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SimCensus - Developers and Players


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I started this at the end of last year - you might’ve seen it linked somewhere earlier this year - but hadn’t checked the responses until last week. I discovered there were definitely enough answers to be a somewhat useful data set, but when I was compiling the different parts it became clear that I was missing representation from certain parts of the community. While the data showed a very diverse group of people, it was clear that it wasn't a complete picture. I’m branching out now to try to get some more answers, to give a more well-rounded picture that includes games and players of all types.

The goal is, as before, to collect some information that helps us to develop resources as a community to benefit to entire community. If you could take just a moment to fill out a few questions, even one answer makes a difference. All responses are anonymous, you can answer as many or as few as you like, or even save your responses to finish at a later date.

There has already been enough information provided to begin collecting resources to be shared. The numerical data has already largely been processed and applied to charts, this additional data will just result in the updating of the numbers. I am excited to release this information for both players and developers to see, and am planning to do so in August with the added responses I receive. If you are interested in seeing the current data or contributing some of your experience to the project, please contact me at [email protected].




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127 questions is alot of questions... if it were 5-10 then I'd probably do it, but 127, one per page..

My other concerns are the sneaky ways in which you are gathering information from people. Irrelevant or identifiable information is gathered in this survey, couple that with the users IP, using the data gathered in the survey it wouldnt be impossible to correctly identify that person - especially developers - and then trick their host/lawyer/"password recovery answers" on their email.

Coupled with only 18 people have filled this survey in... I would suggest to others reading this be careful with what information you provide - especially since the questions seem to target specifically developers of games.

"What is your highest school level/degree completed"
"Do you name yours pets after your real pet?"
"What is your household income"
"How many team members do you have?"
"Do you pay them?"
"How much do you pay them?"
"What are the contract terms you have with your team members?"
"How much money is your game making per month?"
"How much money are you spending on costs per month?"
"Have you approached a lawyer about your game?"
"How much do they cost?"
"Who was it?"


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IP is not being recorded at all in a way that anyone can see it. There is no minimum of answers; there have been many more than 18 responses, it just doesn't add to that number if the respondent doesn't go through to complete the entire thing. It is partly aimed at developers, yes, to provide more resources for them, and especially for new and independent developers.

I understand what you're saying, but there is no specific personal information being collected, definitely not the kind of information that coincides with security answers. I do feel you have skewed those questions just a bit... I never once asked who was contacted or any identifying information, I simply asked if a lawyer, paralegal, or law student was consulted, and which one of those types it was, if so. I have no desire to collect personal information; the majority of those questions are just so that new developers starting out can get a realistic idea of what goes into a game, both in the beginning and in the long run.

In the introduction, this is stated:


All answers to this questionnaire are both confidential and optional; answer as many or as few as you like. We will not ask for your name. We will not ask for your email. Nobody will ever have access to your IP or any other piece of information that will allow to identify you or your responses. You are responsible for keeping your own privacy, but proper names of individuals and sites will be edited out before the responses are released.

and I do stand behind it! At the same time, anyone is invited to look through all of the questions in the survey without answering a single one. The last thing I want to do is to make anyone feel uncomfortable; I understand you don't know me, but I have been a member of this general community for a very long time, it's definitely the interests of the community I am trying to have in mind.

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@digital - I would never sell access to these results, this is for everyone. They will be 100% free and open for everyone to view in the form of charts, summarized responses to longer questions, and then eventually all of the essay answers in full as soon as I can make sure that they are properly edited to maintain privacy and remove names of specific games where need be.

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Just now, volka said:

@digital - I would never sell access to these results, this is for everyone. They will be 100% free and open for everyone to view in the form of charts, summarized responses to longer questions, and then eventually all of the essay answers in full as soon as I can make sure that they are properly edited to maintain privacy and remove names of specific games where need be.

That is great to hear, I cannot wait to actually see the data when it is available as I am actually curious what your results show. I am a data nerd.

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  • 3 months later...

I was trying to compile these results before the end of August, but it proved to be a much larger job than I anticipated and my other projects demanded a little more attention! Not to worry, though - this is still in process, and you can see the results as they are processed at the same url where the survey was. The full document of text answers will be released (and linked on the results page) as soon as the entire survey is finished, as I cannot guarantee that all specific information has been removed until I am finished.

I will post here again when it is fully completed!

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  • 3 months later...

My partner and I wanted to give our thanks for this. This data has definitely helped create our marketing plan and game design document. We are also planning to run our own survey soon, to get more of an insight of what players think of the game we have. We have some questions--

  1. Where did you collect this data? 
  2. How long was the survey open for?
  3. What are the different "ranks"? Some of your best questions are categorized by ranks but we have no idea what that means.


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I'm really glad that this has benefited you! :) My personal goal in conducting the survey was to identify the topics that the most potential developers had the least information on to bolster community education, but I definitely hoped that the data would prove useful to others (and not just satisfy the data nerd in me).

The data was collected mostly from posting on sim and pet sites within the community, as well as the (now defunct) Virtual Pet List and on Game Fruit. I was not too aggressive in publicizing it, though I did post on some of the more major sim games that I already had accounts for and a few smaller sites trying to get a more diverse set of results.

The survey was released at the end of last year (confusing, I know, given the name, but when I started working on it in the spring I hadn't realized yet how large of a project it would be). It was open for about six months in total; I hope to have the rest of it processed within the next month or two, it just turned out to be a very large data set with a good number of essay answers that need editing & summarizing. I'll definitely be posting here when it is all completed.

The "ranks" have more to do with the style of the question than anything else. Instead of asking people to pick one single thing, I asked them to rank all of the options to see a better picture. For example, this chart that shows how people responded to which game tasks they find themselves focusing on most:


Players clearly favor breeding as their first choice, training second, competing third, and exploring fourth. To not muddy the data too much, only the top five off of everyone's list was ranked, and the overall bars show essentially how many players put each individual feature in their top 5.

Hopefully, that answers all of your questions! Let me know if you have any more, I'm happy to answer them.

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:) My partner is a data nerd too.. as for me I'm lucky I passed stats in high school... haha!!

She had some further questions--

Where did you post the surveys on sims and pet sites? Other games boards or off topic, and chat?

So the ranking is how the respondent ordered the choices?


Thanks! We look forward to seeing the rest of the data once you get it cleaned up :) She offered to help if you need anything, although she doesn't have more than an hour a week to commit to the effort. Can send you her contact if you need it.

Edited by Luke
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I was trying to post them more on the general discussion/off-topic boards except where very clearly prohibited. The post on Furry Paws was in the other games board, I did spend some amount of time there bumping it for attention. I was trying to pay attention to all of the posts that I personally made so that I could respond to any questions or concerns. The posts on the games themselves were made about a month before the survey closed - I had intended to give it about an additional month since there were a few more responses trickling in, but I had already assigned an auto-close date that I forgot about. Initially, the survey was only posted on the two forums aimed at developers of these games (like this one). I posted it on games after I started modeling the incomplete data; while I was already seeing a very interesting picture, it was maybe a third of the size of the final set, and I wanted to see if I could broaden the sample.

That is correct, ranking is always (in the context of this survey) referring to how they ordered it and usually limited to the top 5. Also, thank you for this question, it had not occurred to me that these charts were slightly confusing to individuals who hadn't taken the survey themselves! It will allow me to make the results more useful to people who didn't, which is definitely important to me!


Also, I really appreciate the offer for help, but she should take that hour and work on your project or just do something for herself! ;) I actually have an inordinate amount of free time these days, part of why I undertook the project in the first place, and I understand just how valuable everyone's time is! 

Edited by volka
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