Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

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What would you like to ultimately see happen with the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate) faction?

Poll ended at April 11th, 2018, 9:20 pm

Add them to the Default Era
22
59%
Return them to the Add-On Server
15
41%
 
Total votes: 37

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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by Whiskeyjack » March 16th, 2018, 10:25 pm

Round and round and round it goes, where it stops - nobody knows.


Re: topic

Voted include, but I'd prefer them to be solidly integrated into the game world beforehand. Drakes show up in a lot of campaigns, but the Dunefolk are nowhere and a cameo won't solve this. A new campaign would probably be the easiest way, but heavy retcon-ing could also work...

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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by name » March 18th, 2018, 1:01 am

Pentarctagon wrote:
March 16th, 2018, 10:18 pm
Of all the popular user made factions and eras on the addons server, how many have been submitted for consideration to be added to mainline?
Enough that the original Frequently Proposed Ideas list actively dissuaded people from submitting new factions and races for mainline consideration. The original list no longer exists on the forum, but you can read the relevant excerpts from it in this post by a developer all the way back in 2005. So from that we know that very early on there were many submissions and then these submissions were actively dissuaded as a matter of forum policy.

Also, that no-new-races/factions policy even says that submissions like easterling humans would be prioritized over those like dark elves (its own examples), which is extremely arbitrary when you consider the success of the undead and drakes (which I believe were even included by around that time), both of which might have been turned away by it if not for good timing or good fortune. At the same time, this policy actively encouraged the submission of the khalifate/dunefolk faction that has been an unending failure (khalifate has been in development hell since two or three years after wesnoth itself was first released).

Fortunately, it seems this dismissive policy regarding factions and races was left out of the 2011 version (around the same time khalifate was first mainlined) of the Frequently Proposed Ideas list (although the policy against new units was not). Yet as an old timer, I never even noticed this section being dropped, I thought the rule for mainline faction submissions was still as it always was-- "Don't call us, we'll call you!" And honestly, up until fairly recently (with the wesnoth project suddenly acquiring a much more bazaar than cathedral feel to its development and forum policies) this is the impression I have gotten for how most types of new content submissions, rather than improvements to existing content, are seen and treated by the project. So if there is a shortage of people actively submitting factions and races for mainline multiplayer inclusion, that seems no surprise to me.

The solution for all of this, if there is desire for more mainline multiplayer faction(s) at this point, is to firstly drop this lackluster, endlessly unfolding disaster that is the khalifate. Then, we use much more organic sorting mechanisms like polling, recording the number of games played online using each different UMC faction, and getting opinions from highly experienced players to find out which UMC addon factions are the best candidates for mainline. And pick from those. You could even have a new mainline era for the express purpose of showcasing and testing out these UMC factions of exceptional popularity, quality and consistency with the story world.

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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by doofus-01 » March 18th, 2018, 1:37 am

Cold Steel wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:01 am
You could even have a new mainline era for the express purpose of showcasing and testing out these UMC factions of exceptional popularity, quality and consistency with the story world.
A problem we have is that most people, especially for MP, stick with stable BfW versions. That means very little exposure & feedback while there is still time to make changes in development BfW version. If there were some sort of add-on that could be changed/updated independent of the game itself (like any add-on can), yet wasn't going to get buried in UMC obscurity (unlike most add-ons), it might allow development of more units/factions/eras/whatever.

I'd imagine it would require a GUI change to get such a thing noticed by most users, so it is probably too late for BfW 1.14.
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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by Pentarctagon » March 18th, 2018, 1:40 am

Cold Steel wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:01 am
Pentarctagon wrote:
March 16th, 2018, 10:18 pm
Of all the popular user made factions and eras on the addons server, how many have been submitted for consideration to be added to mainline?
Enough that the original Frequently Proposed Ideas list actively dissuaded people from submitting new factions and races for mainline consideration. The original list no longer exists on the forum, but you can read the relevant excerpts from it in this post by a developer all the way back in 2005. So from that we know that very early on there were many submissions and then these submissions were actively dissuaded as a matter of forum policy.

Also, that no-new-races/factions policy even says that submissions like easterling humans would be prioritized over those like dark elves (its own examples), which is extremely arbitrary when you consider the success of the undead and drakes (which I believe were even included by around that time), both of which might have been turned away by it if not for good timing or good fortune. At the same time, this policy actively encouraged the submission of the khalifate/dunefolk faction that has been an unending failure (khalifate has been in development hell since two or three years after wesnoth itself was first released).

Fortunately, it seems this dismissive policy regarding factions and races was left out of the 2011 version (around the same time khalifate was first mainlined) of the Frequently Proposed Ideas list (although the policy against new units was not). Yet as an old timer, I never even noticed this section being dropped, I thought the rule for mainline faction submissions was still as it always was-- "Don't call us, we'll call you!" And honestly, up until fairly recently (with the wesnoth project suddenly acquiring a much more bazaar than cathedral feel to its development and forum policies) this is the impression I have gotten for how most types of new content submissions, rather than improvements to existing content, are seen and treated by the project. So if there is a shortage of people actively submitting factions and races for mainline multiplayer inclusion, that seems no surprise to me.
Alright, well...

1) That same post you linked to mentioned that factions were being proposed for mainline without art, so from that alone, it sounds like it was more aimed at stemming a tide a crappy submissions. Saying that outlandish factions are less likely to be accepted also seems more like a simple statement of fact than anything else. And in fact, that same post also states "although a few more might be accepted, if they fit the feel of the game".

1a) That post is from 13 years ago. No matter what may have been said back then, things can and do change.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:01 am
The solution for all of this, if there is desire for more mainline multiplayer faction(s) at this point, is to firstly drop this lackluster, endlessly unfolding disaster that is the khalifate. Then, we use much more organic sorting mechanisms like polling, recording the number of games played online using each different UMC faction, and getting opinions from highly experienced players to sort out which UMC addon factions are the best candidates for mainline. And pick from those. You could even have a new era for the express purpose of showcasing and testing out these UMC factions of exceptional popularity, quality and consistency with the story world.
2) The Dunefolk are getting attention and being improved for the first time in a long time - the faction and units have been renamed to help with consistency and reduce controversy, a race description has been written(though won't be committed for 1.14.0 due to the string freeze), and there's an ongoing thread about their balance(and even some initial changes have already been done). To say now, of all times, that they're an "endlessly unfolding disaster" is hyperbole at best.

3) I look forward to seeing you put that together then, and come up with a proposal. You mentioned before about the "spirit of open source development" and, well, here's a great chance for you to take advantage of the fact that Wesnoth is open source and that changes to it can be proposed by anyone who's interested and willing to put in the time and effort.

Hopefully that doesn't come off as sounding like I am opposed to your idea - if an After the Fall era were to be proposed, for example, containing factions like the Quenoth and Shaxthals, I think that would be very interesting - however I am not going to be the one who tries to put all that together.

4) I know I've said this a couple times before, but I'll say it again: The Dunefolk are not getting removed from Wesnoth at this time. And while it is beyond obvious by now that you dislike this fact, it is a fact nonetheless.

Additionally, even if the above poll was strongly in favor of returning them to the add-ons server, which it decidedly isn't, it is already far too close to 1.14's release to be removing an entire faction from mainline.
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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by Krogen » March 18th, 2018, 3:02 am

The way i see it, there will never be a full agreement at this point about anything or even something close to that. Balance of the game is the same for... how many years...? 6 or 7, im not sure. Yet people constantly change their opinions from time to time (me included) and even the best ones have very distant views about certain things.
The thing is, there is that big random factor in the game. RNG can and will always cause more mess than imbalancement. Throughout the years the game reached the point where out of all the versions, it's the closest to be balanced (still not there ofc). Considering the influence of the RNG (and sometimes map issues), problems will never be clean, let alone solutions. Oh and don't forget that the player base is probably the half of what it's used to be. Even the good players will not be able to get it right and see the picture as it is, or at least the majority of them. Some bad games and their previous views can change drastically. And even if someone stick to their opinions, there will be five others who disagree completely. That's why i don't believe there will ever be any balance changes at this point.

And that's why i don't think it's right that there are only two options in this voting or that it exists in the first place. People can't even come to terms about the current six factions, how could they possible judge and balance a 7th?
The only right way is compromise. Let everyone decide it for themselves. There should be two Default eras, as equals, or hell, even the one with 7 factions can be the official. As long as there is a loophole, i don't mind, and i don't think anyone else does. Also i prefer the old one but it never bothered me that there was another. And i don't think that supporters of the Dunefolk will mind if there will be a Default Classic, or whatever it's name should be. And this isn't about just the next version, it's about all the versions to come in the future. Official campaign can be made with Dunefolk, they can be added to the world, or even a tournament with them would be a good thing. Probably i would participate too if it's in the right time. But don't force it on anyone by making the Default with 7 factions the only option, not just in the next version, but never ever.
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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by SigurdFireDragon » March 18th, 2018, 5:42 pm

The whole journey of moving to add the faction to default seems like pushing a boulder uphill.
So, I only listed two options in order to best clarify those two options. Other polls can be done later.


As far as political undercurrents:
I got the impression that most of the people opposed to the faction & unit renaming were doing so because:
1. Western culture has conditioned them to react that way (blindly supporting), because of the associations of the faction to an issue in western culture.
AND
2. They hadn't given a single thought as ease of use for the unit names or to whether it was fair for the names to only be understandable in one language; or to have a direct religious reference in the game, when its the thing to avoid real-world references.

In other words, people were reflexively putting a moral fashion ahead of the good of the project.

I've seen some people when presented with #2 change their opinion on aspects of the above.

For those of us that are Project Members, I hope we all ask ourselves, especially in contentious issues, "What is best for the BfW Project" and think about how the issues we are considering relate to that. We may have different opinions, but if we approach things from that perspective then I think things will turn out ok.


doofus-01 wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:37 am
A problem we have is that most people, especially for MP, stick with stable BfW versions. That means very little exposure & feedback while there is still time to make changes in development BfW version. If there were some sort of add-on that could be changed/updated independent of the game itself (like any add-on can), yet wasn't going to get buried in UMC obscurity (unlike most add-ons), it might allow development of more units/factions/eras/whatever.

I'd imagine it would require a GUI change to get such a thing noticed by most users, so it is probably too late for BfW 1.14.
I imagine that the MP people do it because they want to rely on being able to play a match when they want to without issues. It's not currently reasonable to expect MP players to move to the master branch.
So, I agree with the add-on idea, I've had something similar in mind (Official "Balancing Era" or some catchy name). To improve balance, we need rapid cycles of playtesting/changes, and what you describe seems to be the best way by far.

MathBrush wrote:
March 16th, 2018, 4:08 pm
As for campaigns, the drake campaign has been stalled for a decade or so...
I'm intending to fix this in 1.15

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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by name » March 19th, 2018, 6:37 am

doofus-01 wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:37 am
If there were some sort of add-on that could be changed/updated independent of the game itself (like any add-on can), yet wasn't going to get buried in UMC obscurity (unlike most add-ons), it might allow development of more units/factions/eras/whatever.
If mainline eras were made independently update-able, and updates were auto-detected and displayed on the game creation screen where you choose the era, that should get players' attention. I have no idea how much work it would be to implement though.
Pentarctagon wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:40 am
Saying that outlandish factions are less likely to be accepted also seems more like a simple statement of fact than anything else. [...] 1a) That post is from 13 years ago. No matter what may have been said back then, things can and do change.
The example used, dark elves, is not more outlandish than most of the existing mainline (popular and successful) factions. The policy statement is not absolutely dismissive but it is generally dismissive and unnecessarily so. Simply stating "do not submit factions lacking artwork" would have been enough.

Based on the remaining forum evidence and my own recollection, I believe this policy notice did not change until 2011 (as I said). So it was long standing during formative years when the community was strong and growing. And around the time it was dropped the khalifate was added to mainline.
Pentarctagon wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:40 am
To say now, of all times, that they're an "endlessly unfolding disaster" is hyperbole at best.
It is not hyperbole, as just now at the tail end of a development cycle when only stable changes are supposed to be made, they are getting pushed into default era. After all this time idle and failing, a few experimental changes are made and instantly, without any time to evaluate the results, they are effectively declared stable and ready to represent the best and most polished the game has to offer. And so does a new chapter begin in this endlessly unfolding disaster. It honestly baffles me, the reckless, seemingly completely irrational drive to artificially push khalifate forward and hold them up at any cost. No other aspect of the game is handled like this.
Pentarctagon wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:40 am
Hopefully that doesn't come off as sounding like I am opposed to your idea - if an After the Fall era were to be proposed, for example, containing factions like the Quenoth and Shaxthals, I think that would be very interesting - however I am not going to be the one who tries to put all that together.
I never said or imagined that any such thing should be your personal burden to maintain. You administrate the forums and that is burden enough for anyone. In fact, the whole point of such a system is that it would need to be based on the will and interesting of the wider community to choose the factions of a new mainline era. It should not be the burden or subject to the whims of you, me or any individual alone. That said, I do not have any problem personally suggesting more detailed proposals to get things rolling and maybe stumble through frankencoding faction/era wml.
Pentarctagon wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 1:40 am
4) I know I've said this a couple times before, but I'll say it again: The Dunefolk are not getting removed from Wesnoth at this time. And while it is beyond obvious by now that you dislike this fact, it is a fact nonetheless.
I never mentioned the time table for returning the faction to addons.

I will say this though, if it is not too late to be throwing imbalanced (and unpopular) khalifate/dunefolk into default era then it is certainly not too late to remove such a faction from mainline. Inclusion of such an "experimental" faction into what is put forward as the most stable part of the game has a much greater potential to damage the game and its reputation of quality, than does just removing it.
Krogen wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 3:02 am
But don't force it on anyone by making the Default with 7 factions the only option, not just in the next version, but never ever.
The way this situation has been handled since the beginning and continues to be, I deeply fear and largely expect the opposite is exactly what would happen; the classical 6 faction default era would be allowed for a time as a temporary appeasement and then removed at a future date, likely sooner rather than later.

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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by Pentarctagon » March 19th, 2018, 6:59 am

Cold Steel wrote:
March 19th, 2018, 6:37 am
I will say this though, if it is not too late to be throwing imbalanced (and unpopular) khalifate/dunefolk into default era then it is certainly not too late to remove such a faction from mainline. Inclusion of such an "experimental" faction into what is put forward as the most stable part of the game has a much greater potential to damage the game and its reputation of quality, than does just removing it.
I can't imagine that the Dunefolk will be added to Default for 1.14, regardless of whatever else has been said in this thread. The first Release Candidate (what is supposed to become 1.14 as-is, aside from any bug fixes) has already been created and uploaded to SourceForge, though a formal announcement hasn't been made yet since the Mac version isn't ready yet. Even by the strange standards of 1.13's development cycle, making such a change now would be extremely unusual.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 19th, 2018, 6:37 am
I never said or imagined that any such thing should be your personal burden to maintain. You administrate the forums and that is burden enough for anyone. In fact, the whole point of such a system is that it would need to be based on the will and interesting of the wider community to choose the factions of a new mainline era. It should not be the burden or subject to the whims of you, me or any individual alone. That said, I do not have any problem personally suggesting more detailed proposals to get things rolling and maybe stumble through frankencoding faction/era wml.
My point, as poorly worded as it was in hindsight, is that one or more people need to do the actual proposing, organizing, coding, etc. If there isn't anyone to take the lead on those things, then it will end up sitting around doing nothing, much like the Khalifate did from after their creator left until recently.
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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by skeptical_troll » March 19th, 2018, 6:05 pm

Krogen wrote:
March 18th, 2018, 3:02 am
... or even a tournament with them would be a good thing...
Isn't this an idea worth considering? It could be a friendly league/tournament with the goal of gathering data to balance the dunefolk faction. There could be best-of-3 games in the format of Dunefolk vs Other Faction; Other Faction vs Dunefolk and, if a 3rd game is needed, mirror Dunefolk or just random. A special era can be used to allow tweaking stats between rounds to experiment a bit. Winners can be rewarded with some honorific title to showcase in their forum profile, like 'great master of dunefolk balancing' :mrgreen:

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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by name » March 20th, 2018, 5:01 am

Pentarctagon wrote:
March 19th, 2018, 6:59 am
I can't imagine that the Dunefolk will be added to Default for 1.14, regardless of whatever else has been said in this thread.
Seems we will soon find out.
Pentarctagon wrote:
March 19th, 2018, 6:59 am
My point, as poorly worded as it was in hindsight, is that one or more people need to do the actual proposing, organizing, coding, etc. If there isn't anyone to take the lead on those things, then it will end up sitting around doing nothing, much like the Khalifate did from after their creator left until recently.
Something to keep in mind is that there is no need for a seventh faction in the first place. So if nothing happens, including because no one or more people stepped up to the role of organizer, that only means there is not community interesting in the thing happening. Which is fine. Same goes for if the community could not decide on which faction(s) to uplift into mainline. Something as big as bringing in a new faction should only happen if there is strong positive consensus.

And this should apply to khalifate as well; they should go back to addons and come back in to mainline only when and if they (or a derivative thereof) has received a strong positive consensus (that is, the exact opposite of controversy) on their inclusion. All improvements they have received during their stay in mainline will not be lost but go with them to the addons server. Base sprites, renames, etc. will continue to offer them a competitive, but fair, advantage over other addon factions.

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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by Deciton_Reven » March 20th, 2018, 6:34 am

I'm I the confused one here? Haven't the Dunefolk already been accepted to mainline and these recent topics are just about polishing a Content Update of The Battle for Wesnoth? Like this isn't about getting them in, they're already in, right? Is Cold Steel is just shouting angrily into the sky from the rooftops because he hates being provided with free content for a free game, that was planned years ago?

Is a large portion of the active form, all coming together to fix the problem not exactly what you want to see to prove their worth? Or do the people doing actual work on the actual faction right now not count because they aren't following your vision for it, Cold Steel? I get it, change is scary. I get pretty upset everytime mainline sprites and portraits are changed to reflect a new design. It's in the end, a frankly silly endeavor though and you really shouldn't try to resist change but to embrace it and make the change a good one, because it's changing, you've been told that by people infinitely more important than me that on more than one occasion. Why not help us make the best of it? Like even not trying to actively hinder the resurgence of interest in fixing up the Dunefolk would do miles for not dragging down moral by throwing rocks every step of the way.

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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by Krogen » March 20th, 2018, 5:31 pm

Dunefolk is not mainline yet, they are not in the Default era, it's Default+Dunefolk (well, Khalifate right now). It's basically just an add-on that everybody have, you don't have to install it. The debate is about that should it be the only Default era. From what i've seen, it's obvious that's not gonna happen in the next version. The only reason im commenting here is because i don't want it ever to happen, not one, not five years later, never.

About that tournament: At the highest levels, like 95% of the players choose random all the time. Picked faction vs Picked faction is nowhere near the same as Random vs Random. So, the way it could work: either everybody plays random all the time, or they can pick anything when hosting the game/entering, as long as they didn't see what's the opponent's pick. Random could be picked too of course. It would provide less Dunefolk matches naturally, but those would be the replays you can actually work with. Since Random Dunefolk would face a Random Other. A faction can only be judged properly if you can see how it fares against an unknown opponent.
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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by pyndragon » March 20th, 2018, 6:20 pm

Krogen wrote:
March 20th, 2018, 5:31 pm
Dunefolk is not mainline yet, they are not in the Default era, it's Default+Dunefolk (well, Khalifate right now). It's basically just an add-on that everybody have, you don't have to install it.
This isn't quite the usual definition of mainline. Normally mainline is used to refer to anything shipped in the default distribution rather than externally or through the add-on manager. That being said, the Dunefolk are a bit of an edge-case both in quality (balance, portrait coverage, stability) and integration, so you might consider the faction a sort of pseudo-UMC.
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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by Pentarctagon » March 21st, 2018, 12:06 am

The Dunefolk may not be up to same level of quality, but mainline is everything that is part of the default download of the game. Defining it otherwise is simply incorrect, since mainline is much more than just Default.
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Re: Preferred Fate of the Dunefolk (formerly Khalifate)?

Post by Krogen » March 21st, 2018, 1:54 am

Whatever...
The discussion is clearly about the Default era, that's what i mean, that's what i care about.
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