Author Topic: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project  (Read 58913 times)

ido

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #30 on: September 01, 2010, 08:31:57 AM »
It's an ascii implementation of Doom.

The gameplay is markedly different than Doom's. Doom is an action/twitch game. DoomRL is turn based, so the speed of your reflexes does not make any difference.

You would also die very quickly if you do not apply some tactics & strategy, which is not the same as doom, where you just have to push forward and shoot everything you see.

What was the original stuff in it? Or when a simple shooter becomes a roguelike?

Your comments make me think you either never played doom or never played doomRL for more than the first couple of levels.

It is very much a roguelike in the doom universe. The interface and particularly the streamlined ranged combat are innovative, and although it sounds like a minor thing it enables a playing experience that is quite different than that of traditional RLs.

The leveling mechanism (no classes or attributes, just a skills tree that you build up when leveling) is also unusual and works much better in some respect than the traditional approaches IMO.

I would even say DoomRL is more similar to Rogue than many major roguelikes like Adom are.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 08:36:02 AM by ido »

Jetman123

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #31 on: September 01, 2010, 12:37:11 PM »
Really, the entire thing boils down to one thing:

(Please excuse the large amount of emphasis, it's kinda neccessary)

MARKETING

It doesn't matter how much you have done, or whether you have a Youtube video, or whether the concept is new and interesting. These things aid in making buzz for your project, but in the end are merely boosters for it.

If you want your project to survive, you need to know how to generate interest and buzz. Your main goal should be getting people to talk about it. With their friends, with others on the forums you post in.

Take what you have and work with it. Post on various forums - bay 12, roguetemple, other roguelike sites. Talk with friends and plug your game. Urge them if they think it's good to throw a link to some friends, and explain how that'd be _really_ helpful to you as you badly need interest and help.

Most importantly, _don't skimp out on demoes or what your project can do_. List off every interesting feature and explain them clearly and concisely. Make large feature lists of what you expect to be able to do. (Take a look at bay12's goals page - it's been trimmed down severely, but it's still very, very impressive to look at) Keep people updated with a coherent blog on your devschedule.

Pick up a book on advertising or marketing. The skills contained in the economic sector for that purpose are very similar to the ones you need to get people talking about your roguelike.

Serial Killer had a lot going for it. It had a very, very convicning demo (Although it was possibly done in Flash) that showed off the "features" of the "game" very well. Here's what it did right:

Lesson #1: Get a video demonstration of what the game is capable of. Get multiple ones, in fact, at different stages of the devcycle. (Every month or two, perhaps) This really gives people hope that they'll actually see a release - being able to see a physical game physically playing tends to get people talking, and shows off the game better than your words ever could.

Serial killer did this. It's videoes were very impressive and got people talking, and at two minutes each (if I remember correctly) anybody who wanted to know what the project was about could watch it and be informed. The video is your hook for new players.

Lesson #2: Don't skimp out on feature posts. Richly detail about what the game is capable of right now, and even more richly detail what you plan to do with it in the future.

Serial Killer did this too, obviously. Did you see that wall of features, almost all of which were interesting?

Lesson #3: Contribute to discussion you buzz up. Talk with people that ask you questions. If you seem a member of the community instead of a distant, unapproachable figure, you can stoke the community's interest even more.

Again, Serial Killer did this. The "author" constantly talked with people that raised questions and held discussions with them.

Lesson #4: Above all, advertise. Get multiple posts up in multiple places discussing the game. If possible, link them to a central forum or website you've set up, which contains your devlog (with the videoes mentioned in #1), your forum, possibly a shoutbox, a detailed feature list...

Serial killer didn't have a dedicated website, but it did end up getting multiple posts about it in multiple places, and even indie news coverage. This was primarily because of #1, as well as the theme of the subject helping catch reporter interest, although neither of those are strictly required. You don't neccessarily need a shocking or interesting theme to succeed, it just gives you a stepladder. One mistake SK made on the other hand was not posting itself - the Bay 12 topic was started by an interested fan. No need to rely on the community here: Do it yourself! :D

Lesson #5: Finally, effort. People like effort. People like knowing you have put effort into your project. Appear professional, even if you aren't. Show your work. Do research on the subject matter. USE PROPER ENGLISH, even if it takes you longer to type out than it would normally. I guarantee you a page full of instances where the author can't find the time to type out "y-o-u" doesn't inspire confidence, mainly because using "u" tells people "I don't care about what I'm writing, this is nothing more than a text message to me!" If English isn't your first language, post up a disclaimer saying so. Devote time, care and love into your project. The bottom line: Let people know you have your shit together.

Serial Killer, again. The interface was simplistic but extremely well done and looked like it was just dripping with information and ease of use. The author's posts were all intelligent and well written and considered. Even if the game itself was nonexistant, those two gameplay videoes were clearly a labor of love, and everyone who watched them could see that and realized it on some level. When they see a product like that, they think "Wow, someone put effort into this."

Hopefully that helps, all. Wow, this turned out to be a monster of a first post, didn't it? :D
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 12:44:21 PM by Jetman123 »

Krice

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #32 on: September 01, 2010, 01:07:52 PM »
Marketing is for commercial games. Want success in roguelike scene? Just make a good game and watch it go skyrocket. The simple truth is that most of the new roguelikes are not that good. Games that are good will be found by the players who know what they want. You can't sell any crap to hardcore players! They are not going to buy it, no matter how hard you advertise it. One of the success stories is Dwarf Fortress and I remember how it appeared from nowhere. No marketing bullshit was ever needed to make it a hit for those people who were attracted to it.

getter77

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2010, 02:55:42 PM »
Commercial realities aside, Marketing also ties in well with Visibility/Awareness of a more timely fashion---while the hardcore playerbase indeed may find the game eventually, it is probably better for all involved parties feedback loop wise to have it be something they come across sooner than later, and it certainly comes in handy to have it out there in a variety of places to help along that happy stumbling upon.
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jim

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #34 on: September 01, 2010, 03:38:53 PM »
I really would need to think about this for a good length of time before I could come up with something that I'd feel comfortable saying. I know that the whole sudden influx of interest for an amoral power fantasy sim says a lot more about what tends to generate *interest* than what it says about how to generate interest for a *project* in general.... gonna have to mull this over for a while.

What I can say is that a good part of me is glad that the SK roguelike turned out to be a hoax. I'm not afraid of the subject matter, but the fact that the setting alone could attract such interest out of nowhere.... very Jungian.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 03:47:35 PM by jim »

Jetman123

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #35 on: September 01, 2010, 08:51:11 PM »
Apologies, I have a tendency to ramble, and may have failed to get the marketing link across. My point is, no, you're not marketing a commercial product, but many of the skills involved in marketing a commercial product are the same skills that are of great use to generate interest in your roguelike. Marketing has the same end goal: Get people talking about what you're providing.

I'd suggest this:

http://www.dummies.com/store/product/Small-Business-Marketing-For-Dummies-2nd-Edition.productCd-0764578391.html

Yes, it's entirely possible for a game to take off and succeed based purely on it's own merits. DF did that. Eventually, if you put out a good product, people will start talking, and it will snowball. However, this topic isn't about how to make a good game, it's about how to get people talking and feedbacking about your game. It takes time for games to be devved and get off the ground, and a single creator can be swamped with all the work. It's disheartening to think that your labor might go to waste - a community keeps you going. On top of that, the level of feedback, support and help a community can provide an indev game with is ridicoulously helpful.

What said "Marketing bullshit" is for is to accelerate this process and get you fans during early dev, when your game is still new, flawed, young and vulnerable. A strong community will help to build a strong game.

There is an art to getting interest in a product or service up, one that's been refined very much so over the past few centuries. It'd be foolish not to take advantage of it. You could stop and let things handle themselves, but that might mean your game will languish on the sidelines without any attention on it whatsoever, nobody to help hunt down bugs...
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 08:59:12 PM by Jetman123 »

Krice

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2010, 08:50:26 AM »
But you have to realize that no matter how much you advertise your game it has to be good. Some people are more advertising types: they want to create a vision which often doesn't match with the reality. I want to do almost the opposite. Create incredible good games with modest phrases like "a gardening simulator" (Kaduria).

Etinarg

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2010, 09:05:35 AM »
The problem is that people have only limited time to try games. And I think they try those games first which they hear about first. So even if your game is very good, it might have a hard time to be discovered at all. Once the word spreads, you're good, basically other people then do the marketing for you. But if you are unlucky, this can take a very long time.

Krice

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2010, 10:24:36 AM »
The greatest thing is that I don't really care. I'm creating games mainly for myself! I don't care if other people even know about them. So I don't have to worry about advertising at all. It's a nice feeling. You should try that!

Etinarg

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #39 on: September 02, 2010, 11:35:44 AM »
Unfortunately this doesn't work so well for the more extroverted personality types. But I agree with the key point, that it is essential to work on things that one likes also, not so much on things which one assumes are liked by others. But this seems off topic to this thread ... it would more go into a "how to stay motivated with your project" discussion.


Slash

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #40 on: September 02, 2010, 01:58:16 PM »
Roguedevs (or any other class of indie developers) use MP (Motivations Points) as fuel.

There are several ways to acquire motivation points: players telling you how much they like your game is one of the most effective, but you can also trade dollars for motivation points (however, you need to give your supporters a channel to support you (damn Paypal Colombia)).

There's also a MP boost achieved with the joy of the creation itself (but to get there, you must have actually achieved implementation, which requires MP in a sort of vicious circle).

MP can also be generated by brute force using Willpower Points, an internal attribute which is pretty hard to develop (I think it's mostly acquired on birth)

Finally, each roguedev has a natural regen rate for Motivation Points, but it may be too low to achieve an effective release rate, thus delaying new versions by years and years.

Wolfmilf

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #41 on: September 02, 2010, 05:07:47 PM »
Sorry to stray off topic at hand, but the other thread was closed.

I don't understand why people are so disgusted by a Serial Killer Roguelike. People should understand that everyone has thought about how it felt to hurt someone else. Not because they wanted to do it, but just for the lulz. I mean, in your dreams, especially if you're lucid, you do stuff you wouldn't even dream about (figuratively).

I think video games are the best outlet to do whatever you want. I'm glad someone started to actually make this since the other one was a hoax.

Also, A BLOODY SERIAL KILLER GAME! AWESOME!

Fenrir

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #42 on: September 02, 2010, 07:25:19 PM »
I don't understand why people are so disgusted by a Serial Killer Roguelike. People should understand that everyone has thought about how it felt to hurt someone else. Not because they wanted to do it, but just for the lulz. I mean, in your dreams, especially if you're lucid, you do stuff you wouldn't even dream about (figuratively).

"You shouldn't be disgusted by the notion of a game about hurting innocent people because everyone fantasizes about hurting innocent people."

Your logic is flawed.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 01:25:04 AM by Fenrir »

Darren Grey

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2010, 01:18:54 PM »
Roguelikes are meant to be original?  Wow, we'd better tell the Nethack and *band and ADOM devs that they've been wasting their time for decades...
If I'm not mistaken, Nethack, Angband, and ADoM are the originals; they just have plenty of imitators.

EDIT: Well, they had plenty of originality in them, anyway. This is the roguelike community, after all.

I don't mean they are not original works of creation, but they do lean heavily on a huge number of fantasy tropes, especially DnD stuff.  Their content is mostly very unoriginal, their gameplay obviously derivative or previous titles, and especially after all these years they have little to offer in novel appeal.  Not that this is a problem - I'm just pointing out that a game doesn't have to be original to be good, and new roguelikes most certainly do not have to be original.

jim

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Re: Acquiring feedback for your roguelike project
« Reply #44 on: September 04, 2010, 03:44:19 PM »
So I have thought for a while about all of this and am ready to ramble.

My earlier blurb basically said that certain things just have a base interest value that exceeds others. You kids mayen't remember, fast as you were to your mother's teats, but during the mid 90s internet boom there was a several year stretch of brilliant, high-production advertisements for websites. Each one played like a Superbowl commercial (for those of you out of the U.S., advertisers pay millions during the Superbowl for a 30 second spot - and they make the most of it.)

These commercials were all about generating a kind of punkish, irreverent buzz. They were great. I loved them. We all did. They didn't work. The reason they didn't work was that there wasn't enough "there" to justify the buzz. The dot-coms went bankrupt and advertising mostly returned to normal.

Serial Killer simulation is something that has not been done before - at least not well, at least not extensively. There's something there. It has a far higher base level of interest than a roguelike angband variant featuring bad guys from Star Trek. Now personally, I don't think that there's anything substantive to be explored in a game like that. You, what - chop up people to make sure that your chop-up meter doesn't overflow? How exactly does a story arc fit into that? It doesn't. It's a one-trick pony. So, by having something there, I guess I mean that it's got draw. Not necessarily subtance. In fact, it seems really substance-resistant to me.

But that doesn't matter at this stage of development, because the game does have draw, and in the dev stage that's all you need. I'll give you another example. In the wake of GTA, Rockstar developed a "Riot Simulator" called State of Emergency. Huge draw - who hasn't fantasized about breaking windows and taking things? Game sold like hotcakes, then everyone realized that the game sucked. The whole experience consisted of running around, breaking windows, and hitting people as they frenetically dashed for safety and/or TVs. The draw was there, so people bought it, but the game wasn't there, so it faded fast.

That's really the main thing. It's not so much a question of quality as a question of "draw." Have you ever opened up a car brochure? I open the fuckers up every day because I'm selling cars over the net. They are complete bullshit. And that's what sells. People are sold on vague possibilities: "An experience like none other." "Get behind the wheel of your life."

I think that's one of the reasons that folks sometimes look for "indie" scenes, because part of them is nauseated by the whole marketing process, the way it appeals to the subliminal, or it id, or whatever. And I think that's why we're seeing an emerging debate in this thread - for some folks it's a question of what sells, and for others it's not so much a question of what sells, but whether the usual method of selling a game (or anything) is morally repugnant these days.

So yep. That's my 7 cents. Glad that SK roguelike was a hoax, but I'd totally play a medival vampire sim.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 05:09:51 PM by jim »