Please Contribute to DevMaster

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dk 158 Sep 19, 2013 at 10:46

It’s been a bit quiet lately. Hopefully, it’s a matter of people adjusting to the new website. I encourage everybody to help create some activity and contribute with whatever you can:

  • Read an interesting article, tutorial, or news item? Share it here!

  • Thought of an interesting topic or want an opinion? Discuss it!

  • Worked on an interesting project? Showcase your latest project and highlight some technical details!

  • Have a game development question? Ask away!

  • Read an interesting post here? Vote on it!

We also need to help spread the word about DevMaster and create some extra awareness. Please spread the word to your friends, colleagues, and anyone who might be interested!

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Stainless 151 Sep 19, 2013 at 10:59

a bit quiet! it’s been terminal.

I check for posts three or four times a day and there’s been nothing.

NOT EVEN SPAM

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Sadr 104 Sep 19, 2013 at 16:33

I realize this is the last thing you want to hear after having put in an immense amount of work to rejuvenate your website and community, but I fear you took a bad turn with this latest redesign.

You’ve positioned yourselves in an awkward space between /r/gamedev/ and gamedev.stackexchange. This is a huge problem because there wasn’t much space there to begin with:

  • reddit already has drive-by info dumping down to a science.
  • StackExchange already has civilized Q&A down to a science.

By forcing a voting-centric culture upon what used to be a discussion-centric community, you’ve turned what used to be an open discussion hub into a popularity contest. It’s not a forum any longer.

And what is it really? Where’s the about page that tells me I am indeed where I wanted to be. GD.net, /r/gamedev and gamedev.stackexchange all have one. And they’re all quite different, because they serve different purposes, which they’ve made abundantly clear.

When I come to your site, where do you want me to begin? You need some overarching categories to guide first time posters & readers alike. You’ve given me two very difficult choices:

  • a) Browse through everything
  • b) Browse through very narrow topics

Unfortunately I think what has happened is that most visitors have chosen option c) neither.

To me, DevMaster.net has always been living in GameDev.net’s shadow. I applaud your attempt at differentiating yourselves, but I think you missed the mark. You actually beat it too hard with the simple stick.

In this couch expert’s humble opinion, your engine repository is your treasure chest (it even says so on your wikipedia page!). If I was in your shoes, I would re-purpose your Posts platform around your DevDB. Currently the two are completely decoupled. It’s just the articles/discussions on the one side, and the static pages with reviews attached on the other. If you want your site to be about sharing resources, you need to tie these two together. Make “Add Resource” the new “Submit Post”, but make it as easy as Posting is now.

Engines, Tools, Libraries and Books. There’s your categories. This should be what you’re inviting people to submit to your site. Only this, because unlike reddit and stackexchange and gamedev.net, Devmaster.net is the place to be when you want to evaluate, discuss and share game development resources.

That’s a tangible niche you can build a community around.

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Stainless 151 Sep 20, 2013 at 09:20

I don’t like the new site, at all, in fact I would go as far as to say I hate the thing. However I am willing to put up with it, because there are some damn good people contributing to the site.

I know that if I need to talk to someone who understands screen space ambient occlusion mapping, I can find one here.

If I need someone who knows ray tracing backwards, I can find one here.

That’s the attraction here, not the engine repo.

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Sadr 104 Sep 20, 2013 at 09:32

Thing is, you can find people like that, quite possible the same people, easier on StackExchange or GameDev.net, because those sites are better suited to facilitate that type of dialogue.

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dk 158 Sep 21, 2013 at 06:14

Thanks for your constructive feedback. It’s that kind of feedback that will help us move in the right direction and provide us an opportunity to allay concerns. To address your points:

By forcing a voting-centric culture upon what used to be a discussion-centric community, you’ve turned what used to be an open discussion hub into a popularity contest.

What makes you believe we’re “forcing” a voting-centric culture? We’ve just provided simple voting tools that help provide feedback and create a community-driven site. These mechanisms have been around for a while now in many sites and have proven to be effective. It works well on sites like StackOverflow, reddit, and others. In fact, the old DevMaster forums had some form of voting, though with the way it was designed, it wasn’t useful.

Again, the goal isn’t to turn the culture into a popularity contest, but to encourage posting great content and allow the community to self-moderate.

When I come to your site, where do you want me to begin?

That’s a good question. We’re open to feedback on how to make answering that question easier, especially for newcomers. So your argument is that because topics are not categorized in clear categories, it’s difficult to browse topics that are interesting to you and hence for you to know what to do. Is that correct? So, if we replace the tagging system with a categorization one (e.g. similar to the categories we had in the old forums), would that help? We’re open to exploring that change if it really is a problem. However, based on my observations from the old forums, the majority of users simply browse what’s new in terms of topics posted. People usually don’t just follow specific categories, as evidenced by the fact that many users participate in topics from multiple categories. The new system is supposed to make browsing actually easier, because it immediately shows you “what’s popular” based on community feedback, as well as what’s unread. There’s a good chance that if most of the community believes a topic to be interesting, that you’ll also find it interesting.

Comparing with the front-page on the old site, the old site might have looked nicer because of more visuals and eye candy, but what did it provide? Mainly articles and game development news, neither of which were heavily updated, and weren’t core features of the site. Ultimately, people come to DevMaster because of the discussion forums (and DevDB), not the news or articles. That’s what the new site is about: focus on where the activity is and what users want: the discussions.

The key point is, almost anything you did in the old forums, you can still do in the new site. Users shared a news item to discuss it. People brought up topics or asked questions. People showcased some of their projects. All that can be done here too, but without the clutter and complexity of the old forums.

I understand the change is huge and usually no one likes changes on things they’re used to. I believe at the end, it comes down to people getting used to the new site and giving it a chance. The world is changing, and DevMaster has to adapt to stay relevant.

your engine repository is your treasure chest…If I was in your shoes, I would re-purpose your Posts platform around your DevDB.

I agree that DevDB is the distinguishing feature for DevMaster and has a lot more potential, especially in making it more social and interactive. In general, DevMaster has been providing two things: Discussion Forums and DevDB. The new site makes this clear and pretty much revolves around those two areas. We’ve actually considered your proposal. However, we felt that the forums had decent activity in the old site and users found value in them. I believe there’s always room for discussion-based communities. But I do agree with you that we can incorporate discussion-based functionality around DevDB too.

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fireside 141 Sep 19, 2013 at 18:27

There isn’t much happening around lately, otherwise I would try to post something just to see how it works. Give it some time. We got quiet spells with the other set up also. I basically like it and I think you are on the right track.