Community Growth - Problems and Solutions


#1

Hi. I was inspired to make this topic by: [media=youtube]hE_u7TbUxM8 found in this thread: http://forums.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=153606[/media]

I know it sounds stupid but I’ve been thinking of doing this for a while and that video helped a lot. So:

Contrary to the reputation that precedes me from the posts I make and avatar I wear, I actually care about the scene. I’m not saying I’m willing to sacrifice my time by running tournaments/events, flying cross country to tournaments/events. Those things are way beyond me, but I do care enough to stay active in the community. I don’t mean to tute my own horn but I think I’ve done a significant amount of trolling that will make people think I don’t do anything positive for the community and thus ignore me. I help out zachd (matches, website organization), I’m doing some work for the PalMod (MvC2), I used to help out FFA arcade release ranbats and I might do some work for them for the 3S SBO Qualifiers, and lots of various combo video help. I realize trolling and helping the community doesn’t sound right but if you think about the things I’ve said, they’re really insignificant in the big picture of things. In fact, I feel I can go as far as to say that trolling might motivate people to work harder and get things done. (the GGAC not being at Evo situation is not a great loss for its community, I know how strong that is and it will be fine for a year w/o Evo.) Also, I know that I come off as condescending towards a lot of newbies but I think I can cover a lot of subjects and explain a lot in this article. Finally, I decided I should write something like this since Thongboy Bebop seems to be MIA again and he is well known for being able to articulate what everyone knows already in a really effective way.

For starters, I wanted to mention the video that was posted on http://youtube.com, the video is a great example of the narrow-minded outlook people have on games that don’t work around the idea of instant gratification. Fighting games promote and especially reward time and effort put into learning the game in its competitive or technical form. I can’t think of any other genre save for First Person Shooters that reward the player that learned the game and understands mind games between him and his foe. The competitive side of fighting games might be well known for most of us, however, I feel it’s still necessary to discuss since the SRK community has changed greatly over the years and it will help setup the stuff I want to talk about later on.

Understanding what makes a fighting game beautiful in the competitive form is probably easily evident to most of us, however, I still feel we don’t realize how lucky we are to have the ability to love something so much that you spend countless hours trying to get better and constantly motivating yourself back into playing when you feel all is lost. A testament to the amount of love people can have for fighting games is ST – the game is tremendously old (for a fighting game) and the fact people are still competing and voicing their opinions about the game’s remix is showing the devotion people can have towards something they play. I don’t have to go into a Why I love Street Fighter speech, but I think the main idea is something worth thinking about. Imagine if we never were exposed to fighting games at any point in our lives? I know there are a lot of us that have made great friends because of this. Now wouldn’t you want to bring more people into such a great community?

 This is what I've been thinking about lately, the amount of people that play fighting games is pretty big already but in the grand scale of video game community sizes, it's freakin' small. However, our shared interest is in a product that can hold itself to years of exhaustive training; most games released nowadays can't say the same thing. So even though our community is small, it's the quality that will give it, and has been giving it great lasting power. As of a year and a half ago, there weren't that many video games being released, yet tournaments with the same old games kept bringing in big numbers. We all know the reason, but to the average person, explaining why there are growing numbers in a video game where nothing ever gets changed is pretty hard. Lately, it's been a great time to be a fighting game fan due to the new releases and announcements. The new games motivate people to start forming new communities and 'veteran communities' are finding themselves feeling young again due to the unknowns coming up. I guess you can say it's a sign of an evolution to come in more ways than one. In addition to that, I believe there is optimism in unpopular communities because of the new fighting games announced. Those communities are energized and are working hard to get the game exposed to the inevitable fresh group of people that are going to play the big new games that are on their way. It's a very special time right now and I feel it's going to be a make or break situation for the community. I wanted to share my thoughts on how we can make the best of it.


 First off: YouTube, its creation has provided a stage for all sorts of things to get exposure on (for free/easy).Getting the most out of youtube in its technical forms isn't hard, playlists, groups and whatnot are pretty straightforward. Getting the most out of youtube as a community-growing tool is what makes it difficult and I feel it's impossible to achieve that unless there is a big push for fighting games by the companies themselves. So, in the meantime, understanding the way the average person on youtube looks at things is crucial if we hope to expand. We must be able to show that the average person has the potential to get good at fighting games, they just don't know it. We all know how diverse our community is already, there is no way someone could say, I bet a marine or construction worker will never be able to play a fighting game properly! We need to illustrate how fighting games have lasting power through a community that understands and appreciates them. How fighting games aren't as one dimensional as people think. The craziest thing about this is, as of a few years ago when the fighting game community formed, there was no youtube!  


 I think the accessibility of youtube is causing a greater negative effect than positive in our community in terms of growth. The accessibility it offers is unprecedented to anything old school people had at to get videos. There also wasn't a well known site like SRK for the community to plan events and tournaments or discuss topics. Nowadays you don't have need any MIRC knowledge to get almost any fighting game match video and you can go on SRK to talk about, learn or plan tournaments. This is the reason I'm so hateful towards people that ask very poorly thought-out questions. I don't really have to paint a picture of how bad it was back in the old days if you wanted to learn what FSD was, or if you wanted to know how to do unblockable setups with Urien. When people ask the most basic and careless questions about something they seem to care about, it's painful. You might say, they're trying to learn, I think the word trying is an overstatement, there are too many resources present that have almost all the answers, and trying in the old days meant literally trying it for yourself in training mode. The fact there are so many questions that could be answered in less than 3 minutes on gamefaqs/youtube/srk shows how lazy people can be and how much we need to fix in terms of organization and exposure. Raising awareness to get youtube pages/videos and gamefaqs (a sticky thread somewhere that says, Trying to learn fighting games? Look here first!?) is crucial. There definitely needs to be some kind of bridge in order for people to get the most out of their experience. Usually people just see a combo video or match video on youtube and stop there since it doesn't link anywhere to SRK or any other site. Again, try to picture yourself learning about fighting games all over again in this day and age. Which brings me to my next topic.

New people. Those who do not know they have the capability to learn a fighting game are extremely crucial. There is evidence all around us that shows what one devoted person can do for a whole community. Attracting new people is very important and since new games are coming up, I think it’s the best time for a push in awareness. People that can play and get good at fighting games are two different classes, however they are just as important. People that can play fighting games are very different, they just play to have fun and thats okay. They are still participating and raising awareness by playing a game and showing that they’re enjoying themselves. It’ll still spark interest in someone that observes it. Now, those who want to get good competitively and beat the best understand that they must lose 10 times before they can win once. They’re aware that the one loss counts and more than makes up for the 10 losses since it’s a great learning experience. They learn you they’re capable of something they didn’t know and realize how great the achievement was. That group of people can bring in newcomers that are interested in getting good at the game, they just have to understand it takes dedication, which is the problem it seems. Since most games are based upon instant gratification, most don’t even know that when you get a perfect on someone good at the game, it is much more satisfying than beating it on hard or getting a perfect against the computer. The fanatical attitude it takes to get good at a game competitively is what drives people away. However, if we get even a few people to join the community competitively, it’ll be a good achievement since they usually create more exposure and help everyone as a whole.

In closing, I hope the fighting games suck video gets a lot more exposure since it’s so bad, people will start noticing it. Hopefully it’ll bring others here where they can see the beauty of what we all know and tell their friends. With that said, good night and good luck.


#2

While I agree to a certain extent, unfortunately / fortunately (depending on the person) needs to know that this is SRK. While my welcoming here wasn’t too bad, but I’ve seen MANY topics of new users just trying to fit in and flood of vets come in here and rag on him, give the guy negative rep for no reason just for the sake of being an ass.

Seldom people ignore the fact that everyone starts off as a beginner, and when they reach the top they forget that they started the same as everyone else. So I see the point with the condescending attitude to some degree as it shows that people need to prove their worth, as the age old adage, respect is something to be earned, and not handed out on a silver platter.

However where does one cross the line? Not everyone is expected to turn out to be a Tournament champion. Some people are simply in this community not because for the competitive nature but for the sake of loving the fighting game genre.

It’s all fine and great to get the community to open up to a wider range of people, But when you have overcritical veterans that become arrogant because of their own skill, and are especially unwelcoming to new users, It does not promote growth especially with the unwelcoming attitude that exists in place. To do what you are trying to say would mean for SRK to change it’s manner towards people that simply want to get into the fighting game community, but get bullshit because they are “new”

It may happen eventually, but it’s unlikely at this point in time, SRK seems to be too set in it’s ways (considering I’ve been an occasional lurker for about 2 or so years before actually joining)


#3

What the hell? No one does this.


#4

While that video is indeed shocking, it hit on some good points, but in the wrong way. Fighting games as a genre hasn’t really evolved much, or rather evolved in the wrong direction, looking at it from a more casual gamers point of view.

Games back in the day of SF2 are lot different than they are now, and I’m not talking about graphically. You had high scores, limited lives, health bars, difficult bosses and alot of reptition. To complete alot of games or get good at a game you had to be into it hardcore. While that still holds true today for alot of games, things have been alot easier all round. How many new games have you played recently where there was no health bars, unlimited lives, easy/no bosses, etc.

And while games have become easier so to appeal to more casual gamers, 2D Fighting games have only got even more hardcore for the most part. Games like MVC2, GGXX and even 3s aren’t exactly games you can just give to a casual gamer and say “play this its really fun”. Sure it may be fun, but you gotta spend X amount of time practising/training before you even start to get any real kind of gameplay and fun out of it. If you look at 3D fighters, some of them are more suited to casual crowd. Take Tekken and DOA for example. More or less anyone can pick it up and mash a couple of buttons and cool things happen on the screen, whereas in 2D fighters, the same method will just give a bunch of spammed normals, and if your lucky a special move.

You just gotta look at STHDr as an example of how games have evolved for suit more casual gamers. One of the main aims of the game is to make it more accessible to new players. This accessibility wasn’t even a problem back when SF2 was still a big game back at the arcades, as SF2 was seen as a very accessible game back then, but according to todays standards its not.


#5

I can point out several topics where it indeed did happen.

Case in point = http://forums.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=153460
http://forums.shoryuken.com/showthread.php?t=153242

Even though one of these guys posted in the wrong section, the point still stands, There was more name calling / insult slinging then actual help being done.

Not to mention my very first post and topic was hijacked when I first joined to the point that even it’s titled was changed.

But I’m going off topic, so I’ll end this where it is and keep to the discussion.

yeah that video is screwed up…and the person’s perspective of fighting games in general is very skewered.


#6

That video is a total failure. That is a prime example to what happens when you’re so used to playing a certain genre of game. The way he put it if a game does not have content than we should stop playing it. So you’re telling me that I should stop playing poker because it doesn’t have extra content?

Fighting games can be as strategic as any card game, or as any game, period. But I guess there’s a ton of strategy involved in me using a shotgun and pistol whipping the same time in Halo 3, right?


#7

Within our small and isolated fighting game community, there’s not much need for innovation. SF2 is an ancient video game and it’s still my favourite. “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Relative to other games, though, it’s pretty evident that our genre has become stagnant.

Compared to those other genres, rigourously tweaking and tuning fighting games to perfection is both much more difficult and much more important. There are such a large number of inter-related factors and elements that directly affect each other because we demand the diversity of options (to add depth and afford personal expression). On top of this, we put our games through hell and back. It’s like making them run a gauntlet. The details matter so much more for us. From basic design concepts to fundamental mechanics to balancing issues to programming glitches, if it’s broken, we’ll find it. Developers are just lucky if we like the way it breaks. This is all assuming we like the way it looks, sounds, and–most importantly–feels.

Many fighting games have tried new things but so few have done those things well. When a game actually does something new and gets it right, it’s usually a relatively small difference. If you start with something you know will work, the smaller you deviate from that starting point, the easier it will be to ensure it still works. You really need to understand the genre to appreciate these minor subtleties, which is not a position in which you will find any casually interested people. Simply put, most attempted additions and changes to the tried-and-true formula are either negligible in a macroscopic sense, or just plain sucky.

Since SF2, some of the most dramatic and radical new ideas we’ve seen that were well-received are probably the 3D side-step and Smash’s % replacing lifebars. If you think about it, those are miniscule changes. At the same time, being the biggest changes, is it any wonder that they caused the largest influx of fresh interest and new players to the fighting game genre? The sheer number of people these games have drawn in during their respective peak times is a testament to the greatness of the genre. Even a tiny breath of new life causes an explosion in popularity. It really does prove the style of game is awesome.

Our genre by nature is predisposed to being resistant to innovation. Casual fans will move on when things start to feel stale to them. Only a fraction of them, the most hardcore, will remain. No wonder so many people outside of the fighting game community consider it to be a bizarre niche interest.

I have no constructive answers to this and it sounds very pessimistic and you probably all already knew this stuff anyway, but there it is for what it’s worth! :rofl:


#8

I’m repping that quote!!!


#9

The big issue is accessibility. Quite simply, GG (calling that game out specifically, since it has led to a legion of clones) while being a high quality, has led to a mentality among designers that more complicated= better. The problem is that leaves people out. How many people got good starting frpm GG? People could get good starting from Samsho, or SF, or even VF, because it’s easy to pick up the basics in those games- not so much games like Marvel, GG, Arcana. SF4 seems to be a step in the right direction. I really think if SF4 fails, this guy’s prediction might come true.

One other factor- how much do FG fans enjoy mainstream games? We tend to view those as carebear- at least I do. You have to have a chance of losing to get anything out of winning other then reading a story- and quite simply, if I want to read a story, I’ll go to mangashare or pick up Blue Beetle/Green Lantern- not sit through Final Fappery XXX or some twitchfest where you have to play some garbage game to get to the story.
I have the same problem with GG though- it’s like you want me to spend 5-10 hrs in training mode just to control my character effectively enough to begin competing? I’ll just stick to what I know now- I’ll have more fun that way.

Why do you think SC2-3 did so well despite not being as polished- because it was a simple game that understood how to make a basic system with depth.

The challenge for this generation of fighters: make the games simple enough so that new players can one day learn to be tourney champs, while making the depth such that there’s a point to playing these games competively for their own sake.


#10

What? TWO threads? SHIT, we’re onto a fucking epidemic.

The first thread had ONE post from ONE guy that was dickish. All the rest were fine.

The second thread had legitimate scorn in it, but fucking hell, I’d yell at anyone if they did that shit, new or not.


On topic:

That video is moronic. It’s “I don’t like fighting games” for seven minutes. He complains that there’s nothing to do but fight in a FIGHTING GAME, he complains that he has to “work out” who to use and who sucks by playing.

Top quotes: “I guess they all play the same, but then why would you change your character. That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

This guy is a mental derelict, and my response would be exactly the same if he were talking about shooters, rpgs or platformers.


#11

There IS more then two threads, like I said in my post I was only using them as examples…I’m obviously not going to provide every single relevant topic, it would simply clutter up the thread.

Like I said I’ve already ended it, let’s just drop it…I find much more important things to discuss about then going on with this shit.


#12

I mostly agree with Arstal - he even pretty much summed up why I don’t like video games except fighters anymore. Where I do take exception is that there are plenty of people who’ve started with GG and become good, but that’s likely a function of its sheer popularity among the Japanese and the US console generation.

Anyway, most human beings are utterly incapable of independent thought or the type of single-minded dedication needed for what we do - it’s just how the species evolved. Thus, fighters need to offer something that doesn’t require such uncommon traits.

I’ve probably said this before, but I still think one of the best answers lies in providing a compelling single-player experience; hell, if you check the description of that kid’s video, he outright says that he mostly plays single-player, so it should be no surprise that he would hate fighters! In particular, I think fighters can close in on FPS’s if they step it up in this area; more sales means more people who might potentially discover the competitive aspect. And even if they don’t, that’s fine as well - “pro gamers” only make up a tiny portion of FPS players, even.

Now, if you specifically want tournaments to grow, then you need to throw way more money into them, plain and simple. Remember, human beings respond to incentives, and right now there is basically no incentive whatsoever to become good at fighters. Even at our majors, you would have to outright win one of the bigger games to cover the travel costs, and only the top 3 get paid at every tourney except Evo; compare this to poker tournaments, which give at least decent sums of cash to the top 10% of the field.

Ever wondered why people in this scene can be so weird? I think the above paragraph hints at a reason: We are basically the human version of the lab rats who keep pressing the electric-shock button over and over.

Anyway, for our tournaments to reach that point, we’ll need more sponsors, which in turn would likely require our games to sell better, which goes back to what I was saying about single-player material. The best alternative to that is to go in the Smash direction of making games that people can pick up and play and have fun with immediately, and I’m not sure how you can pull that off without killing the depth. The 3-D fighters are the closest we’ve come to that, but they still don’t match the casual fun level of Smash. So yep, consider this a vote for good single-player!

-Josh


#13

… that video has so many dumb points.

why is he complaining about the sf2 trial version? what does that have to do with the fighting game genre “sucking”? i mean cmon! how are you going to base anything off of that.

also, this guy seems to like fps. but aren’t those games pretty redundant? i mean, they all basically involve pointing and shooting you opponent. it’s granted that they have more depth, in terms of freedom, but in the end all you have is a point and shoot.

and in all of this, he was playing by himself. lol. the true spirit of fighting games is in the competetiveness.


#14

for every vid like this you need to put atleast 10 vids that explain why this genre is so awesome.


#15

I’m not watching the video, I can tell basically what it says from the posts here.

I actually think guys like S-Kill and Sirlin helped kill fighting games as we know it. As someone mentioned, a lot of fighting game players are insular, arrogant and immature. The “experts” refuse to share knowledge or help players, and frequently will act in a crass manner towards newer or weaker players. These same players will then express extreme surprise when players show a lack of enthusiasm in playing the games, and indeed, actively discourage others to play.

For any community to grow, you need to foster a welcoming environment and actively encourage people to play. There has to be a sort of ground rule of civility towards each other. SRK has highlighted that most of us do not have basic human civility towards each other in this community. SRK and online play only have highlighted a problem that has been around since I was young, and only got worse as less and less people played fighters.

Anyway, I don’t want to expand too much on the negatives on that little rant.

Instead, I’ll move onto something more positive that will answer the question.

As much as I despise Sirlin and Seth, I’m a huge fan of this guy: http://jchensor.blogspot.com/

He hasn’t written a systems guide in like 7 years since Capcom never releases anything, but those were one hell of a contribution to the community as well. If you want to motivate yourself to get better and improve the community, read his Evo 2007 wrap up. It’ll also tell you the basics of what you need to do. Apply that to the whole of fighting games, rather than individual games. Although the message of acceptance for other games is a good one, like Smash, which I personally don’t care for. If you truly want the community in general to grow though, you have to put aside petty things like that.


#16

Hey cool look at the link in my signature. You’re welcome.


#17

the problem with that post is that the genre isn’t really “dying”. it never did. from day 1 it was made for the arcades, for the japanese, and not for the western casual gamers.
so yeah street fighter 2 was the hot thing. now its halo. in 5 years it may be something else. it’s a trend. its not like the fighting genre made a wrong turn imo.


#18

I could flip that statement around and say the same thing about fighting games. Aren’t fgs pretty redundant? I mean they all basically involve hitting buttons and attacking your opponent…but in the end all you have to really do is hit them a lot.

I’m not trying to be a douchebag, I’m just saying that the statement could be used for almost anything.

Its amazing how many tournament scenes there are for different types of games. If you want great insight into different tournament scenes check out the movie called “Word Wars” its about scrabble tournament players. It shows you that there are tons of similarities in tournament scenes.

They have crazy money matches like we do, have first to 50 win type of challenges and sit in hotel rooms and play scrabble for hours like sf players do as well. One difference is that they are really organized with their tournaments. Check it out.

The SF could learn a lot from other scenes as well.


#19

This thread brought up a VERY important point, though.

Waffles fucking rule.


#20

Personally I’ve always felt that the fighting game scene should have transfered out of the arcade to LAN. Like those people who once met at the arcade every day or weekend would then meet at one of their houses and from then on they could introduce their other friends to fighting games and try to see if they would be interested in going to their (weekly?) LAN meet.

I mean when I think about it it seems pretty viable and much better then the arcade. I’m currently trying this so I’ll see how it goes down, so far it hasn’t been too bad.

Ugh. I’m sorry but this guy is pretty much the poster child of what’s wrong with the current gamer.

I know many people strongly disagree with him but I’m just in the mood to dissect his video (even though I know he did this as a joke but w/e I’m bored).

“The package of Tekken is barebones as you can get. I mean it’s just 3 modes and a bunch of characters. I don’t know how can find to put in more then 10 minutes”
:rofl:

"Fighting Games Can’t Compete with Today’s Games to Compete with Others"

Okay it’s shit right here that DESTROYS genres. I could give examples about this but I think my topic about the bastardization of the platforming genre does it best.

Not to mention that many of the popular genres of today haven’t really evolved or have even take steps back in design. Most shooters are still corridor but just have taken all of the tactics out of them (rainbow six vegas IMO) as well as some try to focus on a single player experience but are far less interactive and worse design and gameplay (Bioshock IMO). Not to mention most today are trying to be crafted around the inferior dual analog stick as well as gimped online with no mod community. How is this “evolution”?

“15 years ago we couldn’t create deep games, but today we can GTA, Oblivion, and Final Fantasy today prove that games can be deep”

Yeah this video was definitely a joke.

Also since when the fuck does it matter that games need to be “evolutionary” or “modern standards in presentation” to be good? I thought the game just had to be fun.