Yeah, as I said... I really don't care about that number, nor am I talking about it. The number that I care about is here, on this Forum- new projects, new things happening. Without that, there's little reason not to feature-freeze the engine sometime in the next year or so- most of the Devs we have right now have been with us a lot longer than usual, and I would be extraordinarily surprised if that situation can last indefinitely. We need new stuff happening so that we're interesting enough to pick up new Dev talent. Otherwise we're going to effectively end up with a zombie of a project at some point, which is always a worry.
I apologize, if that seems a bit alarmist or blunt, but frankly, that's always been a primary topic of concern. Devs are just like any other creative people, and need good reasons to stay motivated; new projects that are pushing the envelope are one of the better ways to make that happen.
Joined: 19 May 2007, 08:28 Location: YOU WILL REGRET THIS
The community needs to sell the features of the engine - A lot of the game proposals I have seen in the last 6 months are simply "I want to make a x/y/z total conversion, anyone want to help me?". Whilst these are expected for any open source engine, the fact that there are not many new serious devs being attracted is limiting the project growth. Abstracting a few of the engine features like resources and sensors could go a long way to make the engine more friendly for devs that aren't experienced with the TA model.
The one field that I have seen quite a few gains in is in AI - E323AI is great and under active development and the java interface has been implemented and has AIs being made for it. Spring has some great features in this area that a lot of commercial games don't.
We don't need the GSoC, we just need to find some ways for attracting new devs, as others have said here.
Of course, there is ~something~ to be said for growing the community. Otherwise, at the rate we're going, there won't be one in a year.
Haven't people been saying this for years?
Yeah, but I don't think anyone has ever listened in years. There's not really accurate numbers, but I've seen 343 people on the server years ago. If Spring is really picking up maybe a dozen users a year it might as well be stagnating since people leave at a faster rate than that.
As others have said, GSOC is just a means to an end, the end being "Lots of shiny new features for Spring."
It doesn't necessarily have to happen but it would be nice and a pretty useful way of forcing the community to make more changes to be engine developer friendly like documenting needed features on the wiki and having "conference calls" discussing the state of various items regularly.
The unfortunate fact is that most organizations that participate don't manage to retain their new developer talent, and most of the contributions get stuck into some SVN branch that never gets merged or maintained.
Unofficial poll: Be honest and ask yourself if you think Spring could keep talent around after GSOC, and if you think most of the features would get done and pushed to users, or stick around experimentally like SM3? I think there's very little chance developers would stick around but a pretty good chance that most of the new features would get pushed to users unless they were deeply flawed.
(Man I really hate making these wall of text posts, apologies.)
Joined: 01 Jun 2005, 10:36 Location: The Netherlands
jK and I were in the feedback meeting; the reason is really that they had many game/RTS applicants and really could only pick some of them.
So better next year stand out a bit more (and we should assign mentors to ideas!)
The relevant lines of the chat:
<lh> tvo: Ok, so your ideas list was well written, we liked the additional details. It would be nice to see mentors listed. <lh> tvo: I would simply recommend you apply next year. We had a *ton* of RTS and game engine applicants and it was hard for us to choose among them. <lh> tvo: Other than that, looked good. We appreciate you applying. <carols> i agree with lh, tvo. we needed to make some tough calls on cutting orgs and unfortunately yours was one of them.
... Glest, Globulation2, TA3D, Bos Wars, Marzec Quantum, Qonk, OpenClonk.... I've probably missed a few. And that's just the ones that have playable release products. Spring is the largest and most versatile OSS RTS project, but it's not the only OSS RTS out there.
edit: to clarify, this is a list of OSS RTS games I can think of off the top of my head. I have no idea which ones applied.
Last edited by Pxtl on 26 Mar 2010, 21:13, edited 1 time in total.
Given this situation, let's look at what people are saying are the possible reasons, and discuss what could be done, in a practical policy sense.
1. The problem is our association with OTA-based games and content piracy in general.
Policy change required: quit allowing games that violate copyright to operate on the official server; quit promoting them via the website; possibly remove them from the Forums; possibly dis-allow discussions that involve trafficking in, or utilizing, materials that violate copyright.
This is obviously the most controversial thing, but we're out of wiggle room on this issue, and I really don't see much more room for compromise. That said, I really don't see anything like the level of copyright issues with Crystal Space, Wesnoth, etc., and that may be a serious issue, from Google's standpoint, let alone other grantor organizations.
Like it or not this entire community is built on TA and TA-based games. Forcefully removing any TA related content will completely kill the community of this game overnight. Your goal is to get the attention of Google (is it really that important, anyway?), but shrinking this already small community to about 20 or 30 independent developers and no playerbase isn't going to do that. At least 90% of the player minutes on the official server are BA, probably less than 5% of the player minutes are non-TA-based games. No, I don't have graphs to support that but anyone who spends a few hours in the lobby knows this. The other mods have NO solid playerbase, that's not to say the mods are bad but it's just the truth, most of the non-TA Spring games get mostly players who are just taking a short break from BA to try something new before they go back to what is familiar.
If you try to forcefully remove that, an entirely separate community will form, at least 90% of the playerbase will move away and the 'official' or legally acceptable version will be stagnant and die VERY quickly.
Why do you want to try so hard to brown nose Google anyway? Yes, it would be great to get on GSoC, it'd be a big boost to development, but it's not like we can't live without it. Spring has survived up till now without it, it's not like it will suddenly whither and die because it didn't get accepted. This community will not grow with further fragmentation, or, like you're proposing, complete expulsion of the playerbase.
As for the forums, a community will display what it will display. Which is better, an inactive forum or a forum that has a lot of argumentative members? (besides everyone here knows that a lot of the arguing is just banter anyway).
Organization, I don't think anyone could agree with that, more organized with our requests and proposals is good. And of course a more active front page would be great, it should be for more than just engine updates.
But yeah, Spring is essentially built on TA. You might not like that and you might wish it was another way but that's just the way it is. People keep on talking about making a separate website for the TA derivatives and playersbase but I really don't think that will work. It will only fragment the two groups in the playerbase and both will suffer for it, they both need each other.
People keep on talking about making a separate website for the TA derivatives and playersbase but I really don't think that will work. It will only fragment the two groups in the playerbase and both will suffer for it, they both need each other.
Theres nothing wrong with fragmenting it, those groups need each other in no way. This site is best for engine/game development stuff, its horrible for a new player to look at.
And of course on server anyone can play whatever they want.
You mean Mods/Games. Mods being modifications of TA in any shape or form.
Same difference, you know what I mean.
If you're talking about CA and XTA then you're wrong. They do have a solid player base in terms of having the same players loyal to that mod.
I was talking about the non-TA mods/games. If they have any playerbase at all it's very very small, and rarely played. CA is probably the second largest mod after BA, but it's still completely dwarfed by comparison. It has a loyal fanbase, but still just a tiny percentage of the full Spring playerbase. XTA is a similar story only it's even smaller.
No such thing as TA Spring.
You know what I mean. Spring games that aren't based on TA. You can dance around and say Spring and TA aren't in anyway related but it's just semantics. The fact is this game has EVERYTHING to do with TA content and gameplay. The engine was first designed entirely with TA in mind, and nearly all the playerbase focus remains that way.
This may well be the case. I myself have played a different game for a few days or so just cause I'm fed up with BA. I end up crawling back to BA in the end but hey, I was designed that way
Case in point. Regardless of quality the non-TA spring games are miniscule and almost never played in comparison to the *A mods, that's the way it's always been and that's the way it will be for a long time. The reason I said that both groups (developers and players) need each other is because, first and most obvious, the developers need people to play their games, otherwise development simply won't continue, but the players also need the developers. Without people behind the scenes getting things done, the mods would stagnate and their players would start to drop off. There is of course overlap between the two groups, but the playerbase WILL follow where the *A mods lead, and if that is made separate from the non-*A games in a forceful manner like Argh suggested(even removing from the official server, really?), then both sides of the deal will suffer, and a drastically shrunk community will receive even less attention from potential things like GSoC, even if they are a pristine picture of a perfect community where everyone is nice and nobody breaks copyright law.
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