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New Visitors to the Forest

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Our big 1.9 update for Flutter just landed and it has two really awesome features we’re excited to share with you.

First up is the new Bee Fly character who you’ll unlock at the butterfly score of 1700. This cute little critter is hungry for pollen, and when full will burst to give you a special treat. It could be a flower, a storage resource, or perhaps even some Flutterbucks! This gives our players both a new source of items in the game, and a use for excess pollen you have floating round (or a strategic decision on what to spend your pollen on).  The bee will also grow the more you feed it. There are four stages of growth, with the bee requiring more pollen to pop at each stage, and returning better items.

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Next up is a feature which gives new players an opportunity to see and interact with old event butterflies. This was one of our biggest requests, and one we had a tough time coming up with a solid response to. More than anything else it was important for us not to damage how limited and special the event butterflies feel, so balancing that against the desire to let players see all the species we’ve created was tricky. So here’s how it works:

On a rare occasion, you will now get a a very special visitor to your forest, one of the butterflies from a past event that you have not collected. For the hour that the butterfly is with you, you can collect Honeydew from it, and use it’s special ability. If you’re super keen to keep that species around, you can pay a premium (2 x what it would cost to lay an egg within the event itself) to get an egg of that species and keep it round forever. So that’s the catch, you get to see and play with the limited species for free, but it’ll be a rare occurance that one turns up, and they are not cost effective to collect, so make sure you still put the effort in during the events okay? ;)

Thanks again as always for your wonderful feedback and support, hope you all enjoy the update.

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Artist / Animator Opening

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Runaway are looking for a new artist to join the team and help create the exciting followup to Flutter!

We’re looking for someone with a flair for character and proven experience in 2D tween animations. They will ideally have had experience in casual / mobile games before,  and be familiar with an animation package like Flash or Spine. Applicants must be passionate about making high quality games that forge an emotional connection with their audience. This is a full time position joining our 2 existing artists for what will be an intense but hugely rewarding production period.

This is a fixed term contract starting immediately and going through to the end of 2014 (with the potential for extension if the game goes well). Applicants can be based anywhere in the world as long as they are experienced and comfortable with working remotely.

Please send portfolios through to tim@runawayplay.com

 

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Update: Flutterbucks Farming

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We’ve had a TON of feedback to the news of our new update, specifically the change of selling butterflies from Flutterbucks to Honeydew. Firstly, a genuine thank you for all your feedback. We read it all and reply to as much as we can. The passion that you guys show for the game and the time that you take to share your opinion is a great testament to how much Flutter means to people.

After the last day of reading feedback and engaging in discussion, I wanted to clarify a bit of our thinking around the butterfly selling changes.

Flutterbucks are our game’s premium currency. It’s the purchases of this currency that allow us to keep operating the game and delivering all the new content that keeps things fresh. It is a totally optional currency used for shortcutting challenges that can all be achieved through regular gameplay. It is true that some challenges require A LOT of gameplay to achieve for free (e.g. animated decorations, bumble bee), but we think it’s fair to have some content reserved for our most passionate players and those that support the team with their Flutterbucks purchases. Selling level 5 butterflies was producing so many free Flutterbucks that not only was it devaluing the currency, but hurting the economic health of the game and putting further development of the game at risk.

However, players should absolutely be able to earn some free Flutterbucks through gameplay! This is important so that players can understand the value of the currency, and if they have a lot of time on their hands save up towards some of those very special premium purchases. There are still many ways to earn Flutterbucks in the game. From goals to missions, friend gifts to petals, we’re still quite generous with the amount we give away for free compared to many other games.

An unintended side effect of removing this feature was that it also removes a part of the game that players enjoyed: raising lower level butterflies multiple times for a little FB boost. This was cool because it added a little strategy, as well as a use for flower and caterpillar duplicates. We’re thinking about different ways we might be able to reintroduce this feature in a more controlled manner in the future. We got some great suggestions on the blog and Facebook so thanks heaps.

We’re so thankful for your passion and commitment, and it sucks when a change doesn’t make people happy. For all the updates we’ve made over the last 16 months its incredibly rare that we reduce the power of something, but this is one of those times when a hard decision had to be made to benefit the long term health of the game. We hope you can understand and carry on with us on this exciting journey as we release heaps of awesome new features.

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Flutter Update Preview

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Hey Flutter players! Our upcoming update has some important balancing changes that we wanted to give you a heads-up about before it goes live. Some overpowered mechanics are going to be toned down to balance the game, but at the same time we’re addressing our #1 player request: more space for more butterflies.

Here’s what will be changing:

  • Selling butterflies. Level 5 butterflies will now sell for a big Honeydew boost instead of Flutterbucks. When we first designed this ability, we didn’t anticipate that it would become as overpowered as it did. Combined with special abilities it becomes a pretty crazy factory for Flutterbucks, which is supposed to be a really special currency. We know this is going to suck for players that have come to depend on it, and we’re sorry for getting it wrong in the first place, but part of tuning a live game product is balancing overpowered mechanics, just as much as it is about adding in all the new sets, characters, and features.
  • Comma Flower Duplicator Ability. The Comma’s ability will now be revised to work like the updated flower duplicator, so it will “Duplicate and harvest” the flower it targets. We just overpowered this ability plain and simple, it was our mistake. It has been out in the wild for a while now, but we have to balance it appropriately to make it fair for all players.
  • More forest space. The updates we made last time have paid off. With crash rates down and performance up, we can now safely add more space to the environment for you to unlock. Look to the right of the forest and you’ll find a cool new “corridor” that links together two of the spaces.
  • Cheaper Storage. Expanding your storage spots is now cheaper so you can hold on to even more species in your collection.
  • Minor tweaks. Event flowers will now be cheaper, but laying eggs a bit more expensive, and the frog will produce less event flowers (players with huge stores of frog treats were blitzing through events almost instantaneously)

We know this update is going to hurt a bit, but don’t fret! We’re making these tough changes now to lay the foundation for some really exciting new updates coming in the future. As always we’re listening to your feedback so let us know what you think. We’re hoping the update will be ready in time for the weekend, and we’ll be sure to let you know when it’s live!

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The Australian Jezebels

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It’s event time again! We’re welcoming the wisps back into the environment to help attract the limited Jezebel set, a very pretty collection of butterflies from Australia. Event is live now until next Sunday midnight PST. Remember when the event ends your limited flowers will convert to honeydew, and if you can perfect the set before the end then you’ll get a super special animated decoration flower to commemorate your achievement.

Things are whipping along at a frenetic pace here at Runaway HQ. Along with new features and event sets we’re preparing for Flutter, the design and prototyping of our new game is coming along really well. We’re running another bunch of user tests this weekend to see if we’ve got the core mechanic right, and working on some really exciting social design stuff that will be a big step up from Flutter. The expanded art team are getting into the depths of an “art jam” to help refine the style of the game and the huge cast of characters that we think our players will really love.

Have fun with the event, and more soon!

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Update Time!

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Flutter version 1.85 is now live featuring a new section in the Flutterpedia, a rebalanced scoring system, and some optimizations that should make for a smoother player experience. Here’s what’s new:

  • Flutterpedia Creature Section. Learn more about the supporting cast in the rainforest. They’re all based on real creatures too!
  • Score Revision. Last year we made a necessary change to the scoring system so you only receive Flutterpedia score for raising new species. This means players who started after the change might have a different score to their friends, even if they’re at the same point in the game. We have now change the score calculation to be exactly the same for everyone. This means your score will change when you log in, but it will go up!
  • Pollen Cap. Many players experience performance issues when stockpiling a considerable amount of pollen. To keep this in check we’ve added a cap to the amount of pollen that can be stored in the forest at once.
  • Gift Reminder. If a player hadn’t logged in for a while, there wasn’t any way for their friends to tell, so they would continue to gift that player (like the good friend they are!) making for some huge backlogs of gifts which would make it hard for the player to get back into the game. Now you will see when your friend has picked up your gift, and once they’ve cleared it you’ll be able to gift them again. Gift been sitting there for a while? You can pop them a friendly reminder that there’s a special little present waiting for them when they load up the app.

Thats it for now! Lot’s more exciting stuff in the pipe, look forward to sharing with you soon. Thanks for playing!

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Our best GDC yet

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The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Over 24,000 developers converge on the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco to share knowledge and build partnerships. It’s a five day marathon of talks, meetings, booths and parties that will leave even the most enthusiastic attendee a shell of their former selves. But it’s totally worth it. Each year I leave the show feeling incredibly optimistic and lucky to be part of such a great community of people, and no more so than this year.

The response to our success with Flutter and our vision for the future of the portfolio was elating. We have built a story that is a joy to tell; a compelling mix of creative ambition and focused business opportunity. And we’re only just at the beginning. Flutter has set the template and shown that there is demand for quality games inspired by the natural world, our next product will bring that vision to millions more players and really step up the production values.

Favorite moments from the show: sharing our new game and seeing the smiles on players faces, the quickfire “rant sessions” from some incredibly smart and passionate developers, the kiwi party that packed out one of the hottest GDC party spots, the suite party where I got to meet a handful of my heroes over shots of Patron and rounds of Heads Up, and sharing the early morning light with a bunch of fellow runners as part of the #gdcrun.

This show felt pivotal, and if it is a sign of things to come, we are going to have a really exciting year.

 

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Happy Birthday Flutter

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This past Friday marked the one year anniversary of Flutter: Butterfly Sanctuary going live on the App Store, and what a year it has been! Our little game has grown up, with twice as many butterflies as when we started (now well over 100 real life species), and a host of new characters and features to interact with. It’s the support from the community which has allowed our game to thrive and grow, and for that we are hugely appreciative. We’re really proud of this game, ever more so that it continues to go from strength to strength, enjoying its biggest ever week during our recent Valentines Day event. And believe us there is much, much more cool content to come.

It’s also a thrill to have hit 1 million downloads as we see the game’s player base expand with the Android release. But with nearly 2 billion smartphones out there in the world, we still have a long way to go in reaching the potential of this game and our expanded portfolio. It’s our dream to build the Runaway family of games into a thriving brand and community known around the world for our beautiful games inspired by the natural world.

We can’t wait to show off our next title and share more of the long term strategy with you all. Thanks again for our your wonderful support, it makes us as a team incredibly proud of what we do, and pushes us to make the best possible experiences we can.

 

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Thank You

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This has been a pivotal year for Runaway; our most eventful and successful to date. We’re incredibly grateful for the support we’ve received from our players and partners, so I wanted to throw out a few special thanks to those who helped make this all happen:

  • The development team. Both the guys in-house and those that have worked with us remotely. You’ve done a huge amount with the limited time and resources we have for a little studio. We must have one of the coolest and most capable teams working in mobile, and I’m inspired by the potential in the group.
  • Our friends at DeNA, who have welcomed us into their family and provided incredible support for Flutter from concept generation through to live operations and support. You’ve involvement has undoubtedly made Flutter a better game, and us a better studio.
  • NHNZ and the new global group of production companies we now belong to, for giving us the infrastructure support for us to keep our head down making games.
  • And most importantly, our players! Without you we’d be nothing. Thanks for playing, for your energy and enthusiasm, understanding through any hiccups, and contribution to the community

We’re really proud of Flutter and thrilled with it’s success so far, but we’re only just getting started. Next year the game will continue to grow with more species, features, and creatures. But it doesn’t stop in the rainforest, our plans are expanding to find more amazing natural environments to bring to mobile devices. We’re going to build Runaway into a brand known across the globe for incredible games inspired by nature, delivering games that delight our players and evolve with our community.

Thank you. We can’t wait to share our new creations. The best is yet to come.

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Festive Cheer!

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With the holiday season almost upon us, we thought it was time to get into the spirit and run an extra long event. The wisps have returned, but this time with 6 new species to collect over 17 days, giving Flutter players a ton to keep busy over the remainder of the year. We’ve selected patterns and colors to fit into a festive theme, with a special holly decoration and even a snowflake trail! Hope you all have fun with the event and have a wonderful time with your friends and family this holiday.

 

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