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Old 01-08-2011, 03:11 AM   #1
Parhelion
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Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

Hey folks!

Parhelion here -- I am the gal who is working on getting the RPMud Network's site up and running. Things have been going pretty slow (no doubt many of you are aware!), but in a few months -- as soon as February -- the site should be ready for launch.

So what is this Social Media Use Survey thing?

I am looking to collect a lot of data on your usage of Facebook and/or Twitter, as game owners and players. Data collected will be posted on the site by me at its launch for public viewing, but also may be used by RPMud Network for articles or reporting. I would greatly appreciate EVERYONE's participation in this -- even if you are not an "RP" type of game.

Do not worry about questions if they are not relevant to you -- you may skip any such questions. Remember to be as honest as possible.

There are two separate questionnaires. One is for MUD owners / game entities, and the other is for players. If you are a game (regardless of your use of FB or Twitter), please ask your players to visit this thread and grab the player questionnaire -- it'll help you out, and us!

MUD owners may opt to receive two reports before or at the time of the release of the survey -- the overall results of the survey, as well as a personalized report of player responses from those who identified as having played their game.

This survey will conclude on the last day of FEBRUARY, unless it is extended.
Please note that this is an "unofficial" survey -- results may take a while to compile.



GAME OWNERS:
click here

PLAYERS: click here
* WARNING: Player surveys are set up to only be taken once, to prevent duplicate anonymous submissions. If you skip pages and then try to go back, this may break the survey. If this happens, please email me at parhelion@rpmud.net and I will send you a copy that you can do in email. You responses are appreciated!

Last edited by Parhelion : 01-10-2011 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:01 AM   #2
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

As you've posted this on the Advanced Mud Concepts forum, which is specifically for discussions about new directions in RPGs and advanced concepts in MUD development, I'm going to assume you're also looking for feedback and debate about your survey and the subjects it covers. If that's not the case, and you just accidently posted on the wrong forum, you may want to ask a moderator to split the thread and move your post. But this is quite an interesting subject, and certainly worthy of some design discussions.

One query I do have is with this part:

Type: [ MUD/MOO/MUCK/MUSH - Not Codebase ]

MOO, MUCK and MUSH are codebases. To be more precise, MOO (MUD Object Oriented) is a custom codebase inspired by TinyMUD, while MUCK and MUSH are both derivatives of TinyMUD (in the same way that, for example, Merc and Circle are both derivatives of DikuMUD). I'd therefore suggest rephrasing the above based on the data you're looking for - for example, if you're interested in the overall family rather than the specific codebase you might phrase it as:

Family: [ AberMUD/TinyMUD/LPMud/DikuMUD/Other ]

Moving on to the main concept itself, my view (which I've seen expressed by others as well) is that in general muds are too complex to appeal to most Facebook users - the audience is just too different. In fact, just a couple of days ago while discussing this on another forum, a mud owner mentioned that "FYI, my iPhone app brought about 20 thousand users to the game last year. Only a handful stayed. The Facebook app will bring far less new users and I don't expect it to attract or retain any even though it's more visual than any other desktop MUD client I know of. What would most likely happen is that those who play the game already will use the FB app on occasion. And it may become a nice community space over time."

However, as I've also discussed in the past, I feel that some of the minigames offered by certain muds could make good candidates for being turned into Facebook applications - and these could even be linked with the mud in some way. An example I gave was that of a simplified Dungeon Keeper style game, where users of the Facebook application design and maintain dungeons (stylistically a little bit like Farmville), and those dungeons get automatically turned into content for the mud. The Facebook users would then rack up scores based on how successfully their dungeons kept out intruders, and of course you could try to encourage them to test their own dungeons by playing the mud.

Other possibilities for Facebook applications might include crafting games (with the demand and pricing based on the needs of the mud, and the end products being sold within the mud), city building games, etc. The idea would be to create a sort of symbiotic relationship between the app and the mud, so that they promote each other, rather like the two games, one world concept I've discussed in the past.

Twitter isn't something I use, but I vaguely recall discussions in the past about using a similar concept for informing players about game updates - particularly for time-critical events (for example, informing players when their clan base is under attack). It might also be a good way of keeping players in the loop even if they don't log on regularly, perhaps even encouraging former players to come back if they're still following the updates and see something particularly cool.
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:04 PM   #3
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

Hey KaVir,

You're right in that I probably should have used a different term to clarify what I meant by "type." What I wasn't looking for was the entire cornicopia of MUD codebases out there (RPI Engine, Smaug, Envy, etc) while excluding obvious MUD-like engines (such as certain talkers). Essentially, any networked, text-dominant, live, multiuser "game" should be encouraged to respond to this.

I also stuck the thread in the wrong place, apparently, but since you've responded, I would not mind there being related discussion attached to it.

The rest of your post gets to the heart of why I'm doing the survey. I had spent some time planning my own game with the idea of potentially launching it on Facebook, but then noticed that a small number of MUDs have already created their own clients with a Facebook app as an add-on to already established games. A large number of MUDs also have their own pages, and I know of at least one engine/driver that may be in development which will not even focus on telnet access anymore. There are also a number of small, trailing discussions on TMS concerning Facebook, but nothing with any hard evidence.

I'm trying to encourage any game and user out there to respond to the survey so that some actual numerical data can show up. Where one MUD might fail, another might succeed, and this kind of survey might show the reason why. I am one of those individuals who does firmly believe that we (the MUDverse, and all the games in it) are stagnating in our technology by not reaching out enough to alternative sources for players. While there a few games that try, most remain working on the same gateways that were used in the 80's and 90's.


Edit:

Updated original post; surveys are now available through links to be taken online. No emailing is required.

Last edited by Parhelion : 01-09-2011 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:18 PM   #4
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

As far as I know no MUD has succeeded in successfully advertising outside of the MUD community.

If one did we'd know as their numbers would steadily increase instead of being stagnant. Gaming wise the competition will be very tough on facebook, with the same problem of finding the right target audience by means other than sponsoring MUD listings and MUD clients.

If I assess the situation correctly several commercial MUDs managed to increase their player bases by heavy advertisement inside the MUD community in the early 2000s. The most notable of these was IRE, at one point I even started calling TMC TIC (The IRE Connector).

Facebook or Twitter won't change this situation as it's very difficult to attract the right people, and the genre is (obviously) not popular enough to create the kind of critical mass that farm ville has.

One thing that should work is creating a MUD listing that is optimized to show up for google keywords likely to be entered by potential mudders, people looking for blind accessible games for example. The requirement for inclusion would be a back link to increase page rank.

The biggest hurdle is that not enough mud servers will join in the early stages to generate significant presence on Google. The next big problem is figuring out what keywords to optimize for. And of course the eternal problem, who gets to be in charge.
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:02 AM   #5
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

Quote:
Originally Posted by scandum View Post
As far as I know no MUD has succeeded in successfully advertising outside of the MUD community.
Yes and no. There ARE several games that technically classify as MUDs, or fall under similar categories, that not only exist but have actively thrived outside of the TMS-TMC-ole'-Kyndig Circle of Trust. While I'm not certain of its status today, Gemstone comes to mind as one such game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scandum View Post
Facebook or Twitter won't change this situation as it's very difficult to attract the right people, and the genre is (obviously) not popular enough to create the kind of critical mass that farm ville has.
This is sort of inaccurate.

To be honest, nobody in their right mind would have looked at Farmville 10 years ago and said, "Wow, THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!!" Farmville succeeds because of what Facebook enables, and it was, in my opinion, one of the first "pretty" game-like applications to really hit Facebook. Prior to it, all you had to play were things like MafiaWars and VampireWars or whatever, and it was boring.

Secondly, MUDs may evolve to take on different shapes. It is not the intent of this thread to start a battle on what a MUD should or should not be, but it is entirely feasible to run a "MUD" engine that had a simple complete graphical front-end. Nobody's expecting a huge explosion in development because of traffic from FB and Twitter, but that is not a reason to dismiss it out of hand, nor is it a reason not to look into learning how to use these technologies to the greatest benefit of each game.

If there is a reason to dismiss FB and Twitter or not, the numbers will talk.

That is why I need every game to respond, or at least try, and encourage their players to do the same -- even if they had NO success what-so-ever. It may be that Facebook and Twitter would be a complete waste of time and energy for developers of traditional MUDs, or it may be that nobody's succeeded because of "you're doing it wrong!". It may provide marginal benefits that are worth the effort for an administrator to make, and identifying what those benefits are is the point of this survey.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:00 AM   #6
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Parhelion View Post
Yes and no. There ARE several games that technically classify as MUDs, or fall under similar categories, that not only exist but have actively thrived outside of the TMS-TMC-ole'-Kyndig Circle of Trust. While I'm not certain of its status today, Gemstone comes to mind as one such game.
The most successful muds are those that have developed custom graphical clients. Even if the server itself feels much like a typical DikuMUD, a pretty graphical client and some solid marketing can bring in a lot of new players. A decent browser-based client can also help a mud draw in players from outside of the mud community, although of course you can still remain accessable through text-based clients as well.

However in my opinion there's a difference when it comes to Facebook. DikuMUD, World of Warcraft, RuneScape, etc, are all much the same type of game, the main difference lies in the interface. But the most popular Facebook games tend to promote a very different style of gameplay - Farmville for example is extremely simple, it requires very little skill or time, and therefore appeals to a different sort of audience to the typical mud.

Having said that, Second Life has its own Facebook application - so perhaps some of the more social-oriented muds (such as some of the MUSHes, MUCKs or other TinyMUD derivatives) could find themselves a niche on Facebook as well.

But for the more gameplay-intensive muds, I don't think it's as simple as throwing together a Facebook application and waiting for hordes of players to turn up. I think you'd really need to tailor the gameplay to the audience, which is why I feel that porting mud minigames to Facebook might prove more worthwhile.
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:28 PM   #7
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

The crucial point in KaVir's assessment is that games that do well among a general audience require little to no skill, and little to no time investment. What's true for Facebook games is doubly true for mobile phone games.

While it is true that Facebook enables simple, often mediocre games that no-one would have normally noticed, to reach a wide audience, it is not a blessing for just *any* game. If you happen to have a simple, "cool-looking", social game in which people can pop in, do something fun/silly, and pop out, you might have the next Facebook hit. This does not describe any self-respecting MUD (thank goodness!).
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:47 AM   #8
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

Facebook and other sites are frequently checked by employers and potential employers. I do not mix my online gaming with my professional presence therefore, to me it would make more sense to canvas gaming Networking sites than sites that are for general social networking
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

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Facebook and other sites are frequently checked by employers and potential employers. I do not mix my online gaming with my professional presence therefore, to me it would make more sense to canvas gaming Networking sites than sites that are for general social networking
Yes and no.

Canvassing a gaming network is going to get you players who are already familiar with games. I am not familiar with too many actual gaming networking sites (TMS technically is not such a site), but I imagine the downside of that is that by and large most of the players already have a "home game" and are networking to find other players from those same games. This is like setting up a pizza shop in the middle of a entire city block of bigger pizza shops. That's just my speculation, though, and it's outside the bounds of this survey.

Facebook has different uses, and a much different audience. You say you don't mix your online gaming with your "professional presence", which suggests to me that you either think down on gaming in general (and thus hide the fact you do it) OR you use Facebook in the same manner that you would use a networking site like LinkedIn. I could be wrong on both accounts, but if either is true, it's essential to point out that you would not be the "average" Facebook user. I suppose it depends on who you were trying to get to hire you, but saying "I like WoW" or "I dig these 80's text games" is NOT the same as posting pics about how you dropped acid while banging forest animals and then things went all pear-shaped. To be honest with you, gaming seems to have lost its "taboo" status for adults... but then, I'm not in 'business', I'm in the labor/environmental industry -- and all of my coworkers play online games, and I have NEVER had a boss that did not play online games or was at least curious about it.

Facebook does not have very many social rules or expectations on what people can share -- you have straight-edge businessmen, rockers, stay-at-home moms, children, old ladies who like Red Hat, and, yes, game enthusiasts. A gaming company that uses Facebook to promote its product may have the same success rate as the organic whole foods store down the street or a company whose entire reason for being is to build 2000-dollar custom painted litter boxes that function as normal furniture.

Of course, FB has other uses -- you don't HAVE to use it strictly to try and reach a new audience (although that's a perk). You can use it as a way to stay connected with the audience that you ALREADY have; while a small handful of your players may use a particular game networking site, it's a safe bet that the majority of your players at least recognize Facebook, even if they don't frequently use it.

Last edited by Parhelion : 01-12-2011 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:29 AM   #10
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

From our experience with Facebook I would argue that the value in Facebook for your standard gameplay driven MUD would not be that it attracts new players, but that it allows you to interact with players you already have in ways you never could have before.

We often use it to post new code changes, new areas going in or to announce a quest that will be happening in an hour or two. Often after posting that there will be an event of some sort scheduled in an hour or two we get a larger turnout for the quest than when we do not post them on Facebook. All of this of course is done in tandem with the way we've been doing things for the past ten years (posting the changes on the note board in game, etc). IMHO, The biggest value that Facebook gives a mud is that it allows you to interact with your players while they are away from the game.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:52 AM   #11
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

Giving this a bump, since we're well into February.

Remember to shoot me an email (parhelion@rpmud.net) or AIM me (Lunar Parhelion) if you run into any problems with the survey. Your time is appreciated.

Also remember that it's not necessary for you respond to questions that are not relevant to you (i.e, if you don't use Twitter, then just ignore the entire Twitter page. )... however, answering as completely as possible helps make sure that our results are more accurate.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:46 AM   #12
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Re: Social Media/Facebook Use Survey - Please Read!

Hey Parhelion did this ever get finished and posted somewhere?
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