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TheKingBahamut

How to Generate Interest in a Project? (Or, how to find people to help you make a hack)

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So, I don't know how relevant it is for me to post this here, since this isn't really a tech question, but I have no idea where else I would ask this and I feel it is an important question for many newbie hackers looking for assistance in bringing their visions to life.

I'm an aspiring game maker. I've had an original Fire Emblem story idea that I've been wanting to make into a hack for a while now. While I have most of the story and characters down, I know very little about programming, making sprites/animations, or any sort of tech aspect of making games. While I have been making an effort to learn more, it's a very difficult process for just one person to do alone. To that end, I decided that the best course of action was for me to start looking for people to help me with making the game. Some time ago, I posted a thread in the Concepts forum advertising my game idea and asking for any people who were interested to contact me. (Normally I would link you to this thread so you can read it yourself, but Serenes' link-paster tool is a piece of shit that doesn't work so I can't. Just look under my account content, you'll see it.)

I got one response. One. And the guy wasn't offering to help create, merely asking me more questions. I could see that people were looking at the post, plenty of them, but no one was biting. So I continued writing the story and doing some of my own work. I learned how to create mug sprites by splicing pre-existing mugs together, which was cool, if not exactly what I wanted. I planned on putting a prototype of the game together to show off a rough idea of what it would look like, but impatience got the better of me and I decided to ask for help again. I made another post, this time with a more clear and focused vision of the game I wanted to make, as well as some of the sprites I had cobbled together. I even advertised the post on other websites and asked friends to help promote it as well.

No one responded. Not a single person. Well one person, but he did so through direct message so it doesn't really count.

I have it on good authority that creating a hack by oneself is borderline impossible, yet these experiences seem to be telling me that I need to do everything myself and that no one is interested in helping me. I like to think my idea is at least an interesting one, but of course I know the old expression that there are too many good ideas in the world and not enough good executions. And I'm sure other people who post to concepts with less of an idea as to what to make feel the same frustration when no one seems willing to help them.

So what I want to know, from the hacking veterans here who have full teams working on their projects is: How do you generate interest in a project so that people will be willing to help you with it? Do you need to know how to do everything for yourself, and do you have to do it all by yourself, if only for a small amount of time? If an idea isn't grabbing interest, is it because the idea isn't very good, or because you can't substantiate it?

And most importantly, if there's something I'm not doing right, what can I do differently to get the results I want? Because I can't make this game by myself. God knows I'd love to.

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Short answer: git gud

Long answer: People are more willing to help when you actually show progress. Release a demo with 2 or 3 chapters for example to build up interest, a few splices or recolors alone won't do much. If you want help for the project, provide evidence that it's a project worth helping.

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It's going to be nigh-impossible to find someone who will do the eventing and stuff for you, as most if not all of the people who know how to write events are doing their own things already, fortunately eventing isn't too hard to learn given all the tutorials out there, and is less difficult than actual programming. If you build a small demo on your own and post that you'd probably have a higher chance of getting people involved. As for mugs, using your own splices or borrowing things from the Nickt collection for use in it. You can worry about fully custom ones later when you have a team built.

There's also an inherent cynicism when it comes to concepts as ideas are a dime a dozen and most of them never get off the ground. If you show that you're willing to put in work to get your game going then other people will be more likely to offer assistance.

I don't really know how the other established projects did it, but I'm going to assume they started with some small solo thing and then grew from there.

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Look at how many threads are in the Concepts section. Now look how many active projects there are. How many of those concepts ever got anywhere? Odds are, maybe 1 in 15? 20? 50? I dunno. Point is, as MC said, people will want to see that you're actually interested in doing something before giving you resources, whether that be sprites, animations, assembly, or whatever. There's little incentive to do that for everyone asks if, odds are, the project's not going anywhere.

If you really want help, make a 3-4 chapter hack and show it off. Can't sprite? There's plenty of open-source ones, or hell, use the vanilla ones as placeholders. Need animations? Make do with the vanilla ones (or use map animations only). Need assembly? I think you get the drift. Making an entire game by yourself is quite difficult, yes. Making an introduction to said game, however, is quite feasible. If you find that that is too hard or time-consuming, odds are that making an entire game will be beyond your scope.

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I'm an aspiring game maker. I've had an original Fire Emblem story idea that I've been wanting to make into a hack for a while now. While I have most of the story and characters down,

that's cool

I know very little about programming, making sprites/animations, or any sort of tech aspect of making games. While I have been making an effort to learn more, it's a very difficult process for just one person to do alone.

Elibian Nights made it to its first release essentially solo.

The Last Promise was salvaged by Blazer from the ashes of Tactics Universe, which had been otherwise long-since abandoned by the entire forum that had pushed it into him; his "team" consisted of him messaging people personally to beg for favors

To that end, I decided that the best course of action was for me to start looking for people to help me with making the game.

I'll get back to this.

I got one response. One. And the guy wasn't offering to help create, merely asking me more questions. I could see that people were looking at the post, plenty of them, but no one was biting. So I continued writing the story and doing some of my own work. I learned how to create mug sprites by splicing pre-existing mugs together, which was cool, if not exactly what I wanted. I planned on putting a prototype of the game together to show off a rough idea of what it would look like, but impatience got the better of me and I decided to ask for help again. I made another post, this time with a more clear and focused vision of the game I wanted to make, as well as some of the sprites I had cobbled together. I even advertised the post on other websites and asked friends to help promote it as well.

No one responded. Not a single person. Well one person, but he did so through direct message so it doesn't really count.

I get the feeling that you're upset that people don't find you compelling enough to help, while other people seem to get helpers flocking to them. This is the wrong approach - if you are asking for help, that must mean that you don't have time to learn everything from scratch (for what it's worth, this is a completely valid reason to ask for help; this shit takes a long time). If you don't have time to learn, what makes you think I have time to devote to your project?

I'm not telling you to devote your life to this (although almost all the devs I know would say you need to), but when you ask for help on an internet forum, "no response" should be the expectation. Which is fine! if you're that devoted to your project, put your head down and keep at it! Hacks that have some degree of completion will generate attention by virtue of "being complete"

I have it on good authority that creating a hack by oneself is borderline impossible,

Whoever told you that is either lying or wrong

yet these experiences seem to be telling me that I need to do everything myself and that no one is interested in helping me.

it certainly helps to have a fallback

I like to think my idea is at least an interesting one, but of course I know the old expression that there are too many good ideas in the world and not enough good executions. And I'm sure other people who post to concepts with less of an idea as to what to make feel the same frustration when no one seems willing to help them.

90% of the actual hacks in the section (those not in concepts) are made by people who took matters into their own hands to build their project. Maybe they had a team from the beginning (we'll get back to this), but at the core there was at least one person who was willing to put themselves to work instead of waiting for other people to come help them.

So what I want to know, from the hacking veterans here who have full teams working on their projects is: How do you generate interest in a project so that people will be willing to help you with it?

The short answer (and not one I think you're going to like) is to "have friends". Arch (the dev of Elibian Nights) is a close friend of mine, and I'm pretty sure if I had a project i needed help with, he'd go out of his way to lend me a hand. Get to know people, and one of them will most likely be able to help you

Note that I'm not telling you to go out of your way to make friends with whoever just because they can help you; you should focus on making friends because friends are good. Without getting into the personal/self-help rant that I was originally going to write, I'm just gonna say this: if you have friends, ask them for help first. If you don't have friends, then you should probably make some.

Do you need to know how to do everything for yourself, and do you have to do it all by yourself, if only for a small amount of time?

It sure helps - Yuri's Sidestory is a very short, three chapter hack that was very completed. It wasn't overly ambitious, and MK404 made it almost entirely by himself. This goes back to the "why would I have time to help you" point- MK404 has shown that he can follow through with a project, even one like this, so I feel better about potentially giving my time over (because I don't want to waste my time on a project that won't go anywhere)

If an idea isn't grabbing interest, is it because the idea isn't very good, or because you can't substantiate it?

If you can't substantiate it, you'll probably never know if it's actually a good or bad idea.

And most importantly, if there's something I'm not doing right, what can I do differently to get the results I want?

Let's go back to "I wanted to look for people to help me with this".

It isn't wrong to ask for help. The problem is that you want people to come to you. I have no idea who you are, and "good concept creators" are everywhere. Be proactive! Blazer, at one point, went out of his way to ask me for help with TLP, with a request I'm reasonably sure could have been fulfilled just as well by any random. If you want help with something in particular, then ask someone in particular. This is, incidentally, a good way to make friends (this is how I was introduced to arch).

Because I can't make this game by myself. God knows I'd love to.

That may be true, but it'd sure be great if you tried. Edited by CT075

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Like the others have said, people generally tend to not pay too much attention to the daily concept out of the blue. What you'll need is progress. Good, solid progress. And plot progress doesn't count. The ideas guy isn't exactly a favourable role to have. What you need is screenshots of your chapter progress. Make a demo after a few chapters. And don't aim for a huge 30-chapter hack as a starting project; you'll just burn out. Start with the reskins, then try a chapter. Don't bite off more than you can chew. As you get further into things and your concept is more than a concept, then people will pay attention to your project..

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I know that I didn't make this thread, but the advice here is very good. I think that everyone, including myself, can get a good understanding on getting help for something. Although I plan on not really asking for help for my idea, since well, it's just an idea, when I get the chance I'll know to follow the advice given here. It's blunt, but good advice, which I think is good when it comes to something as ambitious as a full game.

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I'd agree with what a lot of other people are saying here about making progress.

Nobody will help out a project that has nothing to show except ideas.

But to throw in my own two cents on this too:

If you want to generate real interest in your project, you have to make something that you personally think is impressive, even if you don't think it would be to other people. That means you really have to push through the initial phases of impatience.

There are a lot of people who come onto the board trying to do exactly what you're doing and so once you've done that, people know that a lot of real effort has gone into whatever you've made.

If you can do that, I can almost guarantee that it will impress at least one other person and then when that's seen by other people, they'll be more likely to want to try and get on board to help you out.

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Start alone. Keep making stuff a bit by bit, and then petition for help as you get further. The best thing you can do is this:

1) Have a concept.

2) Start working towards a concept. Once you actually have characters and a decent set of maps, ask for help. Everyone in the communities will start helping you from there.

I have a concept for a hack, but I've been rather hush-hush about it, because I don't need a ton of help at the moment. It's only going to be like 4 or 5 chapters for fun. Don't compare it to games that have a ton of hours poured into them.

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So I've been getting some good responses here, most of which I kind of expected. So I'd like to pose another question: The big goal I have with this project of mine is a full 40 chapter or so fan game. The plan for me was to create a small, 3 chapter demo by myself using placeholder sprites and animations, then find people to create assets, hack in the extra features I wanted but didn't know how to implement, etc. And I think that's ultimately what I'm going to do, but part of me is worried that the demo won't really show off the full extent of what I want in terms of features. Stupid fear, or no? ( Probably yes .) Also, not really sure how to go about making friends on these forums.

Also, is there a way to delete my old posts? Cuz if they've failed me, I'd like to put them to rest.

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So I've been getting some good responses here, most of which I kind of expected. So I'd like to pose another question: The big goal I have with this project of mine is a full 40 chapter or so fan game. The plan for me was to create a small, 3 chapter demo by myself using placeholder sprites and animations, then find people to create assets, hack in the extra features I wanted but didn't know how to implement, etc. And I think that's ultimately what I'm going to do, but part of me is worried that the demo won't really show off the full extent of what I want in terms of features. Stupid fear, or no? ( Probably yes .) Also, not really sure how to go about making friends on these forums.

Also, is there a way to delete my old posts? Cuz if they've failed me, I'd like to put them to rest.

See like that is way too big. 40 chapters is like... Trying to run a marathon for your first race instead of starting small. Instead, what you should do is this:

1) Make a concept.

2) Expand on the concept.

3) Within that concept fit a story to work around that concept.

4) Make maps and characters that fit within the story.

5) Polish all of this when you inevitably get criticism from hopefully playtesters.

6) Release it for the population to enjoy.

40 chapters is a bit much, and even if your chapters are short, you'll still have to make maps for transitions, events, conversations... A lot of things. Unless your maps are simply trials, there's no way that's not taking a long time. And that's a lot of effort to ask from someone to stay on a team for that long haul.

Edited by Augestein

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i'm going to reiterate that it's unreasonable to expect people to come tripping over themselves to help you; if you want help, you need to ask specific people for specific things

if you don't think your demo is good enough, then make it better until you think it is. if you can't, then start looking for friends who can help you

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So, I don't know how relevant it is for me to post this here, since this isn't really a tech question, but I have no idea where else I would ask this

You're in the right place.

Normally I would link you to this thread so you can read it yourself, but Serenes' link-paster tool is a piece of shit that doesn't work so I can't. Just look under my account content, you'll see it

Try clicking the post number in the upper right of your post and copying what's in the popup. Or copy the thread's URL.

While I have most of the story and characters down, I know very little about programming, making sprites/animations, or any sort of tech aspect of making games.

Neither did I when I started. Now I'm the one answering a lot of the questions in Hacking Questions subforum. It sounds like you're goal is to be a game producer. Producers should have at least a rough working knowledge of... just about everything that goes into a game (Not mastery, not decent proficiency, but at least some working knowledge).

How can you get such working knowledge? D-d-demo time!

While I have been making an effort to learn more, it's a very difficult process for just one person to do alone.

...

I have it on good authority that creating a hack by oneself is borderline impossible

...

Because I can't make this game by myself.

Sounds to me like you've got some mental blockers holding you back. I will tell you from personal experience that one can do the bulk of a project on their own.

I will also tell you from personal experience that when you have a lot of work done, it becomes much easier to recruit help for your project.

Start small, reach the low hanging fruit, get a demo together. Don't go for that 40 chapter hack right off the back. Trust us on this.

I'll leave this quote here to round things out.

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” - Henry Ford

Edited by Primefusion

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Also, is there a way to delete my old posts? Cuz if they've failed me, I'd like to put them to rest.

Ask a mod. But if it's simply a matter of "oops", I suggest reading through both the Bloodlines and Midnight Sun topics from the beginning. History is important!

Now, for the actual question: I have no idea who you are, nor do I have the time to donate. I strongly suggest downloading Nightmare (or whatever will allow you to edit what you want), and start small. Change Lyn's name to something funny, swap her portrait out for anyone, fiddle with her growths, whatever! Part of making a game comes from knowing what can and can't be done (and if it can't be done, whether or not it's worth the time to see if it's possible).

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Some time ago, I posted a thread in the Concepts forum advertising my game idea and asking for any people who were interested to contact me.

To be fair it's really long; I've personally been slowly chewing through thread in question for a few days now.

And most importantly, if there's something I'm not doing right, what can I do differently to get the results I want?

As has been said repeatedly, shrink ambition.

Divide things down. Parse things into individual things that you can do.

Can't implement a feature? Then ask yourself--What can you do that simulates something close to that feature?

Nobody has made a Skill you desperately want to have? Learn Thumb Assembly and trawl some doc, ask questions around; and you should be able to find somebody that can help you a bit if you get stuck.

Because I can't make this game by myself. God knows I'd love to.

If you really love something;

You don't ever let it out of your hands. You give it each second that you can, though not without damaging your essentials. You constantly chip away and think about it whenever you can;

So that when you have time to settle into working on it, you can just go, instead of constantly thinking.

Sketch something in a book. Write a few words down on paper.

Start acting as a character does; get into their mind space. Think of each person separately as your day goes on-- maybe try and have a natural conversation between two characters.

Think of a map's flow; of a space's design, and try to incorporate them together. Think of how they are two parts of a whole; and just dwell on each piece.

Admittedly, these words would mean so much more if they came from somebody who eventually created something at last; instead of constantly revising like me-- but oh well. These are my words on the matter; at the least I hope they are not discouraging and I pray that they are of some aid for you.

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See like that is way too big. 40 chapters is like... Trying to run a marathon for your first race instead of starting small. Instead, what you should do is this:

1) Make a concept.

2) Expand on the concept.

3) Within that concept fit a story to work around that concept.

4) Make maps and characters that fit within the story.

5) Polish all of this when you inevitably get criticism from hopefully playtesters.

6) Release it for the population to enjoy.

40 chapters is a bit much, and even if your chapters are short, you'll still have to make maps for transitions, events, conversations... A lot of things. Unless your maps are simply trials, there's no way that's not taking a long time. And that's a lot of effort to ask from someone to stay on a team for that long haul.

I did not say I wanted to start with a 40 chapter game. I said I wanted to start with a small demo and then build on it bit by bit as I found people

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I did not say I wanted to start with a 40 chapter game. I said I wanted to start with a small demo and then build on it bit by bit as I found people

The end result is to be 40 chapters is it not? Demo or not, that's still your game plan. That's a lot.

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The end result is to be 40 chapters is it not? Demo or not, that's still your game plan. That's a lot.

To explain: I started with the story for this one. I had/have had it all planned out, only to be told I need to ditch it in favor of something small.

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To explain: I started with the story for this one. I had/have had it all planned out, only to be told I need to ditch it in favor of something small.

I understand that. But here's the thing, FINISH a game first. Like if you finish say, a 10 chapter game, and people like it, more people are more likely to be interested in a larger project that you plan on making. I didn't say ditch it, I said "start small." You'll need practice first. No matter how much you plan out something in advance, I can guarantee that it'll take longer than you're thinking.

That's why I said this:

See like that is way too big. 40 chapters is like... Trying to run a marathon for your first race instead of starting small. Instead, what you should do is this:

It doesn't matter if your end goal is to run a marathon, you still need to start smaller so you can build up to such a task. IE, you're going to run some 5k races, 10k races, or even 20k races. If you start small first, you can get a team built and have a solid one for things. Trust me, if you start with a demo, and you have 40 more chapters, you'll need a ton of help. And there's a higher chance of it not being done. Even the actual Fire Emblem devs don't make games that long. People will help you when they see that you have a reputation of getting stuff done. If someone like Blazer were to ask for a team, he'd actually be more likely to get one than I would on the account that he has "The Last Promise" under his belt. Even if you didn't like "The Last Promise," it doesn't really matter. We can see that he knows how to get things done.

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I understand that. But here's the thing, FINISH a game first. Like if you finish say, a 10 chapter game, and people like it, more people are more likely to be interested in a larger project that you plan on making. I didn't say ditch it, I said "start small." You'll need practice first. No matter how much you plan out something in advance, I can guarantee that it'll take longer than you're thinking.

That's why I said this:

It doesn't matter if your end goal is to run a marathon, you still need to start smaller so you can build up to such a task. IE, you're going to run some 5k races, 10k races, or even 20k races. If you start small first, you can get a team built and have a solid one for things. Trust me, if you start with a demo, and you have 40 more chapters, you'll need a ton of help. And there's a higher chance of it not being done. Even the actual Fire Emblem devs don't make games that long. People will help you when they see that you have a reputation of getting stuff done. If someone like Blazer were to ask for a team, he'd actually be more likely to get one than I would on the account that he has "The Last Promise" under his belt. Even if you didn't like "The Last Promise," it doesn't really matter. We can see that he knows how to get things done.

Ok. That makes a bit more sense to my head. Was thinking I needed to rewrite large chunks of the story I had started anyway, so might as well use this "test hack" as a way to give my brain time to work on that.

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I'm going to link this discussion from FEU from like a year+ ago because, honestly, it should be almost like a required reading text for aspiring new fan game makers when it comes to exactly this kind of topic.

(Actually, any modbuddies reading this, it honestly might be worth tossing a link to it in a Resources-type of topic somewhere in Fan Projects since it's something that pretty much everyone should consider before starting a project...)

Edited by Lord Glenn

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I'd also recommend http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=46992 if you haven't read it already. Actually, scratch that. Read everything. The entire Fan Projects subforum, if you can. This place is chock-full of projects, as the name suggests. Some dead, some alive and well. There's quite a lot to learn from both.

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