So, a little background information first. Our initial design was kind of thrown together – I had an idea for a site, so I took our existing design for bealssoftware.com and modified it for my needs. The initial design was focused on one goal: create a place to show our let’s plays and possibly those made by other let’s players. For this, I simply threw together a design where I could put a video in and the site would show them based on the date.
Then the idea came to create a list of other let’s players so that 1) we would have it readily available when we needed to find some people to play our games and 2) other developers would have the resource available to them and 3) it’d help bring attention to the let’s players. Luckily this didn’t require any major changes – add a way to differentiate us from them and stuff them in the user table with everyone else.
Then came my failure – it takes a lot more time than you’d think to simply render a let’s play, let alone all of the steps required to produce clean content:
- Record video and commentary
- Separate game audio
- Edit audio tracks
- Sync up audio and video
- Edit items as a whole
- Render video
Then you have a whole separate beast to deal with: uploading to YouTube and “putting it out there” (tweets, Facebook posts, etc.) I barely had enough time to program before and now all of my time was being taken up creating let’s plays. So, when it came time to push out the prototype for Lord Sen’s Battle Arena, I just couldn’t produce the let’s plays. I was able to produce about three a week for the first two weeks and then I dropped off. At this point a lightbulb went off: there are already tons of other people out there producing this content, so why not just focus on their content while working on the prototype. No changes were necessary for this (luckily) and we moved forward.
Then another lightbulb went off: I plan on creating an authorization page for our games, letting let’s players know that they can create videos/streams of our games and that they can monetize them. I’m sure that other developers have had the same idea. So, why not create a page on our site that is dedicated to that? So, I very quickly whipped together a page and got that all out. With the help of some great people on Twitter (@DarkestKale and @SexyVinceLP for example) we’ve been able to populate both of these pages.
WELL, the time has come to change the internal design to be more stable and more well-rounded. Currently our set up is ‘game’ which represents a let’s play. We’re going to split this into game and letsplay; instead of entering information about the lets play itself, we’re going to create an entry for a game (same Rogue Legacy) and then we can tie many let’s plays to that game. We don’t have to worry about typos in titles, developers or websites and it will allow for us to tie features to games instead of just let’s plays.
This leads us to our first new features: game card widgets. This one is aimed at developers – basically its a widget kind of like the Twitter widget that shows a list of the last X let’s plays that were shown on our site for a game. So, Cell Door Games could put the widget wherever and have a display showing recent let’s plays of Rogue Legacy. This is still in the works, there are a few things that still need to be tested. For an example though, here is what Home’s game card will look like: http://www.bealssoftware.com/lpig/?module=gamecard&id=37&limit=5 .
Obviously, this works in reverse as well, hence our second new features: Let’s Player cards. This works the same way – it lists the last X number of LPs that have been shown on our site for a let’s player. For example, here is Sexy Vince’s LPer Card: http://www.bealssoftware.com/lpig/?module=lpcard&id=14&limit=5 .
You can view the other upcoming features for the site on it’s roadmap: http://www.bealssoftware.com/lpig/?module=roadmap
Is this the kind of features you’d like to see added to letsplayindiegames.com or do you have any suggestions? Let us know!