RE: Foldit Groups
Sockrates Oct 22nd, 2017 71 Never
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- TL;DR I am not currently accepting Foldit group invitations or joining any groups for the time being. I will encourage other new players to do so, but it is not something I am currently interested in because reasons.
- Yes, yes, I know, there's a whole 'nother level of Foldit when groups are involved and multiple people have reached out to me about this, and I appreciate that (and how hotly contested I am) but right now I lack the time and effort to commit to learning evolver gameplay. I know a lot of you who have reached out to me have told me that I can be as active or as lurky as I can or wish to be, but the mental obligation burden is still there. I know that people are also taking into consideration that I livestream this game, and can make the appropriate accommodations for that, but Murphy's law is the most important law in science, and livestreaming is no different; Every time I hit that "Start Broadcasting" button on OBS, anything can happen, and leaking group secrets/solutions/tactics/chat drama/totally inconsequential information/cookie recipes intentionally or accidentally is one more thing to worry about besides sailing the leaky boat that is live, unedited broadcasting. Plus since I take it most of you aren't familiar yet with the potential volatility it brings, I wouldn't want to be pinned on a half-baked policy.
- In the interest of transparency I will say that I plan to start my own group in the future hopefully populated by members of my Twitch audience if I grow as a streamer and bring Foldit to more people. Before that happens I will consider joining a group for experience in how it all works, and as such if you're still interested in having me in your group to work on solutions please bear these intentions in mind. This will be sort of a project for me, one that I will need to make time and energy for so that I can actually learn properly while I'm in the group. But until then I am focused on broadcasting and sharing the new-ish user experience; that is, what are most players going to face when they haven't had a group reach out to them yet? What if nobody responds to them in chat and helps them out because everyone's busy or simply letting a recipe churn while they do other things? I'm a critic of these sorts of things because I care about the state of the game overall.
- For those looking to onboard me and ease my frustrations this is a huge missed opportunity for the community to shine, and I apologize. Some games literally thrive because of their community offering help, think Warframe and Minecraft. Those games are 'Wiki' games in the sense that the game is best learned using a community based guide approach. The problem I see making this fall flat for Foldit is that Foldit is already a super esoteric and arcane science game to a lot of folks, and having to look up a guide just to play adds to the barrier to entry. Plus, as mentioned before, the playerbase is small, and the probability of people responding on time to a question in global is dicey sometimes. Take this fact is in comparison to the other examples: Minecraft is a super big bandwagon sandbox with a big YouTube and Twitch pool of content creators making the game accessible and entertaining (a niche that I seek to fill for Foldit). Warframe, on the other hand, is literally a 'space ninja simulator.' Even though a lot of info is wiki buried, the core gameplay is as exciting as you would expect and it's super polished for a free to play game despite having layered systems requiring information guidance. 'Wiki diving' for playing Foldit could get boring, it might lower the sense of player competence, and one of the consequences of 'Wiki' games is that further development of the game is focused too much on veteran players without really taking a look back at the new user experience. By keeping myself out of groups for now, I see this as a great opportunity for the devs to look at my gameplay experience and on the spot feedback and really go in and try to change things up for the end user. I have been outspoken about my stance about how Foldit is barely a game through the eyes of many and is really just a glorified protein editor sandbox. I mean, after all, it's basically just a re-skinned Rosetta engine offshoot is it not? That's what I perceive anyhow. Focusing on bridging that gap has been one of the implicit goals of my streaming.
- Speaking of bridging the gap, that's another thing too. IRC is ancient. I know it runs in game, and is totally functional and IRC clients exist...
- ...but most of them are pretty crappy on the eyes and are super unintuitive and clunky/obfuscated. There, I said it.
- Let's face it: If you asked another Generic Joe or Jane my age if they had an IRC client installed, I have reasonable faith you'd get confused looks in return. Now, the PC gaming audience is a little more in tune with IRC, and you might find some stubborn veterans still using it for the game communities they run, but the elephant in the room is Discord. Discord is if you took Skype, Teamspeak, and IRC and put it all together in a neat package that's used by countless gaming communities today to organize community spaces. I know that Foldit groups typically operate on IRC, since it's already integrated into the game and can be accessed by an external client, but honestly if I were to start a group and centralize communication around IRC, I'd have too much trouble with onboarding fellow gamers in my demographic if the game's IRC is the only communication method (outside of the game, that is. In-game, sure, easy, but people would be looking for a Discord) I could just use Discord, set up a server in 20 seconds, generate an instant invite link, and they can just click on it and it even works in their browser. Simple, clean, fast, and it even has voice channels. Or I'd use a Facebook group. Or a Twitter account. Point is, I wouldn't be using communication in Groups in the same way as most of the current groups I've looked at: IRC is too unfamiliar.
- This is getting a bit long winded but I wanted to address some of the concerns that have been raised with this, and I hope this clarifies some things. I'm sure that no matter which group I join I'd be in for a great time and I would pull my weight quite nicely, but for now, I'm content grinding Soloist for a little while more before I make the jump. Be sure to invite others too though! Try to avoid being patronizing or too intimidating when sending invites (nobody has been when messaging me, but I include this just in case the tone changes from person to person). I'm certain player retention would increase if groups worked to recruit more both on and off the website.
- Happy folding,
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