FGL Website Updated

We released a major update to the website today. Here are the changes!

  • Major speed improvements! The website has been slowing down during peak operating times, so we’ve taken many steps to optimize it. We expect a dramatic performance improvement during peak hours.
  • Security improvements! This update incorporates several significant security improvements. We don’t normally mention security upgrades, but in this case, we want to let you know about it so that if there are bugs, you’ll know what’s happening. If your game is replaced with FGL_Eric’s face, that means the security system has activated. If you see this, please send us Feedback to tell us where and how you got it!
  • Game Cleanup: To help sponsors find fresh games, we’ve added new systems that unclutter our game catalog. We realized that over the past month, nearly 1/3rd of sponsor views were on games that were already sold, already self-published, or potentially abandoned by their developer. Developers often forget to remove their games from FGL in these cases, which makes it harder for sponsors to find fresh games. We’ve added features to rectify this:
    • If you don’t log into FGL for 30 days, we’ll assume that you’ve wandered off and are no longer interested in getting your game sponsored. Your games will become hidden from sponsors until you log back into the website. (We will, of course, send you an email to let you know this has happened.) We apologize for the inconvenience, but we believe it will help keep our game inventory much cleaner.
    • In addition, we now automatically search for your game on the internet. If your game is detected “in the wild”, it will be removed from the sponsorship catalog. This process is not infallible, however — sometimes a Flash game is released with the same name as an old Flash game. We have heuristics that should keep this from being a problem, but if your game becomes hidden inappropriately, just let us know and we will fix it.
  • Changes to Last Call: We’ve made two major changes to Last Call to make it more effective for developers, more predictable for sponsors, and nicer to our game catalog.
    • When your game is placed into Last Call, we will now email it out to sponsors to let them know. (Previously, “Last Call” was only visible from the website, not the daily automated email.)
    • The day after you have completed Last Call, your game will become hidden in sponsor browses and searches. Direct links to your game will still work, and sponsors who have ALREADY bid on your game will still be able to find it easily, but the website will stop promoting your game to new sponsors. We did this because once Last Call ends, you are supposed to accept a bid and end bidding. We hope this change will help promote the behavior we want.
  • Changes to Buy It Now: now when you get a Buy It Now bid, your game will immediately become hidden from sponsor searches.
    • Many developers have opted not to honor their Buy It Now offers, which was understandably very annoying to the sponsors who made the offer, so this is an effort to rectify the problem. Developers, please only set a Buy It Now price if you intend to honor it!
    • We know that sometimes a Buy It Now bid will need to be rejected because the deal fell through or the sponsor included unreasonable demands. In this case, please contact the admins and we will return your game to the sponsor viewing area.
  • View Locations: Developers, track your game views more accurately than ever! Now you can see WHERE your game views are coming from — whether they are from automated emails, areas of the FGL website, your personal promotion efforts, or the efforts of the FGL admin staff.
    • We have attempted to back-fill view information for the past month or so. However, you will notice numerous entries labeled “miscellaneous”. In these cases, we had to guess where the view came from. In the future there should be significantly fewer guessed entries (though there will still be some “miscellaneous” links).
    • Developers, by adding &from=dev to the end of your game’s URL, we will record views from that URL as a developer self-promotion. When you include your game’s URL in an email, you should include this. (We automatically add it to the end of the game’s URL when you view your own game, so normally you don’t need to remember to do this.)
  • New Browse Modes: Sponsors have three new ways to browse for games. As always, we are constantly trying new ways to organize games; these ideas may or may not be permanent depending on how useful they end up being.
    • Highest Bids: the games that have the highest bids in the system right now
    • Reliable Developers: games from developers who have very high Market Levels
    • Mobile-Ready: games that are optimized for Flash on mobile phones
  • User-interface improvements: as usual, we have also made various miscellanous improvements, such as more usable pagination controls and a cleaner presentation on various parts of the site.

Please report any issues you find in this thread! Thanks.

Discover the secret to getting lots of sponsor views!

We’ve been doing some experiments recently to help nail down exactly what determines the number of sponsor views your game gets. There are a million variables — everything from genre, to market level, to day of the week, to — well, who knows what else? We here at FGL have always had our strong suspicions, but we decided to get more scientific about it. (Why did we do this all of a sudden? Actually it was because of the recent Developer Survey. One of the biggest requests was more information and statistics on how to sell your game.)

First up, we examined the importance icons by themselves. People chose which icons they found “hottest”, and then we correlated that “hotness factor” with how many views the game got. This correlated surprisingly well: it’s very important to have a good icon for your game! But what makes a good icon? Well, you can see the results, along with the actual best and worst icons, here.

We’re now onto the second experiment, and here’s where we need your help. This one is broader: it covers both game icons AND game titles. To get good results for this one, we need a lot of votes!¬†We’ve also incorporated feedback from the first experiment to make this one much more robust and (hopefully) accurate. Have you got a few minutes?

Please go vote on some games!

It’s kind of addictive, and it’s helping gather really useful data!

You don’t need to be an FGL user to vote on icons, so please feel free to spread that link far and wide! After the experiment we’ll crunch the numbers and post the results here on the blog.

Thanks for your time!