Keywords: article
Today I'm actually getting off my rear, or rather sitting on it for long enough to type out a blog post. Not just any blog post though, this is kind of a do or don't for hub entries. Anyone that's ever put anything on BYOND has come to the point where they have to create one, and it appears that everyone has a very different idea of what should or shouldn't be on this page. I personally have some thoughts on how these things should look, and now I'm going to share them with you.
Before I get started, just a note that all text links are directed to the hub entry they came from(save for one image), and clicking all images will open them in full size. This post is going by the assumption that you are a BYOND member and have access to the extra portions of the hub creation, if you do not, I highly recommend becoming a member and supporting BYOND, the perks are great.
First of all, pictures are your best friend. They're my best friend too, so we have that in common. However, what you may not realize is that these are the first thing that someone stumbling upon your game sees. So you want these to leave your 'customer' with a good impression. You should never have pictures that aren't related to your game, and preferably you should have these pictures as screenshots of your game. When I happen upon a new game on BYOND, the first thing I look for is screenshots of what the dreamseeker is going to look like when I have it open. This also becomes the first look you actually get of the game, however that's a different topic altogether.
For example, if I was making a fan game of Final Fantasy X, the last thing I would want to do is use a picture from one of the cutscenes in the actual game. This wouldn't tell the person anything about the game that they don't already know from seeing the title. However, if the cutscene in the picture is from the actual game, then it is fine to use.
I'm also not a fan of images being in the Overview section. This was something that was useful before hub entries got an overhaul a while back, because there was no media section for screenshots or videos, however since we do have this now, screenshots simply clutter up the area.
Next we want to talk about the actual description for your game, this is very important because it is actually the very first thing the person sees if they come across your game from one of the guilds. The short description is beside the picture of your game and will be the first thing your potential player reads, so you do not want to throw them off before they even know what your game is. When you type this up, you'll want to make sure you're articulate and have everything spelled correctly, as well as using correct grammer. I know this is the internet, and not everyone types without using internet lingo and shortened words, however this isn't an instant message, this is something that's going to stay for a while(hopefully), so you should take the time to make it look good.
You'll want to draw in your new player with some something catchy that'll tell them something interesting about your game. This way when they see your game in the list of games, they'll want to click it to find out more.
A bad example would be: "The most successful Harry Potter game on BYOND."
What do I as a player care how successful you think your game is? There are lots of things that are successful that I have no use or desire to have. Mac computers are very popular, I don't want one.
A good example almost: "An ancient power has been unsealed and mana fuels the world yet again. Can you control the mana and master the elements? *Version 7.3 released!*"
This comes off just like the advertisement you see on TV. This makes me want to click the link and see some screenshots(minus me not caring about actual TV advertisements). However, it can really do without the version number, we can see that automatically on the hub entry in the designated version number place.
Now the actual description on your hub entry should contain some interesting things about your game, maybe tell a bit of a story about what the game is about. The hosting schedule is also something that should be included if your game is not available for download, allowing your players to know if and when the game will be available for them to play. You should make sure that it is also easy for the player to read, as it can be a nuisance trying to read a wall of text, or several random colours spread across the screen, or even multiple text sizes with no real reason for their change.
What you really don't need, or want to do is have a list of who your moderators are(GM), or a list of who the developers are, or even a list of people you want to thanks. These credits are something that should be in the game. As well, you do NOT want to use the word original anywhere(seriously), or to state that your game is "not a rip". No game these days is 'original' and I immediately assume your game is a rip once you've stated otherwise. These are actually really big deterants towards me playing your game. You really don't need a hit counter either, or to tell me how long your game has been around. I don't really care how many people have looked at your hub entry, and I have the ability to look directly beside the version number provided by BYOND to see exactly when the hub entry was created. (a lot of this paragraph can be seen here, and here.)
Last but not least is update information and subscriber perks. This can be a touchy area because they can be useful, but they can also just get in the way. As for the update information, unless your hub entry is for a utility of some kind(no self advertisement intended), there is absolutely no need for that information to be there. Think of your hub entry like a billboard. You don't see "Blue Note Jeans" and directly under it "pockets now one inch lower to prevent waist tearing." That's because it's an advertisement, not an information leaflet. Subscriber information is a bit different however, I'm actually on the fence about this subject because it can be good to have displayed to the player so that while they try your game, they can think about what helping you as the developer gets them, however I'm also on the train of thought that I haven't tried your game yet, and don't really care what giving you money gets me, since I don't even know if I'll even consider it to begin with. "For an extra dollar you get cheese" is kind of useless without knowing what the cheese is going on first. As great as cheese is by itself, you need to know more beforehand.
Now, this is in no way the opinion of BYOND RPG, but my own(Me being Mikau). These are not rules, and are not to be taken as such if you have, or are planning on submitting a game to BYOND RPG(save for the hosting schedule, we need to know). I looked at a lot of hub entries while I was writing this, and do not mean any negativity towards any of the developers or games that I pointed out. They are in no way any less of a game because of this article, in fact, you should try them out right now.
Excellent Article. You could submit this to Dream Makers, as well.
Metamorphman wrote:
Excellent Article. You could submit this to Dream Makers, as well.

Yeah, this applies to way more than just RPG games. The number one thing I see on any hub that turns me off of even trying the game is going to the screenshot section and seeing a screenshot that's not even from an event in the game! Sometimes you can see even worse...sometimes you see AMV's. When I see those on a hub I have to close firefox and ponder just what the hell that person was thinking before coming back to the computer.
"What you really don't need, or want to do is have ... a list of who the developers are"

I disagree.

As for the subscriber information, I think everyone should push for the addition of this feature.
Nice points. I think my game's hub page follows those guidelines already.

lol, nice saying that SoE needs to pick a color. I have no idea who actually made our hub page, but ya, it is annoying to look at.
how i make the hub entry?? help plz contact me my msn :
Lo. Alright.