Pet Society Tips, Restaurant City Secrets and What's Next for Playfish Games

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Wondering how to catch rare fish in Pet Society, or curious what the arcades in Restaurant City are for? We grilled Playfish COO Sebastien de Halleux for secrets on their company's popular Facebook games during last week's podcast. He even dropped a few hints about project they're working on now, including more efforts to bring Playfish games to mobile devices.

Pet Society Tips

- Try different kinds of bait when fishing. You never know what crazy kind of fish you'll end up with.

- An unannounced feature that only a few users have figured out: you can purchase a light switch in the DIY shop, then turn off the lights and play in the dark. Certain items are 'luminous' and will glow in the dark, as well.

- Poo has become a status symbol in Pet Society, since it's not an item you can buy in stores. As Sebastien told us, "People collect poo, they have shelf cabinets with all the poos arranged, and it's really a status about how dedicated you are." Gold and Rainbow Poo is extremely rare (almost one in a million chance of getting the latter), and they've become extremely valuable to have.

Read on for Restaurant City tips and more on Playfish's next moves >


Restaurant City Tips

- There are hints to new things that are coming in the actual game. When the game first launched, you could see a garden, which was revealed a few weeks later to be functional (at level 20).

- "Look at some of the items inside Restaurant City and imagine what they could be doing," said Sebastien. "That's all I'll say."

- One of the functional items that holds a secret? The music player/jukebox. If you purchase one, it'll reveal a new music icon through which you can buy new CDs to change the music that plays when people visit your restaurant.

- Keep your tables close so your waiters don't have to walk around a lot. Efficiency is important.


Device Agnosticism - Play Games Anywhere

While Sebastien dodged our questions about whether we'd see any Playfish games head to the Xbox 360 (which will soon integrate with Facebook Connect, theoretically allowing you to play with the same Pet Society friends as you do in a browser), he did make a point of stating that their main goal is to bring their games to as many devices as possible, and to keep the experience of playing those games consistent whether you're playing on your iPhone, your G1 Anroid or Facebook itself.

"For the first time, and this is great as a game company, we are not tied to hardware," he said. "We're not waiting for Nintendo to sell more Wiis, we're not waiting to know whether people will like the PS3 Slim or not. Ultimately, we care about people making their own choice about the device they feel comfortable with, and then bringing the game to them because our games don't rely on hardware to be fun. They rely on your friends."

So far, we've only seen one Playfish game (Who Has the Biggest Brain?) make the jump from Facebook to other mobile devices -- namely, the iPhone/iPod Touch and the Android.

Games are About Love and Friends, Not the Game

Sebastien told us about his memories of playing Risk with his old friends, and how those experiences were more about friendship instead of the actual game. "We had massive Risk nights, and Settlers of Catan, lots of drinking involved," he said, "and what I remembered was about the friends with whom I was playing the games with, what happened when we played."

"If you think about what a game is, most of the time the emotions you feel are single player experiences. If you're lucky, you have a sense of collaboration, like in World of Warcraft. What we were wondering was, can you tap into emotions that people feel between themselves? Can we have a meaning that goes beyond the game? The idea isn't to draw you into the game, it's to actually push you out."

"In Pet Society, when you send a gift out to your friend's pet, it's probably not on your pet's birthday, it's on your friend's birthday, and there's meaning in real life there. It has meaning in real life because of your relationship with that person."
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