How to Contribute
This page is also available in Swedish.
Where Do I Start?
Welcome to the SMC Project! So, you've decided you want to give a little something back to the community that has brought you the Secret Maryo Chronicles game. Bravo! A worthy and worthwhile goal. But maybe you've never been involved with project like this before or you feel confused about where to start.
Hopefully this article will give you some direction on how to start contributing to the SMC Project and help move this great game forward.
The article is broken down into a number of sections - some areas require almost no special skills while for others you might need to have some advanced schooling to do. Read through the ones that interest you. If you still don't feel like you know where to start, drop a line over on the forum and we'll try to help find a place for you.
The simplest and easiest way to contribute to the SMC Project is to promote it. Many of the game's players and contributors were first introduced to it via another website, article, or blog entry and others too can find it through your suggestion. Some suggested ways you can promote the game might include:
- Word of Mouth - Tell your friends, family, people at school/work/club/church/etc. Mention it on other forums, too.
- Media - make some fan art or post a video on YouTube.
- Blog - If you've got a blog, write up a quick review and recommend it to your readers.
- Twitter - Post a quick note when you play.
- Email - send a link to the website to your contacts.
- Group Activities - throw an SMC gaming party.
- Giveaways - if you've got some extra blank CDs, put SMC on them and give it away.
- Posters and Flyers
It's simple but effective. Take some time to promote. And get creative - you can really have a lot of fun with this step.
There are lots of ways you can give feedback to others who are working on the game and that feedback can be a great contribution in its own right. Here are some suggested ways of submitting feedback to other contributors.
Start by joining the SMC Forum and then get involved with some of the discussions that are already in progress. Particularly, feedback is essential for those designing new worlds and levels, and for those doing new graphics for the game.
This is important because often those who are doing the designing need feedback from unbiased eyes to let them know if they are moving in the right direction. Graphics, levels, sounds, games features, bug checking - all of these could be greatly enhanced if you put in your opinion, even if you feel you have no expertise in that area. Sometimes a simple "Yes, I like it" or "No, I hate it" is very helpful, even if you can't say exactly why - occasionally that gut-level reaction is enough to get the designer looking more critically at his or her creation and prompt a change. Of course, direct and clear critical comments can also be incredibly helpful to the designers, so try to be precise. Also be respectful when you make your comments.
Making suggestions for how to improve the game is also a very helpful means of giving feedback. However, it is incumbent upon you to do a little research - some suggestions are already planned, others have been "suggested" hundreds of times, and some just don't fit the style of the game. Look through the previously suggested items over on the forum and also browse through the currently planned features (Todo Code, Todo Graphics) so that you can tailor your suggestion appropriately.
Noticing and reporting a bug during regular game play is good and helpful, and we're very grateful when you do. But you can go to the next step by doing some active bug hunting. There are a couple of ways to do this.
First, review the list of currently open bugs on the forum and then go try and duplicate the problem on your machine. Then, report your results on the forum. Make sure you list what version of the game and what Operating System you're using.
Another way to bug hunt is to actively try to make the game do something unexpected. This can be a little harder to do and may require a perverse kind of creativity. Sometimes just "goofing off" can yield some really interesting bugs. Play around and see if you can find something interesting - just make sure that what you've found is actually a bug and not a feature. ;)
Adapt and Create
If you have some special skills or you're willing to learn what is needed, a lot of things can be contributed to help move the game forward that haven't yet been done. If you've got experience with computer programing, audio recording, graphic design, website creation, or writing, we can use you. If you've got a skill that you think would be useful to the project, bring that too.
The first thing to do is to contact a member of the SMC Team and let us know you'd like to help. Check the Contact Page to see who to get in touch with. If you're not sure, you can always let FluXy know and he'll direct to the appropriate team leader. You can email, send a PM or start a new topic on the forum to let us know.
Next start reviewing the appropriate Contributor section on the wiki for ideas on what we're working on already - there is already a prioritized list for most of the areas and we'd like to get the most important ones done first. Reviewing the article there will also teach you some of the basics you will need to know as you work. For example, you may spend hours working on a new graphic for the game only to find out later that its style is completely wrong.
There are lots of things you can create - levels, overworlds, graphics, sounds, media for the home page, screenshots, tutorials, wiki articles, music, story ideas, etc. As you work take time to submit what you've done on the forum and start using the feedback you get to make it better.
Be aware that there are some things that just won't fit with the game and will get rejected. Please don't be discouraged. We try to embrace as many ideas as we can, but sometimes things just don't work and we'll try to let you know before you spend too much time on the idea.
Occasionally, you will see a call on the forum asking for volunteers to maintain and administer certain aspects of the game, the forum, the website, or the project in general. Often these positions require that you've reached a certain level of proficiency in that area, but not always. What these positions will always require is time and oversite. If you feel like you're ready to take on some additional responsibility, follow the instructions listed in the call.