The Importance of Community – Hero’s Song

I would like to share some thoughts on the effect off investing in a relationship with your customers. Specificly the relationship between a gamedeveloper and the potential players of the game they are creating. Is this relationship something a game developer should invest time and money in or do you think they should focus on creating the game and don’t need to be distracted by side issues?

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Lets have a look at what is needed to create and maintain a preferably positive relationship with the people that are interested in the game you are developing. First of all one or more people within your team need to act as a representative for the company and that person should be the one to communicate with the community. Usually there is already a person dealing with press-releases, interviews and other promotional issues and that is probably the first person to think of when considering someone for this community task. Remember that this person will be the “face” of the game, the person we have in mind associated with the game. Also it is crucial to regularly create posts, articles and other publications to keep a flow of interest running for the game. If you stay under the radar for too long people will start to lose interest and move on to other games, not checking out the latest news on your game anymore and therefor not spreading any (positive) information to their fellow gamers. New material and facts will give the community a reason to keep coming back for more news. Throwing everything you have on the table all at once will definately create alot of buzz but only for a very short time and if there is nothing new to show for months after that initial pile of information you have lost all those potential costumers as fast as you have invited them to your game-to-be. Information management is key in this proces, less is more. Too much is a waste!

heros-songI did not accidently stumble on these thoughts as you might have guessed by now. There is a game that has grabbed my interest as soon as it was announced back in januari of this year and had me check for information on a weekly basis…. Im talking about Hero’s Song, a 2D piXelart game by PiXelmage Games, a game company created by some veterans in the gaming industry like John Smedly, Jon Handy and Dave Mark. Within the first weeks after the announcement there was info on the game to be released like screenshots, indept information on the gameworld and they use the eXpertise of wellknown streamer CohhCarnage to keep in touch with that side of the gaming community. On their website (www.piXelmagegames.com) it’s possible to opt-in for recieving news and updates on the game and company as well as links to all their social media presence.

On their site they have a page about their announced game Hero’s Song which already contains quite alot of info on the gameworld, systems, characters & races as well as some good looking concept-art. With John Smedley they have a representative who is well known in the gaming industry already and the perfect guy for promoting and representing the game to the community.

Getting back to keeping that community (the potential customers for PiXelmage Games and their game Hero’s Song) involved, i do have some critical notes to mention though. The announcement of the new gamestudio and their game was made on the 19th of januari 2016. That announcement has since then been the only newsitem on their site. I have been checking their site regularly but nothing seems to change or get updated which keeps me in the dark on the progression on the game which i am genuinly looking forward to. I understand they can’t produce more info on the game than is available at this time, also due to the fact there is already quite a bit of info on the game to be found at their website already. They could have considered however to release that information over a longer timespan with bits and pieces now and then to continue lureing people back to their website and keep interest in the game alive. Even little things like new screenshots or revealing teasers/information about the backstory or even characterstories could be a good way to generate recurring buzz. Another idea could have been to have the members of the company introduce themselves to the community with a personal article and/or bits of info on the part they are working on.pixelmage-logo PiXelmage Games has this information on their site as static information which has been there from the start. Very interesting but since it has never been updated it will be checked ones or twice and never again.

The presence of PiXelmage Games and John Smedley on social media, especially Twitter, is alot more active though. I’ve made Tweets and asked questions about Hero’s Song which have been commented on and answered quite fast and to the point. That particular active interaction with the community has kept me coming back to their Twitter page and checking on their Tweets regularly hoping to get some more info that way. It is that positive way of interacting with their community and potential costumers that PiXelmage Games should focus on and try to eXpand to their other means of communicating, for eXample their website as mentioned before.

To my opinion the community is a very important subject to deal with as a (game)developer and not to be treated without care. The time and effort you invest into your fans will be payed back to you by means of free promotion, free critics with genuine interest in creating a good product and they will also be your first customers. When you have the product to look forward to, the right people to make it and the presence and tools to get people hyped and informed, take that last hurdle and embrace YOUR community!

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Shame and Blame

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With social media available to everyone with a connected device (phone, tablet, computer etc) its easier than ever to read the news and be up-to-date on everything that is happening near and far nowadays. Applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and alike also lets you comment on all those events and let everyone that likes to hear know how you feel, think and sometimes judge the news.

The other day i read a quote (on Facebook!) that seems to apply to alot of these comments though: “Opinions are like buttholes, everyone has one and most of them stink!” I have been following some some discussions via social media about some events that recently occured and after a few days i must conclude that indeed everyone that comments seems to have an opinion about what happened, who is to blame and why. In a single comment people seem to get judged and sentenced and beware he who dares to object to that particular reasoning for that person will be made co-responsible to the “problem”!

People seem to let go of any kind of reservations as soon as they post on the internet. Even people i know to be really considerate and show empathy in real life seems to have let go of those values as soon as they react on Facebook, Twitter etc. It seems they think the internet is some anonymous place where everyone is allowed to sprak their mind without reservations. The consequence of social media becoming as mainstream as it is today though is that you are not by far as anonymous as people like to think nowadays. Everyone connects to everyone and one thing everyone should realise is that the internet doesnt forget. Everything that you put out there can eventually be traced back to you including all the (unintended) consequences that may come with it.

I would just like to ask everyone to always use comon sense, both on as well as outside the online world and remember that social values are always applicable… Treat people how you would like to be treated by others and dont randomly go shaming and blaming people who you dont know about situations you dont know all the ins and outs of.

          Happy tweeting and posting!     cropped-single-ant1-1.png

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

img_2484Me and my friend have been waiting for a long time for the new Star Wars movie to come out and what do you know, when it launched on december 16th 2015 over here in the Netherlands we were both so occupied with the holidays and other appointments that it was december 30th already when we finally got the chance to see it!

I wont go spoiling any details or story plots but since this movie was anticipated by so many and eXpectations were reaching galaXies far far away i could not resist making this SpandaX’ first real post on the blog i started on the verge of this new year. I am hoping we can discuss the movie in depth some other time in the near future when everyone that is just as hyped up over Star Wars as me and my friend has gotten the chance to see it as well in a theater near you.

If you have seen The Force Awakens already i would like to hint you to read a funny article from TheVerge.com about a really funny Twitter parody of Star Wars’ newest villain, Kylo Ren. If you still have to see the movie let me warn you however since the article is spoiler heavy and i would advice you to first go and enjoy the movie because for as far as im concerned it is Alderaan shattering good again and very simular to the old trilogy and some even say its way better…!!!

May the Force be with you.

SpandaX