its a fine idea, but be prepared to get lots of cryptic emails that just say "it crashes" etc.
I've noticed most demos I download just have the game dev's splash screen, but none of them have a button which lets the player pop-off an email to the devs.
I was thinking of adding something like this to Boxen, another button on the title screen with the text "Email Us!" or something like that.
The concerns are:
Does this make the game look unfinished?
Are the comments going to be useful?
I'd really like to know what you, my esteemed colleges think of this idea.
I wouldn't expect getting any nice stuff though it - most people would probably feel uncertain with contacting you from it anyway, and any good stuff that comes from it would probably drown in all of the "It crashes", "how do i..." mails. Bottom line, i wouldn't recommend it.
But then, the only way to find out is to test it, and i haven't So take the above with a grain of salt.
Personally, I would recommend having it launch their external email program to actually do the sending. That way you'll have a return address so you can write them back and ask for more information about the crash or feature or whatever.
Yes, you could ask them to type in their email addresses but that is extremely unreliable. Most people know their email addresses but it'd be a miracle if they could reliably type them in correctly.
A funny thing happens when you ask certain people for their input. Their heads swell up a bit and they feel obligated to spout some kind of opinion even if it isn't well-considered or relevant. And you end up with stuff like, "D00d! Boxen rul3z seriously and i would buy it except like i cant get past level 5 and crap my mouse sucks so maybe thats the problem".Originally Posted by RohoMech
Or if you're more unfortunate, you can get an articulate user that will think and say the exact same thing but in a more credible way, i.e. "I really like your game! Maybe after I get past this tricky fifth level, I'll buy the registered version." And then maybe you think, "My game is too hard, and I'm losing sales." But that guy doesn't really care about your game; he's just firing a quick message to you on a whim. If it's too easy to contact you, the quality of information will go down.
Haha, this made me laugh. It's absolutely true. You can take a person who is entirely satisfied with your game. Then you ask them what they'd change about it... there's nothing they'd change about it, but they want to give an answer anyway, just because you asked. And believe me, nobody ever says "it's perfect as it is." You could could even take Bejewelled or Zuma, and ask people what needs to be changed, and you'll get answers.Their heads swell up a bit and they feel obligated to spout some kind of opinion even if it isn't well-considered or relevant.
In general, when you want feedback of this type, you have to say "do you think A or B would be better?" Leaving it open ended is just asking for someone to tell you that your Bejewelled style swapping game should let you swap gems diagonally.
Yes I agree. And there is probably no other way because nobody wants to ask from users to first input their SMTP server and username password for it.Originally Posted by Savant
Otherwise I used php script (that sits on my webserver and sends me the messages) that game posts to for something similar.
I think that would be great. You have to type one message, and copy paste 10 times. You get the chance to turn 10 upset customers into 10 happy customers.Originally Posted by Mark Sheeky
When I read this thread I just felt obligated that I had to make a suggestion....Originally Posted by ErikH2000
I really like the email suggestion thing for gathering customer emails for later marketing emailings. I'm going to add this to our new game we are working on. Here's what I'm going to put:
We highly value your ideas for improving our games. And we would love to hear about what kind of games that you want to play in the future. Please include your email so that we can tell you about game updates and our new games. Thanks, The game designer at BeachWare.
We've collected thousands of email addresses and suggestions from our website registration/feedback on VegasJackpotGold.com for our various casino games. Most of the suggestions are not useful, but maybe 1 in 50 is. But I do think that it is really important to read all of these to see what the customers are thinking.
Mark's point still stands. At some point it will be too much for you, copy-and-paste abilities notwithstanding. I've had a few terrifying days where all I did was reply to support e-mails, and these days I do what I can to knock that load down. I imagine an indie would be more tempted to try this approach of getting more e-mails when he has fewer players, and then find out it doesn't scale well as his games get more popularity.Originally Posted by BlueWaldo
A problem with building the e-mail response right into the game is that, practically speaking, you can't remove the feature after it's been installed on thousands of people's machines. Once you reach that limit of how much time you want to spend talking to players, then you either have to form-letter reply ("Thank you, BOXENFANBOY231@AOL.COM! We here at Mawsoft value your valuable suggestions!") or just ignore people. Without a real response, I suspect the in-game e-mail feature would have a negative or neutral effect on the player as far as goodwill goes, i.e. "Gee, I just spent 20 minutes writing a list of things that would help Mawsoft, and nobody even replies back?" You may still have the ability to gain e-mail addresses as Tom pointed out. But if that is your goal, maybe there are better ways to achieve it. I think one may start out wanting to read every suggestion, but will probably eventually get bored or overwhelmed. At that point, the "we want all of your suggestions" in-game message becomes false and hard to live up to.
Alternate not-as-interesting suggestion: get a forum and try to get players onto it. A forum scales much better as your user base grows, because players will talk to each other for comradery and help. You can also have a "feature requests" section and be as active or passive on it as you like.
Going now to answer a bunch of player e-mails laying in my inbox. Begin degrumpification procedure.
ErikH, the forum suggestion sounds like a good idea, as others have pointed out, the in-game button probablly generates too much email to really deal with.
Thank you guys soo much for your input so far, I'm really glad I posted here before just chucking that button into our demo.