Worst game ever, your face sucks. (Dealing with Internet Comments)
You just finished your game, finally ready to release it to the world. "Hey Internet! I spent months of work without salary to give you this!" and you get comments like : "Your games sucks and I wish you cancer you moron F%!&"
Let's talk about this.
You just finished your game, finally ready to release it to the world. "Hey Internet! I spent months of work without salary to give you this! Take it!"
This is the kind of comments you get :
"Your games sucks and I wish you cancer you moron F%!&"
So, let's talk about this.
TL;DR version !
Warning, this article is about Internet comments and therefore contains an excessive amount of foul language.
In Math, if you want to represent the probability of something happening, you get something called the "Bell curve", The closer you get to the average spot the more likely it is to happen. Well with Internet Comments, it's the other way around. The closer you get to the extreme, the more likely it is to happen. With comments like "Fu&!%ing Genius!" here, and "You guy are Hitler" there. Fill the gaps in between and you get the whole spectrum of Internet comments. In the middle of all this lies the constructive zone. That's where you get comments that you can actually use to improve your game. I could make a whole episode just on How to deal with this, how to interpret feedback, but Andy Nguyen from PocketWatch games already made a 30 minutes talk at the last GDC on How to interpret feedback. Check it out it's awesome.
So the left side is all about hate, and that's what I want to focus on. The "I want to break your soul side". Because even if you receive more love than hate, this side will be the part that haunt you, that will get stuck in your head at night.
1. Never reply with hate.
Ok that's the obvious one. replying with hate is just stupid, it'll bounce right back at you. But it will leave a trace on Internet that YOU said something mean to somebody else, and it WILL be used against you, maybe in 10 years from now.
2. Devalue the insult.
The thing with those comments is that it hurt because you care. If you care, YOU are giving them power to hurt you. As ViHart on Youtube put it, "I have no power over you that you don't give me, and you have no power over me that I don't give you". If Internet as the power to spew the meanest insults at your face, you have the power to visualize the comment as you want, you give it meaning. If the comment hurt, just imagine the worst pathetic jerk on the planet in your head, and say the comment with a stupid voice. You can check the image below for some inspiration.
3. You are not alone
Something that helped me personally to devalue comments like that is when I realized I was not alone. Every single game developer gets it. And it's not only on games, every single creator that puts something on Internet gets it share. Youtube, books, articles, blo g, twitch, whatever! Look at that.
Here's a little exercize you can do when you feel like shit after reading your comments :
Pick your favorite game, find the review section, sort it by "rating", go on the last page, open a beer, grab some popcorn and read.
I've cleared all achievements of that games. and I mean ALL OF THEM. Beat all 2nd phase bosses and beat every single challenge that game through at me. LOVED IT
Comment on Steam : "this game lacks any essence of fun"
Super Meat Boy
Love the game, and more importantly, respect Edmund McMillen a lot. I agree with his thoughts and advice on game development and follow him since the Newgrounds days.
Comment on Steam: "i dont like boys im not gay"
Good to know, I guess? What's funny though, is that 9 people find this review helpful. 9 people read that and say "This guy does have a point".
Like many other, Braid was an inspiration to become an Indie myself. It's a wonderful game, with a unique mechanic, well executed, I passed it twice on xbox, did the challenge run and I loved it.
Comment on Steam: "wish i could go back in time and not play this crap"
Super Hexagon : One of my favorite game : The game is super simple, it's challenging, the controls are super tight. It's one of my inspiration for Just Shapes and Beats, the game I'm working on right now, and I challenge anyone to beat me at Super Hexagon.
Comment on iOs : "The game is ugly, not challenging. Controls are really not accurate and lack imagination. They spent more money to get downloads than develop the game. "
So my point : every games get it, even your favorite game that you wish you had made.
Here's a list of the most comment feedback we receive.
The polite insult : "This game really sucks, no offense!"
There's the one that tries to insult you, but fail
"Awful. Next time you make a game, leave your ego out of the equation. 0/5"
The difficulty unhappy : "This game is too haaaaaaaaard" and "This game is too easyyyyyyyyyy"
There's the ones where the guy clearly played your game for days but still says he hates it : "I absolutely can't recommend playing this game, it has not enough content 0/5 (339.5h hours on record)"
There's the "I will explain to you why everyone should hate this game in this following thesis." It's a big wall of text, marked with CAPITALS words here and there, usually starting with : "Let me start with what's good about the game"
Oh boy, I don't trust this, the shit-storm is coming up!
There's the hater who makes no sense : "This game is awful 5/5"
There's the lover who makes no sense : "Great game Loved it! 0/5"
There's the one that actually hurt you :
"Why don't the artists working with BerzerkStudio move on to working on games that are actually fun? 0/5"
"Epic music, awesome gameplay and feature, the game is fantastic... BUT I don't like the color of the shirt an npc is wearing so 0/5 sorry.
Those who don't ask, but demand :
"Add this feature RIGHT NOW 0/5"
The blunt insult :
"ahaha ur so IDIOT ! 0/5"
The guy who wants something clear : "no achievements 0/5 :)"
The guy who can't find the options screen: "no mute button 0/5 :)"
And then, out of nowhere, sometime, you'll get comment so bad it's beautiful. This is one of my favorite L IT'S FUCKING GAME!!! MY POWER AMAZING, BUT I LOSE!!!
You pay for this.
4. Deconstruct the comment.
Now, don't get me wrong. Some comments and reviews are a good, remember there's a constructive zone. If for example, a lot of people tell you "No mute button 0/5" that might be because your options screen is not visible enough, or that the music on the title screen is too loud or just boring. You need to listen to your community and update the game accordingly. When I say devalue the comment I mean don't let them hurt you. Deconstruct the comment, get rid of the pile of shit the message was delivered in, but don't throw away the message itself. Its like those fortune cookie you know? But instead of a cookie, its a steamy diaper, what I'm telling you is extract the message and don't eat the diaper.
Alright? We clear? cool.
5. Taking criticism is a skill on its own.
Devaluing insults and building a shield against it is a skill, it's something you learn and practice, If it still hurt you now, you'll get better at it. As Zefrank said in his excellent video "Thoughts on the Creative Career" : The art of taking criticism is a craft on its own and it can take a whole lifetime to learn.
6. Focus on people who loves you.
Don't forget there's a lot of people who loves you. I mean, maybe some stuff you do piss off people, but a lot more people will be disappointed if you stopped making stuff! There will be a moment in your career where you'll receive so much love from one single fan that it will overshadow all hate comments you will receive.
We recently got a fan who said that he was having so much fun playing our games that it made him forget about his chest pain from cancer. I was... speechless. You know, sometimes I had this little monster in my head saying "Making video games is not helping people, your work worth nothing, stop being selfish.". Well, thanks to this one single fan, I have now got rid of that horrible thought. He didn't want me to reveal his identity, but man, I was sincerely touched by the comment. It was by far the best moment of my entire career. I hope you go kick that cancer in the balls and get back on your feet. I wish you best luck.
So remember there's a lot of people who loves you, think about them, work for them.
"The key is to absorb all of that hate into one big fireball of motivation inside of your belly and then pour all of that energy into your work until you can unleash one big giant motherfucking HADOKEN upon the community that wins awards and sells millions and then the haters will truly be eating a giant bushel of dicks as you roll in a pile of money, acclaim, and community love."
Keep on making awesome stuff guys, I hope this will help you deal with random hate from Internet!