CMPS171, Winter 2013, Section 01: Game Website

One of the goals of creating a computer game is creating a fun experience that many people will want to play. However, outside of the close circle of friends and family of team members who will hear about your game through word of mouth, how will potential players ever hear about your game? Creating a website for your game is a key precondition for being able to tell the world about your new game. Once your website is in place, you and others can point to it in posts on social media sites, blogs, websites that collect information about student games, and potentially gamer press.

An essential aspect of games is that they are, for most people, a leisure time activity. That is, unlike many other products such as food, housing, transportation, and clothing, there is no inherent need to play games in order to survive, or perform a job. If someone decides not to play your game, nothing bad will happen to them. Games are 100% discretionary. You cannot force someone to play your game. Games fit into our free time, and hence they compete with a wide range of other leisure time activities, all of which are interesting and compelling. For someone to play your game, they must value that experience over watching television or internet video, reading a book, going out with friends, playing a different game, playing a sport, etc.

Due to this, an important element of creating a successful game is the manufacture of desire to play your game. Somehow, you must make your game seem so interesting and compelling that a potential player will have a strong desire to play your game. If successful, this desire to play your game will overcome other potential uses of their free time, and will lead to the person downloading, installing, and playing your game. The manufacture of desire for a given product is a complex subject, and is the traditional focus of fields such as advertising and marketing. This class only requires your team to take the first, basic steps towards the manufacture of desire to play your game: creation of a website, so that other people at least have the potential to learn about your game.

Your game's website serves another function beyond convincing potential players to play your game. For prospective employers of members of your team, the website demonstrates the game that you made. It is entirely possible that a prospective employer will never actually play your game (that takes too much time). In this situation, they will base their impression of the game on the materials present on the website. As a result, the website should give a good sense of what your game is like, without requiring actual play of your game.

You might consider trying to interest someone outside of CMPS 171/172 to help you work on your website. In this course, it is important that your game has a website, but it isn't critical that the CMPS 171/172 students be the ones who make this website. If you are able to engage other students or web designers to create your site, that is fine. In particular, students in business oriented majors might be interested in developing a website for your team, to develop experience in marketing.