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Level Zero Games
Chicago Game Developer
Chicago Game Developer

Communities and Collections

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New build is live! If you own it: Click the link, hit play, have fun. Don't forget to check out the youtube videos if you need help! #NetGain  

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New Build submitted for Desura Approval! Should be down the pipes within a day, in the mean time, check out the new features coming.

Youtube and G+ Linked! I'm hoping this push by Google will get a lot more activity going on in here with the youtube people coming over, just hope the usual youtube commentary stay on that side of the fence...
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The prototype launches!
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A quick preview of my (very early!) prototype for Net Gain: Corporate Espionage! #NetGain   #Gameplay  

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tl;dr: Where do you want your Net Gain news? How can I best ensure people get the content they want while increasing exposure to more people who haven't heard of the game?

What started out as a small question about cross-posting twitter to G+ has blown up into a question about all these platforms. I want to keep in touch with our loyal and creative community, and to foster that growth as the game grows. Net Gain is designed to benefit from a creative fan base directly, expanding not just the setting but the actual game in the process.

Things the community needs: key announcements (launches, big updates), regular announcements (small updates, content packs, long-form posts like this), regular engagement (Future Features, narrative bits, like the FB), developer diary (regular progress updates like the Twitter).
Things the community will soon need: bug reporting, feature suggestions/voting, fan content contribution channel, game wiki.

Things I need: a low number of sites to check/update, easy to use and low time investment, publicity for official posted content

Here's how I'm feeling about the things we have and need...

Google+: I started this as a post on here about the dev diary thing because I WANT to use G+, I like the layout and integration, I like that it shows the community comments (that get tucked away on FB), and everything else in the company runs on Google stuff. I prefer it over FB, but as you can see there aren't a lot of people on here, so it's a better "bang for my buck" to spend my time updating the FB instead of the G+. The problem is since FB and G+ fulfill the same needs, I need to focus my effort on what'll get the game the most exposure, which is the more established and connected FB page.

Facebook: I like the FB page because it has a solid foundation of a community, and helps us spread the word when people engage with it, and we've built up a history there. There are a lot of problems with it, but it's the most public channel for the company and will always be there because of it.

Twitter: I like the twitter because it's super simple on my end and the character limit prevents me from wasting time writing big dev updates when I should be focusing on development, while keeping people informed about what's up. The advantage being I can post multiple times a day, while if I were to do this on FB people would be unliking or blocking the page for spamming their feeds. I was thinking of cross-posting/switching this content to the G+ community, and just keeping the principle of short posts but giving people a better way to respond or talk about the posts.

Forums: The forums are an issue... Pros: if someone already is a forum person, it's a great way to get them to show and share content in a more permanent location and in more delineated categories (e.g. you can go to a "stories" subforum if that's all you're interested in, and then you can easily see just stories). Some people are really into forums, and it doesn't require people to have a social account like FB/G+ which is a big deal for a specific and vocal minority. Unfortunately that minority also seems to often be the most loyal and prolific fanbase, so it's important to give them a place to contribute, especially as Net Gain is all about fan involvement.
Cons: I really don't like forums :-/... They're not connected to a larger established social community so there's no real opportunity for discovery and growth. I won't have the time to go through all the content posted in the different forums, so I might miss something that I should be responding to. They seem like an "old" thing that can be done better on a modern social site. Not to mention, people hate registering for random website forums. If I made this post on the forums and wanted people to read and comment, they'd have to register yet-another-account which is enough of a barrier to many people where they just move on and don't engage. I want to get the content out to where people are, and that means hooking into their preferred social platforms.

Website Blog, Newsletter: I don't care much for either, but they serve their purpose. I think the newsletter (which we still have yet to send one out) will be a great second-channel resource for big announcements, but it's not really a primary-channel kind of thing. The website blog could be a primary channel thing, as many developers do, but I really don't care for it and would rather put the same content on something else that has better community engagement tools. The website itself serves best as a repository of links, and as a reference page... not for community stuff.

The other needs: In addition to sorting out how to best use the above, we still need bug reporting, feature suggest/vote, focused content contribution, and a wiki. The forum can do some of that (best at content submissions), but honestly it doesn't do any particular thing very well. 
I've been considering using a resource similar to GetSatisfaction for bugs/feature requests since it takes care of adding and voting, while being pretty easy to sign up for (w/ the multipass fb/g+/twitter/etc thing) and easy for me to review. The downside being an extra expense and another site to check. The wiki can evolve when it's needed, either I'll make my internal wiki on Google sites public and expand that, or the /r/netgain subreddit wiki feature, or such. A dedicated wiki will be vital not just for game info purposes, but to connect the ever-expanding setting and stories.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, and I'll link this to our other "channels" to join the conversation. The end goal is to give the community the resources they want and need, to make it easy for me to keep in touch with the community (which will get harder if the fanbase grows), and to do so in as little time on my end so I can keep my focus on what everyone wants: more Net Gain!

(Speaking of, here's a sneak peek of the latest developments!)

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If you missed the Kickstarter, catch the PayPal week before it ends on the 8th!
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And in just over a week, Net Gain hits the funding goal!!! The project is live!!!
Push us towards our next stretch goal: The War Room!

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