A question for Dan

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A question for Dan

Hey I wondering if we could set up like an event were there is a poll on which items people want the most in the game and possibly like the top 3 would be added. I feel like that would be a nice community involvement project.

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Official Trained Dogman

Given it's a thread and not a PM, I assume we're free to comment?

So, I'd say this: Sure, why not, although why do we need a poll if we already have quite a few items suggested community (at least in some cases) unanimously already agreed would be a nice addition and need only Dan's approval. I'm talking about things like handguns and a few wearables, many of which were even already given sprites, so big part of the work requiring implementation of them is already done. I'm sure that their creators would discuss bestowing rights of the use of those items if approached, to avoid any license issues.

But yeah, if people really need a poll, got nothing against it. Though I'd rather have Dan choose which items go into the poll, on the off chance bands of trolls would spam votes for some silly thing. Also, I'd suspect it would be rather groups of items, since making just one or two items wouldn't be a hassle big enough to justify making a poll in the first place. But then again, we already have feature voting poll where priorities of addition of different groups of items are already pretty established through voting.. so, do we really need another, then?

Yes its fine to post here, what I mean with this is that its like a community event not a constant thing. Yes I would prefer if Dan pick some of the items people would like in for a poll. I suggested this as a good way for people to feel like what they want matters and to promote involvement in how the game is shaped by the community.

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Official Trained Dogman

I like the idea of a community event, and I'm cool with getting feedback on upcoming features. My main concern would be finding a good way to implement it, whether it be a poll, survey, contest, or other format, and making sure it doesn't undermine the votes that folks have already cast on the feature voting page.

I've actually been pretty excited to start working on new items for a while, but I've been holding off on that because the crafting update would probably mean reworking anything I made now. It's better to wait until either the crafting overhaul is done, or the crafting overhaul is canceled, so that any new items are guaranteed to be in the correct format.

In fact, when the time comes, I may just do a large batch of new recipes and items along with the overhaul, and make it sort of a general item and recipe booster. So we could do such a poll or survey as I'm working on that, to make sure some audience favorites make it into the pack.

Since plot is the highest voted feature, it makes sense for me to do some work on that soon. So there's also the option of doing some sort of event to involve the community in developing that. And perhaps we could allow players to suggest which areas of the plot interest them the most.

For example, there could be an event where players can list their questions about the NEO Scavenger universe, plot, and characters. Perhaps even rank them in a poll. And later, I could use that list to see what people are most interested in learning about, what confuses them, or what concerns them.

E.g. What are dogmen, and where do they come from? Is someone meddling with the player? Who is the player? What else is out there, beyond Michigan? What is the range of tech available?

The point of the survey wouldn't necessarily be to change the universe, but it would alert me to things the players really want to know more about, or things they don't understand. Like with the feature voting, I already have a plan for most things, but I'm happy to shift priorities around if there are clear winners in the list (keeping in mind logical dependencies, e.g. I would have to answer "is someone after the player?" before answering "who is after the player?").

Whatever the subject matter of the event, there's also a question of the best format.

Polls can be useful, but we'd probably have to be clever about setting them up with the right parameters. E.g. is it a single vote per person? Or can a person vote for their top 3 picks? Is the vote open to all registered users, or just beta users? Or should their be separate polls for each group?

I may be overengineering a bit, but if I'm going to dangle the opportunity for input in front of players, I should be prepared to act on the results :)

Anyway, I think the idea could work. It just might need some planning to get it right. Have you seen any good examples out there done by other developers? I'm always willing to learn from someone else's example!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

You bring up good points Dan, you should make a suggestion thingy when you feel like adding some new stuff (based on what you are adding of course) I just feel like something like that would really be nice and fun to do. :D

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Official Trained Dogman

Is it possible then to increase of priority of said overhaul after a handful of truly developed (as in, several dialogue lines, several ways to manage events based on player's choices and none of those ways being cliche 'very good/very bad/dull neutral) events will be added (or current ones expanded as that's something often forgotten by developers - what's already made can be always improved)? It seems that as of recent, new recipes and items became most demanded - after story developments - thing for Neo Scavenger.

In case of a poll, if it's possible and not too complicated to be made, I'd suggest giving 3 votes to every user registered for some time AND with at least a handful of posts to their name to avoid people making additional accounts for forcing their vote, yet allowing the whole of the non-beta-user community - part of which may be future buyers - decide on the shape of the game. At the same time, beta user's vote could be counted twice to underline the importance of opinions of those who already invested and supported continued development of the game. This way no one would be left out, poll wouldn't be too easily exploited and those who already paid would have token priority over those who may or may not.

When it comes to questions - general FAQ would be nice, though I'd be very cautious about taking (or even implying!) questions as an indicator in what direction game should be taken. First, people will ask only about what already is in and unexplained - for example, there won't be many tasks about types of vehicles (with exception maybe of basic ones like what vehicles will be added) even if someone is vehicle-passionate, because the feature is barely developed and questions about less explained but more noticeable elements (origin of different creatures) will be more common.

Another thing is common practice of asking questions only to indicate that 'yes, I am interested'. For example, having the game described as planned to be - as I understood it - post-apoc survival mixed with dystopian sci-fi a'la Blade Runner some bit more serious and less show-offy paranormal theme (thinking Cthulhu mythos, IRL occult traditions like native american shamanism or hermeticism rather than wand-casting fireballs and squads of demon hunters) makes me want to ask about such things as it's kind of a setting that I find really wonderful and with a great potential but there's nothing I can ask about with exception of 'Will you add X?' and 'How much of Y will we be able to see?' kind of questions.

Thank you for the support and great setup for the event scavenger. :D

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Official Trained Dogman

I think you're right that it can be dangerous to open up project direction to vote by committee. Averaging a group's preferences results in an average outcome. Besides, I'm a bit too selfish to give up project direction. I quit my job because I wanted more creative freedom :)

However, I'm also pretty close to the work, so I may be taking things for granted which aren't. So if there's something that needs better explaining, or is fun but underutilized, I might not notice it because I've been inside the code too long.

It's possible that the story questions might be better served by an "Ask Me Anything" style forum. I could set aside an hour or so to field questions folks may have.

Alternately, a poll may be better suited to questions like "which of the current encounters do you enjoy the most?" Answering that might tell me which encounters have the most satisfying experience, and I can design future encounters with similar structures and options. Of course, there may also need to be a poll asking "which of the encounters did you know about," to help correct for exposure bias.

And to your point about the overhaul/more items priority being a recent surge, you're right. I think more plot is sort of a longer-term desire for many people, and will always be at the top. Meanwhile, more items and better crafting are a newer priority, now that others have been taken care of (e.g. fonts/resolution).

As a result, I think my approach is pretty close to what you're suggesting. I plan to spend some time on new encounters, but then switch to the crafting/item overhaul, rather than try to finish the rest of the plot in one go. I usually get antsy after about a month of plot work, and I want to code again, so I can't sit and do it indefinitely :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

I don't mean to offend, however the community here is quite small. I've seen less than ten consistent users who post. I don't think there is any cause for worry that people will attempt to cheat the system.

What might help, however, is some sort of icon, title, etc., that shows whether or not a user has purchased the game. With Desura users, it may be more difficult to track, but still possible. It would show authenticity and eliminate the need for limiting users' participation based on how much forum activity they have, which is easy to forge, but easier to implement depending on what script is being used for the forums.

The thing you suggest would work if we'd make the poll only for the buyers. But the idea is to allow voting for the whole community - and then you cannot authenticate paying users as some of them won't be such - they will be just community members who may still be considering (or not at the moment) buying a game. In regards to those, the only way to really authenticate them is post count/signing up time check - long gone are the days of authenticating them via IP, what's with almost every provider offering dynamic ones.

With a free poll, though, there's a risk of cheating the system exactly because of what you've noticed yourself - the community on the forum is small. And actually it's just a tiny part of the group of people interested in the game. A group, many of which, I can easily believe will eagerly make a few forum accounts for the sake of forcing their beliefs on what direction the game should take. History taught us that people were doing such for far less benefit (trolling of internet polls, including 'big stuff' like fameous person on Times poll or internet elections for the hell of it) than having the game they want be made the way they want. Not to mention that it's not like great rise in community member count during some game's poll is a new thing, either.

What I suggest isn't fail-proof anyway, but should at least limit anyone short of really determined of cheaters.

It's obvious though that those who have their account connected to bought game won't have to fit account requirements mentioned above - if they bought the game, that's enough - hell, they should feel free to make a few accounts and buy a game per every one of them if they really want to - morally ambiguous, but if they are really willing to support the development that much for some additional voting power, fine with me. The whole system would also take care of Desura-bought game problems, as if I am not mistaken, Desura-bought users also have some way of linking the game with an account.

Aren't you exaggerating a bit Scavenger? I know there are trolls lurking around, but to take such precautions?

Anyway, I don't know how those polls work mechanically, but won't giving everyone a single vote and locking accounts created after the poll is started would solve problem? That is, if it's possible.

And if someone is so determinated that he creates multiple accounts prior to voting that he does not know what will be about - I say let him have his moment :D


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

Aren't you exaggerating a bit Scavenger? I know there are trolls lurking around, but to take such precautions?

While I went rather elaborate about the whole thing, I did state 'if it's not too complicated' - it's all up to how hard making such would be - if rather easy, I don't see why we shouldn't have something a bit secure.

Anyway, I don't know how those polls work mechanically, but won't giving everyone a single vote and locking accounts created after the poll is started would solve problem? That is, if it's possible.

Sure, why not - and that's alternative to giving voting rights based on being a buyer, singing up date or postcount which would basically achieve the same thing. Though I wouldn't like just a single vote but an ability to choose several wished-for choices per user with that additional double-count per buyer accounts for reasons already mentioned.

Actually I do prefer 3 votes per person as well. That way voter can state not only what he would like but also how much by giving multiple votes on one thing. What I meant was that by locking out accounts created after the poll's start you can prevent fake votes bumping up ideas but at the same time do not lock out people who would like to vote but never posted or only posted once or twice in the past or didn't bought the game (yet).


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

I like that idea, Its pretty balanced and Dan can set up the poll at any time, which would then lock out any new accounts from that poll while leting everyone else vote normally with out cheating.

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Official Trained Dogman