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Practical Things we can individually do to Revitalizing the Forge?

Started by Andy Kitkowski, May 02, 2007, 03:45:57 AM

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Anders Larsen

On First Thoughts, though, it's a lot harder to commit the time to reading and critiquing. There's all those old factors, like:
* What this guy is doing is just something that I'm not interested in. Any feedback I give will be to the detriment of his design goals (this one's a valid concern, IMO)
* Crap, that's the fifth guy I gave significant feedback to who just disappeared off the face of the earth.
* Too... many... threads... Who do I prioritize to give help to?

One thing I really thought was great with this years game-chef was the feedback groups. I think that the feedback groups solved many of the problem you mention here. Everyone in a group knew each other's designs, and had seen them grow from the first ideas, and therefore could better come with relevant critique. There where a stronger feeling of commitment to help other people in your group, and you where more interested in seeing their games develop. You also felt more obliged to keep on working on your own game, and try to finish it.

But I do not know if this could - or should - be implemented here on the Forge.

- Anders

Ron Edwards

Hi Anders,

You know ... if someone wanted to organize some sort of feedback group structure for the First Thoughts forum, that might be a good thing. I suggest that it be very informal - no one is entitled to such a group's work, for instance. I'm not sure such organizing would be best done here at the site; maybe on someone else's site would be better. But the feedback itself could well be posted here, right in First Thoughts.

Those of you following this thread or recalling what I've said in previous, similar threads, will spot a pattern. Got a suggestion? See something that seems like a problem? Do it yourself and integrate it with the functions here. I've seen plenty of that sort of effort over the years, including a lot of things that many might not even realize emerged from the Forge or the community underlying the early Forge. Like Game Chef, for instance.

Best, Ron

Anders Larsen

Yes, I think that it will be best to do this somewhere else. Make a site where people can organise themselves into groups, and where they can notify each other when they have something new they want to discuss about their game. The actual discussion could then happen here.

It could be interesting to try to put something like this together (if there is any interest for it). I am not the world's best organiser, but I do have the technical skills required do to something like this. Well, I have to think some more about it.

- Anders

David Artman

I have been thinking about this thread, WRT First Thoughts, and I have some data points that might help in moving forward.

In general, when I post feedback to a design thread, it's to do one of these things:

* Point out (often VERY) similar games already doing what the poster claims is desired. Once I have done this, I rarely have more to contribute, mainly because I am not interested in reinventions and I have little to add to very minor variations on existing games (or the variation itself is already complete, being derivative).

* Expand upon the poster's design, with additional system considerations or techniques. Often, those suggestions are not used (for whatever reason) and, thus, I pretty much have shot my wad, so to speak. If I have already given my best suggestions, and the game moves in a different direction (often, one in which I have less or no interest; see above), then I am done. (Note that, often, this "moving in a different direction" tends to end up moving toward reinvention or variation of an existing game; thus, see above.)

* Toss out additional elements during brainstorming. Frankly, these can be the most fun threads (ironically), for me, because they DON'T involve a lot of debate or development: folks just give creative contributions and can enjoy each other's ideas without any need to detract from other's ideas or defend their own.

* Encourage the poster to give more information or, generally, to "go for it." This situation most often occurs when there isn't enough info to actually make a meaningful contribution, or when the poster has "cornered the market" on a cool concept and I want them to run with it ASAP (to remove my temptation to "steal" the idea).

Secondly, for myself--currently 90% though with design on GLASS--I find that I get very little follow-up feedback at various "intermediary" stages of a design. Folks seem interested with Mark I designs or Final Designs, but don't seem to have the staying power to address incremental changes over time and based on feedback. As a result... well, I don't post notifications of such changes anymore. Also, it doesn't help (me) that my system is for a LARP, is fairly "traditional" for that play style, and as such doesn't seem to interest anyone coming to the Forge for the "indie sensibilities" or table-top-only play. So that's how it's played out (for me, for the past several months) from the other side of the design/feedback divide.

In closing, I am not sure how the above data points can be "reshaped" into a different way of doing things that, in turn, would "reinvigorate" FT. How many truly innovative new techniques, settings, mechanics, or other game elements are left to discover? Conversely, how many "heart breakers" are coming down the pipe every week?

RE another poster's idea about the forum name: maybe that's the strongest, simplest thing to address. "First Thoughts" does ring a bit of "incompleteness"... maybe if it was "New Designs" or "First Drafts" it would encourage a more thorough initial offerings and, thus, more fruitful feedback (and less disappointment of writing up a HUGE post to expand upon a seemingly nascent game, only to get a one-line, "Nah, I want it to do [something not mentioned yet in the thread, but which is not open for discussion and which eliminates/makes moot all of your contribution]").

Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages