Feedback is Garbage and you Should Ignore 90% of it!

ThomasBellissimo

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That's right I said it. Look making a game and seeing it through to the end takes a lot of heart and a lot of work. If you finish something and are proud of it, that's all that matters.

Everyone wants to have an opinion though and tell you why this is bad or that should be done a different way or you can't have that, etc.

Well blah, blah, blah that's junk. Everyone has their own personal touches and would do things in many different ways. That's totally valid and fine but that's their project and this is yours.

The 10% of feedback that is actually useful is the "Hey, you spelled colour wrong." or "Hey, the colour of your font gets lost in the background.".

Do what you want and don't let other people sway you. You don't even have to listen to this trash I'm telling you.

That's my rant.
 

ElCheffe

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I can understand your position, but I can't agree. Constructive feedback can be very helpful and even broaden your view of certain aspects of your own game.

The main problem is that many people can't differentiate between an opinion and a neutral feedback. It's also important that you don't take feedback personally but try to keep a neutral position yourself, even if it is about your own project you have put in a lot of effort so far.

I guess it is always necessary to consider whom you are asking for feedback, too. Friends might worry about being too harsh so a community like this one (moderated forum) is a great place to ask for feedback.
 

The Stranger

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You know what? I agree. Most of the feedback you'll get will be trash. Just people claiming you need to do this or that else your work is crap. It's not constructive and it's not helpful. Unfortunately, it's also part and parcel of sharing your work with others. They all think their opinion is constructive criticism or useful feedback even if it's not, but there's nothing you can do about it.

Just gotta smile and nod, then attempt to find the gems that you can actually use before tossing the rest out with the trash. It's part of the reason why Steam discussion boards are the way they are. Innumerable people all thinking their opinion is legit, helpful, and practical feedback when it's anything but.

I fully agree with ElCheffe regarding this forum, however. Way better to look for feedback here than elsewhere.
 

VegaKotes

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I can understand your position, but I can't agree. Constructive feedback can be very helpful and even broaden your view of certain aspects of your own game.

The main problem is that many people can't differentiate between an opinion and a neutral feedback. It's also important that you don't take feedback personally but try to keep a neutral position yourself, even if it is about your own project you have put in a lot of effort so far.

I guess it is always necessary to consider whom you are asking for feedback, too. Friends might worry about being too harsh so a community like this one (moderated forum) is a great place to ask for feedback.
Opinions I think are best when you can get the opinion giver to explain why they feel that way.
Sometimes people can have a visceral hatred of something and not even fully understand why.

But coaxing the *why* out of people can help you understand what's frustrating about your game mechanics or story beats. You might not end up changing them or maybe only making minimal changes but IMO it's best to understand the *why* behind certain decisions.
Why do I have this fishing mechanic? What purpose is it serving?
Why do I want to make my players do 6 hours of beaver hunting in order to carry more ammo?

Coming to an understanding about why you the game designer want something and why the player hates that something can possibly help you see if that mechanic needs tweaking, outright removing, or if that player just isn't your target audience.

"You can't please everybody." Is a totally fair and valid conclusion to come to. But if you can, try and understand the why.
 

The Stranger

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@VegaKotes Sometimes the why isn't useful, though. I mean, if you can get a useful reason from someone, fair enough, but I imagine you'll frequently be met with "I just don't like it", or "I just don't want to do this" which aren't all that helpful. Gets even worse when you get people giving you crappy feedback based on their political leanings, religious beliefs, etc. I mean, what can you do with that? Probably not common here, but is on places such as Steam discussion boards.

I have seen useful reviews and feedback that have helped indie devs, however, so I'm not saying they don't exist.
 

ScorchedGround

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I think it's also important to recognize who is giving feedback.

And by that I don't mean how well-known the person is, though that also helps.
-> People that have already established themselves as reasonable and helpful are instantly more credible than person XYZ that appears out of nowhere.

But what I primarily mean is how much time the person giving feedback has invested in your game or whatever else they comment on.

If someone that played through my game TWICE tells me that the game balance is completely off the rocker, I am more inclined to look into that than if someone who literally only finished the tutorial and then threw the game aside said the same.

Another factor is the quantity of people giving the SAME feedback.
If 100 people played your game and 40 of them said that one particular game-mechanic is not fun at all, its more likely that there really is something wrong rather than a big conspiracy happening.
 

VegaKotes

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@The Stranger
Oh yeah garbage is garbage after all, hahaha.
If anyone hits you with the "I just don't like it." That is 100% time to scrub that feedback from your brain and move on in life. xD

Or if you're the type to respond to your feedback I guess just go "I see. Apologies then. It seems this game is not what you're looking for."
 

dopan

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feedback is garbage(..)You don't even have to listen to this trash I'm telling you.

if i agree that most feedback is garbage, than i should not listen to everything whats written here and elsewhere ..
its kind of paradox
, ..
And if i dont listen to all that, than that would mean that i kind of disagree ..
(but that would only count for the mentioned 90%)

I am not sure if that makes sence but..
(i guess the 10% valuable Feedback, safes the Logic ,atleast a bit)

However, i get the point , and i agree that my oppionion is in most cases the most valuable one for me^^
 

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Nope, 90% of feedback is useful, 10% is personal taste in my opinion. It will point you to your problems, but often times not tell you how to fix it.

You don't need to be a 5 star chef to say a dish sucks or is too salty. But you shouldn't throw in paprika just because someone said it needs it, either. If you ask them why they think it needs it, they'll probably say, "it's too bland, it needs a kick" which is great feedback. Pry them for their diagnosis, not their cure.

So if someone says, "Your game is too unrealistic, there shouldn't be magic potions," don't dismiss them. Ask why. If they say, "I just hate potions, they're scientifically impossible," then that's that. But if they say, "Because it takes place on the historical sinking of the Titanic and everything else about the setting, characters, and story is really realistic, so it feels out of place," then you can use that. You can nix poitions like they suggested, or alter the rest of the game to make them fit. And if 20 people say the same thing, then you should listen all the more. And if people are focusing on nitpicks, ask them what they think about major parts of the game. Is your story so bland they're getting distracted by small spelling errors? Is the art so janky they can't pick up on visual cues and miss important hints? Is the battle system so difficult they run away from every battle and complain there's not enough to do? People might be focusing on things they assume are easier to fix when the real problem is deeper.

On the other hand, if you ask your friend for feedback and they just want you to make a game they'd make, that's personal taste. But just saying, "I worked hard and people are saying stuff I think is pedantic," kind of is missing the point. If you don't want feedback, make your game, don't release it and live your life. But you'll learn a lot more and improve if you get other's opinions. And you'll need to get used to everyone and their mother giving you feedback. Part of being a creator is having thick skin and not taking things personally. If someone looks at the game you spent 10 years lovingly crafting and says, "I hate it," you have to be able to take that in stride and use it as fuel to do better.
 

TheGentlemanLoser

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That's right I said it. Look making a game and seeing it through to the end takes a lot of heart and a lot of work. If you finish something and are proud of it, that's all that matters.

Everyone wants to have an opinion though and tell you why this is bad or that should be done a different way or you can't have that, etc.

Well blah, blah, blah that's junk. Everyone has their own personal touches and would do things in many different ways. That's totally valid and fine but that's their project and this is yours.

The 10% of feedback that is actually useful is the "Hey, you spelled colour wrong." or "Hey, the colour of your font gets lost in the background.".

Do what you want and don't let other people sway you. You don't even have to listen to this trash I'm telling you.

That's my rant.

There's no way to make this not sound condescending, but this position you're articulating is an even more extreme version of one I held myself when I was much younger (though still an adult, even then, at least as much as I can be classed as one now) and one which I grew out of. My attitude was "look, I gave you mother****ers a FREE VIDEO GAME, I worked really hard on it, and THIS is the thanks I get? ****ing THIS is the thanks I get? for a FREE VIDEO GAME I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours on? this hurtful mean spirited abuse? you profoundly ungrateful, backbiting c*nt(s), why do I even bother?" and while now I am developing a commercial game that will not be free to the general public and which I intend to monetize as competently and as thoroughly as possible, that is not what made the difference.

In the past I thought that criticism not phrased in a way that I found constructive or palatable--y'know, the whole 'compliment sandwich' approach and the philosophy behind same--was safe to ignore and/or evidence of bad faith on the part of my critics (which sometimes it totally was, like there is a review way less fair than the ones I linked that the site actually took down because it was so transparently mean spirited, cruel, bad faith, and unfair) and/or deserved me to vehemently defend my work and my artistic decisions.

What made the difference for me is that as I grew up as a creator I grew to embrace the philosophy that EVERYONE no matter how experienced and/or talented still has room to learn and grow even better as a writer, as an artist, and as a developer. My dad has been playing guitar for literally 55 years and is an undeniable maestro but he still actively looks for and integrates advice on things he is doing 'wrong' so as to improve. His attitude towards this is the correct one.

Now in this scene this can be taken to very wrong extremes, like the attitude that "this is a crucible through which indie devs must pass to be ritually cleansed by the sick burns of ruthless critics", I'm not denying that. But there seems to be less of this than there used to be as various toxic elements of this scene have abandoned what I'm sure they thought of as a sinking ship like the rats they were.

Also, not all feedback is equal. The quality of feedback is often linked to the character of the venue. For instance, most of the steam reviews I've seen were hot garbage and most of the rest were room temperature garbage, nothing constructive or actionable, no effort put into the feedback. That they are consumer focused rather than developer focused partially explains but by no means fully excuses this. But on the other hand, a community like this one of like minded creators and artisans discussing, sharing, debating, and implementing best practices for indie game development? That is a very different beast and that is what I'm talking about here.

tangent: @SeaSpider potions are perfectly scientifically possible, we just call them 'drugs' now!:LZSwink:
 
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peq42_

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You're wrong :)

Even bad feedback, the destructive type, may give the creator of whatever it is some information that can be used. If someone doesn't play the whole game and give negative feedback, you can take that the game has a bad early game, or a bad mechanics overall, or bad story telling, or it's just not suitable for the type of public that person is part of.

Any feedback is good feedback, if you are capable of thinking and analyzing it.
 

Sharm

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I've been able to get useful information out of feedback from a toxic chauvinist who just wanted my job and couldn't draw half as well as me. I think if you have the right attitude and are willing to put in the effort, at least 90% of all feedback is useful.
 

lianderson

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I am sensing a lot of negativity!

But that is okay human. *hugs Thomas* I accept you!

Now do what all true artists do, and use this negativity to enhance your work! You got this!
And also, down with the advice! Even mine!

Power to the game make.
 

Archeia

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The thing about receiving feedback is it's your job as a game developer to translate what they actually want. I'll just throw a general example that's easy to understand visually.

Let's say you have a 100% custom game, you think the graphics are amazing since it does not look like any RM game. Suddenly someone said, your game's graphics are not very good and you should reference RPG Maker RTP graphics.

Most developers would take offense to that. The RTP is Ugly/Overused/Not that great! You have no idea what they're talking about and you might be inclined to even trash talk them for not knowing anything.

But I see it another way. Now for a quick art lesson, we know that readable graphics live and die by their values and shapes. It's what gives clarity to a picture. Now here's a quick grayscale of RMMV's tiles in a simple map:
1637378013116.png

As you can see, you can clearly see everything and subconsciously, it helps navigating the game world. The player usually doesn't know how to articulate subconscious thoughts like these. So, the next time someone gives you a feedback like that, try putting your maps in a Black & White or Grayscale filter and see if the graphics are still readable.

This same principle applies to every aspect in game development like design, writing, music etc. It's why most game designers are required to have a vast pool of knowledge. And to be honest, people can be really passionate about their time and attention. Filtering through the toxicity can be pretty hard but if you look at it through a filtered lens it would help you massively.

The way No Man's Sky did their feedback collection is something worth researching as well. Sean was under extreme pressure and stress but he managed to filter all the bad reviews and compress them to key points to see what was wrong in the game and spare the team the stress. Now it's doing really well. Doing a recovery like that is hard since you know, it's difficult to not feel like you're being personally attacked. But knowing to detach yourself from negative criticism and taking something out of it is a skill itself.
 
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ATT_Turan

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But coaxing the *why* out of people can help you understand what's frustrating about your game...it's best to understand the *why* behind certain decisions.

The thing about receiving feedback is it's your job as a game developer to translate what they actually want.
This is the very true and very important part. I've read some well-written articles on board game playtesting that talk exclusively about this: the problem with the feedback that you receive is not that it's garbage, but that people don't always know how to precisely articulate their feelings, or what's causing them to feel a certain way.

A player might just say "Your game is boring," without having the self-awareness to say "I'm bored because the enemies die from me just attacking, so I never use any skills," which would be feedback you could use to make your enemies more challenging, or provide more incentive to use the various skills in combat.

I'm having a hard time figuring out whether you made all these threads because you think they're funny or what, but ignoring feedback because "it's garbage" doesn't help anyone - something about your game made the person feel that way, even if they can't articulate it. And while you may not decide to change anything in your game based on it, it can only do you good to understand it.
 

Milennin

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It's not garbage, it's just knowing what to filter out. Usually, feedback over-exaggerates issues, because people might be frustrated about something they encountered. Or suggests altering or removing stuff you deliberately put in that way. Other times, they might complain about something that indirectly points at a real issue in your game (such as saying a feature sucks, but your game fails to properly teach the player how to use that feature).
It takes reading into the feedback to know what to do with it. Not to take everything being given too literally.
 

divinelight

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I think constructive feedback is not garbage. As game developer, we tend to forget what is fun in other people's definition, so it's good to see in other people's point of view.

Then again, not every critics/feedback need to be taken to update your game, since it's your game not the others'.
 

eomereolsson

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I wanted to add to @ATT_Turan 's point with a personal story of mine, where I truly understood that concept. Pre-pandemic a local store used to organize board game nights where you could try out new games. I tried a deck building game called Mystic Vale (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/194607/mystic-vale). It has a pretty cool concept where you not only can build your deck over the course of the game, but actually you can build the individual cards that make up your deck. Even though I really liked that concept, I didn't like the game over all and told the organizer that I thought it needed interaction between players.
It was only weeks later when during showering it suddenly hit me: I love Dominion (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/36218/dominion), another deck building game, which also can have no interaction between players, depending on the setup.
That's when I really tried to compare the two games and why I thought one needed player interaction while the other doesn't. I now think the problem is the following:
In Dominion you determine the resources you have available during your next turn at the end of your current turn and it is very predictable what you can do with these resources. So while the other players take their turn you can occupy yourself with planning your next turn. Individual turns typically go pretty quickly because every player can do this.
In Mystic Vale you determine your available resources at the beginning of your turn. And even if you estimate how much you have to work with, you still can't plan your next turn, as you don't know which cards will be available to buy when your next turn actually comes around. This leads to you sitting around bored when it is not your turn with nothing to do. Of course this problem was exacerbated by the fact that every one of us played the game for the first time and individual turns took relatively long. But the core issue is baked in to the very design of the game itself.

You can see how, if I gave my initial feedback to Mystic Vale's developers, they could have easily dismissed it as 'garbage'. ('I am designing a non-interactive deck builder game. This is a proven concept. This play-tester simply isn't in my target audience.') However adding player interaction is in fact only one possible solution for the actual problem that while playing the game you actually spend more time waiting for your next turn bored than actually having fun playing the game.

Or to paraphrase the Angry DM (one of my favorite TTRPG writers): You should always listen to your play-testers' feedback, because humans are very good at telling how they feel doing something. However they are also garbage at figuring out why they feel that way or how to fix that. So you should really analyze that feedback before you implement any changes.
 

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