A real special place

You don’t have to be from a farm to be a great farmer. Hay Day lets you get back to nature and experience the simple life of working the land. It’s a special game set in a real special place. Food grows free, people smile and the animals are always happy to see you. It never rains here, but the crops never die. And if you’re craving a little bacon, one of the pigs will be happy to fry some up for you. After all, what are pigs... oops, we mean neighbors for?

Constantly Evolving

Hay Day has been constantly evolving to offer more user-friendly, consistent and fun online experiences for Supercell gamers. There have been countless updates since the game launched in 2012.

Hay Day Launch
2012
Fishing Update
 
Android Launch
 
Advanced Events
 
Neighborhood and Chat Update
 
Town Update
 
Today

Hay Day Their Way

Ah, the laid-back country life, full of fresh produce and furry animals. But just like most small towns, the best part of life here has got to be the friendly neighbors. Hear the team talk about how community isn’t just part of the game, it’s also at the heart of the design process.

“We must have had at least ten fully-developed concepts that didn’t make it,” team lead Stephan says. “Not to mention the literally hundreds of other ideas that ended up getting scrapped.” Building a Town worthy of Hay Day’s farm proved illusive. “We had a map, and the entire area was going to be a ghost town that players would have to rebuild. But it felt gloomy, which isn’t ‘Hay Day’ at all,” said game artist Arto. The ghost town was killed. Only the rundown town hall and train station live on with the current iteration of the feature.

Hay Day has been live and in continuous development for close to three years, having been updated and evolving since its creation. The core of Hay Day is still intact, but many big, new features have been added to keep the game fresh and exciting. The latest was a completely new area: a sprawling lovely Town.

But when there are developmental doubts – and there always are, the whole team gathers to discuss them. “We’re constantly asking ourselves if what we’re doing makes sense to the game,” game lead Stephan says. This desire for clarity has proven integral.

“We’re constantly asking ourselves if what we’re doing makes sense to the game.”

  • Hay Day building concepts. The uncle character pops in an out of the story, but players never actually see him.
  • Hay Day building concepts. There have been countless concepts that have never made it into the game.
  • Hay Day building concepts. One of many test versions of the Hay Day train station.

“We want the players imagination to play a big role in playing Hay Day.”

Made for players and with players.

The team may always have its own plans, but the design process is a collaborative effort maintained at all times with the players, in a relationship that is given life by our Community Team.

At Supercell, community managers play the crucial role of unfiltered liaisons between the players and the team. As Hay Day’s community manager Nick says, “It is a no-brainer that people who love and play Hay Day are also a major source of inspiration and ideas for the game.” Many of the changes and features added have come from the player community. The Fishing feature, for example, was not in Hay Day’s original design, but had been in high demand since launch in 2012. The team embraced the idea, developing it into the feature it is today. As game designer Stefu says, “It’s important to create features that the community can be passionate about; as all of this is really just for them.”

While players are a constant source of ideas, it’s important that everything that ends up in the game fits with the story, as despite Hay Day feeling simple from a player’s perspective, it is in practice highly complex. Even for the designers. The uncle is a good example of this, his character only being mentioned briefly at the beginning of the game

He pops in an out of the story, but players never actually see him. There are traces of him here and there, but the ambiguity here is intentional. With players from all over the world, the perception of “your uncle” can be different if you live in India, China or Finland. As Nick says: “We want to let the players’ imagination play a big role when playing Hay Day.”

“Support plays a huge role because they bring us as designers back down to earth.”

Supporting players and the team.

Designing a game that’s easy to play, but still poses a challenge for experienced gamers takes a delicate hand; the design process is a lesson in patience. As Nick says: “Both we and our players are all gamers, but a feature which feels so easy to master from a design point of view can end up being a bit tricky for the more non-experienced players.” This is why it’s so important to have an able Support team, capable of relating with, and understanding the demands of the player base.

This can also make updates very demanding for the support team, because when players are introduced to a feature they don’t understand, it’s the first place they turn for help. Why? "Some players simply don't feel comfortable asking questions or suggesting ideas on public mediums, such as our forums or Facebook Pages" Nick says.

So it’s no surprise that at Supercell, the support team also plays a role in the design process. Their involvement during development helps the team anticipate what users might have questions about, giving them a chance to produce tutorials in advance. As team lead Stephan says: “Support plays a huge role because they bring us as designers back down to Earth. We need to know when the players don’t get something no matter how clear it is in our own minds. That’s crucial to us.”

  • Hay Day building concepts. Sami and Diego working on the next Hay Day update.
  • Hay Day building concepts. Everyone on the team is totally focused on the game.
  • Hay Day building concepts. The team in their typical short and efficient, "Hay Day style" internal meeting.

“Fresh eyes and fresh minds keep the game fresh.”

Fresh blood, fresh eyes, fresh produce.

What started in 2012 as a team of three is now fourteen. None of the original developers work on Hay Day today. As is the case with everything at Supercell, the reasons being players, game play, and mobility within the company. “Fresh eyes and fresh minds keep the game fresh,” says game lead Stephan. This is important, as most free-to-play games don’t last more than two years. As the team hopes: “Our goal is to have the game live on successfully for many years to come”.

When asked how they’d see themselves in many years, the team replied: “Older”.

What the press says

  • Gamezone May 20, 2014

    Hay Day's largest game update to date has been released and is now available to download. Appropriately titled "The Town", the update offers all sorts of new features, but the biggest of them all is a completely new area where you can build and decorate your own Town. To travel to your new mountain town, you must first repair the new train platform on your farm which unlocks at level 34. You then can begin to grown your town by repairing the Station and the Town Hall.”

  • IGN December 6, 2012

    Hay Day allows gamers of all ages to participate in an environment where buying and selling goods leads to achievement. It promotes community building through the inclusion of roadside markets through which gamers aid each other’s pursuits. It also permits young gamers to learn about the workings of an agricultural economy without pushing their maturity to the limits.”

  • Pocket Gamer July 6, 2012

    “The real draw of gardening is the satisfaction of a job well done, and that's something that Hay Day just about manages to capture. Watching your crops grow and your twee factories spew out products is a quietly pleasing experience.”

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