Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Chilling

Increasing development activity through GDnet

27 posts in this topic

I feel like there isn't as much development going on as there could (should?) be on GameDev.net.

We're a game developer community, but I don't see a lot of focus on actual game projects or projects relating to games.  There are a lot of members here on GameDev, but not many of them seem to actively post and not many seem to be posting about their projects.

 

So the point of this thread is to brainstorm for ideas on how to increase the amount of developing we do, as a community and as individuals.

If discussion-type threads aren't supposed to go in the CSI forum, then this should probably be moved, because I'm not trying to make this thread focus solely on my own suggestions.

 

Anyway, here are some of my ideas.

 

Disclaimer: I don't consider myself a game development expert and I'm not experienced with web development well enough to understand if these are hopeless ideas or not.  These aren't refined and polished, they're just 'ideas' to help start a discussion.

 

For the 'as a community' part:

I see big benefits to developing as a team.  You can learn a lot and you can make games faster and with more creativity when there are extra people helping out the project.  However, you can also waste people's time and make a bad reputation for yourself if your project crashes and burns into a miserable clump of failure.

 

I'd like to work with people to develop my own projects, but I don't have any method of paying people for it, and if I were to promise royalties, then I'd have to figure out how to release the game somewhere where it'd get attention and can be sold, and work out the necessary contracts for sharing royalties.  I don't know how to do that stuff.  Not a lot of people will, but I think there are a lot of people on these forums with the capability of working together to produce good results.

 

Is there any way that GameDev can help here?  Maybe to "ease the pain" of managing and starting team projects?

Maybe we could allow the selling of games on the Marketplace, and incorporate revenue-sharing plans into the Classifieds.  The Classifieds could be used as a method of managing a project (instead of just advertising it), and the project leader could organize how much of the sales profits each member gets.  When a game project is finished, it is put up for sale on the Marketplace and any profits are automatically split between members of the project (by a percentage that's determined by the project leader).

We're a big community; if a project leader is offering unreasonably low percentages of profits to certain members of the team, then certainly someone will call them out on it.

 

For the "as individuals" part...

Journals don't seem to get much of a showcase.  They have the potential of being a very good way for the developers to get some followers of their game that may be willing to play/buy it when it's released, and for the viewers to learn about the development process.

 

I talked a bit about some relevant stuff in this post in a discussion in The Lounge about the Image of the Day.  I'll say it again, because I don't think I was very clear in that post...

I think Journals should be changed to "Projects", and GameDev should put more focus on these Projects.  Every Project has its own updates posted about the progress, a discussion section where GameDev members can ask questions and offer suggestions, slideshows of screenshots and concept art, and a spacious place to describe the project in detail, which is something I think the Journals especially lack right now.

 

I also think this should be incorporated into the front page somehow.  Perhaps by showing recently posted images and updates from "Projects".

 

Anyway, I'm going to shut up now.  I hope to hear some other people's opinions on these matters.  I might think up some more to say now, but it feels like I've been writing this post for 2 hours now, so I'm going to let it sit for a bit and (hopefully) read some other people's opinions before I ramble on anymore.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is an interesting idea.

The part about a community project immediately makes me consider a bunch of legal issues. Rights of ownership and responsibility for legal concerns are typically well-defined in collaboration agreements or business incorporation documents. Some legal entity (company or individual) must have the rights assigned to it, and must also be responsible for ensuring laws are not violated. Projects that fail to keep that kind of bookkeeping become a legal dead-end, unable to be published, unable to be sold, and otherwise left to die in obscurity. While companies like the FSF have software development as a primary focus and are willing to handle all the legal side for many projects, I'm not certain that makes the most sense for this site.

More visibility to Journals is also pretty interesting. The home page has 'member activity' but it doesn't focus on projects. I can follow them individually in watched content, but that isn't very intuitive for new users nor does it spread the word about good projects.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there any way that GameDev could handle the legal documents required for team projects?  I mean like, putting up the documents necessary (the most common and detrimental ones for game development teams) and having people check a box saying "I agree to these terms" like you usually see with Terms of Service on websites.  I'm kind of doubting this is a valid or legitimate way of doing things, though...

 

I just think it would be nice if GameDev could help decrease the barrier of entry into 'project manager'.  Like I said, I think there are a lot of people here who have the capacity of leading a team to make a good game, but these kinds of legal issues behind revenue-sharing make it so they either don't pay people anything (significantly lowers the chances of getting good members) or pay people (something a lot of us don't have the money to do).

Maybe the entire idea is just hopeless and we should focus more on "volunteer projects" where people contribute to the project specifically for credit and portfolio reasons?

 

I just can't shake the feeling that this community could be running a lot more projects and making a lot more progress.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the problems with Gamedev.net becoming an "app store" is that there are plenty of really good app stores already that cater more to what a developer's end audience is (rather than just other developers).   Plus the distribution methods are far better and more established with the bigger players out there.

 

What you are describing sounds similar to our old GD Showcase, which we are aiming to reboot in some fashion.   Most likely we are going to extend and add on to our current IOTD (renaming it back to GD Showcase).   That gives people a way to share screenshots, videos, project details, and allow discussion to take place.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be interested in a community project.  I am a hobbiest.  I do write some minor stuff for personal use.  I would like to colaborate on a larger project that would be more in line with my skill level ( Level 1+).  I have several ideas, but lack the full understanding on how to bring it all together.  I very good at game play and design.  Unfortunately,  where I live, the skill levels are below mine, and those that have better skills either "don't want to waste their time" or wish to get paid by me.

 

  Maybe some of us could get together, outside over skype, and has out some details to protect creative rights, learn from each other and then maybe post some good code to share. 

 

  It seems alot of those that come here have the same questions.  Maybe the site could develop a " Library " where deposits could be made of code snippets, that would solve those seemingly generic questions.  Questions like " How do I ....."  Where a visitor could go to the library and look it up, then if "we" have more questions then post,

 

Would like to hear More.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the problems with Gamedev.net becoming an "app store" is that there are plenty of really good app stores already that cater more to what a developer's end audience is (rather than just other developers). Plus the distribution methods are far better and more established with the bigger players out there.

 

You're right: there are a lot of sophisticated distributors out there.

 

 

What you are describing sounds similar to our old GD Showcase, which we are aiming to reboot in some fashion. Most likely we are going to extend and add on to our current IOTD (renaming it back to GD Showcase). That gives people a way to share screenshots, videos, project details, and allow discussion to take place.

Sounds like a good plan to me.

 

What about Your Announcements, though?  Won't it just end up being a place to link to your GD Showcase project, where all the screenshots and videos and descriptions are already held?  It'd make the YA forum kind of useless...

And what about journals?  If the GD Showcase has update posting capabilities, like a "blog", then wouldn't it eliminate the need of journals and serve as an upgraded journal system?

Edited by Michael Tanczos
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the problems with Gamedev.net becoming an "app store" is that there are plenty of really good app stores already that cater more to what a developer's end audience is (rather than just other developers). Plus the distribution methods are far better and more established with the bigger players out there.

 

You're right: there are a lot of sophisticated distributors out there.

 

 

>What you are describing sounds similar to our old GD Showcase, which we are aiming to reboot in some fashion. Most likely we are going to extend and add on to our current IOTD (renaming it back to GD Showcase). That gives people a way to share screenshots, videos, project details, and allow discussion to take place.

Sounds like a good plan to me.

 

What about Your Announcements, though?  Won't it just end up being a place to link to your GD Showcase project, where all the screenshots and videos and descriptions are already held?  It'd make the YA forum kind of useless...

And what about journals?  If the GD Showcase has update posting capabilities, like a "blog", then wouldn't it eliminate the need of journals and serve as an upgraded journal system?

 

 

GD Showcase wouldn't replace blogs.   I think at most we would provide some way to link the showcase and a particular blog.   We're not going to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the blogging aspect.   Even as it is now you can embed all sorts of media into blog posts, certainly enough to show off a project you are working on.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would kinda cool if there were some "make a HTML 5/Canvas game" type of contests. Can we put those types of games here on GameDev?  To be clear, I mean have the actual games in GD.Net's site (in one's Journal or something). Also, there used to be coding contests on the old site. Maybe we can restart those as well.

Edited by Alpha_ProgDes
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, there used to be coding contests on the old site. Maybe we can restart those as well.

I have an active interest in restarting these as well, albeit with much smaller scope than was previously the norm. The giant, 3-6 month long "4 elements" contests seem to require far too much time input (it's hard to spend 3 months developing a game while also holding down a day job, and way too easy to keep pushing back starting on your game until the final week or so).

 

I'd like to see a series of contests more along the lines of the Ludum Dare or the Global Game Jams - 48 hours scheduled over a weekend, very specific themes, etc.

 

On the flip side, there are quite a few of these 48-hour jams out there already, so I think we'd need some sort of 'hook', that leverages GDNet's particular image/strengths/something.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an active interest in restarting these as well, albeit with much smaller scope than was previously the norm. The giant, 3-6 month long "4 elements" contests seem to require far too much time input (it's hard to spend 3 months developing a game while also holding down a day job, and way too easy to keep pushing back starting on your game until the final week or so).

 

I would assume that if you have a day-job that 3 to 6 months would be good so that you have time to deal with life and the contest. Managing your time better, etc.

 

But I would like to know if we can put Canvas games in our Journals or somewhere in GD.Net.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would assume that if you have a day-job that 3 to 6 months would be good so that you have time to deal with life and the contest. Managing your time better, etc.

It's the difference in quality expectation, I think.

 

Nobody expects you to produce a masterpiece in 48 hours - in 3 months though, they expect more than a rough sketch of your idea, and you get into a lot of production considerations (quality of art, music, etc.)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whilst this discussion on increasing development activity is active might I suggest some consideration be given as to also finding ways to involve the non-technical side members in similar, if not partnered activities. A criticism that is often used refers to the "Idea guy" but stepping outside of that immediate label - there does exist a pool of talent that are more than simply the "idea guy".

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whilst this discussion on increasing development activity is active might I suggest some consideration be given as to also finding ways to involve the non-technical side members in similar, if not partnered activities. A criticism that is often used refers to the "Idea guy" but stepping outside of that immediate label - there does exist a pool of talent that are more than simply the "idea guy".

 

I agree with this.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

might I suggest some consideration be given as to also finding ways to involve the non-technical side members in similar, if not partnered activities.

I would suggest encouraging teams along the lines of programer+artist+composer (all from GDNet) to enter.

 

I honestly have no idea how you could go about including a pure writer or designer in that sort of format - anyone who doesn't directly contribute a technical skill is likely to be a liability in a 48-hour timeframe. It might make more sense for the 3 month timescale, though that leaves a lot more time for a team to fall apart, and potentially a lot more ill-will if it does...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I took Stormynature's post to mean making contests (of some sort) for people who do design, art, or music.

Edited by Alpha_ProgDes
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It might make more sense for the 3 month timescale, though that leaves a lot more time for a team to fall apart, and potentially a lot more ill-will if it does...

 

True. But consider the reverse as well.

 

 

Well I took Stormynature's post to mean making contests (of some sort) for people who do design, art, or music.

 

All those and I don't see why a pure writer could also not be utilised. Creating an introduction or backstory in synopsis for a mini-game can be just as challenging. Establishing a motive can lend to the enjoyment of the game as opposed to simply the aspect of beating the game. Let us not forget the prose used to introduce the Kraken Jam. Pressure to create in a limited time applies equally across the board. With specific regard to writers, if we have no use for them then why have a forum?

 

Admittedly it can seem to be less work that a coder, but good writing is not that common.

 

additional note: you could even stretch this to the idea of incorporating the business side into it. Just depends on how we creat the activities.

Edited by Stormynature
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other aspect that occurs to me is the following. There are a number of websites out there who run Jam competitions. By incorporating a more well rounded approach to game design jam - we actually would provide ourselves an opportunity to stand out from the rest in a rather unique way (or at least I think it is unique). One that would be considered far more effectively useful to the Indie scene (imo) as well others.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

additional note: you could even stretch this to the idea of incorporating the business side into it. Just depends on how we creat the activities.

It's an interesting idea, but I worry about the management and cost overheads. If we are looking at hosting a competition that involves teams pitching, funding and developing a game, aren't we basically trying to run "Celebrity Apprentice: GameDev"?

 

Most of the 48-hour jam entries don't feature much in the way of story/design/business - it's hard to build more that a puzzle game with a single game mechanic in that timeframe. Longer timeframes allow all of the above to play much more of a role, but then you get into the joys and tribulations of effectively managing a large unpaid team who all have day jobs...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually we could make a contest, where everybody creates a well-known game in a different language. Since most of us here encourage knowing different languages, it would be cool for people to learn how to make Pac-Man in C, Java, O'Caml, Haskell, Clojure, etc.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the 48-hour jam entries don't feature much in the way of story/design/business - it's hard to build more that a puzzle game with a single game mechanic in that timeframe. Longer timeframes allow all of the above to play much more of a role, but then you get into the joys and tribulations of effectively managing a large unpaid team who all have day jobs...

 

I agree with you that the barriers are not low to making something like this a success. Especially in the situation of a minimal level game produced to time constraints. I hadn't actually intended that something like a business plan would utilised persay but rather a theoretical model produced i.e. at the Jam's end, the game gets handed in along with a business outline (complexity level = not that high but also not that low) by where the theoretical selling place is, strat to get published, profit sharing (or not), marketing etc - basically skills relevant to making a game in the indie scene.

 

However stepping slightly back from this and using the recent Kraken Jam as an example. It was not beyond the bounds  of possibility that we could have expanded it include the artists, models, writers on a non-team basis as well - effectively creating a showcase situation of how each particular field would interpret it. For example a rendering of the Kraken and ships, or a piece of music such as might be utilised or a backstory. None of this necessarily to stand in competition with each other but as an opportunity provided for people to showcase their ability. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like to work with people to develop my own projects, but I don't have any method of paying people for it, and if I were to promise royalties, then I'd have to figure out how to release the game somewhere where it'd get attention and can be sold, and work out the necessary contracts for sharing royalties.

 

 

I've been thinking along the same lines, in terms of thinking this is a very common problem.

 

The problem in a nutshell: "I'm trying to put together a hobbyist team to produce a video game to sell.  I have no money to pay anyone.  I can offer royalties but I don't have enough money to consult with a lawyer to produce effective, enforceable contracts.  The other people I'm trying to recruit are complete strangers, who have no reason whatsoever to trust that even if the game is a huge hit, and I promised them a significant share / equity, that they will receive any payment at all."

 

The basic solution to this involves eliminating or vastly reducing counterparty risk.    There are several ways to do that, including coming up with a 3rd party website (whether gamedev.net is interested or another site) that keeps track of the time spent and business contracts used by the parties involved.  These log entries of who worked what hours when, along with the business contracts that detail what everyone is entitled to in terms of profit split, are going to potentially hold up in court far better than "we verbally agreed to xyz", or "here you go Your Honor, you can see I as the artist own 20% of the company because it is on the back of this napkin".  

Edited by starbasecitadel
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I'm surprised none of the Staff have actually posted in this thread. I would think some of what was said would interest them.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I'm surprised none of the Staff have actually posted in this thread. I would think some of what was said would interest them.

Third reply.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I'm surprised none of the Staff have actually posted in this thread. I would think some of what was said would interest them.

I've been reading with interest, but haven't got my own thoughts on the matter completely together yet.  Expect a reasonably large reply sometime in the next few days. smile.png

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, I'm surprised none of the Staff have actually posted in this thread. I would think some of what was said would interest them.

Third reply.

 

I posted twice, to be fair.  ;)   

 

So some thoughts..

 

There are several ways to do that, including coming up with a 3rd
party website (whether gamedev.net is interested or another site) that
keeps track of the time spent and business contracts used by the parties
involved.  These log entries of who worked what hours when, along with
the business contracts that detail what everyone is entitled to in terms
of profit split, are going to potentially hold up in court far better
than "we verbally agreed to xyz", or "here you go Your Honor, you can
see I as the artist own 20% of the company because it is on the back of
this napkin". 

 

This is so far off of what we are aiming to do that I don't think we would ever attempt to touch this.   There are plenty of sites like elance that perform this function already.  

 

What we really want to be doing is getting back into having our community publish articles/code snippets again rather than trying to mediate other people's contractual agreements.   You have to remember, Gamedev.net is only run by a few people on the top level (Drew, Jason, and myself) at this point along with the moderators.  We just don't have the resources to get into something like that.

Edited by Michael Tanczos
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0