Vision.txt 2017-06-21 18:30:28
I was tidying up some folders on my computer when I came across Vision.txt, a use case I wrote on August 6th, 2009. Reading this can be kinda inspiring and kinda sad, I've made some notes at the bottom.
Joe comes to Newgrounds on a Wednesday and it is New Game Wednesday. The front page has a Castle Crashers reskin and big promotional link for the Castle Crashers website. At the top of the content section is the featured game of the week. Newgrounds premiers a new game every Wednesday at 12:01am and gives it 100% of the front page top rotation for one day, where it is guaranteed 100,000 views. After Wednesday, it will remain as part of a rotation of featured content for the next week.
In addition to the featured new game, the entire front page consists of new games released in the past week!
Joe plays the featured game and as he does, the medals are unlocked real-time within the page. The developer of the game is making money from all the ads on the page, and will make at least $1000 in combined Flash Ad revenue and NG revshare during the first week of release. In addition to the traffic received on NG, the game page has links where other websites can grab the file and host the game on their own websites. Distribution partners also grab this info from an XML feed of new games for distribution.
Joe decides to check out the developer's user page.
The user page has a custom skin designed by the developer. There are 728x90 superbanners at the top and bottom of the page, as well as a 300x250 ad down the side. The developer gets revshare from all of these ads. Down the left column is a Twitter feed with the latest tweets by the developer. Down the right is the latest post from the developer's blog, with multiple pictures of their new game. This post is also attached to the Alpha for the new game, so Joe clicks the link to check that out.
The Alpha page contains info about the new game, screenshots, and an area for bug tester applications. The developer is getting revshare on this as well, so it is worth it to keep promoting the page, not just to hype up the game but to generate ongoing revenue during the development process.
Joe decides to apply to be a beta tester for the new game! He gets approved and now has private access to play the game and submit his bugs. In the end he will get listed in the additional credits as a bug tester.
Newgrounds also has access to the private playtest and would like to sponsor this game as a weekly premier.
Wednesday premier games are offered the following deal from Newgrounds:
1) A primary license, meaning the viral copy contains NG branding but site-locked versions with custom branding can be sold to individual websites.
2) Integrated Flash Ads.
3) Integrated Medals.
4) One week exclusivity on NG before site locked versions can be sold.
The developer accepts the offer and finishes the game. It is uploaded in the Project System and the release date is scheduled for the upcoming Wednesday at 12:01am. The developer can now sit back and watch the magic happen.
A staff member (or the developer themselves) uploads a large showcase image to appear in the showcase box. This is scheduled to go live on Wednesday at 12:02am. The final URL is already known because a slug is used from the time the project is created.
Joe comes back to Newgrounds on Thursday and there is a weekly post, thanking the sponsor for New Game Wednesday, making various news announcements and reminding everyone that Friday is the First Friday of the month, meaning a First Friday Art Show on the front page.
On First Friday the best Art Portal submissions are showcased on the front page. The monthly event is sponsored by Wacom, with the front page skinned with Wacom branding and a free Wacom Cintiq going to the best artist who doesn't already have one.
The front page showcase box is promoting an ongoing Art Contest, so Joe decides to check it out. The link goes to an art submission by JohnnyUtah, who has posted a picture of face art for a new toy being produced by Newgrounds, and has invited others to Respond with their own submissions. Below the piece are the four latest submissions, so Joe clicks a link to view all. The resulting page allows him to view all response art, as well as sort if by views and score to find the best!
Joe likes a contest submission by Famiry. Famiry's submission has been tagged "Famiry", which links up to a t-shirt that has been tagged "Famiry" in the store. Joe decides to instead check out Famiry's user page, which has also been tagged and linked to the store, resulting in a t-shirt promotion there as well. Joe decides to finally check out the t-shirt in the store. He likes it but doesn't have any money. Fortunately, Joe has accumulated $32 in revshare from his own works on NG, so he transfers that money to store credit and buys the shirt. Joe notices that for $20 more he can get a badge on his page showing he was an NG supporter but he isn't gonna buy that now. Maybe he'll get it before the year is over, so future people will know how OG he is.
Joe decides to check out the incoming submissions and help with the judgment process. He is delighted to cast the final judgment vote and SAVE a submission, resulting in a fun movie by MindChamber.
Joe decides to check out MindChamber's page and sees a link to an interview with MindChamber in the Lit Portal. He reads the interview, which credits UserX as the interviewer and MindChamber as the interviewee.
I think I meant to write more but stopped there. What we accomplished after this was written:
1) The Castle Crashers reskin was a placeholder for what would ideally be ads for big budget game releases. We never actually obtained big advertisers like this.
2) We did manage to sponsor a new game almost ever week for several years, though! Toss the Turtle launched 11 days after I wrote this and almost hit 100k plays on day one.
3) We did get medals to unlock real-time in the page, although we need to get that working for HTML5 games now.
4) User pages still don't have custom skins but we did add multi-pictures to blogs and have an awesome user page update coming. Still no Twitter status integration, which would be dandy.
5) We did introduce rev share ads to user pages but ad performance was never great and we ultimately had to pull user page ads due to the unpredictable content people would post.
6) The Alpha page is still totally on the agenda and I would very much like to have the whole bug testing system as well. The bug tracker was actually developed by an intern one summer but never got integrated into the 2012 update and is outdated at this point. The project system launched in 2012, which does allow authors to give beta access to a private preview page.
7) Would still like to have scheduled project publishing, although it hasn't been as pressing as other features.
8) First Friday would be a cool event. "Response art" was an idea by @W-P-S that would still be a fun addition.
9) The NG store closed in 2014 and all those cross-promo ideas bit the dust with it.
10) MindChamber created some beautiful BLAM / PROTECT animations but they hadn't made it into the layout yet and many of the files died in a hard drive explosion.
11) Lit Portal... Would still be cool some day. More interviews, at the least.
Of course, this vision didn't mention anything about the site being mobile friendly or pivoting away from Flash. I also couldn't anticipate just how much revenue would decline in the years to come.
This is why supporters are so vital to our future!
In Plan B land, we've been developing our first-ever Newgrounds release for console and PC, Nightmare Cops! Hoping it will ultimately fund some big projects in NG-land. There's another old document called "Everything, by Everyone, Everywhere" that has yet to be realized.