I am the founder of DBolical and creator of ModDB, IndieDB and SlideDB. My aim is to make it easier for gamers to find great games/mods no matter their stage of development. And more importantly give game/mod developers a place to share their work and grow their fanbase - without being dependent on press/editors gatekeeping the important news sites. If you have any ideas or suggestions, hit me up I am always available to talk with the community.

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Supporting us

INtense! Blog 6 comments

Just saw Black Mesa ads running on ModDB. So good to see a mod succeed then turn around and support our community. Means a great deal to us and enables us to keep doing what we love. Here is to a new year and promoting a new batch of amazing mods and games.

So they've been a few changes to the site which you may have seen lately. Firstly if you missed the news games, mods can now be labelled as early access. This is to help content show up in the release section and allow reviews, whilst also highlighting the fact that their work is not yet complete. It's step 1 in our release functionality overhaul.

I've also added the ability to embed tweets directly into posts and comments. To do it just put your tweets URL into a new line (with no spaces or punctuation around it). If people like this change i'm contemplating allowing images, videos from our sites + youtube to be embedded in the same way.

Finally and the reason for this post is the change we've done to descriptions on profiles where you must now click "read more" to see it fully. It seems a lot of developers and power users are unhappy with the change which is entirely understandable. The problem we have however is description consistency. Some descriptions are ultra long, whilst others are short. This leads to confusion for new users who aren't aware that to get to the pages content (gallery, downloads, comments etc) they need to scroll through the description. The read more change allows us to address this by keeping the description there but hidden, which makes profile pages far more consistent. But we want everyone to like the change so I wanted to discuss the options available:

  1. Keep descriptions the way they were, long and inconsistent
  2. The new change is good, clicking read more
  3. The new change is good, but if I click "read more" the site should remember that and do it on every page I visit
  4. Move the description so that it is on the left, and doesn't push down the entire page, demo:
  5. Make it so the first 400px of the description is shown (so short ones still fit), then there is a read more button, demo:

Tell me which options you like best and why? Also worth noting our Github features / bugfixes board is public for all to contribute to.

But for today, apart from the news I just posted about changing galleries, our github for you to report bugs and suggestions, and the fact that work on v5 of our sites has begun, i've caved in and simplified all of our social media icons. Continuing the theme of a different color for all DBolical sites we now have new icons which embody this. Prepare for the rainbow:


What color comes next?

At ModDB, we are extremely fortunate to have a number of long-time members who have been actively participating with the community for a lot of the 13 years we have been around. I thought I would try to semi-often recognise some of these members and welcome anyone from our community to let me know of good things others have done around here to make the site a better place. Things like adding content we are missing, helping others, posting tutorials are all examples. One I'd like to call out now is Kark-Jocke. As a passionate fan of ModDB and helping us grow and remain strong, he runs frequent competitions where he puts up his own games as prizes. We never asked him to do this, but appreciate the effort and generosity he shows (and I'm sure the winners do too).

Right now an example of this is the two active competitions he is running. First up is the Halloween competition, which you can read more about it here: K-J Game Competition - Halloween Time! and the other is the Game Competition (Dead Island Collection).

Kark-Jocke thanks for your continued support and suggestions on how we can improve ModDB! Means a great deal and we hope we can continue to promote, support and help your competitions grow. Don't forget to enter everyone, you have a great chance of winning. Also please let us know of other members doing great things, we are a community run site after all :)

UPDATE #1: I have just put all news, features and tutorials on the site under articles. They are filterable and existing links still work. This allows the system to be smarter and show profile content more accurately.

A question for you to ponder. We have begun the slow march towards site simplification, as I believe it is important for us to make our site responsive, mobile friendly and easier to use. 13 years ago when I begun this work these buzzwords didn't exist, and while I generally don't do "buzz" I believe anything that helps us support our community and encourage content to be shared is a good thing. Here are the first few steps I'm contemplating:

  1. Merge videos / images / audio into one gallery system "media" and have videos ordered to the front
  2. Merge news / features / tutorials into one "articles" system
  3. Merge groups / events into groups
  4. Merge addons / downloads / mods into a more connected system (will be complex, still figuring this one out)

This will unify / change a number of URLs. Just wanted to see if you think this is wise or crazy or have suggestions for me, as I start thinking about this process. I'll keep you posted and thanks for the continued support!

In the interest of continuing to streamline the submission process (for games, mods, engines and hardware), it is now easier then ever for developers and publishers to add their content to the site. Here is what we've done:

  1. Previously, when adding say a mod, you had to navigate a game dropdown with 10,000+ games in it. This was extremely slow and frustrating.
  2. Furthermore, if the game you were interested in wasn't listed, you had to add it to the site then start the mod submission process again.

Now:

  1. Instead of a massive dropdown, the dropdown now smartly shows content you are connected too, or it thinks you want to connect it to.
  2. And if that isn't enough, there is an option to "search" for what you want.
  3. This means you could add a game, then search for it and complete your mod submission.
  4. Groups are also auto-made saving a lot of effort from having to manually create a profile for them.

Screen Shot 2015 07 31 at 9 23 2


The above screenshot shows the new system in action. What do you think? No excuse not to add your game or mod to the site now!

18 million

INtense! Blog 5 comments

So we've recently switched to Cloudflare as a proxy to help cache and speed up the delivery of a lot of the content on our network. Anyhow we never really had any idea how much content we served daily but as you can see from the following graph, it is in excess of 18 million images daily! Hard to believe but something we are very proud of :)

Screen Shot 2015 06 25 at 6 10 3

Is this spam?

INtense! Blog 6 comments

So on the mobile gaming forums lots of randoms visit and promote their "android" game. Some of these posts appear to be legitimate from new developers learning their craft. But the majority look like cheap shovelware - quickly made by companies hoping to make a buck.

The people who post these appear to post once then leave the site. They don't spam anywhere else so technically are not really a pest, but i'm debating disallowing these kinds of posts altogether. What does the community think?

For the most part I just don't get why they bother. They spam even though our system doesn't allow URLs to be typed so they will do things like "Get free games from BESTGAMESONLINE [.] COM". For a start I would have thought that 99.99% of users would avoid the spam to begin with, but who would actually bother to copy and paste that URL and edit it to work? Some spam even without URLs or anything meaningful in their message (are they trying to establish system trust?).

And even if their spam manages to get through we are extremely proactive here and will ban then erase all trace of them from the internet, meaning at best they get a tiny bit of exposure (but not long enough for any visitors or SEO benefits).

A basic look at our system

Either way the spam looks awful to our visitors hurting our reputation, distracts our users who want to see real amazing content from game and mod teams and wastes our time cleaning it up. While we currently get very little spam compared to what we see on some other sites, we ideally want to make it too hard so the spammers just give up and move on. Which is why we have just implemented a custom anti-spam system which updates on the fly. By being one-of-a-kind it should be very hard for the spammers to adapt and adjust too without significant work (unlike on Wordpress et al which have millions of sites using the same system, meaning there is huge upside for the spammers if they figure out a system). An approach like this has worked for us in the past, as it is a great deal of effort to get through just to spam on one site which will delete your message anyhow... and so far in the first 48hours no spam has made it in. Fingers crossed this continues and we will always do all we can to eradicate it!

Thanks to the horrifying game Five Nights at Freddy's which streamers and youtubers are going crazy posting reaction videos about, IndieDB had its biggest day ever. For those interested to see what kind of a spike it generated here are the last 20 days of absolute unique visitors:


Our previous best was 95,000 which occurred in January this year when we announced the 2013 Indie of the Year winner. Great to see IndieDB growing but it still has a long way to go to catch up to ModDB which does 200,000+ every day and it's best is 300,000+

Thanks to everyone who visited!

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