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Suggest of changes in the forum

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Johan
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Hello

First: As a hobby game designer, I find that BGDF is the, without question, the best forum. I'm checking this site at least two times per day. The categories on this forum is well organizes, there are a lot of experience among the members and it is easy to go back and find the thread I want to read. If I have a problem I can normally find a at thread about it in the Forum.

The only category that has to much junk (in my opinion) it is the "Game design" category. Here we can find al lot of threads about the design process from idea´ to test. This is combined with game ides, people that has done half a game and expect members at the forum to do the rest. (For game rules that are out for play test or can be there are GDW) or even "I have an Idea´ of a theme, can you help me with the game".

I suggest that the "Game design" category is divided into two different categories:
- Game design: where design aspects of game creation (different mechanism, how to find design programs, tools for early tests, prototyping, the design process and how themes, mechanism and goals work together.
- Game Idea´: Were it is possible to write about game ides, different themes, "Hey I have this Idea´ but I do not know if this will work" or "I need help with this in my game?"

// Johan

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Suggest of changes in the forum

Thanks (on behalf of the whole community, including you) for the kind words. The BGDF certainly rocks!

I agree that Game Design is pretty lumpy, and I think your separation makes sense. I'd like a bit more input before changing anything, though... any other thoughts on how to re-organize it?

-- Matthew

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Suggest of changes in the forum

I wouldn't mind seeing a restructuring of the Game Design forum, but I don't think replacing "Game Design" with "game design" and "game idea" is likely to be very useful -- those terms are vague, and people won't necessarily read the descriptions to find the appropriate forum for their posts (although some will...)

How about something more like:

Game mechanics For discussion about specific mechanics -- "I need a mechanic to handle space combat", eg.

Design principles Discussion about aspects of "good" and "bad" design -- "What are some ways to separate resource management from VP acquisition?"

New ideas/Game systems a place to discuss new ideas for games -- "I was thinking about a game about balloon manufacturing -- anyone seen anything like this before?"

Or something like that. Alternatively, it could be broken up into "Design discussion" and "design advice" where design discussion would be for more high-level discussion about principles of design in general whereas design advice would be more about "I need help with this" kind of stuff.

Regardless, I suspect that going back and trying to separate past posts into the appropriate categories ("where should this post go?") will be a laborious undertaking; my sincere condolences to whoever attempts it...

-J

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Suggest of changes in the forum

Nah, I love that kind of thing. :)

Anonymous
Suggest of changes in the forum

Such organization as Jwarrend proposed sounds rather promising. I say "Aye". That's my vote. :)

Have fun!

-Vexx

Fos
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Suggest of changes in the forum

I worry that game mechanic and design principle topics would overlap, as "design principles" might include any thought or discussion that covered multiple mechanics. However, a "New Game Idea" would probably corral a lot of first time posters to a single forum (myself included a week ago) where more general advice was needed/wanted.

Though, and while traffic might increase significantly, I'm not sure how splintering these discussion points will help in organization. It's almost always easy to know which thread is about a specific mechanic or a higher-level post and which is a thread about "my new game will make me millions; what do you think?"

With my (albiet very limited) experience so far, I'd suggest a bit more radical change. Replace the Quick Forum with a registered users-only "New Game Idea" forum, combine Game Design and Game Play Testing into "Mechanics", and merge "Ask the Expert!" into "Game Publication." I know each forum is slightly different, but they seem to overlap enough of the time in concept where it would create a simpler "front page," without removing functionality.

Disclaimer: while I could be way off and showing my newcomer colors, if you're considering reorganization it's always good to look at and justify the existance of everything.

OldScratch
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Suggest of changes in the forum

How about setting the forum up in the different stages of game conception?

1. The Idea: This is where the games begin, where people can post their idea and brainstorm with other people

2. The Mechanics: How is this game going to work? People can post their game when it's actually got some rules, and needs some troubleshooting, and eventually call the game completed in terms of rules.

3. Prototyping: This is where to get ideas and suggestions on how to create or get materials for the game.

4. Playtesting: Self explanatory. When games are put together, they can be tested for bugs/inbalances/boredom/whatever, and with feedback, the designer can return to board 2 for further work.

5. Production: Once the game has been playtested and the developer (and potential customers) are satisfied that the game works properly, they can check this resource for tips on how to get the game's materials professionally made and assembled for the actual game.

6. Publication: Tips on how to finally get your game published.

This would be a pretty comprehensive way of keeping things in order, so people can just start out at the top, and work their way down as their game evolves and grows. Just sounds logical to me. All the other suggestions sound good as well.

My dos centavos.

OldScratch
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Suggest of changes in the forum

Maybe a #0 Forum can be General Game Ideas where people can post ideas and mechanics or whatnot that don't actually belong to any game, or can post other questions that don't pertain to any particular game.

sedjtroll
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Suggest of changes in the forum

Fos wrote:

I know each forum is slightly different, but they seem to overlap enough of the time in concept where it would create a simpler "front page," without removing functionality.

Just what do you mean by a simpler front page? The 'latest articals' column links to the most recent posts in ALL forums, and frankly if that's all you're looking at then it doen't much matter which forum the post is in. I don't see how the one (forum organization) has anything to do with the other (front page).

- Seth

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Suggest of changes in the forum

As a slightly unrelated subject, I might also propose having a specific forum called "I have an awesome new idea for a game that is totally unique, all my friends love it, and now I want to know how to patent it and make money off of it."

I am only half kidding.

It's understandable that people would have these questions, but they comprised such a high percentage of the posts at the BoardGameDesign yahoo group that I lost interest in that group. This group, on the other hand, was a complete breath of fresh air...people who wanted to talk more about the craft of game design than the business of game design. It was (and is) great! But, it seems recently that we're being inundated with the "how do I protect my idea/sell my idea" kind of posts. It's fine for people to be seeking answers to these questions, but they seem to completely bypass the archives and FAQ and go straight to the forums, unaware, perhaps, just how often such questions come up. Having an absurdly over-the-top forum name might corral these questions a bit, as well as hopefully encouraging people to look at the archives rather than asking the same questions again and again.

Incidentally, not sure if this is easy or hard, but it would be fantastic if the "new forum posts" window could be individually tailored to exclude certain forums. Speaking exclusively for myself, I find the "how do I sell my game" posts to be a distraction from the content that really interests me, and it would be great if there was an easier way to avoid it. (I know, I know..."just don't read it!" I seem to just read everything that comes up in that window, but it would be nice if the system forced me to avoid stuff I wasn't interested in...)

Just some more thoughts and observations...with absolutely no disrespect meant to the "how do I sell this" posters -- I was once in the exact same position!

-Jeff

Johan
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Suggest of changes in the forum

jwarrend wrote:
How about something more like:

Game mechanics For discussion about specific mechanics -- "I need a mechanic to handle space combat", eg.

Design principles Discussion about aspects of "good" and "bad" design -- "What are some ways to separate resource management from VP acquisition?"

New ideas/Game systems a place to discuss new ideas for games -- "I was thinking about a game about balloon manufacturing -- anyone seen anything like this before?"

I like that idea.

// Johan

Fos
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Suggest of changes in the forum

sedjtroll wrote:
I don't see how the one (forum organization) has anything to do with the other (front page).

I know, I know, which is why this discussion sorta feels like "should we have 8 glasses a quarter full or 4 glasses half full," and I keep thinking, "it's still the same amount of water."

To clarify, I meant the "front page" of the forums, not the front page of bgdf.com and a "simple" forum front page would most likely equal "easier for newcomers to find the right place to post in."

IngredientX
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Suggest of changes in the forum

Honestly, I prefer the categories set up as they are now. We get enough mis-postings as it is (appeals for production help in the "design" forum, and appeals for design help in the "production" forum), that making the categories more specific is just asking for trouble.

It might just be me, but I don't think it's broke enough to fix it. :)

Anonymous
Suggest of changes in the forum

OldScratch wrote:
How about setting the forum up in the different stages of game conception?

I kind of like this idea. And jwarrend's suggestion of a "this game'll make me millions, all I need is for you to tell me how" category isn't that loony of an idea either. Of course, ingrediantx also makes a fine point about whether or not the forum is actually broke. (How's that for decisiveness?)

OldScratch wrote:
My dos centavos.

That would be "Mi dos centavos", for those keeping score. For those not keeping score it would be "kumquats dos centavos".

OldScratch
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Suggest of changes in the forum

I know that, I'm Peruvian. :)

phpbbadmin
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My thoughts

Before you guys go changing things on me, let me chime in a bit :D .

I think the game Game Creation sections of the forums flow rather nicely. The thought behind it is that the forums flow in much the same way as the process in designing a game would. I.E. First you Design the game, then you Produce the prototype, then you Playtest the prototype, then you Publish the game. If you go and look at the forums, this is how they flow as well. So in theory, you could start out discussing your game in the Design forum, then you could advance your game through each of the forums that correspond with each step in the creation process.

So in that respect, I'd like it to stay the same. However, it might be a good idea to include a forum before design (call it idea incubator or some other such nonsense) where you could discuss a loose idea before actually tackling anything concrete. The main problem I see with this is overlap. Eventually you're probably going to take that idea and start discussing how to actually implement the idea. At that point, it then becomes fodder for the Game Design category instead of the Idea Incubator. What do you do in those situations? Start a new thread in Design or risk 'contaminating' the Idea Incubator subforum? I guess either way it doesn't matter to me. I do find some of these threads announcing super terrific new games to be somewhat distracting as well (not to mention I think they subtract from the overall legitimacy of the site). Perhaps we could even detach such a proposed forum from the creation subforums altogether, perhaps even move it to the users games subforums.

Just my thoughts, carry on.

-Darke

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Suggest of changes in the forum

jwarrend wrote:
But, it seems recently that we're being inundated with the "how do I protect my idea/sell my idea" kind of posts. It's fine for people to be seeking answers to these questions, but they seem to completely bypass the archives and FAQ and go straight to the forums, unaware, perhaps, just how often such questions come up. Having an absurdly over-the-top forum name might corral these questions a bit, as well as hopefully encouraging people to look at the archives rather than asking the same questions again and again.

Maybe there could be a new users link for those people that come upon the front page for the first time, somewhere near the top. That link will spell out the site rules and where to go to get basic information for stuff.

jwarrend wrote:
Game mechanics For discussion about specific mechanics -- "I need a mechanic to handle space combat", eg.

OldScratch wrote:
2. The Mechanics: How is this game going to work? People can post their game when it's actually got some rules, and needs some troubleshooting, and eventually call the game completed in terms of rules.

I know it's part of Game Design, but I think it would be nice to have a Games Mechanic Forum where players can talk about specific mechanics or a need for a mechanic or disect a mechanic like we do during the Thursday Chats (which I haven't seen in a while, but that's another thing)

Other than that, I agree with the ones that say that the forums as they are work well and should be unchanged. (Just need to find a way to discourage the "I made the best game in the world and know I will make millions at it" stuff.

-Steve

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