Welcome to ModSentry.com’s first series of posts! As part of our plan to create more content to both support and help mod creators, we will be doing a series on how to advertise and get your mod out there. We’ll focus on important aspects such as how you present the mod, how to build up a base of support, where to advertise your mod and managing the public relations of the mod.
Advertising Your Mod: Presentation
One important detail, often overlooked in many start-up mods and even some released mods, is the actual presentation of the mod; whether that is the dialogue within the game or the way you present the development of your mod. While you could say that developing the actual mod is more important than worrying about the smaller details (which can be a time sink at times), I would argue that the presentation says a lot about the quality of both the mod and the team behind it. It is such an easy thing to rectify and this is what I’ll be talking about today.
I’m not here to tell you what you have to do; it’s perfectly possible to produce a good quality and popular mod without worrying about these details, but I do honestly believe that it will help. The best example of how it can help is when you are trying to attract new team members. The first thing potential candidates will check is your development page, whether that is a website or a ModDB page. This will be the candidates’ first real impression of your mod, and you need to maximise that presentation to both impress and attract. A well presented mod page could be the deciding factor on whether you gain that highly skilled modeller that you’ve been so desperately needing to progress further on your mod.
News Post Frequency
Probably one of the most valuable ways to connect with your audience, news posts give you a chance to talk about your mod, boast about its latest feature and most importantly, keep your audience interested. It goes without saying that after a long drought of information, audiences will begin to forget about a mod and stop checking back (especially important if you are not using ModDB), but that doesn’t mean post about every small thing each day. It’s important to maintain a balance by keeping your audience interested while avoiding overloading them with information that they are not interested in.
What I would advise is that you plan a regular news update which you can use to update your fans with what’s happened since the previous update. Whether this is monthly or bi-weekly is completely up to you, but you should take into account what kind of development speed you are working at. This will ensure that you give enough time between updates for significant progress to be made on the mod.
If you don’t have anything new to show yet, whether it’s because you are at a particularly unexciting point in development or any other reason, it is still possible to make an interesting and engaging news post. It may involve thinking outside of the box a little but there are ways to fill the gaps in news. Probably one of the best examples of this which I have seen comes from the Goldeneye: Source team who’s last ModDB update was dedicated to the community rather than the actual mod. You can see that post here. Just keep it relevant and interesting! Try to avoid pulling pranks (as seen here) as your audience are more likely to stop following your mod than find it humourous.
This should something that every mod creator pays attention to. You can learn a lot about a mod from the quality of the writing. There are plenty of examples of mods that don’t try with writing, for example: Combine Portals is a mod that really doesn’t sell itself with its writing. The spelling is simply atrocious. Personally, I would be very put off by this and I doubt I would be the only one. Another example is CO laboratories which fails to incorporate capital letters into it’s sentences. It’s all well and good that you can do the other areas such as modelling and mapping, but if you still write like a 10-year-old then consider getting someone to do the writing for you. Presentation is key to gaining an audience. The mod itself could look amazing, but from my experience I’ve found that mods like these are the ones that don’t see a release.
If I’m looking to work on a mod I want to know that the mod team are committed to creating the best quality product, and I will be taking into account how they present themselves. A developer doesn’t want to spend hours working on a mod just to see it get tossed away when the leader gets bored. They need to see commitment to the mod. I can understand that some people have problems with writing; I have friends that suffer from dyslexia and they genuinely struggle with writing, which is why outsourcing the writing is so important. Perhaps you have a friend who is a good writer, who wouldn’t mind helping out with the writing aspects? Maybe another team member can handle that task. If you really need help with the writing then please contact us, we will gladly support you.
Now that brings us to the end of Part One, we’ll be continuing with Presentation in the next post and then move onto other aspects of advertising mods.