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

Bernkastelwitch

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@Bernkastelwitch I said it earlier but even that kind of advice can tell you a lot. While you should never feel that you need to tailor your game to the specific whims of a single individual usually people's gut reactions can show you what's frustrating about your game. Now granted some complaints are just going to be silly. Like the gender of the lead. Do I play a lot of games with female leads? No, not really. Do I want the developers of those games to change the gender of their lead to better suit my tastes? Also no.

But it is still a complaint worth putting some thought into, it's essentially saying "I can't relate to this main character and I want a character better suited to myself so I can relate better."

Whereas the party size complaint can be seen as "I feel like there's too much going on and I'd like to have a more focused party to cut down on the chaos and tedium."

And I must repeat myself once more. "You can't please everyone." Is totally a valid conclusion to come to. If you feel your lead should be female then she's female. If you feel your game doesn't work with a smaller party size then it doesn't work with a smaller party size. There's absolutely no shame in sticking to your guns. Just, if you can, try and consider why people are complaining. You might find there are other areas you can compromise on to better suit more players without sacrificing what makes your game...well *your* game.

They are still complaints at the end of the day, yes. I suppose it is also the tone some people do and them not explaining things too much. I know my game may not please everyone and that is fine. Even if I go full-on cookie cutter or hold onto more typical tropes, it won't please people. If I make the lead a man or cut the roster from thirty(Which is the actual roster count ATM) to three or something, it still wouldn't help.

I am someone who some of her favorite games are Suikoden and Fire Emblem so the roster count works there. Some people may not have played these inspiration games, especially Suikoden so they may have a different viewpoint on roster sizes.

It's just the overall tone that irks me sometimes. There is a difference between someone pointing out why the large roster may have some cons to it to people saying "Your game will die if you don't have this specific amount of party members" which I got the latter a lot.
 

Helen1701

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They are still complaints at the end of the day, yes. I suppose it is also the tone some people do and them not explaining things too much. I know my game may not please everyone and that is fine. Even if I go full-on cookie cutter or hold onto more typical tropes, it won't please people. If I make the lead a man or cut the roster from thirty(Which is the actual roster count ATM) to three or something, it still wouldn't help.

I am someone who some of her favorite games are Suikoden and Fire Emblem so the roster count works there. Some people may not have played these inspiration games, especially Suikoden so they may have a different viewpoint on roster sizes.

It's just the overall tone that irks me sometimes. There is a difference between someone pointing out why the large roster may have some cons to it to people saying "Your game will die if you don't have this specific amount of party members" which I got the latter a lot.
I don't think there is such a thing as a 'right' number of party members, because it depends on the storyline and what you need for it to work properly. Some games function well with a single party member, the player. Others need quite a few more. I have this idea in my head that I will only use one party member other than the player during my own game, but that is subject to revision because I only have a skeleton of a plot so far, so if the plot needs it as I flesh the story out I am willing to add more.

I think it is best to add party members as the story requires them, not just because any individual person as said that you need them. Like, if your story requires two party members, your game isn't going to fail because you don't have four! Of course, listen to why they think you need more party members, and see if they have a point or not before dismissing the idea though.
 

KenKrath

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They are still complaints at the end of the day, yes. I suppose it is also the tone some people do and them not explaining things too much. I know my game may not please everyone and that is fine. Even if I go full-on cookie cutter or hold onto more typical tropes, it won't please people. If I make the lead a man or cut the roster from thirty(Which is the actual roster count ATM) to three or something, it still wouldn't help.

I am someone who some of her favorite games are Suikoden and Fire Emblem so the roster count works there. Some people may not have played these inspiration games, especially Suikoden so they may have a different viewpoint on roster sizes.

It's just the overall tone that irks me sometimes. There is a difference between someone pointing out why the large roster may have some cons to it to people saying "Your game will die if you don't have this specific amount of party members" which I got the latter a lot.
I'm going to jump on this and say if your "critics" were just saying to cut a party size for the sake of cutting the party size I would say this is what the OP was referring to.

On my end I would say having a large party size "depends" on why you want to have a large party.

Do you have a large party just for the sake of having a large party? Are characters destined to perish where the number of characters will dwindle (permadeaths) and you will need surviving characters for the final battles? Does the party expand the gameplay element, i.e. you have a summoner, wizard, battlemage, warrior, martial artist etc? Does each character have an awesome backstory where you may want to complete a certain quest for each of your characters?

I can say if there isn't a good reason for a large party size then the characters can get a little overwhelming to where we have forgettable characters. Suikoden (accomplishments for finding all characters) and Fire Emblem (tactical reasons & perma-death) had pretty good reasons for having a large party base. Just saying make sure there is a reason for having a large party base.

Hopefully this illustrates what garbage feedback is and at least a semblance of a constructive critique.
 

Ludi_Tarantula

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(We're two people so we'll answer in two paragraphs. This comment is kinda long but please don't get lost in only one paragraph... We strongly advise to read them both.)
-ELE-
If I have to be really, really honest... I personally find this kind of discourse kinda pointless.
Yeah I dropped the bomb right at the start.
You don't have to accept everything and you don't have to snob everything people say. Trying to be a "good" creator saying that you accept every feedback... It's an attitude I understand, but I don't think it's right. It's because the type of feedback that you may have very much depends on a lot of factors, so there isn't a precise answer that is good for everything.

Are you sure of the path you're going for the project?
The first step to understand what kind of feedback is good or not is to understand if the feedback matches with the intentions of the project.
The question you always have to ask yourself is:
"Does the person writing understand what I'm trying to do with the project?"
If you don't have a specific reason why the "unlikeable" element you put was this way, revise it. Not exactly remove it or edit it, but revise it and contextualize it at least to see if, when talking about the reason why it's there, your point stands. If you have no idea what you're doing or the way the project will go in the end, every kind of opinion can kill your "creative vision" or whatever.
I'll make a very simple (and stupid, this type of conversation is very unlikely to happen :,) ) example. In a game, the clouds are not white but magenta.
Someone asks "why did you make the clouds magenta??"
If you have a fantastic weird world, you can say (for example) "it's because for the fantastic and magic world I imagined those tints were the right choice: I wasn't going for realism, stylistically it gets closer to something completely imaginary and it goes good with the other tints of the background/of the map". The answer comes out of its own, because (decided in a stage of pre-production or not, it can also be simply a well-contextualized deliberate choice) in a way or another, you know what the project needs, you know that white clouds can't be good for a candyfloss forest world (example) and the project is going for a certain kind of aestethic and not whatever the other person is saying. You know that it can work, and you can reply with a point that stands and professionally.
If you don't know that... You just take the feedback, thinking that the other person knows more than you do. And you make the clouds white. You just do it, because "if they are saying it it means that there's a problem" or "white, magenta, it's not a big change! :)". But that change makes the style of the game totally change.
This situation can happen when you don't know (in this case) what kind of aestethic you want for the game, the path that it has to take stylistically to get to something fitting for what you are trying to do with your project... And it can become "schizofrenic" (aka. contradictory or incoherent) or have other problems... Because you, first of all, had no idea first of what you were trying to do.

In these cases, the best kind of feedback is "Okay, as much as I know you were trying to do this kind of fairy-tale, magic aestethic... Maybe pink clouds are better than magenta: it's more pastel and is better with the dusk kind of tint you put, it's better for the eye and clashes less with the other colors you put. I took as an inspiration this other project/anime/series/whatyouwant that I think it's going for a similiar aestethic"
In short, the person understands what you're trying to do and instead of saying "I would have done this differently..." is saying "Ahh, I see what they're making, but modifying [this] will make them more similiar to what they actually wanted".
A kind of discourse about communication that in my opinion is connected to everything I'm saying will be talked further by Pao in her paragraph :)

It depends on the context and the person that is writing the feedback.
You may all know this, but not every feedback and suggestion is benign. Certain kinds of comments and nitpicks may come from people that consider themselves your rivals, people that just really don't like your game and/or are envious. So they try to put the project down and "climb on mirrors" (we say here in Italy) to find the small detail they seem to not like and make it sound like the biggest deal.


-PAOGUN-
My sister has already been quite clear and I don't think my intervention will be of any further use, but I wanted to talk about one detail in particular.
Reflecting on some of the responses that have been given in this thread, it seems to me that the discourse is shifting from "feedback on our games" to "the meaning of feedback". If I understand correctly, you are trying to interpret the feedback by grasping its meaning in itself beyond its usefulness for the project. I think that, in this specific context (where we are talking about independent games and not big works that because of their coverage can influence the hot topics of today's society), going to investigate the needs of the audience is not even too much the right way to go. Simply, to talk about this topic one should make other kinds of premises and choose the right contexts.

So, let's go back to the basic situation where person X proposes a creative project, person Y criticises it.
Then. Beyond the paragraph written by my sister, which introduced the concept of the direction of a project (i.e. the public identity of a creative work, which depends only on its creator/creators) I want to introduce you to another topic in general, which is that of communication.
A creative work is a communicative message. When you talk to a person you obviously don't say everything that goes through your head, but you filter it and rework it according to the context, your purpose, and the person for whom that particular message is directed.

Of course it's impossible to please everyone, I agree. So when you're working on a new project you talk about target audience, right?

It can happen, beyond the cases Ele mentioned, that the conflict that arises between a criticism and a game is a communication problem: the person speaking doesn't always know exactly what you're doing or what you wanted to do with your work (and here it could also be a lack of responsibility on the part of the creator). Out of curiosity, we also trained ourselves to read criticism of other works: sometimes we read really shocking types of comments. These were not always directed towards what the work wanted to be, sometimes they had nothing to do with it. If a person complains because (regardless of the nature of the work!) "I didn't feel represented" (to quote an example I've read before) we don't think that's a valid criticism, because it means that on the other side (assuming the work was clear about its choices) there was no effort to interpret and contextualise what the original product wanted to be.

Hope we both were clear on our points! :)

-Ludi Tarantula (Paogun&Ele)
 
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The Stranger

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These were not always directed towards what the work wanted to be, sometimes they had nothing to do with it.
It's a fairly big problem when it comes to criticism and feedback. There are a lot of people out there who do not just give feedback on the game, it's aimed at the developers themselves, a publishing company, the engine they decided to use, some really niche options and settings you didn't include; a language you didn't translate for, a lack of bizarre mechanics and systems that wouldn't make sense in your game, real world politics (black characters or no black characters, you're getting hate lol), and the list goes on and on.

This sort of feedback is utter sh*te. What can you glean from it other than your game doesn't appeal to certain people for very weird reasons? You need only take a look at various discussion boards on Steam for EA games to see the sort of nonsense people offer up as feedback. Not all of it's bad, but not all of it's worth listening to either.

It's not restricted to audience feedback either, even gaming journalists are guilty of this sort of nonsense. That's a discussion for another time and place, though. xD
 
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Nolonar

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If 90% of the feedback is garbage, then you asked the wrong questions. It happened to me too. I made a game for a Game Design course, asked my friend for feedback, and realized that 90% of it was absolutely useless. Despite telling him to be honest, he chose to only state what he felt was good about the game. While it feels good to hear that your game is "perfect", if your goal is to identify flaws and improve the game, this kind of feedback is ultimately not helpful.

Later on, I asked him to play the game again, and this time instead of simply asking: "Give me feedback", I actually guided him with my questions:
  • What did you like most about the game?
  • What did you like least about the game?
  • Assuming you had infinite budget and time, what part of the game would you change or improve?

I got a lot more useful feedback from these 3 questions, despite getting less feedback in general.

Also always keep in mind that the customers don't always know what they want (compare "How the customer explained it" to "What the customer really needed"):

Untitled.png

This is why it's always important to never take feedback literally! Always try to understand why you received a certain feedback, so you can try and determine the root cause.

For example, I heard a story that the developers of Halo once received the feedback that "the sniper rifle isn't powerful enough". They could've increased the damage of sniper rifles, but they increased reload speed instead, and suddenly the testers were very happy about how the sniper rifle felt.

I also once received the feedback that "the font color is bad, because the text is sometimes hard to read". The solution was to use a font with borders instead.
 

CleanWater

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Hello again Thomas!

I agree with you on certain aspects, but like I mentioned on my project's thread...

I got your point there, but it's always good to listen to what others have to say. Sometimes they can be right.

My motto from Cleanwatersoft's era used to be "My work is for you", so the least I can do is to carefully listen to others opinions and meditate about where I can improve or not. :D

If you have the skill to differentiate constructive feedback from destructive ones, you are half the way to success.

If you have the skill to consider which feedback is worth taking from those that you should not, then you achieved mastery on being wise! :wink:
 

Bernkastelwitch

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I'm going to jump on this and say if your "critics" were just saying to cut a party size for the sake of cutting the party size I would say this is what the OP was referring to.

On my end I would say having a large party size "depends" on why you want to have a large party.

Do you have a large party just for the sake of having a large party? Are characters destined to perish where the number of characters will dwindle (permadeaths) and you will need surviving characters for the final battles? Does the party expand the gameplay element, i.e. you have a summoner, wizard, battlemage, warrior, martial artist etc? Does each character have an awesome backstory where you may want to complete a certain quest for each of your characters?

I can say if there isn't a good reason for a large party size then the characters can get a little overwhelming to where we have forgettable characters. Suikoden (accomplishments for finding all characters) and Fire Emblem (tactical reasons & perma-death) had pretty good reasons for having a large party base. Just saying make sure there is a reason for having a large party base.

Hopefully this illustrates what garbage feedback is and at least a semblance of a constructive critique.

The cast is meant to be more specialized in certain roles, there's 12 different elements in my game and there's lore reasons behind there being twelve, there's mechanics that require using characters who are sidelined(Errands essentially), as well as mechanics in certain situations where you are required to split the party into two-three to explore certain dungeons, Each character having a special sidequest that grants perks to that character and the party if completed, and everyone is meant to have a different kind of gameplay class to them. Also gives me some more freedom to make unorthodox parties without compromising the "typical" character roles.

Just a rough idea on the roster size without me derailing it all here.
 

KenKrath

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[mod]Please stay on topic.[/mod]
If you’d like to discuss party size, you can start a new topic.
I probably should have mentioned my post was a bit of a rhetoric (hence the reason I didn't respond either). Since we're discussing why constructive feedback should not be ignored vs. someone saying feedback should be ignored, are we not allowed to give examples that illustrates this difference? I kind of did state the post should be an example.

I think there are some folks out there who need the clearer picture with examples of feedback they should and shouldn't ignore and what they should be looking for in criticism.
 

mlogan

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@KenKrath I didn't single you out so why are you assuming my post was directed at you? There are several posts veering off course into just discussing party size.
 

ThomasBellissimo

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It's so hard to get tone from written words. Let's just assume everyone means the best and get back to the discussion. There is a large assumption that my views on feedback come from personal experience. I'm sure the initial thought reading my words is that this guy got some feedback and can't handle it. However, this is not actually the case. I've been around long enough to not worry about what others say or think but I often do read feedback on others posts, games, ideas, etc and think this is just demoralizing junk. It's a tricky thing, I see this happen and watch as someone loses the motivation to keep going. That sucks and it's a shame when it happens.
 

Sullien

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Hard disagree, but at the end of the day the real question should be: Who are you making your game for? If it's for you, then perhaps nitpicks about specific things shouldn't get to you are satisfied with the way they are; but if you want your game to be enjoyed by as many people as possible, feedback will be critical and, rather than dread it, you should be open ended towards it because your viewpoint alone might be limited and, in the case you do actually try to implement the feedback, you might just see yourself surprised to see the game actually feels better after implementing a certain change.

But then again, if your time is limited and you just wish to rush your game as quickly as possible I get why it might be detrimental as a lot of feedback might come out of left field or be biased but ignoring it is definitely not the way to go and might even harm your eventual fanbase if they feel you do not listen(just take a look at all the meh games that could have been great had certain things been changed).
 

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