New format coming soon

First off, we apologize for the lack of features since December. Unfortunately we don’t have any sort of excuse, let alone a good one. Things were quite busy and I was too lazy to click a few buttons.

Now on to the heart of the matter: we are changing the overall format of Let’s Play Indie Games. The original idea was to give coverage to both Let’s Players and Indie Developers at the same time (ourselves included.) This has been working quite well so far, but I can see the drag in some and completely understand it. You post a video (or 30), but still get skipped over by the RNG deities and your video doesn’t get featured (or you forgot to submit the game for the video and so the algorithm completely excluded your submissions.)

This is leading to a huge downward spiral (honestly, we’re already there.) Currently we have 4 or 5 users submitting their videos on a regular basis and there are already 100+ videos that haven’t been featured. My point being, we are, and always will be, behind; if 5 users each submitted a video a day, that’s 15 videos each week that aren’t being featured.

The first thought that came to mind: feature more videos each day. Spread out enough, we could feature 10 or more videos a day. However, that requires a lot of work on our end and while we’re not totally opposed to that, it takes time away from our other duties (like development and making our own videos.) This still wouldn’t resolve the issue once the user base expands and it also hinders the current one: in a few days or weeks we’d probably run out of videos to feature.

The route we’re currently working on following is to not pick videos to feature. Instead, we’ll be tweeting every video submitted or to possibly group them. However, we’re not quite sure of the full process for this yet. Regardless of the route we choose, due to the large volume of tweets this change will cause, we’ll be utilizing the lpindiegames twitter account once the new site has been completely launched (the BealsSoftware twitter account will continue to tweet videos, just not on a regular basis.)

Not to worry – feel free to continuing to submit videos. We will be slowly rolling out the tweets over the couple weeks after the new site goes live, including any video that hadn’t been featured yet.

This site is as much for you guys as it is for us, so if you have any input, suggestions or questions, please let us know. The aim of the site is to help let’s players and indie developers get their work more coverage, so your input is very much appreciated.

New update posted

It’s a little earlier than I wanted, but some of the hardier features I was hoping to add are going to take a little bit of time (or may not be possible.) So, in the meantime we’ve posted a version. Here are the changes:

  • Added support for multiple games on a video
  • Updated games page to show a link to a game’s videos
  • Updated let’s player page to use the primary color for article and video count labels
  • Updated let’s player page to allow users to click the article and video count labels to view a user’s content
  • Changed articles module to use user-id instead of user in the URL (now matches videos.)
  • Added a filter to ignore messages with invalid records
  • Updated the Help
  • Updated the FAQs
  • Clicking a video on the homepage takes you to the LPIG entry rather than the YouTube page.
  • Added Title and Description to video page
  • Added page My Unlisted Videos to show you which videos you have not posted to LPIG

Now, to address some of the other features that I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

There are still a few items on the list that I want to complete, but that will be all for now probably. I don’t want to add too much without proper testing.

As always, if you have any issues, suggestions, etc then let us know either here or on Twitter (@bealssoftware or @Programmer16 will yield the quickest response.)

 

Features Update Coming Soon

We’ve fallen a bit behind with LPIG, but we’re trying to catch up. The current items on the todo list are:

  • View let’s plays by game
  • Related videos feed
  • Clicking the video on the homepage takes you to LPIG feature page rather than YouTube.
  • List of videos on your YouTube page that have not been added to LPIG
  • Add additional users to videos
  • Multiple games per video
  • Streamline/combine adding games with the adding video process
  • Most active streamers list
  • Bring more focus back to the Games to Play page.
  • Working mailing lists

Some of these items will be available in the coming update, but probably not all. Stay tuned here and our Twitter account (@BealsSoftware) to keep up to date.

Spotlights returning and upcoming stuff

First off – if you’ve sent a message to us through the site’s page over the past couple months we probably have not received it. There was a bug with the site that was causing them to fail to save properly, but I believe we have that resolved now. All else fails, please feel free to contact us here or via Twitter (@Programmer16 / @BealsSoftware.)

We’ve finally resolved the issue with our daily picker, so the daily spotlights will be returning and will be pulled every weekday around 5pm EST.

I am currently working on resolving issues with our email – notifications refuse to go out when I put the site into production. Once I have that resolved, we’ll start sending out the daily pick emails as well as the weekly review emails. You’ll also be able to subscribe to games, so that you’ll receive an email when a LPer uploads a video for that game.

Now, time for me to go make today’s picks!

Contest – March 24th through April 11th

We are going to be running a contest starting for the next 3 weeks – March 26th through April 11th. All you have to do to be included in the drawing is submit videos to our site – letsplayindiegames.com.

On March 28th, April 4th and April 11th we’ll pick a user who has submitted videos to the site during the time span (note that you can only win once) and you’ll receive your choice of a $20 Steam wallet code or a $20 Amazon gift card.

If you have any questions or comments, let us know here or contact us on Twitter @bealssoftware.

FAQs

  • Q: Do I have to be featured to be included?
    A: Nope, just submit videos and you’ll be included.
  • Q: Do I have a better chance if I submit more videos?
    A: Nope, one submission is all you need.
  • Q: Do I have to keep submitting videos?
    A: Nope, once you’ve submitted a video you’ll be included in each of the drawings.
  • Q: If I win, will I be included in the other drawings?
    A: Nope, one win is all you get.

Outage until version 4.0

Many apologies for going MIA last week, I (Donny) normally handle the Let’s Play Indie Games website (mainly due to the fact that there is no backend, so it’s direct database interactions) and my time was entirely taken up by my day job and trying to thaw out my home’s frozen water pipes.

We are not going to be posting any more let’s plays until version 4.0 of the site is up, but that shouldn’t be too long as at the moment it is my main focus here at Beals Software. The main reason for this is that the entire database structure for version 4.0 is different, so I’m going to have to enter everything by hand; every new let’s play that we post is more work for me to do before the new site can go up.

A lot of you may be wondering what is taking so long. Well, as I said it is an entirely new database as well as a new framework. Obviously, this also means that bealssoftware.com is also going to be upgraded to the new version. Then there is the fact that I’m also working on another project, which all need to tie in together.

Anyway, some time this week you’ll see the launch of the new Beals Software site, the new Let’s Play Indie Games site and (possibly) the new project. Once the new Let’s Play Indie Games site is up you’ll be able to manage your profile, submit let’s plays and use the let’s play card features. Better yet, the system will manage the let’s play selection every day, so we’ll at least always have the community let’s plays up. Best of all, this’ll clear up my time to get more let’s plays and game development done.

Anyway, that’s enough blathering – back to development. Thanks for your patience and understanding!

Community Input Request – Submission?

We wrote previous about our upcoming feature, the game card and LPer card. We’ve come to realize that while the current set up wouldn’t be bad for the Let’s Players, it’s not quite as useful for the devs as I was hoping. Mainly, it will only list let’s plays we’ve posted, this will be a pretty small list (especially since we try not to feature the same game more than once in a week.)

So, the option we’re contemplating is more user-controlled – developers will submit their games and let’s players will submit their videos. If a let’s player wants to submit a video of a game that isn’t in the system, they’ll have the opportunity to submit the info for the game (title and developer) and we’ll verify the game and add it during processing.

This will also provide a more automated and more fair system. If a user has not had their video front-paged, then they will be chosen before anyone else. There also won’t be any worry about favoritism as the system can randomly select a video to be front-paged.

Obviously the site is moving towards a more automated system anyway – we don’t have the time or resources to do development at Beals Software and handle all of the LP stuff at letsplayindiegames.com. We also can’t afford to hire anyone to take it over at the moment, so it’s going to have to be this or something else (any suggestions are welcome!)

We’d like to keep this site going and make it useful to all three groups of the Let’s Play members so if you have any input, please let us know!

Clarification

After re-reading that, I’d like to clarify what we mean: currently we use code to randomly select a Let’s Player from the system and then we review their videos and select one to put on the front-page. With the proposed change, you would submit all of the let’s plays that you make (of indie games), we would review them (to ensure that they are indeed indie games, see if we need to add the developers to our Games to Play wall, etc) and then the system would randomly select one video each day to put on the front page.