YoYo Games: what would make the website much better

on January 21, 2008 - 4171 Views

YoYo GamesI’m not quite satisfied with the YoYoGames.com website: it certainly is lacking in many, many directions. And it has been having numerous of stability problems in the last month.

I have written a complete list of necessary improvements to YYG.com, for everybody. I will divide these arguments into multiple categories: “Profile” and “Gaming”. Profile will contain criticism on the profile & user system of the site. Gaming will contain more criticism on the gaming section of the site, including all game management tools and InstantPlay. I’ll also include additional criticism on other parts of the website.

Profile

As YYG.com is the official community website for GM-made games, it should be clear that it needs a complete user system. But in this case, it does not: it is lacking in many directions.

  1. While this isn’t exactly an issue related to the user system directly, the lack of moderation is worrying me: there are a lot of flame fests on users’ pages and imposter profiles keep on coming. No matter how many reports are sent, nothing seems to happen. Either YYG’s staff is taking one hell of a new year vacation or they just suck at checking the report queue.
  2. The user shoutboxes or game comments are not user-moderation possible. While reporting is possible, there is no karma system (such as YouTube’s new commenting system) and users can’t even remove comments on their own profile or games.
  3. The user profiles can not be customized almost at all: being a “web 2.0 gaming website” (as they claim it) means some sort of customization. But no, you throw in your age, description and some other basic user info and that’s none!it. Let’s say that you don’t have favorite games in YYG: your profile still shows it. It’d be convenient to be able to hide it from showing up.

Gaming

YYG.com certainly has made a lot of effort on the side of the games, their upload and playing. Their InstantPlay mechanism certainly has helped on the amount of games tested out: no more manual downloading, it does it for you. But deep down, this system is still flawed in many, many ways.

  1. As Microsoft Vista came out (Please, do not make a 500 word long comment on how Windows Vistamuch Vista “sucks”), users quickly discovered that Game Maker 6- made games would not run on their computers. Obviously this caused some kind of outrage, but fortunately after a short time, an official GM6 to Vista “upgrader” was released, allowing GM6 made executables to be converted to Vista- compatible games. YYG.com lacks any indication if the game will work with Vista. They should auto-detect a GM6 signature, for example, in the game and show a warning to Vista users: or just simply demand game uploaders to do it themselves: GM6 or not (or made Vista-compatible)? [update: esh corrected that InstantPlay will make GM6- based games compatible on Vista; but some users might prefer to download it instead: they’ll be greeted by a nice “game.exe crashed” dialog box.]
  2. Although this is a minor point, InstantPlay needs some additional improvement. For example, users should be allowed to set another temp directory where it should download the games to.
  3. The game pages should also allow maximum customization: maybe make it more attractive than the typical white background – green/gray content? Custom backgrounds would be nice, so would be custom text boxes (instead of the small Description box)… your imagination the YYG.com staff’s imagination is the limit.
  4. The navigation is flawed. I doubt an user looking for games to play (snort) would want to go through hundreds of pages to find a good game. Perhaps a randomizer with some extendable search queries (e.g. I don’t want to play Adbarlian Castles Catch the Clown!) would help.

And the rest

I hope I’ve established some points that you are free to debate in the comments. But before that, I will point out some other things bothering me (note that this also includes some general criticism on YYG):

  1. Their forums. There’s the GMC: what do we need a pathetic clone of it for? This is like decentralizing the community. There’s the “YoYo’ers” and “GMC’ers”. It doesn’t make sense: there’s always space for an YYG section in the GMC.
  2. Their lack of communication with the community. Yes, we’ve got a lot of announcements, they even have a “glog” (and they even forced Mark to blog), but their communication with “us” just seems so stiff.
  3. YYG still hasn’t used their full power to improve the state of GM: much more could be done.

That’s about it. Feel free to comment!

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16 Responses to YoYo Games: what would make the website much better

  1. Me says:

    I hate YoYo games community, they spam, downrate, flame.. Someone called me a bitch in my profile, and I can’t even delete that comment, and YoYo Games does nothing about it. What the heck?

  2. John says:

    Well, the one thing I can say is

    [I suck for not following clear instructions.] Mark was awesome, but I consider him to be somewhat of a sellout. Damn you Yoyo games!

  3. Just a notice to Blijbol nd all those reading this.
    GmX has clearance in splitting files as long as they’re not GM7’s.
    The only rule gainst this is in the GM7 EULA. I’ve talked with several friends and it seems that I could choose to stay with an older EULA for the particular old version.
    In the case of GM7, well it’s a shame. But I think there’s a good legal solution.

    Thanks all!

    Regards,
    Christian Sciberras (GmX lead developer)

  4. well, i looked ‘game maker not working with vista’ on google. And this website came up.

  5. Phil Gamble says:

    “I thought this “blog” discussed why the heck gamemaker 6 isn’t compatible with vista. I have registered 6 and don’t want to do it with 7.”
    What made you think that?

  6. I thought this “blog” discussed why the heck gamemaker 6 isn’t compatible with vista. I have registered 6 and don’t want to do it with 7.
    -guy from crowd

  7. Jinxtengu says:

    “what would make the website much better?”

    A virus that copies all your GM games straight from your hard drive and uploads them onto yoyo, then crashes your computer and leaves you the message “Mark Overmars Pawns you hahaha!”
    Obviously that would make the website much better, duh!

  8. YoYoJim says:

    This is very interesting feedback Tuntis. Worthy of a response at least.

    I especially like the idea of empowering users to moderate the site. Duly noted.

    A lot of the other points you make above we’re already working on (new layouts for the games pages/user profiles)
    ActiveX isn’t my department but automatic conversion sounds sensible and we’re currently overhauling the upload process on the site, so I’ll see if we can get that introduced. We’re hoping to get a new release of the site out in the next two months.

    Communication is something I’ve been trying hard to improve since I joined YoYo: While I know the helpdesk has had it’s problems in the past, it should now be operational (I’d actually recommend sending in any urgent queries again now). We watch, and occasionally participate in, conversations on the GMC and my message box on the site is always open.

    @Blijbol, I’ll look into your problem – in fact, message me (YoYoJim) your request on YoYo and I’ll deal with it myself.

    -Jim

  9. Blijbol says:

    And about the lack of communication… if you ask the helpdesk for permission for something, for example putting online a part of GM’s (English) help file, they do not even take worth to say no, but you are simply being ignored completely, even if they are offering the Dutch translation of the help file online on their website and you were one of the translators!

  10. Blijbol says:

    “…but they are relying on all of us to click on the badly animated adsense ads which are so badly placed on their site which contains OUR content.”
    I agree. When posting your creation on the GMC, you can link to a download page containing some advertisements for your own profit. When posting your creation on YYG, YYG will earn money and there’s absolutely no way to get a fair share for yourself. But because of YYG people will look at YYG instead of at the GMC, so you have to agree that YYG is taking all profit becaus otherwise your game will barely have any players.

    “It would be nice (though there might be legal considerations) if the site automatically converted GM6 games…”
    Now where talking about that: YYG’s InstantPlay has an unfair competition against “Game Maker ActiveX” (GMX), an alternative in development by community members. If you upload your game to YYG, your game’s executable is modified and split up into several parts. GMX cannot do such things because the licence agreement does not allow this. But YYG will of course not sue YYG if YYG violates the licence terms of YYG. This is an unfair method to give YYG a monopoly position.

  11. Leif says:

    I agree with most of your points, however, I also agree with Phil that user customization should be kept away from the abohoridly slow myspace style in which users who do not understand CSS or any other web language cause immense lag (both on the computer and network) with high-resolution backgrounds.

    And yes… the search box where you can’t get to it immediately bothers me.

    Also, I can see user moderation of comments on your profile but not on games. On games users would simply remove every bad review (be it truthful or not). A YouTube style voting system would be appropriate, a score of -6 and the post is deleted could reduce flaming.

    It would be nice (though there might be legal considerations) if the site automatically converted GM6 games for vista compatibility (or had a check box on the upload form “Make This Game Vista Compatible” which would convert if and only if your game had an incompatible header.)

    But yah… all in all I agree.

  12. Elmernite says:

    Lots of nice points. I pretty much agree with most of them.
    Their communication was alot better at first. But now, Sandy’s blog always feels like it’s trying to push something. (The winter comp, vote for us here, ect..) It used to be a lot more personal and friendly and you could get some cool updates and behind the scenes stuff.

    Perhaps they could take a hint from bungie’s news updates.
    -Elmernite

  13. Phil Gamble says:

    YoYo certainly isn’t web 2.0 whatever they claim about wanting to become “a youtube for games”, as far as I can tell that remains a distant aspiration.

    As for customisations of the games pages – whilst I agree some would be good – you wouldn’t want the site to descend any more down the slow loading/bad design/no consistency avenue, aka myspace.

    As for a search box at the bottom of the homepage, where is the sense in that?

    Lack of communications is a big problem. Sadly this isn’t unique to YoYo, but it something which really irritates me. Why can’t they just let us know what is going on – sure someone will say it is none of our business, but they are relying on all of us to click on the badly animated adsense ads which are so badly placed on their site which contains OUR content.

  14. Eyas Sharaiha says:

    As far as it comes to customization, I believe PLACEMENT customization is a MUST.. color, etc.. might just make the whole thing worse.

    About the Vista compatibility, I need to mention that WITH INSTANT PLAY, all Games – including GM6 games – run fully on Windows Vista.

  15. tuntis says:

    I never meant a MySpace- style customization hell.

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