NOTE: Game threads still need panache!!!
The final days of the contest are upon us, but I'm still not blown away by your game threads.
This really should be the easiest part of your contest-entering process, but I'm still seeing bland, boring-looking threads!
I went through every single thread, and the best-looking threads of the bunch (as of this writing) are:Project:GRID
and GREEN 2: RED
But even these are still not quite what I'd consider gold-standard.
Some of your threads have made attempts -- that's true. A lot of you have nice, visible logos. Some have replaced the backgrounds using the [ bgall] tags. Some showcase screenshots in a noticeable way, or have instantly-noticed demo links. A couple have modified-looking text.
But still none of them have the polish that I'd consider to be '4 point' quality (though if today were the last day, a couple of people may earn 4's for making up for it with all their other marketing work)
RE: "I've done all I can! BBCode is hard! I'm not good at graphic design blah blah! D:"
No, it's not hard! You're just not trying!
It takes about an hour or so to make a really eye-catching thread. Consider it like making a webpage ... You probably wouldn't want to just settle for ugly black Times New Roman on blank white without any CSS or styling at all, right?
If you see a nice-looking thread but don't understand how they do something with the bbcode ... QUOTE IT! If you quote it (but don't post), and snip out the [ quote] tags, you'll be able to see everything that makes that thread tick.
Consider the tags: [ bgall], [ color], [ font=], [ size=], [ b], [ i], [ sp], [ pre], [ imgzoom], [ imgaj], [ flash=x,y], [ youtube], [ center], [ float=right], [ float=left], [ justify] ... The list goes on and on!
Don't forget that you can preview when editing, too :D
You don't want to go overboard -- For instance, don't use more than 2 different fonts. Don't use clashing colors just to have colors on there. Avoid marquees or too much visual clutter.
But 99% of the contest entry threads are going majorly UNDERBOARD so I don't think that going overboard should be a huge concern yet :D
RE: "Okay, but ... What SHOULDN'T I do?? :((("
Some threads look like they're on the way to 4-point-quality, but they're over-spoilered.
I don't want to have to click a spoiler to see important screenshots or very pertinent information. If you have like WAY TOO MUCH CRAP in your thread, then spoiler unimportant stuff. I will click the spoilers if I am so interested in reading the stuff that I really need to see what's in them spoilers.
Avoid over-cluttering with non-essential information, but, especially if you are showing graphics -- don't be afraid to ADVERTISE what your game can really do.
Using graphics to mark different section headers (like banners) is a great idea!
Lining your screenshots up and centering them, so they fill the window instead of forcing the user to scroll down, is an awesome idea!
Avoiding Comic Sans
and ALL CAPS MONOTYPE CORSIVA
are excellent rules of thumb!!!
But still remember that you should only use fonts that everyone can see
, outside of images.
RE: "What examples can you show, then, Venetia? HMMM??"
A lot of people don't know about the [ bgall] tag, so I can't show too many examples of people using that. However, consider these non-contest threads:
+ Finding Eden, by Sailerius
-- This one is actually quite thread-bare, but all the sections are LARGE, styled, and not confused with too much or too little information.
+ CrystalShire by RobinP
-- This one is heavy on information, but everything is sectioned out nicely, with big, lovely images and screenshots to look at.
+ Tales of the Drunken Paladin: HOBOTROPOLIS by Drunken Paladin
-- Look at those big, bold graphics, front-and-center download link, and obvious, easy-to-find advertising/social networking info. Awesome!
+ "TV Dinnah" TWODO
-- This isn't a project, but look at the theming. It'd be better if marquees were avoided, but otherwise, everything really stands out and grabs your attention.
+ Design a Contest Announcement
-- This one doesn't even have any imagery, but it's still themed. Sections are obvious.
+ CREATE! Contest Week 2
-- Ignore the linked-yet-missing .SWF file at the top (that used to be an animated logo/banner). As you can see, the sections are large, bold, and easy to see. Text is themed and there's even a nice background.
RE: "D: D: D: This sounds dumb. I don't wanna do it. Slapping text on there is fine. Mwaah "
Hey, it's your entry, and you can earn your points however you want.
Like I said, even if your thread isn't perfect, but you have gone above and beyond in everything else for Marketing, then you probably don't have anything to worry about.
But if you're not really going above & beyond, AND your thread looks boring/lame? Don't expect a '4' in Marketing. :D
Hope the examples help some of you <3