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Just about every game developed has to have some forum where they send users to ask questions and they answer them. Since Stack Exchange is supposed to be about "professional Q&A", have we considered trying to recruit game developers to point people here for Q&A about their games? This would obviously involve them having someone who was able to answer questions here, but the community could help out as well.

The benefits for us are that we get more users, more questions, and we start to be known as a place to get "official" answers.

The main benefit for the companies would be

  • Faster responses to questions
  • A nice UI for asking and answering questions
  • A well moderated site without the need to employ a moderator

The drawbacks of course would be that they couldn't combine it with a "Random discussion about the game" forum, and that they wouldn't have as much control over the site as if they hosted their own. I would think the target audience would be indie developers that don't already have a large company forum of their own setup.

  • there already is a dedicated SE for game development, gamedev.stackexchange.com or am I reading this wrong? – Rohan Monga Apr 22 '11 at 15:08
  • @bronze This is for people suggesting this site for gameplay questions. – Grace Note Apr 22 '11 at 15:16
  • @grace sorry, i still don't follow – Rohan Monga Apr 22 '11 at 15:21
  • @bronzebeard Game Dev is for game development questions - questions asked to developers about development. This site would be a place for people playing their games to ask about the games themselves. – Grace Note Apr 22 '11 at 15:22
  • oh, now I get it. Like having notch answer minecraft stuff. that will be very cool. – Rohan Monga Apr 22 '11 at 15:24
  • @bronzebeard I think the idea is more along the lines that, to steal your example, Notch would recommend this site to Minecraft players who would then come here and ask/answer questions. – Mana Apr 22 '11 at 16:46
  • aah, now i get the question. now I am like, duh? that's what the question says :) – Rohan Monga Apr 22 '11 at 16:54
8

It's a great idea, but there is a natural tension here.

Why wouldn't game developers support their own discussion or Q&A areas for their games first?

In other words, Valve (for example) already has a Team Fortress 2 forum, and Blizzard already has a World of Warcraft forum.

It's going to be difficult to compete with dedicated areas, supported by the official developers, for individual games.

So whatever we're thinking of here, it'd have to be as an alternative to those, or for games that have no "natural" discussion / Q&A / wiki outlet.

  • 5
    Agreed, that's why I said I think the target would be indie developers that don't already have their own forum. The best we could do for the big companies is get them to also have an official person here, but that would require us to be a big enough player that they HAVE to do so. The indie market has grown sufficiently though that there's definitely some potential there. – bwarner Apr 26 '11 at 20:08
  • While true Valve has a forum and a Q&A part, I'm sure they would admit our sites are better at the Q&A part. It remains a chicken-egg problem though, they won't support anything unless it has critical mass. We won't get critical mass (any time soon) unless we get more (official) support – Ivo Flipse Apr 27 '11 at 8:49
  • As an Indie I would love to use Gaming as a Q&A Area. Not only does it free me from having to have dedicated support people (as I would expect over time the users here would become more knowledgeable) The questions would also serve as free advertising on a highly trafficked site. Likewise, I plan on mentioning GameDev as the place to get support for all of my Free/OpenSource Middleware projects. – Noctrine May 9 '11 at 16:46
6

For starters, we have had some (albeit very infrequent and very small) discussions with members of our sister site, Game Development, on them cross-promoting their products with us. Not unlike Game Development (which I know has seen quite a few interesting developers like the minds behind... that reckless disregard for gravity...), we have had a few developers actually answer questions about their own game. The creator of Favimon strikes my most immediate example.

The Community Promotion Ads are also an excellent place to have both of us support each other, and getting developers to work with us is the main reason why I pushed to have them on this site (with all due credit to LessPop_MoreFizz for the initial suggestion).

Community ads let us help developers promote their product. Meanwhile, our community gets to see said product, plays the game, and thus they already know where to ask once they have gotten a question. In the process, there's also no harm in suggesting to the developers a link or nudge towards our site just as a good source of expert advice.

I've actually been attempting this with a particular indie circle I know. Unfortunately, they haven't gotten back to my contact (he's unsure what's up with that), but I do recommend starting with our Community Promotion Ads. Contact those developers you have amicable relationships with, and coordinate with them to produce the a good ad for the in-house ads. Show them our vested interest in the double success of both our site as a repository of knowledge, and their game as, well, a game. ♪

  • One of the games that is already on our Community Promotion is Desktop Dungeons. The home page for the game currently says to look at the wiki if you have questions, or points you to a single 59 page thread in an online forum. Seems like we could do much better if they posted a link telling users to ask questions here. – bwarner Apr 22 '11 at 15:33
  • @bwarner For what it's worth, there wasn't actually any direct coordination with QCF, Jin just posted that ad (as with many others that we currently have) because the game is excellent. – Grace Note Apr 22 '11 at 15:35
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    I know, my point is that its a good example of a game we're already answering questions about, and which looks like it is in need of a good Q&A site. – bwarner Apr 22 '11 at 17:24
  • @bwarner: Well, we can encourage that ourselves by playing the game (if you like roguelikes) and asking questions we have about it - real ones, of course. I've been playing it since I saw the ad (well, not literally: waited until I got home from work to download it), but I haven't yet found something I need to ask other than "wtf?" and "srsly?", both of which are "not a real question". – Dave DuPlantis Apr 25 '11 at 1:19

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