attack or kill another player’s character, they would HAVE to play the game. and by playing the game, they’d automatically make themselves susceptible to being attacked and killed by another player.

    only problem is, there’s no such thing as a “simple” web-game i’ve discovered. so maybe i’ll eventually plan out the development of such a game and do a kickstarter campaign to complete that, but in them meantime i’m wondering if a simple reboot of what we already have can tide people over and perhaps reinvigorate the community for a while. just long enough for me to get the real deal holyfield together.

    is it really worthwhile as a kind of stop gap, do yall suppose?

    • Anonymous

      towards the end, I had assembled a wiki, and it was under construction when the community tanked, and then I got caught up in personal issues. Perhaps a well maintained wiki, where people had to look to for information. We could format timelines, and assemble articles on the major conflicts and events, making it easier for somebody that hadn’t been there for some time to jump back in.

      • Quouar

        I agree that the Wiki was an excellent idea. If nothing else, the very process of making pages made me research what exactly happened during some of these events. It helps people get more involved.

        As for the problems I see as inherent, I don’t really see a way to fix them. If you make the community larger – thus increasing the number of posts – you also get more plots and fewer people who are close to each other, meaning characters probably won’t last as long or be as heavily invested in. But when you have a small community, they just won’t post as much due to real life things or just lack of interest. I don’t really see a happy medium.

  • Pingback: lastdaysjournal.com | superfreako productions()

  • superestes

    Why not just get notch on-board and just use the minecraft game that exists with modifications (which would be relatively simple) to flood the server/world with zombies?

    • you know that sounds awesome, but i must admit that i don’t know what any of it means. i built what we have so far from scratch in just straight php, but i’m still a bit of a hack programmer. i tell you what though, if you’re a programmer and willing to help out, i’d love to talk! chad@superfreako.com if you’re interested!

Web Analytics