How would you come up with an optimal crop harvest time for a new crop in FarmVille: Zynga Assignment

How would you come up with an optimal crop harvest time for a new crop in FarmVille? What will your decision be based on? How would you test it and verify the results? And what would be the roll out plan for this crop?

In harvesting of Crop number of parameters that are involved are:
  • Seed Cost (Can be dependent on user level to control his buying power)
  • Selling Cost
  • Experience Gained
  • Profit earned = Selling cost – (Seed cost + Plow cost)
  • Type of User
  • Time
Decision to harvesting time would be based on goal from a the crop:
> Goals will be with engagement of the user to the game:
  • Increase engagement and cater user’s need for more experience
  • Increase engagement and cater user’s need for more profit
  • Increase engagement and cater user’s need for Fast growing crop
  • Increase engagement and control user’s Buying power
  • Increase engagement of particular category of users (Active, Semi-Active, Semi-Passive, Passive, etc.)

> To maintain a proper balance and equal usages of crops harvesting time will play important role. Harvesting time can be increased or decreased to maintain user engagement with the game

> Possible cases only based in the interest of users for crops could be:

  • A = Crops with more experience
  • B = Crops with high earnings
  • C = Crops with high earnings and high experience
  • D = Quick growing Crops

> From above cases user will be most interested in C case of crops and will always use only one category of crops which will unbalance the Game.

> In such case time of harvesting can be higher so that harvesting of such crops will decrease and yield could balanced to other crops which gives less crop.

> Also when price of seed is increased it will reducing the buying power of user to buy more seeds at a time and increases users risk to harvest crop at right time else lose all money.

> A crop will have comparatively more time if provides more experience and profit. But time can be reduced if the price of seed is increase to avoid over use of crop.

> A crop will have comparatively less time if provides less experience and profit. These crop is a good example of quick grow crop. User who invest maximum time on game will be more interested in using a crop which has less time.

> Any of experience or profit if provide high then crop will have longer harvest time but that can be reduced based on seed price, game level and deduction in other parameter.

> Crop harvesting is return on investment, where investment is buying of seed and return selling cost. Input that goes in Harvesting is Buying of seed (B) and time (T). Output user get is experience(E) and profit(P). This could be converted into a equation i.e. B+(Z x T)=K((Y x E)+P) where Z x T is effort cost, Y x E is experience cost and K is constant. Now this K will depend on seed price and game level. To balance out game this equation needs to be satisfied for optimal harvesting time.

To test the result
  • Will test the user acceptance by checking the number of harvesting for crop in a month to average harvesting of other crops.
  • The crop harvesting should not exceed else the game balance goes on a toss.
  • If the average harvesting of crop is low that means the crop is not suiting to the users.
  • How many crops remained unharvest? This will test the users seriousness for the crop.
  • Find out ratio of usage of existing crop and new crop, this will verify the impact of crop.


To role out a new crop

  • Initially will open to selected beta users.
  • The crop can be mapped to mastery or level and notify user about introduction of new crop to family which just got unlock.
  • Crop launch can be bundle in a goal for the user. It can be a task in goal to harvest 100 crop.

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