Sunday, April 17, 2016

Who Are Some Key Members of Unity Community?

The Structure of Unity Community

Unity community is an expansive affinity space for members interested in all things Unity. There are approximately 32 threads ranging in topics from “Getting Started” to “Commercial: Job Offering.” The affinity space is so large, I have only focused on a few topics like “Game Design” and “Works in Progress.” I just sort of dived right in to see what sort of things people are posting and talking about without exploring the overall structure. After living in the space for some time, I’m starting to look around and notice some systems in place to better analyze who’s contributing, who’s visiting the space, and how members are measured.

At the top of the forums menu there is a button to click “members” which takes the user to a new page that displays members based on number of messages. These members are listed from the most posts to the least. A user can also click on”most likes,” “most points,” or “staff members.” All of these categories seem useful except “points” is not currently being fully utilized as everyone has 10 points. Although”points” seems like it would be a way to “gamify” an affinity space dedicated to gamers and developers, perhaps it is not being used because members think it might be cliché or they can see through what some might deem as “bullshit” (Bogost 2011). Most posts, and most likes seems to be the best way to currently analyze who is contributing to the affinity space. I’d like to know more about them.

The Three Most Notable Members in Unity Community

Based on the most current number of posts, I have discovered three “Notable Members” in Unity Community: Eric5h5, Dreamora, and Hippocoder. Hippocoder also has the most “likes” so I have ignored the “like” category for now to focus on these three active members based on the quantity of messages, assuming there may be some overlap with the number of “likes.” 

When I click on Eric5h5’s profile, I can see he has listed a website and links to some of his add-ons for Unity. It also shows “moderator” in his profile which would explain a large quantity of posts. He seems to be a programmer, although there is not much personal info listed on either his Unity profile or web page. The web page seems to feature his add-ons, which can be purchased, most dominantly. His news thread features bug fixes and mini-patches to his software. Perhaps his addons are frequently used which would necessitate having this bug or patch info readily available? Overall the website is clean but somewhat cheesy with stars and neon glow (kind of like Star Wars) but things like this are somewhat typical for those of the programmer variety.

Dreamora’s profile stands out from most others in the space because he included a picture of himself (I’m assuming) rather than a graphic or avatar. Avatar’s are common in gaming spaces so using a picture can be a bold move. What does it mean when someone includes a picture of themselves? Does this make them seem more professional in this space? In most other websites including an actual portrait of oneself is usually seen as professional, so I will assume that much may be true. When I click on Dreamora’s link to his website, I am greeted with some thoughtful words:
“I strongly believe that it is on us, the current generation, the set the paths to empower our kids and the following generations to achieve greater things than we ever could think of. As a ‘technology geek’ and a software developer, I strive to do so through technology, especially through ground breaking and highly empowering technologies that build upon augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the open, easy to access technology of the web.”
Dreamora seems to think of himself as an educator by these words, and I can see he has a “learning” button on his website to link to the official Unity tutorials and he curates a “” page dedicated to “Unity Game Engine News, Informations & Learning Material.” This is essentially the same as the “Networked Learning Space” project in INTE 5665 for those UC Denver students familiar with that assignment. Dreamora is an “Interactive Media Engineer,” that has situated himself as an instructor or educator in Unity Community.

Hippocoder is also a moderator for Unity Community. His website SimianSquared is a British developer. The website does not feature much other than a large graphic and links to a couple of games created by SimianSquared. It’s hard to tell by this how Hippocoder is situated in Unity Community, but assuming he created these games, or a portion of them, he’s probably pretty talented. I needed to dig deeper so I check out his most recent posts by clicking on the link to this in his profile. I can see several posts in the “DOOM, are you excited?” thread so I went there to check out what he was saying. Hippocoder seems to recall the good old days of DOOM and says:
“Give me the retro classic turbo charged, or I may as well just buy a different game TBH. I won't be buying this one.”
Hippocoder in this case has positioned himself as a critic. And if he’s played the original DOOM when it came out, that would potentially put him in his late twenties to thirties. This possibly positions himself as a gaming veteran who’s seen it and done it all at least once, maybe 4-5 times in the case of sequels. I’ve also seen just as many posts where Hippocoder positions himself in technical inquiry. Needless to say it seems he is well rounded and versed enough to be a valued member of Unity Community.

Being a valued member
Given the above profiles and assumptions made by provided info, there are several ways to go about being a productive and essential member to Unity Community. However, it’s critical to be seen as credible and useful. It can be seen in postings from each member that they are savy enough to contribute to technical conversations. Each member also seems to be a veteran gamer offering critique on current video game industry products and happenings. They also seem to provide mostly nurturing commentary when it comes to advice. Although the occasional heated discussion, like that of the latest DOOM product, does reveal some mild flaming but not necessarily at other members but figures in the industry or developers instead. I look forward to learning more about how these community members are situated in Unity Community as the affinity space project comes to a close.

Bogost, Ian, “Gamification is Bullshit,” (2011)