The Passion of the Developers

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The Passion of the Developers

GodlyPerfection
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The Passion of the Developers


Eh... rough and long day folks. So forgive me for not doing questions and a summary. Basically it talks about working with your consumers... basically working on accepting feedback and going out and getting it.

No questions to start you off due to my rough day.


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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

SmartAlec13
  So this one is probably the most difficult of all the articles to apply to our field, our Halo forging. But i think I get it.

  It relates to how we relate to the players. We want to make the map for them, not just for ourselves so we can say "wow I   made this map", but so we can have fun playing on it with other people, or knowing that other people like it too. Sure it sounds like glory-hunting, but its true.

  And so you need to get to know the players. What kinds of things do they like or dislike? The best way to do this is to go play some matchmaking (if you have a gametype you are planning to forge for, I reccomend going into that hopper) and you play with people. Talk about the map. You can just say "wow this part of the map is frustrating" or "wow I love this part of this map, anyone agree?". Ask your friends, go to other sorts of forums. Make sure to get a wide variety of players both casual, minigamers, randies in matchmaking, and the hardcore MLGs. Figure out who you want to make the map for, and then figure out what that kind of player likes.

  From there, you can look at other maps to get inspiration. Maps that cater to that sort of audience. Then you build, display on forums or get some testing going.  This goes into all of Godly's writings about playtesting, feedback, advertising, etc. You need to try and make friends with the sort of people you want to make your map for. Play some of their maps, learn what they like about them, and then have them play yours and find out what needs to be changed.

  So really this article is saying that you need to
-Put the Players first
-Find the players
-Identify your player audience
-Talk to them-
Test their maps
-Play their kind of maps
-Make your map around their ideals
-Playtest with them
-Get feedback, and listen to it, even if it isn't constructive.
-Be Dynamic with your map. Don't be afraid to make changes.
-Rinse and Repeat.
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

Valiant Outcast
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
This is a good article. I think that one reason that I had stopped forging is that my work (whether good or bad) never had a real audience. No one was ever anxiously waiting to play my latest map. They rarely even got downloaded.  It felt like the days of build time that I spent were wasted.
A solid customer base is essential, and the point of this is that you, as a developer, must be heavily invested in building and maintaining it.
I am neither the Judge or His jury; only His witness.
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

SmartAlec13
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Yeah, it can be hard sometimes when you're just in a sea of other maps. I was lucky that I had a bungie.net group that was really active and had game nights so I always  got to get my newest maps playtested a bit.
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

AtlasisShruggin
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
This was a good read after taking a stab at applying the tipping point to forge. I think this article seems a lot less controversial, mostly because it doesn't require you to change the way you view the world. The article does imply that our testers are our customers, but it rather asks of us to identify those who enjoy the product and listen to their criticism. The Tipping Point is more on how to get those testers to spread the map around. They compliment each other really well actually. This article gives you more of the starting point, and how to get the people I talked about... The Connectors, Mavens, and Salesman to get on board with the map. Very helpful indeed.
"This dread born of risk is not the opposite of joy, or even of quiet activity and calm enjoyment. It transcends such oppositions and lives in secret communion with the serene and gentle yearnings of creativity."
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

external memory
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
On (or maybe off) topic, has anyone seen this? Pretty intense, for me anyway. I know this doesn't count, but I wanna get on Reach before I get caught up, now that I have a break in my schedule to finish my derp of a pre-production map.
EXEM
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

P1 Mario
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
It's interesting to see marketing strategies applied to game design, but it's not that surprising, considering you are designing a product after all.

The most obvious application is the audience your map is looking at, be it 4v4 slayer, 5v5 objective, 8v8 btb, or maybe along the hardcore mlg types.  We were learning about some marketing principles in class today, and the first step is to segment your market.  Essentially, try to divide the market into a few different demographics, then select which ones you'll be targeting.  Ths way you'll be able to focus entirely on producing something for your audience, and you'll be able to differentiate yourself from your competitiors.

An example would be...
Segments - Players who favor...
casual v. hardcore
team v. individual
control v. movement

So in my map, I've decided to theme it towards hardcore players who prefer team based map control.

Then, I'll take that segment of the population and design my map to do what they like most - and do it better than any other map.  Yay!


Also, this resource reminded me of some of the Bungie Publications, specifically the one at the end of the list.  Found here:
http://www.bungie.net/Inside/publications.aspx
They're quite interesting from a game design perspective, even if not all directly applicable to Forge.
~Ask not why I get to be Player 1.
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

Dr D04K
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Good article.  Often the most difficult thing for an artist to do is take and use criticism constructively.  Big lessons from this article:  Identify the goal of your map, whether its slayer, FFA, objective, BTB, etc.  Playtest your map with people who play the type of map your trying to make.  It doesn't make sense to have MLG guys playtesting your minigame map, and vise versa.  Don't be afraid to make big changes based on the feedback you get.  If your map is designed around a gimmick, and the gimmick doesn't work, it doesn't matter how long you spent building it, if its broken to the core, don't waste your time trying to dress up a failed concept.
Gamer tag: "Dr D04K" (thats a zero and a four)
RP Portfolio
Maps:
Wishbone Alley
Dosado
Infinity Garden
Epicurean
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

deathxxrenegade
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
one thing i noticed when I first joined up, was that people are willing to help test. I'd ask them afterwards what did they like/dislike. And most people would simply say "I didn't like it", or "I loved it" and then leave. Leaving me wonder what to keep or what to change.  I think this relates to both makers and testers when marketing. If you help test a map, you should be willing to give feedback, this will help you in the long run cause people can count on your thoughts being there.  So when they halp you test your map, they are a little more willing to actually communicate WHY they liked it or WHY they didn't.
To command the past you control the future. To command the future you conquer the past.    

Kane
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

Gnappy As5A5sin
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
The cycle of assess, iterate, and reassess applies to all design mediums, however we as game designers share in interesting method of assessment as ours will primarily involve our end consumers intimately in the process. The methods used in playtesting between iterations are what makes us have to work harder within our communities to produce solid content. I was at a presentation with a few of the designers from Santa Monica Studio and they stressed two things- Iteration, and actually spending time designing. Something about that last bit included 10,000 hours to mastery, but that's another topic. Getting that valuable feedback is something that is extremely important.
On Skype Wolfpack Dragon wrote
"i came on the radio so I had to mention it"
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

Nitro
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
I have to say working with feedback is really hard. Especially in Halo Reach. All I heard was, the map is to gray, I feels flat, not enough depth. Almost all of the comments that I would get about it would sound like that or Looks great! The vagueness was really hard to understand in forum form. I like playing test sessions and getting immediate feedback for instant gratification. Whether the comments were good or not, I still got feedback, regardless good or bad. Now, I wonder how forgers will tailor their threads for a more, I wanna test this out feel. Teaser trailers? Nicely done photos? I just a plain walkthrough to show how you made the map and why certain objects are where they need to be. The question I have for the community here, is it just as hard to get community feedback from your communities? I know MLG:Forge Forums were some of the worst. It was very hard to get any attention unless you made the front page of MLG. And they did only a handful of quality maps on there. Do other communities give more feedback than MLG players? I know true grifball hub guys do. I've lurked over there a time or to just see some creations and the community involvement is awesome. I hope The Halo Council will be this open to forgers.
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

grimcreepr
Nitro wrote
I have to say working with feedback is really hard. Especially in Halo Reach. All I heard was, the map is to gray, I feels flat, not enough depth. Almost all of the comments that I would get about it would sound like that or Looks great! The vagueness was really hard to understand in forum form. I like playing test sessions and getting immediate feedback for instant gratification. Whether the comments were good or not, I still got feedback, regardless good or bad. Now, I wonder how forgers will tailor their threads for a more, I wanna test this out feel. Teaser trailers? Nicely done photos? I just a plain walkthrough to show how you made the map and why certain objects are where they need to be. The question I have for the community here, is it just as hard to get community feedback from your communities? I know MLG:Forge Forums were some of the worst. It was very hard to get any attention unless you made the front page of MLG. And they did only a handful of quality maps on there. Do other communities give more feedback than MLG players? I know true grifball hub guys do. I've lurked over there a time or to just see some creations and the community involvement is awesome. I hope The Halo Council will be this open to forgers.
The last map I let loose in the wild suffered from a severe lack of brutal, honest feedback. The majority of what I was hearing while creating it was painfully similar to your experiences. It's hard to improve your design when all that's coming out of peoples mouths is "nice aesthetics." The only possible response to that is "Thank you, I worked hard to make the map look nice. But how can I make this play better?" Regrettably, by the time the answer to that question was breaking the surface, I had lost interest in Halo and just forge in general. One can only beat around the bush so many times, after-all. To this day, I feel that the design was hindered by having so few of the "right" eyes on it. People who cared about the things I wanted to improve on in my map. Still, I managed to tie for third place in a contest. Which did help get some exposure. Although, as I said at that point I was moving on to other things.

What gets me is that certain communities actually DISCOURAGE their members from advertising their work. Like it's dishonorable, or being arrogant. This is perfect for those who have been around for ages, and already have the spotlight on them. But what about the guy who has just started his forging career? Doesn't he deserve a chance to grow and develop his skills too? I get frustrated when I join lobbies where there is a clear monopoly on leader going down. This creates the infuriating situation where you see certain forgers being hailed as the best. In your mind, it's like "of course his map turned out better than mine. He got to test six times more than I did."

While i'm on the subject of advertising I'd like to say that I actually find it a PLUS that here on RP you have to earn a place to showcase your work. This may sound contradictory, but what's different here is that you earn the privilege to showcase your work. And in earning this, you learn from the other people in the community. You get so much more out of it than the spam tastic offerings on other sites. You have to get in there, get your hands dirty and freaking learn that stuff! But I guess i'm also bias because I believe that the community here is more helpful ( meaning noncompetitive) than other forging sites around the interwebz. Here, it's about advancing your skills as a level designer. Not winning a "best of the month" contest that doesn't really teach you anything about building great maps. All it does is show you the power off kissing behind, and the value of friends in high places.

I'm getting off subject, so i'd like to steer this boat back on course a bit .You can thank a long day at work for that, but anyways... Community involvement is everything when you are looking to improve your craft. No great artist ever got to where he was by locking himself alone in a dark room and never showing his work to anyone. He got there not only by studying what it is that makes his particular form of art great(in our case, the art of creating fun spaces for players to murder each other in) but also by listening carefully to, and collaborating with others that share the same interests. Creativity can't exist in a vacuum, or so i've always believed. Which is why it is absolutely vital to have a community built around collaboration, as opposed to competition. Otherwise, you end up like -insert just about any forge sit here- where its members only care about what's best for them, instead of progressing the art of modular level design.

That's not to say any one community is truly better than any other. Believe me, the intent of this post is not to insight a flame war, or "oh, X site is better than Y site!" debate. I'm just saying that the ideals that RP is built around encompass my core beliefs on what sustains a creative community and leads to a greater magnitude of successful individuals. Open collaboration is everything. Just because a new member here can't post content, doesn't EVER mean they can't receive the feedback they are looking for. Whether that means shooting them an invite when testing lobbies are heating up, or just jumping into a forge game to help them work through a particular problem. IMO this sort of openness, and willingness to aid another forger, regardless of "social status" is the difference between a good place to forge, and a kick ass one.




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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

AtlasisShruggin
In reply to this post by Nitro
Nitro wrote
I have to say working with feedback is really hard. Especially in Halo Reach. All I heard was, the map is to gray, I feels flat, not enough depth. Almost all of the comments that I would get about it would sound like that or Looks great! The vagueness was really hard to understand in forum form. I like playing test sessions and getting immediate feedback for instant gratification. Whether the comments were good or not, I still got feedback, regardless good or bad. Now, I wonder how forgers will tailor their threads for a more, I wanna test this out feel. Teaser trailers? Nicely done photos? I just a plain walkthrough to show how you made the map and why certain objects are where they need to be. The question I have for the community here, is it just as hard to get community feedback from your communities? I know MLG:Forge Forums were some of the worst. It was very hard to get any attention unless you made the front page of MLG. And they did only a handful of quality maps on there. Do other communities give more feedback than MLG players? I know true grifball hub guys do. I've lurked over there a time or to just see some creations and the community involvement is awesome. I hope The Halo Council will be this open to forgers.
Don't look for communities, rather, find quality forgers within those communities that can give good advice. This doesn't end at forgers though. Find yourself some competitive players and casual players as well who can articulate their concerns. Posting a map will never get you great advice, you usually only hear about aesthetics or quick generalizations. This is usually because they haven't played the map. Finding those players who actually want to test your map is crucial. If they want to play it, they are invested in making it better. They also rarely have any idea what your previous work has been or your experience.

Trailers are nice and can be used for different purposes. For instance, I did a trailer for the beta of Simulacra. This was to get others excited to play the map before release so I could get a wide range of testers. But the quality feedback came after they tested the map, not from watching the video.

A quick note on vague feedback though, just because a player can't articulate what is wrong with a design doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Originally there was a basement floor on Simulacra. One comment I got on the design was that it was too complex. It was vague and didn't offer a solution. However, later on I overheard a player remark, "Oh, there's a bottom floor?" Taking these two comments together shows me that the basement is too disconnected from the design and that was what was causing the over complexity and player confusion. It's important to listen to those who play your map, even if the advice is vague.

Actually Nitro after you commented on Simulacra I took a look at your work to see your own level of skill and experience. I like what you've done, but I noticed some trends that you may want to break. Hopefully when Halo 4 is released we'll have some chances to help each other improve. Xzamples also spoke highly of you as a person, so I'm looking forward to having a Live conversation... And yes I researched you a bit haha

Also if you look at my own evolution of Simulacra, I recently brought it back inside to an enclosed space, your comment on walls and grenades definitely contributed to that decision. It was a small detail, but when those small details and critiques start coming in it's important to view them as a whole and make a decision that addresses all of the critiques you view as actual concerns.
"This dread born of risk is not the opposite of joy, or even of quiet activity and calm enjoyment. It transcends such oppositions and lives in secret communion with the serene and gentle yearnings of creativity."
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

AtlasisShruggin
In reply to this post by grimcreepr
grimcreepr wrote
That's not to say any one community is truly better than any other. Believe me, the intent of this post is not to insight a flame war, or "oh, X site is better than Y site!" debate. I'm just saying that the ideals that RP is built around encompass my core beliefs on what sustains a creative community and leads to a greater magnitude of successful individuals. Open collaboration is everything. Just because a new member here can't post content, doesn't EVER mean they can't receive the feedback they are looking for. Whether that means shooting them an invite when testing lobbies are heating up, or just jumping into a forge game to help them work through a particular problem. IMO this sort of openness, and willingness to aid another forger, regardless of "social status" is the difference between a good place to forge, and a kick ass one.
I think the main problem with the forgers who try to get their map feedback and exposure on sites, is that it's not the best way to get that exposure. Sites definitely seem to be a better place to make friends. A lot of people I see complaining about not getting quality feedback aren't giving it either. They show up and make a few quick comments to get their post count up and then post a map and try to get it exposure. Like anything it requires work to get yourself and your designs out there. Sure a site like forgehub may be nice for getting some quick downloads, but it's not the best way by a long shot. Make friends on the site in question and get feedback in game, it's of much better quality.

If all you want is more downloads just tag your map with "race" haha A few of my friends ran an experiment with this and it instantly got the map over 500 downloads :/

A good example of how to get your map good exposure is from the people in your friends list. GODLY SHOULD REALLY POST MY ARTICLE (Hint Hint Nudge Nudge) One of the jokes that we forgers always make is that the top recommended maps and top downloaded maps are terrible in Reach. Why is this though? Orion by Secret Schnitzel hit most recommended because his friends believed h=in his design and took the time to recommend it. He got way more downloads out of this than any forge site could have gotten him. Unconquered is clearly more downloaded of mine than anything else because it hit matchmaking along with Midas.  The point is the advertising is still best done by word of mouth and success. Not a forge site. Forging sites are for making friends who can help you on Live... or at least it should be and can be if you start to view them that way.  
"This dread born of risk is not the opposite of joy, or even of quiet activity and calm enjoyment. It transcends such oppositions and lives in secret communion with the serene and gentle yearnings of creativity."
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

Spiteful Crow
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
It's always a good idea to start a map with who you think it's for -- slayer players, objective players?  BTB players?  And make sure you identify some friends who fit those types and get THEM to play it.

There are a lot of people who are slayer only, and that's fine.  But it also means they will give kinda poor feedback on a CTF map because they aren't interested in the game mode to begin with.  Why fight to improve your CTF map for those people when they don't want that gameplay anyway?

Create a map for a target, find members of that target, and CATER TO THEM.
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Re: Resource #16 [10/22]

external memory
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
The feedback portion of this is pretty key. Have you identified something that is a valuable solution? That is, in this case, is there a problem or possibility you perceive with maps that are already available out there that you think you can contribute to fixing or realizing with what you know and believe you can execute? And then, when you show people the idea, as we've been tasked to do for this challenge in the pre-production thread and should be doing throughout the process, do they feel your solution has potential value to them?

That's pretty important if you're making something for anyone other than yourself, obviously. But it's easy to get the priority twisted when we're pleased with something we've done and others don't see it to convince ourselves that there are people out there who will, or that the creation is intended for a tighter niche. You may never discover in time that its niche value is solely to the creator, you, and if that was not your first priority that can be a big let-down; fortunately we aren't expected by our audience to deliver the goods on the same exchange rate as someone being paid to do so, they're only giving up some bit of time to play a custom game to test it out, and not their hard-earned cash, but people earn their free time, too, and we should never carelessly waste it.

I posted before about a possible anonymous qualitative method for getting feedback by using online survey url embedded in the description of a finished iteration of your map in Halo and it's something I hope to implement for my map as it nears completion. But getting feedback postgame works pretty well too. The quantitative information of course is gathered from the saved films, where you see what players are actually doing rather than how they feel about it. It's also important to realize that opinions, qualitative info, can be quantified. What percentage of players who played your map had a positive response to one element or the other? That's quantitatively measuring qualitative data. Whether or not most people responded favorably is no more a matter of opinion as whether they took the side path instead of the middle at start. But you have to make sure you ask the right questions to get actionable feedback, so you have a more objective sense of the feedback than whether your map is bad and you should feel bad or it feels good man.



EXEM
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Re: The Passion of the Developers

usman123
In reply to this post by GodlyPerfection
Eh... rough and long day folks. So forgive me for not doing questions and a summary. Basically it talks about working with your consumers... basically working on accepting feedback and going out and getting it.

No questions to
usman
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