While thinking on this topic, I am seeing several of the common suggestions of what has worked for other big communities and how to apply that. Several great ideas as well. For me, personally speaking, I am seeing this as a different light. I am seeing this as a situation indies should know in and out before starting to view their indie career as a career instead of a hobby. We do have the base necessities and they are solid. What we need to start expanding on is that "something unique that hasn't been done before" that get people so attached that when they start using it makes them begin to wonder how it functioned without it before. Basically to "evolve" the forum process in some unique way. Since there is great developer backing, we want to do something unique that really speaks to and calls for the players to come, interact and really want to be here on a regular basis. Game share idea is certainly one idea that certainly does support that but "something more" will be necessary, too.
Some possible suggestions I have are:
- A banner at the top of the forum home page pointing out a focused discussion for the day/week
- A weekly "<insert name of someone who can regularly handle this>'s weekly recommendation" that prefers to focus on games that are underhyped to bring them more on to everyone's radar (or possibly 2 games, one for paid and one for free)
- I think it is great that we can simply click on the developer and be taken to their page and stumped on ideas ATM but that connection is great and if we can possibly connect that to the marketplace page of a chosen featured game would bring in a step closer to connect players into games of developers they are discussing with (possibly a link of "Featured Game" or an icon representing featured game, not the game's icon, so it can let the player have a little sense of mystery if they want while also keeping a solid, consistent feel). For the player users you could have a favorite game instead.
- As much as I think I probably won't like the idea, a very ease means of sharing posts to not just specific threads but specific replies will help encourage more community engagement and the cons outweigh the pros. May create an occasional "call to arms to bully this idea" problem but gives a sense of sharing specific inside the forum because we do want to share with the players most and get as many brought into the picture.
- Optional location tag
- Also did some looking at some non-marketplace sites and some simple ideas that popped up are: site tour (where you can point out the forum), Help wanted section (so developers that are looking to hire can post), Evangelist section (got this idea from Unity of highly active members that go above and beyond to make the community great),
- Online/offline status (if they are online looking at itch.io ATM)
Some of the more outlandish ideas to think about but probably are not anywhere on the ich.io scope:
- a mini-game running along the bottom while the user is on the forum
- A turn-based idle game that plays a turn each time you post
- "Hot" thread of the moment (needs a large active community for this to be effective though)
- developer-generated emoticons (strict limits or it can get out of control fast. Maybe 1 or 2 per game)
- Achievement/trophy/award system for forum activity (post X posts, created a topic with Y views, etc.)
- Badge system (performed for participation in specific events and only given out by leafo)