I’m not going to lie, I’m no veteran. But as a Hopscotch user, I’ve seen many parts of the community, old and new. While the community hasn’t changed in every way, it’s changed a lot, and mostly in a negative way. While I have observed some positive changes, the negative changes are overwhelming.
The reason that most of these negative changes within the community are occurring is because of how you’re treating the app and the community. I’m writing this hoping that not only will you listen, but that you’ll also improve.
Games on Hopscotch
In the past, Hopscotch has had tons of games. Sometimes they’re long, and sometimes they’re short. Sometimes they’re simple, and sometimes they’re complex. You’ve even allowed projects that aren’t games, however, that’s not the problem.
As you know, Hopscotch has its own games tab that anyone can access. However, people tend to put their projects that aren’t games into the games tab. In fact, they tend to put them into any tab they possibly can. I consider this unacceptable, but this is another thing you’ve allowed over the years. You’ve done virtually nothing to resolve it, and a big chunk of the community considers it an issue.
It would be so much better if there were a system in place to make sure that the games tab would include games only. I’m not saying that it should be limited to individual project curation; don’t do that. However, it would be nice if the tab were more heavily moderated, or if the projects that went into there had to be approved (not curated), or any other system that would help stop miscategorization. This could apply to other tabs, too, although I think that the games tab should receive the highest priority, considering Hopscotch is meant for games.
One idea that I’ve thought of is that the individual users should have to submit a request before they would be able to post projects in the games tab. A user would be able to submit a request through the app, and comments would be optional. Once the user has been approved, they could post as many games into the games tab as they wish, however, if they ever started posting content besides games in the games tab, they would be warned. If they proceeded to post content besides games within the games tab within six weeks of being warned, their ability to post content in the games tab would be revoked, and they would have to submit another request in order to regain it, in which their best bet would be to submit it months later. If a user just isn’t approved, they could always try again. Ex-SDP members would automatically gain this ability, along with forum leaders, staff members, and so on.
You’re locking pre-existing things that were previously free behind a paywall. A few months ago, you made scenes free, and in terms of business, that was pretty brave, and I’m glad you did it. Then, you proceeded to lock creating drafts and publishing projects behind a paywall for app users, rendering the Free Scenes bit useless to new users. I know that older, non-subscribed accounts can still create projects, but the fact that newer ones can’t is ridiculous. People should be able to access basic features of Hopscotch for free, and creating projects should be one of them.
By disallowing newer users to create projects without subscribing, you’re disallowing the community to see the work of newer users who won’t or can’t subscribe. What if there’s someone on Hopscotch who doesn’t know about the Web Explorer, so they go onto random projects to open the editor, remove all the objects, and create an absolutely mindblowing project? Then, every time they do so, they have to abandon their hard work, as they can’t save it nor publish it. If this paywall weren’t there, then they wouldn’t have to open a random project to do this.
I’m not saying you should get rid of the subscription entirely. As a business, you need to make money somehow, and that makes sense. But if a feature already existed for free, you shouldn’t make it a paid feature, even if it’s just for newer users. Not only is it bad in moral terms, it’s also a bad business strategy; sure, there’s a seven day trial, but even then, a newer user might be scared to accept the trial if they know they won’t be able to pay for it after it’s over, such as if they’re poor, or even just a kid whose parents won’t pay for it.
Users profiles are very limited. On most platforms, you get custom profile pictures for free, user descriptions, and some have a tab where the user can post stuff and other users can view the posts, and possibly even comment on them.
More user customization would be nice, as it would tell you much more about a user. Currently, the only way to do this is through a project, and it is really inconvenient. If we could set a user description, where the app would not let you set it if it were over 1,000 characters (this paragraph is half of that length) or so, that would be pretty nice. Additionally, I think that we should be able to customize our profile color. We can almost already do that, but a dedicated feature would be nice.
More user customization would allow users to express themselves within the app more, and I think that would be really interesting, along with a community tab for each user, as I mentioned earlier, similar to the ones seen on YouTube channels. Additionally, the Explore tab would have a new tab called “Community,” which would show the community posts of those who you are following. A user could post project updates and sneak peeks in their community tab, which would be really interesting.
Hopscotch has a great community, and that’s why I wrote this. I want to see the community thrive, not die, and that is a dream that we can reach. You’re the ones who created Hopscotch. Don’t be the ones to destroy it. So please, consider what I’ve written.