@gamecrazy said in Classroom Hub (Discovery students..):
Ok, you guys are very busy. It is a small team. Thank you for trying so hard, and keep pushing. This update is taking forever.
In the meantime, though, you should give us "power" users more options to create contests, preview new updates and the like.
One thing that I cannot understand... If there are so many users, 1. why is nobody using the forum except us and the occasional newbie? 2. why are there are no new projects on the hub?
Like this whole entire approval idea is a good one, but it won't work unless people are submitting projects.
Here's my own idea:
There could be a beta project section/separate hub, a look-at-this section (for snippets of code, cool little animations, the like)... that way projects don't have to be completed in full before publishing.
The -100 behaviors contest was a good one. To keep it short and sweet, how about "best game concept" or "hardest fun game", something like that.
Keep branching out to classrooms but don't forget your core users please, and help expand us... like, remember GamePress (crap aside).
Some good points!
- You do have "power" to create contests.. Use the forum! We'll be more than happy to create a banner in the hub for it and support it any way we can. No one has shown interest in doing so.
Previewing updates? Do you mean for your own projects or hyperPad updates? If your own projects, once again there is a entire section of the forum dedicated to this.
If you're not using it, there is not much we can do. If you mean hyperPad updates , then this is the only update so far where we didn't open up to community beta test. There is never any interest so we just didn't bother this time since it slows us down. There is interest at first, people sign up to try it out. But no one ends up giving feedback and we have to chase you guys down for bugs... For some reason most of you guys like to keep bugs a secret and work around them :). So for this update we just decided not to do a community beta.
- There are not "so many" users. hyperPad is a relatively app user base. We are in the 10's of thousands. But nothing insane.
As for why the community is so small? Well thats the challenge of community building. Our app 2 major parts. The creation side, and the community side. Our primary goal is to get people to use the app, then from there transition them to using the hub and rest of the community. This second part is a huge challenge on it's own... It's why a lot of community-only companies fail (like various social networks, picture sharing etc). We've definitely failed at growing the community, but we're fortunate enough that there is interest in the app side of things still...
Now, also keep in mind that there will never be 100% of users taking part in the community.. Take GamePress for example. At it's peak we had about 500,000 users and about 25-30,000 active users. Do you remember the forum for that? There were about 25 users max. However the "Arcade" always had content submitted.... But that content was trash. The submitted games were bad because we made it too easy to submit. No requirements, a built in icon creator, no screenshots... etc.
With hyperPad we took the opposite approach. We made it hard... As hard as the App Store. This turns out to be too hard, most users can't even create icons the right size so they give up right there... Though if I'm honest, if you're struggling to create an icon then you're project probably isn't all that likely to be a success in the hub.....
Which leads me to the next point... There is a drop off in the hub due to human emotions. Users who get more dislikes than likes, rarely submit again.... Often times I get emails for users, or even their parents saying their kids were bullied in the hub... I go look, and it's pretty reasonable constructive feedback given.
Creating an active hub is a challenge. We need to find the right balance between simplifying submission process, but also using it as a quality gatekeeper. While positively enforcing personal growth and encouraging users...
Also, while our rules and terms of service say you must be 13 years or older to use the hub... A lot of kids still use the app. So they use the app, but not the hub or forum... And sometimes "sneak" their way into the hub.
In the next couple of updates, we're actually making user registration optional. This will most likely increase number of app users, but it won't help with getting them to the hub.....
I guess to summarize... It's hard, and we have no idea what we're doing when it comes to building a community (and that's okay!). But we're trying things, and constantly learning (even if it looks like we're not).
Really, the entire hub is supposed to be a beta section... I think this is also the problem we've created with the difficult submission process. By making the submission too strict, maybe some users think that the projects need to be way more complete and polished.... Basically, anything in the hub is ok, as long as it serves a purpose. It's hard to convey this as a written rule (we've tried multiple times, but obviously keep failing at it). Basically we want to say don't submit trash, but it's ok if you tried hard 🤣. Now that being said, one of the major hub revisions we have planned is categories and sections based off tags. So example and tutorial projects can be easier to find.
We want to do more contests. But just haven't had the time, this update has already been so late. Hopefully we can start doing them again soon. I do agree that they are a great way to bring life to the community. But again, if you guys want to do contests on your own, we're happy to support you any way we can.
Our core user base.... This is a hard one. When we first started with GamePress, our core user was never education or classes. We had no idea that there was even a market there. In fact, we got extremely frustrated that these schools and kids were using the app and ruining the community. So much so that we made the biggest mistake ever. We shut down GamePress and moved to hyperPad. We tried to run away from them..... Yet here we are again (on a much smaller scale). But we've matured, and learned some things from that huge mistake.
We shouldn't have run away from them, instead we should have focused on educating them and helping those kids mature into amazing developers and creators. Our major failure was that we didn't see the potential. Like you for example, you've been with us since almost the beginning. At least 4 or 5 years. At the beginning, you were younger, and just trying things. Obviously lacking the skills or knowledge. But you stuck with it, and continued to learn. But now you're actually working on some cool stuff and an amazing part of the community.
We should have helped you more. Helped users like you.
So that being said, education still isn't our core user base.... But we're not going to abandon them again, and we finally see the potential in them. We don't build features for education. We build features the community wants and needs. Our goal is to build the most powerful tool on the iPad while keeping it approachable. We're building a tool first. If schools find a need for it, that's cool. We'll help them use it. But we won't compromise for them..... We've had plenty of opportunities to "sell" our tech to education platforms and walk away from it all. But it's not what we set out to build.
@gamecrazy said in Classroom Hub (Discovery students..):
Ok, one more idea. Because I cannot understand why nothing is happening. Does not leave much of an incentive for the user.
How about a collaboration with an electronic music artist, or with something like audio/art on Newgrounds. "Best game using this soundtrack / best game using this pack from opengameart.org / etc"
Collaborations and partnerships don't come easy, especially for a small community like ours. Basically with any deal, you need to offer something. What I mean is, what's in it for new grounds. Why would they bother partnering with us? They're one of the largest creative communities on the internet. They don't need us, we need them. So what can we offer them?
We've tried these kinds of deals before (not with new grounds... but other sites like Deviant art, meetings with Lego, Disney.. some children's TV networks). Even got far into details... But they ended up going no where and just ended up slowing down the real work that needed to be done on hyperPad.
Things ARE happening... It's just not things we can constantly discuss or bring up. sometimes they don't go anywhere. But it's not for a lack of trying.
Wooow, that was long.... I feel this is one of the examples that sets us apart from other apps and communities. We're transparent and honest about what we're doing, our mistakes.... Or what ever. We try our best to answer all questions.