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Old 31-03-2011, 06:25 PM   #1
Home Sweet Abandonia
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Hungary
Posts: 760
Default User support - worth it or not?

Lately I came across a little nonsense related to GoG.com and "us". The idea came when I read a thread requesting help with properly setting up DosBOX for playing - it seems some people either can't RTFM, or they simply have no interest in "tweaking" (okay, this may sound silly - what could be hard in setting up DB?) games and such. But consider this: with more and more people gaining access to computers, there are thousands of newbies and new oldies and casuals being introduced to this world of technology every day, and as far as I know they're the most attracted by games, and not fixing or making games. So they learn the ways of making those damned things work, or they either play something more accessible. GoG, being dedicated to retroGAMERS, has every game pre-configured for those who just don't have the skills/nerves for shit, and I presume (as not being a costumer) they only need to install those games and they're fine.
This is beautiful and such, but you have to pay for those games, and you get the support for your money. I wouldn't like to talk about piracy, neither to start a flamewar on this subject, so I keep it to the point:

- We've still got a lot of games which are abandoned/free in any legal way, but these are supplied "as is", with the only way of gaining support by visiting the forums, something which a lot of people can't/don't do. There are millions of reasons for this.
- Despite providing the most important tweaks on the bottom of the reviews, some people might skip the game if they have to do anything beyond double-clicking.
- Our games being decades old have heritages of forgotten systems, like as we're advancing towards the eighth generation of w1nd0w$, no-one really seems to care about DOS (by the way, this point has more importance in connection with old consoles/microcomputers (C64, ZX, etc.), but it's still true in emulation generally), so they might lack the necessary knowledge for setting up the game in the emulator itself.
- Casual gamers have conquered the gaming world in the past eleven years. Back then, when these games were written (and I'm talking about Wizardry, Nethack and such) by and meant for the community of "IT technicians", University students, and nerds alike - I suppose these meant all the same. The fact the Nethack itself gained a lot from those who played it, proves this. So, if we would like preserve these games for the future (because one of our most important goals are to keep people remembering and keep games from forgetting), we have to not only keep copies of the original ones, but also provide a user-friendly way to play them with the "plug-and-play" or "click-and-play" principle in mind, not to mention remakes.
- We, as a community are kept alive by the community, which means we have to gain new members who like me weren't even born when these games were written, and we also have to gain popularity. And because of the reasons listed above, we have to show and prove the qualities of the past, and this can be only done the way mentioned above - because maybe not even those who study IT would be interested in old software. Why would they be? Why would they care about something made with ancient tools if they use hi-tech stuff? You might think these thoughts are insane, but still, they have the chance to be believed by someone.

All in all, after this inhumanly long prologue (yes, this is only the beginning!), I'd like to hear your word on the next question:

- Shouldn't we pre-configure games by any means for users to save them precious time?

By "any means", I mean we could create costume configuration files for dosbox, or tutorials on setting it up (EDIT: I know there might be lot of tutorials on this everywhere on the net, but I'd like to have our VERY OWN stuff, just like we have our VERY OWN reviews, walkthroughs, screenshots, boxshots, and such. Speaking of own products, why don't we plan an AB-exclusive dosbox frontend?). Making new archives with a portable version of dosbox or something would be terribly hard waste of time, so I'm more looking forward to a remote solution, which wouldn't involve modifying anything uploaded. Why is this important? First of all, IT IS important. For the sake of those who aren't like us. There are many of them. That's why.

So, how about this?

P.S.: Now as I completed this proposition, I came by some serious topics I'd like to cover in later posts, in the "AB vs. GoG" subject. Note that I do not want to attack directly or indirectly those who are willing to pay a very, very few bucks for what they already have or simply love, but nowadays I'm starting to think we're both doing the same, except AB is made by the community for the community, free of charge... right?

Reverend Preacherbot: Wretched sinner unit! The path to Robot Heaven lies here, in the Good Book 3.0.
Bender: Hey. Do I preach at you when you're lying stoned in the gutter? No!

Last edited by Tracker; 31-03-2011 at 06:31 PM.
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