Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

20 July, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: Forming a community
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:49 PM

In this weekend’s exercise, explain how you would build a community for an online game on a limited budget.

My thoughts after the jump.

One idea I wrote about before is to build a community site on the topic of your game. This allows you to attract potential fans of your game and be able to get feedback from them. Such a site doesn’t build itself overnight, though, but with some good web design and some smart word-of-mouth, you can have a pretty good community going on the cheap. Might even be possible to derive some revenue from ads.

What are your thoughts?


  1. At the beginning, as much as possible, you want to recruit by hand for your new community. Let’s say it’s a space game. Go to the forums for stories like the one you are telling, that is go to Battlestar Glactica Forums, not StarCraft II forums and find people that would be great to join your community (and who seem to be well liked). Personally recruit them to you group. ( Don’t worry about getting heels and trolls, they will come on their own. )

    “I like the way you think, I’m building a space game called Very Cool Space Game and I would like your thoughts on it. We just have some screenshots, we aren’t anywhere near ready for beta testing, can you take a look and tell us what you think? The more input we get, the better the game. Thanks.”

    Then chat it up with your community as much as possible, and encourage the staff to mingle with them too. (If you want to keep secrets from the press/fans, that’s a whole different topic.)

    Comment by Rik — 23 July, 2008 @ 2:17 AM

  2. I always have problems knowing how to split my time between working on the game and working on doc, community and such.

    I tried setting up a wiki to get players involved in a previous project but it was a failure. Most of the time you have to “lead” people and something like a wiki still imply a lot of work for the admin even if it’s meant to be updated by the community. It ended up needing as much care as the game itself.

    So far I seem to get some success using forums. Sharing some “behind the scene” stuff with current players and replying to as much thread as I can. It seems to help to “build” premium community members that one day knows enough to answer to others questions, allowing you some rest and helping to build the core of the community.

    Comment by Over00 — 23 July, 2008 @ 5:55 AM

  3. I didn’t get clued into I Love Bees until it was over. I think the story of how that site achieved critical mass would be a fascinating one. Also, it would be my answer for how to do what they did :)

    Comment by Bret — 23 July, 2008 @ 9:44 PM

  4. Here’s a site that could be a great start for a community site for an appropriately themed game:

    At least, it got a chuckle out of me.

    Comment by Psychochild — 24 July, 2008 @ 1:00 PM

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