Open Letters to Mann Co.! - Game Design?!

Discussion in 'Team Fortress 2 Talk' started by RubbishyUser, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

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    [​IMG]

    Hello, I am RubbishyUsername, and I would like to advertise my new website Open Letters to Mann Co., which you can find at www.manncoletters.com.

    There I study game design and how it relates to Team Fortress 2. But not in the way you can examine the level design - I feel you guys handle that particularly well (looking at you, grazr <3) - but instead by challenging they way we design weapons. Those of you you who have heard of the story behind the Equalizer and the Wrangler may know the power of Community Suggestions, and I want to develop the feedback between Valve and the community to become more than just hats and maps.

    But to do that, I need people to be interested in what I have to say and willing to discuss ideas. Yet it must not devolve into the "stat suggestions" I see on so many popular weapons on the workshop. Effectively, people need to think before they talk. They need to apply game design.

    But in the interests of actually making my articles interesting, I will do far more than that. Here is what you can expect to learn from just the few articles I have uploaded already:
    • Why you need Soup to be a better Soldier!
    • Terrible puns!
    • How to make a Grordbort weapon that DOESN'T imply a horrible dystopian future where bad weapons are commonplace!
    • How to mix a layered cocktail - with instructions for a B52!
    • Did I mention the terrible puns? Because I'm looking at them now and MAN, they are bad.

    I upload with a brand new weapon design every Wednesday, so be sure to come back tomorrow and have a look.

    http://www.manncoletters.com
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  2. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Dropbox needs a direct link. Yours goes to a gallery like page.
     
  3. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

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    OK, I should probably also specify that I'm looking for feedback. I have literally no idea what people think of the site so far, what they liked, what they didn't like, whether they're even reading it or getting put off by something somewhere, and so on. I really can't make it better without help, and I can't even discern whether anyone cares.

    But hey, I enjoy it!
     
  4. theharribokid

    aa theharribokid

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  5. nightwatch

    aa nightwatch

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    Your prosody is decent but I find it difficult to get engaged. This might be because of the layout of the site, or perhaps just the "letter" format. If you were to discuss really cool ideas in layman's terms I would be a lot more interested, but as it is you aren't bringing much new to the table that I'd like to explore.
     
  6. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

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    Thanks for your feedback, guys. Nightwatch, I would really like to find out what issues you have with the layout, and see if it is something I can fix.

    Harribo: what I see when I visit sites like that is opinions about what would be good, backed up with absolutely no critical thinking. Then the next person says that their ideas are terrible with no justification, and the cycle restarts. My "niche" hopefully will be that critical thinking, combined into a kind of introduction to game design.

    In short, I agree that there's discussion on the subject, but I don't think it's any good. This week's article is up now if you want to take a look.
     
  7. wareya

    wareya L7: Fancy Member

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    I only read lesson four, but I think there's too much fluff text. I mean, you spend a lot of time saying nothing at all. The layout's very good (aside from it being hard to find other "lessons"), and I like the letter format. I just think there's too much "Mr Hale, this is the greatest advance in weapon manufacturing since you took the flammability of your Shovel line and turned into the upcoming product “The Scorched Earth-Digger”." I think everything else is in good proportion, though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014
  8. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

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    Hmmm, that worried me too. The reason I came up with the letter format in the first place was because there was a lot of trivial information - what the item looks like, what it does at a basic level, even who could use it and when - that I needed to get across and when I included that in a standard paragraph it was dry and almost as long. But maybe the issue you're finding is that I'm trying to hard with the letter format, and cut out a bit more of the sentences with little content.

    Yeah, I wish I knew how to make navigating between articles easier too. Problem is, the current system is a blog and it wants to show more than one article on a single page, like it would show multiple blog posts. However, this would make the web page incredibly long, so I disabled that feature. But then, apart from tiny back buttons at the bottom of the page, there is no way to even realize that there are other posts to see. I even had to cheat the system, creating a categories section in the sidebar, giving each article a separate category, and then calling it an archives.

    I may have to see how expensive it is to have a new webpage for every article, with a more traditional archives list.

    P.S.: and that particular line happened to be me shoehorning in foreshadowing. I obviously did it with the subtlety of a foghorn.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  9. Trotim

    aa Trotim

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  10. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

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    I have heard of TF2Tightrope, of course, but that second link intrigues me. I'll look at it now...
     
  11. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    Can i mention that its really strange how you stay in-character for the whole letter, but then at the end that character is revealed to be called "RubbishyUsername"? Really kinda jarring.
     
  12. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

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    Hmmm. Now this one verges on the side of internet philosophy, but I have always considered my internet persona - RubbishyUsername - to be both me in real life and me inside whatever virtual world I'm playing games in. Essentially my character - the one that writes letters to Saxton Hale - has the same name as me - the one effectively writing to Valve, or you guys, or whoever reads the letters. It's like authors using their name in a work of fiction - and I don't think it's completely unheard of or jarring.

    But that's my opinion. Thanks for bringing it up though.
     
  13. RubbishyUser

    RubbishyUser L7: Fancy Member

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    Released a2!

    - Added a faint divider for those of you who got confused as I switched from weapon seller to game designer.
    - Less chitchat, more designing.
    - Improved Archives visibility, with a plan to completely overhaul it in future
    - Lesson 6
    - Bumped my article on on tf2maps one time as you guys give me the most traffic of the places I advertised.

    Thanks though for your input and criticism, and please check in every week. I'm sure I'll get better at writing the more practice I have, but I'll feel like I have more credible advice if I know people are interested.

    http://www.manncoletters.com
     
  14. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    It's not the idea that's the problem, it's the name itself. David Wong uses his name in his books and nobody notices. If David Supermariofan69 did the same thing, it'd stand out.