Author Posts

May 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm

One big problem the site has right now is the project brief. Anyone can make a project regardless of having a proper plan in place. This is not a good thing as unrealistic games are going to be started that people may join not realising that there is very little chance of completion.

It doesn’t even help the person creating the project. A harder brief to fill in will make them think about everything that needs proper consideration.

On top of that it is not very useful for the various types of user on the site. EG, what kind of artist (pixel? 3d?) or composer or programmer does the project need.

So lets put our heads together and create a “user must fill in all parts of this brief” that will be useful! Once this has been done well I will start moderating submitted projects.

So my thoughts of what should be in a brief:

  • Short description (something exciting to get people to come read the rest of the brief)
  • Longer description / Broad concept
  • Gameplay (how the game will work)
  • Theme (space, past, ww2)
  • Art Style
  • Music Style
  • Target Market
  • What devices the game will run on
  • Budget/Plan to raise money for the game
  • Revenue – where the money will come from when the game is created, eg adverts and how it will be split
  • Game Engine
  • Estimated or at least guestimated completion date
  • What roles does the project need – an explanation of each role and what is expected or needed
  • Your Backgound / Portfolio
  • Current Members

I would like to hear other peoples thoughts on this. People who are running projects, people who are looking at projects – this is something we should all have a voice in deciding as it will be pretty core to the site.

I know this is something you also think is necessary @zenyara

May 17, 2015 at 3:13 pm

I said from day one that there should be a live chat which would help everyone see who is actually active in the site and you could COLOR CODE coders, artists, admins, writers, musicians within that chat.

Also, you could have a percentage meter on every project with task lists that can be done BY ANYONE on the site and that goes towards the percentage done meter.

Have “floaters”, like myself (coder), voice actors, admins able to knock out tasks within any and all projects. Also monitor projects for inactivity. No activity for 2 weeks the project is scheduled for removal.

May 17, 2015 at 3:46 pm

They are great points and as mentioned on the other thread I will add the public project option. Chat will likely be added too.

Both points deserve a thread of their own, but on this thread I want to stay on topic the design brief as it desperately needs improving and I would like input from users.

May 18, 2015 at 5:41 am

This is a very good action to take @admin, I have to agree the site model has some issues and a moderate redesign in its system is necessary.

Overall, I really like the new bried guideline. I’ve seen that some few of the projects in the site is unrealistic with an almost zero chance of completion. In this site, everyone could create a project instantly. The barrier of entry you are suggesting really works well to counter this. After this project brief structure is done, it is wise to inform the owner of the projects with an insufficient project brief. Tell them that they need to change it to the new one, or the project will be removed. Or if you want to instantly remove them, up to you 🙂

It is also a good choice to make projects to have images or videos (Or gif/gfy) in the brief (Through editable html like in forums). Those are a lot more exciting than a plain text for potential members.

Also I have a suggestion for the needed project roles. Rather than “Need : +1 Programmer +2 Artist” in the project browser boxes, it is more clear and intiutive to have the project creator to write their own needed roles. So they can be more specific, like ‘Need : +1 Artist for medieval characters with fantasy style +2 Programmers experienced in C# for Unity”. The people that are seeking projects could be more interested to join their project. And easier for project owners to get contact with potential members.

It’s also necessary to start removing inactive projects like suggested. And sorting the projects by recent activity is also a good idea.

May 18, 2015 at 6:36 am

@furibaito they are great ideas and we are both thinking on the same lines.  I will start implementing this during the week. I will let project leaders know one it is done and give existing projects two weeks to meet the new standards.

May 18, 2015 at 11:40 am

The idea of Percentage meters with all the milestones and checklists is a good idea, it would, in some way indicate the health of each project.

Giving, for each milestone, a version of the game playable and testable by people, who could validate the passing of milestones.

This may be a little harsh, and would require from the creator to have everything planned before hand. Except if it is allowed to modify the goal and milestone of a project even after the creation.

May 21, 2015 at 8:24 pm

This is coming next week. I wanted it live this for this weekend but I lost a day with the site going down and I will be out for a lot of this weekend. Loads of great ideas in this thread. If anyone else has any suggestions please say.

I will start with the vastly improved brief and see how new projects after that point are looking. Plus the ability to add more images/videos.

Then if we are not satisfied about the project quality I will add the “projects on trial” section. Then I will add the milestones.

After next week I also want to get back to promoting the site.  As well as moving the site and getting the old chat back. And 100 other things 😀

 

May 25, 2015 at 4:54 pm

I have made a start on the improved project brief. You can view it here: http://ludust.wpengine.com/projects/test-game/

What do you think? Any feedback would be appreciated. I know there are a lot of fields but I think it is all useful.

Next I will add a gallery to projects so they can have more images in that area.

May 26, 2015 at 9:14 pm

I think that their could be more information on the actual project brief. A project presentation should be as complete as possible, and show that the creator though about his project beyond the “I got an idea!”

Project with “just an idea” shouldn’t be accepted unless well developed, someone who isn’t able to fill all the information about his project probably need to think more about it. I know that some planned to first assemble a team and then start designing a game, but maybe there should be a category Project (the concept is ready, and some development should be possible) and Concept (there is nothing except an idea)

And, I insist on the presence of deadlines, if a project is past its deadline and is still without a result, it should be dropped (at least by ludust)

And I will also cordialy break the legs (mentaly at least) of the guys who says : “I can’t tell you more because it the best idea ever and somebody will steal it!”

Here is an example of a project description, it is all random stuff just here to illustrate. If you find some things useful in this description feel free to take it.

 

Project description

Name : Primary school of the dead
Short description : Play as a primary school fighting zombies and creating weapons.
Genre : 3D action/survival
Multiplayer : Yes
Setting : Zombie
Story : Pticon is a primary schooler in a little town, and then suddenly zombies attack. He gather some classmates, craft weapons and start kicking some zombie ass.

Technical specifics

Device target : PC
Engine : Unreal Engine
Language : C++

Features
What are the main particular features of the game? Here I’m not asking for a detailed game design document, but the point that are special (not unique) and will be the selling points of the game. For example, in this example I’m talking about a crafting system, something very common in survival games, but it is a point I want to focus on.

– Play as a primary schooler, use your little size to sneak around the school
– Craft weapon with school material

Art Direction : 3D, realist
Music Direction : horrific, stressful

References
A list of work which inspired your project, it greatly help people to figure out what you are talking about.

Game reference : Left 4 dead, Dead Rising,…
Art reference : walking dead (comics), the night of the living dead (movie)…
Music reference : …

Timeline
This part is one of the most important, it will probably be not exact, but it gives a global idea of the workload. For each phase, I give the duration and expected result. Once again it is an estimation, it is not set in stone and will change over the course of the development.

1. Conception :
Duration : half a month (from end of may to mid-june)
Result :
– A game design document
– A Trello board with all assignment card to the Prototype ready

2. Prototype :
Duration : half a month (from mid-june to end of july)
Result :
– include all the core features mechanics

3. Vertical Slice :
Duration : a month (july to august)
Result :
– a whole session is playable (10 minutes)
– included all the mechanics
– content (art, sound, etc..) included for the session

4. Production :
Duration : a month
– the whole game is roughly playable
– included all the mechanics
– included all the art

5. Polishing
Duration : half a month (august to mid-august)
Result :
– the whole game is ready to be shipped

6. Marketing
None

Release date : Start of september

Team

Language :
– english
– french

Position needed :
This part should be as precise as possible with the associated workload. If you can’t estimate the time it will take, try to roughly list your needs.I didn’t put what the creator of the project do, as it is implied that all that is not listed here will be at the charge of the creator.

Artist 2D, character design : in charge of the character design
Estimated workload :
1 main character, 4 different skins for this character
2 enemies

Artist 2D, environment design : in charge of the conception and creation of the environment
subway
underground
ruins
city

Animator 2D : in charge of the animation of the characters
Estimated workload :
for the main characters, for each skins : walk, roll, jump, dodge up, dodge down, hit, knocked down,…

Business

Paid : No
Business plan : This project is exclusively a hobby project
Revenue : Shared
Contract : No
Target market : Primary schooler, parents

May 27, 2015 at 8:50 am

@navezof Thanks so much for this. I have read through your post a few times and I really like most of those ideas. I agree that just an idea shouldn’t get a project – that should be a forum post that can be discussed.

The big differences between what you have written and the fields available (on the example project http://ludust.wpengine.com/projects/test-game ) are timeline, features and references – all of which are very useful I will add. Then there are smaller differences like team language and multiplayer.

Once done it will be a matter of how to enforce them. Do I make every field compulsory – I am not sure I want to do that from the start. I think what might work and I would like to test run is automatically working out how complete a project brief is – 20% , 40%, 80% etc and only setting live projects that are over 80% complete, for example.

I can also give rewards (medals? recommend 90%+ filled brief projects to users?) to projects that do a really good job of the brief.

If this system fails I would look at peer reviewing projects.

What do you think of this?

I will also be removing inactive projects/failed projects.

May 27, 2015 at 9:47 am

“Once done it will be a matter of how to enforce them.”

The idea of completion percentage is a good one. Having different category of project could also help. With categories : Idea (under 30%), Concept (under 80%), and Project (the rest) which goes up automaticaly. It allows people to participate in the earliest stage of the process.

But, I’m still insisting on this but there should be a maximum lifespan, if a project stay inactive, or doesn’t fulfill its expected result, it should be dropped (after a few warning). The project list should the less “parasited” as possible.

The severity of the enforcing will probably determine probably the popularity and accessibility of the site (mean admin removed my project!), but also the quality, as only the most complete project are accepted.

Also, a project should still require an admin validation, in my opinion. With this we are more going toward a peer reviewing system. So maybe not for the moment?

“I can also give rewards (medals? recommend 90%+ filled brief projects to users?) to projects that do a really good job of the brief.”

Yep, well completed project should be more visible than the others. Also, a medals for the creator can be good too “Machin – Perfectionist creator (100% completion of a project description)”

“I will also be removing inactive projects/failed projects.”

Make sure to make the distinction between inactive project and failed/dropped project. The former should be removed without much thought, but the second, if the failure is acknowledged it should be put in a category where they can be reviewed later (if the creator wish so)

Glad I could help 🙂

May 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Yes you have helped loads with this. I feel like I have a plan of action now.

First thing I will do (when I have a chance) regarding this is adding the new fields and the completion percentage.

Then I will start removing inactive projects, as that is – anything inactive for a month or more will go. In fact I have already removed a few.

May 28, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Quick little thing, but I’d also add an optional date for the release of demo projects. Since they tend to be earlier and partial, it can help give the members a better notion of how quickly they should work (:

May 29, 2015 at 8:18 am

I will add that along with the project Timelines/Deadlines. Thanks Mandy.