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Author Topic: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?  (Read 11623 times)

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Koh

What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« on: April 20, 2014, 04:54:27 pm »
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Posts are pretty stagnant here.  One to 4 posts per day total, and it's a tad disappointing to not have a lively community as we used to have.  The site has gotten some upgrades before to make it more project-friendly and such, but we need more members to put it to use.  What sort of things could we do to attract more people here?
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  • Megaclipse Games
Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2014, 06:26:31 pm »
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Coding Board Activity / Usable Resources

Outside of Graphics, I would like to think that the Coding board is something that most helps fuel fan-game development. When no one is coming out with new features or comprehensive engines, people then rely on existing engines which may become deprecated or are no longer in a language that they want to code in (e.g., someone knowing C/C++ who no longer wants to code in Game Maker cannot really progress because the support for doing so is not there as much). We should target and provide examples of that so that people can grow that way.

Additionally, having more Resources that can be imported into peoples' games is also useful and makes project development easier.

Featured Project <-> Wiki

The Featured Project is something that is neat to have, but the effort that goes into the Wiki entry for it is somewhat wasted due to the Wiki's poor visibility. I would suggest highlighting the Wiki entry by having the Featured Project announced in the Updates board and/or having the link to the Wiki entry in the Recent News fader - more visibility for it would be good for everyone.

Have Regular Contests/Events

There has not been any major contest/event on ZFGC for 2 years. It would not be that complicated to have a Character Contest or some holiday-based event. The NCFC Event that happened at the end of last year was good, but we need to work on getting our involvement up with that - which we could enhance by having project development-related contests/events as well.

Community Project

There hasn't been that much visible activity with the Community Project in a while. It would be nice to know where that stands to see if there is anything that can go towards it soon - when the Community Project is more active, the activity level of the forum also tends to go up. Going back to a previous idea, why not have contests/events based around the Community Project in some way? Not sure.

Unhide Community Boards from Guests

The only Community Board visible to guests currently is Entertainment. While the activity level on ZFGC has been sparse, a lot of that activity has been in Community Speak. If a guest cannot see that activity, they might perceive the forum to be even less active than it is. Making Community Speak, Tech Talk, etc. available to them might help them to see the forum as a little less dead and thus incline them to register and post here.

Remove the Site Resources Boards

These appear on the board index and have virtually nothing in them at all except for one-topic. While not related to increasing activity, getting rid of them would at least help show that the forum is "cleaned up".
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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2014, 07:11:33 pm »
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It's all quite simple: start a project on the hype level of OoT 2D or Shadowgazer.
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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2014, 02:13:58 am »
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Community Project

There hasn't been that much visible activity with the Community Project in a while. It would be nice to know where that stands to see if there is anything that can go towards it soon - when the Community Project is more active, the activity level of the forum also tends to go up. Going back to a previous idea, why not have contests/events based around the Community Project in some way? Not sure.


This is a big one I have to agree with.  We're at a very good point in the game (story arc is finished, decent engine progress, all minor enemy npcs and bosses documented) but the project has halted?  Go figure.  Many of the people who were large contributers have either become inactive or have stopped contributing.  The biggest obstacle to the project is artwork.  I'm actually coding the engine as I type this.

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Featured Project <-> Wiki

The Featured Project is something that is neat to have, but the effort that goes into the Wiki entry for it is somewhat wasted due to the Wiki's poor visibility. I would suggest highlighting the Wiki entry by having the Featured Project announced in the Updates board and/or having the link to the Wiki entry in the Recent News fader - more visibility for it would be good for everyone.

This is good.  I do notice the featured projects do tend to have more Wiki views, but I don't think it's enough and it could do better.  The announcements will be a good place to catch attention.

Also I'd like to get the resources back into a user-friendly view, but time has been scarce lately >_>


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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2014, 07:21:20 am »
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Community Project

There hasn't been that much visible activity with the Community Project in a while. It would be nice to know where that stands to see if there is anything that can go towards it soon - when the Community Project is more active, the activity level of the forum also tends to go up. Going back to a previous idea, why not have contests/events based around the Community Project in some way? Not sure.


Maybe it will help if you post weekly or biweekly statusupdates, like I do with my game? It doesn't have to be anything major, but people (like the contributers) will know the game is slowly but surely progressing. That might help to keep their interest. Also, showing that the project is alive might entise new people to start contributing as well.
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AJAX

Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2014, 04:42:34 pm »
The issue with the Community Project is its visibility. The site doesn't really offer the best form of distribution channel. The CMS was built before the Wiki was even installed.. There was an idea internally tossed around where Wiki would become the effective CMS, which kind-of makes sense I suppose, so that might be an idea right there to reintroduce as a possibility to improving its visibility.

Another thing is the question of Zelda.. I know many people are against this, and that "ZFGC" should stay "ZFGC".. you are shooting yourself in the foot by sticking to a niche market. Though that COULD have benefits, but only if you have stuff to offer nobody else has. ZFGC used to provide that. It's what drew me here. Not OoT2D. I do think another OoT2D would help, but it would be a sensational type of thing. If you had a community of developers, their output would bring in a community of gamers. Of course that is me speaking in an ideal sense. That was the beauty of ZFGC circa 2005. It hit that balance pretty !@#$% spot on.

The idea behind the Community Project was to act as a standardized codebase for the community to work off of.. like, a golden standard. It was supposed to be the best of the best. So to the users eyes, it was a challenge from the admins to do better than them. There _are_ a good amount of people still active here, but lurking, who can do that. Some of the 3D Zelda concepts I've seen floating around in all honesty, prove that enough. (Not intending to bash on the CP, I am referring in the case of scope. 3D is a wider scope than 2D in terms of developing and designing)


Last but not least, commitment. ZFGC has always had a problem with this in its users and staff alike. People get hyped up and then the hype dies down. Usually because of drama or life gets in the way. This can be solved by cherry-picking a group of people who to this day continue to remain loyal.

ZFGC needs a !@#$% facelift too. It looks like a site built in 2004. xD There are better software stacks out there for you guys to go with, over SMF. MediaWiki in all honesty can stay because it isn't too bad of a software for what it's worth. But design should totally be something that should be visited. Having a new face-lift may help attract old and new users. I've tried this in my time as an admin and it actually worked. Problem was, I followed up on it fairly horribly. xD It is all in the execution.

Great thoughts to everyone else, by the way. Not surprised by Diminish's post because I can clearly see he deduced this from observing ZFGC. I actually agree completely with your post :)
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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2014, 05:03:50 pm »
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Many of the people who were large contributers have either become inactive or have stopped contributing.  The biggest obstacle to the project is artwork.
Oops : (

Sorry about that, by the way. Some life stuff came up and I fell off the bandwagon pretty much right when there was the slightest sense of finality (we finished the plot). Some life stuff has calmed down a bunch recently and I stumbled across discretionary time (gasp), so I'm gonna try to help out again a bit.

One thing that I've always been perplexed due to its absence is actual discussion about making Zelda fan games. I mean, we've got individual games like Martijn's, and that's discussed in his topic, but we don't see many topics coming up about how to actually design games. I remember several months ago there was one topic about dungeon design, and although it didn't last long, I was pretty excited about that.

I think having real, live, useful discussion about how to do the thing this site is dedicated to might be nice. There is very little information (that I've found) online about topics like how to design maps or overworlds, how to put the right number of enemies on a screen, how to increase the difficulty of a game as it progresses, the advantages of gameboy-style screen division vs. bigger alttp or minish cap areas, etc.. There's a lot of discussion that could be useful and relevant to people on this site that for some reason, doesn't happen.

I feel like somebody should start a few topics where active discussion of designing zelda games can actually take place. I know Martijn must know something I don't to put together such a difficult and coherent dungeon like he has in Horn of Balance. We could have topics or a forum to facilitate this type of discussion and sharing of ideas/knowledge.


Oh, and I also second the "competition" sentiment. Every few months I sift through the "screenshot of the week" forum at Zelda Classic's website. I've always failed miserably at even getting that program installed on my computer, and even then I lost motivation to figure out how to use it because it seemed super limiting, but their forums are really active, to the point were a sizable contingent of developers can put together a screenshot of a game every week. I think having a pretty basic, accessible interface for them to design games within might be helping them, while we're more of a "you're on your own, build your own engine" group. So our games are probably more versatile with more powerful engines, but we loose quantity for quality.

So perhaps a monthly or biweekly (every two weeks. Every week seems preposterously ambitious for a community as slow as ours) competition of some sort could be beneficial for our site. We could steal the idea of screenshots, because those can be easily mocked-up by anyone, even if they aren't developing a game. Or we could do maps, like this month, put together a kakariko village, next month, put together a lake hylia, etc..

Oh, you posted at the same time as me gm or whoever you are these days :p
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you are shooting yourself in the foot by sticking to a niche market
We do have a non-zelda projects forum, does it get any particularly more activity? I'm not against other games and that could be cool to encourage, but I will point this out: the Zelda Classic site I mentioned, pure zc I think it's called, is even more of a niche than us. Not only is it pretty much just zelda games, but it's just zelda games built in a specific program that modifies the engine of a specific zelda game (Zelda 1). And they seem to be comparatively brimming with activity.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 05:07:29 pm by Donotfeedthemax »
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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2014, 05:58:42 pm »
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We need more discussion about how the Charlotte Bobcats will sweep the Miami Heat, and then the great $tern in the sky will ascend from commissioner heaven to bring fangames and joy to all
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AJAX

Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2014, 06:07:14 pm »
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We do have a non-zelda projects forum, does it get any particularly more activity? I'm not against other games and that could be cool to encourage, but I will point this out: the Zelda Classic site I mentioned, pure zc I think it's called, is even more of a niche than us. Not only is it pretty much just zelda games, but it's just zelda games built in a specific program that modifies the engine of a specific zelda game (Zelda 1). And they seem to be comparatively brimming with activity.
Heh, true that. Which was why I said "Though that COULD have benefits, but only if you have stuff to offer nobody else has. "... and you notice their community it has has something in common: they have a standard base. I've argued this for a very, very long time and I feel it's important to having a developer community, you need to have something in common. Right now, we're dealing with probably fragmentation wars where we've tried moving away from GameMaker to "more serious pro" software plus an unclear direction as to what ZFGC should do. Or at least, there was a small subset of anti-mentality against GM a few years ago. Things have laxed on the Game Maker flame(probably for the better) as of late and the focus somewhat shifted back to making games. Martijn is an example of that, I feel. (plus several others) In the end, it's all about making the game. Right?

Sonic Retro does the same thing with their ROM Hacks, kind of. They expose the power of MediaWiki to teach a person how to do things the "Sonic Way".. hell, even broken up into sub-articles geared towards how specific Sonic game mechanics worked.

So I'm going to assume that the problem to chase would be.. resources. Interesting how we keep on revisiting this conclusion. Don't you remember our long discussions when KoT was closed off to the public, Max, when we discussed making KoT the repository for Zelda assets? ;p
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Koh

Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2014, 09:01:23 pm »
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I'd like to see more competitions here myself.  Mockups, perhaps enemy codes, etc.  I may not be able to participate in every single one, but it's a great way to practice.  As for site related things, I wouldn't be able to give proper feedback, other than I agree it does look a bit dated.
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  • Megaclipse Games
Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2014, 09:08:05 pm »
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Don't you remember our long discussions when KoT was closed off to the public, Max, when we discussed making KoT the repository for Zelda assets? ;p

Yowza, how long ago was that even? Honestly, I don't remember that exact discussion. Was it something along the lines of making the code from KoT adaptable to use as a base for other games, like Zelda Classic and hopefully the RPGMaker XP zelda engine would be?

The way everyone's using different languages and programs and stuff to make their own Zelda games inherently fosters a barrier to the kind of help that people can offer at that sonic site and  other "standard base" sites, as far as like "how can I code this?" or "how can I get this mechanism to work". But what we are unified on is Zelda, so our strength is more like theory than application. Maybe coding your bow to fire arrows can be done a bunch of different ways, but what makes a successful arrow puzzle? How far should a hookshot reach? Etc..

I guess in a way, this kind of theory stuff is a resource. Well, that's what you were saying :p
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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2014, 02:35:02 am »
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Well, tight butthole, activity sparks activity, I mean when there were more things going on people were more interested, what I think we are lacking is somewhere to begin with some people, like there are some people that already started learning a programming language etc, but it may be a good idea to update the tutorials or guides so people can start learning maybe and if needbe can get some feedback and critism on things etc. We have all the areas for the things themselves but there just doesn't seem too much of a motivation to actually do things.

It is a slightly complicated problem that require multiple solutions to help it along. Site-wise it does seem that it needs a Visual update or revamp.

tight butthole lately I myself haven't been visiting much because there has been rarely anything going on.
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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2014, 02:38:53 am »
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I have been in the past, and still am, very against removing the Zelda name from the forum.  We'll lose a big part of our image and we'll be thrown into the mix with other generic development sites.  Do we really want to be overshadowed by Gamedev.net?  ZFGC's name is also a bit more known than you think in the Zelda community.  Plus, we've tried it before.  Does anyone remember the outcome of DSR?  ZFGC was revived in no more than 2 months.

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Sorry about that, by the way. Some life stuff came up and I fell off the bandwagon pretty much right when there was the slightest sense of finality (we finished the plot). Some life stuff has calmed down a bunch recently and I stumbled across discretionary time (gasp), so I'm gonna try to help out again a bit.

Life happens, nbd ;)

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We need more discussion about how the Charlotte Bobcats will sweep the Miami Heat, and then the great $tern in the sky will ascend from commissioner heaven to bring fangames and joy to all
Agree times 1000.

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I think having real, live, useful discussion about how to do the thing this site is dedicated to might be nice. There is very little information (that I've found) online about topics like how to design maps or overworlds, how to put the right number of enemies on a screen, how to increase the difficulty of a game as it progresses, the advantages of gameboy-style screen division vs. bigger alttp or minish cap areas, etc.. There's a lot of discussion that could be useful and relevant to people on this site that for some reason, doesn't happen.

I would love to have a guide section or a tutorial series of some sort!  If we can get enough interest from people who would write these up, I'd be all for it!

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The issue with the Community Project is its visibility. The site doesn't really offer the best form of distribution channel. The CMS was built before the Wiki was even installed.. There was an idea internally tossed around where Wiki would become the effective CMS, which kind-of makes sense I suppose, so that might be an idea right there to reintroduce as a possibility to improving its visibility.

I can't disagree with this at all.  We've never had any means of promoting things other than the PoTM.  The site wasn't designed for anything else.  The Wiki could still absolutely become the new CMS and would actually be a great time saver while providing a user-friendly interface.

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i love big weenies and i cannot lie
Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2014, 04:09:38 am »
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I think having real, live, useful discussion about how to do the thing this site is dedicated to might be nice. There is very little information (that I've found) online about topics like how to design maps or overworlds, how to put the right number of enemies on a screen, how to increase the difficulty of a game as it progresses, the advantages of gameboy-style screen division vs. bigger alttp or minish cap areas, etc.. There's a lot of discussion that could be useful and relevant to people on this site that for some reason, doesn't happen.

I would love to have a guide section or a tutorial series of some sort!  If we can get enough interest from people who would write these up, I'd be all for it!
I don't really think guides are the best way to go about this per se. As Max said discussion of these topics would be nice. A discussion where anyone can chime in with their thoughts on the topic and others can add on anything they've tried, and what they think worked or what seemed to fail. Pretty much just whatever comes to mind about the topic. As a discussion continues you could also maybe even add a wiki page for it to kind of save the best of the best during the discussion. Essentially a bit more organic than just someone writing a guide themselves. Plus more people are willing to actually join in a general discussion of a topic rather than try to discuss it in reply to a guide.

I mean look how much more active just a thread discussing how to get more life on the forums has been  :P

Also, removing Zelda from the forum name isn't going to change anything for the better. I think it's long past the stage where doing so would make any sense at all.
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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2014, 07:25:46 am »
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I mean look how much more active just a thread discussing how to get more life on the forums has been 

Haha, yeah I was going through the recent posts thing and counting, this topic has brought more life to the forum than any other topic in the last month. That's a good sign, 'cause we apparently really do care a lot about our site. :D
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AJAX

Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2014, 01:33:28 pm »
I'm noticing a consistency between each post. Everyone seems to be in agreement that unifying some form of community-agreed development standard is one solution. Which in turn, answers the next thing would be "activity sparks activity", as Kami put it.

If that's the case, then why aren't everyone giving KoT some love? Is it because of visibility or is it an issue with the codebase itself?
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Starforsaken101

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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2014, 01:43:31 pm »
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A lot of people already brought up points that I was going to. I think it would be awesome if we all made some sort of effort to post statuses on personal projects and stuff to spark activity. This post brought all of us back, so why can't legitimate activity?

In terms of the community project, I'd like to just throw my two cents in about this: community-wide development is not ideal and we will not progress if literally everyone is developing it. I don't mean to say that everyone should be shut out; I just feel like we should have a dedicated team but the rest of the community can still voice their opinions and ideas. The team will discuss together and choose to use their ideas or not and progress. Having any programmer just jump into the project and code is a disaster. However, if you guys want to allow more than 10 programmers on a 2D fangame, by all means, go for it. Just don't expect much progress to be made.

I think everyone here is aware that this is not solely a Zelda forum despite the fact that we are "ZFGC". There's no need in scrapping the Z, just have fun and continue doing what you want to do.
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AJAX

Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2014, 03:04:23 pm »
That's how it works, though, doesn't it?  :P You have the "dream team" who can either say "eh, we don't like it" or "eh, we LOVE IT!" to the masses.. and if someone don't like it, they can either suck it up or go walk their own path. That's the beauty of open source! I think what everyone was trying to say was that they wanted to help the team out, not so much the community take over the project. It'd be what you just said, !@#$% wouldn't get done if the horde tried solving one problem.

Though, it's always good to keep that in mind as people lose direction really easily when the place becomes like the Stock Exchange.
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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2014, 03:13:06 pm »
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I agree that not everyone should be working on the Community Project - in how if everyone was putting ideas and effort into one thing that it would be a chaotic mess going in many directions. To that extent though, and as others have alluded to, the Community Project itself should be a means that also "inspires" or helps benefit other people working on their own fan-games. While one project can have many creative aspects, multiple projects can achieve creativity in faster, more active ways. The Community Project works as a backbone and not as a whole body.
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Zhello

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Re: What Can We Do To Get More Life Here?
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2014, 05:17:38 pm »
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It's all quite simple: start a project on the hype level of OoT 2D or Shadowgazer.

Also have a ZFGC channel on Youtube and users submit their videos to the owner's channel and we had links to said project on zfgc and so on (plus link to project creator's channel and thread).
I remember when I stumbled on to Shadowgazer and the hype that it had, I came straight here, after a bit I became a member, so something in that sort.

EDIT:

As for the zfgc channel, it will feature videos/game play of someone's project and or trailers of it. For example, we have Horn of Balance, I know Marty has a channel, but if he wants, he can provide the channel with a video, or if someone is playing the demo, submit the gameplay to the channel with links including The Horn of Balance Thread and or link to zfgc with/out it's wiki page.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 05:22:31 pm by Zhello »
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