Michael Hartman  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Michael Hartman  RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Interview with Frogdice President Michael Hartman - New MMO Stash RPG: No Loot Left Behind https://www.gameskinny.com/3dkey/interview-with-frogdice-president-michael-hartman-new-mmo-stash-rpg-no-loot-left-behind https://www.gameskinny.com/3dkey/interview-with-frogdice-president-michael-hartman-new-mmo-stash-rpg-no-loot-left-behind Sat, 15 Oct 2016 12:15:12 -0400 QuintLyn

If you're an MMO fan who hasn't heard of Stash RPG: No Loot Left Behind before, you might just want to check it out. The latest project from Frogdice -- creators of such games as Tower of Elements and Threshold RPG, Stash is a turn-based, tactical grid combat MMO with a unique table-top style and truly interesting social and housing systems. 

Announced at PAX East 2014, Stash  -- like other Frogdice projects  --  went through a successful round of community funding on Kickstarter. Frogdice asked for a fairly modest amount of $50k, and with the help of over 800 backers exceeded the mark in September of 2014. Since that time, they've been hard at work bringing the game to life and doing all the things necessary to get a game to the players, such as getting the game Greenlit on Steam before releasing into Early Access in September.

After being introduced to the game by one of my co-workers, I was drawn in by the art style and the idea of a turn-based MMO -- not to mention the idea of an MMO that allows players to have a place in the game without requiring them to spend all their time fighting monsters and running dungeons. Wanting to know more about the game, I sat down with Frogdice founder and President, Michael Hartman to talk about the company, Stash, and some of the process behind the game.

Surviving Kickstarter

Since Stash is a Kickstarter success, I  began by asking about the campaign and how they make it work in an environment where gamers have become skeptical of crowdfunding games. Noting that the failures of other game have given Kickstarter a bit of a negative image among gamers, I asked what made the company elect to use the service and what helped make Stash successful on it.

According to Hartman one of the biggest components for a successful Kickstarter these days is to already have some kind of a fanbase. As he noted, Frogdice has been around for 20 years, and over that time, they have developed a loyal following for their games and their shared universe. In fact, this following has allowed the company to use Kickstarter four times to success -- twice for Stash alone.

Hartman feels a built in fanbase is imperative because Kickstarter doesn't generate the amount of traffic on its own that it used to.  As Hartman explained the situation using his own projects as examples:

"Organic traffic from Kickstarter is much lower now even though Kickstarter campaigns and the games have become bigger over time."

However, if a developer has a solid fan base and treats them well, they're far more likely to succeed in the crowdfunding space. In the case of Frogdice, there's a 20 year relationship history between them and their fans.

20 Years and Counting

Considering the fickle nature of the game industry, with devs moving from company to company every few years, I was curious about what kept Frogdice going strong and Hartman and his associates going. 

Part of the answer is simply that Frogdice is, at its core, a family company. Michael and his wife Pang started the company and ran it together for 15 years before they started adding to their staff around 2011. Now, the company consists of a core group of 7 individuals (plus about 5 part time staffers). Six people are working on Stash.

Two other factors that have kept the team going is the simple fact that they love making games, and that they love their community. In fact, they know their fanbase on a more personal level than a lot of companies due to their interaction at their convention FroggaCon. Unlike conventions similar to PAX, FroggaCon is planned and executed by the development team, who spend time interacting with their fans and creates a mutual respect between them.

"We run our own convention purely for the sake of fostering a strong community. We want to help players meet each other and know each other as people. We want to meet them as well and hang out on a purely social basis. FroggaCon has a lot of games and events related to our games, but primarily it is just a social get together where people who play and work on our games hang out as regular people. It is a lot of work and very stressful, but after 16 FroggaCon's we still love it and hope to keep doing it."

As Michael points out, when they first started all of this, he and Pang weren't even married. Now they're not only married but have two kids. And just as the fans have watched them changed, they have watched the fans they've gotten to know over time change as well.

That said, he does admit that running a convention can be brutal, but the benefit is the mutually caring relationship between the company and the fans.

Old-School Influence and Table-Top Feel

Moving on from the company's history and philosophy, we discussed what influenced the decision to create an MMO with a table-top-style map and miniatures (or in this case "Pegs") as player characters.

As one might expect, there's a tiny bit of nostalgia involved in the decision. Michael and his wife started out their gaming careers with Dungeons & Dragons, and later moved on to classics like Bards Tale, Baulder's Gate, and Warhammer. He notes that while these early games were turn-based for technical reasons and were replaced with the real-time combat style as technology evolved, people are starting to realize that there is still a place for turn-based. 

For one thing, turn-based combat is "more cerebral" giving players time to really think about what they should do in order to succeed before taking action. It appeals to a broader amount of people -- being easier for both the young and old to pick up and play. Yet, it still rewards the hard core player without being as punishing to those without twitch-based reaction times.

Michael also noted that it's about time for a game like this, especially if you're one of those people who remembers what everyone expected when MMOs first came out. Prior to World of Warcraft, gamers assumed that there would be a wide variety of MMO types. Once WoW hit and became incredibly successful, however, everyone began trying to copy it, causing most MMOs to become loose clones of each other. 

Now, players are beginning to look for something different again, and developers like Frogdice are there to offer them unique games with unique features.

Changing Your Peg

With Frogdice electing to design characters as table-top style miniatures, I was curious as to how things like mounts and pets would work with them. (Stash boasts both mounts and pets as a feature of the game.) At the moment, according to Michael, mounts will not be represented visually in the game -- although they hope to change that in the future. Instead equipping a mount will simply increase the player's speed.

That said, players can change the look of their Peg, using character cosmetics and armor. They can even change the look of their base. (When creating a character there are currently four bases to choose from.) Eventually, Frogdice plans to make mounts -- and pets -- part of that cosmetic change. Eventually players will be able to equip their pets and have them sit on the base of their Peg with them. (They'll also be able to play with their pets in their BOO.)

There's No Place Like Home

Speaking of features, probably one of the most unique features in Stash is the game's housing system -- known as "Base of Operations" or BOO. All players start out with a BOO from level one. It's nothing fancy. In fact, it's just an instance containing a bedroll on a plot of land. But the possibilities are endless as players can develop and level it up until it's a castle -- that is, of course, if that's what they want to do. There's no requirement to level the BOO and player can opt for simply leveling up the portions they need -- stash, stall, farm, etc -- while keeping the bedroll.

That said, those who do level up their BOO, will spend as much time leveling it as they do their characters. In Stash, the housing system is a core feature of the game. It's where players will handle their crafting, farming, and market actions. 

“When players own a piece of the world it makes them feel more like part of that world and the community.”

The inside of the house is upgrade-able as well. When the house is first built, it consists of a single room. The player can then begin to build more rooms, change the shape of rooms, and add furniture and objects.

Unusual Influences

Considering how unique Stash's housing system is, I was curious as to what other games might have had some influence on the team's design.  As one might expect, Michael listed a few MMOs, particularly Dark Age of Camelot which made housing useful. He noted the crafting machines and NPCs which functioned as a vendor. He and his wife were so fond of DAoC's housing system that they kept their subs for a year after they kept playing just to keep from losing the house. Another MMO he mentioned was EverQuest 2 -- primarily for its decorating and market features.

Interestingly, non-MMO games and casual RPG's were a heavy influence. These include non-combat games like those on Kongregate or from developer Big Fish. And then there are the classics like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon.

Build It and They Will Come

Another truly unique feature in Stash is the crafting system. Simply put, players can spend all their time crafting and not worry about doing anything else. In fact, players can have a level one character and still hit 100 in crafting. There's no need to be a warrior. You don't have to go out into the world, run quests, kill mobs, and do most of the stuff MMOs require to level crafting. 

Michael noted that while players might have to venture out in the world to get some start up capital before beginning their crafting careers, they could theoretically get money and recipes from a friend and not worry about the whole adventuring thing at all. 

To make things even better for crafters, the Frogdice team has made crafted materials and items the best in the game, so there will always be a market for what they are making. A boss might drop some legendary material that can be made into a legendary weapon, but it won't drop the weapon.

It is worth  noting that if those interested in crafting do have to go out into the world to get started, they don't have to worry about any kind of death penalties until they reach level 10.

Bindings Not an Issue

Another interesting feature that involves crafters is the fact that -- for the most part -- items do not bind when equipped or picked up. In fact, with rare exceptions, the concept of binding items had been done away with altogether. Players can give items away or loan them to other players temporarily -- meaning you'll never get stuck holding on to (or destroying) an item that someone else could use.

Michael feels that this will lend more to the epic fantasy theme, hearkening to points where people will give or loan an item to the adventurer helping them complete their quests.

Often in MMOs, developers and players feel this kind of free-wheeling item sharing will have a negative impact on the game's economy. However, Michael compares it to something as simple as owning a car. As he puts it:

"When you own a car and decide you want a new one, you don't keep the old car and just store it in the garage do you? No, you sell it. Why would you want to hold on to a car you're not going to use any more?"

In his view, part of the value of items is in the ability for them to be acquired. If a player is stuck just holding onto an item and can't get rid of it, it has no value.

Of course, Frogdice does have other mechanics in place to keep the economy from becoming flooded with certain items. This involves a donation system in which players donate to deities and outposts (which we'll tell you more about below.)

The Story Belongs to the Players

A lot of games boast about how the players can have an impact on the game's story. However, when it comes down to it, they don't have quite the impact that one might think. This is especially true of MMOs where players are generally thrown into the role of the sole hero tasked with saving the world... along with everyone else. 

With this in mind, I asked Michael how Frogdice goes about creating a story that players can impact.  As it turns out, this is something that the company has been doing for a while -- even in its earlier games, such as Threshold. Using two kinds of events, story line and base line. 

Michael describes story line events as having a a major impact on the game and involving the interaction of the staff. The most basic of these are invasion. If players don't defend against the invasion, vendors or services can disappear. Deities can change is some way as well, either their function changes, or they are replaced or even disappear.

A big enough event can even change the geography of the world.  Michael offered an example of a giant meteor strike that destroys the landscape around it.  For something like this, the team would write up a script, or outline of things that can happen at certain points. Then they implement one step at a time in the game, watch what happens and adjust the script in the next phase to account for player reaction. Sometimes they don't need to adjust at all, others they do. 

The Frogdice team feels it's important to respect what the players do and be prepared for it. There is one caveat, however.

"Never set it up so the game is ruined if something happens."

Effectively, the team takes more of a table-top DM approach to events, rather than just planning it and dropping it on the server. 

Baseline events, also allow for player impact. These include fairly standard things such as players competing in teams to see who will rule an area, donating items to the deities to make theirs more powerful, and similar activities. Combat, crafting, and economics can all have an impact and alter the world of Stash a little.

Why Don't the Big Guys Do This?

In consideration of the fact that Frogdice is able to do this, but it's not something you really see from major MMO companies, I asked Michael whether he felt that the company size had anything to do with implementation. 

In his opinion, it would be easier for a bigger company to pull this kind of story telling off -- and he's not sure why they don't do it. He did however speculate that it might simply be because large companies are averse to anything that can cause a negative reaction among players. Sure, there are technical difficulties involved in this kind of story telling, but there is also a social cost. When players lose something due to a plot point, they might be inclined to quit.

That said, Michael feels what they gain from these events negates the cost.

"The gain of having a dynamic world makes up for the sadness people have when something goes away."

What Should People Know that They Might Not Already?

Nearing the end of the interview, I asked Michael if there was anything that he felt people should know about Stash that they might not. Since his wife was unable to sit in on the interview he pinged her with the question as well. 

Outposts - The BOO for Clans and So Much More

Michael wanted to discuss Outposts -- see, I told you we'd get to that again later. These are something that have not been implemented in the game as of yet but are being worked on. Outposts are a lot like the player's Base of Operations, only more. 

When players begin the game, the first region has a city complete with services, vendors, and places to learn crafting skills. However, as they wander out into the world, other regions will not necessarily have this. This is where Outposts come in.  

"As you explore, every major region has Outposts that can be claimed by a clan and leveled up like a BOO by donating materials, even non-clan members can donate."

If a clan runs an Outpost in a specific region, other clans can use it as staging ground for other things they are doing. These Outposts offer strong bragging rights for clans, and at some point in the future clans can attack Outposts owned by other clans in the hopes of taking it over. This will add another political dynamic to them as players who use an Outpost owned by one clan may not take kindly to them being attacked -- even if they aren't part of the clan who owns it.

A side perk of the Outposts is that they will offer players access to their BOO without having to return to the starting region.

All About Mechanics

Michael's wife and partner Pang felt people should know about the balance of mechanics in the game. She noted that Stash has a really good mix of both casual and hard core mechanics. If you're hard core, it rewards that number crunching -- exacting style of play. But casual mechanics such as crafting, running a farm, and fishing -- while casual friendly -- are still important to the game. 

She did touch on Outposts as well, noting that they will be the most hard core thing for players to do. However, for these Outposts to function both casual and hard-core players will need to work together. Combat people are needed to take them over and protect them, but casual people are needed to donate and contribute in order to build them up and make them better.

Available Now in Early Access

Stash is available on Steam Early Access as of now and will run players $15 or $50 depending on the package they choose to purchase. Each package comes with store currency equal to the amount they've spent and bonus items. Noting the Early Access prices, I asked Michael whether the game was intended to be buy-to-play, free-to-play, or something else.

He noted that currently it is indeed B2P, however this will change at official launch, when it becomes what he refers to as "pay what you want." He doesn't want to call it F2P due to the associations with free-to-play mobile markets and the like which tries to force people into the mind set of buying things from the start. Rather, he believes that players should just be encouraged to play and love the game, and when the time is right, they'll purchase things on their own.

For those who might be interested in purchasing an Early Access pack for Stash, I have been informed that Frogdice is running an event in game until 4pm Eastern on Monday. Players will be able to earn an additional 50% in combat, crafting and gathering. Resource nodes will produce double the output. There will also be a variety of games, events, contests, and rewards. AND! Staff will be in game chilling, answering questions and talking about the game.

Twitter Chat Recap: The Inside Scoop on Indie Devs https://www.gameskinny.com/04shr/twitter-chat-recap-the-inside-scoop-on-indie-devs https://www.gameskinny.com/04shr/twitter-chat-recap-the-inside-scoop-on-indie-devs Mon, 29 Aug 2016 11:55:52 -0400 Kat De Shields

A Twitter Chat, or TweetChat, is a real-time Twitter event focused around a specific topic. It's a chance to learn from industry subject matter experts and interact with people with similar interests in an informal way. Co-hosted by Kickapoo Joy Juice, our Indie Dev Extravaganza Twitter Chat featured six indie studios. This article is a recap of our Twitter Chat and highlights the thoughts and expertise of those who participated.

The Participants

Salmi Games 

Based in Munich, Germany, Salmi Games recently released EllipsisYacine Salmi, one half of the two-man team, represented Salmi Games and gave us some great advice. The game is available for purchase for iOS and Android

Trouble Impact

Located in Austin, TX, Cat Musgrove and Issam Khalil are working on a release version of Color Thief. For more information, check out this interview with Trouble Impact.  

Fat Panda Games

Located in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, Fat Panda Games has created multiple titles including Flat Kingdom (available for purchase on Steam for Mac and PC) and Lobo with Shotguns. Gerardo Garcia, Director of Fat Panda Games, joined us to answer some questions. 

Clockwork Giant Games

Based in Madison, WI, Clockwork Giant Games is currently working on Vulpine. The game was successfully Greenlit by the Steam community and is now on Kickstarter

Fishing Cactus

Located in Mons, Belgium, the Fishing Cactus team has created multiple games and recently released Epistory: Typing Chronicles -- now available for purchase on Steam. Sophie Schiaratura, Fishing Cactus' PR manager, joined us to chat. 

Frogdice Studios

Based in Lexington, KY, Frogdice Studio has created multiple games, including Threshold RPG. They are currently working on Stash, a new spin on MMORPGs. Michael Hartman, CEO of Frogdice, joined us for his second Twitter Chat. 



The Inside Scoop 

...work together, but we still make an effort to go out and interact with people on a regular basis. We do indie meetups & work with other indies at coffee shops. Stay social or you will have issues, especially if you’re an introvert! (Personally, working alone so much gave me BIG problems with anxiety, so I know this one from experience.)

Indies' success story have a rose tinted glasses vision of how they succeeded ("Work hard")

...without noticing small technical details and trying to reverse engineer everything.

"Haha yeah Ruins a bit of the mystery when you notice the tricks of the trade. Still hasn't kept me from enjoying a game though :)" - Clockwork Giant 

Also don't forget the last 10% takes 90% of the effort :p

...of free game engines, and some of it don't even require that you know how to program. If you’re past that stage and want to go full time, have a plan for where your livelihood is going to come from because it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll make money from your first (maybe any???) of your games.

Learn how to do your own accounting/taxes, knowing the flow of your money is critically important. "Tax deductible" does not mean it's OK to spend the money. Learn how to program, either C++ or C#. It's hard to learn from scratch, but you need that basic knowledge. Learn how art/design work, what tools are used, what are the rules. Get knowledge to offer constructive criticism.

Don't do premium mobile games from the start, the amount of work to get noticed cost too much initially. Don't listen to indie success stories, look for indie's failure and try to learn things to avoid.

Take some time to polish up a prototype or two. It's great practice for becoming better at presentation and usability!

...to meet new people when you’re working at home. You can even start meeting other indies @ local events before you start.


...setback. Making sure they know why it happened and what we’re going to do about it for the future.

We do our best to make sure we're ok money-wise & we’re not sinking into debt as we take longer on the game. We also stay as as open as possible with our followers about what's going on.


...get tunnel-vision when you’re developing something for so long, and start to question everything. When you actually see people playing it, it’s a reminder of why you’re putting in so much time, & that people actually want to play it. My other answer is setting short term goals. Again, b/c we’ve been working on the game for so long, it can feel like this big, amorphous blob - but breaking it down into small parts makes it feel much more manageable.

Adding some polish to the game, like a better UI, helps a lot. It allow you to start visualizing the end.

...feedback. We try to foster community by giving them a place to share ideas, enthusiasm and fanart.

We work with Let's Player that are fans, giving them an early access and answering questions during their stream.

Since we’re in Austin, there are a lot of local events and we’ve started to recognize some players &build a relationship. All of our streamers so far have been people we’ve met at conventions! We also keep a dev blog that we update weekly. (Although the blog is a little hard to find unless you're looking for it - I'd like to make it easier to stumble upon.)

 That’s what the super secret newsletter is for. :D

But basically just try to be fair.

...can change. If you like the idea but the execution is a little lacking, consider giving the game another chance.

It's the same for a AAA game but for an indie game it will look a lot more rough. Try to preview the gameplay mechanic, the experience that the game is trying to offer. Is it something that will be new, that is worth the time to discover? When reviewing, keep in mind that indies game are not targeting the mass market, they are trying to offer a new experience that is currently not served by the AAA studios. In that way, focusing on the new experience should be what's important, versus things expected of AAA games.

This often makes them less featured than AAA games, but it allows them to be more unique.

...As well as inviting indie devs to give their perspective on current events.

As a developer, don´t just turn yourback on reviews, but learn to listen the ones that matter.

"This applies to Streamers and YouTubers with Press Kits as well. Even if it's just saying that a game is 'not your style' to show." - @ArkisVir

The single best thing you can do for an indie dev is make sure you always are open with them. Telling people lies, is basically false advertising the game. Indies don't have marketing budgets to counteract lies.

You don't have to sell it, but you can help other people know about a game they might like. Fan art!!! Emails/Tweets saying you like the game!! Seeying/reading that people like your work motivate us a lot!

We hoped you learned a lot from this week's Twitter Chat! Are you an indie developer or an indie fan with your own answers to these questions? Let us know what you think in the comments below! 

Twitter Chat Recap: The Skinny on Reviewing Indie Games https://www.gameskinny.com/fjdmt/twitter-chat-recap-the-skinny-on-reviewing-indie-games https://www.gameskinny.com/fjdmt/twitter-chat-recap-the-skinny-on-reviewing-indie-games Tue, 23 Aug 2016 07:18:18 -0400 Kat De Shields

A Twitter Chat, or TweetChat, is a real-time Twitter event focused around a specific topic. It's a chance to learn from industry subject matter experts and interact with people with similar interests in an informal way. We spoke with Lunchtime Studios, creators of adventure RPG Lords of New York, and Frogdice's CEO, Michael, and Creative Director, Dalaena, to provide insight on how to write quality reviews for independent games. This article is a recap of our Twitter Chat and highlights the thoughts and expertise of those who participated.

Reviews are more about  judging a game by some standard that is typically more appropriate for AAA games. What indie games benefit most from are deep dive analyses of what makes that game special so they can find their audience.

Reviews are one of the main forms of marketing we can use. "Lords of New York Is The Most Surprising Game at PAX" is gold. Those aren't words we can use, but we can use that review in our own marketing.

It allows us a glimpse into different ways players might view and play our game. It can help us re-prioritize features. Reviews also help us find strengths & weaknesses in our game. Reviewers usually have 1 or 2 features they love or hate.

 ...allow gamers to make the leap of faith needed to buy an indie title from an unknown dev. So the most important part really is the headline - compelling, genuine? An example of a grabbing headline one might read "Cheating in games leads to more fun" - it challenges people's notion Of what cheating is. Immediately people will have an opinion and want to see what you're saying. Headlines: so important.

Then follow up articles that tell even more about the game, its launch, updates, etc. are vital. A one shot review will be forgotten by readers quickly. The followup articles are vital.

As a designer I like knowing what features stand out, so I read reviews differently than our marketing person does. As a player, I use reviews as a list of features that intrigue me. Do I see anything that makes me need to get it NOW?

The score/judgement is best saved until the end and kept brief, so it doesn't warp/color the rest of the analysis.  

It dulls us to real reviews. We must decide (as gamers) if the review is real or not. That makes the difference. I'll also look and see if anyone has additional experiences in the comments of a review in an effort to find confirmation.

Someone who hates story in games and complains about it isn't useful, but if they complain there's not enough meaningful dialogue, or that the story elements drag when they could be optimized - now that's good feedback about the story mechanic, and would spur a smart indie into action. So a destructive review is just negative or judges things without seeing the intent. If the reviewer seeks to find the meaning in the game, often they can be empathic and provide good feedback about things they didn't like...including "I couldn't tell what the game was really about."

...could still consider playing it. A destructive, poor review tells almost nothing about the game but instead just ridicules and flames the game for the sake of grandstanding, going viral, views/clicks, etc.

 Constructive poor reviews judge the game for what it is trying to be. The reviewer sees (tries) the vision of the devs. For example, Dungeons got wrecked in reviews for not being Dungeon Keeper, but it was INSPIRED by DK. It is not DK. Judged on its own merits, Dungeons had problems but it didn't deserve the negative reviews for basically not being DK.

To do that, we have to learn some tough lessons along the way. We prefer to learn them in private or with hands on feedback, but sometimes it's the failures that tell you the most. We failed our Kickstarter a few years back. Hard swallow, but lessons learned. In any review, we look for if our intent is seen.. one review we got said: "It (Lords of New York) instead focuses on what people really care about: other people." -- exactly our intent.

Studios often become closed loops of feedback when in development. Good critical reviews break into that loop. Knowing who the reviewer is also can help you understand demographics you may have ignored or have gone unheard. 

You may even be able to fix things in a patch and make your game significantly better and more commercially viable. 

We are counting on using feedback to tweak the game in a way gamers find most enjoyable. A Pre-release should allow a reviewer more space to be both empathetic and constructive - "There are massive balance issues, but each build is better." I'd be surprised to see our game roasted in a pre-release unless it's fully priced. I feel a full priced game has different expectations. We'll price our pre-release to be worth the gamble for folks and reward them for their early trust So as a reviewer, I'd probably treat a pre-release full price closer to a released title instead of an exchange for cost for fan feedback a prerelease should be.

 Pre-alpha or alpha games really should not be judged on their graphics, sound, or FX. Look at the core gameplay. Graphics, sound, and FX can be forgiven in alpha. Lack of vision and the core gameplay can be judged from inception. It's also on the devs to control access and share the vision with early alpha reviewers. Take the time to explain. 

Features you think are easy to add might actually be very difficult, expensive, or counter to the game's vision. Learn the difference between something you don't personally like and something that is done badly. It is not the reviewers place to substitute their vision for the vision of the game developer. The reviewer's role is very important to the whole ecosystem, but they are not the game developer. Lastly, Don't review a game if you aren't willing to also provide followup coverage for games that are good.

Fact sheet reviews go in customer AND dev trash cans. Find the nugget the developer is going for, if you can't create a compelling headline around it, the article may be more useful to some other game. If it's a popular title, try to understand why, and speak to that. Most of all, be genuine. It's a streamer wold out there... people will see right through the biz buzz word speak.

As with anything, the attitude with which we approach any project can be seen by the people who consume our products. This is the attitude I take with gamedev. Lastly, try to go into each review without expectations and pre-conceived ideas of how a game "should be". That causes stagnation in gaming as a whole. It can also blind you to the potential of the game you've discovered and are reviewing.

Thoughts & Questions From the Community 

"Definitely. Empathy invokes trust and care. Critical for me in reviews as a player." - Pang @ Frogdice

"Without a doubt - the key being that you can tell it's from a person and not coming from a fact sheet." - Lunchtime Studios 

"It does sound strange, but it's true. Even a Blizzard game can have issues, indie titles often have many more." - Lunchtime Studios 

"An indie will definitely be more likely to fix something discovered by a reviewer." - Michael Hartman 

Join Us for our Next #GSwriterchat!

Join us for our next Twitter Chat, #gswriterchat, on Thursday, August. 25, 2016, from 1 - 2 p.m. EST for our Indie Dev Extravaganza! Multiple Indie Dev Studios will be joining us to answer questions about the development process, creating your own game, and how to best cover indie devs as a writer. Whether you're a fan of indie games and want to talk with some great studios or you're an indie dev that wants to chime in, you don't want to miss this!