Jump to content

Photo

thingken of accommodation


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

Poll: Accommodation

Who should do thing?

You cannot see the results of the poll until you have voted. Please login and cast your vote to see the results of this poll.
Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 Moosh

Moosh

    Tiny Little Questmaker

  • Members
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 July 2020 - 02:26 AM

When giving feedback on a quest, there's always that one unbreakable rule:

 

"The questmaker gets the final say. You are not the boss."

 

Having all the power in the dynamic (being the one who made the game and all), any and all changes and accommodations will ultimately come down to their whims. You can argue til the end of days, but unless they're feeling charitable or you can make a convincing point, suggestions will often go ignored. That's just a fact of life.

 

From the perspective of the designer though, feedback is still very important even if nothing comes of it. Player feedback and criticism can be very important to a questmaker's growth. Heck some of the most memorable things I've designed in ZC came about thanks to harsh critics making me re-evaluate my design. But it's also not good to let people walk all over you, to become a slave to constant revision, or to let your design become overly sterilized. 

 

So I'm wondering where you guys draw the line with feedback. What do you find helpful? And what kind of feedback is unhelpful? And when do you choose to accommodate?

 

Similarly how about when you're on the other side of dynamic: the player, reviewer, or the critic. What kind of feedback do you think is reasonable to accommodate? And why do you write the review in the first place?

 

So there's your irregularly scheduled Moosh ramblings for the day. I may give my own answers later but for now I don't want to spoil the responses by leading my questions too much.

 

Also I decided to make this topic in part so I could stick a dumb Sekiro meme in the poll.


  • ShadowTiger, Magi_Hero, Mani Kanina and 3 others like this

#2 Shane

Shane

    Go Gollab

  • Members
  • Real Name:Shane
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Australia

Posted 28 July 2020 - 04:01 AM

I'd make the case that it's easier for creators to have the final say. A playerbase is a larger audience than them, and comes with it contradictory opinions. It only becomes a game of who matters more if you listen to your audience. The person who liked X feature or the person who hated X feature? I'd say it's easier for the creator to decide based on if they like or no longer like X feature themselves.

 

I think any and all criticism is perfectly valid but I think criticism is at its best if they understand what you were going for. Let's say we have a puzzle game. I think it's fair to feel that there are too many puzzles, but it's not exactly helpful to the creator and their vision. They just sound like they aren't very patient with the genre and prefer something with a faster pace. A better form of criticism would be if they go into detail if there's anything wrong with the mechanics or difficulty. It's something you can probably work with if you agree with the issues.

 

I've seen some Let's Play videos and critical reviews go into rants about how quests should always have X or not do Y... Some people are very impatient at the idea of creative risks or breaking conventions. It's why I feel creators should always come first, even if criticism is always a valid thing, because we have been getting some really creative quests. We all started working in ZQuest because we all had some idea of what we wanted to do, and I think it should stay that way. The criticism is just there to gauge if your vision could be improved upon or to tell players if your quest is a universally loved thing or something controversial (which is perfectly fine to be btw). Criticism doesn't just have to be for questmakers.

 

Unless a creator feels extremely charitable or wants to take up the challenge, I guess. :P I just don't think a creator is going to completely change their outlook on questmaking at the whim of a harsh review, unless it has something that can help them grow and get to where they want better.


  • Twilight Knight, Eddy, Avaro and 6 others like this

#3 Avaro

Avaro

    Quest maker

  • Members
  • Real Name:Robin
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Germany

Posted 28 July 2020 - 11:38 AM

Highly agree with Shane's post. Everyone's feedback should be treated as just another opinion besides your own. If multiple players give the same feedback on something, I'm more likely to consider changing it.

 

I'm also personally at the point where I know my game design well enough to make my own calls. Feedback can always be useful still. Especially on things like clarity and puzzle difficulty, which are things you can't judge as the author. Also feedback on things you have not put much thought into. The players don't know which things were conscious decisions.


Edited by Avaro, 28 July 2020 - 11:38 AM.

  • Twilight Knight, Moosh and V1ral like this

#4 Evan20000

Evan20000

    P͏҉ę͟w͜� ̢͝!

  • Members
  • Real Name:B̵̴̡̕a҉̵̷ņ̢͘͢͜n̷̷ę́͢d̢̨͟͞
  • Gender:Unspecified
  • Location:B̕҉̶͘͝a̶̵҉͝ǹ̵̛͘n̵e̸͜͜͢d҉̶

Posted 28 July 2020 - 03:01 PM

The best feedback is feedback that helps you better make the game you want to make, highlighting the strengths of the product while minimizing the weaknesses. This requires the reviewer to understand both the questmaker's mentality when making the product and also the appeal of said game that caused them to go down that route initially, even if it isn't for them personally. So, needless to say, this kind of feedback is unfortunately the rarest.

The worst feedback is the kind that seeks to warp the design of the product entirely, away from what the questmaker wants to what the reviewer wants. In a simplistic sense, hijacking the product for their own ends and purposes. This isn't always malicious; sometimes the reviewer/feedback person simply doesn't understand what the quest is going for.

 

EDIT: I can't help but think that that this goes in Quest Design Help since the nature of the question fundamentally implies potential for changes in the quest's overall design.


Edited by Evan20000, 28 July 2020 - 03:02 PM.

  • Twilight Knight, Moosh and Orithan like this

#5 klop422

klop422

    Guess I'm full of monsters and treasure

  • Members
  • Real Name:Not George
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Planet Earth

Posted 29 July 2020 - 06:47 AM

One of my most strongly-held opinions is that you should listen to all criticism and decide what's valid and what isn't. Obviously Shane's example of "too many puzzles" in a puzzle game can be safely ignored, whereas "this puzzle is way harder than the ones before and after, including the 'boss puzzle' of this section" might be fairer. But my main point here is that where the feedback comes from is irrelevant - if Hitler told me my quest's third dungeon boss was unfair because he teleports on top of you and kills you in one hit, then that's fair comment (although it raises further questions of how and why Hitler came back to life to give me tips on game design. Maybe he's pals with the Devil?).

 

Even when the advice given is bad, though, it's not impossible for there to be a related issue. Things like "too many puzzles" in Level 6, when it's an action-adventure game like Zelda, might mean you should cut some puzzles, but it might also just mean that your rooms are distributed badly, giving the player a corridor of puzzles and so the illusion of a lot of them. (I don't know if that's the best example, but I'm not as familiar with game design as I am with music, for example).

 

And, obviously, the creator still has the final decision. Unless the file is only saved in a public place where anyone can access and edit it, it's pretty much impossible for that not to be the case. It's just helpful to listen to feedback :P.

 

EDIT: tl;dr: listen to everything, no matter who it's from; if it doesn't fit your quest, it's unhelpful, but might still point to issues with design, whereas if it does fit, then it fits.


Edited by klop422, 29 July 2020 - 06:49 AM.

  • Evan20000 likes this

#6 Mani Kanina

Mani Kanina

    Rabbits!

  • Members
  • Gender:Female

Posted 29 July 2020 - 07:25 AM

The game designer is the one with all the power in the dynamic of author vs feedback, just structurally they are the arbiters of their game (Unless the work in question is triple-A, in which case it's the board of executives, but that's not relevant here...). And personally I think that's a good thing, the game designer is the one who should have the best grip of how to make as well as improve the game.
As the biggest critic on the site it might come of as surprising, but I don't actually think authors should be compelled to go back and change their game based on feedback. The only exception to that rule for me is in relation to morally repulsive content handled poorly.
Feedback is absolutely important, without it, how can you grow? And I think there are a few aspects of it which I feel should be each treated differently, both from the standpoint of the author of a work, as well as from the person providing feedback.

Reviews:
The point of a review to me is to give an accurate representation of the work in relation to how you feel about it. And a review is solely for others who are prospecting to play a work. As such, when writing a review the goal should be to try and convey what the experience is like to the reader, as well as explain how well it achieves that experiences and your thoughts about it broadly.

As such, from an authors point of view a review is generally going to be pretty mild in what you can take from it. There is probably some degree of feedback in them and that is worth the read and consideration none-the-less, but the nature of them means that they will be very descriptive of nature, and you (should) already know your game well enough for it to be rather meaningless. That being said, it can be rather important to look at if the descriptions within matches how you perceive the work, and if not, try and identify why.

Critique:
The line between what counts as a critique and a review is generally thin, and a lot of content in the modern era is seldom 100% review or 100% critique. Most of what I write is critique in nature, I digress though. A critique is not made for anyone else, the point is to make the critique in and of itself to explore the work on a more deep level. While it's important to note that while most critique out there is generally framed around things the author of the critique consider needs addressing, and as such comes of as negative, the point is seldom "this is bad and should be fixed". It's usually more about exploring the "whys" of how something is and what that says and what those experiencing the work will take from it. Sometimes critique does have point to make, and that can point were well be that they think something should be different. But most of the time the core point is the exploring of the ideas in and of themselves through whatever lens the critic have chosen. It's not hard to see that most criticism can come of as negative, but I usually feel that's more of a gut reaction.

From the other end of the spectrum I feel proper well thought out critique is some of the best things you can get. I don't feel obligated to change my work based on critique, and I don't think anyone should be. But what I try to do, and what I think is very important to do, is to properly engage with the criticism and understand the points being made. This will help shape both how you view your own work, as well as how you go forward and improve any future works you make. There might also some times be things that are worth going back and changing in the original work, but I think the most important aspect is just learning from it.

Suggestions:
Anyone who plays a work will probably have suggestions on how to improve it, I know I have and often share them. I feel these are generally worth saying as long as it's done in good faith and you don't flood the author with your ideas.

From the other side though, suggestions will, for the most part, be the most useless feedback you get. It's worth considering every idea, but you also have to consider who is giving the suggestion. Is it a peer? That might be a bit valuable. Is it just an average player? eeeh, their idea is most likely trash and don't even solve the problem they think, or might introduce other issues.

Rude remarks:
I really don't think there is any room for these and people should probably stop making them. Don't confuse crude language with vitriol though, very different things. It's just better to be respectful and people will generally treat what you're saying with more dignity if you do.

Surprisingly, I actually find these really useful and worth a lot of consideration when I'm the author. The rudeness still fucking sucks though and I wish these people would not, but they often come (unless they are in bad faith) from a genuine place of frustration though. It can often be hard to pin point the exact cause (cause it's not always what the person leaving them thinks), but if your game has something that causes immense frustration without you purposely crafting it for that? That's a problem that needs addressing.

------------
Also, this entire matter is somewhat ironic considering moosh (the author of this thread) made a huge update and restructuring of their quest based on my critique of it. As should be clear by my views expressed so far, I don't think that was necessarily a good thing.

 


Edited by Mani Kanina, 29 July 2020 - 08:29 PM.


#7 Anthus

Anthus

    the wild-eyed boy from freecloud

  • Forum Staff
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ohio

Posted 29 July 2020 - 09:25 AM

I mostly agree with the idea that it's up to the quest maker to make the final call. It's their quest. That said, feedback is also important, but good feedback is better. I don't mean good as in positive, I mean good as in goes in to depth on why they feel that way, and asks questions. There's also no way to please everyone as some people prefer puzzle heavy quests, some prefer deep stories, and some prefer combat and bosses. I think it's important for the reviewer to understand what the author was going for, and possibly understand that the quest may not be for them.

 

As for the difference between a review, and a critique, I kind of feel like a review is telling others about something, while a critique is more or less getting your own feelings about something out. Reviews are also typically associated with things/ games you pay money for. It's a way to telling others if they might like it, based on your experience.


  • Twilight Knight, Evan20000 and Haritiro like this

#8 klop422

klop422

    Guess I'm full of monsters and treasure

  • Members
  • Real Name:Not George
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Planet Earth

Posted 29 July 2020 - 08:37 PM

From the other side though, suggestions will, for the most part, be the most useless feedback you get. It's worth considering every idea, but you also have to consider who is giving the suggestion. Is it a peer? That might be a bit valuable. Is it just an average player? eeeh, their idea is most likely trash and don't even solve the problem they think, or might introduce other issues.

I know I already said this, but I do disagree. The suggestion itself is irrelevant of who gave it. Sure, it's likelier that someone who understands what goes into making a game will be able to give better or more relevant suggestions than a randomer who just plays stuff, but, even so, the quality of the suggestions doesn't do more than correlate with the experience of the person who gave it.

 

And, again, often suggestions do point to issues, that, sure, might be solved in other ways than suggested, but are still only really discovered by the suggestion being made in the first place.

 

(I should also point out that, while I don't think rude remarks are really an acceptable way of critiquing/reviewing a work, it's still possible for it to be a very poorly-expressed yet valid point. It sucks for people to be rude, and I don't condone it, but it's still worth trying to sift through the rudeness and see if there is a point there.

 

And, obviously, if you're getting lots and lots of feedback from tons of sources, at some point you do have to prioritise - listening to everything doesn't really work at a large scale)

 

Not trying to start an argument or anything, though :P. Just wanted to reiterate my difference of opinion here.


  • Magi_Hero likes this

#9 James24

James24

    Apprentice

  • Members
  • Real Name:James
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Australia

Posted 30 July 2020 - 02:06 AM

I would agree that the playerbase is not "the boss" in here in Zelda Classic.  "The boss" is normally defined by most people as someone who is paying lots of money for work and that "the boss" shouts his orders and those who receive his paycheck are bound to follow them.  It should be obvious and plainly apparent that the playerbase is not paying money here so therefore can't possibly be "the boss".

 

However, if you look to games where players are paying money for the game it could then be argued that they are "the boss".  Not any single player holds this "boss" status but as a collective, the playerbase is able to influence the quest-maker's final say because as a collective, the playerbase can stop funding the game and this would spell disaster for any commercial game.  Therefore in that instance, the playerbase is "the boss" and is able to bark orders that a developer is more or less compelled to follow.

 

As for accepting feedback, well, I would only do so if either 1) the feedback makes the game better for me as a player to enjoy or 2) they are "the boss".



#10 klop422

klop422

    Guess I'm full of monsters and treasure

  • Members
  • Real Name:Not George
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Planet Earth

Posted 30 July 2020 - 02:05 PM

However, if you look to games where players are paying money for the game it could then be argued that they are "the boss".  Not any single player holds this "boss" status but as a collective, the playerbase is able to influence the quest-maker's final say because as a collective, the playerbase can stop funding the game and this would spell disaster for any commercial game.  Therefore in that instance, the playerbase is "the boss" and is able to bark orders that a developer is more or less compelled to follow.

 

As for accepting feedback, well, I would only do so if either 1) the feedback makes the game better for me as a player to enjoy or 2) they are "the boss".

I suppose it depends on what you want out of the game you're making. If you want to make the best game you can, then it's fair enough to make that your priority. If you're trying to make something popular, then listening and trying to work in stuff from your intended audience is likely something you want to do (though you should probably not let quality slip anyway). If you're getting paid, then you want to do what whoever's paying you wants you to do - though I suppose trying to convince them to change their opinion is fair.



#11 Moosh

Moosh

    Tiny Little Questmaker

  • Members
  • Gender:Male

Posted 31 July 2020 - 11:30 PM

A lot of really great responses here. I generally agree with most of what people have said. I try to keep an open mind to all player feedback, but have some very clear lines I draw. If I can accommodate players with little cost I'll gladly do it. But I won't undermine my own design goals in the process. Clarity is the key to feedback for me, the better I can understand where people are coming from the more I can hone in on a potential solution. I'm not a mind reader so if someone is displeased with one of my quests but can't say why, there's nothing I can do to help them. Feedback in the form of suggestions can be rather hit or miss. Sometimes it's spot on, but like Mani Kanina and others have said, often times non-designers really don't know what they're talking about. The absolute best feedback you can receive is detailed, clearly written, informed, and fits with the creator's design.
 
When it comes to giving feedback myself, I'm a bit torn between the reviewer and critic sides. A lot of the time players will not actually look at reviews when picking out a quest so the one who stands to gain the most from it is the designer. But then it can also seem rude and demanding to be talking at the questmaker directly. I usually end up with a somewhat confused middle ground. I've been drifting away from using a score based system since it's often reductive, boiling something very objective down to a more rigid measurement. It's important for things like database sorting, but it's also easy to take it way more seriously than it deserves. I think the reason I write reviews is just to get my thoughts at the moment written down somewhere. That somewhere doesn't necessarily have to be public, but a short reply, a liked comment, or maybe even a more detailed and thought out response, these things are nice. Means someone saw some kind of value in what I had to say.

The most reasonable accommodations are always low effort, low impact things. Small bugfixes are a great example. Few people want a buggy game, so the developer and player share a common interest there usually. It's pretty much a no brainer to fix them if there's time. Next would be small editor tweaks like adding a shortcut, presuming it doesn't interfere with the game's intent. The further reaching the change goes and the more the developer has to bend over backwards, the less reasonable it becomes. By the time it gets to the point of "make your whole game easier/harder so I can enjoy it," well...Don't be surprised if you get a half baked compromise of a system.
 

Also, this entire matter is somewhat ironic considering moosh (the author of this thread) made a huge update and restructuring of their quest based on my critique of it. As should be clear by my views expressed so far, I don't think that was necessarily a good thing.

This was actually something in the back of my brain while writing the topic. Ultimately I'm happy with everything added in that update and I do think it was the right call, but it did have some unintended side effects due to the age of the quest. The new content casts the old in a different light, making the quest seem more polished the deeper you go in instead of the consistent level of jank it used to have. And a few criticisms in the original review weren't actually even addressed. I mostly used it as a catalyst to go off doing my own thing taking a few of the more notable points and running with them.
 

However, if you look to games where players are paying money for the game it could then be argued that they are "the boss". Not any single player holds this "boss" status but as a collective, the playerbase is able to influence the quest-maker's final say because as a collective, the playerbase can stop funding the game and this would spell disaster for any commercial game. Therefore in that instance, the playerbase is "the boss" and is able to bark orders that a developer is more or less compelled to follow.

Technically this can still happen with fangames to a degree. It's just more subtle because there's less of a noticeable measure of how well a game "sells" and the success of the game has no impact on the designer's livelihood. But most of us still do want our target audiences to actually play what we make and that implies designing something they'd want to play, giving them a small degree of "boss"-ness. Of course what we do is so niche to begin with you can pick and choose and almost always find an audience of some size.

Edited by Moosh, 31 July 2020 - 11:32 PM.

  • Evan20000 likes this

#12 Evan20000

Evan20000

    P͏҉ę͟w͜� ̢͝!

  • Members
  • Real Name:B̵̴̡̕a҉̵̷ņ̢͘͢͜n̷̷ę́͢d̢̨͟͞
  • Gender:Unspecified
  • Location:B̕҉̶͘͝a̶̵҉͝ǹ̵̛͘n̵e̸͜͜͢d҉̶

Posted 01 August 2020 - 03:08 AM

The absolute best feedback you can receive is detailed, clearly written, informed, and fits with the creator's design.

Nah just make the catfish burp lmao :bounce:


  • Moosh and Dimi like this

#13 Moosh

Moosh

    Tiny Little Questmaker

  • Members
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 August 2020 - 04:05 AM

Nah just make the catfish burp lmao :bounce:

Well technically speaking your description of how the catfish burp attack played out was:

  • Detailed (as much as it could be)
  • Clearly spoken
  • Informed (about the hilarity of a the boss burping at you)
  • Fit my design for the quest (of violently shitposting everywhere)

It checks out.


  • Anthus, Evan20000 and Dimi like this

#14 Dimi

Dimi

    Bug Frog Dragon Girl

  • Forum Staff
  • Real Name:Dimi
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Canada

Posted 01 August 2020 - 11:34 AM

I honestly don't care about any of this, as long as I get to milk Moosh for one last good quest.


  • Mani Kanina and Avaro like this

#15 DarkFlame Sheep

DarkFlame Sheep

    What are you doing right now, Holm?

  • Members
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Japan

Posted 02 August 2020 - 07:15 PM

Technically this can still happen with fangames to a degree. It's just more subtle because there's less of a noticeable measure of how well a game "sells" and the success of the game has no impact on the designer's livelihood. But most of us still do want our target audiences to actually play what we make and that implies designing something they'd want to play, giving them a small degree of "boss"-ness. Of course what we do is so niche to begin with you can pick and choose and almost always find an audience of some size.

For instance, it happened to Dragon Quest9 in fact. It was developed as ARPG initially, but tons of user's voices changed it ARPG into RPG. Many players never wanted DQ9 would be ARPG.


Edited by DarkFlame Sheep, 02 August 2020 - 07:17 PM.



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users