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Max_Caine

Guys, I think we need ambassadors to the Steam forums.

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People tend to develop a "set" of places they regularly visit online just as they do in real life. No-one has the time to visit everywhere they want to go, let alone all they places they should go. People get comfortable, they form preferences, friendships and even romance.

While some Steamies will come to the Goldhawk forums, I honestly can't see a lot of Steamies who aren't already on this forum and who are content with the places they already frequent coming here. They just won't. Aaaaand while it's been made clear that the developers won't frequent the Steam forums and why they won't, that's going to be taken as a snub. Sorry, it just is, in a "What? We're not good enough for you?" kind of manner.

So, I think we need ambassadors. People who are willing to act as a bridge between the Goldhawk forum and the Steam forum. It's not the same as developer involvement, but I can see why there can't be developer involvement on both this complex and developed forum and the Steam forums. I'm already over there, trying to pass on information and get any curious posters interested in the game. I could use the help!

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Max is right. I feel confident saying that as someone very experienced by now with forums. People will concentrate in different places, and people will be on the Steam forum in large numbers. Because it's the most easily accessible one, because you can go there directly from the Steam client. Like it or not, people will be there. Unfortunately, forums like Steam's generally have a lower signal-to-noise ratio, but there are still good posts that are worth reading.

I'd also really suggest rephrasing the top thread on the Steam board. "We do not use these forums" is a very bad title that immediately creates an antagonistic impression. A much better title would be something like "These are not official developer forums". The text of the post does a good job by saying that devs may occasionally check there, but it really needs to be friendlier. With the gaming community at large, things like that matter, and Steam gives enormous exposure.

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There are troll there that never sleep. Not with ten thousand posters could you do this, 'tis folly.

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Dedicated people to moderate the forum beyond what should already be being done is just not going to work. The steam forums are not that kind of place. In my experience there are really only two directions a steam forum will go:

It becomes a hotbed of trolls, whingers and people who have no real interest in the game complaining about the game, usually with a limited understanding of what it is that they're talking about. People with considered responses to some of these are usually ignored and generally lost under a pile of less sensible, more emotionally suspect and typically curious posts.

Alternatively, it does the same thing but instead becomes a fanboy club where all critique is judged as hostile and usually degenerates into an equally hostile place.

Frankly, people who care and are interested will sign up here, those who don't will stay on the steam forums. Personally, I think that's a good way to have things.

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Best thing to do imo, if you do post there, is to keep your composure and stay polite. Don't get caught up in the "badness" since that can send the whole thing into the shitter. Avoid comparisons to EU and such.

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Best I think could happen is a person to help update steam forums and maybe keep a thread about known bugs ect so only one person/group goes between. It makes the steam group feel like Goldhawk is listening and limits the places that list bugs thus reducing redundancy.

So no real PR work, just a list your bugs here thread/known bugs and an update thread. With the mod answering some basic question such as dates of next update or bug fixes. Biggest challenge would be to just ignore the trolls.

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I have updated the stickies to be a bit less aggressive (it probably was a bit rude even though it was not intended to be) and make an attempt at knock the "OMG THIS GAME IS RIPPING OFF XCOM" issue on the head...despite the actual game page / our website saying that's basically the entire point of the game.

I'm not going to be checking the Steam forums that often because their design makes my eyes bleed, and I'm not sure I'd be able to resist chomping down on some flamebait if I spend more than a day or two there, and it's never a good thing for the developer to get angry on public forums. Even if I manage to hold it in tho, the rage isn't going to help my productivity.

Hopefully they'll sorta self-regulate in the future. The whole Steam Forum thing as a concept pisses me off, though...I don't see why they're not optional. It's just Steam trying to reinforce itself as an ecosystem that people never have to leave so it can increase its userbase, with no thought for the developers...

/rage

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There are troll there that never sleep. Not with ten thousand posters could you do this, 'tis folly.
?

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I've tried using the steam forums to find stuff about games, and not to put too fine a point on it, they're a cesspit.

I avoid the place like the plague.

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When it comes to the steam forums I browsed, I wondered why everyone in the thread was so angry, I left.

Pity you can't just lock the steam forum to prevent any posts and just leave a link to your own on the explanation thread.

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Hey guys, long-time lurker (since the first RPS article drew my attention), eventual kickstarter backer and now first time poster - and since steam release, first time 'alpha tester'.

I've always frequented these forums for information, but I tend to get my "what does the community think" information mostly from the steam and gamefaqs forums.

Because they're bigger, and for better or worse, impartial.

I mean, I'm a regular lurker here - I know a bunch of the posters on this forum by name, and I'm happy I get to read glorious leader's motivation for the design changes made.

However, most of you are all biased to really liking this game.

And that's fine. I'm happy about the enthusiasm.

But you're invested. You've invested a small bit of money, but a lot of time and energy in hoping this game succeeds.

And that makes you patient and forgiving.

Not qualities found on the greatest common denominator forums.

But despite all the bile, hate and trolling, there's some good -if often uncouthly phrased- lessons there on how your game is being received by, well.. the masses.

Point I'm trying to make - you do need ambassadors, and I feel you need to change the tone.

"We don't use these forums" does sound hostile.

In fact, the loading screen in the game says "Obviously, load times will be shorter in final build."

What's the obviously doing there?

It serves /no/ purpose but to antagonize.

I'm not a programmer, I don't see what's obvious about it. The fact that it should be obvious makes me feel stupid.

And being made to feel stupid makes me enjoy your product less.

Okay, this is hyperbole, but really; cut the obvious out and you're still informing people - just not offending the more sensitive souls.

And there will be a lot more of those now that you're on early access.

Anyways, back to lurking for me most likely, but just felt the need to chip in here.

Good luck!

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Thanks Findanniin. What you say is true, to an extent. These forums do contain the more invested supporters. But we're not going to be checking the Steam forums regularly and we're not going to be answering everyone's queries there in an official capacity simply because we don't have time to do it. The alternative is just to remove the message at the top of the Steam page and just pretend we will be (this is tempting right now), but mostly I don't want people who are desperate for an answer to their question wondering why they're not getting one.

It's also worth remembering that the vast majority of gamers aren't going to buy the game. Literally 99% of gamers who see Xenonauts on Steam won't buy it, even if it's a superb game. The reverse danger of trying to pander to people who don't care about your game at all also applies to an extent. The Steam forums so far appear full of people who think that they are the first people to notice the game resembles a little game called X-Com, or people complaining about the graphics. In fact, judging from the forums you'd almost think nobody wants to buy the game at all...but we've sold $16,500 so far and we're still not 24 hours after launch. I don't think the vast majority of people who actually buy games use or check the forums at all. I've certainly never looked at them before yesterday.

The "obviously" thing was a joke that has been there for three years and literally nobody else has mentioned it before. I sorta see what you're saying there (I know you were using hyperbole), but equally I don't want to erase every little bit of humanity out of the in-progres product for fear of offending someone. That's just how I write.

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Plus Chris doesn't always get an easy time over on these forums either ;)

We have a few heated discussions ourselves, they do tend to be restricted to actual game features or decisions we are passionate about though.

The bigger the body of people then the bigger the loud 1% actually is so the worse it appears from the outside.

I am sure once you get to know who to listen to and who to ignore then the steam forums are a useful source of information on games.

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I have explained my reasons for the Steam forums not being the official forums in more detail now though. Basically, they're rubbish and can't even support sub-forums, so they're not fit for purpose even if we did want to force the community onto Steam.

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A simple sticky thread at the Steam forum titled "Link to official forums" would suffice, with no backlash or hurt feelings.

Don't emphasize that you'll be ignoring the Steam communty. Do emphasize that this here forum is the best place for bug reports / Xenonauts discussion / baking tips / whatever.

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I am fully supportive of Chris's decision not to use Steam forums in an official capacity. They offer no customization, are strangely designed, and technically much inferior to a proper forum like this one. They also do quite easily become a cesspool indeed. However, still worth checking occasionally because constructive feedback does sometimes happen even in places like that. Also importantly, the forums do need a voice of reason that provides helpful posts, even if such posts do tend to be quickly drowned in the noise. Ignoring the trolls is not very difficult with some experience, at least I'm many years past the point where they'd anger me ;)

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I've tried using the steam forums to find stuff about games, and not to put too fine a point on it, they're a cesspit.

I avoid the place like the plague.

Trolls to the left of me, Trolls to the right of me... it's like the battle of Balaclava.

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Personally I'd nuke Steam forums from the orbit and abandon all hope. They are a true filth bucket and only serve a purpose for trolls and people who are incredibly angry at everything and everyone. I'd post a sticky on the Steam forums that they are not supported and people who are interested should come over to the Goldenhawk's forums. There is really no place for a healthy comminuty grow anywhere on the Steam discussion boards.

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I did that sort of thing a little bit yesterday, I'll probably hop on every day, couple days or so and just direct people, help keep confusion down.

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