Thoughts on the Community-Driven Development Approach

Today, for our third official blog, I would like to discuss the topic of community-driven development. With the last blog (here), I have discussed why I have joined Ocean Drive Studio, and one of the main reasons I have discussed was the community-driven game development approach. I have seen feedbacks and thoughts related to this topic and spent some time discussing this with Jae Kim (CEO of the studio) to provide more detailed idea about our game development approach.

Sharing the conversation with Jae as below: 

[Start of the Conversation] 

 

[Jungsoo]  

Jae, as you might have seen from the previous blog and feedback from some of the community members, I see the needs for us to discuss more details about our community-driven game development approach. The term community-driven is very high-level term and thus hope we can share more details about our thoughts.

 

[Jae]

Yes, I am glad lots of people gave attention to the term community-driven game development. I would be super happy to discuss this topic with the community.  

 

 

[Jungsoo]  

The community-driven game development in my point of view is 1) We as a developer having a strong vision and philosophy towards the game, 2) As part of the development process, engaging community with the actual play tests to get sets of data and community feedback, 3) Review and take feedbacks into the game design consideration, and being transparent about the decisions towards the community. 

The key to our approach is making sure we take community feedback from actual game play experience for creating the best possible game play experience.  

Actually, based on the detailed process I have described above, maybe we should call our development process Open Development vs. Community-Driven Development? The term Community-Driven can maybe mislead our intent and seems like Open Development sounds more accurate term?

 

[Jae]

What you just described is correct. At the end of the day we are game devs but also passionate gamers. We usually develop games and test ourselves as gamers to make important game design decisions. We believe having more passionate gamers participate in the process would help us make the better decisions for the game. Also, during this process, I consider transparency is very important. If we are confident about our decisions, we should be able to share why we have come to those decisions. With this process of getting feedback and providing updates on the game design decisions, I believe we can build both a fun game and the strong community for the studio. 

In-regards to the term, I am fine with both terms. Since I have strong belief working with community is very important, I am okay with the term Jae, as you might have seen from the previous blog and feedback from some of the community members, I see the needs for us to discuss more details about our community-driven game development approach. The term community-driven is very high-level term and thus hope we can share more details about our thoughts.. But if it can be misleading, I like the idea of using term open-development. Regardless of the wording we use, I hope to let our community understand what we are intending to do.

 

[Jungsoo]  

Great! For now, let’s start calling our development approach as open development. One of the concerns from the community regarding our development process was that sometimes the overall direction coming from the community might not be the best for the game. What is your thought on the concern? 

 

[Jae]

I understand the concern, but the open development doesn’t mean we take all the feedback coming from the community and reflect them in our development process. As discussed earlier, we will be taking feedback as part of our decision-making process, having our key design philosophy in mind, we would be making the best possible decisions for the game – and as a part of the process we would share how we came to the decision. 

Another important aspect I would like to discuss is, when we review the feedback from the community, we would be focusing our efforts on understanding the reason and the cause rather than actual, detailed suggestions or solutions. Sometimes (or lots of times) our solutions will be different from what community might have envisioned but I can assure you that we will be transparent with the decision-making process, and ensure the game gets positive improvements. 

 

[Jungsoo]  

Last question, why is the open development approach so important for us, Ocean Drive Studio?

 

[Jae]

As you have discussed during last blog, one of the most important goal for the Ocean Drive Studio is building an everlasting a game dev studio. This requires a strong support from the community. Strong community creates fandom, and by having a strong fandom Ocean Drive Studio can have its reason for existence as a game dev studio. By taking open development approach, we hope to build a fandom by showing how sincere we are with taking feedbacks and having open conversation with the community to come up with the best possible decisions for the games!

 

[End of the Conversation] 

 

Thanks to the feedback we have gotten from different community channels, we had this opportunity to internally discuss more detailed thoughts about our game development approach. Hope today’s blog provides more in-depth idea about how we want to approach our relationship with the community when it comes to the game design decisions. More feedback is welcomed, and as always thank you so much for your valuable thoughts! 

I just came to Korea to visit our Seoul office and will share ins and outs of how we are forming team here in Korea through the blog!

Cheers, 

Jungsoo 

 

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Jet Uppercut
11 months ago

I feel like this is more of an idealism than some brave new path of never before tried game development.
I don’t think any game developer has started making their game and said “I hate everyone that plays games and will never listen to anything they say”. Well, maybe some have.
The problem is, as end users, the sheer majority of people playing a game have absolutely zero idea about the technology and the complexities involved in the decision making process of a game developer.
Which also makes the sheer majority of their feedback useless.
There’s just too much of a disconnect there for anything meaningful to transpire from it.
Not that I want to piss on anyone’s parade here, if anything I agree with the sentiment. I just don’t think it’s feasible.
Unless you go for some hyper-focused system where people are only allowed to give yes or no responses, like the Runescape content polls, anyway.

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