Look, recycling and resource management have always been snore-inducing topics. But those very issues have the world in quite a scary predicament right now, and New York City-based social game maker Guerillapps looks to change that with Trash Tycoon. Since our first look at the game, we recently sat down with the new developer’s CEO Raviv Turner and community manager Chris Dugan to learn more about Trash Tycoon and get some pointers on how to make the most of the eco-friendly game.
“We had this idea that sometime in the near apocalyptic, but fun, future the city got destroyed with trash,” Turner gushes to us. “But waste is your best friend–it’s a resource, right? With this, we also hope to change the set of mind among our players looking at waste. Again, the idea was to create a 100 percent pure, fun and engaging experience, not to educate. So, we try to stay away from edutainment, take it to a fun place, but there is still this subtext once you’re done playing for the day. Maybe the player is going to look at waste a different way.”
Turner tells us that the developer has over 90 days worth of content planned, and later joint team features that make liberal use of its support from Terracycle will be implemented. Guerillapps is working with its strategic partners like Terracycle and Carbon Fund to help its players hopefully make a tangible difference in the environment. While players can only donate to the cause directly with Facebook Credits now, Guerillapps is working with Carbon Fund so its commercial partners will allow the company to donate to the cause through virtual goods bought even without Facebook Credits. But onto how to get by in Trash Tycoon:
Games.com: I noticed that you need to be at least Level 8 to access the next portion of the city in Trash Tycoon. So, what’s the best or fastest way a player can reach that point?
Dugan: The map really is massive, and even in the area that’s not fog-of-warred off it’s nice to see how much there is to do and to clean up. The best way to reach Level 8 is really diligence, as with any Facebook game, and being on top of your productions as well as prioritizing.
You can level up a number of ways: through just cleaning up trash, you gain experience points for completing goals. With the goals, there are very obvious short term goals and there are long term goals, and you have to plan your playing time around those deadlines.
And you’re referring to creating the fertilizer (pictured below) and other items?
Yes, and items can take anywhere from five minutes from a whole day to create. And some goals require a variety of items like five that take five minutes and one that takes a day. So, you have to figure out how long you can be logged on for a certain time to knock out those five items, but you need to think more ahead to be like, ‘This glass window is going to take an entire day to construct, so I’m gonna put it on and come back to it.’
I saw that in the early goals you’re given the option to create and upcycling building you want. Is there any advantage to certain buildings, or do goals require items from all of them?
Goals will require items from all, but I’d say that the main advantage is that you’re getting a randomized generation of trash, so you never know what you’re going to have. So, it’s the kind of thing where you could have a lot of plastic, but you might be running low on glass. So, you might have to go to friends neighborhoods and check their piles–not using your Energy points, but Friend points.
Or, of course with most Facebook games, there’s the idea that time will replenish your stockpiles. The trash does replenish over time, and will inevitably give you what you need for the upcycling machines.
Now, would you recommend building multiple instances of each machine?
It sort of depends–for example, in the first neighborhood the dirt area you have to build upcycling machines and worm farms is quite limited. I found that it was best to have a couple of worm farms, and then one of each of the upcycling machines, a warehouse and some other dumpsters just to make sure you never overflow. It’s most efficient to have at least one of each upcycling machine. Prioritize that first, and everything will just fall into place with everything else you have.
Now, the social features: Are there other advantages to adding friends other than the five free points you get daily?
There’s obviously the gifting feature, which is present in many Facebook games, kind of the idea that you can circumvent having pay up for decorations that increase your Greeness value. Also, the prospect of constructing teams and having that sense of community, which we tried to implement through the chat feature.
What advantages does the in-game chat feature bring?
[There is real-time interaction in the game, so] say you have your Friend points and your friend is low on Energy and they really need to finish cleaning this building. Then, that’s something you could talk about that in team chat [and work it out in real time.]
If you could choose one thing that players should focus on in Trash Tycoon to advance, what would you say that is?
Certainly, the goals. It’s great to sort of branch out and make upcycled items on a whim, [but] if you’re kind of carelessly spending your resources you’re likely to run into walls much sooner than other players. You have to be very efficient in how you manage your resources–very much like the real world, obviously. It’s a constant battle between ‘I want to make these things’ and ‘I need to make these things.’
Thanks for filling us in, Raviv and Chris.
Have you tried playing Trash Tycoon yet on Facebook? What do you think of social games that have real-world implications?
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