Moving Toward Promotion ...

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gorboth
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Location: Some old coffin

Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by gorboth » 12 May 2010 21:52

Hmmmm ...

Gorboth's been ... quiet.

..... too quiet ...

*peer suspiciously*

Yes, well! It's true. I've been far too quiet. The time has come for me to
once again begin sharing my energy and visions for the future of Genesis
with you all.

It has been two and a half years since I became Keeper. In that first year,
we tried to get the ball rolling on all sorts of changes that we felt the
game needed. Huge amounts of change and upheaval have transpired since
October 2007. It can be easy to lose energy if the focus is only one what
needs fixing, so lets start by looking at some of the accomplishments
that have come to pass since that time:

- The game has moved from Sweden to Israel, and is no longer affilated
with Chalmers University, but is instead solely the enterprise of
the GIA (Genesis Internet Association.)

- The game now has a preliminary method by which people can play
from the webpage (much improvement still needed here.)

- The game now has an official web forum for wizard and player
interaction.

- A full-scale balance recode of all major guilds in the game has
been undertaken, and is more than halfway complete.

- A global quest-tracking system is now in place to let players know
which quests they have done, and which remain unsolved, along with
hints supported for most domains.

- The rules of the game have been streamlined to require less and
less wizard interference in mortal play. (a mine-field, as always)

- The game now has a dynamic mapping system which shows the position
of a player on pre-drawn maps. (currently only supported fully in
the tutorial, but slowly expanding more into the full game.)

- Two new guilds have been added to the game - The Free Mercenary
Guild and the Academics of Gelan. (both walk-up-and-join options)

- A system known as death-recovery has been implemented, allowing
players who die to get experience faster until they have reached
their former size.

And these are just to name a few obvious improvements. It feels good to
know that the game continues to develop and grow, and we should all take
a moment to smile on these accomplishments.

When I first became Keeper, a huge priority of mine was to enact a process
of discernment. I took many weeks to get feedback from wizards and players
as to what the most important things were that needed to be done to take
the game into a bold new future. Many of the above accomplishments are a
reflection of the work done thanks to this process. Many still remain to
be tackled.

As I've lived in this position for a while, my understandings have matured
and grown about the realities of trying to change such a big institution
as Genesis. Time, energy, hard-work ... these have all been implemented,
and the results have been visible. A few more things, though, I've realized
are just as important: patience and persistence. It has not, as I had
originally dreamed, been possible to quickly and easily grow the playerbase
to double its size in a sustainable way. Does this mean it is not going to
happen? Oh, no! It will happen. It just requires patience and persistence.

It also requires that we get specific and move into a new process of vision
and action. The big move that must be made to grow our playerbase is that
of full-blown promotion. This would involve putting hard-work, energy, and
(yes!) money into getting our identity out there for people to recognize,
and have the opportunity to sample. But this must not be done prematurely.
Advertising for a bakery that only offers half-baked cake only means that
word gets around to *avoid* the bakery at all costs, and thus you shoot
yourself in the foot.

So, my new focus is on discerning precisely what things *must* be
accomplished before full-scale promotion begins. These are things that
I feel are on the list:

- We must have a website that:
- Makes it easy to create a character.
- Makes it easy to play the game.
- Has exceptional visual appeal.
- Is distinctive somehow from the ocean of free RPG web content

- The character creation process should happen immediately, rather
than after a pre-tutorial.

- The tutorial itself should be streamlined, eliminate grinding, and
made slightly more user-friendly.

- The areas of the game immediately following the tutorial should
match the tutorial in terms of quality, user-friendliness, and
start-up development for new characters.

- Guilds of the game should be ready to accept new players. Guilds
that require council approval to join must be *forced* to have
active and responsible councils. This may require wizards to
either boot council members who are holding a guild hostage with
their selfish or irresponsible management, or (preferably) devise
workable methods to allow guilds to boot their own irresponsible
councils should the need arise. Bottom line - YOUR guild needs
to make itself available to new players. Period. If you are sitting
on a dead guild, and you only log in to check mail once a week,
be ready to talk to your friendly (but not happy) neighborhood
Gorboth. No, this doesn't mean you have to let idiots or unworthy
roleplayers into your guild. It does mean you need to get out
of the hot-tub and answer the doorbell, though. Those of you
already doing a great job at this, you have my highest esteem.
(*end rant*)

If you have ideas about things you feel are absolutely essential before we
go to full-blown promotion, (i.e. preventing us from serving a half-baked
cake) please do take the time to mail me. The Admin can do all sorts of
think-tanking but it often comes down to the expertise of the players to
help guide our actions most effectively.

Some of you may be thinking, "Wait! I don't see finishing the guild balance
recodes on that list! What what?!?" True, you don't. The guild balance
recodes are essential. They must and will be completed. This, however, is
not something that prevents us from serving tasty cake to someone who walks
into the bakery for the first time. This, rather, is ongoing work on
perfecting our already tasty goods. We can advertise and promote the game
with confidence if we have the above list completed, even if the guild
recodes are not. The above list is something that we can hope to accomplish
in a matter of months. The guild recodes take longer (as we have
discovered.) I feel that waiting for perfection is no longer a good idea.
We need to, instead, do the things that will matter to a new player as
fast as we possibly can so that we can move to full-scale promotion without
further delay.

Again, I urge you to consider the things you are aware of that will matter
most to a new player, and help me know what they are. If you see glaring
holes in the above list, fill them by shoving the missing pieces in my
mailbox, please! :-)

Fairly soon, I will be coming to you with some specifics about the website,
promotion for the game, and what you can do to be a part of that process.
For some of you, it might involve time and energy (maybe even money!) For
others, it will just be something you wish to support with your positive
energy and encouragement. But that is just a teaser - more to come!

G.
Mmmmmm ... pie ...

Knuffel
Wanderer
Posts: 56
Joined: 04 Mar 2010 23:05

Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by Knuffel » 13 May 2010 17:52

Most Interesting Post ...

One smaller comment / food for thought would be the underlaying engine for the new website that needs to become the shiny portal into the Realms.
May I suggest to the respected Administration to have a look at drupal (www.drupal.org).

Allthough it may be difficult to get a good view on what drupal can really offer, it is a very powerfull modular system that can be the engine for the new bakery entrance wih full social media integration and plugging into the backend.

And besides the underlaying robustness it can look sexy and make the bakery be the place to be :-)

Not sure if you already took a technology decision, but if not, I could consider volunteering setting up a demo drupal site so the respected Admin could evaluate the options of baking donuts and creating the baseline / framework for this new modular bakery into the 21st century.

Just let me know :-P

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gorboth
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Location: Some old coffin

Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by gorboth » 13 May 2010 23:12

Thanks for the reference, Knuffel.

I took a look at the examples on the Drupal page. Most of them looked very corporate, but I suspect like most flexible build environments for web design, you can make it look just about however you want.

The technical aspects of the "behind the scenes" tech that supports the website are being handled by Tapakah, who will be better able to answer specific questions about the setup. I know that whatever we use must be able to handle back-end integration with LPC and specifically any protocols we determine to include in the mudlib for future client support.

My own involvement is purely for functional and aesthetic decisions. Specifically, I have been working with various artists who will be involved in supplying our site with top-notch graphics that are distinctive from what is currently out there in vast quanitities on the web (i.e. we don't want to be just another boris vajello[sp?] or, worse, anime look-alike RPG option.)

I've got some exciting things in the works with this, but will wait until we have more concrete progress to go into detail.

G.
Mmmmmm ... pie ...

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Rhaegar
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Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by Rhaegar » 15 May 2010 20:48

Like I already suggested to Gorboth, some example could be taken from BatMUD. Their new (I don't know how new, I never played it, but the site looks pretty shiny and brand new to me) website is truly amazing, almost made me start playing it.

http://www.bat.org/

Navigate to their Game Info section, simply astounding, detailed races (racial guilds and links to them included in the race profile), skills, spells and guilds along with maps of the realms and any other info one might seek.

I've recently started my interest in calligraphy irl, perhaps I could do some maps for Genesis (ie. ones that look like normal maps, not listing the rooms etc.). I would make them b&w though, so I guess someone else could put some colours and special effects to it (burned/used edges, old stains etc.).
I fear no evil for I am fear incarnate.

Velicus
Apprentice
Posts: 44
Joined: 12 May 2010 11:56

Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by Velicus » 16 May 2010 15:07

I think it's good to make progress in parallel, so I have no problem with promotion. However, I have a real problem that Genesis refuses to make change that might fundamentally improve the game. Stat caps, death recovery, eliminating grinding, openness... with these things, we might actually get down to the core of what makes Genesis worth playing: the player dynamic. But maybe that's just me. Personally, I think Genesis would be quite frustrating as a single-player game. If I felt otherwise, I'm sure I'd be doing my own promotion.

But Rhaegar gives us a very nice reminder of how important a first impression can be. Without waiting for a whole new system, I think the current website needs some small but urgent changes. I applaud the design, but I cannot see how the contents would be appealing to the eye of a newcomer.

http://www.genesismud.org/
While the number of translations are impressive, that's the only thing impressive about the introduction. I also wouldn't say the number of new characters per day is something to brag about.

http://www.genesismud.org/news/news
"The Webmaster had been too lazy to update the news lately."

http://www.genesismud.org/world/guilds
Very messy

http://www.genesismud.org/players/mortals
Nine people?

http://www.genesismud.org/moreinfo/humor
I don't get it

http://www.genesismud.org/moreinfo/links
Messy, unimpressive

http://www.genesismud.org/vote
Partially broken, also lies

http://www.genesismud.org/players/rankings
Non-functional

---

Velicus

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Eowul
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Location: Middle Earth

Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by Eowul » 17 May 2010 20:00

Rhaegar wrote:Like I already suggested to Gorboth, some example could be taken from BatMUD. Their new (I don't know how new, I never played it, but the site looks pretty shiny and brand new to me) website is truly amazing, almost made me start playing it.

http://www.bat.org/

Navigate to their Game Info section, simply astounding, detailed races (racial guilds and links to them included in the race profile), skills, spells and guilds along with maps of the realms and any other info one might seek.
I agree, that site is really appealing for a text based game. Lots of good info in there, definately should be used as inspiration. As for those maps, the idea that they have with their custom game client with the maps embedded is very good for starting players, we should have that too, if it weren't for the massive time investment needed to get one.
Caretaker of Arda

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Rhaegar
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Joined: 13 May 2010 06:22

Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by Rhaegar » 17 May 2010 22:31

Technically there are some maps included on the genesis homepage (world -> atlas of genesis), but they're rather atrocious and don't really resemble how the lands look like in-game. Surely someone put quite a lot of work to make them, but I must say I'm not impressed.
I fear no evil for I am fear incarnate.

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gorboth
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Location: Some old coffin

Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by gorboth » 18 May 2010 19:08

Thanks for all the great feedback here. Sometimes the feedback is a bit harsh - yes, someone did work *very* hard on those maps - but information is always useful, and if people dislike the look of the maps, that is information.

Personally, I think the maps could be improved with some slight tweaks to the color scheme - less vivid blue for the water, and a more earthy green for the landmasses.

Batmud indeed has a very polished website. However, I don't think it is particularly distinctive, or delivers any real honesty in advertising. The Genesis website, in my opinion, needs to look *different* from the vast ocean of fantasy RPG websites that are out there. Yes, Batmud looks polished. But does it look "distinctive"? I say no.

G.
Mmmmmm ... pie ...

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Cherek
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Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by Cherek » 25 May 2010 16:59

Woah, the Batmud website truly inspired me thats for sure. I'd chose that game and not Genesis 100 times of 100 based on the webpage. No matter how unique it is...:) Beautiful AND unique would of course be even better and I think the Genesis community could produce a great unique-looking website with beautiful content. Allthough, someone would need to ask for help of course...

I still think wizards need to be better at asking for help, I think alot of people wanna help but dont know they can or are allowed to. The "new webpage" has been rumoured for many years now. I dont know who is working on it or why it is taking so long, but I am gussing it could go faster of others helped out?

About harsh feedback, hm yes it was a bit harsh above, but I fear I must agree. Today, year 2010, the current webpage probably discourages new players rather than encourages. I actually think we'd be better off without it for now. Just a black page with "play now" and link to the online client would be better if you ask me. Ouch, harsh. Yes. I apologize already and humbly bow to those who made it in the first place. It was great then and has served us well, way to go! But many years have passed since the webpage was made and it is truly and utterly outdated both in content and design. I like the idea of the maps and whoever did them did a great job, and if someone could update their look they are still very useful. For the new page, I'd suggest the "less is more" strategy. Only the information we really, REALLY need, and make sure its well written and well-designed. A beautiful page with nothing more than "play now" is better than a badly designed cluttered one with tons of text in my book.

Anyway, I think everything posted by Gorboth in the initial common board post is great. No complaints and cant think of any suggestions either. Do it!:) And ask the community for help when needed. Dont be shy! :)

Oh, Ive done some freelance work as web designer and would be happy to help out if needed. I once signed up to help many years ago and never had time for a big project... but if you need help with some smaller bits and pieces let me know.

Knuffel
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Re: Moving Toward Promotion ...

Post by Knuffel » 25 May 2010 19:22

Had a quick look at bat.org and agree it is a very nice site, and ... running on drupal :-)
So at least it shows you can make it easily integrate with the backend, time to arma, who is playing, libraries, ... etcetera

About making it distinct, that is all in the mind of the creator :-)

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