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Old 06-11-2004, 04:06 AM   #1
the_logos
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TechTv's "Screensaver" program featured us for a whole minute and a half (heh) yesterday and today. We are, obviously, #### psyched. Text games almost never get covered by any sort of broadcast media these days, and this guy is a little over-the-top into text (he says, seemingly somewhat seriously, that text is the future of gaming in his opening line).

Anyway, here's the transcript. The transcript is from Leo Laporte. They showed him playing the game in our java client, etc.

----------------------------
Now here is Leo [Laporte] with another tip.

Hi guys, I'm here to tell you about the future of gaming: text! I can't stop playing this game, it's called Achaea. It is a mud, a text based adventure, online though. Massively multiplayer online games are all the rage, but most of the time it's graphical. This is an RPG that harkens back to the good old days and it is immensely popular, a huge world with the Underworld and all sorts of characters and people in there.  There's 500 people in there right now.

Should we enter? Should we enter Achaea? You see, it's text-based. This is a java client, which is nice, it makes it very easy, you have macros, you can travel around. I'm going to get a little tour of achaea right now so we can see all the people that are standing around here right now. I can talk to them, I can have fun with them. I've created a character called Archeopteron [we changed his name since so he doesn't get pestered]. Stop by and say 'hi!' Text based adventures are very hot, because your mind is the best graphics engine of all. It feels very real. I know people who spend hours in Achaea.

Now, an interesting thing happened recently. The developers of Achaea created a highly addictive drug called 'gleam.' And people took the drug without realizing it was addictive. Characters were getting sick, going through withdrawl, some were even dying! And that's a serious thing if you're a troll with 800 xp points that kicks off because you were taking gleam. In many ways, it's a very real world and very fascinating.

I don't know if you've ever played text adventures, I know I cut my teeth on them. If you haven't, maybe even you  young un's want to try this one. Achaea: A  C  H  A  E  A. It's free, works on all platforms, has a java client, makes it very easy to play. But watch out....Achaea is addictive!
--------------------------------------

It's hard to say how much Leo actually played Achaea but I'm actually a little surprised that Techtv would deign to even cover a text game these days. There is hope for us all!

--matt
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Old 06-11-2004, 06:40 AM   #2
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Nice

Too bad no free non-commercial games get that kind of advertisement and attention though.
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Old 06-11-2004, 09:34 AM   #3
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You know Hephos, I think nearly every post I've ever seen from you just drips with envy and/or a veiled dig followed by a smiley face (which makes it all ok right?).

Look at the bigger picture. The publicity potentially draws a lot of non mud-playing gamers to Achaea. Achaea then  'encourages' those players to vote at topmudsites which exposes those new players to all of our MUDs.
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Old 06-11-2004, 10:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Aardwolf @ June 11 2004,09:34)
You know Hephos, I think nearly every post I've ever seen from you just drips with envy and/or a veiled dig followed by a smiley face (which makes it all ok right?).

Look at the bigger picture. The publicity potentially draws a lot of non mud-playing gamers to Achaea. Achaea then  'encourages' those players to vote at topmudsites which exposes those new players to all of our MUDs.
Envy? Sure What mud owner does not envy that exposure? And... makes it all ok? You're saying its not ok to envy a great game for their publicity?

However, im talking about free games (we're also making a pay2play game like achaea) so im not directly talking about my own game... Im referring to all the free games. And there are tons of free games that could compete with commercial games in quality, just take aardwolf for example, not to mention a couple handfull more.

Also, im not saying it is a bad thing. Its good that any text game gets attention from the public, and we have ourselves got a bunch of achaea players coming over to our own game
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Old 06-11-2004, 01:11 PM   #5
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I can't believe how much coverage gleam is getting. All because you didn't tell people it was a drug beforehand.

Congratulations by the way I'm just shocked at the whole thing with gleam (being covered online in non-MUD places, players not liking it).
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Old 06-11-2004, 01:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (John @ June 11 2004,13:11)
I can't believe how much coverage gleam is getting. All because you didn't tell people it was a drug beforehand.

Congratulations by the way I'm just shocked at the whole thing with gleam (being covered online in non-MUD places, players not liking it).
I'm not shocked it got some publicity. I was pretty sure some news services would pick it up. I AM shocked it got any time on broadcast media though.

--matt
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Old 06-11-2004, 02:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Hephos @ June 11 2004,06:40)
Too bad no free non-commercial games get that kind of advertisement and attention though.
Ask yourself this though: What have these other games done to try to get this attention? Just putting in a feature and then not telling anyone about it aside from other text mudders isn't going to get you any attention from anyone but text mudders. Most text muds do absolutely no advertising or PR work outside of existing text mud communities. Obviously free muds aren't in a position to run advertisements that may cost thousands of dollars, but you can do a lot of creative PR work for free. There's just not much incentive for free muds to do that when compared to the incentive we have, for instance.

--matt
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Old 06-11-2004, 03:57 PM   #8
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You know,

I quit mudding/running a mud about half a year ago now. And I just thought I'd drop in to look at the forum..and now I see just how xxxxxxx a lot of the mud owners are. Sorry, I can't even find a word...Hephos, your trying to be very sly in your postings, and very offensive as well. Quit envying others and bad mouthing them, focus on marketing your own mud. What Achaea got was publicity, and granted, they are commercial, I'm sure if someone wanted too they could get a non-commercial mud on a TV advertisement too.
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Old 06-11-2004, 06:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
are. Sorry, I can't even find a word...Hephos, your trying to be very sly in your postings, and very offensive as well. Quit envying others and bad mouthing them, focus on marketing your own mud.
Ugh, you woke up on the wrong side today? Who am i bad mouthing or being offensive against?

I'm sure as #### not bad mouthing iron realms or achaea, which i find being a top notch game.
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Old 06-12-2004, 12:03 AM   #10
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I don't mean to derail this (but hey, keeps it bumped up )

Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ June 11 2004,14:21)
Obviously free muds aren't in a position to run advertisements that may cost thousands of dollars, but you can do a lot of creative PR work for free.
Like what?

I like to advertise the mud I play whenever I can, but I find the chances aren't too great. My mud mainly advertises by:
* Free banners on non-mud websites (not too many places allow this though)
* Adding muds to game listings and search engines
* Posting flyers in universities
* Including a link in my signature and profile (provided it isn't against the forum rules)
* Having a booth at DragonCon.

Those are the pretty standard ways of advertising though. What other ways are there?
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Old 06-12-2004, 12:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (John @ June 12 2004,00<!--emo&[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img])]Like what?

I like to advertise the mud I play whenever I can, but I find the chances aren't too great. My mud mainly advertises by:
* Free banners on non-mud websites (not too many places allow this though)
* Adding muds to game listings and search engines
* Posting flyers in universities
* Including a link in my signature and profile (provided it isn't against the forum rules)
* Having a booth at DragonCon.

Those are the pretty standard ways of advertising though. What other ways are there?
Well, for instance, at least half the purpose we put in gleam was because we were pretty sure we could get some coverage for it. We then anonymously submitted a story to slashdot about it, figuring they'd cover it if phrased the right way, and they did. Wired News then read the Slashdot article (they seem to get a lot of their gaming news from slashdot), and I assume TechTv picked it up from either Slashdot or Wired. A few other news sites picked up the story as well.

Small muds (and that includes every single one of us, as I use 'mud' to include Everquest and such too) have to work to get any kind of attention from media. Do something that you know the mainstream folk will perceive as edgy and then make sure that you let someone know about it.

Another thing I've made sure to do over time is participate in forums that game developers from big companies participate in. That's how I got to know Dr. Bartle, for instance, which then got me in as one of his two editors for his book (which ensured Achaea would get mentioned more than it otherwise might have). Did another thing recently like that with Lee Sheldon, who has a book coming out on storytelling in games. Since most media types are going to be, at best, vaguely aware of Achaea (and that's only because I work hard at it), I need people with bigger names in the mainstream gaming industry to know who I am and what our company is up to, so that when media guys (who probably will know who the big-name developers are) ask for someone to talk to about <X> (in our case it's usually politics in games, business models, or text muds generally), said big name developers can point them to me.

I've got another plan for some innovative PR that should be quite funny if it works, but that'll have to wait until after it's executed.

All the things you listed you do are fine and well, but they're also never going to get you media attention. Think of it this way: What you are doing is just advertisement. People see ads all the time, and there's nothing noteworthy to the media about them, unless the ads themselves manage to be creative enough and widespread enough to draw attention (and that's pretty impossible when you don't have an ad budget). Ads are good for bringing in players, but ads won't interest the media.

You might look around the net for writings on 'guerilla marketing'. Lots of relevant stuff out there. I also don't want to portray myself as an expert marketing guy, as I'm not. I'm just kind of learning as I go and feeling my way along. I'm sure professional marketers could do a lot for any of us, but they're quite pricey. I talked to the Themis group recently about hiring them to do some marketing/PR work for us. They wanted a minimum commitment of $15,000.
--matt
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Old 06-12-2004, 07:25 AM   #12
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A couple years ago on the Screensavers TMC and MW as well as RoD were mentioned. I think a few other sites and games were also in there. I missed the show myself, seeing as how I do not watch it. I swear someone posted it on a forum somewhere, but chances are it is long-gone now.

So the lesson is, this community is not totally forgotten by the world, we just have to wait patiently. Plus, as Achaea will gain some publicity, it will spread about for the community. So, we should thank those at Achaea for being noticed for having a great game and inevitably sharing that with this community.
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Old 06-15-2004, 08:03 AM   #13
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Those are certainly interesting techniques. Thanks
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Old 06-17-2004, 07:23 AM   #14
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Heya all,

First off, nice work on the advertising, I think Achaea certainly knows how to do it (they have been covered at least twice on the slashdot game section so they must be doing something right).

And on the subject of techtv: http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20040616 really made me laugh. And somehow I had to link this news to this comic...

Greetings,

Dre

PS: Press previous cartoon to see what TechTV is really about (another hilarious techtv comic) or next cartoon as that one is also about TechTV. And I don't even know what TechTV is! (I was born in the wrong part of the world)
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