A look at the Do's and Don'ts of Public Relations.
Posted by Dragonmaw on Sep 25th, 2004
So you've started a mod, and want to attract people to help or admire your work. This naturally leads to some essential Public Relations as more and more people get interested in what you are doing. This leads to some incredibly awesome and incredibly stupid PR moves. So here are some tips and examples of good and bad PR.
April Fools News Post (Modding Classic)
The April Fools news post is almost a tradition in the modding world. The essence of it is that on April 1st the mod team posts news about absurd, insane, or downright impossible things they are going to do with their mod (Note: Announcing the mod has died is a *bad* PR move if it is an April Fools joke)
Example: "Surprise your teammates and friendly units with this portable Headcrab. Provides hours of fun, sneak up on them and give them a suprise! Side effects may include lacerations, blood loss and zombification." -Sven Co-op ( Svencoop.com )
New Eye Candy
Eye candy is the primary way to get people interested in your mod. If you release a lot of eye candy gradually, people will stay with you to watch the development and eventually play the mod. (Note: A dump of eye-candy is BAD. You release it a little at a time)
Example: None that I can show. There are many mods that do this though.
Accepting Ideas From The Community
One of the best ways to get people to watch your mod is to make them feel like they make a difference in what you are doing. That means opening up the modification to suggestions from outside source. (Outside being outside the development team) If the suggestion is good, you implement it into the modification, which pleases the person who suggested it, making them go out and say, "Hey I helped this mod a bit, lets watch its progress," to people giving you a bigger community
Example: None at the moment
Stealing ideas is the worst possible PR you can possibly have. It shows that you can not be original in the slightest. If someone comes along and says "Hey you stole that idea from *blank*", You are pretty much screwed. However, it is acceptable to use ideas under certain circumstances (Ports, continuation of dead licenses, etc.)
Example: "Rivalry Of Legends is an 80's Video Game and Cartoon Character Modification/Total converstion based on the Quake 3 Engine. The Quake 3 Engine will be brought up to date with some new code and gfx. Cool mod it looks like, Marvel Power Battles, a mod registered here, was halted and they joined this mod. Check out the site for info. Me being a fan of MPB, I decided to register this for all the people who were modwatching MPB." -Rivalry of Legends ( Moddb.com )
Example: This thread on ModDB: Moddb.com
Claiming Company Support
One of the absolute worst examples of PR is claiming that you are recieving a special treatment from a company before the company announces that they even recognize you. Saying the "Gabe Newman is helping me with my mod" makes you look like a liar and an idiot. One of the absolute worst PR moves you can possibly make.
Example "Well first of all we are developing our mod by tips that Valve is giving us. EQHL2 is being developed with the support of Valve, so first of all the model's polys range from 3000-4000 polys and thanks to a suggestion from Gabe it will not slow down the game a bit" -Equilibrium Mod (Half-Life 2) (No longer availible)
Poorly Lit (Or Secret) Promo Shots
Having poorly lit promo shots make you look like an attention whore. You want to release eye candy, then release with reasonable light sources. No one like a bad promo shot, especially one that trys to look good by toning down the lighting until all the blemishs are gone. Combined with bad graphics, models, or logos, you have just made another botch in PR. And "secret" promo shots are awaste of time. "Promo" implies they are open to the ppublic, whereas "Secret" says they are for us only, to fawn over and love.
Example: A recent news post by the DB:LB team on our very own modDB. You can view it here: Moddb.com
You may not think that this is a big deal, but trust me, it is. When you don't spell right, or spell like a kindergardener on crack, that is when the bad PR hits. Because if you can't spell a four-letter word right, then what makes your audience think you can keep the mod together?
Example: "galexy warfare", a WH40K mod that was recently deleted from ModDB
Just because you weren't able to get on a mod team for something you like does NOT mean you should start your own mod based on the exact same thing. It makes you look like a plagerist and idiot. No one wants to work with someone who can't even come up with their own ideas. If you want to make a mod, make sure one hasn't been made before on that subject.
Example: Once again, "galexy warfare" takes the cake here with a direct copy from another WH40K mod for Half-Life.
Non-Working Mod Leaders
Mod leaders who don't do anything but so-called "brain work" are nothing but leechs who want to get credit for nothing. So you came up with an idea, but now you have to implement it into the game engine. That requires work. If you aren't will to spend the time, effort, or money into working on a mod alongside your fellow modders, don't even start it. Hand it to someone else who will do it.
Example: SortOfSlow and his Rurouni Kenshin mod Nogard. (Link not Available)
One of the worst botchs you can do is giving your mod a poor description or not giving your team good goals. Don't say "Make a vehicle", say "Make me a medium-sized tank with large tracks, a large base, and a medium sized gun. Include an AA cannon on top". If you don't give your team sufficient goals, or spark interest in your great ideas by describing your mod, then nothing will happen.
Example: "Description: Silent Hill" ( Moddb.com )