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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGeneralAre we rockstars or what?
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aschearer
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« on: May 07, 2009, 02:30:46 PM »

Very interesting discussion over on the main site which I thought I'd fork over here. Basically the question being raised is what type of community is the indie games community and how should we treat eachother and outsiders?
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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2009, 03:22:22 PM »

Good call on pulling the conversation into a forum thread.

I've got to say, I haven't noticed the 'Rockstar' personality at all.  I've never felt like I couldn't say what I wanted about this game or that, and I've had no problem 'fitting in' to the TIGSource community.

(Well, I don't know what y'all think of me, but I haven't received any outright flak, so I'm assuming all's well.)

I think it's really cool that the indie scene provides lots of games made by one person or really small groups of people, and that those people participate on the forums to an extent.  Along those lines, I'd like to see more input from Derek and Edmund (sorry, those are the two names most prominent in my mind) in the forums; but I totally understand that making games takes time, and participating on the forums often directly interferes with that time.
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Melly
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2009, 03:38:17 PM »

We at TIGS welcome all. Smiley

Until you act like a ass, or come solely to pimp your games. Then we break your legbenders.

Capiche? Lips Sealed
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2009, 03:45:48 PM »

Wow that comment section has managed to give me a headache.


Of unhappyness.  Cry
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« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2009, 03:45:56 PM »

Front page commentators don't really represent anything in the forums (or community, if you will).  All the super negative bitter people stay on the front page and post their shit on every game.  Meanwhile all the super awesome positive attitude people hang out in the forums.
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2009, 03:48:10 PM »

Front page commentators don't really represent anything in the forums (or community, if you will).  All the super negative bitter people stay on the front page and post their shit on every game.  Meanwhile all the super awesome positive attitude people hang out in the forums.
I already feel better.

I already feel the loveWizard
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2009, 03:56:49 PM »

Since we can't moderate the front page, it tends to act as a buffer for the assholes to crash against and vomit their nonsensic stupidity. Most of the time at least.

It's like the outer wall of your big house where stupid little kids paint dicks and fling plastic bags of liquid poo and piss, while on the inside of it there's this huge barbeque going on.

It just gets a few crashers every now and then, but they're USUALLY kicked out quickly.
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2009, 03:58:28 PM »

Yeah, we've had a few people in the forums that were just straight up assholes.  They had their chance, but now they are banneded.
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« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2009, 04:04:29 PM »

So then we're a community where you can't say things like "Your game feels like an extended tutorial"? When does criticism cross the line and become flaming? How should we handle that as a community? Booting them as Melly suggested? Or do we try to give them a warning and second chance?

I think one of the biggest takeaways from the comments thread is people don't agree on what constitutes abuse. Personally, I found the critical comments to be totally reasonable but obviously others disagreed (and it sounds like some of you thought it was too harsh, too). What is etiquette for giving and receiving feedback? Obviously it should be possible to tell someone you plain don't like their game (which has happened to me in forum after all, thanks guys! lol).
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2009, 04:07:01 PM »

Well, we can't avoid some rudeness. But booting is something reserved for more extreme cases and spambots.
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2009, 04:09:49 PM »

Since we can't moderate the front page, it tends to act as a buffer for the assholes to crash against and vomit their nonsensic stupidity. Most of the time at least.

We actually can moderate the front page, sort of -- I can delete comments there anyway, so I assume all the other front page editors can. But I haven't done it yet, except to edit my own comments when I make a typo (which is actually pretty useful).

Anyway, I'm gonna argue the other side here and agree that the indie game community is rock-star centric, to a degree. What I mean is something like this: remember that trailer by cactus? Now imagine it wasn't by cactus, it was just some trailer by some unknown d00d and it's his first indie game. Would it have gotten on the front page in that situation? Probably not.

But I don't think it's such a huge problem that great games by unknown indie developers are being overlooked in favor of terrible games by known indie developers. There are still plenty of unknown indie developers who get mentioned on the front page (a recent example is CosMind with Glum Buster). So I don't think the effect is that strong, but it does exist.

So then we're a community where you can't say things like "Your game feels like an extended tutorial"? When does criticism cross the line and become flaming? How should we handle that as a community? Booting them as Melly suggested? Or do we try to give them a warning and second chance?

I think one of the biggest takeaways from the comments thread is people don't agree on what constitutes abuse. Personally, I found the critical comments to be totally reasonable but obviously others disagreed (and it sounds like some of you thought it was too harsh, too). What is etiquette for giving and receiving feedback? Obviously it should be possible to tell someone you plain don't like their game (which has happened to me in forum after all, thanks guys! lol).

There's no solid dividing line, it's more about whether you come off like a jerk or not, which is hard to quantify. Saying a game feels like an extended tutorial is a fair criticism, but it'd help to give reasoning for that, and elaboration, rather than just saying a single negative sentence about a game without any suggestions on how it could be improved. The other comment, that went something like "this game is just not fun" was more clearly troll-like than the second.
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2009, 04:18:24 PM »

Hey Paul, insightful comments thanks. I actually agree with you that the indie community has a sense of rock star-dom. As someone who's recently gotten into it I definitely am surprised by some of the games that get showcased, as you say, seemingly because they are "by that guy". While I think that's somewhat unavoidable, and also totally appropriate for, say, a personal blog, I think it actually is a problem for a blog such as TIGSource, which like it or not is one of *the* blogs on the indie gaming scene.

From the outside looking in it really appears to be an "Old boy's club" where you have to be in with one of the blog moderators in order to get written about. If you combine this with a strong aversion to negative comments -- "How dare you say his is bad?!" -- you end up reinforcing the image that the indie scene is composed of rock stars and unassailable.
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2009, 04:33:48 PM »

From the outside looking in it really appears to be an "Old boy's club" where you have to be in with one of the blog moderators in order to get written about. If you combine this with a strong aversion to negative comments -- "How dare you say his is bad?!" -- you end up reinforcing the image that the indie scene is composed of rock stars and unassailable.

Okay, sure, there are "rock-stars" but usually they're all people that have proven themselves to be somewhat good at what they're doing.  People are obviously going to want to see more from them, and so they get posted about a lot.  The first time I got front paged was for Bonesaw and I didn't know anyone here at all at that point, so it's not like I joined some secret club then made a game and got written about because I was a  member of Derek Yu's Stonecutters.

Regarding the "old boy's club" (aka the evil tigsource clique!  this hasnt been discussed in awhile, weeee!) The core TIGSource community is a pretty tightly knit group I suppose, but I have never been a part of a community that is more warm and welcoming than right here.  If there is a super secret tigsource club, then you want to know how to join?  Just hang out in the forums and be a decent person, make cool shit, post things, post about stuff you're working on, whatever!  It's not hard to just jump into the chaos and be a part of this awesome community.

One quick aside:  I read one of the comments that was like "Don't take it so personally"  but sometimes comment posters on the front page have to realize that indie game developers sometimes have no choice but to take it personally.  When one person makes a game themselves, or two people, whatever, it becomes a very personal project in most cases.  They spend a lot of time on it, and put it out to the public, and when all their work is summed up by a negative one line comment it can be pretty discouraging.

This post was probably incoherent but I wrote it in a room that's like 95 degrees right now.  THATS ALL.
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2009, 04:48:37 PM »

I don't think it's exactly that the editors post games by people they know, it's more that they post games by people who have a long history of releasing quality indie games. It's not like cactus, edmund, etc. are all trading special favors with Derek to get mentioned, it's more that their long history of quality games causes their new games to get mentioned even if they're not particularly exceptional games.

Another thing is that the indie games community is still very small: pretty much everyone knows everyone else with two or three degrees of distance. So that may give the impression that the games talked about are all by people who know each other, but that's just the nature of a small community.

But I don't think there's no truth to what you're saying at all, I do think it's easier to get mentioned on the TIGSource front page if you know an editor. But that's true of pretty much any blog, and I think you may be missing half of the causality here: i.e. it's "make good game" -> "get to know the tigsource editors" -> "get game posted" rather than "get to know the tigsource editors" -> "get game posted". It's not like the front page ever features truly horrible games that are only posted there because the author if a friend of an editor. If you believe otherwise, could you name some particularly bad games that you don't think should have been mentioned?
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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2009, 04:50:39 PM »

Thanks Xerus I think you're right that it is possible for people to get featured just by virtue of the quality of their game. I think what I was writing about was more the sense that it is far harder to get featured that way than to simply know the right person. (And really, this is probably a feature of everything humans do...) Also to be clear I wasn't actually directing this specifically at TIGers. I think the same holds true for the Indie Games blog and others. I suppose to address this issue we'd need to have some mechanism to get featured which was transparent -- which I don't think is really necessary or necessarily appropriate for a format like TIGSource.
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2009, 04:58:54 PM »

Sorry Paul, I didn't see your response and it looks like we mostly agree. As for terrible games that got written up... well not to start a flame war but how about the "Stalin vs the Martians" game that got tons of coverage on both TIGSource and Indie Games and from what I've heard was terrible. That coverage was at the expense of others' games of course. Perhaps more controversially, I think this game doesn't deserve to be featured at the expense of other games I see in the feedback section here at TIG. In fact I think the Procrastinator game almost surely got mentioned solely due to who wrote it not the content of the game.

As for the point on causality there's an issue of the chicken and the egg here. You say there's a tendency to feature games by people with strong track records. I assume a track record is established by releasing games that get picked up by TIG source et al. However if these institutions routinely pick games by already established players how can the newcomer get their attention and establish his own track record? Obviously a truly stellar game will shine and be picked up but what about for the rest of us who only make mediocre games? That is, is indie gaming only open to rock stars?
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« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2009, 05:20:54 PM »

"I assume a track record is established by releasing games that get picked up by TIG source et al."

I don't think that's true actually. A lot of the famous indie developers were famous long before TIGSource or indiegames.com/blog even existed. A few of them are new, but a large number of them had thousands of fans before there were even any blogs specifically dedicated to indie games. So I do think that the game authors that are mentioned the most often on TIGSource and indiegames.com/blog are not *just* famous here, and didn't get famous because of their coverage here, they're famous in many other places as well, because their games are popular among people who never even heard of TIGSource. It's not like TimW and Derek made cactus famous for instance. Pretty much anyone into Game Maker has known about cactus (and other famous Game Maker users) for a long time.

I'm not saying there aren't developers who actually did become famous only because of their mentions on tigsource and indiegames.com/blog (perhaps increpare would qualify, since he's a relatively new indie developer who has nonetheless managed to pick up a large number of fans because of mentions on indiegames.com/blog and tigsource -- although it's not only the mentions, it's also that his games are quite good), but I think they're actually a small minority. The majority of famous indie developers are famous throughout the entire indie games community, on hundreds of blogs and forums, not just in our little corner.

As for that procrastination game, I actually haven't played it yet. I'll check it out and tell you what I think.
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2009, 05:29:01 PM »

Oh, I actually *did* play that game, and forgot about it. I agree that that game is a bit of a joke and not a real game, but I think the entire point of that entry was actually indirectly a preview of Runman: Race Around the World, not a post about the procrastination game. Maybe I'm "reading into" it, but that's honestly what it seems to me, and most of the comments are about Runman. And Runman: Race Around the World is a pretty great-looking game, I think you agree? CoolMoose is known as a developer of the excellent Runman games, and YMM is helping him with this game, so it should be very good. Both of them are fairly famous Game Maker developers with a long history of great games:

http://mattmakesgames.com/games.php
http://wherecouldtom.be/games.php
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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2009, 08:41:57 PM »

I'd be more inclined to buy into your interpretation if I saw some real preview-y stuff for Runman. Personally it just strikes me as a call out from a friend to another.

And there's nothing wrong with that.

Except that TIGSource is one of the main sources for indie gaming and the indie community. Ultimately I guess what I'm trying to say is that TIGSource has some level of responsibility due to it's status. It, and a few other big sites, effectively acts as a liaison between the indie community and the larger gaming community. What this means is that what it showcases ends up shaping public opinion about indie games. Are indie games pointless time wasters that could be cooked up in an afternoon? Or are indie games experimental, edgy, pushing the medium? TIGSource really has a lot of power in answering that question (obviously we, the game makers, answer that question but TIGSource et al act as gate keepers and thus decide what passes through to the larger public).

Going back to what you originally said about being a well established game maker and blogs, I didn't mean to say that you necessarily needed the help of TIGSource to become successful, and obviously you can cite plenty of counter examples to that claim. However it's clear that being showcased can be a big leg up for a newcomer. Now to connect this to what I was saying about a moment ago, TIGSource has high visibility and this comes with responsibility. If we're a community of rock stars then the response to this responsibility is:

"I don't owe anyone anything, if you're good you'll claw your way to the top on your own strength"

Of course if the scene is already dominated by other rock star personalities clawing your way up will be *very* difficult. It's really a longshot for someone to outshine not only his peers but also the established rock stars. So what if we're not a community of rock stars. What if TIGSource took the attitude that it was part of it's duty -- as a service to the indie community -- to showcase up and coming talent. This would flip the response to:

"The community enables me to be successful, I am going to give something back so that others can be successful too"

At this point I don't want to pass judgment and say that TIGSource is one or the other. I started this thread mostly to see how you all viewed yourselves, rock stars or part of a community, alone or together. Ultimately I think TIGSource and some of the other sites do an OK job trying to show case some new talent and maybe the only thing I'd improve is the transparency of the whole process, but then that's another conversation.
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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2009, 09:16:32 PM »

That sticky-ed 'submit an article' in announcements seems pretty transparent to me.  Not that many people use it though.
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