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Designing a World - How to gather input for a game currently in design?

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At last, production has finally began on my large, but manageable project. Inspired by many MUD's and Roguelikes, along with some of the heftier RPG's, I have been designing a game which focuses on a plethora of player choices for character types. Like many MUDs and Roguelikes before it, there will be a vast number of choices for playable races. In fact, any "monster" that is in the game, is playable. I figure that if data exists for the game's creatures, why not make them playable?

 

 

I am reaching the point in design, where I would like player input, so that the fans of the game can help shape the world. Unfortunately, there is no community. This is a closed game, and although I have the domain name- I do not have any of the website setup. Granted, I do not need to form the community so early in the process. However, I do need to design the world and its inhabits- to great detail- before moving on with the project. What should I do?

 

Should I pause development of the game, to build the website, list the planned features, start a forum, and work on the site's artwork? For programming, there is little to show but prototypes of various features. For graphics, I have prototypes- but they are not polished. Of course, right now the game is simply text based like a MUD. I am a bit concerned to show artwork on the website, as it may not be polished. Some characters are next to finished, while others are not even designed yet. And obviously, I do not have plans to release the game or open up Alpha/Beta with any more than a handful of character races. It is unrealistic to expect myself to accomplish so much content (64 factions/races) in release. I plan on a much, much smaller number initially. Such as just the humans.

 

However, this game has been in total development of game design since December 2009, even if programming has only begun 6 months once, and art 2 years ago. So I have an enormous amount of design and information about the game I could write up for the website. Since I do not know what to do... I am going to post a little bit of the information that is necessary to begin gathering input on the aspects of world design I would like input on. It pains me to think that those who will be fans of the game in the future, will not get the chance to get input at such an early stage in development.

 

This MUD/Roguelike is inspired by games like Ultima Online, Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, nearly all RogueLikes, and the design of generic MUDs (but no MUD in particular. However, I view UO and EQ as graphical MUDs). I mention the MMO's, because what I want more than anything is for this game to bring back that *magic* those games had. Meaningful travel and exploration (Everquest), a nice medieval style (Camelot, Everquest), and in the future Ultima's 2D isometric art style- but with Roguelike permadeath (and influence from the roguelike Realm of the Mad God's unlock character gameplay that I found so fun), with some cooperative multiplayer like seen in a MUD.

 

---------------------

Edit: Cleaned up the thread, and split the other question in its own thread.

Edited by Brother Bob
Reverting vandalism

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I'd go for pausing development to build a website. It's never too early to start building hype and a community


And I'd go for game development. Community is something that will be bigger and better the more you got done. Right now you will probably get a couple of fans but most of them will sadly say "meh" because the project is incomplete.

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1. Alas, production has finally began ...
2. I am reaching the point in design, where I would like player input,

 

1. Don't despair! (It's odd that you would start this statement with "alas" instead of, say, "at last")

2. Then get player input. Do what's necessary in order to get it.

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Interesting disparity between the two pieces of advice.

 

My biggest concern with the advice of making the website to build the community- is advertisement. Not meaning paid advertisement, but visibility, or "Presence" online.

 

Even if I were to have a website, or even a glorious website that oo'd and aww'd those who visited. Who would visit? From where?

 

Granted, I could go to certain forums to... promote the game? Most likely by a non-invasive, attractive signature or banner, among normal posting on completely different topics.

 

However, I can see the kind of involvement I am seeking being a bit unusual for a small group of early fans of a game so far off in finishing development, that they would not stick around for long. Why would they? There's nothing to do but talk about the game. A game that is barely more than a prototype on the PC, even if thorough in its design.

 

Hmm... maybe I should hire someone to design a website. It might be worth it, just so I don't have to pause development. Or perhaps a really simple website from one of those cheesy pre-built systems, so I can make a cheesy site in a day, and focus mostly on the forum.

 

I am not very fluent in social media either. Is there a way for a developer to make one post, and have it echo (repost) through multiple social media sites? I'd prefer to make a single status update, and have it go live on Facebook, Twitter, the site's Blog, and whatever else is hip social media these days.

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1. Alas, production has finally began ...
2. I am reaching the point in design, where I would like player input,

 

1. Don't despair! (It's odd that you would start this statement with "alas" instead of, say, "at last")

2. Then get player input. Do what's necessary in order to get it.

 

1. I'll correct that. Must have been a brain fart.
2. Do what's necessary? And what is that?

This is part of the problem. How does one generate buzz about one's game, besides posting on this forum? Why have a website or a forum, if the visibility is null?

I guess I should figure out who my target audience is?

I could make a presence in forums, but that is a lot of work to get visibility without cheesy spamming "hey, check out this game! :D"

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1. Even if I were to have a website... Who would visit? From where?
Granted, I could go to certain forums to... promote the game?
2. Do what's necessary? And what is that?
3. This is part of the problem. How does one generate buzz about one's game, besides posting on this forum? Why have a website or a forum, if the visibility is null?
4. I guess I should figure out who my target audience is?
5. I could make a presence in forums, but that is a lot of work


1. This is a marketing question. I have no knowledge of marketing whatsoever (I'm a designer and producer). Sorry.

2. You said:
 

I am reaching the point in design, where I would like player input, so that the fans of the game can help shape the world. Unfortunately, there is no community. This is a closed game, and although I have the domain name- I do not have any of the website setup. Granted, I do not need to form the community so early in the process. However, I do need to design the world and its inhabits- to great detail- before moving on with the project. What should I do?
Should I pause development of the game, to build the website, list the planned features, start a forum, and work on the site's artwork?


That's what I was responding to when I said "do what's necessary." It's a little out of my experience to want player input at this stage (before you've designed the game), but you said that's what you want to do. So: "go for it," is all I'm saying.  Edit: I don't know what you have to do to get what you want. I was only saying, if that's what you want, then go get it. /edit

3. Again: this is a marketing question. Can't help (surely others can).

4. ABSOLUTELY! You absolutely need to know who your target audience is, whether or not you seek player input during the design/development process. Surely you must have some idea of what kind of game you want to make. So write a competitive analysis. Identify games that are similar to yours (or that yours will be compared with, even if not similar). Analyze who plays those games. Figure out what they like. Design your game to appeal to them and give them stuff that those competitive games don't.

5. So what if it's a lot of work? Surely you knew you were in for a lot of work when you started planning this game.  Edit: Whatever you do is going to be a lot of work. Promoting (via sig links or announcements) on forums is just one way of marketing your site and/or your game. There probably isn't any easy, low-work method of marketing. /edit

Edited by Tom Sloper

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I'd go for pausing development to build a website. It's never too early to start building hype and a community

 

With big disclaimers that it IS a work in progress and deficiencies/crudities seen will be fixed in the final game (with help of the participating players ...)

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Is it just me, or did Tom Sloper literally just spam this thread for no reason? I can only feel a bit confused as to why he posted nothing...twice.

"Do something!"
"Yea...that's what I'm trying to do. What "something" are you suggesting?"
"I have no idea, I'm not a marketer. But do something!"

Is there a way to ignore a user permanently, so you never have to read their spam ever again? I already reported it for spam chatter, but I can't find the ignore option.

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It's just you. Spam by definition would be bulk unsolicited replies. Two of anything wouldn't really be considered "bulk" and his second reply was in response to your own so it was far from being "unsolicited".

But don't worry, it's understandable how the advice of established industry veterans can escape those that are just starting out and are so anxious for answers they forget to check profiles, history, and websites to see how seriously they should consider a response. I'm no where near as experienced as Tom but I'll take a stab at clarifying anyways.

There's occasionally been other forum topics started by newbies who are searching for book after book about how to program. They read the books and understand them as best they can but for some reason they don't really wade into doing any programming problems for themselves. They don't see how the tools they have in front of them can be used to accomplish what they want. The advice that these newbies get can include "stop reading and start programming something." The idea being that the experience gained by the struggle to do what you seek can be much more valuable than knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. So go look and see what you can find that suits your needs.

As for why people don't tell you something like, "I did A, B, and C and so you should go do A, B, and C too"... well if they did that they would quickly find that they are in competition with you, now wouldn't they? So you might find getting marketing advice from other indies a little on the tough side.
 

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