I had a quick play of this last night, and I was impressed. Really good work with it, folks.
Recent community posts
Side note: maybe make postcount, etc visible on mouseover or an option to do so. That'll allow a clean aesthetic without (hopefully!) much work.
Also, posts need a link to the post itself so I can share them, etc.
> Personally I don't like the gamifying parts of forums like post counts etc. partly cause it makes all other forums look really ugly
If it's an aesthetic thing, offer options to minimise those things or hide them (or, make them visible on mouseovers)
This is an important point, and to expand on it: Reddit make you feel like shit for mentioning what you're working on.
While I feel the forum should have a player focus as opposed to a dev-only focus, it should be very clear from the outset that talking about your work is encouraged rather than frowned upon.
Let's talk retention.
What I mean by this, is that Itch as a site has several things that need to be improved (and they have been, which is great), and they all flow into this discussion for the forum as the following points:
- How do you get people here? (Forum)
- How do you encourage someone to come back tomorrow? (Forum)
First point is mostly about advertising the forum (big link front page when you're ready, etc). Second point is about psychology - and let's take some big pointers from forums we've all used before.
The first things that come to mind, are: Post counts (or some form of point reward system). Yes, they do encourage low value posts, but they are also a psychological reinforcement to come back (and remind users they've spent time here before). They also help to show how involved someone is within the community so a response can be properly rationalised (ie: talking to someone who's posted 10 times vs someone who's posted 10,000 times uses different phrasing, assumptions, etc). I think this is one of the first things that should be considered. Straight up
Secondly: Keeping a conversation going. Encouragement to continue a conversation is typically done via a trigger - mostly a notification that you HAVE a reply to respond to. Not sure that I've noticed this in place yet. In short, if there's no notification of responses, expect people to never return to conversations and for things to be very hit & run.
Third: Consider giving visual weight to users according to either their purchase history (little joysticks to indicate amount of games owned, etc), their development history (little space invader icons per games released), jam history, etc. Little things help to give people a feel of how much they belong. I know the crisp, clean interface is a nice thing but maybe you can run two visual styles - one by default that's more traditional forum and then the cleaner one for those who like a more pure look.
Mostly - if you want the community within the forum to grow (and therefore, the site overall), you're going to need to aim more at the players than at the devs, and you're going to need to examine other forums and see how certain things are handled.
> Also it's best if we include non-gamedevs into this discussion, since they use the site too and we don't want to completely alienate them with game development stuff and provide some general gaming content too.
Absolutely. Though it's nice having gamedev communities, it's worth noting that Itch's forums should actually predominately be for the folks who PLAY the games on the site rather than just the devs talking to other devs.
I've previously sold itch.io keys at PAX Aus and other events, and people are highly receptive to the idea of 'like Steam but for smaller games' - BUT, it'd be awesome to have a premade flyer as a PDF you can encourage devs to print and have at their booths, etc.
This'd be a good thing we could use to start the idea of a street team - folks who can help get more presence in geographical areas, etc.
> Our current project is a music sequencer "game" being designed specifically for a large touchscreen surface in the children's section of the Iowa City Public Library, but we've got a bunch of other stuff in the pipe for 2016.
That sounds incredibly cool. Got photos?
- weekly feedback/screenshot events (like /r/gamedev does)