Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

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Jastiv
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Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Jastiv »

Hey all. I don't know if any of your have played Crossfire or any of its derivatives such as Daimonin, but I know we need a better free-software replacement for games such as Ultima Online and Diablo. I do not think that the old graphics, poor user interface, average story line, and lousy game play of Crossfire cuts it when it comes to multi-player online rpgs. This should not be such a hard problem to fix. Instead I see people going around trying to program things in python and open GL, or worse yet, writing and engine from scratch. It is better to get the prototype right on an old engine rather than try to write something from scratch that doesn't work.
Currently, I am looking for a new lead programmer. The new lead programmer should know C and how to use version control and shell script. The new lead programmer should also be capable of teaching those skills to other people. We also need as well as a lot of feedback from potential users. Unlike other game developers, I believe that having users is what makes the project worthwhile, not that any random potential user can just tell developers what to do, but that games should not be made just based on someone wanting to learn a certain language or toolkit that is still in 0.0.1 and other junk like that I have seen on so many free software projects. I do not believe that games should be written for the purpose of developers practicing the new "cool" library or language. There is just too much trend following that goes on. Another thing I have seen go on in so many free software games that I don't like is the level of flustration that is tolerated out of the developers, is not what the players want to put up with. For instance, having 100 levels in an rpg where you lose 50 of them when you die and it takes a week of standard gameplay to gain a level, as well as other non-fun game mechanics such as wandering around the world starving to death, not being able to find the monster spawn spots, having lots of features that there is no where to learn about except reading the boring documentation, too many tutorials, unbalanced pvp where one class/skill set beats out all others etc etc.

I still need to work on the site quite a bit as well, but the blog is up and running now.
http://wogralddev.blogspot.com/

Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding.
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Jetrel
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Jetrel »

Overall I think this is a fairly good idea, and I agree with the issues you complain about.
Jastiv wrote:Currently, I am looking for a new lead programmer.
To quote the Joker:
"Ha. HA. HahHahahhaHAHahahAHah.

He.

Ho. And I thought MY jokes were bad."


People will not do your project for you. Either you take some leading role in the development of the project (be it spearheading the code, or the art), or you're screwed. You do not declare that you're gonna make a project, and magically have other people do all the real work. "Designing the game" is not real work, any 14 year old nerd can and does do that in their spare time. That's the FUN part. That's the payment that a coder gets for all his ass-kicking work on developing the game - his biggest motivation for coding it in the first place is BECAUSE he wants to play around with game mechanics.

If you think some coder is going to forgo that part, you're nuts. "hey, why don't you bake a cake, and let me eat it?" Nope. Doesn't work that way.
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cool evil
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by cool evil »

Why so serious, jetryl?

Back on topic, you really shouldn't ask someone to program things for you. Unless they get something good out of it, preferrably hard cash, then no one would be that passionate nor stupid enough to waste several month if not years on some project. If you ever tried volunteer programming of any sort, then you'd know how exhausting it is. I did a bit of WML back in the day and it was hard enough to even do 3 or 4 scenarios along with their respective maps. After making my first scenario that's over 1,000 lines long, i decided that its just better to do something else with my time such as blogging or playing games.

The only choice you have now is to:
1) Commit your time to learn how to code. After that is done you could get working and set up a page on sourceforge (assuming you make it open-sourced of course). Other open-source game programmers will likely notice your project after it had made significant growth, thus joining you in the quest to make a freeware game.

2) Get started without learning how to do coding. You could do various things such as artwork and audio. When you have enough content to implement on the full game should it ever be made, then you could start looking for programmers. This will be easier than just doing so now because you'd have a lot more done by then and others are more likely to join a project that only needs one aspect of it fulfilled for completion.
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by JW »

I love the two posters directly above me for reasons I will not delve into at this time.

But yeah, making games is hard work. Ask Dave.
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Dave »

Jastiv wrote:This should not be such a hard problem to fix ... Currently, I am looking for a new lead programmer.
So you don't think it's hard but you want someone else to do all the work?

And exactly what are you planning to contribute to the project? Ideas? Motivation? [1] Artwork? Financing?

David

[1] I hope not. Being told "I want you to program a distributed client/server application that is good quality and supports thousands of clients. How hard could it be, anyway?" is not exactly what I'd call "motivating".
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Jastiv
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Jastiv »

First of all, the project is actually farther along then you might think. The view has already been changed from crossfires to a 45 degree angle view like that found in ultima online. In addition, extra floors were added. New artwork was also added.
http://wograld.sourceforge.net/

Okay, now here is the situation with the lead programmer, I am married to the inactive lead programmer. He decided that rather than program this game, he would rather get a masters degree in engineering while working full time. Ironically, he got his last job because he learned the skills like C programming, shell scripting and version control. Otherwise, he would have never gotten that better job. That is quite a lot on his plate and takes up all his time basically. Of course, I don't understand how someone would rather do all that math rather than be doing artwork/quest design/programing for a game, but to each his own. I also know some people who hate doing artwork and would rather bite me than do it.
And it isn't that I havn't done any work on the project except the design. I did the website. I also did some of the artwork. In fact, the design work itself is not finished and there is plenty of room for the lead programmer to add his or her own favorite game mechanics provided they don't conflict with the goals of the project. I was planning to discuss various game mechanics on the blog and get some feedback, rather than just putting stuff in that may sound good on paper, but actually make the game non-fun, such as 100 levels, exp loss at death, quests that cause you to lose experience and offer no rewards, perma death, house looting, overpowered helms of l33tness, pks camping the newbie spawn spot etc.

The other, probably biggest issue with it right now is the user interface, as you can see from
the screen shot on the website. I find a lot of linux and unix systems do not have sdl installed out of the box, making game installation harder than it needs to be, because even if you have the compiler, trying to compile and run it is definately made much harder. You could wait around for the package release, but your alpha/beta buggy version of the game does not seem like it should be packaged up with the polished software in the repository anyway. Without making it run on the system to begin with, how are you going to turn your potential users into developers? I know people try to do that to save space, but the reality is it just leaves people with the perception that linux/unix (yes, I just tried silver-tree on solaris) is not even as a good a gaming system as windows 95 or dos, when this should not be the case, since you can in fact run many of those early dos and windows games on an emulator or wine in linux or unix.

Lastly, yes modivation is the most important thing that can be contributed to any game project. This is a big reason I encourage user participation on the forums and on the blog. With out that, nothing gets done on the project and it just sits there, never ever getting done. If you have one person working on it solely by them-selves, it is much easier to get burned out than if you have more than one person working on it, because also, if someone get stuck on something, the project members can help each other out.
http://wogralddev.blogspot.com/

Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding.
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by VS »

I was going to post this, then saw your reply, read it, and now I am going to submit it again...

You get people to join your project by working like a horse and having some results. You need activity, and visible activity at that.

-----------------------

So I spent some time trying to figure out what exactly you do have.

The site you linked does not really work much. All of the top menu items are broken. The only thing there that works is link to sf.net project page, and that essentially says "nothing".

In first paragraph you mention that this is game for users, not developers that want to play with the code, and repeat this a few times. Why should a developer take interest, if the first words on the only working page of project radiate animosity? And nowhere on the page do you mention that you actually want a developer.

Forum has three users, most of activity dates back to 2007. And what the hell does
Yes, you have to use CVS. No I don't want to have to learn subversion. Stop posting and start writing patches.
mean? Yet more animosity to flush on the potential helpers?

So CVS it is. Three commits, all with messages like "asdasd" or "lololool".

Everywhere I look, it screams "dead" or "idiot". Whatever you are doing, you are doing it wrong.

Fix the texts that scare people away. Get a release, where player can do something. Start doing something more than talking. Mention what progress is being made. Release again so that the progress can be felt. Then you might get people coming.
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Turuk »

Your posts make it seem as if the project is struggling, but what has been completed is well-done, tasteful, and at a respectable level that would encourage others to want to join your project and help out, getting it off the ground.


As VS noted, I went to your website, I poked around, and everything I found there suggests the contrary.
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cool evil
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by cool evil »

If you aren't there in terms of even releasing a pre-alpha build, then be prepared to release all your current work online to get traffic. It doesn't have to be an executable file but should be in a compressed package with instructions to how to at least configure the game to run at its most basic.

When i say everything, i mean every single useful sprite/code/audio that is related to the game. Also, if you have the time, redesign the website. I would recommend staying with sourceforge for the file uploads but use a different web hosting service. The most basic one would be webs.com and that has a limited traffic per site but since it's a sub-domain it requires no messing around with servers. Moving up a notch, you could use weebly or synthasite as a blog or lobby for online visitors. These services require no HTML work and is able to produce a simplisitic looking website that users will want to linger at.

If redesigning the website and working hard doesn't pay it off, there's always the option of leaving. Take a moment and consider how much time you have in your daily schedule and estimate the time it requires for you to get this project off to a good playable build. Compare that with the amount of time and effort you've already put into the project. If the former outweights the latter by a significant margin, then it's best to consider other options rather than struggling on.
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Jetrel »

Jastiv wrote:Okay, now here is the situation with the lead programmer, I am married to the inactive lead programmer. He decided that rather than program this game, he would rather get a masters degree in engineering while working full time. Ironically, he got his last job because he learned the skills like C programming, shell scripting and version control. Otherwise, he would have never gotten that better job. That is quite a lot on his plate and takes up all his time basically. Of course, I don't understand how someone would rather do all that math rather than be doing artwork/quest design/programing for a game, but to each his own. I also know some people who hate doing artwork and would rather bite me than do it.
:hmm: Writing most computer programs is like writing a book. Unless you're incredibly famous, and or just plain incredible, no "other author" is going to pick up "your" work and start where you left off. They're just going to start their own thing from scratch. The only examples I can think of for books have been when the author is already incredibly famous (tolkien, robert jordan). You need to wait till your husband finishes engineering school, so he can "continue that novel he was writing." Alternately, you yourself can learn to program and pick up where he left off.

Other than that, your only recourse is having a large/intense-enough fanbase that some fan would desire to do that, but as you're well-aware, there's a huge chicken <-> egg problem there.

Making successful computer games is hard, and it's really hard to reach "critical mass" where other people wish they were making your game. And that's what they'd have to wish, to be willing to take over for you.
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by appleide »

You're a pretty good writer though... I actually read a couple of posts on your "Dev Blog", without knowing what is Ultima, or Shadowbane... Usually blocks of texts like that are pretty daunting to me.
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by charlieg »

Jetryl and Dave do have a point, but they also miss a point too. Games can be designed by people who are not programmers. An example in the open source community is FIFE and now PARPG which were created and managed by a non-programmer. However, he put up a lot more than a blog before putting out requests for programmers. The design documents are thorough, he has organized the entire project. If you want people to work on your project, you have to provide a lot more than just an idea.
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Dave »

charlieg wrote:Games can be designed by people who are not programmers.
They can be, but it's generally unlikely to happen in the Open Source community unless the design is done by someone who is going to contribute in some other major way -- like through art contributions.

Any good games programmer has at least half a dozen ideas for games floating around in their head at any time. All of these ideas are probably good ideas and could result in a good game if the right amount of effort is plugged into them. Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of such ideas are ever going to see the light of day due to lack of time and energy to implement them.

I don't understand why a good game programmer would implement someone else's idea and design. That is the most fun part, and you're handing it to someone else.

Maybe it happens in some cases -- for instance, if the designer and programmer know each other in the real world and are friends. But generally, I'd say it's rather unlikely.

Not that non-programmers/non-artists can't contribute a lot to Open Source game development; they can. But expecting to lead a new project, I think, is not very realistic.

David
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Phenoca »

I was unable to connect to the Crossfire client when I initially installed the game several years ago, due to my IP-address being a dynamic IP address, and thus not able to be recognized by the server.

I have a router now (fixed).
Jastiv wrote:I know we need a better free-software replacement for games such as Ultima Online and Diablo.
Hmm...
Yes - most similar games... Well, "many" similar games are retail.
Though I could list 3-5 substitutes (and perhaps 20 games with similar gameplay but non-isometric design). Make that 5-7.
VS wrote:Get a release, where player can do something.
I disagree. A limited client is less motivating than an array of screenshots.

I agree - you have to be the lead coder, if you want to design a 2D game.
3D games... Well it depends on the budget.

Edit: Try getting involved in other game-design project at gamedev before starting your own from scratch (or at least post there to get advice from a wider array of programmers).
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Re: Wograld - our graphics requirements are less demanding

Post by Jetrel »

charlieg wrote:Jetryl and Dave do have a point, but they also miss a point too. Games can be designed by people who are not programmers. An example in the open source community is FIFE and now PARPG which were created and managed by a non-programmer. However, he put up a lot more than a blog before putting out requests for programmers. The design documents are thorough, he has organized the entire project. If you want people to work on your project, you have to provide a lot more than just an idea.
:roll: First of all, shame on you for mentioning PARPG, because they've literally just started. They're completely in the planning stages last I checked (a week or two ago?) and haven't begun the actual work of creating stuff - they don't even know what engine they're using yet. They are most emphatically not an example of a "successful" project - rather, they're an example of a "promising, upcoming project." That's like using Windows 7 as an example of a successful operating system.



I had a little discussion recently with barra (the lead dude you mentioned at FIFE/PARPG), and although he's quite a cool guy, we philosophically really disagree on this. In my opinion, the jury is still out on those projects in terms of proving their model of team organization.

FIFE was originally an "free-engine-clone" (like wargus/stratagus) for Fallout; it was AFAIK drop-in compatible with fallout's resources. The key thing to note was that I think the project was only possible to muster because there were already several programmers out there who liked fallout a lot and were already obsessed with it. It was a matter of gathering a bunch of people who all wanted to do the exact same thing into a team. And I think that's the precise difference - under no other circumstances would you have that kind of perfect agreement on "game design" decisions. Which is a huge, huge difference.

The moment you have a design disagreement, is the moment a team like that falls apart, and reverts to the "design direction" of the person who is working the hardest. Because they're not going to make a game they don't like. Only an insane masochist would willingly work on something they didn't like, for no pay - that's a definition of slavery. FIFE worked without the "lead programmer/artist" also being the project lead, because everyone there was working on a game design they all, by default, loved. And so far as I can tell, it wouldn't have worked under any other circumstances.
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