Group Plays

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PyTom
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Group Plays

#1 Post by PyTom » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:37 pm

This is a half-baked idea, like so many of mine. But that never stopped me before, why let it stop me now.

Right now, a lot of the short games aren't really getting the attention they should. The funny thing is that when I see these games, I often enjoy them - but because the discussion of big games tends to be spread out over time, we don't really see them as much.

I'm wondering if it might make sense to have some sort of "Group Play" area in the players section. The idea would be that a group of people gets together and picks one of the short (short enough that people can play it in an hour or so) games, and picks a date, and they agree to play through it together on that date. They can then give their impressions, and go back and forth on it, either on IRC or the forum.

It's much harder to do this with bigger games - when you're huge, you're going to have people all spread out when it comes to reading times. Also, the big/commercial games tend to get the attention over the small/free ones. So lets avoid that.

I don't know how we'll set this up. I'm kind of hoping someone will step up and say "I'll organize this", and come up with a system that's acceptable to everyone. I certainly don't have the time to organize it. But I can at least put this idea out there and see if it sticks.
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Re: Group Plays

#2 Post by Lekhaka » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:09 pm

Sounds like a VN festival. Could be done as a thing for the NaNoRenOs every April, as well as other games at other times.

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Re: Group Plays

#3 Post by Applegate » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:15 pm

I'd be interested in that, if only because I have seen a number of small gems that really haven't gotten as much interest as I think they warrant. I'm also not sure how to really organise this idea, because on the other hand you have to consider WHY the smaller games don't get attention; some do get it, some just don't. How would the selection process go? It'd probably depend on whoever picks one's tastes whether some of the other gems get forgotten or not.

Maybe a rotation of game-picker would work...? Do it once every two weeks or so and raise awareness of the smaller VN games and encourage the smaller hobbyists as well. I definitely agree only looking towards the big projects may discourage people who don't have the time or resources or ability to create a game spanning over six hours with five different romanceable guys and twelve different endings.

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Re: Group Plays

#4 Post by Crocosquirrel » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:37 pm

This is actually a good idea. Can't volunteer to organize, but I can take an hour or so out of my week and comment on a piece.
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Re: Group Plays

#5 Post by Hayzel » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:45 pm

Sounds like a book club :D I'd love to be in on this

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Re: Group Plays

#6 Post by lepapillonrouge » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:21 pm

Maybe we can do it every so often, and maybe have a theme of what short VNs were reading like 'Mystery Week' or 'Read a Genre you don't usually read' week.

I was also thinking maybe of doing something like that every month, and we play VNs that have come out recently, along with some older ones.
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Re: Group Plays

#7 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:27 pm

I would be interested in this. I have games literally piling up around my house that I just haven't had time to play. And then there are the ones here. I would really like to be able play more of the smaller ones but I just don't know where to start and I would have to set aside some time for them. Having a set schedule and a group could probably help with that.

I could probably help out with organising something that happens on a set basis except, ah, I live in Australia and my time zone is literally at the opposite end of a lot of Americans. I'm a day ahead of you for one thing so something time restricted wouldn't work so well. Maybe something more like a book club where you read the book first and then gather to talk about it, so it's not so real time?

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Re: Group Plays

#8 Post by saguaro » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:35 pm

I've seen an idea like this on other indie game forums, usually they do a poll to see which game to play for the week/month and keep a thread going during that time.

I like the week time frame because I know I can squeeze in one game a week, but on any given day I might not have time. A week might be easier to organize for an international forum too.

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Re: Group Plays

#9 Post by MaiMai » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:46 pm

Hm, I'm interested... it would make me more committed to finishing games since I have a terrible streak of saying "I'll play this and give comments later", but... I don't do it :V
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Re: Group Plays

#10 Post by Applegate » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:24 am

After some thinking, I was wondering if it can't be done like this:

Someone sets up a thread in Creator General with the Group Play tag, and the title of the Visual Novel we'll be playing. Inside is a link to the relevant location, a short summary, maybe a few points worth commenting on? In any case, people then use that thread to, in a span of two weeks or so, post reviews or discuss the Visual Novel in question.

At the end of it, you post in the release thread of the relevant VN, with a link to its Group Play thread to bump it up for all those who didn't pay attention to Group Play/wasn't interested in it, renewing the interest in the VN a little at least while providing a wealth of reviews slash comments.

Once that's done, you post up a new Visual Novel.

What Visual Novel to pick can either be done by a vote, which is a bit messy, or you "pass the baton" between who picks a Visual Novel to read. That ensures diversity at least and, if someone feels inclined to promote their pal's VN, it's still possible.

As limitations, you can set length limitations, but also that you can never submit your own Visual Novel for reads, and the Visual Novel must be older than x days/weeks, so as to ensure the group covers older Visual Novels instead of just the latest new thing.

A two week period gives creators time to create new Visual Novels for fear of very rapidly running out of material to work with.

Group Plays could be done as a sort of membership: you sign on to do Group Plays and, in doing so, do your best to commit an hour or two per two weeks to participate in it. If someone doesn't participate, they don't get to pick the next Visual Novel. This MAY be a bit too restrictive/forceful, though, but I felt it warranted mention in case the worry arises that someone'll participate once or twice per half year just to pick a friend's Visual Novel and promote it and then quit participating altogether. We want people in it.

Problem is a main "draw" to participate in it at all, though, regardless of the above paragraph or not. It'd basically have to be done from the goodwill of one's heart, and then with enough perseverance to also give "bad" or "decent" Visual Novels a chance; I mean, "bad" isn't so bad since critiquing something that's bad is really easy in terms of "how to improve". It's the "decent" Visual Novels that are difficult to grade since they don't have glaring flaws or peaks of excellence.

If someone can solve the "motivate people to participate" equation I think the above might work.

I'm a rubbish leader so I won't nominate myself as the person to spearhead anything, though.

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Re: Group Plays

#11 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:47 am

I prefer to go with a pool system to remove people having direct influence over what games get played. For example, everyone who wants to take part suggests three games. All the suggested games are collected and one is drawn from a hat by chance. I would hope that would remove most of the arguments about favouritism etc etc. since it's left up to chance. Alternatively we could gather ALL the games within a certain word limit and draw from there.

I think it would be good to have a thread per game to discuss. Maybe have something like people have to mention a minimum of one good thing and one bad thing, that way people who want to fan can, and people who want to critique can. Apart from that I think a freedom of discussion would be a good thing.

Working on a 2 week system should work I think. 1 week to play a game, 1 week to discuss it?

I also agree that posting in the games original thread either when we start to promote discussion, or at the end to continue discussion would be a good idea :)

As for motivating people to participate... *shrug* it's not something I think we could force. If it comes across as a positive thing, people will take part, if not, they won't. It's like with anything, people have to be getting something out of it. That will all depend on the people who originally participate, but we won't know unless we try.

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Re: Group Plays

#12 Post by Applegate » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:35 am

I prefer to go with a pool system to remove people having direct influence over what games get played. For example, everyone who wants to take part suggests three games. All the suggested games are collected and one is drawn from a hat by chance. I would hope that would remove most of the arguments about favouritism etc etc. since it's left up to chance. Alternatively we could gather ALL the games within a certain word limit and draw from there.
Random hat draw seems a better idea, yes.

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Re: Group Plays

#13 Post by CheeryMoya » Sun Jun 03, 2012 10:42 pm

I'd totally join in on this if someone organized it. We can use screen sharing programs like join.me and have one person play the game while others comment all the while. join.me doesn't save video files of the session though, but it's free to use. Just download the program and you can do sessions anytime by sharing the session number and whatnot.

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Re: Group Plays

#14 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:36 pm

Okay, so I don't mind doing the orgainising and posting side of things. However, as I've mentioned, I can't do anything restricted to time due to time zones and the fact I work a full week. I do a lot at work, but playing games isn't one of them XD

So if no one has any problems with that, then we can throw together a test run. I doubt many people will follow through initially, but if it proves to be good experience, it might help. The way I would plan to do it is have everyone offer three suggestion to me as PMs. I write them down and draw one. I make a post in the Creator forum with the tag. Everyone has 1 week to play and make comments, converse, critique, what have you. In this time if anyone wants to jump in and add their own suggestions they can. I'll keep it to 3 per person for now. Then we start again. I'll try and post the same day every week (probably Friday so people get the weekend). People can take part whenever they want. You may suggest your own games.

Now, if anyone has a problem with that or thinks it should be done differently, say so now.

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Re: Group Plays

#15 Post by Applegate » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:24 pm

No real objections here, but maybe making a separate account to send the PMs too works better so it isn't lost in whatever communications you enjoy normally or something; if you're positive it won't be a problem or don't care or whatever, go for it. I'm on board in any case.

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