You will most likely start sharing your creations before the mod is published. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Learn to Take Criticism
To do: This still feels condescending. Find a way to write this in a brief and neutral manner.
When sharing your work online and with your team, criticism will be inevitable. If someone did not like what you made or suggested a better way to achieve something, there is no reason for you to get angry. Take constructive criticism to heart, and ignore (i.e. don't reply to) malicious comments. How to tell them apart? Good feedback will usually give you hints on what you have to improve. Bad feedback will only say that something is bad.
Taking suggestions from other people doesn't make you less of a person, quite the opposite.
Remember, no matter how harsh, criticism has the purpose of improving your work and its reception further down the line. Think about it like this: You can fix something and improve it now and for the whole mod, or face the same criticism when the mod gets published and after you have already committed to the mistake, making it harder to improve.
Unfortunately, lashing out against criticism is a wide-spread phenomenon. Keep in mind it will affect how others perceive you, especially if it happens in your development team (which will impede development).
Your mod page (be it on Steam, ModDB or elsewhere) is the main place where people learn about your mod. A pretty page shows that you care about your mod and hints that the mod is created with care. And vice-versa - messy or bare-bones pages will discourage playes from downloading your mod. The next sections will give you some hints about making a nice online page for a mod.
Catchphrase and title
Like in usual game marketing, the first sentence people read about your mod is the most important. It should convey what's unique about your mod, why people should play it and catch attention. Same goes for the title.
This is an image which will often be the first thing people see about your mod. Make it interesting and unique; don't use generic fonts.
If you have video editing skills, making a trailer will catch people's attention. Making a good trailer goes beyond the scope of this article, but here's some general advice:
- Show the most unique parts about your mod
- Avoid generic music
- Avoid overly bombast slogans (i.e. things you see in AAA game trailers)
- Other than that, trailers are less recognisable than e.g. logos. You can take heavy inspiration from other trailers.
- Use nice fonts
- If you have a logo, use it
- If you can't edit videos well, keep in mind that a bad trailer might do more harm than good.
This ties in to the previous section. Screenshots are (next to a trailer and a catchphrase) in the first 3 most important parts of advertising your mod. Make sure to take screenshots with interesting elements and composition. Also be sure to correct them afterwards.
If you managed to catch someone's attention with your logo, title and 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 at all cost. At the very least, divide them into paragraphs.
- Put your catchphrase somewhere on the top of the description.
- The shorter the description, the better. Avoid verbose language. That being said, don't cut information, and don't make it too short!
- Use formatting! Titles, bold text, etc. make the text simpler to read.
- Use lists! They also make the text much easier to read, and can greatly shorten the description.
- If it's possible, use HTML to make your page unique. Set a background image or colour, change the font colour, add shine to it, etc.
Getting out there
Once you have your mod page (or even better, multiple ones) set up, you can do much more to make your mod known. Share the page links on various services, for example along with your best screenshot. Publish updates to keep the attention of followers. And once your mod is published, maybe send it to some YouTubers?