Over the past few weeks, we've held discussions as to how to raise the quality of the discussion in these forums. After the public discussion faded out, we spent quite a bit of time on the (hidden to normal users) Administrator Talk forum deciding how to implement everyone's suggestions.
Over the course of these discussions, we've come to the realization that there are many ways in which people want to use these forums. We have a huge number of creators in one place, and that gives us the chance to provide a place where dedicated creators can get together to help each other create. At the same time, we've attracted a growing following of fans who post in WiP threads when a game appeals to them. As many creators find such posts motivating, we want to be sure that there's a place for players to comment about games - even if such comments don't really have more to do with the content of the game, rather than its development.
In doing this, I want to make LSF the best place it can be for the dedicated creator. Dedication isn't eliteness - the last thing I want to do is make this a place where only supremely talented people can post. That's unsustainable - there was sometime in the past when everyone who's talented today wasn't. Dedication is striving to complete the best games you can given the time and talent that is available to you. That's a definition that encompasses new and experienced creators both.
So with that being said, here is the new lineup of forums, their mandates, and a little bit of discussion about each.
Creator's Discussion (existing)
The place to discuss aspects of game creation that aren't specific to any one creator or game. Engine discussion goes here, with the exception of Ren'Py discussion, which should go in the Ren'Py section.
This isn't a change to the Creator Discussion we've had for the past few years. If it ain't broke.
A place where teams can recruit creators, or creators can express their interest in joining a team.
Again, this forum is working fine, so no problems here.
Works in Progress (new)
A place to announce and discuss the development of games that have not yet been been completed.
The important part here is that the new Works in Progress form will be devoted to the discussion of game development - construed somewhat broadly, but not as broadly as it is now. The big change here is that commenting from a player's perspective - for example, about how much you like a single character, or about how you can't wait for a game to come out - isn't allowed here. (But don't worry, the next forum will be the place for that.) The standard for posts here is a "reasoned comment" standard - if you can't explain why you like something in a way that other developers can understand, you shouldn't post in this forum.
We're going to raise the bar of entry slightly, with a requirement that there be demonstrable progress in creating the game, rather than just a setting and character designs. We're also asking that, when making a new topic, creators describe what they're trying to get out of that topic - for example, do they want comments and criticism, or are they just posting announcements? This will let people who want to comment do so where it does the most good.
Player Chat (new, sub-forum of Works in Progress)
Discussion of games that have not yet been completed from the perspective of a player.
This section will have one topic per WiP-game. Anyone can create a topic for a game if it doesn't exist, although we will lock a topic if the creator requests it to be locked. The idea behind this topic is that it's for conversation between potential players of the game. There's no requirement for discussion here to be relevant to any other project - as long as it's about a game under development, anything goes. Want to post fan-art of the protagonist - this is the place. It's also the place for expressing how much you like a character, and how you can't wait for the game's release.
Posts will be moved from new-WiP to Player Chat, but probably not vice-versa.
Ideas and Old Works in Progress (existing Works in Progress Recruitment forum, renamed and moved to a sub-forum of Works in Progress)
This forum exists to provide a place to post game ideas that haven't actually gone into production yet, and ideas that aren't quite ready for the Works in Progress section. It also holds works in progress threads from before 2012.
Threads that don't qualify for new-WiP will be placed in this forum. It will also hold older WiP threads, and I'll explain why below.
Demos & Beta Testing (new)
A forum for games that require beta testing before release.
We've been getting a lot of games that go into Completed Games before they're quite ready - so I think it's a good idea to have a public beta forum.
Asset Creation: Art
Asset Creation: Writing
Asset Creation: Music, Sound, and Movies
These three forums replace the skill development forum, with a couple of changes. The first is that topical questions should be posted in these forums - for example, if I have a question about how to do something in Sai, I'd post it in the Art section. Things posted here should be kept related to game development - it makes sense to post a game script in the writing section, but a fanfic is likely off-topic. Finally, reasoned comment and constructive critique is always on topic in the Asset forums.
I'm asking that, sometime in the next few weeks, creators post a new thread for their game in the new works-in-progress section. The reason for this is that we'd like to try to set a certain tone in the WiP section. We'd like to make it clear that WiP is for creation-centric discussion, while Player chat is for game-centric discussion. This will be hard to do with the current threads, which freely mix creator and player centric discussion.
We'll be triaging threads in Skill Development that have been posted to in the past month or so, and moving them into the various Asset sections. When that's done, we'll leave Skill Development locked for a while, and then move it to the archived section.
These changes are complex. We've tried to address the issues raised to the best of our ability, and to serve the existing community as well as possible. We hope that making these changes will improve the ability of the forum to serve dedicated creators going forward.
Another Old-Fashioned Bishoujo Gamer
Supporting creators since 2004; Code > Drama
(When was the last time you backed up your game?)
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming" - Theodore Roosevelt