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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 35 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Publicising, whats a good way to advertise/get known for Free RPGs?  (Read 1774 times)
Roadkill
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Posts: 23


« on: June 13, 2008, 03:37:40 PM »

I am currently developing a game called Warriors of Fantasy. It is a RPG/Wargame hybrid and could appeal to both types of players. My game is nearing completion and I'm wondering what would be the best way to spring it on the world?

I intend to make the game freely available to players, and also encourage them to create content for the universe much like an open-source computer game or something available under GPL (General Public License).

1)Firstly what is a good way to describe what I mean without using those computer game terms? or are those computer game terms the best way to describe it?

2)What copyrighting/licensing could I use to help combat plagiarism? I know I'm distributing it free and will encourage other to do do, but I would not like someone to make money off my game, or change the name and modify the rules without referencing the original game, you understand right?

3)What is a good way to release my game to the masses? is there a good way? my game is currently underground and so far to my knowledge only one person has read the alpha rules yet (well one person has posted on the warriors of fantasy forum with a scenario and some creature stats he has made up!).

btw I lied about the game being nearly finished... I hope to have it constantly growing, changing, evolving & improving but when I release it apon the masses I plan to have it in a good state.

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2008, 04:49:09 PM »

Hello,

I'll start with your last point first. My call is that your first priority should be playability. In internet terms, that doesn't mean 800 pages of intensively detailed background, or careful rules for what might happen 0.008 % of the time during play. It means the best of the setting, the rules which must be constantly used, and a clear description, or better depiction, of why playing this game is actually fun.

I may not be making my point. It is: being "finished" in the sense of ultimate amazing completeness should not be your priority for the purposes of promotion. But being playable - and interestingly so - is definitely the priority.

All that said, on to your questions ...

Quote
1)Firstly what is a good way to describe what I mean without using those computer game terms? or are those computer game terms the best way to describe it?

No one knows the answer to that. The best strategy, which has worked over and over again for internet promotion, is to use exactly the terms which get you the most excited. That will typically excite people whose tastes are similar to yours, and then when they see the game, they will know that their excitement is justified. Trying to anticipate how anyone else will react is entirely a lost cause.

Quote
2)What copyrighting/licensing could I use to help combat plagiarism? I know I'm distributing it free and will encourage other to do do, but I would not like someone to make money off my game, or change the name and modify the rules without referencing the original game, you understand right?

Nothing of that kind (contracts, legalisms, of all sorts) combats plagiarism. The good news is that your "copyright" is automatic the second you make your work public, but the bad news is that it has no legal power. Anyone may be inspired by your work, all the time, up to and including simply taking it and pretending it's theirs. We can discuss the difference between copyright and trademark, and talk about suits and other legal recourse, but I think that would become over-speculative very quickly, at this point.

Let's stick with what is absolutely relevant to making a free game available on the internet. First, this is a very social act - people respond to it in all sorts of ways according to how they want to socialize. Some are mean-spirited fucks who only want to put you down somehow; some are pleased at your generosity and consider themselves in your debt from the start; and many are in-between in some way. Second, if the work is good, people respond to you as well as to the work. And related, if you follow up on their positive response, then it's not the game alone you're presenting - it's you, as a person, connecting with them as people. You don't even have to spend hours and hours BSing on line to do that; it's all about how you acknowledge and appreciate how they respond to your work.

How does that relate to protecting vs. plagiarism? Easy - pure social pressure. If a bunch of people know about your work and respect you as its author, then they will operate as a policing force - particularly in pointing out when game X is using your stuff without acknowledging it, or if person Y is making a big deal about his wonderful system when it's actually your work. This may sound idealistic to you, but it's actually panned out very well over the past ten-plus years of experience with independent and internet publishing.

Finally, one more relevant point - when people steal, they steal from things which are already grandiose or flashy in some way. They don't steal from stuff which is just breaking in; one of the whole points of being such a thief is that the person can't tell what's good and what's bad by themselves. The system for my game Sorcerer is widely thought to be one of the most powerful in the hobby for certain purposes of play, and I had it available on the internet for free for over five years. No one stole it - nobody. People who do that sort of thing are fundamentally stupid about play and game design, and so it's not "your ideas" you need to worry about. They won't see them in the first place.

Quote
3)What is a good way to release my game to the masses? is there a good way? my game is currently underground and so far to my knowledge only one person has read the alpha rules yet (well one person has posted on the warriors of fantasy forum with a scenario and some creature stats he has made up!).

Here are some ways that may work for you; they've worked for a number of people so far.

1. Post here, at RPG.net, and at Story Games about what it's like to play your game. I suggest not mirroring the same account at all three places, but writing honest questions or points that are suited to the purposes of each site. Showcase what is actually good about your game, without trying to puff it up into something it's not.

2. Put a link to the game in your signature. Don't use big colorful letters, either - just a link.

3. Support and discuss other games that you enjoy playing. This gives rise to publisher mutualism, which is the gold standard of internet publishing and can neither be bought nor faked.

I hope that helps and maybe raises more questions. Let me know.

Best, Ron
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Roadkill
Member

Posts: 23


« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2008, 03:08:39 AM »

Ty for the input Ron,

Yep my first priority is definitely playability. When I release it I intend it to be a fully functional, enjoyable game.
 
I understand all your points clearly except 1 what do you mean by mirroring accounts?
Do you mean using the same name? or spamming the same posts?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2008, 07:14:12 AM »

Oops - I wasn't clear in that phrasing at all. I mean posting the exact same post to initiate a thread at different forums.

Clearly, I cannot stop you from doing that, or even act as a moderator here about such a post (for one thing, I can't keep up with policing it). My call, though, is that every site has its own functions and dynamics, and so it's better for you to tune a thread-starting post to the particular site to maximize its potential. So what I wrote above is advice from a fellow publisher, not a moderator mandate.

Best, Ron
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Roadkill
Member

Posts: 23


« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 12:59:33 PM »

Yes I totally agree,

I take no notice of people spamming/advertising their stuff when its not relevant to my interests, and it has never influenced me at all, infact everytime I ignore something I stand more chance to ignore it again in the future...

why should I expect it to work on other people?
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First Oni
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Posts: 37


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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2008, 01:34:23 PM »

My suggestions on advertising would mirror a lot of what has already been covered. Contribute to the forums, help out other designers, post questions that you genuinely have, etc., but thought it'd drop a couple others:

I started my web site www.thirdeyegames.net.

Then i created a myspace page for it www.myspace.com/thirdeyegames

I noted it on my livejournal at www.livejournal.com/chi_gobbler

I also put a link to my site in my away message for my chat accounts and sent out a welcome e-mail to all my e-mail contacts.

So, i guess it depends on how far you want to go. I'm still looking for other ways of free advertising before i start paying for ad space.  :-)

Hope that helps!

-Oni
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