State of the Township: October 2016

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Our last State of the Township was at the end of 2015 – of course, we’ve introduced plenty of new features since then (like improved Training Plans, ZombieLink Social, and more), not to mention our book, audio drama, and board game, but we haven’t talked about the bigger picture. Most of that is because we’ve been so busy!

So here’s a quick overview of what’s happened with Zombies, Run! and Six to Start since then. We’ve blown way past three million downloads of Zombies, Run!, and we’re still seeing healthy numbers of new Runners 5 every day. We’ve massively improved the reliability of the apps and ZombieLink; we’re seeing far fewer bugs, crashes, and support tickets than ever before.

And as we’ve expanded the Zombies, Run! universe into books and audio dramas and Virtual Races (now with over 13,000 entrants in total!), we’ve continued the story with Season 5, which has been a real blast to write and record.

Having said that, we haven’t been able to do some of things we aimed to, like improving the base builder, implementing walk tracking and upgrading the 5k training app. There are two main reasons why we didn’t hit these targets: staffing changes and needing to devote more time to behind the scenes work.

Firstly, some developers left Six to Start in the past year. These changes took place on good terms (they still come to our games nights!), but they did lead to some slowdown as new developers need time to learn the ropes. The good news on this front is that we have now doubled our development team compared to the end of 2015, which means we can do much more as we move forward.

Secondly, we’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes. For example, we spent a lot more time than expected on bringing Zombies, Run! on iOS to Swift 3 so that it can fully support iOS 10. We’ve been doing similar things on Android for Nougat. While the fruits of this labour may not be obvious, the time we’ve spent now will mean a more stable, longer lasting Zombies, Run! in the future.

That behind the scenes work also includes a brand new project that is separate – but related – to Zombies, Run! It’s too early to talk about what that is, but it draws on everything we’ve learned in the past few years and takes it further ahead. Even better, the time we spend on building it will also directly improve Zombies, Run! itself. Intriguing, eh? We’ll have more to announce next year!

Next on Zombies, Run!

With that all said, I can talk about imminent new features for Zombies, Run!, including:

  • A completely new Apple Watch app, ready for WatchOS 3, with new readouts, notifications, and settings
  • A Run Progress Bar for iPhone, showing you just how far you are through a story or race mission (similar to Android’s progress bar)
  • “Milestones” – they’re a bit like Achievements, but way more fun 

Further down the line, we have plans for a complete mobile-first redesign of ZombieLink, along with some very neat social features. 

Looking Ahead into 2017

If there’s a single message I want to give you in this update, it’s this: other apps may come and go, but Zombies, Run! is here to stay. It’s thanks to you that that’s possible: every one of the tens of thousands of Pro Members out there, along with every single person who buys a T-shirt, book, poster, board game, and hoodie.

You make it possible for us to maintain and improve our amazing, beautiful running game for years to come. We weren’t able to do everything we wanted in 2016, but we’ve regrouped and we’re stronger than ever. Bring on 2017.

– Adrian Hon, CEO and Lead Designer at Six to Start