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Thread: Open Development

  1. #1
    Harbinger of... saliva Member alpaca's Avatar
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    Default Open Development

    Hello everyone,
    I have an exciting announcement for you :)
    But first, let me talk about a problem that I think all modders and all mods face from time to time: lack of motivation. Everybody who has a more difficult hobby knows that it's sometimes hard to actually push a project through, primarily because there's no external driving force behind it which means you always think to yourself "why am I actually doing this?" Of course, modding makes no difference in that regard.
    In fact, it's often even worse because it's both harder to do than most hobbies and you often work in a team which means there's the additional psychological factor of "let the others do it" (which happened to everyone, including me).

    The effect of this problem is that - if you work with a closed team - your private forums can be pretty empty at times with not much going on (this happened to us), therefore making it even harder for people to motivate themselves when there's a distinct non-existence of answers to their posts. Thus, gradually, the whole team will slide into a certain state of lethargy and work will often come to a grinding halt; if you also take into account the amplification process that takes place when certain important members of the team have to go about real-life business for some time, it can be very hard to keep focused at times.

    Alright, enough of the pretext. Here's what we've been thinking about to avoid these issues in the future:
    We want to adopt a new development policy for Italia Invicta (and Anno Domini) that involves the community to a larger extent. This means that our modders will start developing things over the public forums, research consensus will be found in open discussions and WIP stuff will be posted for you to comment on.
    The last of these points is probably the biggest advantage of the idea: We will give you our designs and you can comment, make propositions, ask for changes and even get your hands dirty doing some modding work yourself at your heart's desire. This will give you quite a bit more influence on how the mod crops up and hopefully rid us of a piece of the huge workload this mod constitutes.

    We did not yet make a final decision on the policy (i.e. it can still be changed if it makes sense) but for now, the main change is to make the core team smaller. This means that following this announcement, every current member will be moved into a group called "contributors". These are people who have already made some considerable contribution to the mod and in the future, dedicated people who regularly post comments and make propositions on the forums will be added to that group.
    If you are in the contributors list, you can request to be added to the core team to signify that you want to participate on a more regular level. In general, the private forums won't contain much hidden info, mainly the playable betas and some things like WIP stuff that a member doesn't think should be made public yet, but of course you'll also get the fame (and the opportunity to have MSN chats with me).
    Ideally, once a member feels like they're getting bogged down or don't want to/have the time anymore to participate to a huge extent, he could just sign out of the team again and be moved to the contributors list, however I'll also evaluate people's activity level over time to see whether I should have a word with someone and in order to keep the team list up-to-date.

    Another important advantage of this policy is that it forces people who do something on the mod (including me again as I have a sometimes detrimental tendency to discuss things over MSN) to also write about what they're doing on the forums. This is especially good for you as you'll have a much better idea of the mod's status and about what it actually is that we're doing.
    It also provides me with a good way of giving you an opportunity to participate on some simpler modding tasks and at the same time saves me a lot of work that could often be better spent on more creative things. What I'm talking about here is obviously the more "repetitive" tasks like writing unit, building and traits descriptions but also copying certain features for all settlements (for example, the provincial titles have to be customized for each city which is a very nice starter into scripting if somebody feels like it) and factions that have already been worked out in general.

    All in all, I believe that we can all greatly benefit from this approach to modding, and of course it's pretty likely to speed up progress because the motivational issues will hopefully be much less severe with a whole community to reply to threads instead of just a small team, therefore allowing us to stay clear of the vicious circle that I mentioned in the introduction.

    In the next days and weeks we'll get the info out of the hidden forums and into the public ones which means that members won't immediately be denied access, but after that is done, I'll first clean up the access list.

    I hope you guys like the idea and are going to participate to a large extent (after all it's your chance to help us in development both directly and indirectly).

  2. #2
    Member Member Herkus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    Sounds interesting, as far as I know no one has tried anything similar. Hopefully I will learn something in the process.

  3. #3
    Harbinger of... saliva Member alpaca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    Besides, this step doesn't mean we're dropping Anno Domini.
    In fact, if anybody likes to work on content for AD, you're very welcome to open a thread with propositions in this forum. Right now, I'm concentrating on II but I'll open some similar threads for AD if there's sufficient interest.

  4. #4
    EB annoying hornet Member bovi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    If you're going to have an open forum for development, may I also suggest using a public version control system? I've set up a Subversion server for Europa Barbarorum, if you'd want I could set up one for AD/II as well. As a suggestion, you could have different access levels for core members, trusted people and general public (last one probably only read access).

    You'd need some sort of server for it though which is always on and does not have any arbitrary limit of total traffic though, I'm not sure what your status is on that. I could set it up on my own computer so you could test it out but my connection drops out intermittently and is therefore pretty unsuitable.

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  5. #5
    Harbinger of... saliva Member alpaca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    Quote Originally Posted by bovi
    If you're going to have an open forum for development, may I also suggest using a public version control system? I've set up a Subversion server for Europa Barbarorum, if you'd want I could set up one for AD/II as well. As a suggestion, you could have different access levels for core members, trusted people and general public (last one probably only read access).

    You'd need some sort of server for it though which is always on and does not have any arbitrary limit of total traffic though, I'm not sure what your status is on that. I could set it up on my own computer so you could test it out but my connection drops out intermittently and is therefore pretty unsuitable.
    Yeah in general SVS would be great, I don't have a website though.

    Hmm I'll ask General Sun if he could host it.
    Last edited by alpaca; 09-27-2007 at 16:34.

  6. #6
    EB annoying hornet Member bovi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    Perhaps Sourceforge is a valid option?

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  7. #7
    Harbinger of... saliva Member alpaca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    Quote Originally Posted by bovi
    Perhaps Sourceforge is a valid option?
    Do they host mods? I thought they're only for primary software.
    I'll give it a look

  8. #8
    EB annoying hornet Member bovi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    They do host mods. At least I saw one when briefly checking their list of games projects.

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  9. #9
    Harbinger of... saliva Member alpaca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    Quote Originally Posted by bovi
    They do host mods. At least I saw one when briefly checking their list of games projects.
    Thanks for the tip Bovi, they accepted us as a project. I'm setting up things now

  10. #10
    EB annoying hornet Member bovi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    Happy to be of assistance .

    Having problems getting EB2 to run? Try these solutions.
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    I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image. - Stephen Hawking

  11. #11
    Harbinger of... saliva Member alpaca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Open Development

    Ok, SVN is set up fine now and people can start grabbing copies to help us with the mod (we'll see if anybody does). Keep in mind that, once the time is ripe to have a playable release, we'll compile release versions (which will obviously happen much less frequently than our dev updates in the SVN repository) since it's a bit much to ask players to download an additional external program which is not completely easy to use (although very good). For devs however, SVN should always be the preferred method because it'll make sure you will have the latest version to work on.

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