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kami last won the day on March 11

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About kami

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  1. If these games want to be relevant, I think going mobile might be more of a necessity than it used to be, or at the very least, there will need to be some more drastic changes. The nostalgia factor can hold some people over who've played before, but if people want to reach out to younger audiences who are only used to tablets and phones, either being super mobile friendly or having an app would be a requirement. Clearly slow moving games are successful, so the drag of pet sites versus more active games doesn't have to be a negative. Games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley are extremely popular and financially viable. (That isn't to say your site has to be slow moving, just that they tend to be.) But with ever increasing competition with so many new styles of games being created, I think pet sites have a lot to consider if they want to stay relevant and grow.
  2. I think you hit the nail on the head for the main issue. They're boring. I'm not sure how well people understand the importance of having a dedicated social media manager versus an RSS reader. Things I would love to see if I was into a pet game on their socials: sneak peeks/previews, jokes or in-game references, mentions of the community, showcasing special features/pets/items, Q&A sessions, etc. Keeping the news updates is fine, but have some more variety in between. I think looking at bigger media corporations will help give ideas over 'best practices'. Advice I've heard, though it was aimed at YTbers, can also apply here, is you want to make two kinds of content: searchable and for your audience. You want people to be able to find you, and you want to be able to build/entertain your specific community once they're there.
  3. Oh WOW your work has improved a lot! Gorgeous, best of luck finding work
  4. @Angel Well, no one hires right off the bat from randomly finding someone online. Social media is just an opportunity to be discovered, then things can go from there. I don't need to ask, I've seen several posts on Twitter of people mentioning it. Though that in particular was back when the whole "how fanart got me hired" thing was trending. Feel free to Google search to read some stories, there are a lot of really cute ones Also sorry for the delayed reply, this forum didn't email me about your response D:
  5. I honestly don't know one professional artist (and I mean Western comic artists, mangakas, video game artists, etc) that /don't/ have an Instagram. I've searched up random professionals online and often the first link that comes up is their Instagram. I'm also always hearing stories about how artists have gotten jobs from Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc. Social media is a huge deal in our world nowadays, and companies realize that. Not only are they using it to look at their potential applicants to see if you're a safe hire, they're finding new employees through it. And why not? It's so easy now. You can have thousands of potential artists for hire at your fingertips. Deviantart, eh, that's another story HAHA. But I've seen some pros on there too, but not nearly as many. I'm curious to see how this Vero thing will turn out. I think it's okay so far, but with so many social medias to juggle already, it's difficult to give it the time to really get a feeling for it. I mean, why not have another competitor? That's what helps the other companies grow. YouTube Gaming only came about because of Twitch. So who knows, maybe Vero will send some ripples too?
  6. It's given to you automatically in your mailbox, @Corleone
  7. They've started their Christmas event today! Go get your free santa hat
  8. It has quite a few differences. Granted, I'm only familiar with the older games, not New Leaf. You run your own campsite. You do favors/requests by collecting items. You have no control over what gear you use (fishing pole, net, shovel) since they're based on location. (In certain spots, you can fish, so it automatically gives you a fishing pole.) There's crafting with furniture for your camper (your 'house') and your campsite. Certain animals require certain furniture. You still have loans, but they're more optional and not forced upon you. (You can upgrade at your leisure.) There's some other features, but that's the gist. I'm liking it so far! I'm a little sad some old characters I loved aren't there, and I'm super bumed about no museum (I loved the owl! But I get that it doesn't make sense for this game xD), but it's cute! Loads of new characters I've never seen, and the graphics give me some nostalgia ;) My ID: 2281 8120 524
  9. @WinterBlues WOW you've improved a LOT since I last saw your art Awesome job!
  10. Unless you have some sort of game in beta, odds are you won't have a successful Kickstarter. I've seen many attempted crowdfundings by various pet/sim games and most all of them failed in one way or another. Same with other games or other non-game related projects. People are more distrusting now that Kickstarter has built up a reputation of funded projects never being completed. People are wary with how they spend their money and need to be absolutely certain beyond shadow of a doubt that the campaign will not only be a success, but that the founder will complete the project in a timely manner. It also doesn't help if your site/brand doesn't have a following, or at least if it does, it's very small. If no one knows or cares about your project, no one is going to back it. Flight Rising was so successful since they spent months to years building up hype for it. Neon already had a large following from her art alone, so she easily drove traffic to help fund FR. I'm not saying you need a massive following, but try to be realistic. If it's just a couple people who want to help and can fund your game, and you need perhaps 5-15k to fund, it's just not going to happen. I don't mean to rain on your parade, it's just that this topic has been brought up so many times back on VPL, loads of people don't realize just how much time and effort goes into the campaign in and of itself. You can't just open a Kickstarter (or Patreon) and expect money falling in. If you don't have the money to fund anything for your game, I don't see any success for crowdfunding. You'd need graphics, previews, a video (as campaigns are more successful with videos), prizes (and to be able to successfully fund those prizes), etc. I think your time (and money) would be better spent working on your education. There are thousands upon thousands of free tutorials online that can teach you how to code. Coursera is a good start. YouTube has a lot to offer. W3Schools covers a lot of the basics. Codecademy goes a bit more advanced while keeping it approachable for beginners. This would not only be beneficial for you in general, but if you ever can afford a programmer, you'll have a better understanding of what they're doing, possibly be able to assist, and even judge if they're worth their pay. These types of games are a long term investment. There is no "quick win" for any step of the process. Sorry to be a downer.
  11. This is another old guide of mine that I've spruced up a bit. -- Moderators are an important aspect to any company, that includes pet site games! They're the face of your business, the ones dealing directly with your userbase and customers. They're the ones keeping everything safe and organized for your players. They uphold the rules and regulations of the game, dish out any necessary punishments, and help keep you sane. They keep the site's community strong and held together, leaving you with focusing on building the site to be even bigger and better. Unfortunately, most pet site games from my experience tend to hire, well, not the greatest of people for the job. It can often lead to drama, misunderstandings, accidents, and other negativity. That can shed a bad light on, not only your game, but your role as the leader/business owner. So, what can we do about it? We can stop the mess before it happens. But how? Oh, it's so easy, yet so many owners take it for granted. Test them. Test every single person who wants to be a moderator. But, most of you do that already, right? Wrong. I've never seen a site pose more than a few basic and extremely generalized questions about "what would you do if a user did this?" or "how would you handle that?". Such generic questions with such a WIDE (very wide, if you ask me) range of answers and possibilities, how can you possibly judge the person on how they would be as a moderator? "So, what? We add more questions? That's what you're saying?" Not entirely. Adding more questions that are equally as general and basic does not help the problem. Give them SPECIFIC situations and details. Give them a multitude of scenarios and options. Make them THINK! while they are typing their answer. (Emphasis on "think" as some of these tests are so simplistic that all you really have to say as a response is "I'd ask them to stop and give them a warning blah blah generic basic answer blah.") This means NO multiple choice answers. Don't even give them any hints. "So detailed questions with specific scenarios, got it. If that's it, you're wasting my time." Ah, this is where you are wrong. See, you should not stop at just moderation questions, but go beyond that to the personal side. What are their ethics? What would they do in real life situations of some real life scenario? How do they feel about something? What is their opinion on something? If you want people to work for you, shouldn't you know a thing or two about who they are and what they believe/how they think? These people will be in control of a vast amount of your site. Don't you want to see if they can be trusted to do their job right? "Okay okay, specific questions, ask them about their ethics, this seems like a bit much, right?" 100% wrong. This is not enough! They should also have read the entirety of your privacy policy, terms of service, rules, help pages, and/or anything else relevant to their jobs. But more than just read it, UNDERSTAND it! I cannot stress this enough. Sure someone could easily enforce a rule, but if they don't understand it, how can they do it right? If you ask them any question about any rule (or otherwise), they should take no time at all to answer it and be detailed about it. Moderators (and staff in general) who do not understand their own site's rules should NOT be a moderator (or staff in general). "Well they're gonna be mods, of course they know the rules and stuff. That was stupid to include." This is the part I hate the most. Because someone is a mod/staff, users and other staff assume that they know (and understand) the rules. (And often blindly follow.) In some cases, this may be true, but in the majority of cases I've seen, this is completely false. Never assume something about your staff members. If you don't know, then ASK them. -- Now for my next point - friendship. This is the main killer of sites. The owner/other staff members is best friends with all their staffies. And of course, as friends, they could NEVER do any wrong, right? Well, sadly no. Friends can be real butts sometimes. Not only that, but they have the capacity to be wrong and also make mistakes. So what happens if your friend isn't up for the job? Well, you either keep them on your staff and cross your fingers that they improve, or you do something about it. Let's start with option one - firing. It's not scary and you should not be afraid of it. In fact, this is one of the main powers that separates the owner from the rest of the staff. You can toss people left and right like no tomorrow. I know you may care about your friendship and that firing them is sure to upset them, they're just going to have to deal. Do remember, that friends can still be friends even if they are not all together on the same staff team. Ya'll can be perfectly happy with a staff/user relationship. It's for the betterment of your site and can possibly open your friends eyes to what they were doing. (This could also save the friendship too, as there would be less of a strain between you.) Option two - meeting. This one is probably recommended to do before option one, but I felt like listing it second. (Just because I can.) It is entirely fair for a staff member (yes, any staff member, ya'll are a team) to call for a group meeting for any reason. That reason could possibly be the behavior of any (this can include you, as the owner) staff member. In that meeting, I highly suggest honesty for things to get done faster. Of course doing it in a gentle manner could help keep peoples moods in check. Once ya'll assess the problem, it's time you move onto the "thinking of a solution" step. Let all the staff members (including the one causing the issues) come up with possible ideas. And keep all of them, even if you do not end up using them. After you pick whatever one you see fit, execute it. If, over time, it ends up not working, try another one of the ideas. Keep at it until things just seem like they won't work out. (In that case, I refer you to "option one".) -- So, for my next point - hiring moderators offsite. Lots of you do this, no? Well, it's not exactly a bad thing, but I do have to make a suggestion. Before you even think about testing them for the job, make them play the site. I say at least a week to a month, but obviously the longer the better. Even if they read and understand the rules, if they don't understand the site and it's community, it's just as pointless to hire them. Be wary of hiring moderators before you actually need them. If you're site is still in development, they have nothing to moderate. The only thing I can think of to use them while in development would be for them working with developing the rules, TOS, etc. (Though you would ideally have a lawyer help you with those.) If you want people to join and help give ideas, then ask for that. I'm not saying that moderators can't help with ideas, but if you're hiring them to moderate then that should be their only job. Moderating is hard work and they don't need extra jobs or distractions from that. "Okay, so I've tested them. The results seem fine. I'm gonna hire them." STOP! Before you do anything, just stop. First of all, send their application to every other staff member, moderator or not. This person will be joining the family. If not everyone can agree on letting them in, then you're going to have issues later on. If a staff member has personal issues with the applicant, then that's a major problem. The staff need to work as a team or else the whole site falls apart. If everyone but that one staff member (or a few) have issues with the applicant, then ask all of them about their feelings on working with each other. If it's not possible, then it's not possible, and you're going to have to make some sacrifices one way or another. Secondly, if you have any questions about their answers or just further questions to test them on, it is completely in your right to do so, and if they really want the job, they'll answer. Don't stop testing/asking questions until the entire staff team is completely satisfied. No matter how minor the question is - ask it! It could make all the difference later on. I hope you're starting to get it. Now, you should know why this is all important, but if not, I shall say it in a few simple words: a site is only as good as it's weakest staff member. (Yes, I turned a few words around from an old famous quote.) I don't care if your site is full of godly rainbow artwork with crazy original features that just blow your brains apart and writing that just makes you cry your eyes out because it's so beautiful. If your staff aren't up to par, it's soiled and people are going to leave. View full guide
  12. I keep finding old stuff, haha. An old item tutorial I made for a croissant I also posted another thread that focused on coloring if you'd like to see a different style of shading. View full guide
  13. Two step by step walkthrough examples of how I cel shaded items. The art is a little dated, but the method I use is still similar and this should still be helpful regardless. The important thing is to keep in mind light source and to have it be consistent throughout the item, it's varying forms, etc. View full guide
  14. Super old, but still might be helpful to someone?? View full guide
  15. (To be fair, this is an old guide I typed a while ago, though I went through it and fixed it up a bit.) I figured I'd post a 'How to Get Started in VP World' guide-esque. This will mainly contain my thoughts on what I feel are most needed to get started in making your own virtual petsite. You are welcome to reply with your own thoughts or ideas on how to get /started/. (Just the very early beginning stages). So, I see you are interested in starting your own petsite or game? Well, the first thing you should do is ask yourself some questions. Do you have the time to make a virtual petsite? A lot of people get all excited when they first decide they want to, but then end up not having the time to actually work on it, either due to school, work, or other reasons. Be sure that you have time that you can dedicate to a LONG TERM project. (These things don't just happen over night. Often times they can take at least a year of development before opening to the public.) Be sure to organize a schedule, and if you hire yourself a team, that they are aware of that schedule. Can you handle the responsibility and a leadership position? If you plan on being the owner of a petsite, you must understand that that lays a lot of responsibility on your shoulders as you will be the leader. If that's not something you think you can manage at the moment, you may want to wait until you can (though honestly you can get a lot more out of experience and researching tips/advice on leadership skills) or join a staff position on another site to get an idea of how all this tends to work. What type of work can you put into it yourself? Some people are lucky and have extra skills that saves them time and money when making a petsite, such as art, graphics, coding, writing, etc. Identify what you yourself can do first. Are you willing to learn? Making a petsite involves going outside of your box. You may not be skilled in the areas I listed above, but you should be willing to explore each of those areas. Especially coding. Coding is one of the foundations of the site. No programming, no site. (It is also helpful if you want to understand what any hired programmers are doing.) If you don't want or don't have time to learn, then I recommend not making a site. Owners should be willing to give those areas a try before deciding on hiring staff or not. (It really makes a difference to have /some/ understanding of the several different aspects of game development, especially for those less experienced in a professional working environment.) Do you have any funds? Yes, it is possible to make a petsite completely for free. There are websites that offer free domains and/or hosting that support programming like PHP. But usually, people don't take those sites as seriously. For a dedicated owner, one should have their own domain and hosting. That's just the beginning. You should prepare some savings for emergencies, you never know what will happen. You should also prepare money for possible staff members in the future. Art and programming (and other services) can add up pretty fast! I also suggest making a budget. How much money do you have, how much do you have coming in (that you can get or earn), and how much do you have or can you have go out. Etc. Are you prepared, mentally and/or possibly physically, for possible downward slopes? Things may slow down progress wise and you need to know that that WILL happen. You need to understand that it's not a bad thing and that you'll just have to work through it. You may even go through a phase of depression for things not getting done, but remember, these things take time and patience is a MUST. There is no rush to make a game. I also suggest taking breaks. You don't want to work yourself or others too hard. Remember there is a real life too. People need breaks. Lastly, why do you want to make a petsite? I think that about covers the questions. Be sure to answer all of these as detailed and honestly as possible. If you're not ready to make a petsite yet, don't worry! Try playing on other sites to get a better idea of would need to get done. Try joining a staff position on the site to learn responsibility, hard work, and dedication. Once you've done all of the above, now it's time for the ideas. Ideas are the building blocks of your site. No site, even non-VP sites, can live without an idea. Everything starts with an idea. What your job is is to plan and organize those ideas. First of all, is your petsite original? That's the most important thing for your petsite to be successful. People can join any petsite, why yours? What makes your site unique? PLOT Petsites don't necessarily need plot, but they do help players feel more immersed in your game. What things have happened, are happening, or will happen? Characters, creatures, a world, etc. Why are things a certain way? What made it that way? Do you have a backstory? Are there any heros or heroines? How do players get involved in the plot? What can they do? World Plan your world. What will it look like? What will it have? How many will your petsite have? Moons? Universe? Or just a town? What's the history of those places? What type of plants, animals, people, etc. inhabit this world? How does exploring work? Pets How do you want your pets to work? Just plain adopt? Buy? Find? Breed? Grow? What will they look like? Will they come in multiple colors? How can players get those different colors? NPCs Non-playable characters. Will your site have any? How involved in the plot are they? Do they serve a purpose or are they just fillers? Can players talk to them or communicate in some way? Rules/Terms/Privacy Policy Every site needs these and yes, they are each different. Players will need to know the rules of game-play, what they can or cannot do, how their information is protected if it is, etc. Don't just brush over these, these are just as important as everything else on your site! Make them thorough, detailed, and easy to understand. (Ideally you'd hire a lawyer for this part.) Features What type of features will your site have to offer? Games? Battling? Trading? Auctions? What makes them unique? A lot of petsites have a lot of similar features, if you want to join in and make your own, you'll need to find ways to make them feel new, inventive, and enjoyable. What keeps you playing a site? Look for sites that either you love, find interesting, or are popular. Find out what members of that community like or what keeps them coming back. It's helpful to look for ideas or inspiration, but do not directly steal ideas. Remember, your site is unique. It's important to be, not just one step, but tens to hundreds of steps ahead of your players/users. You need to know everything about your site. You HAVE to plan ahead! Things don't just stay static. Your site can't stay the same forever. Things have to happen in order for your users to stay interested and keep coming back. Buying a domain and hosting is a major and important step. It also helps shows others how serious you are and that you're willing to spend money. However, do not just use the first site you see. Research is VERY important, especially for hosting! Your site will be on their server for a long time and you NEED to know if they are reliable. Read as many reviews as possible, talk to people, or even call the companies themselves and ask questions. It's your money and you don't want to waste it! Development forums can be very important when building a VP site. It's very easy to make one, there are lots of free hosted forums just a Google search away. Set up the forum in an organized manner and make it easy to navigate. Make sure to have a place for registered users as well as official staff. Having a forum is a great way to keep in contact with everyone and keep everything in one place. (And build hype if you feel the need to.) -- Once you've got most if not all your planning done and organized, only then should you consider looking for staff. People don't often like to get involved with a site that has no idea of where it's going. They want a plan and they want to know what it is. You need to let them know that you are serious about the project and that you 100% want to go through with it. If you don't sound convincing, finding staff will be difficult. Now what should be said to potential staffies? Well, I'd start out first saying exactly what you need. Do you need art? What kind of art do you need? What style? What's your price range? (Or is it volunteer? Be wary though, finding high quality and reliable people willing to work for free is very rare!) Examples are the BEST thing you can do. If you don't have any art, find a site that has the style you want and post that (give credit). This is your site you want to build and you want it just right, right? Finding staff may end up being harder than you think. Not everyone jumps on new sites unless they present themselves in a way that shows them that you're serious. It also might be difficult to get into this business/hobby without any money. A lot of the more professional users out there want some bang for their work. It's not impossible to find volunteers, but the quality might not be what you had in mind. Contracts are your friend! Don't be afraid to have your staff sign a contract between the two of you. (Again, having a lawyer here would help!) It makes things easier down the line if trouble does arise. It's also important to keep documentation of any and all payments as well. Stay organized! Programmers are probably the most difficult to find. Not only do all the VP owners want them, but so does the rest of the world. Don't keep yourself constricted to finding programmers in the VP community. I highly suggest going outside the box and looking online. Do keep in mind that programming is expensive, and many won't work for free, or even cheap. (Be sure their codes are very secure!) Writing is not just words on a screen. Writing can be beautiful and moving. Writing can even make or break ones site. Having a good writer (or writers) is very important. Make sure they know more than just the basic grammar rules. Don't be afraid to ask a friend to read their examples and give you their opinion. You want your site to not only look good, but sound/read good. Don't get yourself cheated. Ask for references, people they've worked with in the past, and previous work examples. You want to make sure that the people you're hiring are a perfect fit for you and your site. Make a schedule and stick to it! Don't have long dragged out moments of no work. There should always be something to do. Your staff was hired/volunteered for a reason, to work, and that's what they want, so give them work. Give them a quota and hold them to it. Though be sure that you don't overload them, make sure you all have agreements in how much work should be done in how much time. Breaks are not a bad thing! If life is stressing one of you out, take a break. Your site will still be there and in the works when you/they return. Plan ahead and be prepared, for, well, anything! Anything can go wrong at anytime. I highly suggest you keep backups of all the work completed. Listen to your staff. You may be the owner, but they have opinions and ideas as well. They might even know something you don't. It's important to keep communication open. If you don't like them, don't keep them. If a staff member is giving you trouble, acting rude, etc., and after being told multiple times to stop, hasn't, well guess what, you can get fire them. I would suggest asking the opinions of other staff members first before doing so, just in case you don't know something they do. It's also important to change any and all passwords that they may know or have come across, just in case. Be sure you have some sort of cancelation agreement in your contract, so if issues like this do arise, they can be dealt with quickly and easily. DO. NOT. RUSH. I can't stress that enough. There is no need to rush. These types of sites take time and effort, and trust me, in the end, it will be worth it. --- There is so much more I could go on about, but I'll leave that to the replies. I just wanted to touch on the parts I feel are important and that should be addressed. So, I leave you with some final thoughts; Be intelligent. Be thoughtful. Be tasteful. Be honest. Be respectful. Be original. Pets sites are not made in a day, not even a year (most often). Through a lot of hard work, stress, drama, troubles, and issues, a lot of fun can be had while making one. Never be afraid to ask for help or advice. As scary as we users might be sometimes, we can be surprisingly helpful. Do your best not to give up. If you need to pause, pause, but then keep going. Your dream will come true one day, all it takes is a little time and effort. View full guide
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