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Level Design Lesson 24: Advertising

Today's lesson delves into the concept of advertising. Unless you are a professional level designer publishing your maps for a game, you need to get your maps out there you have to advertise them.

[This was originally posted on my personal blog www.reachingperfection.com]

[Forge Lessons is a level design series that I have written for the halo forge (the simplistic in-game level editor) communities. While it is tailored towards Halo multiplayer map design I feel that it covers general level design very well. I would love everyone's opinions on how these lessons can translate into other games and genres like the Call of Duty series, the Unreal Series, RTS games, platformer games, etc.]

So you’ve been reading all of the previous lessons and now you are prepped and ready to go. You feel you’ve got a great map that follows many of the principles of level design that you have learned. You go to play your map and realize that you have no one to playtest it with you. You post your map on the forums and receive little to no replies on your map. Remember the whole deal about if a player can’t find something on your map then it might as well not exist? Well if players can’t find your map then… well, it might as well not exist right? For those demented ones out there do not relate this to suicide. Grrr…

Spreading the word

You’ve got your beautiful creation… now you have to spread the word. You have got to share it to the world. Just like anything else that you can possibly make you have to advertise what you have created. Whether it is a new map, a new game mode, a new game, a new community, a new shower head, etc. you need to show what you have created to people who will enjoy it. Everyone has their own way of advertising, some better than others. Some spam every person they possibly can on the internet. Some pay hundreds to get some popular hangout to advertise them. Advertising is a big part of becoming successful and I’m going to share my secrets of success to you, my faithful reader. And my tricks work. Don’t believe me? You are reading these lessons aren’t you?

Advertising is everything

Think about how you found these lessons. I will be honest with you my friends. You fell for my advertisement tricks. There was something that I did successfully to get you to read this right here and now. You are one of hundreds and maybe even thousands of people reading what I have to say. But why are you reading this? What did I do to draw you in? Who was it that introduced these to you? How did I bring you here to ReachingPerfection.com? But it isn’t just me who has fooled you. Do you have a favorite news channel? There is a reason that you watch it over other news channels. How about a favorite restaurant? How did you find that restaurant? Why do you like it over all of the other ones? Now how do you get people to play your map? How do you get people to enjoy your map better than Joe over there? Advertising is a skill that is used in everything. It’s time somebody let you in on the tricks of the trade.

It’s not about you

The most important thing to remember is that in order to get people to experience your content you have to forget that it is all about getting your content popular. Nobody truly cares about what is in it for you. They care about what is in it for them. The trick to successful advertising is giving, not receiving. Learn to give and eventually you will receive. People want to know what you have to offer them. Before people will give your map a chance you have to give them something they want. If you are only focused on getting your map popular then you will fail. However if you are focused on offering your help, time, services, and whatever else you have to offer they will give back to you. So the first rule about advertising is learning to not be selfish and learn to give rather than receive. If you do this, then you will receive advertising naturally.

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