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About this blog

My perspective on joining a Hobby team to create a Virtual Reality game for Google Cardboard.

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The Beginning

[font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]Hello World! But I am not a programmer..[/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]In September I decided that I want to do more with my life which mainly consisted of "waking up right on time > shower and brushing teeth > run off to work > breakfast and lunch somewhere along the way > head back home > play games > sleep." Yes, it really sounds like I was living the dream, in fact, I was indeed doing just that and it wasn't enough for me. I needed to snap out of it because it didn't feel like I was myself, I was just an onlooker.. But I am not here to talk about my weird Autumn dips. I snapped out of it, started learning Karate, got back into tennis and joined this Hobby game project team. The latter is what I want to share my thoughts on.[/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]I plan on creating these journals simply to reflect back on what I am doing, that is usually what journals are for anyhow. So lets get to it.[/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]As mentioned above, I joined this VR Hobby Game Project because I like to make myself useful. I have been working in customer support for quite a while and I really enjoy the interactive part. "Maybe I will enjoy talking to users, maybe I will find it challenging to engage with a player base, maybe I can learn to advertise a game in a way that even I would be interested instead of seeing it as just one of the many games out there.." was my train of thought back then and along the way I am hoping to learn a thing or two about community management. [/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]Starting off[/font] [/font]
[font='helvetica neue'][font=verdana]So now what, there is a programmer and there is a game designer who are writing each other e-mails but I don't really know what is going on because 1) I just offered to be a community manager and 2) how am I going to be a community manager when we don't have a game yet?! Fine, I am young, enthusiastic and energetic, lets wing it. And that's what I am doing. Remember when you were too scared to pick up the phone because you don't know who is calling? Or to open the front door because you don't know who is on the other side? I was like that, heck, I was like that online too until I started playing MMORPG's and toughened myself up. [/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]Back in September I suggested to use tools to brainstorm: Discord, Deekit, Google services, etc. but it turned out that it is rather difficult to get more than 1 person to use external software when they don't know the software that well. What may seem easy to use for me, may not be easy to use for others. Even though I work in customer support, I didn't realize yet that this also applies to people working in the gaming industry. Still, I tried to involve myself more and more into what each person is doing. At that point we had a programmer, game designer, music/sound artist and one 3D modeler (who was not responding to anything or anyone) and I was a bit afraid to involve myself too much because, after all, I only joined as a community manager, not as a game designer nor artist.[/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]Community management[/font] [/font]
[font='helvetica neue'][font=verdana]Between September and now, I tried my best to motivate the team and recruit more people to help out. The programmer stated that "we can never have too many artists" from his previous experience with a hobby project. "People come and go, that's how it is." is what he said but it is not what I envisioned such a project to be. I wanted to really commit myself to the project and encourage others to do the same. This is when I started to get more involved with the project. I would have loved to do brainstorming sessions but it is rather difficult to manage the time to sit together as a team an talk, partly because of time zones, but also because of a lack of interest. It is just a hobby game after all...[/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]Alright, again, different approach. I just made sure to share some brainstorming idea's with the game designer and programmer. The programmer also made sure to send an update with placeholder graphics every other day, which was very motivating for me but I don't think my enthusiasm had really caught on yet. I didn't like the speed at which the development was going, from other journals and experiences shared online I understood that game development can be slow and tedious but I was (and still am by the way) very motivated to make this work.[/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]Remember how the programmer said that "We can never have enough artists" ? Well, I picked up on that and started browsing around for people, especially artists, interested in working on a Virtual Reality game for free. As you can probably imagine, I felt that my requests seemed quite brazen. Artists lead a hard enough life as it is and here I was asking them for a "favour," not knowing them personally, to work for free?! But confidence and honesty is the key. Approaching someone that is already offering their services for free was easier and, after receiving a positive response, it gave me the confidence to keep going. [/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]Fast forwarding a month, by the end of October, we had 8 new team members interesting in contributing with 3D models. How did I do it? I just browsed around, checking Reddit, Gamedev.net, the Unity forums, etc. for people that are offering their services and then sent them a message or e-mail introducing my project. I guess, right here I was already introducing myself to the practical side of community management and I enjoyed doing it a lot. Even if I got a no, the response was most of the time very positive and polite, which stimulated me to keep going. Our project is not a secret, I set up a Google+ community (feel free to join ;) ) as a hub for interested people to check on our progress and possibly to involve themselves with the project.[/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]Motivation[/font] [/font]
[font='helvetica neue'][font=verdana]I am still very enthusiastic about this project. I want to contribute in any way I can but, at the same time, I need to be careful not to get ahead of myself. I still have a full time job after all and I should keep some free time to relax. Right at this moment I am struggling a bit with my motivation. On the one hand I want to contribute more but on the other, I am already starting to understand the struggles that are yet to come. Is development going fast enough? Will we have internal problems between team members? Will we be able to release a playable game at all?[/font] [/font] [font='helvetica neue'] [font=verdana]To be continued..[/font] [/font] [font=verdana] Oh and for anyone interested, you can join our Google+ community here: https://plus.google.com/communities/108017785404671901486 or check out our website here: [/font] https://timeridergame.tumblr.com/



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