Gearing Up!

June 13th, 2011

It’s been a while since we’ve announced a new feature here on the site, but as we await Tad Kubler’s final decision on who will win this year’s Figment Album Cover Design Contest, we thought it was high time we announced not only a few new features, but also a whole new concept.  What’s that you say?  Well, remember our discussions about moving to virtual goods?  The time has come…gone is the Figment Lucre Store and rising from it’s ashes…behold the Figment Gear Store!

 

The Figment Gear Store will feature everything your fake band needs to gear up for the studio and the road.  Whether it’s a ZT Lunchbox Amp, a V-Shaped Guitar or some wheels-of-steel, the Gear Store has it all.

You’ll notice that we’re teaming with GBase.com on the store.  GBase.com is the definitive online source for used, vintage, and new musical instruments and equipment for musicians, collectors, enthusiasts and gear junkies!  If you want to stock up on real instruments to match your virtual ones, GBase.com has you covered.

So, how does it all work?  Well it’s simple, let’s start on your dashboard page where you’ll notice that every band now has another link underneath that says “Buy Gear”.  Just above that link is a list of any gear your band owns.  Of course, right now it says “This band doesn’t own any gear!”  So let’s buy some.  Click on the “Buy Gear” link and it will take you to the Figment Gear Store.  You should see a whole selection of musical equipment ready for purchase, that is unless you don’t have enough lucre to buy any.  If you don’t, there won’t be anything in the store, and depending on how much you do have, you’ll only be shown those pieces of equipment you can afford.  To buy a piece of equipment simply click on the button to the right of the piece of equipment you desire.  That button will have the price in Lucre listed on it.  When you click the button the lucre will automatically be deducted from your account and you’ll see this message at the top of the page.

You can also check the bottom of the page to remind yourself what gear your band already owns.  Any new purchases will immediately be displayed in this area as well.

Once you’ve loaded up on equipment you can either click on your band’s name under the Gear Store header to visit your band page or the dashboard link at the top of the page to return to your dashboard.   On your dashboard page you’ll be able to see the equipment that you bought listed to the right of your band, and on your band page you’ll see the equipment appear under the section titled “Band Gear”.

 

You’ll notice that we made a few changes to the layout of the band pages as well based on the feedback you’ve provided.  We’ve concentrated the primary info on your band – your Fans, Bio, Gear and Albums/EPs  – down the main right-hand column of the page with sections clearly marked with identifying headers.  From now on your band’s fans will be listed at the top of the page.  In the header you can see the total number of fans your band has and 13 randomly selected fan icons.

If you click on the link below the fan icons you will be able to see all of your band’s fans in the order in which they became fans of your band.

Under the fans section, you’ll see corresponding sections for the Band’s Bio, Gear and Albums/EPs in that order.

For those of you who asked for Band News archive, your requests have been answered.  The left hand column of the page now features, in addition to your band image and shout box, a new “Official Band News” section.

Click on one of the news stories or on the “View all news items” link and you’ll be taken to your band’s news archive that contains every news story you’ve ever published about them.

 

Another improvement that you requested was to have album descriptions allow more text.  Well, we’re happy to announce that we’ve increased the character limit on album descriptions from 500 characters to 2000 characters.  That should give you plenty of room to say thanks to all of us here at Figment!

We’re very excited about the launch of the Figment Gear Store, the new band page layout and the addition of the Official Band News archive, so we hope you are too!  The Gear Store is just the first step in our plans to improve the Figment virtual economy and better enhance the overall Figment game experience.   We are looking forward to rolling out more features related to it in the future, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, please refrain from creating any equipment, equipment companies, etc. using Figment band pages.  If you do we will ban them and ask you to delete them.  We are looking into the best way to handle the creation and sales of custom and “endorsed” equipment by Figment players going forward, but until we announce those features please do not create any equipment related figments.

Thanks for all of your feedback over the past year, as you can see it does factor into our plans for the site.  We hope you enjoy the Gear Store and new band page features.  Now go gear up!

 

20 Responses to “Gearing Up!”

  1. Crypt_Keeper Says:

    Hey, awesome features, but remember a while back when I tried to make a record producer? You guys mentioned some new features and how I may be able to make a record producer once the new features were unveiled. So, would I be able to make a record producer now?

  2. TMTYTF Says:

    Whoa!

  3. eric Says:

    Crypt_Keeper, no not yet. This is just one of the first steps. What is it they say? Baby steps. Unless your Zandergriff Miggs and then it’s “Babysteps in Platform Shoes”.

  4. frizbee Says:

    Holy shit! I thought the gear store was cool enough, but then you guys just kept the surprises coming! These are awesome!

  5. Crypt_Keeper Says:

    Also, a few other players and I are having trouble adding artwork to our records since these changes.

  6. eric Says:

    Crypt_Keeper – Thanks for letting us know. We’ll look into it. In the future, drop an email to customer service using the feedback link at the bottom of every page.

  7. LoftierDruid Says:

    AWESOME!!!! Now I can do the tour diaries that I really wanted to do with Shape Seven! This kicks ASS!!!!

  8. eric Says:

    I just got an email from our customer service folks saying the album artwork upload bug has been fixed. You shouldn’t have any more issues.

  9. TMTYTF Says:

    So we can’t actually use the gear we buy for anything, like touring right? It’s just for kicks isn’t it?

  10. Eric Says:

    TMTYTF…for now yes, but down the line it will be tied into things like touring, etc.

  11. Furious Grace Says:

    Wow! Loving the updates, still exploring.

  12. Furious Grace Says:

    Wait, no violin?? How is Antoinette gonna fiddle out those haunting tunes for the Squidbitchez?

    (only teasing)

  13. TMTYTF Says:

    Furious Grace, Antoinette may need to improvise using an acoustic guitar.

  14. frizbee Says:

    Though Grace may be kidding, I think her point is valid. It would be cool to eventually have a long list of different instruments at our disposal. With so many different bands that feature so many unique instruments, it would be cool to be able to actually purchase those instruments. Obviously that’s much further down the road, but it’s something to think about.

  15. poppinfresh Says:

    Longer album descriptions are awesome. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  16. javdoc Says:

    Ok, I hate to sound a sour note here, but I’ve been mulling this Gear Store over since it was announced, and am a bit perturbed. I will preface by saying I have long thought it’s a great idea, and look forward to seeing it tie into gameplay [i.e. you can’t do a proper tour and earn Lucre from it without guitars and amps, etc.], but I feel the costs of things are a bit out of whack. Putting aside the whole aspect of the prices here versus what musical equipment actually costs, my concern is the relative scope with the figures in-play for the bands.

    To put it bluntly, as one of the top 2-3 “financially” successful players/labels on here, approaching 50k Lucre in earnings in almost 2 1/2 years, it seems wrong to me that my label can barely afford to equip one band: to properly equip Zeroth would cost L 30,000+ [3x Guitars, Bass, Large Drumset, 3x Mic, 4x Amps]. Unless there is some corresponding change in the Lucre realized per album sale, or there is some serious income derived from having proper touring rigs, the economics of this seem all wrong…..

  17. Eric Says:

    Javdoc – I’m sorry to hear that you are “perturbed” by the pricing in the new Figment Gear Store. While your argument is valid, your indignation seems a bit premature given we were very clear that this was just the first step in our plans to improve the Figment virtual economy and better enhance the overall Figment game experience.

    We did put some thought into our pricing, and lower pricing was considered, but given where we’d like to take the game we felt establishing a price that would take into account further enhancements, rule changes and rewards was important to do now. To price things artificially low when we know that we will need to raise them in the future didn’t make as much sense as pricing them at a level that is commensurate with where we want to take the game. We know that might seem prohibitive now, but trust us when I say that is not the plan going forward. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty in this space, I’ll save that for subsequent blog posts, but I do ask that you remain patient while we unveil each phase of the project. Figment is a bootstrap operation, and will likely remain so for some time, so we have to tackle major changes to the site in small increments leaving room to adjust things for the next phase. While this may not be as transparent as you would like it’s not intended to keep you in the dark or impede your success in the game.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that at this point in the game’s development we have only developed at best a rudimentary economy. By that I mean, bands have only earned lucre and have not been required to spend any to do so, unless you chose to share earnings with other bands. Furthermore, you’ve been able to create labels, tour and release as many albums as you like without any restrictions or costs associated. As we discussed in the past this was done to spur creativity, and while we’re not looking to squelch your creative abilities going forward we do feel the game and our players are ready for some more challenges. With that in mind, we’ll be introducing changes to our lucre system in phases that will address this issue and hopefully create a better gaming experience.

    We realize that you and others may take issue at times with the changes we make to Figment, and we’re fine with that. When we started Figment we had no idea how involved our players would be, so while I was disappointed to see the word “perturbed” used in your post, I also realize it’s a direct result of the community we’ve built here on Figment. You and your fellow players are engaged in the game and want it to be better, we appreciate that. Your comments and feedback are always thoughtfully considered by all of us who work on Figment as evidenced by a number of the enhancements we rolled out on Monday. We’re glad that you have as passionate a connection with Figment as we do, because it will only make the site better for all of us. Thanks for letting us know your thoughts.

  18. javdoc Says:

    Ok, I guess I need to brush up on my SAT words…. 😉 I am certainly not indignant, and I guess after looking up perturbed, I am not truly that either… Maybe just mildly confused, not yet seeing the big picture. Looking forward to the rest falling into place.

    As you point out, you’re definitely blessed with a good “problem” here – having this engaged community of users, who love your product. Much better than the alternative….

    As always, very much appreciate the work of the Figment team in providing us this great venue to be creative. Apologies if my thinking out loud seemed like complaining, it wasn’t intended that way.

  19. formerwageslave Says:

    If/when you solicit us for new gear suggestions, I’m all ready to request the glockenspiel.

    …then I’ll build a new band around it. 😀

  20. Inflatable Twerp Says:

    This is sick and all, but I was totally saving up for a Figment t-shirt and an iPod…I almost had enough for the shirt as well xD

    Ah well, at least my virtual rockers have now got virtual guit-boxes to virtually twang their virtual twangs on.
    Virtually.

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