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Reader Comments (14)

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 2:01PM (Unverified) said

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Good read. Thank you.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 2:18PM DancingCow said

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Couldn't agree more with 4 but 1 is a double-edged sword.

It's possible to listen too much to your players or fans. Eg. Icarus massively compromised their vision for Fallen Earth based on a small, pre-alpha forum community.

The result is a game that strongly appeals to a very small playerbase but outside that group....?? It's a real shame because the game it was meant to be would have been awesome.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 3:16PM Fakeassname said

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yeah, gotta be careful with #1.

taking fan input is a good thing, but most of the time if you take that input and use it to screw with your already-developed-and-released title: it's bad.

yes, consumer input is a good thing to listen to, but much like retailers and those survey cards that only lonely 80 year olds fill out, developers need to know when to stand their ground as say "no, we are not going to let anyone over 70 cut in line and fire every employee with a nose pricing and dyed hair."
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 6:37PM Jergis said

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-I won't bash Smart this time, but mentioning him here as someone to at least in part model behavior after...well.

Sanya would probably slap you in the face after reading that if she could.

Posted: Nov 17th 2010 7:47PM Beau Hindman said

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I nowhere said that what he does is "model behavior" in any way. I said he is honest, at least as far as I can tell. I could have used many examples from the non-gaming world, but he has always been (I believe) mostly honest. I also believe -- no, I know -- that many developers use the same language and tone when they're players are not looking. It's what humans do. At least Mr. Smart does not hide his opinion -- right or wrong.

And I have no idea who Sanya is.

Beau
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 7:48PM Beau Hindman said

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I misread -- you said "model behavior after." Still, my point stands.

Beau
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 8:46PM cic said

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@Beau
"I said he is honest, at least as far as I can tell."

There is a difference between being honest, and not having the common sense to filter what travels from the brain to the finger tips or tongue. I think he might of started off being 'real' and speaking his mind, but he just turned into a monster due to his egotism and unwarranted self importance.

"Smart said of his online persona: "Sometimes when I get online, and it's quiet, and I see something that attracts my attention, I'll post just to piss these guys off. That's why I do it. Because I'm in a good mood that day, I go in there and I start trouble."

He's trolled for so long it's became the whole of his personality.

Further, if you want to test his 'honestly' ask him about his PHD ;)

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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 8:48PM cic said

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*Honesty
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 8:58PM Beau Hindman said

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I'm not going to argue what we think the definition of being honest is. I am simply saying that he speaks what's on his mind, and I respect that. While you might have examples of him being a "troll" or "mean," I will show you examples of him being helpful and informative to players.

Go ask what Vanguard players want right now: *any* response from a developer.

He is being human, and that's honest to me. Again, as with many things online, people allow the examples of bad behavior (or percieved bad behavior) discount the examples of the good. That's my point: i'd rather have a developer actually show up to answer questions and concern honestly (whether they hurt someones feelings or not) than to clam up as they do in the press and in their communities more often than not.

Beaus
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 9:45PM cic said

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"That's my point: i'd rather have a developer actually show up to answer questions and concern honestly"

I think you would be singing a different tune if you ever bought a product from him and had to deal with him directly.
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 11:54PM Beau Hindman said

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Cic: I have.

Beau
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Posted: Nov 17th 2010 11:01PM Jergis said

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-Sanya Weathers, CM extraordinaire, was who i was referencing. I'd rather have a developer have an experienced CM helming the interaction between dev and player than what most devs bring to the conversation. Smart has driven away players. A good CM wouldn't of let it happen due to his tone or style of communication because that's their job.

That's all i meant.

I don't think Mr. Smart is a horrible person, i don't know the guy. I just think he needs to let someone else do most of the talking as it relates to his business. And he's not the only example of a dev not knowing when to shut up.

Posted: Nov 18th 2010 12:07AM JuliusSeizure said

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The best evidence I can think of for the wisdom of this column is to look away from the indie and free to play to the biggest fish in the pond. World of Warcraft not only follows all of these rules, it pulls them off better than just about anyone else. :)

Blizzard's success is in its community. Not the trolls and griefers, but the people who love their games and feel appreciated by Blizzard. Sure, it's a very good game, but that's because their success has given them the resources to polish their work until it gleams. It was securing a strong community that made them so big, and it's what keeps them on top.

Posted: Nov 18th 2010 2:14AM Jeromai said

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*applauds* Good read.

As for 1) Listening to your audience, that's all it is, listening. And maybe show you're paying attention to them and respond. Communicate, that's the key.

No need to slavishly follow blindly what one group says over another. Take the forums and the general buzz into account. Datamine and do other analyses. Think about balance, think about the overall vision, think about the main objectives of whatever one wants to change, and think about fun. Then do game designer tweaking things. But the listening should always be there.

It's just about respecting your players, that's all.

As for 2), the kind of respect and treatment different players like, is...funnily enough, different. Some like it straight up and honest and down to earth. (Maybe even vulgar.) Some prefer more polite customer-service marketspeak that doesn't trigger any red buttons. Guess you can filter out your audience whatever way you choose.

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