Made Man Mafia is back - What happened...?

[July 2023]

MMM was built and maintained by one person.

And I guess that makes me a single point of failure for the game. I've been thinking a lot about what I want lately, and decided I want to re-launch Made Man Mafia. If you're interested in my ramblings, I'll explain what happened, and what the future looks like for MMM.

Early 2023

A dark haired coder in a downcast mood sitting in front of a workstation with head in hands - Made Man Mafia Blog

I was putting a lot of pressure on myself for MMM to be a success. Having spent 15 months banging my head against a wall trying to grow the game this was the breaking point. I'd just spent over a thousand dollars on advertising for MMM, and while a decent amount of people signed up, very few players became regulars. I'd previously done a lot of work optimizing the signup process and building features designed to ease new players into the game. My conclusion from the ad campaign was that the game UI was too outdated for new players.

The Plan for revival

I spent my Christmas 2022 completely re-designing the game UI. This would look great on desktop and mobile. Everything would be easy to locate, and have an icon to match. The look would be cnosistent across devices, and it would perform well in terms of speed and responsiveness. With hindsight, the UI wasn't the biggest thing holding the game back - we'll get to that later. But I had my plan, and I stuck to it. In the process, I wasn't receptive to feedback. I had this great idea which people would see how awesome it was - if they gave it a chance. That was mistake #1.

Thought process behind how the UI was launched

I really dislike repeating the same mistake. With my previous game, I'd fragmented the UI into 3 different styles. It became an obstacle to new development, and made it difficult to understand what players were going through when they came to us with problems. With MMM, my solution was simple. Just make one new UI and hope that players like the new one in time. It's straight out of the big tech playbook, and a real dick-move on my part. I hated it when developers forced a new UI on websites that I used. The rationale was that I needed to keep things simple.

What went wrong?

10 weeks into putting up the new UI, and making steady improvements, it started to become clear that I'd got something wrong. New players were still registering, and sometimes playing a few days, but not sticking around. All the effort I'd put in seemed like it was for nothing. I didn't see a way to improve the game so that it would grow. Hope of the game ever getting big was gone, and it was costing me money to run something that evidently wasn't working. I wasn't sure that I even wanted to be involved with gaming or development at all, and I put MMM on hold. It was a really tough decision after working so hard on it for over 2 years, but I needed distance, and clarity.

July 2023

The more I contemplated my life (What do I want to do?), the more it became clear how over-invested I was with MMM. I'd made mistakes and was too blind to even see it. My mindset was the biggest problem, not the game. I came to look at things anew. MMM is one piece of my puzzle, not the finished picture. Going back to the roots of the game, and the MMM Mission statement, I decided to put you back at the center of the picture. I'm just here to make a fun game, and I need your help to keep things fun and interesting. Please make your voice heard, I'm listening! Let's have a discussion on game boards for how to make the best game for you.

Mistakes realised

My desire to grow the game. This put me in the harsh wilderness between the niche of MMM - a text based competitive mafia game and the desires of the wider market. I was seeking broad appeal, but not really satisfying the niche. I'm no longer seeking a huge audience for MMM, just to be the best in this niche.

Dave Knows best attitude. My ego got the better of me. And while I listened, I wasn't hearing what you guys were telling me. It appeared to me that people were holding back with their feedback, and I now realise it's because they weren't feeling heard. I'll try and do better in future!

Not seeing the woods through the trees. MMM was the biggest part of my life for about 2 years. I was lacking the distance to see things clearly. Going forward, I'll be spending less time updating MMM. I have a roadmap for the next couple of months (more on that soon), and from there, I'll be led by you on where the game goes.

The future

I've secured a hosting deal to keep MMM online for at least the next 2 years. MMM can develop into the game you want.

The focus is now on making MMM the best game in it's niche. We want to hear your ideas on how to improve to make the gameplay better.

Some long requested features are in the works. Multiplayer poker tables are nearly ready. There will be a hospital to build up and improve your resilience against attacks from other players.

The new Permanent round will be regularly balanced as time goes on.


Check out what's happening with the relaunch, and I hope to see you in game!