Help Us Help You

Baka
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Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:30 pm

Help Us Help You

Postby Baka » Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:11 am

You need to realize that...
Suggestions are almost meaningless without context. So this context has to be given by the project manager (You do have a project manager, right?) in order to stimulate user's interest and proper support of the game. Context can be given through anything, whether it be published goals for the game or the periodic "we're working on this idea right now" comment. Unless if you provide context to your users, their comments and suggestions for the game will almost always be off target to what you (the alleged developers) intend for the game. In other words, tell your users where you're going with Cubelands or where you want the game to be in another six months - this helps your users to understand and better relate to your situation. For example, if your users keep suggesting ideas for a role-playing game but you want to make another socialized minimal action game, their suggestions will be completely irrelevant to your intentions.

Let's look at it this way...
If you have investors, surely you're providing them with updates and information so that you keep their interest in investing in you, correct? Can you not do the same for your users? Your users are essentially investors as well. Though they're not investing tangible resources into your pockets, they're providing you with time, interest, and ideas for your project. Simply knowing what your users want instead of assuming or guessing helps you make a better game. And helping your users by telling them what your intentions and goals are helps them to be more productive and efficient in your favor.

You don't want to hear this, but...
As I keep writing here, you've given little evidence to prove that there's serious interest in your game. In all the projects I've worked on, my co-developers and I always pay attention to our communities, not because we necessarily like our followers 100% of the time, but because we are so involved in the project that we like to hear other people's opinions in respect to our own. Passing off the community management to a "support staff" is laziness, and implies that your developers are only involved in a project for a paycheck. If there is a language barrier, there's still not much excuse. Modern translators, both automatic and personable, can do wonders in such a scenario.

My group and I spend at least 30 minutes a day to tell our communities that "We're here, we're listening to you, and we're working on both our and your ideas." This really does have significant meaning to our users. It's as if we're giving them a piece of candy so that they keep coming back for more, rather than giving them nothing and biding the time that they'll be interested enough to stick around without incentive.

The gist of the matter is...
You've been alienating your community. Illustrate your goals and intentions for the game. Giving them small updates that contribute little to the entirety of a game is usually meaningless to a user without the knowledge of a "bigger picture" (which you haven't given). If you inform your users of this "big picture", they can more appropriately judge if your updates are acceptable and useful to the game. As it stands right now, I'm thinking that you're just adding ambiguous updates in the hopes to figure out a direction for the game, which is both unprofessional and inefficient in any gaming industry.

Take it or leave it, but that's my view of your relation with your community.

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GodCreator
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Re: Help Us Help You

Postby GodCreator » Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:03 pm

Baka, you are correct. But I think they are trying to your program the game engine so that they can understand how it all works, and for the fact as in the moment of now, I don't think they will be working on any of our ideas any time soon. Rather they have other games much more popular to attend to and this game is in Alpha and not many play it and few really care about the development of this game. I am glad that you care in such a way for this game, but for knowing how this game was and now, well now that the game is sold and well, nothing big seems to be happening. Besides the taking out multiplayer and taking out of kongregate. The community is all sadden by this take and for loads of time the community has be giving tons of ideas for the alpha Cubelands but they seem not to understand what the game use to be.
Image

-GodCreator/GC

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pearlbay
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Re: Help Us Help You

Postby pearlbay » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:30 am

Hi everyone,

Baka, I understand where you are coming from. You enjoy this game, as we do, too, and you want to see where its development is going, you want regular feedback on the development's status and our reasonings for going into a particular direction.

That is certainly not unreasonable. But, and, yes, here comes the but that I assume you thought would have to come, at some point, please try seeing things from our perspective, too. We are not an overlarge company with a vast amount of personnel. Most of our developers are working on several projects or spend all their time focusing on bringing one particular project forwards. It is simply impossible for them to also interact with our gaming community and give regular feedbacks on each stage of development. Same as our developers, our community managers and support staff are taking care of a wide variety of games. We do our best to make everyone feel welcome here, to answer all questions our players may have, and to simply show you all that we are happy to have you here, we are grateful about your input to this community, and we are happy about your thoughts and ideas.

As you may have read in the suggestions-sticky, we take all suggestions seriously, read and pass them on. But we cannot give regular feedbacks on each and every idea posted in all forums of all our games, as much as we would love to. Whenever there are news about this or any of our games that are noteworthy, we post them on the forum, to make sure that everyone knows what is going on. Lots of the time, though, there isn't much to tell because our developers are busily working in the background, and to allow them to do so and be able to present you with changes and upgrades to the game, we'd rather not keep disturbing them, but let them do their job.

All the developers working on Cubelands enjoy this game very much, and I have never seen them talk with anything less than enthusiasm of the game's possibilities and technology. So you can trust me on this: they don't just do their job to have their bills paid here, but they actually put their heart into this project too.

As players, you only see that something happens to the game when there is an actual update message and when an update has been made. That doesn't mean that in the mean-time we are all sitting here twiddling our thumbs - on the contrary. Even if we don't have a new milestone to report every day, we are always doing our best to bring you the best possible games there are.

So please be assured that: yes, Cubelands is a great game, and is important to us. Yes, we are reading your comments and suggestions and are taking them seriously, and no, we are not intending to demean your ideas as unnecessary by not constantly commenting on them. This game, as well as its community are as important to us as all our other games, and we'll keep doing our best to be here for you all and to show you all that we do care about your thoughts - please understand, though, that this cannot, due to the above reasons, include a full and regular updates on all development stages of all our games at a regular basis.

Best regards,

pearlbay
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Baka
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Re: Help Us Help You

Postby Baka » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:42 am

I'd like to believe that I was not ignorant in what I previously wrote. Your official website claims that you have around 70 employees. You also have eleven active games under management, maintenance, and development. Obviously I understand tasks are split between programmers of various coding platforms, server programmers, website programmers, visual effect and graphics designers, and since you're also your own publisher - media and public relations staff. Clearly you're busy, and I wasn't denying this fact.

Nor was I asking for regular feedback. Especially since this is in an alpha stage of development, it would become awfully tedious and annoying. I was asking for a one-time clarification of goals for the game.

Baka wrote:... tell your users where you're going with Cubelands or where you want the game to be in another six months - this helps your users to understand and better relate to your situation. ...
... helping your users by telling them what your intentions and goals are helps them to be more productive and efficient in your favor. ...
... Illustrate your goals and intentions for the game.


Again, illustrate you goals and intentions for the game. Do you want it to be a minimal action game commonly found on popular media such as Facebook? A simplistic RPG game in cubical style? An universal open-world game that features all the aspects of a graphics creation software in a game? Where are you leading the game?

The latest project my group and I are working on is a unique twist on the RPG genre. On our forums, we specifically wrote to our fans that "We intend for this game to be one of the top browser based RPG games on the Internet within the next year." Sure it's ambitious, and it may not come true, but nonetheless we told our community what we're doing in the "big picture". Because of this, we receive more proper feedback, relating to the RPG genre and our game themselves rather than receiving completely irrelevant and ambiguous suggestions like "We want more cowbell!" (where cowbell can range from anything from things you normally see in minimalistic text-based games to completely miscellaneous nonsense like dragons with strap-on rockets)

The point is, the sooner the users know where you're going, the sooner the game will have a more prosperous community.

And I assume you consider all suggestions, it'd be rather silly if you didn't.

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pearlbay
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Re: Help Us Help You

Postby pearlbay » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:05 am

Dear baka,

I suppose then we indeed misunderstood each other here. I get and I understand your point. However, as with all our games so far, the developing stage is a phase of trial and error, and a phase of looking into which direction we'll be going, of adding some features and discarding them later and so forth. Most of our games, if you have tried some of them, cannot be grouped into one genre alone, which, I would say, explains their popularity. They combine elements of various genre, and while, for instance, My Free Farm would fall under the general heading of farm browser game, it also has lots of other facets and features, such as the various quest-systems, the possibility of decorating your farm-house, the rating of showcase farms, the different player vs player and guild competitions, to name just a few. And the further the game is developed, the more features are added, bringing with them further facets.

So while I understand have a clear-cut direction that would tell you as player exactly where the development would go, and would, as you say, allow you to give us more precise suggestions, I am afraid at this point there is none I can give you. The broad idea of the game is, I think, clear. Cubelands will allow you to build your own map, complete quests, and befriend other players. What other features and which specific game goals it'll all have in the end, I am sorry, I cannot tell you at this point. Normally we don't even allow players access to this stage of development - Cubelands is an exception here because it already existed in a different version, and because of course we appreciate the feedback of those familiar with the classic version.

So in general, when we release a game into beta stage (we normally start with a closed beta, then move on to an open beta), our games are already more clearcut and delineated - this if, of course, completely different in an alpha version.

I'll keep giving as much feedback and as many updates on changes as possible of course, but for the moment, I hope you understand that there isn't much more I can tell you.

Best regards,

pearlbay
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Baka
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:30 pm

Re: Help Us Help You

Postby Baka » Thu May 03, 2012 9:32 am

Clearly, I've made a mistake in trying to lecture another group of developers, especially when I'm not speaking to them directly. Personally, I find it inefficient to work in such a way, but if it works for your group, then so be it, everyone has their own systems.

Good luck, I'll visit again in a few months. I sincerely hope there'll be more to show for by then...

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pearlbay
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Re: Help Us Help You

Postby pearlbay » Fri May 04, 2012 3:13 am

Everyone has their own system, I agree, and so far ours seems to have been working quite well. There'll be quite a few further changes I am sure, so you'll have lots of interesting things to look forward to when you return.

Thanks for the feedback so far,

best regards,

pearlbay
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