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VWN Resource Database: Starting Out
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Resource Database > Starting Out
Starting out a new business in the fields of virtual, synthetic, or augmented reality? We're here to help you get started on the right foot. Whether you are creating a gameworld, chatworld, virtual, or augmented support firm, research group, or anything else, we offer advice and guidance to start out, and keep right on going out.


Sections


Setting Up (9)

How can you be sure that you have set your world up in the best way possible? How do you ensure that your players are content, that unforseen problems are kept to a minimum, and that your team is geared for any and all challenges ahead? How you gear up your business and outline your policies right from the launch determines much of how your world will fare in the business world. These resources are geared towards helping you give your world the best start possible, in the highly competative, and cutthroat business world.
Linked resource
A Game Business Model: Learning from Touring Bands
A comparison of the independent world creator to the touring band: Businesses that don't get high on massive profits by being sold to the lowest demographic, but instead offer a service that keeps smaller numbers, coming back for more.

Locally Hosted resource
Business Integration for games: An introduction to online games and e-business infrastructure
This article is a mark of the acceptance of virtual worlds as the future of the interactive entertainment industry. Written by IBM, to promote their new range of dedicated services, it looks at the new business models required by this industry, the massive hurdles to overcome, and suggests ways of minimising them with minimal extra work by you.

Locally Hosted resource
Doomed to fail?
A look at why most MMOs are doomed to fail, to sink without trace, due to the very way they're made, and the way they're run. Includes three key points to improve the situation. Reprinted with permission, from the Biting the Hand column, previously hosted at happypuppy.com.

Linked resource
How it Really Happened
A short article by Dr Richard Bartle, co-creator of MUD1, the multi-participant virtual environment that started the entire MUD and MMO, and really, social VR industries, way back in the late nineteen seventies.

Linked resource
Muds Are Not For Wimps
?You may have heard it before. Maybe it was you, maybe it is someone on a mud you have played. But you know the drill: a drunk/immature/psychotic administrator flagrantly abuses the player base for the last time. Vowing to make a better, utopian mud, these abused players start their own mud somewhere else. And then it is all downhill from there.?

Comprising thirty-two separate essays by game designers, game critics, game fans, philosophers, anthropologists, and media theorists, this first of its kind collection on game design and criticism looks at many of the fundamental questions that plague the industry today.



Linked resource
The Root of All Evil
Money. Money is behind the development of all virtual environments at some level or another. As the complexity increases, so does the money. You would think thatthat stifles innovation, this article proves the opposite. Offering the same package as your competitors will not encourage their customersto come to you. Innovate, or waste your investment.

Linked resource
The Rules
Ten rules to setting up and creating a world which has the potential to be successful from the start, has a loyal following, and players who enjoy it. Following these ten in no guarantee of success thou. Not following them on the other hand, is a guarantee of failure.

Linked resource
You Keep A'Knocking
A detailed look into the future of the VR Gameworld, and at the next five major events likely to occur in the next three to five years.



Marketing (13)

Having a brilliant, well-designed, immersive, believable world with imaginative and absorbing storylines is half the battle to success. But, without a strong marketing strategy, you're unlikely to have many players. Even if you're running your world for the sake of it, and not to make money, it's going to be somewhat soul-destroying if you only have half a dozen players.

The resources available in this section are designed to assist you with marketing, and promoting your world to your potential audience; to make the biggest impact in the most economical way.

Linked resource
Advertising your MUSH
Six steps, and five pointers to advertising your world, and doing it right. How to get people to sit up and take notice to what you're telling them. Applicable to any type of world, not just a MUSH.

Locally Hosted resource
Female Gamers
An interesting, if brief article, originally posted on the rpg-create, and MUD-dev mailing lists. This article covers one designer's findings on the general desires of female gamers within virtual worlds.

Linked resource
If You Build It, They Might Come, Part One: Attention
No world, howerver great, is any good to anyone, unless it has a population. This means getting the attention of your prospective participants/players, and showing how your world really does rise above the rest - focusing your marketing speech before you even begin to camnpaign.

Locally Hosted resource
Internet for New Life?
JWT, America's largest advertising agency, recently carried out a survey of that country's adult population, to try and gauge the effects of the Internet, after a decade of general public use. Their results were perhaps surprising.

Locally Hosted resource
Meme Control
A meme is basically an idea or concept that self-propagates. Like a virus, it spreads from host mind to host mind, mutating, changing, and passing from mind to mind via gossip and communication transference. In a way almost paralleling Darwinian selection the most successful ideas spread like a viral plague across populations, till almost everyone knows of them.

Locally Hosted resource
Podcast: Augmented Reality for Advertisers
This podcast is in the main, created for advertisers by media advertiser specialists. It focusses on augmented reality in the main, but discusses some virtual reality initiatives as well. It shows how AR can really push a product and get customers excited about it in ways other media cannot. It also shows everyone else, how advertising can be seen as a positive vector for the mainstream uptake of this technology.

Linked resource
Populating Ghostville Part 2: Hooking the Newbies
How to get people to come to your world; hooking newbies and reeling them in to you, rather than the other ten thousand worlds out there.

Linked resource
Populating Ghostville Part 3: The Long Haul
Advertising worked, your world is starting to feel wityh people. So, what happens now? This is the point at which you stop being developers and become 'community managers'. This article will give you some good, solid tips on how to proceed, to manage your community, to nurture it, and to prune out some of the weeds.

Linked resource
Populating Ghostville: Getting and Keeping Players, Part 1
Using the LARP model as an example, this article offers three paradigms for advertising your world, along with a detailed analysis of the benefits and the likelihood of attraction.

Linked resource
Promoting Your Mud
A common-sense guide for those without it, on how to market any small virtual environment, without having to spend a big budget to do so. Ideal for non commercial worlds, and small studios desiring to cover costs.

Linked resource
Promoting Your Mud Part II
A common-sense guide , on how to market any small virtual environment, without having to spend a big budget to do so. Takes off where the first part left off, once the web presence is complete, and inroads are being made.

Linked resource
Soapbox: Becoming A Better Game Marketer
As the gaming and social VR development spaces mature, so both industries are beginning to chantge rapidly in erms of marketing and presentation. This gamasutra article looks at five tips for better marketing of professional products.

Locally Hosted resource
Visibility: Advertising Your MUSH
This short, but informative article looks at the various low cost, or free methods for successfully advertising the presence of your virtual world.



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Customer Support (4)

If your world is commercially orientated (ie people have to pay to use it) then they're going to expect to have someone to answer their questions, and deal with any issues that arise.

That's all well and good, but how are you going to provide this customer support? How many subscribers do you need to pay for them? What alternatives are available?

Linked resource
Bonk! Bonk! On the Head, Bonk! Bonk!
Where do the players, the participants, the funding public sit on the pecking order for MMO worlds? Why, right at the bottom of course! This has got to change as we progress to the future, yet it is unlikely to. Why? Because most production staff for MMOs comer from MUDs, and treat the MMO the same way. This is why that doesn't work...

Linked resource
Keeping Control of Grief Players
A thorough, well reasoned article on the problem that people who exist just to make other?s lives miserable pose to any online environment. It discusses the common methods for dealing with them, and looks into why many of these are flawed, and what you can do to improve them.

Linked resource
Literally, Your Two Cents
A look at the true costs of paid support staff, and the ways you can maximise their time. Short, but worth a read.

Linked resource
Shannon's Ten Rules of Customer Support
Ten critical rules for customer support, which will make the experience better for all concerned - and far more profitable for your world.



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How NOT to do it (1)

Learn from other's mistakes in launching your own virtual world, and avoid treading where they trod, flailing where they flailed, and sinking where they sank.

Google lively was launched in mid 2008 as a ?Second Life Killer? quothe the company. It launched with a great deal of fanfare, and press releases out the wazoo. Google desired everyone to come see their second foray into VR (first being Google Earth). Needless to say, things did not go exactly as planned, with the world being an embarrassing mistake Google would rather forget, and dead before the end of the year.