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[Hypothetically] I have just finished my game engine/library/framework.
Now, I want to share it with people who may find it useful in their projects. Where can I advertise it to gain users?

EDIT: By advertise, I mean to spread the word of its existence - not advertise it for money.

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This should probably be community-wiki? –  bummzack Mar 3 '11 at 23:02
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I would really like to see answer of someone with succesfull (or famous) project here. How about @JoshPetrie? Did you promote SlimDX somehow? Or @AndrewRussell with ExEn? Is answer just: Make it good, people will come? –  Notabene Mar 4 '11 at 9:40
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6 Answers

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Marking technology is going to be quite similar to marketing a game -- in fact, if you have games made with that technology, that would be a great boon to adoption. Show them off.

With SlimDX, we started by hosting the project on Google Code, advertising very narrowly -- within a single community of developers (GDNet). That got us a few high level bits of feedback that we iterated on. Most importantly, though, we used the framework ourselves to build our own projects so we knew what the user experience was like and tweaked that until it was a good user experience. This includes things like making the end-user runtime installers as painless as possible, coming up with a decent documentation build, and providing at least basic "getting started" samples.

Then we kept plugging it whenever it was relevant in forums, we started a Twitter account to watch for people mentioning it and interacting with them, and slowly built up a community around the library, at which point the community was able to take on some of the burden of mentioning it all over the place.

You have to be careful when plugging your project, of course; we tended to be able to say, "well, you could use XNA if X, Y and Z or you could use SlimDX if A, B and C." It helps, I think, to be honest about the advantages and disadvantages of your product.

The most important thing is probably going to be establishing yourself as quick, responsive, and client-focused early on. We were able to turn around bug reports and feature requests extremely quickly in our first few months and invested a lot of time in making the framework easy to get and start using. Establishing that solid initial relationship with your early-adopters will really help propel you forward.

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  1. Make it good.
  2. When people ask (on forums, StackExchange, etc) which library to use for X, answer with your library.

That's sufficient, I think. Word spreads quickly between developers about these things.

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Social networks. It may sound a little stupid, but lots of people use them, and you are generally connected to people with the same interests as you, so it can be a good place to get a little exposure.

Having a website for the engine/lib/framework may also be a good idea, it will make the project look a little more professional. Then depending on the type of project, some screenshots will allow people to see the level of quality. Some getting started tutorials will also allow users to quickly start using the projects.

Message boards too can be a good place to advertise your project, and to allow for feedback too.

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I wish I was connected to people with the same interests. Nearly everyone I am connnected to on social networks have the main interest of getting as high and drunk as possible. –  The Communist Duck Mar 3 '11 at 22:01
    
Even if that is the case, having a link to your engine/lib/framework on facebook or twitter or whatever, isn't going to hurt IMHO. –  dmck Mar 3 '11 at 22:06
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Drunk people like programming too. :/ –  user744 Mar 4 '11 at 9:23
    
Considering I'm not even talking college-level students here, most of which will be lucky to scrape 5 GCSEs (equivalent of a high-school diploma) –  The Communist Duck Mar 4 '11 at 15:49
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If it's an open source project, you might consider putting it on SourceForge and/or link it to Ohloh. People might like what you created and will (hopefully) give positive feedback/ratings on these platforms which can increase the popularity of your project. That way you might even find some developers who will help you improve the software you wrote.

Having a dedicated Website for the product and maybe a Twitter feed/account won't hurt either.

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I don't think I've used SourceForge to find projects since about 2002. Freshmeat is occasionally useful, and ditto on fossfor.us (made by the SF folks) but in general those kinds of software indexes have lost to a mix of Google and GitHub/BitBucket. –  coderanger Mar 4 '11 at 2:10
    
You're right. GitHub is probably the new SF –  bummzack Mar 4 '11 at 9:03
    
Google Code and github are vastly preferable to SourceForge, in my experience. I have never willingly visited SF in the last few years. –  Josh Petrie Mar 4 '11 at 15:50
    
@josh-petrie Why? –  iamcreasy Dec 30 '11 at 9:48
    
SourceForge is swarming with ads, and the organization of their "classic" projects is terrible, and confusing. Project support for classic projects (bugs, SCM) is poor -- no modern SCM for example. I haven't seen that many projects using the 2.0 beta platform they've begun to roll out, but it does't look like it offers anything more compelling that GitHub in any case. –  Josh Petrie Dec 30 '11 at 16:21
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Posting it on a developer forum like the TIGSource forums would be useful, but you should make sure not to just drive by and spam them. People will be much more receptive if you're trying to be a member of their community and also happen to have this cool tool to help them work.

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Not sure why it hasn't been mentioned yet, but I believe the best way to attract users to your engine is to write (or have someone write) a good game using it. When evaluating libraries and engines, the list and number of titles using them is always a good indicator of ease of use, versatility, support availability...

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