Last month, we did our first analysis post regarding a set of four polls asked during August. We’re continuing this tradition with another article this month analysing the community opinion during September!
Week 1: What do you like most about IndieDB/ModDB?
So, first of all, whilst we’ve got the same winning answer in both polls, it’s the percentage by which it won that is interesting to analyse here. Both communities enjoy the creativity around them, which is great - creative environments breed passion and good content, so this is the answer I really wanted to see and that’s good. Modders seem to be most happy with the creativity abound in their peers, and that makes a lot of sense - modding is hard work, done in a hobbyist capacity and usually without any kind of monetary compensation or support. Passion really is the only way to see major mod projects through. However, that doesn’t mean indie developers have it easy, and we see the spread of answers here reflecting their different priorities. Ultimately, indie developers are generally shooting towards a commercial release, and so promotional efforts are going to be vastly more important for them. Mod developers will often have promotional work done for them by the communities around the game being modded, but indie developers don’t have that luxury when building a new IP from the ground-up. It makes sense, given the additional factors indie developers need to consider, that wider site benefits - important industry news, the site’s prestige, and promotional opportunities - are appreciated more by this side of the community.
Week 2: Do you finish the newest games in your library before playing another?
This was a slightly less formal question but it still helps both mod developers and indie developers understand the importance of sticking to a good initial release. Whilst mod developers seem to be slightly more patient and resilient with games (perhaps owing to the older and jankier games that tend to also carry more comprehensive modding support and communities), both groups don’t have infinite patience with clunky games. Execution is important, and making a good first impression will be the difference between a player following through with your game and moving on to greener pastures. A few extra weeks of QA testing - even if it’s just some friends helping to isolate a few simple but very necessary changes - can make all the difference. Of course, sandbox games - that have no predefined ending and so simply need to sustain players for long periods of time - have a whole different set of priorities. Deciding between breadth and depth for this audience is important, and finding that middle ground is just as important as making a good first impression.
Week 3: What would you like to see more of from DBolical’s staff?
This was an opportunity for me to sound out how users are feeling about the sites and the staff activity after a few months in the role and my efforts so far to get activity on the up. I might well write up a poll next month prompting people to deliver feedback on the workflow so far, but it appears, as ever, promotion is the issue at the front of people’s minds. Working hard on a release only for it to barely make ripples can be demoralising, and good promotional efforts by the sites are intended to help prevent that kind of thing from happening. We try to prioritise new mods/indies for headlines, and the recent editorials for ModDB have been a great opportunity to dig up a number of mods from around the community. We will continue to double-up on promotion, with videos, trailer submissions, socials, and editorials all providing opportunities for developers, and we’re still sounding out how we can get the editorial front on IndieDB to approach matching that of ModDB. In the meantime, it appears both groups would also appreciate additional site features, and rest assured, I’ve been keeping track of what people would like to see and exploring the possibility of getting these implemented. Auto article authorisation was a big step in the right direction, but we’re always open to feedback about how to serve the community going forwards.
Week 4: How many hours a day do you develop game/mod projects?
This was a relatively clear-cut answer, but every deviation tells us a lot. Mod developers - who naturally aren’t paid or at least don’t expect financial compensation at the end of the process - are often not working on their projects full-time. They may have jobs that they fit mod work around. Surprisingly, it appears the majority of indie developers are in the same boat, though we do see a reasonably higher proportion of indie devs are full-time on their projects. The important thing to note, for both other creators and users of the sites, is that creating content at either a modding or indie level is often a thankless and difficult task until eventual completion. Large projects with big ambitions can take a long time to wrap-up, and meanwhile, the level of polish possible from a team working part-time may not be able to meet the sometimes unreasonable expectations of today’s gaming audience. Always be open to the truth - that developing a gameplay experience is a labour of love, and the individuals working on this content will thrive if given the support and patience of a passionate community. They say when you do what you love you won’t work a day in your life - but I love mod development, and I have certainly worked some days!
Once again we had a good set of responses this month. The questions were generally a little more casual, but variety in the poll subject matter is what’ll make them valuable data in the long term, and we’re still exploring the breadth of topics we can poll on. We may get more casual sometimes - asking about favourite game franchises, that sort of thing - and get more formal other times - asking about site feedback, development habits, and so on.
If you have any suggestions for future polls, or thoughts on the analysis here, feel free to leave them in the comments down below!