Giving response to bad game with good effort?

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Talann
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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#16 Post by Talann » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:23 pm

To be honest, the first thing I do is check if the author wants critiques or negative comments, if they don't, well then, I just keep quiet. And if they do then great! Although, if I can't find anything nice to say before the critique, then again I just keep quiet and keep the thoughts to myself.
I have never ever have left anyone a negative comment on their work, and I do not wish to do so in the future clearly because I don't want to disappoint anyone with how their game turned out and because I also don't find myself a better creator than them. Also, negative comments aimed at the author is very unlike me, because I'm sure afterwards, the author will feel like they're not good enough at making games, and that feeling is just NOT nice.

I do however leave critiques because without people's opinions, a developer's creativity will never grow. Though, before I do that, I make sure to leave a little nice note about what I liked about the game and then, I move on to my opinions and critiques. I myself, like taking other people's critique because I know that they are being nice taking their time to actually bother giving tips to make my future work better, and I'm sure that other people should feel the same too.

And just as papillon said, you can just admit that you disliked liked the game and give the reasons to the author, maybe they will appreciate it, and they should because everyone's tastes and opinions are different.

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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#17 Post by Caveat Lector » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:38 pm

Honestly, LemmaSoft doesn't strike me as the place where you give honest feedback or point out critical flaws. It's a place where you tell people what they did well and praise that, we gloss over what went wrong.
If I looked for people to test out my projects on before releasing them--commercial or free--I would want users who were willing to point out things like any potential snags plot threads could get caught on, or if a piece of music felt out-of-place, and the usual checking for bugs. If they never said anything out of fear of hurting my feelings and allowed for me to put the final result up with the flaws intact, I'd essentially be walking around with a piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

From browsing through the forums' history, I've only seen a small handful of users react badly to concrit. For the most part, the majority of users here seem open and accepting of concrit.
But many amateurs act like you've physically assaulted them if you point out their anatomy is wonky, or that they need to look up story structure. So if I think something is truly bad, I just won't say anything. However, if I see potential and talent and the person is just making some basic mistakes, I'll speak up. Or, you know, if an amateur of any talent or skill level has proven they can take criticism and apply it, I'll give advice and analysis.
Yes, that's pretty much what I would do, too. And I understand your reasoning in the first case--ff.net tends to have a lot of authors like the ones you described, so if I'm looking through their story and there's a lengthy author's note dedicated to wishing dengue on their critics, that's a warning sign for me to stay away. But again, the majority of people on these forums aren't like that, so I think giving concrit on here would actually be much easier.
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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#18 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:09 am

papillon wrote:If I can't think of both good and bad things to say about a work I don't say anything to the author at all. For one, it's possible that if I have nothing good to say about it, then I didn't get it at all, either because I drastically misinterpreted something or because it was aimed at people very, very unlike me. The same qualifies for if you're having to really stretch yourself to think of anything nice to say. For me that's a sign that I am not a useful person to be critiquing the work. I'm not close enough to the intended wavelength to give useful guidance.
But critiquing and reviewing (in a game context) aren't really the same thing in my mind. A review is for a potential audience. A review should include the full spectrum of good and bad. A critique is for the creator. It is for improvement. In my mind, only things that need improvement or should be focused on in the next work should be brought up. Critiques should also only be given, IMHO, when asked for.

And speaking of having good things to say about a work, I generally don't praise something if it is merely done correctly - i.e. the creator didn't screw that particular thing up. The danger I see, and saw when I got to physically follow people's art in person for years and sitting in on their critiques, is that often when people would tell an artist something mildly pleasant to "sandwich" a criticism, that artist would latch on to that and hear "I am GOOD at that thing!" They would ignore or stop pushing in that area, because people had told them they like their [insert something here] they would forever after get offended if that element were criticized, because they KNEW it was good, because other people had told them so in past works. Really, in those past works, it was only the most non-offense thing relative to everything else, but now they had a totally skewed perspective. (Sometimes literally! Ba-dum-tish. Artist joke.)

If I am going to call something out as good, it is because it really is. Not relative to the rest of the work, but really and truly an impressive accomplishment on its own. Like I said, if I don't mention it in my critique, it is probably fine and passable, but I'm not going to confuse the issue by soft-balling platitudes.

All this is why I try not to do a lot of critiquing on Lemmasoft. I know I come from a harsher way of doing things from art school critiques and studio dailies, and amateurs and hobbyists aren't necessarily looking for that level of review or to be held to those standards. Plus, well, like Papillon said, I'm probably not on the same wavelength. I've been used to giving critiques to experienced artists for a long time now, where usually only small things need correcting, that it can be kind of overwhelming to look at a beginner's work and try to figure out what the most important thing is to tell them. There are a lot of things you internalize as you go along, and it takes a lot of effort to decompress all the steps again.

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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#19 Post by papillon » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:27 am

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
papillon wrote:If I can't think of both good and bad things to say about a work I don't say anything to the author at all. For one, it's possible that if I have nothing good to say about it, then I didn't get it at all, either because I drastically misinterpreted something or because it was aimed at people very, very unlike me. The same qualifies for if you're having to really stretch yourself to think of anything nice to say. For me that's a sign that I am not a useful person to be critiquing the work. I'm not close enough to the intended wavelength to give useful guidance.
But critiquing and reviewing (in a game context) aren't really the same thing in my mind. A review is for a potential audience. A review should include the full spectrum of good and bad. A critique is for the creator. It is for improvement. In my mind, only things that need improvement or should be focused on in the next work should be brought up. Critiques should also only be given, IMHO, when asked for.
Agreed. Critiques, reviews, and comments really aren't the same context, but they often get lumped together when people are asking this sort of question. Which is probably leading me to fumble around a little because I'm trying to answer all situations with one answer, when one answer won't really do.

I think the only time I'd be likely to give a critique of the style you're talking about is if someone wanted me to publish their work, in which case it definitely would be my job to tell them exactly what to fix to bring it to the desired standard. And there would be no need for me to mention positives, because they could be taken for granted - if you weren't told to fix it, it's fine.

May be rambling in circles here, I think I'm trying to find a good way to explain to certain detractors that it's not necessarily a horrible thing if game announcement threads tend towards short, largely-positive comments. (But I still think it would be useful if there were more voices talking critically about works in neutral spaces as well.)

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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#20 Post by Ekamu » Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:37 am

Usually games like this are either targeted at another audience, mainstream or both.

If its clearly targeted at another audience I wouldn't say anything because their is nothing to say, its just not a game that was meant/designed for me.

If its clearly mainstream (or trying to be) and targeted at sales and competing in the market, I wouldn't say anything because that's up to their market researcher who just let them down also most times its very difficult to get into contact with mainstream creators anyway.

If its neither (which is rare) I would firstly congratulate the creator(s) on making a complete game which is something to be proud of regardless, then I would straight up criticize their game pointing out specific things I thought where bland and banal because as indies we rely on communities and such criticism to grow and make better games.

But the main reason why games turn out like this is due to trying to be popular or targeting a new audience (that you're not used to).
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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#21 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:58 am

papillon wrote: I think the only time I'd be likely to give a critique of the style you're talking about is if someone wanted me to publish their work, in which case it definitely would be my job to tell them exactly what to fix to bring it to the desired standard. And there would be no need for me to mention positives, because they could be taken for granted - if you weren't told to fix it, it's fine.
And that's largely been the context of any critique sessions I've been part of for the last few years. A team lead giving you positives on your work would be the equivalent of saying, "Congratulations, you continue to show basic competency in the skills we hired you for!"
papillon wrote: May be rambling in circles here, I think I'm trying to find a good way to explain to certain detractors that it's not necessarily a horrible thing if game announcement threads tend towards short, largely-positive comments. (But I still think it would be useful if there were more voices talking critically about works in neutral spaces as well.)
I don't disagree. Game announcement or release threads should maintain a more review oriented nature. Critique for the creator really shouldn't come up unless the creator has asked for it. And a release thread would be a bad place to ask for it. That's what beta testing is for.

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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#22 Post by Elmiwisa » Sun Sep 01, 2013 10:59 pm

Interesting...So it seems like the general preference here is to not saying anything unless the creator asked for it, and might not even then...
When I asked this question, I meant for it to be about response for the creators to read. Neutral space tend to be for prospective player only. Beside, for almost all free game here, the completed game announcement thread is the only place where people even talk about that game at all so there is no real neutral space. As for a commercial game, they might get some review, but of course there is doubt in the validity of such review, because they tend to be err on the side of caution and just find what is good to praise and ignore the rest (how often do you find a game with less than 8/10 score done by a professional reviewer anyway? And user score require the game to be popular, not happening any time soon with the niche VN market)

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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#23 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sun Sep 01, 2013 11:21 pm

It's been said before, but not everyone wants to be critiqued.
Everyone makes their projects for different reasons. In many cases, they achieved their goal, so there is no need for anyone to poke holes in their already achieved goal.
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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#24 Post by unknown5 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:17 am

Elmiwisa wrote:... If the game is bad because of poor effort, I would have no issues with leaving a negative feedback. However, if the game is bad despite a lot of effort, I felt very torn. :cry: ...
why not send them a pm?
just ask the person directly if they want advice that might be critical. being criticized publicly vs. privately might elicit different responses.

personally, i want to improve and suck less, so i'd appreciate constructive criticism over silent treatment/pat on the back.
also, if i had a choice between getting flogged in public vs. private, i'd prefer private 'cuz i'm a wuss/delicate flower.
but everybody's different and their responses will vary, i suppose. dunno.
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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#25 Post by Tempus » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:53 am

I agree that honest critique is needed to get better at something. I also agree that it's a waste of time for the critic to look around for something positive to say when they can't think of anything, not to mention insincere. I think it's pretty cruel to say nice things you don't mean since sooner or later that person is going to encounter someone who won't bullshit them and will tell them straight up that they think the person's work sucks. Recently I've become pretty cautious about spending my time writing critiques since the majority of the time they're simply disregarded.
TrickWithAKnife wrote:It's been said before, but not everyone wants to be critiqued.
Nice idea with the sig stating you're open for honest critique. Maybe someone should create a sig badge (for lack of a better word) of sorts that people can display. It could link back to a thread summarising principles of an honest critique.
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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#26 Post by Talann » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:56 pm

unknown5 wrote:why not send them a pm?
just ask the person directly if they want advice that might be critical. being criticized publicly vs. privately might elicit different responses.
That, is also a good thing to do.

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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#27 Post by trooper6 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:46 pm

People can't get better without honest critique...but I find people also need to get better at giving honest critique.

Ripping something apart isn't honest critique, and it certainly isn't constructive criticism. It is just being a jerk.

I was having a conversation with someone who said people always get upset with him when he is just "being honest." I asked for an example of his honesty. He replied, "For example if a I see a person walking down the street who is fat, I'll say--'Hey, you're fat and ugly! Lose some weight!' I tried to explain that is not constructive criticism.

Often I see the internet full of that equivalent. Telling someone their art sucks is not constructive criticism, because there is nothing constructive about that.

Similarly, I echo what some others have said, if you can't think of anything positive to say at all about a work...I mean nothing? Then you probably are not able to give constructive criticism and maybe should leave it alone.
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Re: Giving response to bad game with good effort?

#28 Post by Elmiwisa » Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:52 am

Talann wrote:
unknown5 wrote:why not send them a pm?
just ask the person directly if they want advice that might be critical. being criticized publicly vs. privately might elicit different responses.
That, is also a good thing to do.
I think there are several problem with it:
1. It force the creator to speak up just leaving the feedback on the thread. Asking them for permission and they are forced to reply (it is polite to do so) and pretty much forced to accept (since otherwise they would come off as insecure). Simply leaving a feedback on the thread and the creator can just stay silent on the question on whether they want criticism or not, or read that feedback or not.
2. In fact, it feels more like a personal attack. Beside the fact that asking for permission would come off as condescending (ie. "oh look, someone who might can't take criticism of their work, give them a chance to not having to face those criticism"), there is also a difference between giving a criticism on a public place and a private place. It's one thing to loudly proclaim that a painting is bad in a gallery (while the artist is lurking somewhere around), it is another to seek him out and say that to his face.
3. PM is overly professional. It simply mark myself out as being an expert for no good reason, since I might be just a player expressing my feeling, not someone who is an expert in game development who can give a full analysis.
4. I might be wrong. If I post in a thread that the story have a big plot hole that is never explained, another player might come and point out that if I choose this choice A, B, C in that order I would find an obscure scene that explain it. If I just use the PM, only the creator to defend themselves. Firstly, it suddenly put additional work to the creator. Secondly, it never look good for the creator when the creator when they defend themselves: it comes off as defensive and stubborn even if they are right, and also, they know the game inside-out, so their defense might not be valid (for example, maybe I complain about a puzzle that have non-sensible solution with bad clues, but of course the creator know the puzzle in details they might defend that it is not hard enough).
5. Some time you need many players to speak up on it to hold any weight. Just like the puzzle example above. There is always people who struggle with the simplest puzzle, and there are those who are too genre-savvy that nothing is challenging anymore. Or perhaps a puzzle need good ability to distinguish colour and most player's screen are far from the quality used by the creator. Without a sizable number of response, the average would be skewed and not a good indicator of the difficulty of the puzzle.

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