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Validity of indie reviews
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codergames



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
Posts: 167



PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Validity of indie reviews Reply with quote

"I was thinking the other day that the Humble bundle's charity bit was pretty clever. I wonder if the thought that some of the money is going to charity (and indeed an amount you can control) helps people decide to open their wallet and dig out their credit card. I could imagine a portal specialising in that sort of deal, even without the pay-what-you-want element: developers pick a price and one or more charities they like, then buyers get to decide how to distribute the money between the developer and the charities."

That is a good idea, if the portal is ranked very high and has many visitors. I could see myself putting my super game on that portal.
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Sun May 16, 2010 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'd probably need to find a bunch of charities for such a portal. I like the Humble bundle's choice, but not everyone might, so they should be given a choice between a few (either set a percentage for each charity, or just choose a few they like and have the money evenly distributed between them).

codergames wrote:
my super game

Please, stop being so boastful. Supporting your own product makes it seem like you believe in it; being boastful and always saying how good it is makes it seem like you're a jerk. Would you believe George Lucas if he said that Star Wars Episode 1 was the best movie ever, or that Jar Jar Binks was the best character ever? I hardly think he's an unbiased opinion on such matters. It's like a rule I have when playing WoW... the more someone needs to say how good they are, the worse they actually are (there are exceptions, of course... but it's a great general rule).
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codergames



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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, other people spoke me of the quality of my game. I did get a lot of editor's choice awards as well. Of course, its my opinion as well.
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

codergames wrote:
Well, other people spoke me of the quality of my game. I did get a lot of editor's choice awards as well. Of course, its my opinion as well.

Doesn't make you seem any less boastful. If you insist upon prefacing every mention of your game with what other people think of it, then you should sometimes use other opinions - like if I were to say I'd rather bathe in a steaming pile of horse dung than play your game, then you should use that when describing it too, at least occasionally.

As for your editor's choice awards - I'm sorry if I failed to respect the highly judgemental and always revered in the games industry as scripture opinions of such prestigious journals of pure unabated wisdom that are BestVistaDownloads.com, DownloadRoute.com, EuroDownload.com, Softwarelode.com, Daolnwod.com, GearDownload.com and Download32.com.

OH LORD, I HEREBY REPENT! I SHALL NEVER AGAIN DOUBT THE OPINIONS OF SITES I'VE NEVER HEARD OF AND GIVE OUT "EDITOR'S CHOICE" AWARDS LIKE CANDY IN ORDER TO GENERATE MORE DOWNLOADS! LET MY FOOLISH SOUL BE FORGIVEN SO THAT I MAY SOON BE SAVED BY THESE FLY-BY-NIGHT DOWNLOAD WEBSITES! I SHALL SPREAD THE WORD OF THESE VESSELS OF YOUR DIVINE WISDOM SO THAT OTHERS MAY BE SAVED AS I HAVE!
(Sorry for the caps, but it's funny. At least I think so.)

I have to say though, looking at your website closely enough to find those links (they were obvious, so naturally it's the last place I checked), does show me a few worrying things.
(Oh, and I'm also sorry for turning a thread about World of Goo into this. Should the almighty Poo Bear wish to split it off into its own thread, that would be fine with me.)
    1. The buttons for every social networking site ever conceived by man just makes it look like you're trying too hard. I don't even know what two thirds of them are, and you're just overloading people with information by having them there. (My suggestion? Add a single button which then pops up a list sites to share it on. It's less confusing and a hell of a lot neater).
    2. This might have something to do with the first one, but your pages are huge. Your homepage, according to Firefox, is 40 kilobytes. Sure, on a connection like mine that's .3 of a second, but anyone using dialup (god forbid) would take 8-9 seconds to load the page - without images, just the HTML. They'd probably get frustrated and leave well before then. For some comparison, the page on the Moonpod website for Mr. Robot is 4.5kb. The Microsoft homepage is 13kb. The official website for Modern Warfare 2 is 29kb, and I assure you it does a hell of a lot more than your website does in a quarter less space.
    3. That long diatribe on your home page? Lose it. Or at least move it to another page. Leave a summary there maybe. Anyone looking for your games is just going to see that (it takes up almost my whole screen, and my monitor runs at 1680x1050 - many people have smaller ones). Yes, there's a link in the top right corner to your games, but don't count on people to see that for two reasons. One, the top right isn't a common location for navigational features and two people never see what you expect them to see.
    4. Some of the pages are really hard to find. I didn't even know there as an FAQ page until I went to the contact page. If there's a more obvious way, I didn't see it. If there's a more obtuse way, I'd like to see it.
    5. I'm not going to get into specifics (mostly because there's nary a paragraph lacking fault) but you really should entertain the notion of getting someone to proofread. I'd do it, but I'm too busy criticising.

Now, I'm not sure how much right I have to criticise, since I'm not a web designer (oh wait... I am, never mind) but I think your website isn't particularly easy for someone not as savvy as me (which is most people... I'm not trying to brag but the fact is not a great deal of people care enough about computers to learn them as well as you or me).
Remember kids, I judge how successful my posts are based on how many times you need to reference the dictionary while reading them.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was tempted to just lock the thread as it was turning a bit unfriendly Smile
but there seems to be some reasonable advice in there.

I have heard rumours that some shareware sites just automate the ratings process i.e. you submit a game/app and ~24hours later they send you an email saying you've got 5stars and encouraging you to link to them. They make money from ads so the more people that link to them the more money they make.

I'm not saying this is fact! I use a program to upload my games to shareware repositories, there are about 1000 of them so it is the only way to handle the process.

http://robosoft.rudenko.com/download-sites.html

note - your first use of this program is free so I definitely recommend it, but it will take about a day even with this automation. When you want to upload something new or notify the sites of an update, that is when you have to buy it. Which is fair enough.

After using this program I received emails notifying me of ~50 4 and 5 star reviews. Obviously I'm not saying they've automated it, but it does seem a suspiciously fast turn around. Also, they are pulling the review text from my standard game description in my PAD file rather than saying anything specific.

So what's the point? Well, I don't think there is anything wrong with listing all those shareware review scores. However, I'd try and get actual reviews done i.e. where they wrote at least a couple of sentences about it. That way you can have a reviews page that lists the score and a comment or two - this makes everything feel above board and legit to the casual observer. Similarly, in news letters always mention new reviews and review comments, but again, favour the ones that actually made comments about the game so you can guarantee it's real.

http://www.moonpod.com/English/reviews.php?g=4

It doesn't matter if it's not a well known website, I've listed reviews from people's blogs I've never heard of! However, it's obvious when someone has played the game and genuinely has something to say about it and I think that is what site visitors are interested in too.

So once again, I'm not saying any review scores are faked, just that you have to be careful about this kind of thing.

Keep it friendly kids Wink
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codergames



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got offers from, so called, game reviewing sites for them to write a review for my game, but they asked for the money. To tell you the truth, I value opinions of people who rate it for free and people who purchased it, the most. I'm currently including in my next game some of the features that people suggested, but because casual players suggest one thing and non-casual some other, I'm not able to meet all the wishes. The game's 1/3 finished already.

I browsed shareware sites to see if other games got awards as mine and the most of them did not, only the quality ones did, so your assumption of automatic awards kinda reveals your bad intentions. Those sites are well visited and highly ranked in search engines and Alexa. I'm getting a fair share of direct downloads from those sites.

Bytten offered to write a review for $40 or so.
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Weeble
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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm no expert on review sites, but I would be very cautious of anyone trying to charge you for them to review your game. It sounds like it could easily be a scam. I know there are definitely lots of places out there that make their money by scamming naive writers looking for a publisher or an agent, so I would not be surprised if the same sort of parasitic "ecosystem" exists around indiegames.
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Mon May 17, 2010 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, nobody I know pays for reviews, just ignore anything like that.

You have to be really careful because there are a lot of sharks out there.
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codergames



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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its not like I'm imagining things:

http://bytten.com/submit.php

I really don't care about paid reviews. I'm sure players can make a decision on their own without any review. So, what shall I do, pay? I'm in the queue:

http://bytten.com/gamequeue.php

But, will they trash my game if I don't pay?
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Poo Bear
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bytten won't trash the game if you don't pay, they've done reviews for lots of people without them paying. Don't worry about it.
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codergames



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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks
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codergames



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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm posting the PAD file url to shareware sites and it seems that once the PAD is posted and then later on updated, shareware sites automatically update the changes in 2 weeks or less. So, its important to submit the PAD url location the first time.

More and more sites are having captcha protection, so you must manually submit to those sites. And some sites are PAD rings, got email from them that the PAD url was automatically submitted to all sites a part of those rings. However, these sites do not try / check and award the software. From, literally, hundreds of sites, I only got around 10 awards. And I got those awards few days or a week after my game appeared in their list. I got emails from editors, etc.

Of course, we should value the opinions of players the most. And what can I do, my site's not even indexed properly in all the search engines, I only get players from shareware sites.
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codergames



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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Konedima, I don't have a clue why is the size of all the pages large. jQuery is 71kb. I'm using it AJAX on the support part and from today on hiscores. Reduced the social bookmarks, like you suggested, a bit smaller but still high, 32kb ... and its true I'm trying to get visitors and promote site for free as much as possible.
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codergames



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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This site's home page is ~45kb
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Konedima
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

codergames wrote:
This site's home page is ~45kb

I'm using Firefox, which must count differently (probably not including images). If I use Internet Exploder (yes, really - I set the title bar to say that), then Moonpod's homepage does show up as 45kb, and yours at 32kb (but to be completely fair, the Moonpod homepage does look a lot better).
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