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Thread: Increasing traffic on PGD...

  1. #1
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Increasing traffic on PGD...

    Hello everyone!

    I used to dread posting these topics as it always seemed as if I were begging people to come to the site and post. However other than simply asking other PGD members to start posting what they are doing or being more active, I'm going to try something a little different.

    What this community needs is new members and more exposure. That is something that has faded due to other outlets changing over the years. Many of the old Pascal development related sites have shut down and there is no longer Object Pascal forum on GameDev.net. Embarcadero, much like Borland seems to appeal more to big business than the small indie developers and many of the old developers have moved on to other things or away from software and game development altogether.

    So where does this leave us? Well first of all, since we have lost a lot of our visibility we need to get some of that back. We can do that a couple of ways. Posting on other game dev forums can help increase awareness of what the top Pascal-based tools are capable of. Posting links back to PGD would certainly help expose to others what exciting things are being done within the community. Creating websites or pages dedicated to your game projects is another way of helping show that Pascal is used often as well.

    A new medium that can now easily take advantage of is many of these social networks such as, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+ among others also available. I'm not saying go nuts, but signing up for one or two and making posts showing off what our favorite tools can do is sometime more than enough to get attention. Especially with a social network as eye-catching as YouTube. Reference Darthman's showcases of the cool Russian IGDC competitions.

    These are some ideas to expose Pascal game development that would allow others to see all the great ideas going on in the community. One of the key things however to increase traffic here though, is to post a thread and a link on those other external posting back to here. This site is meant to be a central place for all Pascal programmers to come and congregate and get ideas and increase their knowledge in programming and game development from other Pascal game programmers and developers.

    This place has so much to offer everyone, but we need to be known. So go out there are tell everyone about us!
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by WILL View Post
    Embarcadero, much like Borland seems to appeal more to big business than the small indie developers and many of the old developers have moved on to other things or away from software and game development altogether.
    I don't agree with this and I think this argument is fallacious.

    Honestly, PGD has been for quite some time, what I once called it, FreePascal Game Development, since the majority of posters here use FreePascal (there was a poll about it few months back) and the majority of material is focused towards FreePascal being "somewhat" compatible with Delphi. In addition, the majority of people tend to use Unix/Mac instead of Windows (Delphi developers can only use Windows).

    There are many Delphi forums in different languages including Chinese, Russian and so on, and they are quite busy. For instance, I'm reading occasionally this forum (in Spanish).

    In earlier days, Turbo site, received huge traffic because it had important news and a lot of material very useful for Delphi developers that in addition for game development had other uses (e.g. interactive apps, scientific, etc.).

    If you keep focusing on FreePascal/Lazarus, then you'll stay with a niche community of few developers.

    The new release of Delphi XE 2 has provided a lot of great stuff for Delphi developers with ability to target 64-bit Windows, Mac OS and even iOS; and they say that their own ARM compiler is underway. However, as much as I've tried to open Delphi discussion here, it wasn't successful.

    As a Game Developer, here are some topics that I would like to see here:

    1) 64-bit development and performance (I've opened the thread about it: no interest).
    2) DirectX: nobody cares here because OpenGL is the only way to go for Unix/Mac OS guys, who are the majority here.
    3) Mac OS specifics: there was some discussion in Delphi XE 2 news thread with Czar and me, but that's all.
    4) iOS specifics: how to use sensors, compass, magnetometer, etc. There are random threads on Embarcadero forums, but I would like to see this material *here*.
    5) Databases, networking, multiplayer in Delphi.
    6) Publishing of Delphi made iOS apps and publishing in general.
    7) Performance optimizations in 64-bit inline assembly in Delphi.
    8 ) Math materials (libraries, code snippets, etc.) For example, nobody here mentioned the issue of Extended support lacking in 64-bit platform: seems like an interesting discussion to do and there is an alternative posted somewhere on Embarcadero. Why not mirroring it here?

    Above topics can be applied to FreePascal, but doing so will be of little interest to Delphi developers. If you look at above points, there is mostly nothing of this on PGD.

    Arguments against Delphi Starter and Delphi's price are unfounded - Delphi has always been expensive except for Turbo versions. In my own case, even though I've been in financial trouble last year, I've sold some of my equipment to purchase Delphi XE 2, which was totally worth it. Many other developers also choose Delphi, but just because they don't come here doesn't mean they don't exist.

    Therefore, please, try to target Delphi audience more. After all, FreePascal and Lazarus have their own forums and are doing just fine. Myself, I keep visiting PGD often trying to find something interesting to discuss, but I hardly find anything useful for me as a Delphi game developer in here.

    Most articles on the front page posted by WILL and Code_Glitch are based on FPC/Lazarus using Jedi-SDL and similar approaches. What about Delphi and DirectX, or Delphi and FireMonkey? Remember: what you seed is what you get.

    Edit: If you think that Embarcadero doesn't care about indies and game developers, then perhaps if you provide valuable indie and game development Delphi content, they would. Someone needs to break the cycle, don't you think?
    Last edited by LP; 22-02-2012 at 06:19 AM.

  3. #3
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Hmm... I realize that I have been pushing other alternative methods of Pascal development other than Delphi, but I guess you may be right in that I might have given the cold shoulder to "Delphi developers". I don't want that as I want PGD to encompass ALL areas of Object Pascal, Delphi, Objective-Pascal, etc...

    I agree with you that we've not had much in the way of non-porting articles and threads showing up on PGD. I would as well love to have some of those topics you suggested discussed on PGD. Maybe you can help with this and start up conversations and help bring other Delphi developers here via Twitter, Google+, etc... I could then take your lead and spread the word myself. This creates a catalyst effect in which higher numbers passing the word create a buzz. I've tried to do this more and more, yet I alone won't bring in enough traffic.

    So while I understand that some may feel that Delphi has been a little snubbed here, there hasn't been an outlaw against Delphi talk so go for it. If you feel PGD needs more Delphi-specific developers then send some our way too if you can.

    Also, why not write a simple tutorial on PGD about setting up Asphyre and creating a simple demo using the library? Or if you want more Delphi-centric content, why not write a tutorial on the new Delphi XE2 suite or how to make a casual game with FireMonkey?

    As it stands, it is just me and code_glitch running things. (AthenaOfDelphi still helps, but she is too busy to help daily) I have a full time career and code_glitch is in school so who is going to write these things?

    When I originally joined the community that was later to become PGD, the rule of thumb was that this community is YOUR community. YOU make it what it will be. And from what I've seen it's a matter of assuming that the PGD Staff will generate all this content on it's own. I'm not paid to run PGD I volunteer, nor is anyone else that helps run PGD. I have written things in the past and I do intend to write a few more things, but sadly I don't develop software nearly as much as I have been organizing and running things here on PGD.

    If there is another way to bring in the developers, or Delphi-specific developers that we seem to be missing, please let me know. I'd love to see this place running as busy as it once was.
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  4. #4
    Jason, none of us get paid to participate here and many of us have families and full-time jobs.

    My point was to add Delphi-specific interesting stuff, which will lure Delphi/Windows users in here. Unfortunately, with FireMonkey platform many things are not easily interchangeable between FPC/Lazarus and Delphi, especially on non-Windows platforms.

    You don't have to write everything from scratch for Delphi. You just need to show a little enthusiasm. There are a lot of online articles, which can be explained in one or two paragraphs.

    Here are examples, some of which I've mentioned previously in my posts:
    1) First Look at XE2 Floating Point Performance.
    2) Floating Point and Currency Fields
    3) Delphi XE2 64bit Bottleneck in Trigonometric Functions
    4) Extended FPU Backend for Delphi 64-bit and discussion. Alternative AMD LibM solution.
    5) Delphi XE 2: GPS and Compass on iOS.
    6) Sending E-Mail on iOS.
    7) Using SQLite on iOS.

    There are many more of them, but you need to show interest and facilitate this information for Delphi (game) developers, which will make PGD interesting and let new people in. On the other hand, PGD staff using Mac, FreePascal and Lazarus exclusively will not accomplish it: you need to get your hands dirty in other tools (e.g. Windows, Delphi XE 2+) as well.

    As for Unix/FPC current demographics here, you need to understand OS Market Share and Programming Language Marketshare. As you can see, right now you are serving less than 6% of people on OS side and very small development group (FPC/Lazarus). This is probably one of the reasons why there are mostly no newcomers here as you are focusing on smallest niche market. If you want more people, you need to target other audiences.

    Now, personally, the posts in News section for me are uninteresting and unappealing. I would like to see news like new component for iOS, new tricks, new problems found in development tools, publishing deals and so on. Things like games released here and there can be consulted elsewhere and they do not belong to News section. This is my opinion.

    Finally, for the lack of time I recommend avoiding the usage of social networks as these things eat up your time greatly... err, as well as posting on forums :-P.

  5. #5
    I have been increasing PGD popularity in a way from the wery first day I came here. How? When I visit PGD site from work I always come here trough Google. When I started visiting this site I had to write atlest "pascal game dev" for google quick results to show link to PGD in the results. Now it is enought just to write "pascal ga". So by doing this I increased PGD popularity in Google sercher. This means that there is greater chance for PGD site to come up in serch results even if they are the search isn't about PGD directly.

    Also I plan to contact Žarko Gajić author of Delphi About site so that he will update his site acordingly or point any Delphi devloper who is interested in game development to PGD.

    Also one of the problems is that many pepole doesn't know that Delphi uses pascal language. I must admit that it took me quite some time to realize that myself. But blaime for this goes to the Borland wich tried to create a uniqe programing language caled Delphi and not pascal. Only recently Embarcadero started to metion again that their Delphi IDE actualy uses pascal programing language and not Delphi programing language.

    I would also ask PGD members who have developed their own Graphic engines and such to try to make those compatible with Delphi and write proper tutorials of seting up their graphic engines in Delphi. Yes I know that it isn't easy to do that especialy since you don't use Delphi yourself but without this only a few of Delphi developers would be wiling to try and hastle of seting your graphical engines to work in Delphi by themself.

    Also if we want to atract more newbies we should start writing some tutorials about how to start a game developement preferably for both Delphi and FPC and write tehm in a way so that they would be understod by newbies. We also have to take into acount that there may be many newbe programers wich might be interested in game development from start. What does this means? Our tutorials must sometimes even explain some programing language technics. For instance in my article about RPG battle system I heavily rely on classes and class inheritance. And becouse of this the article will include short explanation of how classes and calss inheritance works and why I used this aproach. That is the second biggest reasony why I'm working on my article for so long.

    I myself am still working on my article about making a Combat system for RPG game. I also have ideas for a few more articles (Handling Savegames, Making GUI components, Making proper code structure for games - using gamestates). If noone else would write them I will do it myself but unfortunatly I don't know when since my free time is werry limited.
    Last edited by SilverWarior; 22-02-2012 at 09:13 PM.

  6. #6
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Well more Delphi specific stuff is in the works as requested. I will do my best to push this more.

    Best thing I can say is if you want it talked about here, make the post in the forums. I will do my best to tweet, facebook link it and draw others to come talk about it. (If Delphi users think that it really is FreePascal Game Development, then we have to make the effort to show that it's not that anymore!) but if you don't make these posts then you're only failing PGD and you will not get what you want out of it.

    "[PGD] is a community you can only expect to get out of it what you put into it." -- Alimonster(aka Alistar Keys) telling me off for blasting the old DGDev forums for being quiet as a new member.

    As for the game releases, I feel that this is just as important as the technical information. It lets people know not only that there are actual commercial or freeware game projects out there (from someone other than the authors who know about PGD), but it also shows the areas where Pascal is being used and how to track it's success in the industry. So I will continue to post these along with more technical information about things like Delphi4Lua and the TKinect library and other game libraries and/or engines such as Asphyre Sphinx and TERRA.

    I'd love to get more people writing tutorials for PGD. So far only Ben(code_glitch) has been creating tutorials in the last few months. Sadly I think that he has been overshooting by being overly technical or heavy in the project management portion alienating beginners or simple hobbyists that don't care about methodologies and the like. Being of simple mind some times, I can't say that I've been overly drawn to them myself. Not that hey are bad articles, it's just that the scales have tipped too far to that side I believe. We need simplier more basic articles.

    Maybe something like A* pathfinding, LOS, how to make a tilemap, loading 3D objects with FireMonkey, plug in code for making a screenshot with OpenGL/DirectX, etc... these are simple and probably don't require a lot of writing on the part of the author(YOU).

    The social networks seem to actually bring in traffic. Yes if can spend a lot of time reading Tweets from Notch, IGN and many others who I've come to follow recently, but it is a great networking tool. Recently I've spent a little time on Facebook and I've seen the Pascal Game Development group grow from only a mere 9 group members to about 45. Plus I've been posting in the Delphi developers group which has well over 500+ members and I'm sure that has attracted the attention of a few and maybe added a couple of new members as well. (Members also include Nick Hodges, David I., Jim McKeeth, Malcolm Groves, etc)

    Visibility is the key for social networks. You just have to stay away from getting caught up reading them too much, I have to agree there.

    And a huge thanks to you SilverWarior for your efforts! I don't know how many others are doing what you are doing, but I'm very happy that you are making all this effort. It really does help.

    I was also considering doing some ad campaigns as well. Maybe Google Ads or something, but those can get costly over time.
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SilverWarior View Post
    Also if we want to atract more newbies we should start writing some tutorials about how to start a game developement preferably for both Delphi and FPC and write tehm in a way so that they would be understod by newbies. We also have to take into acount that there may be many newbe programers wich might be interested in game development from start. What does this means? Our tutorials must sometimes even explain some programing language technics.
    Actually I think teaching programming by itself is not a very useful tactic here because newbies have many options to choose from: C# and XNA, C/C++, Perl, Python, Lua, Java and so on. This is what institutions are for, and dealing with institutions, I think, is quite out of scope for PGD commuinity.

    My posts were about luring *existing* Delphi developers in here as in Language Stats which I've mentioned earlier it is clear that Delphi is still quite popular. It is not that difficult as you just need to provide interesting stuff to motivate people visiting this site; eventually, they may decide to participate in forums.

    Specifically for the forums, I would recommend joining together all graphic's libraries forums as well as compilers since there have not been much activity (some had no posts since 2007!) but together they will appear quite populated to outside public. Honestly, right now with so many forums and very low activity, it is counterproductive: I only use "What's New?" button as scrolling through entire forums takes quite some time and is confusing. You may want to get rid of forums with less than 10 posts and join them together as well. This type of hierarchical navigation is not needed: Search option exists exactly for cases where you need to find something specific.

    P.S. I've been trying to get my hands on writing tutorials for some time now, but since I also work on scientific articles, which is quite stressful (especially when dealing with reviewers), you get tired and at the end of day writing more text is the least thing you want to do.
    Last edited by LP; 22-02-2012 at 10:09 PM.

  8. #8
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lifepower View Post
    Specifically for the forums, I would recommend joining together all graphic's libraries forums as well as compilers since there have not been much activity (some had no posts since 2007!) but together they will appear quite populated to outside public. Honestly, right now with so many forums and very low activity, it is counterproductive: I only use "What's New?" button as scrolling through entire forums takes quite some time and is confusing. You may want to get rid of forums with less than 10 posts and join them together as well. This type of hierarchical navigation is not needed: Search option exists exactly for cases where you need to find something specific.
    I had been thinking of archiving and slimming down the forums lately. You are right it's becoming more like a ghost town in the Forums section of PGD. I have most of them collapsed, but still they are all open by default. Another motivation for this was how long and hard it was for my to move it all from the old server to here. The database in raw SQL was 500MB large. I had to break it up into 46 pieces to run it all for the import.

    Rather than simply merge libraries, I'd rather archive them and take them off the forums page altogether. Noone cares about the XCESS library at this point it's been dropped ages ago for example.

    Some other forums like Writing, Technical and all the other non-programming stuff probably could be merged and trimmed down. They are somewhat excessive. I can slim down the forums quite a bit just with these.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifepower View Post
    P.S. I've been trying to get my hands on writing tutorials for some time now, but since I also work on scientific articles, which is quite stressful (especially when dealing with reviewers), you get tired and at the end of day writing more text is the least thing you want to do.
    No review process here at PGD! If that helps...
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  9. #9
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    ...and let us not forget to welcome new members! http://www.pascalgamedevelopment.com...irst-post-here
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
    Co-Founder





  10. #10
    Co-Founder / PGD Elder WILL's Avatar
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    Reorganizing the forums as per some of Lifepower's ideas...
    Jason McMillen
    Pascal Game Development
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