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Advice on using the WIP forum effectively

Discussion in 'Works In Progress - Archive' started by superpig, Oct 6, 2014.

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  1. superpig


    Drink more water! Unity Technologies

    Jan 16, 2011
    The most common reason for coming to the Work In Progress (WIP) forum and sharing your work is to hear what people think of it. This can be a very useful thing, both for your own motivation (when people tell you about the good things) and for reality-checking (when people point out the bad things). There are ways of using the WIP forum that enable and encourage this kind of thing, that leave you feeling enriched and informed about your project; and there are ways of using the WIP forum that do not, and tend to upset and demoralise people.

    To that end, here's a bit of advice to consider before you post a WIP thread.

    • Tell people what you want their feedback on, if you have particular areas of interest. Also, if there's things you want people to ignore, it can sometimes help to make them look 'deliberately' WIP so that people understand that's what they are and don't get distracted by them.

    • You're under no obligation to act on anyone's feedback. It's your project; you do what you think is best for it. This doesn't mean you should ignore everyone - that would make posting your WIP somewhat pointless - but it does mean that you don't have to take everything to heart.

    • Nobody here is responsible for making you feel good. There's plenty of kind people around who will try to see your work in the best possible light, but remember: the most reliable way to get praise is to deserve it.

    • Remember that people can only respond to what you show them. If you've got some amazing stuff in your project, but you only share screenshots of the crappier bits, then expect people to respond as if your project is crappy. This isn't to say that you necessarily have to always show your best work - just that you should try to be fully aware of what you are showing people, and to bear it in mind when reading their feedback.

    • Similarly, remember that people don't know what's in your head. Things that seem obvious to you won't necessarily seem obvious to other people. Think about whether things like a brief overview of your game story is actually going to make sense to a complete stranger. If not, don’t be surprised when people are confused.

    • If your game didn't have any flaws, it'd be finished, and so it wouldn't be a WIP. If you're posting here, then your game still needs work; you should expect other people to point that out sometimes.

    • If someone correctly points out a problem in your game that you hadn't noticed before, you're no worse off - the problem was there anyway. In fact, you're better off, because now you know about it and can maybe do something about it. Ideally people will suggest solutions when they point out a problem ("constructive" criticism), but even if they don't, you still learned something.

    • Just because someone doesn't like your game, doesn't mean it's bad. Some people have no taste.

    • But, just because someone likes your game, doesn't mean it's good. Some people have no taste. :)

    • While people are often wrong about what the best next step is for your project, they're not wrong about their own reactions. If someone tells you that they find something confusing, they're not lying, regardless of whether you yourself find it confusing. It's fine to decide that you're OK with them being a bit confused, but there's no point insisting that they weren't actually confused after all.
    On the flip side, advice to people commenting on WIP:
    • It's helpful to be specific in your feedback and explain why you do or don’t like something. Instead of just saying, "it's great," talk about which things you think are great about it. Unless, of course, you think everything about it is great, in which case say that. It's OK if you don't do this, and just saying 'cool' can still be motivating for a developer, but the more specific you can be the better. It's more important with negative feedback.

    • Criticise the project, not the developer. Making things personal is how flamewars start.

    • Be respectful. People work hard on their projects - but sometimes, sadly, hard work isn't enough to make a project good. Pretending that a bad project is good is dishonest, and a terrible disservice to the developer, so if you think it's bad you should say so - but it's not cool to ridicule or dismiss the effort they put into it.

    • Remember that this is the WIP forum; projects will not be of finished quality. They may even be of 'barely-started' quality.

    • Questions are often more effective than comments. If you say "X sucks," people tend to get defensive, or ignore the feedback; if you say "what's your plan for improving X?" they tend take it more seriously.
    That's all. Happy WIP-ing!
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