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To VBLOG or not?

Posted by Navyman, in Business / Marketing, Portas Aurora 09 July 2013 · 536 views

Portas Aurora Orange Chair 4X MUD Space
I have seen a few people start video blogs or VBLOGs covering the development of their projects. While I have thought of doing this before I was wondering if there was really and following behind this type of VBLOG? If so are there any prime examples?
As I said I have thought of doing one before it would be mostly talking about the development of the game with game test and code editing in the video with me and the other developer talking about the game.
Hype and following behind a project, in addition to monetary compensation, help to motive developers. At least it is a form of motivation for me. The more people have seen the project and commented means that there are more people that want to see it complete.

If anyone is up for sharing some insight, thank you in advance.

As for the status of the Portas Aurora project, I have been working on the economy simulator. However, after a few minutes of writing code I realized that I would need to divide the code into 2 Sims. The first one simulating the economy of planets and a second one encapsulating the first simulating the economy of the player's empire. I hope to have a post about the Economy SIMs in the next 2 days.




I like video blogs because they have more personality to them (and thus offer a better connection to the team.) There are ups and downs though, obviously.

 

For instance, I never did a video blog because I just don't feel that I have that kind of personality; I'm a quiet person and I don't really know what to say, so I try to write everything down first which makes for a terrible video. I communicate better through text because I can really take my time and I can re-read over and over. My PM, Mikeyo, on the other hand has a great audio personality (video and radio; years of practice) and so we've started doing some video blogs.

 

In the end, I think it'll come down to the personality of the person that does the video. If it is bad it'll push people away, but if its good it'll definitely help bring in a crowd.

 

As a side note, if you plan on doing any sort of multiplayer development and shooting videos of testing that (ala a let's play style video) it may be a good idea to start now to get some practice in.

 

That being said, I don't really watch any video blogs from developers (besides Andrew Russel's now and then) so I'm not sure how much of a following it has.

 

That's my two cents anyway. Looking forward to hearing about the economy sims!

Thank you for the detailed comment!

I have watched a few of your VBLOGs, but was hoping for more game development views. Still the excitement behind the video is great.

On the coding side of things, Lee Brimlow's GotoAndLearn site has been a growing set of invaluable video tutorials on learning AS3 and now some new JS/HTML5 things for me over the years. You can read a code tutorial and see a static page of code that someone wrote, but there's something extra special about watching the process of someone coding, and more importantly, talking out Why they're coding that way. The "Why" is something I think more unique to VBLOGs when it comes to tutorials and such. Like Programmer16 said, you get the connection and personality through a VBLOG that you wouldn't get with static posts no matter how many screenshots are there.

 

On the game progress/development side of things, I've really enjoyed following TreeFortress' Bardbarian dev updates. It'd be easy to throw "We added a new shop UI today with clicky things" and some screenshots on a blog, but actually getting to see the in-game video of how that UI shows up on-screen, how it behaves, what happens when you click things... When it comes to UI or just the progress of a game in general, I think VBLOGs are equally invaluable for building a following for your game before launch. People can see the game in action at whatever stage it's at in development and provide great feedback... "Why did you have to click through three menus to get to this option" for example.

 

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, if you already have a solid fanbase for previous games, I've really enjoyed GameInABottle's dev blog on his new GemCraft 2 flash game that he's working on. It's all text and screenshots, but because I fell in love with his previous GemCraft games, the frequency of his dev updates has been very fulfilling. From past games, his users know the material, style, gameplay, etc and a simple screenshot showing a new menu, or a new feature with an in-depth explanation is quite satisfactory. Sure, I'd love to see in-game footage of how things work, but because the series is fairly well established, I really don't need him posting videos that took 5 hours to edit when he can just spend 30 minutes and post an update with a few screenshots.

 

I think Programmer16 nailed it though, it's up to the personality of the person doing the video. It doesn't matter how cool of a game you're showing off, if your delivery is uncomfortable or rambling, it's off-putting. But, you'll only get better with practice and I don't think anyone would watch an awkward "Developer VBLOG" post and write off your game or your company just for that. Jump in and try it out. It's the only way you'll know for sure!  Best of luck!

I think you could basically make use of good editing. Cutting ramblings when you get back to the point and cutting some quiet spaces, making up a more dynamic and fast paced video. Being a quiet persn that would rather write everything down still allows you to be an interesting person. You just have to work with that, and in videos, I believe this means cutting parts where you are quiet for a bit before talking and that kind of stuff. Working to improve the presentation of the video and to show the parts where you express yourself well, since you can do that.

 

But going quickly back to the original point, I believe that talking about the progress, what has been done, and getting to know the developer on a way that seems very personal is really interesting. I really love watching devs talk in a more personal matter about their work instead of scripted videos, so it's the kind of thing I would like to watch.

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