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The Mag is dead
By: Lantis | Published: December 26, 2007 22:00 pm | RPG Maker


Over the course of the year 2007, RPG Maker magazine (the Mag) has undergone some changes. And while some were for the good, it seems as though for every good aspect that came into light, at least two aspects of ill intent would raise their ugly head to the community. And all you are left to do is figure out why.

Well, let's try and see if we can't do just that.

First, let's go back a good ways. Say to 2006. During this year, most of our older members from the site were still active. Actually, they were just as active as they've always been. Maybe one or two would slip off for a month, but they'd always seems to find there way back to the Mag. Also in 2006, there were quite a few issues put out for the site. There were more articles available within that year than any other if my calculations are correct. And while there weren't all that many completed games, there were quite a decent number of demos readily available for pretty much every maker we support but XP.

Generally, I look at the Mag's status by a few measures. Forum Activity, Game's Developed, and Issues Published.

Forum Activity relates generally to the community. Members speaking with other members in the forums and the chat room. I'd also include number of new members coming into the community. Hits to the site and number of posts would also be a good indication of forum activity.

Games Developed refers pretty much to the studios. Game creator's and their work. Also, the interest from members into said work. Personal promotion plays a huge roll in the development.

Issues Published is a bit general. I refer to not only the number of issues put out, but also to the site itself. The number of issues put out, site updates, and members input about the site and what they'd like to see change.

Under this assumption, let's take a look at the differences between the three in the year 2006 to 2007 and maybe talk about what we can do to change some of these.

In 2006 forum activity was rather high. We had allot of new members come to the site... myself included. And even though we had a torrent of new folk coming to the site, our older members were still around. But here's the thing. In 2007 there were just as many, if not more, new members to the site. Older members started to drift away which led to what was named "The Golden Age of the Noobs." I believe that with so many new members coming and old members leaving, that it unbalanced us a bit. This led to abrasive stances from what members were left towards the newer people. Also in 2006, we had the original spam hammer. With all the new people coming, not knowing how the site normally ran, the spam hammer was closed... and in 2007 when it was re-opened, you could see why.

In 2006 game development was also significantly high. As I said earlier, not many full games came out, but there were quite a few demos. There were interest in the studios and quite a bit of activity within. After the awards, I believe is when overall game development started to drop. You can see that in 2007 there have probably been more botched RPGs than any other year. There were hardly any contests (and what would it matter if there were... there was little participation in the few ones that were there). Also there was little personal promotion. People would make little effort to go into their studio and update... and recently, our admins had to go into the dev forum and delete many dead and unused studios.

As previously said, there were more issues put out in 2006 than in any other year... at least as far as content was concerned. The review and preview teams usually had their hands full... and even user input in the editorials was rather high. But in the next year there was a dramatic drop in everything previously stated. There was the updated to this site (Version 5) which added many features such as the one I'm using right now to write this article. But as you can tell... it hasn't been used hardly at all.

With that said, I could try to play off the whole thing by saying something like, "With a good year like 2006, it's hard to imagine 2007 being as good... hence why it feel like a bad year." but I'm not. I will go over my ideas of it though and maybe some ways that'll help out the site have another good year in 2008.

What would be a good way to better help our forum activity would be pretty self-explanatory. Make it a point to visit and post. This is aimed more at the older members. How long does it take to read a thread and type out a reply? I mean, one post every day or so would be better than nothing at all. Believe it or not... we like to hear from you. Also, pick out a RP from the Creativity forums and join it. It's actually quite fun. If you own a RP, keep it updated. People will reply. For the members who are still here, don't knock the new guys so much. That only makes their fitting in to the forums that much more difficult. All that will lead to is them staying in the forums and permanent ill opinions to stay. Another suggestion to crack down a bit more on who stays at the Mag. This might sound elitist but we should try to keep only members here at the Mag that will better help the community grow... not hinder it. And for God's sake if you ban someone, leave them banned. There's a reason they were banned and most the time, a temp-ban won't do a damn thing but stop their nonsense for a day or two. Also, try to jump into the chat more often. It's been rather dead as of late. I'll be making it a point to make an appearance myself so I'd like to see some people back in there.

As far as game development goes, there is much room for improvement. There are so very few people who are actually working on games with intent to finish them. If you know how to use a maker, there's no reason to not be using it. The only reason I could possibly think of is that you've just finished a game and need a break from it all. If you don't have a studio... get one. There a wonderful recourse. But if you get one or have one, keep it updated. Don't worry about if anyone's replying or not, just do something to show that you are honestly working hard to make a game. In fact, go out of your way to promote it. Jump in Photoshop and make some adds. If you know HTML, make your own little site about it... everything you do to promote your game, big or little, will help in attention towards your game and the Mag in general. If you aren't currently making a game, participate in the contests. This also shows that you are interested in the community. And stop botching games. Quality over quantity. I'd much rather see someone work on a single titles forever, hype it up, and actually complete it than someone talk about five million games they plan to make and never hear a word about it again. Work on one at a time and put all your effort into that one title till it is finished. And finally, talk about it with other people. Jump into the chat and talk about ideas for mini games and how you work with the RPG Maker code.

There's a slight problem with increasing issues published. You need content. And the only way you'll get content is if there are games to talk about. If you want to see more issues here at the Mag, then as a community, we need to give a reason to make an issue. Everyone should reply to the editorials. Believe it or not, the admins actually ask your opinion on something because he wants to know. If you are on the Preview or Review team... write. Ixzion when through the trouble of programming a new layout for the site to do just that. The more articles we have, the better. Just because there are no new games out right now doesn't mean there is nothing you can write about. These new tools are here to be used... so use them. And finally, think about what current projects are out and see what you can do to contribute... even if you aren't on staff. The next big project is the Megazine. Try to get your hands in it or show your support and push for its release. Even with no games coming out, we can still make something like this 300 page monstrosity. And promoting it will help get more attention towards the Mag.

I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we can get the Mag back to what it originally was. But we need everyone to pitch in and put in the effort. All this talk about the Mag being dead is just rubbish. Yes, there's a bit of down time right now... it's happened before and it will happen again. But I'm sure that things will get back to the way they were again as long as you just don't sit there and whine about it. There will always be an opportunity to help our community grow if you look for it.

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