Can a Facebook “game” be in love with its players?

It has been a rough few days at Dreamhouse Designer. For some crazy reason, we always end up launching new features the NIGHT before a major holiday.  But as usual, our tiny team got over-excited and we pushed it out.

And bam! Along with  4th of July fireworks, there were issues, server problems, and one and one. But our wonderful players kept going by helping one another, trying different browsers, sending us screen shots.  Suddenly it occurred to me that our game or interactive experience is truly the result of our players.  Our players aren’t just designing great rooms, they are actually designing a great game.  We create tools and add features but our creative players are truly the engine that keep us moving forward.  We have created a strong bond with many of our designers…and well we are sort of in love.  Here is a post on our fanpage from Designer Suzanne LeCour but there have been quite a few others:

Dear Jesyca Durchin Schnepp and Ruby Lopez;

I just want to let you know how much I appreciate everything you both – and anyone I don’t know who has been working on Dreamhouse Designer – have done for me, personally, by providing this wonderful application. I will not call it a game. I have been disabled for many years and, until recently, was taking care of my critically ill parents. They are both deceased now and I was very lost. I had absolutely no reason to get up in the morning. No work to go to, nothing of interest to do. It gets to you.

I used to be an Interior Decorator. That was my profession at one time. I am also a writer, so, by nature, I’m a creative person. One day I came across YOUR creation, Dreamhouse Designer. I cannot tell you how much my life has changed. Not only have you given me an amazing creative outlet, but you have also given me an amazing community of incredibly talented, spirited giving individuals, all of whom have wonderful things to share with one another. I am a co-admin of a wonderful group, Dreamhouse Designer Addicts and Fans, and I see incredible rooms every day, but it’s so much more than that. I see cooperation, I see praise and motivation, I see inspiration and I see a group of people working hard to help others each and every day. I have never chosen to admin a “game” group on FaceBook in all these years. Dreamhouse Designer made me want to give something back to the people who gave it to me. It is, in every way, a hobby and past time, not a game.

I’m sure that there will be a few stumbling blocks along the way with the new roll-out. There always is – a simple comma left out in the coding can cause all kinds of problems. We just need to have a little bit of patience. I know you will take care of it and it will be FANTASTIC! You have done such a great job with DHD and I know it will continue to grow and thrive. I have never seen developers so hands-on and so responsive to their Users’ requests and issues.

I wish you the best of success! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

Thank you both!
Suzanne LaCour

I have been reading Seth Godin, the writer of some terrific business books (Tribes, Linchpin), who was recommended to me  by Lance Priebe (one of the founders of Club Penguin.)  When I, rather ashamed, admitted we only had 50,000 installs, he suggested I read  Godin’s Tribes. Lance wanted me to recognize that as a creator I should be much happier with even 500 passionate players over 500,000 passive viewers. My first thought was  “Dude how the HELL can a company be successful with only 500 players?”  Ok, I might have even used my outside voice. He just did that seriously annoying thing I find that Canadians do when dealing with obsessive Americans-he just smiled very nicely.  And today I, reluctantly, might be getting it.

As painful as this journey has been,  we (especially me) are grateful  every day for our passionate fans regardless of the outcome of this project. If we can make even a few people feel the way Suzanne expressed, then perhaps that is what success truly is.

Jesyca Durchin

Co-Founder and Head Dreamer

Passionate Designer, Kitty Kinnison, has created an online chat series for professional designers to exchange ideas with our virtual players! Why didn’t we think of that?!! Amazing!

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10 Comments on “Can a Facebook “game” be in love with its players?”

  1. July 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Way to go Suzanne!! I feel the same way about DHD… a place where I call home, away from home. Such a relaxing game!! I LOVE IT!!!!!

  2. Jamie Whisler (Lealia Evony)
    July 5, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Jesyca and Ruby, I know you may not be as successful as you dream to be (yet), but to each of us, your avid players, you are so very successful. Not only have you created an amazing game, you have (possibly unintentionally) created an amazing community. No other facebook game I have ever played has this kind of community; the sharing, the support, the help. Not only that, you mean something to all of us. We know you, we can put a face to the creator of our favorite past time (not trying to put words in people’s mouths, but I think I can speak for a few of us) – you are not some big named company that cares nothing about it’s consumer, you are here for us, listen to us, and we appreciate it. There may be ups and downs, and there may be rants of frustration (mostly from design withdrawal), but we all know deep down you are here, working your very hardest for us. And with that, you will reach all the success you desire, no matter the number of players you have. Thank you for all of the time you have put into this. We love you too!

  3. July 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    I have never found a game that I loved so much it is a place where I can create relax and bond with such wonderful people. This is where I spend all of my free time!!!!

  4. Nat
    July 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    This game rocks, it allows us to be creative in ways we never thought we could be! Thanks for creating such a wonderful, new and creative game! Most of the people are very supportive and nice!

  5. July 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    Jesyca and Ruby, I would like to express my thanks for DHD. I discovered this game by accident on FB. Now I am enthralled with it! I have never had so much fun. And you two continue to amaze me with the new features. It just keeps getting better and better. Love, love, love it!

  6. July 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Well, as I’ve said many times I love this “game”, so, it must be a mutual love ! It truly is so much more than a game, and I so appreciate the DHD team for all your creativity, hard work and inspiration, thank you all !!

  7. July 5, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    I use to be an avid FB game player (farms, cities, etc)….all my FB friends wonder where I’ve gone? DHD I tell them!! I LOVE this game! Jesyca and Ruby, along with the fan group admins AND other DHD game players are the most helpful, fun loving, supportive people! I have major DHD withdrawl when I go on a vacation. As a side note, my husband appreciates that I get my designing creativity out in this game instead of in our actual house. It has saved us a lot of money!! 🙂 Thanks for creating this wonderful outlet for me, I’m so glad I found this game! Keep up the great work!

  8. Cheryl B Hardy
    July 6, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    I could not have put it any better than Suzanne did. I have been “retired” since i was 37 due to medical reason’s that has left me with shaky hands, I used to draw and do pen and ink art but had to turn to the computer to express my love of creating using graphic art programs. being self taught in all area’s i learned to love what could be done on the computer. My husband and I travel all over the 48 states in our home(semi truck) so decorating which is another form of my art can not be done, finding DHD has been a real big plus for me as it is stress free and the community is so loving and helpful. Being able to decorate a “make believe” home fulfills my needs and find not having a home of my own less of a “desire” which in the long run relieves stress on my husband about his chosen profession as an OTR driver. I don’t recognized DHD as a game, rather I see it as a teaching-learning program. I have learned a lot thru the group challenges that i never would have with out DHD. As for the adding of new things every new product has to be tested and we are the best testers out there. what we trudge thru will only help make DHD better and more flawless for any newcomer and as such we all should take pride in the fact we could help to make DHD the best ever. Rock On Jessyca, Ruby, and the DHD team.Love to you all!!

  9. kathy Zalec
    July 6, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Jesyca and Ruby and all the rest of the crew that have put this Application together, I just want to say that I love this! It is not a game but a passion of love of design. I never thought of myself as a designer but I just love creating the rooms as an outlet now that i am retired. I have seen this company grow so much in the almost 1 year that I have been on here. It is truly amazing what you have done. I love all the designers that i have met and everyone is so helpful. I try very had to get more people involved with this application because it has become a passion for me. I am now one of the IT girls for one of the groups and I am so happy that I am now able to help others also. I now have the chance to encourage even more designers to stay with DHD and grow with your company. I totally believe you will achieve everything that you have dreamed of this company doing. We all love you!!

  10. July 8, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Hi Jesyca and Ruby I have played many games in the past but when i found Dreamhouse Designer i stopped playing every thing else.I enjoy this game because of the freedom for your imagination and the friendly feeling that you get with you guys and the other players join in and share designs and comments.I look forward to playing each and every day when possible so thank you guys so much for a great game 🙂

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