You will most likely start sharing your creations before the mod is published. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Your mod page (Be it on Steam, ModDB or elsewhere) is the main place where people learn about your mod. A neat page shows that you care about your mod and implies that it has high quality. Messy or overly simplistic pages will discourage players from downloading your mod. The next sections will give you some hints about making a nice online page for a mod.
This is an image which will often be the first thing people see about your mod. Make it interesting and unique; try to search for a font that delivers the feeling of your mod. Try and come up with a unique logo, don't automatically try to copy other ones, especially the logo of the game you're modding.
If you have video editing skills, making a trailer will catch people's attention. Here are some general tips:
- Show the most interesting environments from your mod, but not all of them. Keep some as a secret.
- Avoid overly bombast slogans (i.e. things you see in AAA game trailers), because it will set unfairly high expectations.
- You can take heavy inspiration from other trailers.
- If you have a logo, use it in your video.
Tips about music:
- Avoid popular royalty-free music, it is easily recognized and perceived as cliche.
- Don't pirate music, especially popular themes from movies and other games.
- Freemusicarchive is a good place to look for decent songs you can use legally.
Make sure to take screenshots with interesting elements and composition. Consider the Rule of Thirds when capturing screenshots, and be sure to correct them afterwards. Especially pay attention to areas with nice contrast. Avoid dark screenshots, because they will blend into a solid black rectangle on many monitors and will thus become useless.
Your mod page should describe what the mod is generally about. A brief description of the story is good, but avoid mentioning key events or anything else that might lead to a spoiler. Do not write long paragraphs that over-describe the features of your mod, it should be kept short as possible. Look at your favourite games on e.g. Steam for inspiration (or nice mod pages).
If you managed to catch someone's attention with your logo, title or catchphrase, the next thing they will do is either see the trailer and screenshots or read the description (depending on the website). Regardless of that order, the description helps to convey any information which couldn't be put in the rest of mentioned techniques. This usually includes the story and certain gameplay features (in HPL usually you can't show them without spoilers, so it's better to describe them instead).
Here are some guidelines to make your description more interesting and encourage people to read it:
- Avoid walls of text and verbose language. Keep it short and easy on the eye (separate into paragraphs!).
- That being said, don't cut important and relevant information.
- Use lists when describing the features of your mod. They make the text much easier to read, and can greatly shorten the description.
- Try to come up with a catchphrase to put somewhere on the top of the description.
- Use formatting! headers, bold text, align to center, and so on. Make the text more interesting to read.
- If it's possible, use custom CSS to make your page unique. Set a background image, change the font colour, and add effects which can grab attention.
Once you have your mod page set up, try to reach it out to as much people as possible. Share the page links on social media, along with your best screenshot, and publish updates to keep the attention of followers.
Learn to Take Criticism
When sharing your work online and with your team, you will inevitably receive feedback, positive or negative. Unfortunately, lashing out against criticism is a wide-spread phenomenon. Such behaviour will affect how others perceive you, both in a development team and in public. Furthermore, you won't improve if you always think you're right.
Here are some things you can do to take criticism better.
Identify the quality of the feedback
Some people will disregard good feedback as toxic and some will pay too much attention to low-effort toxic comments. Neither is healthy for you, so take constructive criticism to heart, and ignore malicious comments.
How to tell them apart? Good feedback will usually give you hints on what to improve. Bad feedback will only say that something is bad.
Separate the criticism from your person
If someone did not like what you made, or suggested how to make it better, there is no reason to get upset immediately. Criticism isn't inherently a personal attack.
"This note is poorly written" isn't a criticism of the person who wrote the note but a criticism of the note itself. A more tricky example would be "you did X badly", but the same logic applies.
Taking suggestions from other people doesn't make you less of a person. Quite the opposite - it shows maturity and will often lead to self-growth.
Don't view mistakes as entirely bad
Treat mistakes as a learning opportunity. You can't change the past, but you can change the future.
Even if harsh, criticism has the purpose of improving your work and its reception further down the line. Think about it like this: You can improve something or face the same criticism (perhaps in bigger ammounts) when you publish the mod or when you repeat the same mistake in your next mod.
Don't beat yourself up
Some people will bash themselves internally when faced with feedback. Take the previous advice, separate yourself from your creations and try not to dwell on mistakes.
Beware of defensiveness
Most people will have a natural response of wanting to defend yourself against feedback. Often it will be caused by someone being faced with an uncomofortable truth.
Arguing with people about feedback always leads to drama, which everyone would prefer to avoid.
On the other hand, don't let people put you down when it really is unfair. Just make sure you asses the criticism calmly before you decide to respond, and try to do so in a professional manner.
Further reading: The Different Ways People Handle Criticism (and How to Do It Better)