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Tips on hosting a successful and fun community project

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Pretty soon I'll be starting up a community project, and I was wondering if some of you in community could give some tips and guidelines on making a community project fun for it's participants!

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I can say something, since I've done one project and I'm starting another one soon. Specifically Doom 2 from memory.


1. Timing. Rush people, but not too much. Nobody is going to join a community project if they have a week to make a map. Especially if there is a lot of other projects going on. But rush people eventually, you will never get all the maps unless you at least tag people at some point. Unless you do, but sometimes it's good to put pressure on. Not too much though, you'll just have everybody leaving your project. Also don't put multi-year deadlines, that's an easy way to get people to forget about your project.


2. Rules. Be specific, don't leave any questions. Make sure to cover everything, or else you might get a joke map. Nobody would do that, but always put it in the rules anyway.


3. Don't make the description and all that too long. An essay for a description is not going to win anybody over, so try your best to make it concise. Or summarize it somewhere.


4. Playtest, as much as you can do. My biggest regret is not playtesting it enough. Make sure everything works on the big name ports, and the small ports. Unless it is a specific port, people will use many different types of ports. Make sure it works or people won't be able to play your project!


5. Lists. Don't just download, make a list of submitted maps, or people who have joined. Also double-check those lists, make sure you don't miss a number, and maybe even do some spreadsheets. As a project leader your job is to encourage and keep track of things.


6. Try to work as hard as you can. Preferably without any stress. Get things done, don't procrastinate, and good luck.


7. Remember, the title is the most important thing. Nobody is going to click on some random project, list community project in the title, who you want, but be concise. People won't read a long title either. Put things in capital letters if you need to.


That's all that I do, and all that I can think of! Be careful when needed, and try to have fun yourself! It is very stressful, some people cannot do it, but if you do the best you can, you should have a successful project.

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8 minutes ago, Engired said:

As a project leader your job is to encourage and keep track of things.

I seconded this approach. You can also recruit some record trackers if you feel exhausted having to manage so many things at once.

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A thing I find really helpful for getting stuff done on ANY kind of project, also outside of Doom, is finding a partner to both help do the work, and to reflect on the (artistic) direction of the project. Your project can always be better and constructive criticism is a must for almost everybody. And having somebody else there to keep up the work when things are bad/busy for you in your Outside-of-Doom life is very useful. A partner doesn't work for everybody: in that case have some 'trusted advisors' or something like that.


More help is perhaps even better, but having more than two or three people making the decisions will probably make the project unwieldy. So get people to help in a supporting capacity (in a nice, non-dictatorial way of course). And make sure it's clear to everybody that you (and your partner) always have the final say over things. 

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1 hour ago, Engired said:

Nobody is going to join a community project if they have a week to make a map.


Umm, 3x3 says hi. :P


In all seriousness, I do understand the point you're trying to make. But I think the nature of the project plays a part in what sort of deadline works. 3x3 ended up working out because I advertised it as a speedmapping CP, and while there was no hard limit on time spent mapping, that week was enough time for about 30 maps to be submitted. But then again, I guess the project's success can also be attributed to the fact that there were no other CPs running at the time, at least as far as I remember. I'm still blown away by the whole thing.


But yeah, timing does definitely play a part in how successful a community project ends up becoming. Announce it at the wrong time and it's bound to drown in a sea of other CPs that never came to fruition for one reason or another. Give participating mappers too generous a deadline and its fate will likely be very similar. You can't understate the importance of timing when it comes to hosting a CP, but in order to really catch people's interest with it, you need an interesting concept. It's the sum of all those parts that makes CPs successful.

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I'll definitely be careful with this one, since school is starting back up...and I have no idea how that will go. Hopefully last year's educational horrors are well behind us. Thanks all for chiming in!

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