ModDB is an amazing website with two aims, one is creating a lasting database of mods, games and indie games. The other is a powerful public relations tool to help get your hard work the recognition it deserves. Like everything in life you get out what put in and that is what we aim to help you with today.
Phase 1: Understanding how ModDB works
Profiles, news/articles, jobs, downloads and groups need to be staff approved before members will be able to see them. When you add new content a staff "ticket" is created which can have one of four states:
- Un-Authed: The ticket has not yet been looked at by staff, or awaiting a change by the user (i.e. staff have asked you to fix your content before authorization will occur).
- Authed: The ticket has been approved by staff and your content is shown to the public. In the case of the ticket being either news or an article it also means its been approved to be shown on the front page of ModDB.
- Archived: Means one of two things, if it refers to news or an article it means the piece is not suitable for the front page, if its a mod/game profile it means it is no longer under development but still listed for historical reasons. Both can be viewed by the public at anytime.
- Deleted: Meaning the ticket is not suitable to be shown at all.
You can archive and delete content linked to your profiles at any time, but you will have to talk to a staff member in order to have a ticket re-assessed should you want your content authorized. Due to the fact that ModDB is run by human beings and it is a widely known fact that these creatures need to sleep, eat and sometimes poop, please expect it to take a few hours before your tickets are even looked at.
The circle of media
Creating an effective profile (for your mod, game or engine) means you are capturing the attention of your visitors and keeping them there for as long as possible to generate interest. One of the ways ModDB does this is using what I like to call the Circle of media. Imagine finding a mod you love, but then having to search the internet for images, videos, downloads and news. It is a frustrating experience that will turn most users away, so to help you combat this, make sure your website and ModDB profile contains all your latest news, images, videos and downloads and all of these items are crosslinked. This gives more fodder for the eyes and more information for the users to digest, thus keeping them on your profile.
The circle of media has many other applications as well, included in this is the ability to get feedback for each individual piece or article, media and download you share in the form of comments.
The ModDB front page and rotator
Getting your news article onto the front page of ModDB is a huge deal, not only will it be viewed by thousands of unique daily visitors but its is highly likely it will be picked up and reported on via the enthusiast press (blogs and other mod/gaming websites). It's not easy to make it onto the front page, over 80% of articles don't because the users creating them didn't put in the 5 minutes of effort required. Don't cut corners, make your posts look great and reap the rewards in the form of fans and comments - remember we want to help you succeed!
Release posts are something that the ModDB staff take very seriously. A fantastic release means an automatic community and player base experiencing your hard work, and we will help you anyway we can to get as many eyes on your work as possible. We do this by going that extra mile for promotion by both fixing up any huge mistakes in your release post (without changing the overall quality that part is still up to you) and putting the post into the rotator and in our twitter feed. Having it in the rotator is a huge help to anyone who makes it that far, not only will it remain on the front page longer, but it is more noticeable then ever before. The rotator also gets linked to many other sites like Shack News and will automatically be updated in our very popular RSS feed. Other benefits are inclusion in the sites monthly newsletter (to 70,000 subscribers) and ModDB Spotlight. So big and wonderful things come for those who put in an effort.
Phase 2: Development foundation
So you have this fantastic idea for a mod/game and you want to create a brand new profile on ModDB to get the ball rolling and get developing. Brilliant! Your on a very rewarding road filled with many ups and downs that you will only learn from. But first things first you need to create a foundation for all your hard work to be built apon.
Groups and Permissions
One of the most confusing things about using ModDB is the power of the groups. When you add a mod or game to this site you have the option to link it to a development group you are a member of. Each group can be linked to an unlimited number of mods/games/engines and can have an unlimited amount of members. Members of each group are assigned permissions which then allows them to edit the linked profiles. For example say you invite "Bob" and "John" to your group, you can give "Bob" mod edit permission and "John" game edit permission. Or you could simply make "Bob" a leader and give him full administration access.
One group to rule them all
With a well established team of developers, two or more projects is a normal thing to see on ModDB. Using the foundation system to its full effect means you will be able to set global permissions for more than one profile, effectively linking all your work together in one group. Any visitors viewing one of your mod profiles may navigate to your developer profile, allowing them to see your other projects, keeping the circle of media alive and cross-promoting all of your work. Feel free to be as personal as you want on this page (photos, behind the scenes stuff), it will make you look more human rather then a modding machine.
Once you have a well set up foundation it will be easy to keep all your projects in order, the community will respect you for it, your team mates will as well. This page can also be useful for your resume or cv as it shows everything you have done, so maintaining it is important.
Phase 3: Create your profile
Now that your development group is set up and running, the most important part begins, launching a great mod/game/engine profile. The first step will be the hardest for most for one reason, you need to prove to staff that your idea is more then just an idea.
Getting it authed
Creating a profile might seem like a simple task, but without any proof that you are in fact developing a mod/game your brand new profile will never see the light of day. The best tip I can give you all is to only create a profile after you have started developing your project, when you have something to show for your efforts. Remember you must have images (videos even better) in your gallery to show progress, as this will greatly decrease the amount of time it takes for your profile to be authed. Remember while your profile is awaiting validation you are free to add media, news and downloads to it.
When asked to fill out the description for your profile it is suggested that you create a short elevator pitch about what your project is. This is not the place to put your entire design document, the shorter and better looking summaries often have the best effect. Not only is it much easier for visitors to read what you have written, your profile will have less height overall making it that much easier to scroll down to the media and the news. The description panel can also be modified to be more custom then your standard white background with text, using simple HTML code you can create some amazing looking profiles that will really stand out from the crowd.
** NOTE: If you do choose to replace the description panel with an image you will find out that there is a buffer implemented to help space out the text from the menu. If you wish to have it removed you will need to contact staff.
Phase 4: Wooing the masses
By this point (if you have followed the advice given) your profile should be filled with screenshots, videos and other assorted media goodies, not to forget a smashing original profile description. Now it is time to learn the art of finding fans... via news!
What to do
There are two types of visitors to ModDB, fellow developers and fanboys. Developers are easy to please, will read your news and critique it in generally a civilized manner and are there to help you out. Fanboys on the other hand can be impossible to please and irrational, but remember they are largely this way because they are passionate about what you are making and know no other way to communicate. The best strategy is regular good looking updates with 2 or 4 new screenshots from your gallery and 1 or 2 paragraphs explaining your progress. That is all you need to do, any less text/media and it isn't adequate, any more and it is unnecessary. A good looking post is a requirement for authorization and inclusion on the front page remember, and the front page is what will help you find thousands of new fans so PLEASE put in the 5 minutes of effort required!
As stated above, including 2 or 4 images in your post is the easiest way to make it look great and this is super easy to do.
- Upload the images / videos to your mod / games gallery
- Copy the embed code shown on the right menu
- Paste this code into the editor where you want your image shown
- This will display a thumbnail linked to the image / video (completing the circle of media) and allowing visitors to comment on the media in question with a simple click of the mouse
Simple usage of repeated media can also be very effective at increasing the overall quality of your posts, keeping the same footer over every post is starting to become a very popular trend on ModDB. You can experiment as much as you want with the height of such things but if you want to remove all white space from the bottom of your posts your image will need to be 620px wide and centered, ModDB will take care of the rest.
Experiment with the editor
Don't be scared to try new things with the editor on ModDB, the most effective news posts are those who don't follow the norm, using things like the styles can turn an average post to great in about 30 seconds. Experiment with image placement, video placement and the built in header functions. It is there to help. There is also a built in HTML editor for those who wish to get down and dirty with the code on the post itself, having a simple knowledge of HTML code is all that is needed to make something amazing.
Quite possibly the most effective way you can make fantastic looking posts is to understand white space. For those who do not know, white space refers to the portion of your news post that is white with nothing there otherwise known as negative space. When you have very little white space on a news post it can look very busy and in most cases too much for the average visitor to really digest. A great news post uses white space to its advantage by aligning up media with each other to promote flow and good aesthetic design. A simple way to do this is by centering all your media, giving equal amounts of white space either side, keeping all your text breaks to one line only and having all your paragraphs an equal size in length.
This might be the most simple thing to correct, yet an alarming number of members here choose to forgo proper use of grammar and spelling for emoticons and leetspeak. Having your posts become more personal is one thing, but slapping a smiley face at the end of every sentence or dropping your "e's" for "three's" is not in good taste, a large number of people do not want to read this. Some advice I can give here is to download an internet browser that supports an automatic spell checker like Firefox, and keep your posts formal. So drop the always common "HEY MODDERS" and just get straight to the point.
Phase 5: Common problems
By no means is this tutorial meant to be the only way to create profiles and news posts here on ModDB or anywhere for that matter. This is only advice from a guy who sees everything that is posted on ModDB and want to help you avoid the common mistakes. On the last page I'll leave you with some of the most common problems members tend to have with this site and the solutions for those problems. I hope you have found this helpful in someway, please comment on any other things you want to be added to this tutorial. As always contact the staff if you need help promoting your hard work in the development field, that is what we are here for!
When creating or uploading anything you need to be aware of two things, is there already something like this on ModDB already and where should this belong? If for example you are posting news about Half-Life 2, then go to the Half-Life 2 profile and click the "add news" button. This will automatically link the news to the correct game and consoles. Or you can manually link to the correct consoles (pc, playstation etc), games, mods, groups and engines.
Something that many members seem to have trouble with is inserting large, high quality images to an article only to find out that the image has expanded to a size larger then the article system on ModDB allows. This is a very simple problem to fix and the answer is found within the very same tool used to insert the media in question.
First you will need to select the image (one at a time if there is more then one) and select the Insert/edit image tool (it looks like a picture of a tree on the edit bar). While you have the tool option open you will need to understand two of the options here. The first is the Dimensions boxes, these two boxes mean width and height respectively and should tell you the over-all size of the image in question. The section option is the check box next to the Dimensions boxes called Constrain proportions. Having this box checked will allow you to edit the size without breaking the proportions of the image, so it will display correctly without being so large. Next all you need to do is change the width of the image to anything under 600px, save the image and ModDB will take care of the rest.
The idea of this tutorial is that it will always be updated along with the changes of ModDB itself, so check back regularly to see what has changed.