StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

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Tempus
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StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#1 Post by Tempus » Sat May 07, 2016 8:08 am

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Recently I've been working on a new website called StoryDevs. It's designed to help developers of visual novels, interactive fiction, or other story-oriented game types to find one another. It will allow you to make and search profiles based on criteria like availability, role (artist, writer, etc.), type of compensation (volunteer, commission, etc.), whether individuals are comfortable with adult content, and so on.

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When you perform a search on the talent database the results will appear on the right and your search criteria will remain saved on the left in case you decide you want to change them. You don't have to specify everything—as you can see below I didn't specify the compensation type I'm looking for, nor whether I want someone comfortable with adult material.

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After you select a result, the search column on the left will collapse and the profile column will expand. (You can expand the search again later if you want—your search criteria will remain saved). The profile column will give you details on whatever you have selected. The page won't refresh when you do this so you don't have to worry about losing your place in the results.

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In the above image you can also see an "+ Add To Collection" option. This allows you to add profiles that you like in a list so that you can look at them later. Your collection will be able to be searched the same way you would the database except that it's limited to the things you put in it. Unfortunately, since registrations aren't open yet you won't be able to do anything with it as it requires an account.


— - - - —


Reserving Your Handle

As mentioned above, registrations aren't open yet. However, you can reserve your StoryDevs handle! Your handle will form the link to your profile, e.g., storydevs.com/my_handle. It will also appear in search results and on your profile page:

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We've had a little trouble with emails from our mail server being mistakenly identified as spam, so check your spam for the confirmation email if you can't see it in your inbox. If you don't receive any confirmation email let me know, either here or via support@storydevs.com — it's important as if you don't confirm your email address your handle won't be reserved.


— - - - —


Future Plans

  • Increase the number of profiles. Once there are more profiles it will be easier to see how useful the search is. So far the profiles have been hand-picked, hence the small number. If you're an artist who would like to have a profile during the pre-account period and think your work is roughly on par with the existing profiles check out this.

  • Add other profile types (writer, editor, musician, programmer, etc.) The only reason I haven't already done this already is because I'd like the work examples for each type to be unique. Musicians will have an audio player, programmers a monospaced text area, and so on.

  • Open registrations to the public. It's hard to say when this will be ready, but I'm thinking roughly this time next month. The login system actually already works, so most of the work will involve making a nice system for creating and editing your profile.

  • Make a mobile version of the site. At the moment StoryDevs is designed for a widescreen display. The idea I have for the mobile version is similar, but it will involve having to fundamentally change a few things so I'm waiting until the dust settles with the desktop version.

  • Make some cosmetic changes to the site. At the moment the profile images don't expand when you click on them and it'd be nice if they did. The home page banner would look better animated. The experience section of profiles really ought to have the dates aligned. Stuff like that.


— - - - —


How To Help

If you'd like StoryDevs to be a success the best way to help out is by letting other people know that it exists, that you can reserve your profile handles now, and doing stuff like reblogging/retweeting etc. Here's various links for that:


If you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or gummi bears I'll address/eat them in this thread.


— - - - —


Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress. That being said, I think it's a decent proof of concept and I hope you like it!

Thanks for your time ^_^
Last edited by Tempus on Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
StoryDevs — easy-to-search profiles for VN devs (under construction!)

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#2 Post by firecat » Sat May 07, 2016 8:34 am

what makes this better than deviantart, the site doesn't have anything to share with people it's just a profile. you also have other competitors like tumblr who offer many ways to share projects and allow to be on people's websites. lastly how will you stop people from unwanted message, not everyone joins for the collaboration.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#3 Post by Shinoki » Sat May 07, 2016 9:21 am

When you implement the different profile types (writer, musician, etc.), what would you do for the people who do more than one thing? (like a writer and an artist)

Btw, I'm interested. Seems like a good idea.

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#4 Post by netravelr » Sat May 07, 2016 10:50 am

Interested in seeing what you have for programmers as well, but I would also suggest allowing them to put images as well as text/code. May also want to make sure the text is syntax highlighted and not just text. :-)
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#5 Post by Selebus » Sat May 07, 2016 11:20 am

This site seems great! Definitely registering.


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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#6 Post by Alte » Sat May 07, 2016 3:00 pm

Bit-sized gummi bears anyone?
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StoryDevs is a neat concept, indeed.

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#7 Post by Tempus » Sat May 07, 2016 5:20 pm

firecat wrote:what makes this better than deviantart, the site doesn't have anything to share with people it's just a profile. you also have other competitors like tumblr who offer many ways to share projects and allow to be on people's websites.
Hi firecat, thanks for your reply!

The first thing I'd say to this is that the Lemma Soft Forums and its recruitment board exist, despite Tumblr and Deviant Art. The reason is simple: Tumblr, Deviant Art, Twitter, Facebook, etc are all very general-purpose sites and not really direct competition. Everyone on Lemma Soft knows what a visual novel is, and most of us here develop them, or are associated with the development of them, in some capacity. The same can't be said for those other sites.

To answer the question "what makes this better?": so far I've said something like, "StoryDevs' goal is to help developers of story-focused games find one another." But what's that look like in practice? What are the specific actions people take to find other developers to work with? Well, they probably aren't looking for just "artist" or "musician." Instead they'll want something more precise like, "a character artist who knows what a visual novel is, who's available, who will work on commission, who's okay with sexual content, who's completed at least a couple of projects before, but not that one person I'm not interested in."

I'm going to suggest that's not an absurd set of criteria and in fact actually very common. Now let's try to find someone who matches those criteria on, say, Tumblr. Okay, I'm on Tumblr. Now what? How do I make it so I only see character artists that are available? How do I filter only for people who are doing commissions?
Image

Nope
Image

Technically better?
Image

IDK how half these results got here but okay (one of them is a photo of a figurine of Samus from Metroid)
As you can see above I make increasingly generous attempts to search for anything even vaguely related and turn up very little. I counted the results in that last search: there were 52 total, with roughly 50% being pretty much irrelevant. Can you find VN artists on Tumblr? Definitely, I do it all the time. But it's through serendipity and going down rabbit holes, not through design or intention. Tumblr, Twitter, dA, etc — they're general purpose sites designed to make things go viral and benefit from it. When you actually have a goal in mind they're surprisingly impotent.

Lemma Soft and Deviant Art's forums do a little better. When I go into the "I am an artist" board here on LSF I know that I won't have to skim over programmers, writers, musicians, and so on. This is a relatively recent change and I think anyone who remembers how it used to be will agree the current arrangement is an improvement. But we still have a similar problem, it's just been reduced in scope. Let's break down the long set of criteria I had earlier—I'm looking for someone who:
  1. Knows what a VN is
  2. Does character art
  3. Is available
  4. Works for commission
  5. Has completed two or more projects
  6. Is okay with sexual content
  7. Is not someone who I've seen before and am not interested in
Lemma Soft can handle 1. and sort-of 2. (the artist section has BG, GUI, and logo artists too.) It can't handle the rest. This isn't a failing of LSF's staff, it's just that phpBB (the software this forum uses) isn't designed for efficiently searching visual novel developers. Even answering the question "who's available" requires manually scanning every thread title because there's no separation of content and certain types of metadata (e.g., availability). Sometimes threads are bumped to the top even when the person isn't available. StoryDevs is better than forum-based recruitment boards in this regard as it allows you to quickly filter for what you want.

Finally, StoryDevs doesn't generate a load of browser tabs. When you view any other recruitment board you have to open a ton of tabs for each thread that interests you. On StoryDevs you can just do a search then view the results and profiles simultaneously without opening more tabs. And if you do want the profile saved so that you can look at it later, you can just add it to your collection. And you can filter your own collections the way you would with the database. This is useful as it allows you to collect a bunch of, say, musician's profiles then later when you need a musician you can search your collection by filtering for 'available' and 'musician'.
firecat wrote:lastly how will you stop people from unwanted message, not everyone joins for the collaboration.
You won't be able to send people messages via the PM system without an account. That option is just there to give people an idea of what it will be like. As for publicly listed email addresses on peoples' profiles, I'd like to hide them and make it so you need to click on "reveal email" or something to see it.
Shinoki wrote:When you implement the different profile types (writer, musician, etc.), what would you do for the people who do more than one thing? (like a writer and an artist) . . . Btw, I'm interested. Seems like a good idea.
I've not entirely sure yet. I think I'll just need to experiment to get it right. One thought I have is you could have tabs at the top of the profile to switch between work example types. Then when you make/edit your profile you nominate the default tab to be shown. I don't know whether that makes any sense.

Another way would be to simply stack the different work examples on top of one another. So if you're a character artist and a programmer you'd just have an image widget thing like there is now, plus a monospaced code widget beneath that.

(And I'm glad you're interested, thanks!)
netravelr wrote:Interested in seeing what you have for programmers as well, but I would also suggest allowing them to put images as well as text/code. May also want to make sure the text is syntax highlighted and not just text. :-)
Yeah, I've considered allowing images for folks other than artists... I'm still not sure. I mean, part of it is just trying not to use more bandwidth than necessary since all media will be served from the servers I'm paying for. But another part of it is that I'd prefer writers were evaluated on their writing, programmers on their programming, and so on. Otherwise the writers, programmers, etc who have skilled artist friends will get them to make these really nice banners, whereas less connected folk won't be able to do that.

I don't know though. Maybe that's a silly concern. And programmers who are also artists would still be able to place art on their profiles anyway.
Selebus wrote:This site seems great! Definitely registering.
Cool, looking forward to it!
Alte wrote:
Bit-sized gummi bears anyone?
StoryDevs is a neat concept, indeed.
Thanks! (I was really hungry while writing the OP...)
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#8 Post by Zetsubou » Sat May 07, 2016 6:22 pm

Yeah, I've considered allowing images for folks other than artists... I'm still not sure. I mean, part of it is just trying not to use more bandwidth than necessary since all media will be served from the servers I'm paying for. But another part of it is that I'd prefer writers were evaluated on their writing, programmers on their programming, and so on. Otherwise the writers, programmers, etc who have skilled artist friends will get them to make these really nice banners, whereas less connected folk won't be able to do that.
That all sounds logical enough to me. I'd be interested in seeing how a programmer search winds up looking though. Obviously it'll be less visual than an artist's page, but how will a programmer get someone's attention? Tags for individual languages? Links to Github, Bitbucket, etc. with potentially useful stats, like the number of stars on their repositories?
The same goes for writers. Maybe a genre search? Tags for common story elements they've used before?

As for media using up bandwidth, I think you should mandate that images are stored elsewhere. Force users to upload their images to imgur, Google Photos, etc. Whether that's a popular decision among users or not, you'll use less bandwidth and decrease page load time, not to mention the time and effort you save on properly handling (see the recent imagemagick exploit?) and storing images.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#9 Post by Nayru774 » Sat May 07, 2016 6:54 pm

I find it great that sites of this type are starting to surface in the era of Twitter and Tumblr and I can only encourage you to continue working on it and try to make it grow. I believe this has potential and would make a lot of things easier for a lot of people. I've already reserved a username and I'm excited to see how those future plans will work out. c: Best of luck to you! And thanks for your lengthy explanation, you point out a lot of good things!
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#10 Post by firecat » Sat May 07, 2016 10:08 pm

Tempus wrote:
firecat wrote:what makes this better than deviantart, the site doesn't have anything to share with people it's just a profile. you also have other competitors like tumblr who offer many ways to share projects and allow to be on people's websites.
Hi firecat, thanks for your reply!

The first thing I'd say to this is that the Lemma Soft Forums and its recruitment board exist, despite Tumblr and Deviant Art. The reason is simple: Tumblr, Deviant Art, Twitter, Facebook, etc are all very general-purpose sites and not really direct competition. Everyone on Lemma Soft knows what a visual novel is, and most of us here develop them, or are associated with the development of them, in some capacity. The same can't be said for those other sites.

To answer the question "what makes this better?": so far I've said something like, "StoryDevs' goal is to help developers of story-focused games find one another." But what's that look like in practice? What are the specific actions people take to find other developers to work with? Well, they probably aren't looking for just "artist" or "musician." Instead they'll want something more precise like, "a character artist who knows what a visual novel is, who's available, who will work on commission, who's okay with sexual content, who's completed at least a couple of projects before, but not that one person I'm not interested in."

I'm going to suggest that's not an absurd set of criteria and in fact actually very common. Now let's try to find someone who matches those criteria on, say, Tumblr. Okay, I'm on Tumblr. Now what? How do I make it so I only see character artists that are available? How do I filter only for people who are doing commissions?
Image

Nope
Image

Technically better?
Image

IDK how half these results got here but okay (one of them is a photo of a figurine of Samus from Metroid)
As you can see above I make increasingly generous attempts to search for anything even vaguely related and turn up very little. I counted the results in that last search: there were 52 total, with roughly 50% being pretty much irrelevant. Can you find VN artists on Tumblr? Definitely, I do it all the time. But it's through serendipity and going down rabbit holes, not through design or intention. Tumblr, Twitter, dA, etc — they're general purpose sites designed to make things go viral and benefit from it. When you actually have a goal in mind they're surprisingly impotent.

Lemma Soft and Deviant Art's forums do a little better. When I go into the "I am an artist" board here on LSF I know that I won't have to skim over programmers, writers, musicians, and so on. This is a relatively recent change and I think anyone who remembers how it used to be will agree the current arrangement is an improvement. But we still have a similar problem, it's just been reduced in scope. Let's break down the long set of criteria I had earlier—I'm looking for someone who:
  1. Knows what a VN is
  2. Does character art
  3. Is available
  4. Works for commission
  5. Has completed two or more projects
  6. Is okay with sexual content
  7. Is not someone who I've seen before and am not interested in
Lemma Soft can handle 1. and sort-of 2. (the artist section has BG, GUI, and logo artists too.) It can't handle the rest. This isn't a failing of LSF's staff, it's just that phpBB (the software this forum uses) isn't designed for efficiently searching visual novel developers. Even answering the question "who's available" requires manually scanning every thread title because there's no separation of content and certain types of metadata (e.g., availability). Sometimes threads are bumped to the top even when the person isn't available. StoryDevs is better than forum-based recruitment boards in this regard as it allows you to quickly filter for what you want.

Finally, StoryDevs doesn't generate a load of browser tabs. When you view any other recruitment board you have to open a ton of tabs for each thread that interests you. On StoryDevs you can just do a search then view the results and profiles simultaneously without opening more tabs. And if you do want the profile saved so that you can look at it later, you can just add it to your collection. And you can filter your own collections the way you would with the database. This is useful as it allows you to collect a bunch of, say, musician's profiles then later when you need a musician you can search your collection by filtering for 'available' and 'musician'.
you used the wrong keywords on the search results, on tumblr is "anime art commissions" there is no hashtag.
https://www.tumblr.com/search/anime+art+commissions

twitter is #commission #anime , however no one uses twitter to make commissons
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23commiss ... e&src=typd

on deviantart you use the forum to do deals.
http://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/services/

reddit does the same

so again, you have this huge problem with how to share the site to other people. you can argue that people in this forum will supported but like the recruitment section it has little impact on getting people together.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#11 Post by BáiYù » Sun May 08, 2016 12:37 am

firecat wrote:you used the wrong keywords on the search results, on tumblr is "anime art commissions" there is no hashtag.
https://www.tumblr.com/search/anime+art+commissions
That still doesn't filter which artists know how to draw for VN assets. Attempting to specify so significantly reduces results.
firecat wrote:twitter is #commission #anime , however no one uses twitter to make commissons
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23commiss ... e&src=typd
Incorrect. Plenty of artists may doublepost their commission info on tumblr and twitter.
firecat wrote:on deviantart you use the forum to do deals.
http://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/services/

reddit does the same

so again, you have this huge problem with how to share the site to other people. you can argue that people in this forum will supported but like the recruitment section it has little impact on getting people together
Using your logic, reddit has no purpose because Facebook exists and you can make groups based on one interest. Dailymotion, Vimeo, Vine, and any other video website serve no purpose because Youtube is more wellknown. Instagram is useless because it's basically twitter but with more pictures. No one should ever use Discord because Skype is more popular. Only the reviewers at VNsnow are allowed to review visual novels.

You can see how ridiculous these statements are. StoryDevs is meant to be a place where everyone's at least on the same page when it comes to creating a certain type of game. Even if there are already other websites that do similar things (I for one, do not believe tumblr or twitter were designed specifically for hiring people), each site has a slightly different purpose or goal.

Personally, I like StoryDevs' web design and search functions over most talent database websites I've seen. It's stylish and intuitive.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#12 Post by SundownKid » Sun May 08, 2016 2:39 am

BáiYù wrote:
firecat wrote:you used the wrong keywords on the search results, on tumblr is "anime art commissions" there is no hashtag.
https://www.tumblr.com/search/anime+art+commissions
That still doesn't filter which artists know how to draw for VN assets. Attempting to specify so significantly reduces results.
firecat wrote:twitter is #commission #anime , however no one uses twitter to make commissons
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23commiss ... e&src=typd
Incorrect. Plenty of artists may doublepost their commission info on tumblr and twitter.
firecat wrote:on deviantart you use the forum to do deals.
http://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/services/

reddit does the same

so again, you have this huge problem with how to share the site to other people. you can argue that people in this forum will supported but like the recruitment section it has little impact on getting people together
Using your logic, reddit has no purpose because Facebook exists and you can make groups based on one interest. Dailymotion, Vimeo, Vine, and any other video website serve no purpose because Youtube is more wellknown. Instagram is useless because it's basically twitter but with more pictures. No one should ever use Discord because Skype is more popular. Only the reviewers at VNsnow are allowed to review visual novels.

You can see how ridiculous these statements are. StoryDevs is meant to be a place where everyone's at least on the same page when it comes to creating a certain type of game. Even if there are already other websites that do similar things (I for one, do not believe tumblr or twitter were designed specifically for hiring people), each site has a slightly different purpose or goal.

Personally, I like StoryDevs' web design and search functions over most talent database websites I've seen. It's stylish and intuitive.
Exactly. This website was purpose built for finding jobs developing VN's, something like Deviantart's jobs forum which was -not- built for that purpose can't compete. Heck, it doesnt even work well for the purpose of finding artists in general. You can't search by type of art, price, or date. Once a thread is off the first page it's as good as gone. You have to click a thread to know how good an artist is or even what they can draw.

There is major room for improvement, so I dont think a website like this is pointless at all. Deviantart is an absolute nightmare to use in any serious capacity to find artists and so are most places.

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#13 Post by firecat » Sun May 08, 2016 10:22 am

@BáiYù

@SundownKid

you two miss the point, its not about selling its about sharing the site. right now the only possible way to share it is to copy & paste the web url. then after that you won't be able to communicate with the artist without signing in. this is pointless, you only have one way to communicate with the artist/coder. everyone who has worked in a commission knows that communication is key to getting paid and its the reason some users would put their e-mail on the thread so if the user doesn't want to sign-up they can still communicate with them.
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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#14 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Sun May 08, 2016 10:29 am

I think this is a really cool idea (which is why I handed my stuff over for a proto-account hehehe) since it would be so great to be able to search properly without wading through forums! It would be awesome to search for writers by genre type I think.

I think another thing I would like in a future version is the ability to say 'I can be tempted' along with available or unavailable. /Technically/ I'm unavailable 90% of the time and I don't do commissions, but generally I'm open to being approached with cool ideas on occasions. I'm not bothered by those types of offers, though I know a lot of other people are especially if they have a hard time saying no.

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Re: StoryDevs — a site for finding VN devs

#15 Post by Ghost of Crux » Sun May 08, 2016 12:12 pm

firecat wrote:@BáiYù

@SundownKid

you two miss the point, its not about selling its about sharing the site. right now the only possible way to share it is to copy & paste the web url. then after that you won't be able to communicate with the artist without signing in. this is pointless, you only have one way to communicate with the artist/coder. everyone who has worked in a commission knows that communication is key to getting paid and its the reason some users would put their e-mail on the thread so if the user doesn't want to sign-up they can still communicate with them.
Might be catching this wrong but, uh. What exactly do you mean by "share the site"? I reckon it's not about advertising the site, because it seems like, well. Sharing the link is literally how any sharing is done.

Signing in to communicate via private message is the norm. After the message, what's stopping you from asking the person you're working with for other methods of communication? I actually find this to be a FAR better method overall; having an e-mail address out in the open is risky sometimes, and even if it's not, some people prefer not to be contacted that way until an agreement is reached. VN making is not a one-off, short term collaboration/commission. Requiring signing in also helps preventing something you mentioned in a previous post:
lastly how will you stop people from unwanted message, not everyone joins for the collaboration.
Having an account means that you can be held accountable if you've been sending unwanted messages. If someone spams someone from the site through e-mail because the e-mail was out in the open, there is no way to prevent the person from doing it again to other people.
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