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Professionalism & The UDK Community - User Guide

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    Professionalism & The UDK Community - User Guide

    Hi Guys,

    Recently we've been getting quite a few new registered users, which is great! However, I feel that the general community respect for each other, the tone in which people communicate, just isn't what this place should be about.

    The UDK forum is a place for professionals and hobbyists to get together and share their progress, problems and tips with each other. There are far too many people asking the same questions over and over. Not to mention the people who don't seem to take a minute to re-read their message before posting it for all to see.

    I'd like to post a few guidelines on how to come across well on these forums. I am by no means perfect. My online history isn't the greatest. But I've learnt from my mistakes. I now manage a team of nine talented developers, and own an indie company behind the project.

    Anyway, here are the guidelines. Hopefully you'll fine them useful. I encourage everyone to pitch in and make this thread an easy guide on how to use these forums as intended, and get the most out of the UDK community experience.

    1. Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation
    Take the time to re-read your posts. Make sure they are easy to read. Form the text into paragraphs. This might be a hobbyist forum, but making your posts as professional as possible will ensure more people take the time to respond!

    2. Respect your "Elders"
    While a lot of the members here are just starting out with UDK. There are a handful of very experienced, helpful and kind individuals who want to help you out! The best way to gain someone's help is to structure your question correctly and respond to their suggestions and tips in a nice manor.

    3. Post in the correct forums!
    Its hard enough to keep track of the fast-flowing forum areas already. So making sure you post your thread in the right area is important! Make sure you correctly title your thread, an example:

    Bad Example - "I need help plz!!1 UI broke!"

    Good Example - "Problem with Scaleform, UI not showing"

    4. Leave helpful critiques
    Nothing is worse than seeing some less than perfect work and just telling them it sucks. Help them! Tell them what isn't right, what should be corrected and perhaps even how you would go about fixing it.

    5. Recruitment
    If you've got a team, and your looking for talent. Make sure you post in the correct forum to start with. Label the thread with the correct Prefix and use an easy to read thread title. Include as much information as you can in the first post. Such as some game/team information. Which positions you have open. The compensation (if any) and show off what you've got already!

    6. Looking for a Team?
    If you're looking for a team. It's really helpful if you include the following in your first post:
    - Portfolio Link / Example Work
    - Contact details (email, msn, skype, etc.)
    - List the sort of project your looking for

    7. Build the community
    Perhaps you'd like to help the community to grow? Well there are a bunch of ways you can do that. Join the UDK LinkedIn group. UDKCentral is a great place to help out too. Or just post your tutorials and guide on the forum.

    8. General Discussion doesn't mean any discussion!
    The general discussion forum isn't for anything other than general UDK and game development discussion. Don't post things that are unrelated to UDK. Don't advertise there either. Its all about building your reputation and that would only destroy it!

    Anyway, that's all from me. But hopefully that will help new registrants! I would appreciate any additions. Perhaps making this thread the first stop for new signups?

    9. Use the search function

    Most beginner questions have been answered a hundred times already. Make use of the search function before posting a new topic to check if your question has already been answered somewhere.
    The more experienced guys here get bored to answer the same questions again and again just because you were too lazy to search for it and their answer will be less accurate the more often they post them.
    It also helps those that really need questions answered because their topic doesn't vanish immediately on the second page of the forum view.


      10. Don’t ignore this thread.
      While it is easy to just brush this thread off as hopeful wishing or another community member advocating for change. These are problems that only serve to hurt us all if ignored. Take these guidelines to heart and even improve on them. Your only working for a better place for all of us, now, and the next generations.

      11. Understand the difference between – Newbie and Noob.
      If I could pass along one thing I have learned in my 12 years as a community developer is that: all online people must understand the difference between those who are new (newbie) and those who willfully choose to be unintelligent (noob).

      Everyone starts as a newbie at some time, learning the ropes of internet culture and how things work with forums and communities. Newbies make mistakes as they are learning, the important thing is that they move on from being a newbie and learn right from wrong, what the customs are and what is acceptable. The issue arises when some people however choose not to learn and decide that plowing their way in whatever format, be it aggressive trolling or just disruptive posting is the correct thing to do. We must be vigilant that those kinds are separated and not lumped in with the many great people this community sees daily.

      A very big problem in online communities is that we often lose track of this difference and start labeling all new people as one group. We start barricading our world against those whom choose to be less intelligent. Our tone shifts from helping learning and overcoming barriers like language, cultural habits/knowledge, upbringing and level of education, to a tone that resembles “do this, don’t do that”. In the end it destroys the community functionality and creates a level of hostility that poisons the community.

      With that in mind you can do your part in avoiding this, by being aware of the difference and by ALWAYS giving people the benefit of the doubt. As well as by being patient and respectful to each and every person you meet – no matter how new. However the second the person is understood to disrespectful, unwilling to learn and or correct offensive actions – this person is a Noob and should be ignored and not responded to.

      12. Use good thread titles
      Google and the search function will reward you greatly if you name your thread correctly. People are possibly going to be looking for your thread for years and if it is labelled incorrectly it will never be found or will be passed over. Use key words and focus on the subject.

      13. Get active with UDK Central
      There are some technical flaws to our community here, being based out of a forum that cannot be fixed.
      These are:
      • Relevant specific information is lost in a sea of posts
      • A conflict with what is popular and what is fundamental.
      • A conflict of current and starting positions of users.
      • Forums have poor searching, that often doesn’t find you what you’re looking for.
      • Information is scattered offsite, onsite and a mix between.
      • The decay of the quality level of responses on commonly asked questions.

      UDK Central is a proud community run initiative, created 11 months ago with the purpose of correcting all these issues. With the help of fine community supporters, I have shaped UDKC into an excellent place to invest your time, especially if you’re a tutorial writer. UDKC avoids all the issues caused by a forum’s structure and provides people what they need most – support and learning materials. I hope you will give your support, time and perspective to this website- as it is fundamental to its continued success in helping new beginners like you.

      Posting your work or participating in moving other people work into UDKC (with their permission) greatly supports learning of future generations as well secures knowledge from fading from the front page into oblivion. Unlike a forum, this website doesn’t favor popular or current trend tutorials over core fundamentals. The information is centralized and searchable and can be picked up at any stage of your learning.
      I work daily on UDK Central using almost all my free time, with no payments or profit. I have a deep love for communities I participate in and I wish to see them succeed and flourish. I hope you will share my ideals and join me in giving back to the next generation.

      14. Get Social
      The UDK community is a vast and well networked community. If you want to be successful, you need to get social. As CrystalCore pointed out LinkedIn: UDK Developers is a great start your professional networking. Keeping tabs on these websites and making your presence known, will help people get to know you, forge memories and pay off in dividends when you are ready to show the world your goods or recruit talent.

      There is also IRC, as well as facebook and Twitter

      15. Try and get your hands dirty
      One of the key things that people miss out on when working with computer software or programming. Is to try and try again. People fear breaking things but you cannot break things in a computer world – so fiddle, break, tweak, smash, twist. You’ll learn so much by tampering with and tweaking objects – so don’t fear doing it. You’ll find strokes of genius and as long as you chase them down the rabbit hole, you’ll start experimenting and creating great things.

      16. Read first – question later
      Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but make sure (as noted above) that you search, read and try before asking. One of the greatest things about is that we have a strong level of Unreal Engine working professionals, that unlike many websites, are willing take the time to work with you.

      As a result it is the least we can do to be respectful and understanding of how valuable their free time is. This is why it is important that we take the steps needed to ensure you don't waste it. The best way to do that is do your research first, sleep on your problems and test everything you can, and when you have spent 3 days trying to break down that wall with your forehead - make the post. Then I am sure you'll find your efforts noticed and rewarded.

      Communities quickly fall apart when everyone’s first response was to ask their own individual question. You quickly see whole pages lost to “How to do feature A?” “Where is feature A?” “feature A no work!”. People stop posting because they are being redundant and they tired from helping their 12 person on the subject. This also combats the decay of effort and care, that sets in as teachers and helpers tire of putting in great levels of effort to respond to a question, only to have to repeat themselves a month later.

      Always remember when posting a new thread. Do a search and try to reuse old thread if they hold a common message to what you want to ask or say.

      17. Be proactive
      Keep in mind potential problems/roadblocks and whenever possible aim to fix them. Much like this thread is doing now – this idea can be applied to tutorials, posts, your personal development, management, conversations and community centric messages like this.

      18. Don't trash threads
      Keep in mind what the post author is trying to do. Common forum customs dictate that the thread maker is the decider of what should and shouldn't be in his thread. If the person is asking for example: "Pictures of your current weapon models" don't use the thread for posting pictures of your holiday trip, favourite weapons or latest build of your level.

      This also holds true if the person is using a certain style - much like this thread here. Match the style and carry on with how the person is operating or pass over the thread. Everyone doing their own thing only leads to the thread being messy and unprofessional and in some cases unproductive.

      Keeping to the style, tone and structure also helps to ward off off-topic that can detail a mutisubject thread (like this one) into chasing too far down one of it's sub topics. If a huge conversation is exspected on a subject - a new thread should be created then linked in. If such thread is created it should be used, and all further communication from people whom fail to heed the notice should be ignored. In doing so, we ensure clarity of information and we keep threads from becomming trashy and then deleted/unstickyed/unused.


        9. Use the search function
        I don't find the search function helpful. I search for "custom AI" to get the custom AI thread that is out there, and I got results for "custom" AND "AI," like searching two separate words together.
        Try it out and see. A better search engine would greatly help reduce repeating questions, maybe a google powered engine.


          I searched for "custom ai" with the quotes and got results containing that phrase which is what I would expect. If you don't use the quotes you are just saying give me results containing these words.


            ah, very good to know.


              Originally posted by ffejnosliw View Post
              I searched for "custom ai" with the quotes and got results containing that phrase which is what I would expect. If you don't use the quotes you are just saying give me results containing these words.
              well doesn't that raise another issue if someone with 300+ posts and been here since mid-late 2010 didn't know that why would you expect a new arrival to.. just saying is all.

              I think it should search the phase you type by default and if you want to search separate words the should be separated by a ","


                I hear what you are saying. That's just how vBulletin's (and most other) search engines work, though.

                I'm not saying their search engine couldn't stand some improvement, but that is really a complaint for vBulletin. Anyone can use Google to search the site using the "site:<URL>" feature provided by Google. Implementing that into the forums themselves would be pretty serious undertaking. Modifying vBulletin is no simple task no matter how minor the changes may seem.


                  Not just that but often internal database searches work better than Google Site searches... which is why it's worth the extra server resources.


                    Originally posted by Kinos View Post
                    I don't find the search function helpful. I search for "custom AI" to get the custom AI thread that is out there, and I got results for "custom" AND "AI," like searching two separate words together.
                    Try it out and see. A better search engine would greatly help reduce repeating questions, maybe a google powered engine.
                    Another problem with the vB Search Engine (at least as I know it from other vBBs, maybe Epic configured it different) is that it ignores words with less than four letters to avoid abuse by bots for DoS attacks (because the chance is incredibly high that these two letters occur in a word and thus you would get a thousand results or more).
                    The moderation of the forum can whitelist valid words with less than than four characters to be accepted as well, though.