Wednesday, January 13, 2010For a while, we have been interested in getting members of the Scratch community to help us document interesting phenomena that happens on our website. A few weeks ago I posted a message on the forums looking for a guest blogger to write an article for this blog. I asked Scratchers to submit their proposed articles for review. A couple of articles were well interesting and well-written but I had to pick one. This time, I decided to select Jonathanpb's write up about the groups commonly referred as "companies", that is group of Scratchers that get together (virtually) to create collaborative projects. We have written about them before, but it is great to see this from the perspective of an actual member of the community.
Ever since the beginning of Scratch, users have been working together. This varies from simple helping to the ultimate teamwork — companies.
The history of companies in Scratch is widely varied. Companies that were started a few years ago have a long and complex history, while companies that are new have a brief but exciting history. Nevertheless, all company histories revolve around one thing: A group of people who decided to work together.
Why did they decide to work together? Most of it is based on one simple thing: the want to join up and work together. Why work alone, restricting yourself to your capabilities? When you work together, you can help each other — if you are having trouble, someone else may be able to help you.
Due to this, companies can often do what others cannot do. Companies can create amazingly large and complex projects, due to the wide range of knowledge among its users. One person alone does not know much; a group together knows very much. Another good thing about this is that you can create a wide range of projects, because you have the knowledge to do it. A lot of companies, like Gray Bear Productions, create a wide range of projects with their knowledge— while others, like Flaming Trout, make games with that same knowledge; you can take knowledge used in physic simulations and put it into a game, after all.
Like everything, companies have their disadvantages. With a person working alone, everything is neat and tidy — there is only one person working on the project, so there is no need for transferring work, and you do not have to worry about people working in a different way from yours. There is also a better visualization and plan of the project; the one person can plan and think freely, with no one to argue or disagree with.
How many companies exist? Quite a lot. Since there are a lot of benefits with companies, it is natural that people would want to make one. People also find working in a company enjoyable, so they may want to start their own.
Where are the companies now? They are thriving. Due to the larger amount of users joining Scratch, companies are expanding. More people can contribute, boosting their productivity. More people can be the customers, also. These companies are doing very well.
Where are they heading? The companies have no plan of stopping, and will most likely continue as before. Companies always will be an important part of Scratch.
Here is an interview with ChaoticD, leader of DG Games, a nice company that people like. If you want to know more about a company, this will help you.
Q. What would you consider your company’s best production?
A. Nowhere part 2, by The_Flaming_Duck. It's a scroller that has 5 levels, including a boss battle for each level. The only problem is that the project is too big for the Scratch Website, so you have to download it instead.
Q. How interactive are the workers? How well do people work together? Do they enjoy working?
A. Yes, they enjoy working, and they actually ask me if I can give them more work sometimes. They are also very interactive; we have a forum on our website, and they are always responding to each other’s posts.
Q. How often does your company release a new production?
A. Originally, we released a game almost every 2 weeks, or less. However, I am having the members shift into making games with each other more than before, so a game made by the entire company can take a month.
You can see what it is like to be in a company… it is great.
If you want to start your own Scratch company, here are some tips:
- Get a few members ready before you start. If you start with no members, no one will have heard of your company, and who would join a company that did not have any members?
- Be creative. If you want to be known and have plenty of members, you have to have something that makes them want to join your company, and not a different one.
- Make interesting productions. You want to have interesting projects, so customers will enjoy your work. Also, it will keep the members happy, since they enjoy working on interesting projects.
- Have a headquarters area for your company. The ideal area is a gallery, where you can show projects and receive comments. Having a headquarters area will greatly help, since you can have an actual area to do things in.
- Keep active. How will your company become famous if you do not keep active? If you have a gallery for your company, regularly read your comments. Keep making new productions, and respond to any queries.
- Never give up. The goal is not to be famous. Just keep up your company, and hope for the best.
Now that you know about Scratch companies, why not join one or start your own?