How to save Wesnoth

General feedback and discussion of the game.

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iceiceice
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by iceiceice »

My 2 cents:

You need both.

You need to test your own code when you write it. It's no one else's job to test your code. In the past some software companies would try to make a distinction between the developers and the QA team, so that some programmers would write the original code, and different programmers would test up testing systems for that code. In the worst iterations of this idea, essentially the first guy becomes like "the idea man", and the other guy does the boring testing work and may even be fixing the problems, to make the first guys code actually work.

In my view, you should test your own code rigorously, and if you don't you aren't a good programmer. You should use automated testing whenever possible. This makes it easy to confidently refactor things later so that you can make changes and upgrades without breaking everything. On an open source project like wesnoth, in many ways its "nose goes" on testing. Or, "I tested my branch, you tested your branch, but it's no ones job to test the merge when they both merge to master." Or, "its the development branch users' job to test master".

I tend to take the point of view that, if testing is not automated, it doesn't count, and it didn't really happen. When somebody writes unit tests I know exactly what is being tested, I don't need to take their word for it that they tested X, Y, Z, I can see exactly what is tested and run the tests on my machine.

Some stuff is hard to test, like graphical issues are often quite difficult. But if you are creative you can still test a lot of that actually, esp. if you set up a good framework from the start.

A counter point to this is that, unit testing is just testing little components. It doesn't tell you "did the game actually work at the end of the day or was there a bug", so in that sense there's no better testing than actual play testing and user testing, but I definitely think that wesnoth 1 has inadequate automated testing, that's why I made that giant unit testing framework almost as the first thing I did. :D

On master branch, we even have an automated system that at every commit will launch a temporary instance of the server, and two automated test clients which join that server, try to start a game and play a test scenario, and then exit the server, and the build is marked as failed if this fails.

Edit: I think I misread an earlier post :oops: oh well
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Ravana
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Ravana »

I was sure my add on would be succesfull because I coded it to be played by me and my friends. If had coded it hoping to get lot of downloads then I would have being digging again my own "frustation grave".
This is most important, you need to enjoy your addons, else it would be just chore. Addons I create/maintain are initially for my own use, having other people use them is bonus. There are few exceptions that I have made as requests by other people though.
I have wasted hours, even joined multiplayer to leave it without playing a single match just because of players leaving on first turns, people not having updated addons, and whatnot.
I believe I have found fix for the issue of outdated addons, however I can only show comprehensive results after ~3 weeks. At least it will immediately show if there are version differences.


About balance/playtesting, I have some people leaving feedback, but most I get just from observing how people play.
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tekelili
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by tekelili »

doofus-01 wrote: You think someone here bemoaning lack of feedback doesn't test what they did?
Certainly I dont, I have different conception about "give feedback" and "beign a tester". For a me a tester is someone in charge to spot lacks in design that very likely will be present in early states of development, while give feeback is just give subjective opinion about game experience after play final product with only having fun as target.
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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Xara
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Xara »

tekelili wrote:I am surprised "how to save Wesnoth" turned into "add on developers have no help".
You are right, it's kinda off-track. I'm more interested in seeing more quality works appear and go into mainline. But it's sad to see that there is not even a candidate for a new mainline campaign, and that there is no sign of Khalifate going to be fully accepted.
tekelili wrote: I was sure my add on would be succesfull because I coded it to be played by me and my friends.
You are lucky enough to have friends who play Wesnoth with you. I only have 1 friend who would occasionally play Wesnoth with me. But when playing together, we invariably gets beaten in 2v2, and I invariably beat him in 1v1, so we could only play some co-op games against AI.
It pronounces Sha'ha, not Zara.

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Velensk
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Velensk »

I think there's a note of how 'successful' you want to be and how you define it.

I am generally content with how all my projects turned out save many maps (which had other maps prioritized over them) and a single campaign which I never truly refined (I doubt anyone remembers it). The thing is, it's not my goal to make one of or even the most balanced user made era out there, it's my goal to make an era that is balanced (and maps that are balanced too) and my standards for balance are high. I defy you, to create an extremely different era or a map and balance it all in preplanning without hours and hours of testing. Now, although I have introduced many people to the game and although I consider many people in the community to be friends, there's nobody that know on a personal level and can rely on to playtest with me that is of a sufficient level of skill. So should I have never started on any of these projects just because I wasn't sure that I could get all of the commitment from others I wanted for them? I think the answer is obviously not. I did in fact work very hard to get help testing them and I did get quite a bit for many of them enough that I think mine are some of the best for what they're designed to be. I still didn't get as much as I wanted for them though.

Now, I think you can fault me for the 2vs2 tournament. I launched into it without the guarantee that I'd be able to finish it. I wasn't able to. I suppose then, you believe that I should have waited to announce it officially until I'd gotten people who were willing to help me judge and refine those maps? You may be right there. On the other hand, how do you get people to get things done without giving them an opportunity to participate? And if there aren't enough people out there who want to play/make maps then who exactly are you serving by getting people together to make maps for those who want to play?

Wesnoth has already (in my mind) been wildly successful. I honestly don't know a game of its type that's done even half of what it has once you throw in all the add-ons and the quality of the multiplayer. Is it wrong for people to want it to be more successful? I don't think so but I think that the price will have to come from the community and it has not seemed like they're willing to pay it recently. Pretty much all (if not all) the developers we have were once just members of the community who thought they could give a little more and it seems like fewer see a reason to.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."
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Pentarctagon
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Pentarctagon »

I think that the problem isn't quite that there aren't people willing to give a little more as it is that Wesnoth never gave the impression that it needed any more. This recent call for help is, as far as I can remember, the first significant effort to actively try and get more people to contribute. It's been a bit more than a week since that announcement and there's already been a couple people volunteering to maintain a mainline campaign, a couple for c++ coding, and a few for improving/overhauling the python tools.

It also probably doesn't help that the forums are where users are likely to discuss the game, but despite having a Developers Discussions/Coders' Corner forums most talk of actual development seems to take place on IRC and a bit in the mailing list. If I was a newer user, it would not appear at first glance that much development is even taking place anymore.

edit:

I think what would help the most would be a maintained list somewhere basically saying "here's our ideas/plans, here's who's working on them (if anyone), here's a bunch of links to find out how to help" and stick that front and center on the forums.
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Mystery
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Mystery »

As a old user who occasionally pops in, I have to echo the general thought that Wesnoth, for the most part, is in a sense basically "complete." I'm not sure you can really ever bring it back to its glory days, so to speak. It's the eventual fate of all single-player games, and even multiplayer ones unless aggressively supported and nothing better comes along.

Now, I don't think there's anything blatantly superior out there on the market for multiplayer turn-based strategy but Wesnoth's MP hasn't been aggressively supported either. It exists, it's fun if you actually have somebody to play with (of similar skill level), but it's just sorta there. There's no ratings, no matchmaking, there's no reward for winning other than bragging rights. That works for me personally, I could play Wesnoth forever if I had a buddy (buddies) that was willing to sit there and play with me. Wesnoth ain't the only game I can say that about either but I'm an outlier. I love games, competition, it's a shame I couldn't make a career out of it somehow (too physically diminutive for sports, too poor to dedicate the time/money necessary to create an opportunity for myself in something like Magic: the Gathering)... anyway. Basic automated matchmaking is a bare minimum to hold the masses, because people are lazy and can't be assed to find their own opponents let alone guaranteeing a similar skill level so the games are competitive and fun. If we could pull that off simultaneous with a potential Steam release, that might actually lead to significant community growth.

But it just depends what we want out of Wesnoth. It will never truly "die" unless this site disappears and it becomes impossible to download (other than a scant few people passing around existing copies of it). Nobody's stopping me from going back and playing, even greatly enjoying Final Fantasy 7 because it isn't being constantly updated. If people want to continue to grow Wesnoth with new campaigns, great. If Wesnoth's multiplayer was to magically displace League of Legends as the biggest game in the world tomorrow, I'd be all for it. Wesnoth is an awesome game and deserves that kind of treatment. But if people stop developing it entirely, that's fine too. It'll always be here for a scant few of us to enjoy on occasion, like a group of nerdly bros enjoying a D&D campaign in their garage or the Super Metroid speedrunning community. It doesn't "need" saving per se.

I'm rooting for you guys but I can't meaningfully contribute much. In positions such as some of yours, I like at least knowing someone is out there pulling for me so I thought I'd at least throw my two cents in here.
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Sir_Cryer »

Ravana wrote:
Wesnoth became static. While maps are upgraded regularly, play balance is stale for many versions now. Although the races are quite balanced, the tactics are more or less the same all the time. Successful games, like Dota and so on are changing the balance slightly all the time. Always bringing a breath of fresh air into the game. Making it exciting again.
That is what addons are for. I feel the core factions are introduction, to understand how game works. Wesnoth is more than just what is included in the original download.
Most addons are very unbalanced Exemple: play Ghost/Dwarf Thunderer on Colossuem compared to other units. I agree with thread starter. Now its too mechanic, lacking diversity and innovation. Thats why i urge devs to follow their rpg feelings.
One big point here: On multyplayer matches u start with very litle gold by default wich means every unit is vital. THUS... u cant risk any action early else u lose game making it veery boring.
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Sir_Cryer »

taptap wrote:... Time requirements for multiplayer were far too high for me, I can play a game or two of Go in the time of a single MP match, and in the more casual settings I found it pretty hard to get even a half decent game...
This.
Generaly, to complete only one multplayer game will take hours and more hours... sry to say this but i leave most of them after first hour. I Imagine most ppls do the same. Like i said previosly, we cant risk anything at early game most of tmes
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tekelili
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by tekelili »

Sir_Cryer wrote:sry to say this but i leave most of them after first hour. I Imagine most ppls do the same.
Sry to say this, but if you dont advise your mates or oponents you will do this, you are seriously damaging people. Lot of players are able to play for several hours, save game, and continue playing for several hours next day. People joining or hosting games without enougth time to finish and not warning other players, are one of the big factors ruining BfW multiplayer game experience :annoyed:
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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Bob_The_Mighty
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Bob_The_Mighty »

I've been following this thread and others and have been amused how many different turns the conversation has taken, from the difficulties of balancing maps, the problems of filtering/rating add-ons, the hassle of maintaining content, whether or not WML is the best code for the game, why there isn't more mainline units/campaigns, the attitude of moderators, the attitude of players and the age-old issue of the game being too random.

To save Wesnoth we have to ask what we are saving it from. None of the issues listed above really relate to the problem that Wesnoth is in need of some more developers. As far as I understand it, that's all - there was nothing in the announcement suggesting other issues. I don't think it helps that people have taken this to mean everything is doomed (imagine you were a new player reading this stuff on the forums). It also seems people have taken this as an opportunity to vent their frustrations, which is fair enough, but it doesn't address or help the problem.

I guess all we can do is either volunteer ourselves or spread the word. I wonder about the wisdom of the announcement's gloomy tone (who wants to board a sinking ship?), maybe it would be better to think of it as a recruitment drive. 'Wesnoth is on the lookout for new developers' sounds a lot more positive. I know it's probably too late for that, but I thought some perspective was needed here.
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tekelili
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by tekelili »

Bob_The_Mighty wrote:I've been following this thread
Bob_The_Mighty wrote:whether or not WML is the best code for the game
I think you are talking about a different thread, I can not find any reference to that issue in this one.
Bob_The_Mighty wrote: None of the issues listed above really relate to the problem that Wesnoth is in need of some more developers
That was not OP point of view, but anyway: if more developers are needed we could conclude some issues need development, it is out point argue about what issues are those ones?
Bob_The_Mighty wrote:It also seems people have taken this as an opportunity to vent their frustration
I agree this thread can be mostly described that way. Do you think existence of threads where players express what they feel BfW lacks is negative for BfW?

If I run BfW and press "Camapign" buttom, I have a different thread for each campaign to give feedback about my game experience. If I press "Multiplayer", where could I give feedback about my experience? I am just creating noise just for trying comunicate my experience as Multiplayer user?
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by ChaosRider »

Sir_Cryer wrote: Most addons are very unbalanced Exemple: play Ghost/Dwarf Thunderer on Colossuem compared to other units. I agree with thread starter. Now its too mechanic, lacking diversity and innovation. Thats why i urge devs to follow their rpg feelings.
One big point here: On multyplayer matches u start with very litle gold by default wich means every unit is vital. THUS... u cant risk any action early else u lose game making it veery boring.
Ghost/Dwarv thunderer on colosseum? 6 lands with diffrent terrain types, a lot units with diffrent advantages and disadvantages (also ghost can't buy res boost on colosseum - its used there unit type filter, better would be to add all resistances value and if they are below for example 240 (40% for each) then you can buy still something with max 70% for one type of res).
Make your own colosseum vesion with your own era where will be only one unit which have 10 hp, 5-2 melee/ranged, no resistances (0% everywhere) and 50% on each terrain def - everyone will have exactly same chance everywhere to survive, but this would pretty boring. Instead of being jealous of other player (which you think that he has) easier situation just focus on your unit and on playing for fun.

From what you are trying to save Wesnoth? If you have been bored of playing of this game just start play other one, maybe you will come back later, maybe not. From the begining of Wesnoth I played a lot of games and Wesnoth is still here and it's not dying. Players are growing up, same developers they may want to focus on other stuff in real live and nobody should forbid it to them. In my opinion they look for more people to develop team because they dont want to slow down the pace of improvement of Wesnoth - which for me isn't so bad if one of Wesnoth version (or even more versions) will show up later or even much later - addons authors won't cry.

Also there is something like "game title" which mean you can write there your own rules which who has decided to join to you should respect (like no "dwarvish thunderer" or "ghost" on colosseum). Ofcourse there will be some dumb people who will join to your game and say "LET ME BE GHOST" even when you have in title info about no ghosts. Some people are looking for solutions, other are looking for a reasons to whine.

Some people know wml, other lua, and they are also who knows both. Best option is ofcourse the third but its required most patient and own will to study it. I don't understand all that stuff of map editor to create there items or other things which can be made with wml in scenario code. If you really want to create something you will find strength to learn a bit of wml or lua.
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Bob_The_Mighty »

tekelili...

I actually said "this thread and others" by which I meant this one, which ends up as a discussion about which coding language is best. My thoughts were also partly based on comments from people outside the forums on places like reddit and slashdot. These discussions have tended towards the assumption that Wesnoth was 'dying' due to a lack of players or dearth of new content. As on here, people have also thrown up the "it's too random!" argument and the idea that the game should be written in a different language. I guess I wanted to steer people away from conducting a post-mortem to something more concrete like finding contributors.

Having said that, I agree with you that it would be useful to think about which areas need development. People say the game is complete, but maybe that is unimaginative. I wasn't suggesting that this thread was creating unnecessary noise, or that people shouldn't vent their frustrations on the forum (that's what it's for!), more that I felt people were getting carried away with all sorts of criticisms when the announcement was just a call out for devs.
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Re: How to save Wesnoth

Post by Daravel »

I've played Wesnoth on and off for years and I've always wanted to contribute. I snuck onto the list of contributors by editing some (now removed, I believe) dialogue into aTTB and began making my own campaign a couple of years ago (sorry Elvish Hunter!) but never really found the staying power for it. I did manage my full dialogue re-write for The Sojournings of Grog though.

I am surmising that there are two problems identified:
1) Not enough active developers, coders, artists etc.
2) Wesnoth is an old boat and without die-hard dedication / new features and innovation it will slowly sink (majestically, of course)

The two are intertwined. There was a period of time when I loved checking the art forums every week to see what was being worked on, it was a beehive of activity. There was a core of artists who, over time, as you'd expect, have slowly drifted away with fewer and fewer new faces coming in to fill the gap. Without the constant innovation and lack of headline news (of which Wesnoth got very little (was in PC Gamer a year or so ago though - http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=39176)) means that new talent (and players) are brought in less and less. Essentially we have a low birth and a steady, low (but not as low) death rate.

This announcement might spur some old faces to return and inspire some old lurkers, new players to contribute; but it'll not fix the problem. Wesnoth has to innovate.

The reality is, as has been pointed out, Wesnoth is mostly 'finished'. Sure, there's a thousand things that could be done, but they aren't essential. It's a fully moddable game with a lot of flexibility and a load of existing add-ons. There isn't a reason why Wesnoth couldn't keep going forever. The crux of the problem, in my opinion, is that Wesnoth is not mainstream and never was. Simply, people don't know it exists, forgot it exists or don't realise what its about. I'm not sure how popular the android/apple ports were, did they bring in new players? Did they stay? Do they contribute?

I wonder about the success of 're-marketing' Wesnoth to the general public? Steam is discussed in the announcement and is likely the best place for it. In the deluge of free, incomplete, buggy, alpha, boring, games out there, Wesnoth would jump out as a free, 'finished', 'polished', fun game which we would all write rave reviews about. Plus it requires no porting!
My follow on thought is do we have a development drive before/during Steam release - the idea of a kickstarter has been brought up before. Would Wesnoth look shinier on the Steam store with:
- Fully animated
- 3 brand new single player campaigns
- New music
- Easy to use scenario builder (isn't this in the works somewhere?)
- etc.

I'd happily contribute some cash to bring in some old and new faces to do a 6/12 month (forgive me, I have no idea about timescales) to crank some some quality of life and long term 'wishlist' ideas prior to putting it on Steam and trying to draw in a whole new world of gamers (remember, casual gaming is the new thing).

Two side notes:
- The social side of Wesnoth is lacking. Achievements, friends, ladders etc. But you'd not want to tackle that till there was a bigger community
- The link up between the game, custom development, the forum and IRC is seriously lacking. I made this suggestion http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=36840 three years ago - that there is nothing (aside from one hint, which you may never see again) telling users that there is a website. I still wonder how many people have, or even play, a seriously old version because they don't know there is a new one. As someone else already mentioned, IRC is not obviously used to users of the forum. I think there can be work done on the accessibility of Wesnoth's development world
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