LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

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PyTom
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LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#1 Post by PyTom » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:47 pm

As the next step in our forum mandates series, I want to come up with some new mandates for the completed games section.

The thing about the completed games forum is that it's a section of the forum that has a large flux of non-creator end users. I'd like to get it to the point where the people who are posting in completed games are fellow creators, while end users have other places to post about a game.

I'm going to throw out here an idea that I've been mulling over for the past few months - before a game can be posted in the completed games section, it must have a website with some way of contacting the author. This can be something elaborate, or something as simple as a wordpress or blogspot blog. But it needs to exist if you want to post in the completed games section.

The idea is that by providing other ways for fans to interact with a game's creator, the forum stays creator-focused. I also think that this will improve the reception of our games, encouraging people to judge them on their own merits rather than as one game in the forum.

I'm also leaning towards dividing the completed games section into Completed Games - Short and Completed Games - Long. It's easy to play a short game, and the feedback comes more immediately - so the completed games forum tends to fill up with discussion of short games. Creators of longer games sometimes feel neglected as their work - some of our best - is lost. I think length is a reasonable point of separation that will give both types of work their due.

Finally, I'm considering creating a Completed Games - Tech Support forum. This stems from the fact that the first few pages of a thread are often about problems unpacking and getting it running. I think we should isolate this conversation in one place - perhaps with a few stickies - and leave the main threads for discussion of the work itself.

Within a thread, questions, reasoned praise, and respectful critique are all on-topic.
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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#2 Post by DaFool » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:38 pm

PyTom wrote: I'm also leaning towards dividing the completed games section into Completed Games - Short and Completed Games - Long.
So...an arbitrary wordcount? Evidently games like "Hey I'm just testing Ren'Py" will fall under Short. Somebody mentioned in vnsnow to the tune of 10,000 words. But even the 'longest' games here get listed as 'Very Short <2 hrs' on vndb, that doesn't mean they're mini-games. Testing those kinds of games with a fine comb can still take up to 5 hours a single playthrough.

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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#3 Post by papillon » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:52 pm

I finally managed to get tagged as 'Medium (10-30 hours)'!

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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#4 Post by ririruetoo » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:42 am

I like the idea of having a short or long section! I think it would be easier to find what you're interested in playing/reading at the time.
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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#5 Post by moxie » Thu Dec 22, 2011 1:45 am

I think dividing the games is a good idea too. Sometimes I have the time and mood to play a long, detailed game, and sometimes I just want something short and sweet. It would be easier to find things in specified sections.

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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#6 Post by sake-bento » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:22 am

It might be an idea to have people just tag the lengths of their games in their posts instead of breaking them up. Especially since the amount of "long" games is very, very small. I don't know if requiring a site is necessary, especially for beginners trying out a new game. Maybe instead of "long" and "short" games, we can break things up into demos/test works/quick projects versus completed games. Completed games are expected to be somewhat longer and polished, and we could require those to have a site?

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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#7 Post by Aleema » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:39 am

Requiring a website seems too much, it could be encouraged, but requiring it is a huge deterrent for sharing games (from minor inconvenience, to outright terror for those who have no idea how to do that, but otherwise make good games) - which I'm not sure is necessary. If you want the forum to be creator-only, take the Completed Games section out. Because when you play a game, you're now a player. Someone who's developed in VNs may have the exact same quality or quantity of stuff to say as someone who didn't. Avid VN players have excellent feedback to give, and frankly, I'm often too busy developing games to even play most of them released. And then there's the times when you play a game, you'll become a creator, too. LOTS of people who've played the games they found here have downloaded Ren'Py and got to work on their own projects. Sometimes even when the person's first post is just supporting a game, this person can turn around and be the next great developer with something amazing to offer the community.

The biggest problem I see in the Completed Games section is the inability to sort through the games in any fashion. Enforcing topic tags would be a great start, and yes, it would be nice to see games tagged by length. The troubleshooting in the beginning of the thread is inevitable, and how would the new technical support forum work to solve that? Would it just be a free-for-all where people post new topics every problem they have, and then a developer has to constantly scour it, even open every thread since the game title might not even be obvious? That's a huge chore to give a developers, and if it's the "developer needs to make a secondary thread in Technical Support upon release" will result in a lot of threads with 0 replies, and unknowing people still posting bugs in the original thread. And also, lots of people attach bug reports and such to their reviews. It's easier for everyone to have it in the same thread. Because if it's not the player or developer's job to manage that tech support in a separate forum, it will be a moderator's.

Anyway, something that was said a while back in reference to WIP changes, is that "you'll get equality in the Completed Games forum," and I think that should remain true, whatever decisions come.

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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#8 Post by PyTom » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:42 am

sake-bento wrote:Maybe instead of "long" and "short" games, we can break things up into demos/test works/quick projects versus completed games. Completed games are expected to be somewhat longer and polished, and we could require those to have a site?
That seems like a reasonable split to me, although I worry that it would still be a little biased against longer games, just because the sheer length of those games means that they will get less comments and those comments will arrive later. But with a less packed forum, maybe it won't be a problem.

The idea of the tech support forum is that there will be one thread per game, created by the first person that has a problem running the game. So for any game, there will be 0 or 1 threads in tech support.
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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#9 Post by Rewritten Ennui » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:15 pm

PyTom wrote:
sake-bento wrote:Maybe instead of "long" and "short" games, we can break things up into demos/test works/quick projects versus completed games. Completed games are expected to be somewhat longer and polished, and we could require those to have a site?
That seems like a reasonable split to me, although I worry that it would still be a little biased against longer games, just because the sheer length of those games means that they will get less comments and those comments will arrive later.
We all need to decide on how long is long in that case. To some people, 10k of words is a lot. Others can power down 20k in a single sitting. 30k is quite the feat, but when take into consideration that most VNs have a lot of branching paths, then suddenly a single playthrough's wordcount may be significantly less. And what exactly is the estimated gameplay time? Is it the time to finish one route, or is it the time to obtain all the endings? Some people read fast and others slow, so how will they find a game to suit them?
PyTom wrote:The idea of the tech support forum is that there will be one thread per game, created by the first person that has a problem running the game. So for any game, there will be 0 or 1 threads in tech support.
Some people might not read each thread and start up multiple ones for the same game. I suppose that the mods can delete the extra threads and move the message into the first one, though.
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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#10 Post by Omnificent » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:32 pm

Isn't the main Ren'py site already where finished games are posted without discussion? It's all well and good and probably-constructive to make it so WIP threads are no longer for posting random things and giving enthusiastic commentary/expressions of anticipation, but if you need to have external sites to even give feedback on a finished game without having finished a game yourself, then there's no point in having a forum.
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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#11 Post by purple_pockets » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:52 pm

When I first found this forum, I noticed that it seemed a bit disorganized (although now it doesn't bother me as much).
I think that it is a great idea. Maybe a forum for people that have completed games, and one for those who have played it?
I don't know. I do know that if I were a game creator, I would want feedback from both other game creators and fans. Of course, sometimes someone that plays the game has no idea about the amout of effort that goes into creating one. (I have tried for months to come up with an idea for a story. I tried to make an RPG with RPG Maker XP. To make a terrible game it takes about eight hours to get five minutes of enjoyment. Then I go to a website that sells excellent RPGs like Aveyond, and the players complained that the graphics were a bit dated and that the game was essentially worthless. I can't tell you how mad this made me, even though I am just a fan. They didn't even consider the time and effort it takes to create a sprite. Even if you edit a stock sprite, it takes hours to just re-color it.)
Okay, sorry about ranting. I think that these are really good ideas. I am someone that really likes specific categories for some reason. That makes it easier to find things. Have you considered some more specific categories in other sections of the forum? For example, on the skill development forum there might be a section on writing and then a section on drawing. Of course, I understand that it is probably really hard to rearrange an entire website. And I am guessing that you guys don't have an easy pick your favorite template thing going on like you do in the Ren'Py novel engine.
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Re: LSF Forum Mandates - Completed Games

#12 Post by Sapphi » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:48 am

Omnificent wrote:Isn't the main Ren'py site already where finished games are posted without discussion? It's all well and good and probably-constructive to make it so WIP threads are no longer for posting random things and giving enthusiastic commentary/expressions of anticipation, but if you need to have external sites to even give feedback on a finished game without having finished a game yourself, then there's no point in having a forum.
I kind of agree with Omni here... I mean, I do think that for a game to be taken seriously it should have some kind of "home base" apart from a thread on the LSF, but it seems excessive to me to require it.

Not all websites are going to have a place to comment (I, for one, was just thinking about having an old-school non-blog style site for my project) and providing just author contact information means that even if someone likes my work and shoots me an email, nobody else can read what that person wrote. A lot of times, it's the reviews and comments that spur me to download and play something, and I assume it's similar for other people.

Anyway, just thinking out loud, so feel free to disregard. I was planning on having a website anyway, so I guess I don't mind if it becomes a rule.
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