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Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby FiSH » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:19 am

Lately I've received some inquiry about plans for a main site, or front page. Originally, the plan was to focus on the main site along with the forums. But when retaining the community became top priority, we put the main page on the back burner where it is currently. There is, however, a plan for the main site so I thought I'd let you in on it.

The plan is to have a main site that is community driven without traditional game or hardware reviews. Articles will simply consist of opinion pieces in the form of rants, thoughts and praises from the members about games, hardware and the surrounding industry. I personally do not want to turn SP into a burdensome project with the responsibility of having an expected turnover of professional articles written by editors we can't pay. A failing site will spark disinterest in the minds of community members and the population will evaporate. We have no means of keeping up with any one of the Jonses out there, so I don't want to try to.

The main site should be more important to the community than to anyone outside it. Outsiders will see "us" when they visit the site and wanna join our discussions and play games with us. The main page is to be a fun project that everyone can take part in. I envision a member page with a list of our pics and some fun tidbits of info, a bottom-line game review section with opinions creatively condensed into a couple of sentences, a game night schedule, and whatever the community members feel like talking about in the form of short articles. Nothing has been set in stone, but this is the direction we feel would be of the greatest benefit to the community. As far as new members go, they can find us when searching for what we're talking about and they can learn about our game nights on various news sites that will post news blurbs about our community and about our upcoming games.

So that's it in a nutshell. We're still weighing back and forth what we want to see on the main page and we'd like your input as well. So let's get the ideas flowing!

Thanks!
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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Synchronicity » Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:52 pm

I liked the original vision we had for the front page, where it's not a traditional news/blog format but rather a carousel of popular posts by individual members. So everyone has some sort of section that they can update and put whatever they want and the popular stuff gets filtered to the main page. So if someone wants to post silly rants or really in-depth professional reviews, they can do so and do so without representing the rest of Space Potatoes. Make it so that everyone has an individual motivation to write for the site (popularity whoring and such).
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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby FiSH » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:35 pm

really in-depth professional reviews

Take those to GameSpot or AnandTech and get paid for them. Being that most people read the first paragraph or two and then skip to the last paragraph or two, we'd be good to keep most articles at lengths that have the greatest potential to be read completely. Anyway, I don't want to even seem like we're trying to be a product review site.
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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Synchronicity » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:36 pm

Eh, I still think it should be up to whoever actually wants to contribute content. I'd rather make it a hobby that I can do in my spare time than something to get paid for (and then have to suffer from deadlines). Not to mention I don't even know where to start with that shit.
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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Ellsworth » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:20 pm

really in-depth professional reviews

I'm with Sync on this one. If someone wants to write an in-depth review, let 'em. I don't see any harm in it. I don't think we're gonna get many of those anyway. If the site isn't pushed or "advertised" as a serious game review site, anyone visiting it won't have any expectations to find serious reviews there.

I have a feeling this is going to be a never-ending thread. :P

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Egg » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:18 pm

I'm mostly with Fish on this one. Trying to keep up with large, well-financed operations is asking a bit too much from folks donating their time. I do have an idea though...

Rather than trying to write all the reviews ourselves, we could become a clean and well-designed central hub for gaming INFO. For instance, we could create a database of games with only basic info on each title. Each game's page would then have links to reviews on OTHER websites, and also list the current price from various vendors (Steam, Amazon, Gamestop, etc). Of course it would be very important to have a section for Upcoming Games too, with projected release dates (if known).

We could even expand that idea into hardware (I'm thinking mostly videocards). Again, rather than try to review all the cards ourselves, we could have a listing of the current-gen cards with the best prices, and then links to reviews of those cards on other sites.

The idea would be to give the gamer all the information they need for gaming in one place. Once the initial game database is in place, all we would really need to do is keep track of upcoming games. I don't know that we would necessarily have to cover every little indie game, but the major titles at least.

I have more ideas for involving the community, but I don't want to overwhelm you guys right away.

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby jacobvandy » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:36 pm

It's not about "trying to keep up" with commercial gaming sites, it's about people being able to write whatever they want. I don't understand why you'd want to put an artificial limit on it. If you just want a 3-paragraph blurb to fit into your neat little front-page rotator or whatever, that's fine, you can take a snip and put a link to the rest, but if somebody wants to write a 5000-word dissertation about why this game is good or bad, why not let them? And yes, I say this partly because I tend to be somewhat long-winded with things I write, because it just flows right out of me without really trying. If people don't have the attention span to read something with substance, who cares, they can skip over it.

I do like the idea about a gaming/hardware database, PROVIDED it is regularly maintained. But content is king, and links to other websites or basic information that can be googled in less than ten seconds should only be complementary to that.
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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Ellsworth » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:43 pm

Egg wrote:Rather than trying to write all the reviews ourselves, we could become a clean and well-designed central hub for gaming INFO.

That's a pretty good idea. I like it. I'd use a site like that. A possible downside is that it would pull people away from the site. I guess we'd have to make sure we didn't link to review sites that have active forums. I could be over-thinking it. That idea, combined with the original plan...

FiSH wrote:...to have a main site that is community driven without traditional game or hardware reviews. Articles will simply consist of opinion pieces in the form of rants, thoughts and praises from the members about games, hardware and the surrounding industry...

...isn't a bad idea. We could have a section of the site that features links to member reviews and professional reviews.

You know, Egg... For someone who thought starting our own forums and website was a bad idea, you sure do have a lot of ideas. :P

jacobvandy wrote:It's not about "trying to keep up" with commercial gaming sites, it's about people being able to write whatever they want. I don't understand why you'd want to put an artificial limit on it. If you just want a 3-paragraph blurb to fit into your neat little front-page rotator or whatever, that's fine, you can take a snip and put a link to the rest, but if somebody wants to write a 5000-word dissertation about why this game is good or bad, why not let them? And yes, I say this partly because I tend to be somewhat long-winded with things I write, because it just flows right out of me without really trying. If people don't have the attention span to read something with substance, who cares, they can skip over it.

I do like the idea about a gaming/hardware database, PROVIDED it is regularly maintained. But content is king, and links to other websites or basic information that can be googled in less than ten seconds should only be complementary to that.

I agree.

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Egg » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:47 pm

^^ Well, I was thinking that once the database is in place, we could start linking it to the community. For instance, members could go onto each page and indicate whether they own the title, give it a rating, or even write a full review. When someone views the game page, they would then see a list of members who own the game, with an average rating from folks at Space Potatoes.

And of course member reviews would be at the top of the list.

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Egg » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:57 pm

@ Ellsworth

You're right that sending people to other sites could draw them away a little bit, but we wouldn't really be trying to compete for reviews. The idea would be that people would come here because it's a clean, well organized database of games that gives them all the important information right up front. They don't need to pick though clunky interfaces or bounce between sites to get the information they need.

I think getting the prices from various vendors to automatically update would be a key part of the equation (and possibly the most difficult aspect to implement). We could do something where the games or videocards light up and say "SALE!!!" when a special is going on. Hell, if people buy things via our links, that could even be a way to generate revenue without the need to display advertisements.

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Ellsworth » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:04 pm

Egg wrote:^^ Well, I was thinking that once the database is in place, we could start linking it to the community. For instance, members could go onto each page and indicate whether they own the title, give it a rating, or even write a full review. When someone views the game page, they would then see a list of members who own the game, with an average rating from folks at Space Potatoes.

And of course member reviews would be at the top of the list.

I can dig it. The challenge will be to make this work with the forums. Our idea from the get-go was to create a site that connected the front page with the forums. We don't want another divided community like we had on FS. I think member reviews and such should be a part of the forums and the front page; one and the same. Otherwise, activity on both ends would slow down. Combining the two would keep the community together. What I mean is... A review could be made in the form of a post on the forums. That's how we do it now in the Games/Hardware/Software forums. The "reviewer" could then choose to include their game review post in the database on the front page, where there would be a link to their post (review) on the forums. Members could then join in the conversation about said game/hardware/whatever on the forums. This way, the forums and the front page are connected, and members could access reviews and such from either end. I'm all about accessing stuff from multiple ends. :P

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Ellsworth » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:13 pm

Egg wrote:@ Ellsworth: You're right that sending people to other sites could draw them away a little bit, but we wouldn't really be trying to compete for reviews...

Yeah. It's not about competing for reviews, but it'd be lame if we linked to a website that had a bunch of professional reviews and active forums, and then the user decided to stay there rather than hang out on SP. As I said, I could be over-thinking this. I'm just trying to think of any possible downside to this idea.

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Synchronicity » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:25 pm

Woah, I was only suggesting "professional" reviews as an optional thing that someone could do once in a while (i.e: Jacob or I). I know even on the forums some of us have some really strong opinions about a game and the word count quickly reaches into the thousands. It shouldn't be mandatory and Quick Fix reviews are always popular. But I remember one reason people visited FiringSquad was because of the in-depth reviews. Too many websites are going quick-and-dirty and not really expanding on anything other than "this is a good game." Some people don't play a lot of games and want to know why they should bother with a particular title. More importantly, there are people who actually enjoy reading game reviews because they like to compare them to their own opinions after they've already played. 20-minute amateur reviews on YouTube are becoming more popular than IGN's 60 second reviews (see TotalBiscuit, Angry Joe).

As for the database, I don't see the point. It's going to become an almost full-time job for one of us. Database management is a pain and I don't think there is a lot of demand for it. Most importantly, almost all commercial sites have some form of database full of past, current, and upcoming games/hardware. Though most of their interfaces are shit they still exist and are very popular. Even FiringSquad had one.

I think one of the strengths of this community is the diversity. Not only do we have people of various backgrounds and ages but also all of us play all sorts of genres and aren't tied to any specific one. We're all versatile, full of varying experiences and expertise. You either have websites that focus on indie games or big-name titles but you hardly see any that review the games that fall between the two. Our Frag Nights are full of "obscure" games and we love them to death. This sort of pedigree is excellent for written content.

With little effort we can just start by recording our Frag Nights. We're all hilarious and we all have good chemistry, plus we play all sorts of games. Put it up on YouTube and we can get a consistent following. If anything else just recording our Mumble conversations will be of interest and will require no effort.
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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Ellsworth » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:52 pm

Synchronicity wrote:As for the database, I don't see the point. It's going to become an almost full-time job for one of us.

Read this post. The database of SP member reviews would be automated. That was our original idea when we started entertaining the idea of leaving FS and creating our own website. I may not have worded it correctly, but you'll get the gist of the idea. Links to professional reviews would be automated as well. We post links to reviews on the forums all the time. Members could choose to add a link to a professional review they posted on the forums to the database. I realize this may sound convoluted, but I bet we could make it fly. Like Egg said, the professional reviews wouldn't be at the top of the list in the database. They would be supplementary, as you suggested. The database would be more about the SP members' reviews.

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Synchronicity » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:56 pm

Well I'm not the one making it so if you Zero wants to go right ahead. :)
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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Ellsworth » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:57 pm

^ Yeah. Zero is the "back end" guy. :P

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Ellsworth » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:04 am

Synchronicity wrote:With little effort we can just start by recording our Frag Game Nights. We're all hilarious and we all have good chemistry, plus we play all sorts of games.

That's a great idea. I've wanted to do that for a while. As soon as I get my new hard drive in, I'm gonna look into it. I encourage the rest of you Game Night regulars to do the same. We should have been doing this ages ago.

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Synchronicity » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:29 am

Ellsworth wrote:^ Yeah. Zero is the "back end" guy. :P


Always probing our bases with his fat pipe.
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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Ellsworth » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:49 am

Synchronicity wrote:
Ellsworth wrote:^ Yeah. Zero is the "back end" guy. :P

Always probing our bases with his fat pipe.

Damn Zero and his back door shena...


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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby Egg » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:04 am

The database idea came to me because it's something I would personally use, and a good implementation of this seems to be lacking on the web. I don't visit a whole lot of other "gaming specific" sites (I'm mostly hardware oriented), so I often lose track and forget which new games are coming soon. For games which are already out, I find myself scrambling around and often using Google when I want to get information or read a review.

I think a clean, well-organized game database tied to the community would be great. I would personally use that sort of thing, and I would use it alot. Chances are, anybody who comes here would already know about all the other review sites being linked. The draw for Space Potatoes would be the community, and the fact that everything is well-organized and right in front of you. If a member wanted to write lots of in-depth reviews, they could crank out as many as they like.

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Re: Space Potatoes Front Page

Postby FiSH » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:10 pm

I wouldn't keep anyone from posting whatever they wanted, however lengthy. I'd just hate for lengthy articles to become the expectation for what hits the main page. Going the community direction, I expect to see a fun hodge-podge of articles.

My Idea for a Survival Horror Platformer
Why Can't ZeroPoint Software Get It Together?
What To Look For in a New Motherboard
An Evening with My New GTX690
My Secret Fetish for Hello Kitty Games
The Gaming Scene in Deluth
Why Nicolas Cage Will Never Be in a Video Game
What to Expect from the Next Round of GPU's
The Gabe Newell Diet Plan
A Spaniard's Review of FarCry 3
Nvidia Ate my Grandmother
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