Workshop Etiquette

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This textbook was authored for the CIS 580 - Fundamentals of Game Programming course at Kansas State University. This front matter is specific to that course. If you are not enrolled in the course, please disregard this section.

For many of you, workshopping represents a new kind of activity you have never engaged in. We want our workshops to be a positive learning experience, where the creator feels safe sharing their work. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Comments that are less than courteous and insightful have no place in a workshop.

  • Don’t offer empty flattery, i.e. “I loved this game.” Describe why you loved it, and offer specific examples of its strengths.

  • Likewise, share where the game isn’t working for you. Be as tactful as possible.

  • All comments should be constructive, helping the creator to strengthen their game.

  • You must address the game you were given, not the game you would have created if it had been your idea. Even if you think your idea is better.

  • Don’t try to redesign the game for the creator. That is for the creator to do - just point out areas of concern.

  • Always start by describing the positive aspects of the game before you address any perceived weaknesses.

  • Always use “I” statements.

  • Avoid loaded judgment works like “tacky” or “cliche”

  • Never start with a disarming phrase like “I don’t want to be mean, but” or “Not to be a jerk, but”. These automatically put the creator on the defensive, and undermine the positive benefit of your criticism.

  • Keep the focus on the workshop. Don’t get diverted into what game(s) this one is similar to.

  • Like all art, games my choose to tackle subjects that may make you uncomfortable. Don’t attack a work for this - rather, examine why you had that reaction to the game.

Remember too, that you will be the creator for an upcoming workshop. Treat the creator as you hope they will treat you!


When attending a workshop remotely, good manners dictate you should have your webcam enabled and be clearly visible and not have a distracting background. You should strive to be as much in-person as is possible remotely!