Revamp OpenMW PR content

Anything related to PR, release planning and any other non-technical idea how to move the project forward should be discussed here.
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Ravenwing
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Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by Ravenwing » 26 Jul 2018, 16:06

I’ve been thinking a lot about what we as a project could/should be doing to help promote OpenMW more effectively, especially as we near 1.0, so I thought I’d open up some of my ideas and have a little brainstorming session. Also, I’m only one person with limited free time, so I’m really hoping that some of you would be willing to help out! If you’ve been looking for a way to help the project, but you’re like me and can’t actually code well enough to contribute that way, this is your opportunity!

So first things first, I think the main two problems we often have involve accessibility of information and overhyping the project. When I say accessibility, I mean both physically finding information as well as having that information be understandable. I’m not interested in pointing fingers or saying who’s to blame, so if you want to do that, choose another thread (or better yet don’t, it’s not constructive).

One of my goals from this “campaign” we can call it, is to provide us all with content that we can link others to that provides friendly, honest, high-quality information to the reader. That way, the burden on everyone to explain the same things over and over is lessened as much as possible. And if you’re too annoyed to answer questions nicely, LINK!

You’ll notice some things sound like they’ll have repeat information in multiple places. My objective here is that people can find the information they need from multiple avenues. However my philosophy is still: Duplication of effort: BAD; Duplication of access: GOOD. This means when appropriate, linking between content is encouraged (e.g. FAQ entry on installing mods should be very brief to give a quick answer, but link to the detailed guide in our official docs to provide more help).

I believe to be most effective we have to update existing content as well as create new user friendly content, and I’ll address them in that order:

Updated Content:

FAQ
Raevol very generously helped put together our latest FAQ, but I think it’s time to revisit it to make sure we’re still comfortable with all the language in it and do some updating in anticipation for 1.0+. I’m also thinking it might be a good thing to add to the GitLab wiki so that anyone can suggest changes? (This is pending how exactly we plan to address the GitLab wiki situation, since it isn’t really a true wiki and may actually increase barrier to entry. Zini, do you have any thoughts on this matter?)

I also propose that we split the FAQ up into multiple sections so people can find what they need more easily. The vast majority of users probably don’t care about the ST3C patent, so it might be nice to have a “technical” section. Off the top of my head I’d have:
  • General (e.g. What is OpenMW, info about 1.0, etc.)
  • Installation (e.g. How to install MW on different platforms, installing OpenMW; these would mostly just link to relevant sections in official docs and tutorial videos)
  • Modding (e.g. How to install mods, mod compatibility)
  • Troubleshooting? (things like the audio problem on our current FAQ, not sure this is necessarily the most appropriate place for troubleshooting though)
  • Technical questions (e.g. licensing, technology, “scary computer things”)
Official Docs
I’ve done quite a bit of work with our documentation so far. The essentials are mostly there in some form, but I also basically copied and pasted much of the content from their old wiki locations. Most sections are badly in need of a rewrite, especially the installation instructions. I don’t think they’re clear enough for someone who needs a step by step guide to be able to follow. Also, the whole OpenMW-CS manual/tutorials still basically needs to be written soooo…

Until now, I’ve wanted to keep our docs off the main navigation bar because I didn’t feel they were ready. But I think everything that has to be transferred from the wiki has been. This is an easy fix for lgro, but I do want everyone to be aware they should link to the “master” or “latest” version of the docs (change in their bottom left corner) to make sure people are seeing the most up to date version.

Wiki
This was supposed to have moved to the GitLab “wiki”, but we’ve since discovered the GitLab wiki isn’t really a wiki as most people think of one where anyone can just come in and make edits. This has some advantages, but the whole point of separating the official docs from the wiki was to leave the wiki as something that had a very low barrier of entry. Zini, I’m curious to know your thoughts, but I also don’t want this thread to turn into a discussion on wiki migration, so let’s discuss in another thread if other people want to give input on this.

Consider this portion tabled for now.

New Marketing/PR Content

Flowchart answering “should I use OpenMW”
One of the many things that gets asked, especially on reddit, is “should I try out OpenMW” I think this is where a lot of the overhyping usually starts. Of course everyone should try OpenMW, but it’s not necessarily what they actually want to use for their next playthrough. We love that our fans are very passionate about their love of the engine, but as it currently stands, it’s intellectually dishonest to claim OpenMW is the right engine for everyone.

If instead people start linking to the flowchart, set up in a clear and honest way with the things we’re good at and with things that the original engine plus MGE and/or MWSE, MCP etc do better, I think people would look at the project as a whole more favorably. We’re not winning ourselves any fans by “tricking” users into using OpenMW. (I know we’re not, but read some comments on reddit, and it almost seems that way) I like to think of it like the Christmas movie Miracle On 34th St, where Macy’s starts directing people to other stores for things Macy’s doesn’t stock. Since we’re not trying to make any money, I think the goodwill of the community is worth much more than anything gained from overhyping. (Note, I’m not implying the dev team is doing this, or that people are doing this out of malice, it just kind of happens)

The hazard of content like this is that people will start sending around old pictures of it and people get confused. I think we can mostly avoid this by having it built into the website rather than as an image. I believe GitLab-flavored Markdown has support for flowcharts of some kind. We can also include a disclaimer about linking to the page rather than screenshotting it so that you can always see our most up-to-date recommendation depending on latest features.

Features List/Comparison
I think there’s room for two of these. We currently have one on the wiki, I’m just not sure if it’s up to date. If it is, good job to whoever’s tending to it. This should be the most detailed list.

The second should be similar to the flowchart in that it helps people compare us to other MW playing tools. This would just focus on the big features that people are always asking about. This has the added benefit of being able to say whether a feature is in progress or planned etc, so users know what’s going on. I actually came up with something similar a long time ago. You can view the thread here.

Major Features Progress
Perhaps this could be combined with the complete features list above, but I think it’s very important to state the progress of highly anticipated features e.g. shadows are in progress, preferably with a little blurb about what specifically is hanging us up at present. As usual we shouldn’t give time related estimates unless we’re positive we will deliver. This comes back to overhyping and false expectations.

FAQ Video
I believe Atahualpa was working on one? Did it ever get released? I don’t recall seeing it, just the script. This should certainly happen by 1.0. That being said, Atahualpa is one person! Videos are incredibly time consuming, it would be great to have more people making these even if you don’t make it an “official” OpenMW video.

Tutorial Videos
There’s nothing quite like visually seeing how you’re supposed to install something. At a minimum, I think we should have how to install MW and OpenMW on Win, macOS, and a “typical” distro of Linux. We also need a video on how to install mods, at least the official way. It would be great if we also had videos using MO with the plugin or the like. I’m honestly not even sure what options exist out there beyond what I’ve put in the docs. As always, strongly discourage dumping everything into a single directory.

Mod Compatibility
Our results are currently kept on the wiki, but we have outgrown this method with the number of entries! We’re currently discussing this with the author of Modding-OpenMW.com who has very graciously agreed to try and incorporate this into their website! We’re very excited and grateful for this collaboration so that we don’t have to build our own web app from the ground up.
You can see this discussion here.

Press Releases
We've had trouble in the past with journalists who missed the mark or blew something out of proportion. The easiest way of avoiding this is to issue press releases for major updates. This is pretty standard practice and should help the journalists help us.

So that’s pretty much it for my ideas. None of this includes actual outreach to other websites and forums, but I know it has been discussed before. Perhaps it’s time we revisit that as well, but maybe on a different thread.

I’d love to hear everyone’s input and please please please let us know if you’re able to volunteer some time to make it all happen!
Last edited by Ravenwing on 27 Jul 2018, 04:26, edited 1 time in total.

Loriel
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by Loriel » 26 Jul 2018, 18:24

Ravenwing wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 16:06
repeat information in multiple places.
Duplication of effort: BAD; Duplication of access: GOOD.
Agreed!
Official Docs
I’ve done quite a bit of work with our documentation so far. The essentials are mostly there in some form, but I also basically copied and pasted much of the content from their old wiki locations. Most sections are badly in need of a rewrite, especially the installation instructions. I don’t think they’re clear enough for someone who needs a step by step guide to be able to follow. Also, the whole OpenMW-CS manual/tutorials still basically needs to be written soooo…
It's difficult to motivate myself when the CS is so incomplete, with little sign of progress there.
However, I intend to complete my unfinished contributions (missing images, pending resolution of the what/where discussion), and hope to find a few more areas where I can contribute - eg creating an npc.
Until now, I’ve wanted to keep our docs off the main navigation bar because I didn’t feel they were ready. But I think everything that has to be transferred from the wiki has been. This is an easy fix for lgro, but I do want everyone to be aware they should link to the “master” or “latest” version of the docs (change in their bottom left corner) to make sure people are seeing the most up to date version.
Agreed, I've used them in a couple of recent answers, and if they were more accessible perhaps I wouldn't have needed to.
Wiki
This was supposed to have moved to the GitLab “wiki”, but we’ve since discovered the GitLab wiki isn’t really a wiki as most people think of one where anyone can just come in and make edits. This has some advantages, but the whole point of separating the official docs from the wiki was to leave the wiki as something that had a very low barrier of entry.
I am a wiki-supporter, so I would like to encourage its use. However, few others seem to participate, so perhaps the "lower barrier" wasn't working and isn't worth worrying about.
New Marketing/PR Content

Flowchart answering “should I use OpenMW”
I see benefits in encouraging users to think about, and define, which attributes of MW interest them, to assess whether OpenMW suits them.

But this might be too formalised for some - so I would also like to see a variant of the current system:
Q Should I use OpenMW instead of Vanilla?
A Try it - don't be surprised if it doesn't suit you yet, in which case come back and try again later

Loriel

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Thunderforge
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by Thunderforge » 26 Jul 2018, 19:04

Ravenwing wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 16:06
FAQ
Raevol very generously helped put together our latest FAQ, but I think it’s time to revisit it to make sure we’re still comfortable with all the language in it and do some updating in anticipation for 1.0+.
I think this is really important, and so that it doesn't get lost in all the other things in this question, I've created a new topic to talk specifically about that.

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Ravenwing
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by Ravenwing » 27 Jul 2018, 04:50

Thunderforge wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 19:04
Ravenwing wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 16:06
FAQ
Raevol very generously helped put together our latest FAQ, but I think it’s time to revisit it to make sure we’re still comfortable with all the language in it and do some updating in anticipation for 1.0+.
I think this is really important, and so that it doesn't get lost in all the other things in this question, I've created a new topic to talk specifically about that.
Thanks Thunderforge! I'll be sure to comment there momentarily.

I've also linked to the thread about my old feature comparison chart in the appropriate paragraph of my OP. If anyone wants to discuss it's content, please do so on that thread. It's been slightly updated, but should prove a good starting point regardless.
Loriel wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 18:24
It's difficult to motivate myself when the CS is so incomplete, with little sign of progress there.
However, I intend to complete my unfinished contributions (missing images, pending resolution of the what/where discussion), and hope to find a few more areas where I can contribute - eg creating an npc.
I totally understand. The image hosting issue has also proven to be a roadblock in that area, but I think you're good to proceed now, even if we don't know yet where the doc's permanent repo should be.
Loriel wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 18:24
I am a wiki-supporter, so I would like to encourage its use. However, few others seem to participate, so perhaps the "lower barrier" wasn't working and isn't worth worrying about.
Hmm, I hadn't thought about it in those terms. People need a basic idea of wiki syntax and a login regardless, so a transition to Markdown shouldn't be too much of a burden either. It's really just the workflow that's different, and I'm afraid of people being scared off simply because it may be an unfamiliar process.
Loriel wrote:
26 Jul 2018, 18:24
I see benefits in encouraging users to think about, and define, which attributes of MW interest them, to assess whether OpenMW suits them.

But this might be too formalised for some - so I would also like to see a variant of the current system:
Q Should I use OpenMW instead of Vanilla?
A Try it - don't be surprised if it doesn't suit you yet, in which case come back and try again later
I think this definitely needs to be put in the FAQ regardless. I believe Atahualpa had a fairly good format for this in his FAQ document. I had hoped the flowchart would be a more visual and reduced version to aid in comprehension. I think one thing that would help in our information accessibility is to have some alternatives to "wall-of-text" answers (my natural tendency, as is clear from the OP :lol:).

However, if I can't make something that looks nice without turning it into an image, this particular format should probably get abandoned.

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lysol
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by lysol » 27 Jul 2018, 08:29

Great post! Flowchart sounds interesting. I think there should basically be three possible ends to the flowchart:
  1. OpenMW is not for you – At least not yet.
  2. OpenMW might be for you – Maybe try it out?
  3. OpenMW is (probably) for you.
So to expand on these with a few examples:

1. If you get a question like "Do you want the best graphical performance you could ever get in Morrowind?", that would probably lead you to "OpenMW is not for you", with maybe a follow up question before to make sure this is really important to the user. I mean, if you get to choose between nice graphics and not nice graphics and no other differences, most people would pick nice graphics.

2. I can't think of one single question that would lead directly to this answer, but I would guess if you've picked a path that is neither leaning a lot against vanilla nor OpenMW, this would be the end. Maybe if you pick yes on the graphics example above, but then also later pick yes on "Do you care about Free Open Source Software" or whatever.

3. A "yes"-answer to a question like: "Do you run any operating system other than Windows?" could be followed by "Do you run macOS, GNU/Linux or the more common BSD's?" and then go directly to "OpenMW is for you". Because even though you could run vanilla Morrowind in WIne, you still can't use the benefits of using vanilla Morrowind, like MGE XE (correct me if I'm wrong), so I don't think anyone would prefer running Morrowind in Wine to OpenMW.

I'll comment on more stuff later.

EDIT; Oh yes, and the risk of having old flowcharts spread around:

A good idea might be to remake the flowchart for each release. This, again, might risk people spreading around older versions of the flowchart. I see two easy solutions to this:
  1. Have the flowchart on a specific wordpress page. We link to this page in every release, and make the most recent flowchart visible (via img src tag) and only link to the older versions (via a href tag). There could also be a small text there that tell people to link to the page and not directly to the image.
  2. Have the flowchart as a jpg/png/whateverimgformat (like openmwfc.png) and replace this image for every release. This way, it won't matter if someone links to an old version, as it will have been replaced by then. You do lose the history though, but is that really a problem?
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Rovlad
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by Rovlad » 27 Jul 2018, 11:28

Just as a side note, http://openmw.org/ru/ is both out of date and, frankly, quite terribly translated.
I could help out with both these issues if there's still any interest in maintaining this.

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lysol
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by lysol » 27 Jul 2018, 11:34

Of course! The russian Morrowind community is huge, so having more up-to-date russian info is great. If you want to do it, then great. We will probably have to wait until psi gets back to give you wordpress access first though...
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Rovlad
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by Rovlad » 27 Jul 2018, 11:47

No problem, it's a long standing offer. :)
I do have plenty of experience with both HTML and WordPress, so I'll be ready to hop on that whenever.

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Ravenwing
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by Ravenwing » 30 Jul 2018, 05:42

Rovlad wrote:
27 Jul 2018, 11:47
No problem, it's a long standing offer. :)
I do have plenty of experience with both HTML and WordPress, so I'll be ready to hop on that whenever.
That would be great! Sometimes it feels like progress is been slow, until I realize how much stuff is out of date. And that's just what's in English!
lysol wrote:
27 Jul 2018, 11:34
Of course! The russian Morrowind community is huge, so having more up-to-date russian info is great.
At the risk of sending this thread off topic, any idea why that is? I assumed I noticed just because this was the main gaming community I'm involved with, but it does seem like our Russian population is larger than in the general gaming population.
lysol wrote:
27 Jul 2018, 08:29
A good idea might be to remake the flowchart for each release. This, again, might risk people spreading around older versions of the flowchart. I see two easy solutions to this:
Have the flowchart on a specific wordpress page. We link to this page in every release, and make the most recent flowchart visible (via img src tag) and only link to the older versions (via a href tag). There could also be a small text there that tell people to link to the page and not directly to the image.
Have the flowchart as a jpg/png/whateverimgformat (like openmwfc.png) and replace this image for every release. This way, it won't matter if someone links to an old version, as it will have been replaced by then. You do lose the history though, but is that really a problem?
I was planning on keeping the link the same and simply update the contents. I see no reason history would be important, so just figured we'd have whatever was most up to date displayed.

In regards to the old versions floating around problem, it sounds like mermaid (the library(?) GitLab-flavored Markdown uses) produces a vector svg file. Or at least that it can easily generate an svg. I may be wrong but I think this solves our problem since svg is now supported readily by CSS (IIRC) but it's not really the kind of format some internet rando can just save and post on reddit, like png or jpg. I mean they can, it's just not as trivial as the others. So problem solved?

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lysol
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Re: Revamp OpenMW PR content

Post by lysol » 01 Aug 2018, 12:14

Ravenwing wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 05:42
lysol wrote:
27 Jul 2018, 11:34
Of course! The russian Morrowind community is huge, so having more up-to-date russian info is great.
At the risk of sending this thread off topic, any idea why that is? I assumed I noticed just because this was the main gaming community I'm involved with, but it does seem like our Russian population is larger than in the general gaming population.
Haha, I have no idea. I've just assumed that western RPG's like Morrowind are popular in Russia, combined with a large population.

Anyway, I threw together a flowchart the other day. Just a test of the concept really. Any suggestions, except "make it look less like crap"?

https://imgur.com/a/21ZqGCG

Svg is probably a better format, but imgur didn't support it.
Normal mapped texture replacers, exclusive for OpenMW:
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