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May 9th, 2013, 21:54
In a new blog Jay Barnson shares his ideas on how Frayed Kinghts 2 can be made more social, withou it turning into a social game.
Sometimes, with a single-player CRPG (especially for a guy like me, who often doesnít finish a game until a year or more after itís ďcurrentĒ), itís a pretty lonely experience. Not that I usually mind Ė I gravitate towards these kinds of games because there are times I really just want to enjoy an adventure all by myself. Unless I am stumped or stuck and looking for a solution, I tend to ignore any community of players out there. But other times, I really like to hunt down a forum or something and see what other people are saying about the game, especially if it leads me to better understand the game or the possibilities for enjoyment. Thatís something Iíd like to foster, but itís really hard to do in a little indie game. If you assume that only 1% of the players are predisposed to take that kind of initiative and contribute to the discussion, thatís not a lot of people.
Itíd be nice if the game itself made it easy. And, to be honest, itíd probably help sales if the game made it easy for players to broadcast to their social networks that they are playing the game and doing exciting stuff. However, I grew pretty disgusted by all the Facebook & Twitter messages from certain games announcing the discovery of a certain flower or rock in a game I donít give a crap about. Thatís ďdoing it wrong,Ē in my opinion. Decent idea, poor implementation, maybe. Bombarding friends with stuff like that isnít a good idea.
I especially donít want the experience ruined by having out-of-game notifications pop up while playing, inviting you to broadcast something or to visit a website or any crap like that. Then again, these days, certain people seem to enjoy nothing more than posting status updates everywhere they go and with everything that happens to them in the real world, so maybe thatís not so bad. I really donít know.
From my perspective, I feel like when Iím playing a CRPG, I want to be sucked into the game completely, so that the outside world disappears for a couple of hours. That includes little real-world reminders popping up or out-of-game achievement announcements or any of that crap. Thatís my ideal player experience. Maybe not all players are like that. But I think that later, when a player is finished for the night, or has a minute during a lunch break at work, or is waiting to pick up your kids from dance practice, or after the game is completed but for fond memories, the game world can still there, with a network of other players to share it with.
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May 9th, 2013, 21:54
As a couple of people pointed out, you say "Social" and there's an immediate groan from a community that has been bombarded with horrible (I'd say almost predatory) "Social Games" out there. And that's not really what I'm talking about, other than acknowledging the presence of existing social networks and maybe taking advantage of 'em.

That's really why I posted this. I'm not talking about Zynga B.S. I'm talking about old-school social… the kind of thing you got when you played a game on a LAN, or had a friend playing Ultima VI at the same time you were before there really was a World Wide Web (for those who remember that), or the people you meet at a gaming convention.

Anyway - the point is - there are a few other people playing this game or who have played this game (far too few IMO, but… yeah, that's where I am). What could be done to make it so that we can get that (relatively) tiny community so it doesn't suffer quite so much for being so tiny? Make it so there are some easy and fun ways to connect with other players --- if and when you feel like it? Basically let players take advantage of social networks, instead of having social networking take advantage of them?

Anyway, I'm still casting about for ideas here. Seems like the right thing to do, but it's been abused so often lately it's hard to come up with things that would really be "awesome" for many players without being intrusive.
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May 9th, 2013, 22:37
an answer to a question that nobody asked.
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May 10th, 2013, 01:08
I'm definitely not interested in any social aspects while inside a game. If I want to interact socially with those who are playing the same game, I visit their forum. That is sufficient for the week or two that I'll be playing. Both during and after that time, I come here to discuss crpgs with like-minded folk. Then again, I can't stand multiplayer because it totally destroys immersion. Even RP servers will have people talking about phone calls, a joke they heard at work, etc. Unless you're making a multiplayer game, I just don't see the point. Opinions may vary
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May 10th, 2013, 05:22
I only use forums for communicating with people and the only reason why I have a Facebook page is for free stuff. As long as the social elements are entirely optional I don't mind them being there though. In mmorgs I usually just close or minimise the chat box and ignore it and play the games solo and when a game has it I disable viewing of other players. There are some exceptions to this since sometimes I will join a guild in some games and I will only have the chat box show guild chat.
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May 10th, 2013, 08:40
The only thing I would deem interesting is a direct jump-off to ( or even integration of) the games forums, maybe with an easy way to dump screeshots, stats, and savegames.
Almost none of my Facebook "friends" are gamers, and few even know about this Hobby, so I don't link gaming related stuff there.
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May 10th, 2013, 08:42
Yeah, I'd consider a direct link to the Frayed Knights forums to be a bare minimum. Since I don't seem to get invited to any portals that demand you strip out any web links, that shouldn't present much of a problem.
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May 10th, 2013, 09:12
How about… an in-game "help" database, slowly built up by players as the game's release progresses, formatted (again by the players) so that it pertains to the precise quest/region/npc you have highlighted, and completely hidden from view unless you go looking for it.

It would likely require a game's coding be built from the ground up with that in mind, however.
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