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Requirement to have a Unity Forum Thread for each Unity Asset

Discussion in 'Meta-forum Discussion' started by RendCycle, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    (I'm not sure if this is the proper place to post this so please feel free to move this if necessary.)

    To provide more transparency and easier access to general topics/discussions related to Unity Assets available in the Unity Asset Store, I suggest making it a requirement for each Asset to have a Unity Forum Thread. In addition, I suggest having this requirement included in a New Dynamic Rating System for the Unity Asset Store that I've posted as an idea here for people to hopefully further develop and/or vote on.

    Thanks for reading! :)
     
  2. Buhlaine

    Buhlaine

    Community Manager

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    I've reached out to a few people from the Asset Store team to see if they can share their thoughts here. Stay tuned!
     
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  3. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    Thank you for taking notice and action! :)
     
  4. Salvatore_Unity

    Salvatore_Unity

    Asset Store Content Manager Unity Technologies

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    @RendCycle

    Thank you for the feedback on our review system and greater transparency for assets.

    We currently leave it up to the publisher how they want to build a community around their assets, but I am happy to bring this idea to our meetings and consider what it would take to support a feature that auto creates forum threads per asset.

    Kind Regards,
    Salvatore
     
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  5. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    Thanks for considering and replying to this suggestion! :)

    In my experience using the Asset Store, most of the time I find it difficult to gauge whether the Asset I am interested in would meet my expectations by solely relying on the information already available in that Asset's Store page. So what I do is search for more information by checking the Unity Forum and/or other websites for more feedback from actual Users/Customers of that particular Asset. Sometimes I find threads made by the Asset Store Publisher themselves but other times threads were created by other people in the form of either question or a promotion (maybe they are a friend of the Publisher or they just want to gather opinion/feedback from other Customers) especially if they have more questions and has no choice but to ask other Customers aside from the Publisher (this usually happens when they need to get quicker answers).

    Having a system, like the Unity Forum, to directly and automatically create an official thread for an Asset and be included as a link from an Asset Store's page would be easier for everyone. This would be the easiest honest solution for interaction between Publisher & Customer and Customer to Customer so I hope others won't also just post questions on an Asset's Store's Review Section or before purchasing still take time to look for the website of the Asset Store Publisher that usually the Publisher controls the content themselves and can choose which to answer/hide/show/ignore. By having at least a dedicated Unity Forum thread per Asset, Unity becomes the mediator for the initial content which, I can see, will help provide more truthful/honest information. This can be the first step for Unity to show that they also have interest in protecting their Customers as well as making the experience of shopping in the Asset Store more easier. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
  6. Paul-Swanson

    Paul-Swanson

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    Has any feedback generated for this yet from the Asset Store Team? I think this is a great idea as well. And while i aware a support site is a requirement...you can also shut down external sites after the fact. If its owned by the Unity forum that it remains permanent.
    So in my humble opinion this is a brilliant idea.
     
  7. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    Thanks for the support! :) No feedback received from Unity yet.

    You have a very good point there. I noticed there are some Asset Publishers with non-working e-mails and/or websites on their Asset Store's page. With a live Forum Thread per asset, customers will also be able to at least post information for others about their experience and might even help in the early detection of abandoned Assets.
     
  8. CrystalConflux

    CrystalConflux

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    Not a bad idea – if not compulsory, even a designated space on asset pages to include a forum link would be useful, and make links to forum threads consistent across assets.

    But what about really simple assets e.g. a single texture/small texture pack or simple model designed to be version-agnostic? Would they really warrant a compulsory forum thread - wouldn't this just clutter up the forums with constant new asset threads?
     
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  9. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    Hi! Thanks for the comment. Even some simple assets might have problems / issues like missing or corrupted files (just an example) which might need to be mentioned/reported by a customer especially if a Publisher can sometimes take a long time to reply. Thus it is really difficult to determine whether a particular asset requires a Forum thread or not. So maybe the part of the system that auto creates a Forum thread can be designed in such a way as to only create the thread in the Forum when someone initially posts a question or comment for that particular Game Asset within the Unity Store page itself. Maybe a good example of that part of the UI would be how Amazon and Lazada have it on their store page (i.e. "Questions") wherein a few latest posts can be visible there and then a redirection to the corresponding Forum thread can be visited upon clicking "more". With this approach, a store asset page can have less clutter and the Forum will have less threads that are devoid of comments.

    But if the Asset Publisher themselves create the first post in the Forum, then they can link it up to their selected Asset in the store and that becomes the discussion thread that is used for that Asset. Since questions and discussions for an asset can also be possibly quite lengthy, I guess a Forum thread is much better to use rather than using form fields that are restricted to a very limited amount of characters.

    I suggest also being able to connect a video tutorial course to Udemy or something similar for complex assets through an API. Youtube is free and is also ok for this but the features in Udemy (i.e. like being able to track learning progress, having a quiz, etc.) I think are more suitable for professional tutorials. That is if Asset Publishers or their partners are willing to exert extra effort for creating serious learning materials for their product.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  10. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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  11. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    Thanks for the comment! I've actually posted this previously in Feedback and having an official Forum thread linked to an Asset in the Store is just a part of a bigger system change suggested for the Asset Store Rating System.

    But if you mean creating a new Feedback post regarding having a system to improve learning through partnering with Udemy or integrating a similar feature, I guess that would be more complicated to achieve than Forum integration with the Store and therefore less likely to push through... I've also lost some drive in developing my game and Unity in general so haven't been as active as before.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2018
  12. Player7

    Player7

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    I agree I'm sick of some asset developers not actually bothering to have a forum thread for the asset, it provides discussion for the asset and a way of contacting the developer on the forum without whatever other useless method they think is better like there twitter handle, or worst cases the only way of contacting the developer putting up a review when really you have question.. also allows new customers to see what the current climate for the asset is from other user comments.. ie is the developer even active, tips on how others are using the asset, future things that might be happening with the asset etc...

    simply put ....assets listings should get an automated thread made on the forum, then the link on the asset store to the assets official forum thread can be updated if it ever needs changing. And if unity decide to add some xenforo extensions like thumbnail previews in thread view it could be pretty good.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
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  13. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    If Unity is thinking it would be easier to just get the top assets in the Store based on sales and maybe through gathered reviews then promote them actively, that shortcut won't suffice for everyone. Each game has different requirements and a few great assets won't be able to meet most of those needs even if they just target getting sales from novice customers. That won't totally protect customers because they are free to search the Asset Store for their specific requirements and still accidentally buy lousy assets from non-active publishers. I think the Unity Asset Store's system must be structured like popular online storefronts but has features that will make shopping for digital software tools easier. But the most important thing is the customer must feel they are being protected and they will get value for the money they spend in the store. The other day, I watched some of the old Steam Dev Days videos and learned some things why Valve's Steam is so successful. I know Steam is a slightly different beast (especially in the types of customers. see below) but maybe Unity can get even just some of the basic pointers from it and from Valve.

    Steam Customers
    • Game Storefront = Game Publishers
    • Games = Gamers

    Unity Customers:
    • Game Creation System = Game Developers (All levels)
    • Asset Storefront = Asset Publishers (Mostly Game Devs. w/ intermediate-advanced skill levels)
    • Assets = Game Developers (Mostly Game Devs. w/ novice-intermediate skill levels)

    As of the moment, I feel the Unity customers being protected in the Store are only the Asset Publishers. They can sell Assets without too much consequence if it works as advertised or not. While those buyers who are mostly newbies to Unity does not know if what they're purchasing will actually fit their game's requirements and their skill to understand how to use the Asset until they've evaluated the product after buying it. But without having a quick refund system for Asset customers (like what Steam has), that won't do for the Asset Store. It is still in the control of the Asset Publishers how they will make their product easy to understand/use and how active their offered support will be. Without these information being made clear at the onset (before purchase), mistakes in buying wrong Assets usually happens.

    I don't know how these can be fixed but I know having a connected Forum Thread or an easy way to link a particular Asset in the Store to a communication tool that the public can see and a site member can use will help. This should assist in exposing the truth about an Asset for possible buyers so it will help them in their purchase decision.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
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  14. rmilkowski

    rmilkowski

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    I think there should be a policy of refunds within 7 days of purchase with no questions asked and directly via asset store, for the reasons mentioned above. This would be much more friendly to end users, especially small indie devs. I would be surprised if users couldn’t get most assets via torrents anyway, but they shouldn’t have to trial software like this. I would happily buy some assets if I could easily try them first, especially some less known/cheaper ones, but I don’t bother due to the way refund works. Too much hassle not worth the effort in the end. Small asset publishers, unity and users - all lose.

    Perhaps one should be able to trial any asset for up to 7 or 14 days. Assets would be somehow signed and unity would either inactivate it or ask for it to be purchased. Probably wouldn’t be too hard to bypass, but if someone is determined to do so they can probably get them from torrents or somewhere else anyway. Most users I believe would behave though and everyone would benefit.

    Although Apple App Store or Steam are different, the experience is so much better.
     
  15. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Thi
    As humble it may sounds, Unfortunatelly problem with assets is and refunding, than once purchased, anyone can download and copy further its content. Hence what I would.see, storm of people, buying and refunding in tons. For many small assets, it.would be difficult to prove, weather it has been used in game or.not. Not to mention, looking for.games, which may be using it. Well good luck as asset maker.

    And assets flips will be even worse, as it is now.
     
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  16. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    Your suggestion of improving the refund policy by having a "no questions asked" refund within a trial period is better than nothing. :)
     
  17. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    The possibility of pirated Unity Assets, I think, can be treated similarly to the problem of the prevalence of pirated games before the time of Steam. Maybe in the future, Unity can introduce some sort of DRM for Unity Assets just like Steam has a DRM for games. If we take a look at the past, software piracy won't be totally eradicated by just that single solution. But piracy can be reduced by encouraging customers to acquire software legally. I guess that can be done by:
    1. Offering more value for the legal software product and at the same time enticing customers to use a much more securely controlled online system of the original software publisher and/or storefront. Example: Provide freebies for customers using the publishers' storefront, etc.

    2. Making it worthwhile and more convenient for the customers to just buy legal software compared to pirated versions. Example: Software patches and fixes are only available through the publishers' secure storefront with auto-update functionalities, and other cool options, etc.

    3. Pricing legal software products based on your target market but not too expensive compared to pirated versions. This is why Steam, I think, prices software based on region as they have a global market and they want to combat piracy. They decided to reach vast and different types of demographics as possible. This is so most number of people will be able to afford what they are selling and prefer to buy from Steam instead of from pirated software vendors.
    So far these are just my personal thoughts. I really think designing and opening up Unity's Asset Store to be more customer friendly is the way to go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  18. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    How you enforce something like DRM to pictures, models, or scripts, which are often assets by its own.
    Over complicating more than it need to be.
     
  19. RendCycle

    RendCycle

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    You're right. Thus maybe just for those Assets that can possibly have DRM can be included. The content assets can be protected as normal by their own Asset Publishers. Maybe in the future, a different content protection system can be invented by someone that will act just like an image watermark, but better, which can protect valid game assets. For example, if the Unity software detects existing watermark in game assets being used inside a game being created, it won't compile the program, etc. I know that will be a big investment to do something like that but I'm just throwing some ideas here. Items #1 to 3 that I've mentioned previously, with a good refund policy, might be sufficient enough.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  20. rmilkowski

    rmilkowski

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    The question is if any protection here offers any real value? I guess vast majority of developers, especially working for larger companies wouldn’t pirate anyway. Smaller devs - perhaps, still probably a minority. All the rest who wants to pirate probably can and do anyway. Perhaps when you add an asset to a project which gets compiled, unity should add a warning and a splash screen with message that some assets haven’t been paid for (yet). This could be relatively easily addd by meta tagging. Yes, it would be easy to bypass but for those determined enough they can most likely do it now anyway. Perhaps the no questions asked policy should only apply to cheaper assets only? I can understand doing more upfront research for large/expensive assets, but not really for small ones and not if you are just a hobbyist - the barrier and risk is just too high.
     
  21. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Because that makes them humble? Reality is much darker than most of us can imagine.