I've lied to you. I don't think Darkness Falls looks awful. Some of it is quite presentable. But I do look at games with a fifth of the actual game content of Darkness Falls and think damn that's a good looking game. I get that with a lot of the stuff I see on Facebook. In reality they're a menu - pick a menu item, one var goes up, one goes down. Big whoop, enjoy your menu, but damn it looks good.
There is no single cohesive design in Darkness Falls and I regret that, but the simple truth is I'm not a visual designer. And Darkness Falls grew as an experiment, evolving as a live system. And the technology changed as the game was being written; is still changing - as I write this libraries like Angular.js look poised to take over from JQueryUI and the shift from server side to client side seems unstoppable. I'm rather proud to say that Darkness Falls was a front runner in SPA (single page application - the use of the client to do the large bulk (if not all) of the work) - the game page is fully ajax driven. But software changes at an incredible pace. And that's a discussion for another time.
The harsh reality of course is budget. Don't create a free to play game unless you have very deep pockets and a desire to empty them; and an insane amount of free time. There is no money. You may get very kind and very lovely people chipping in a few bucks, but the server costs, and development costs. And it takes a huge amount of time. There is constant refactoring and constant development. There is, believe it or not, a v2.0 of Darkness Falls sitting on a development server right now. MVC and SPA and all sorts of lovely things. If I'm lucky I get an hour a day to work on it. If I'm lucky.
We need to talk about the mighty ARM at some point - Acquisition, Retention, Monetisation - not here though. Remind me.
Let's talk about: a diary, why a diary? Or why does it look so awful? Or, the big one for many of you apparently; what the ****'s going on? Or, one dear to my heart at the moment - Who owns this?