The problems I have with Wesnoth

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Great_Mage_Atari
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The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Great_Mage_Atari » March 19th, 2013, 10:48 pm

So I was playing Wesnoth the other day (which happens once in a great while now), and I realized something. I really didn't enjoy the game as much as I used to. I mean, sure, the TBS and the RPG factors were still appealing, but it just got... boring. I haven't really been contributing to the forums for a while, as I really haven't cared much for what goes on in them anymore seeing as how practically nobody does. Anyway, here's a few things I'd just like to share about the problems I have with Wesnoth:

1) I have to download the game every time a new version comes out. There's no in-game updates and there's hardly any new content added to the main game itself. I haven't seen a new mainline campaign in a while, and the ones they have are just too repetitive for me to play over and over. I'd rather have the option to directly update my game from within the game if I really don't want to keep the outdated version.
2) There's a hypocritical form governing that goes into the actual developing of Wesnoth. The "higher-ups" are typically biased in their opinion of others and their contribution to the game. Those they have known for a while and kiss their boots are typically given more attention than those who have talent and are lesser known around the forum. However, many of the mods here are hypocritical in their ways, claiming that being overly judgmental is taboo and results in punishment, while most of the time the mod is the instigator. If a mod doesn't like what you have to say only for the fact that they disagree with you, say goodbye to your speech privileges in the forums.
3) There is pretty much no talk about this game. Each and every person I have talked to about Wesnoth has no idea what this game is. There's very little advertising or activity done by any of the game heads to promote the game, which is probably the reason for its steady decline of users on the forums and in the Online Multiplayer games. Not only do you have to maintain a good game, but you also need to promote it in some way.
4) Wesnoth is too repetitive. Most of the mainline campaigns are dull and droll, with very little excitement or differences between them other than the factions. The story lines are basically the same, and the campaigns all involve most of the same objectives each scenario. I just believe that there is something that is needed to make the game just a bit more exciting for everyone who plays.

Well, that's all I got for now. Just thought I'd share some thought will all of you who read the forums. I'll answer questions you have about this if you care to ask any. Feel free to comment.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by wolkenwand » March 19th, 2013, 11:31 pm

i'll comment your statement about the "higher-ups" . i agree with you, and i think almost every software had this kind of "government", even if that is open source softwate. The community can give bug report or suggestion ( or modify the software with greater ability if it is an open source ) but in the end the developer still the one who choose what kind of input they will take or shunt. There are positive side in this kind of development, which is the software will stay "pure" as the developer intended to.
that is all, sorry for my bad english.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by shadowm » March 20th, 2013, 12:07 am

Great_Mage_Atari wrote:1) I have to download the game every time a new version comes out. There's no in-game updates [...]
There is simply no interest from the current development team to deal with the complexity of implementing an in-game updates system that can work across every single platform we officially (Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, OpenPandora) or non-officially (e.g. FreeBSD, AmigaOS) support. Everyone is free to propose ideas, but you have to keep in mind that Wesnoth is distributed through multiple different channels: implementing this for Windows and Mac OS X could be mostly trivial, but then there’s platforms like Linux and the BSD family where Wesnoth is often obtained from a distribution and installed in locations that can only be modified with superuser/admin (root) credentials, so you would need to take that into account, plus the fact that the distribution (e.g. Debian) may eventually need to update Wesnoth on its own. One could say that the most appropriate solution for Linux at least would be for us to provide a generic binary that could be guaranteed to work on most distributions and had a ‘light’ upgrade mechanism built into it, but guaranteeing that it will work on most distributions is a whole can of worms on its own right. I personally can say that I have considered a few schemes to implement what you are requesting, but I have neither the expertise nor the energy to work on such a thing all by myself.

As for Windows, Zaroth had attempted to provide differential (still manual, though) upgrades of some sort a while ago, but that effort was unfortunately left hanging since he could not continue contributing for reasons beyond our control.
Great_Mage_Atari wrote:2) There's a hypocritical form governing that goes into the actual developing of Wesnoth. The "higher-ups" are typically biased in their opinion of others and their contribution to the game. Those they have known for a while and kiss their boots are typically given more attention than those who have talent and are lesser known around the forum. However, many of the mods here are hypocritical in their ways, claiming that being overly judgmental is taboo and results in punishment, while most of the time the mod is the instigator. If a mod doesn't like what you have to say only for the fact that they disagree with you, say goodbye to your speech privileges in the forums.
What.

I assume that by ‘mods’ you mean the actual forum moderators (the green suits). Did you know they are—for the most part—non-developers and inactive developers and that they do not have a say on the development of the game?

In either case I’m not sure where this statement comes from (or where it intends to go, for that matter).

*dons developer hat*
Great_Mage_Atari wrote:3) There is pretty much no talk about this game. Each and every person I have talked to about Wesnoth has no idea what this game is. There's very little advertising or activity done by any of the game heads to promote the game, which is probably the reason for its steady decline of users on the forums and in the Online Multiplayer games. Not only do you have to maintain a good game, but you also need to promote it in some way.
Our development team is comprised solely of volunteers who donate their very little spare time to this open-source endeavor. We do not have a marketing team or any other such thing that would require us to have an amount of people permanently available and helping around. This means that the only way to promote the project is to have the players do it themselves if they wish to do so — this is not a requirement nor an official recommendation, nor it is something specific to the Battle for Wesnoth Project in particular. Many open-source or independently developed games have only become popular via word-of-mouth for the aforementioned reason.

That said, the maximum of concurrent connections to the stable (1.10.x) MP server for this year so far is 288, and the average is 139.53. That does not seem that bad to me. I personally would be interested to see the stats that led you to decide that there is a “steady decline of users”.
Great_Mage_Atari wrote:4) Wesnoth is too repetitive. Most of the mainline campaigns are dull and droll, with very little excitement or differences between them other than the factions. The story lines are basically the same, and the campaigns all involve most of the same objectives each scenario. I just believe that there is something that is needed to make the game just a bit more exciting for everyone who plays.
The mainline campaigns’ dullness is pretty much a misfeature that certain “people” (who may or may not be a single individual in reality) on the team enjoy for whatever inscrutable reasons they might have, but I think the way you put it sounds a little too extreme. For example, HttT, UtBS, DW, DiD, LoW, and TRoW all follow the “doomed hometown” trope at the beginning, but SoF, THoT, AToTB, and DM don’t. UtBS’ gameplay tends to involve more complicated objectives than “defeat all enemy leaders” and for this very reason some people don’t like it, whereas THoT is “defeat all enemy leaders” until the very last scenario. I would like to say that there is something for everyone in the mainline line-up, but then again I can’t help but agree that it has become bloated over time with campaigns whose only purpose is to built upon Wesnoth’s history (as in the fictional kingdom, not the game) instead of keeping players engaged. This might well be why MP tends to be more popular than single-player amongst a part of our user base.
wolkenwand wrote:i'll comment your statement about the "higher-ups" . i agree with you, and i think almost every software had this kind of "government", even if that is open source softwate. The community can give bug report or suggestion ( or modify the software with greater ability if it is an open source ) but in the end the developer still the one who choose what kind of input they will take or shunt.
If you want to put it in political terms, this is a do-ocracy where things happen as people make an effort to make them happen, and people get then recognized by what they have done rather than by what they say. This is an obvious consequence of Wesnoth being run by volunteers, as I said before — volunteers with day jobs, families, or studies to attend to.
Author of the unofficial UtBS sequels Invasion from the Unknown and After the Storm.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by wolkenwand » March 20th, 2013, 1:40 am

yeah, you right shadomaster the community can contribute, although not all the contribution will make it to official line. The developer or you say volunteer ( the developer one ) in wesnoth still choose what kind of modification will put in official. and the plus side of open source is anyone can modify it until their heart content but still in order to enter the official it must have same vision with the "official" developer and this is important so the official product will not stray from its intended path.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Great_Mage_Atari » March 20th, 2013, 1:43 am

Shadowmaster is the prime example of how forum members are ridiculed with the hypocritical crap from forum mods and admins. Serves no purpose other than adding ridiculing sarcasm to a somewhat insightful post to the forum.

*claps*

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by shadowm » March 20th, 2013, 1:57 am

wolkenwand wrote:yeah, you right shadomaster the community can contribute, although not all the contribution will make it to official line. The developer or you say volunteer ( the developer one ) in wesnoth still choose what kind of modification will put in official. and the plus side of open source is anyone can modify it until their heart content but still in order to enter the official it must have same vision with the "official" developer and this is important so the official product will not stray from its intended path.
User-made content falls under my response to GMA’s fourth point above, but code patches generally have a higher chance of being accepted when they are well done and aligned with our interests — most of the time when we reject patches it’s for purely technical reasons.

The process for user-made content is incredibly complicated and frustrating; having participated in it on behalf of other authors twice (almost thrice), and having created two campaigns of my own, I don’t really think aspiring to get one’s campaign included in mainline is a very important or fulfilling goal in the long-term. Once your content is in mainline, pretty much anyone (in particular one Eric S. Raymond) from the development team is free to edit it (or rewrite it, in some cases) as they see fit if you disappear from the community for whatever reason. Some people may not mind this kind of thing and might even appreciate the changes, but not all of us (regardless of whether we are authors or players) are like-minded.

Just to put an example, A Tale of Two Brothers started as a very simple campaign with a very simple excuse plot, and it has evolved over time to contain more dialogue and backstory than it originally had. This may as well be a good thing, since the campaign’s scenario count and difficulty has remained mostly unchanged and fit for its purpose (an introductory campaign), and the additional content may serve to keep first-time players engaged as they try the game. On the other hand, characters in various campaigns have been renamed, relocated, and even rewritten (one character from Liberty being a prime example) long after the original authors have left the community for time and energy reasons.

Anyway...
Great_Mage_Atari wrote:Shadowmaster is the prime example of how forum members are ridiculed with the hypocritical crap from forum mods and admins. Serves no purpose other than adding ridiculing sarcasm to a somewhat insightful post to the forum.
I suppose this is a retort to my answer to your second point? It was not meant to ridicule you.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Great_Mage_Atari » March 20th, 2013, 2:00 am

Great_Mage_Atari wrote:Shadowmaster is the prime example of how forum members are ridiculed with the hypocritical crap from forum mods and admins. Serves no purpose other than adding ridiculing sarcasm to a somewhat insightful post to the forum.
I suppose this is a retort to my answer to your second point? It was not meant to ridicule you.[/quote]
That's my point though. I tell people not to even bother to sign up for the forums when they download the game for the exact reason that posting here is nearly pointless. Mods don't accept ideas and mostly just argue with the regular forum members over stupid things like this.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Pentarctagon » March 20th, 2013, 2:04 am

When you say mods do you mean us green people, or anyone and everyone on the staff?
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by shadowm » March 20th, 2013, 2:05 am

Great_Mage_Atari wrote:That's my point though. I tell people not to even bother to sign up for the forums when they download the game for the exact reason that posting here is nearly pointless. Mods don't accept ideas and mostly just argue with the regular forum members over stupid things like this.
Point 2 aside, I don’t think I was so much arguing with you as I was agreeing with you over some points and disagreeing with others and trying to engage in an actual conversation to discuss what could be done by the community at large to address some of those problems. But if you feel I am being hostile for some reason (even though the only hostility I perceive here is coming from you), I may as well stop posting in this topic.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Gambit » March 20th, 2013, 2:30 am

And you, Great_Mage_Atari, are the prime example of how developers are harassed with entitled crap. Serves no purpose... period. It's quite a long walk from "insightful". If I had a mind, I could make some far less shallow criticism of the team. But I'm not so rude and unappreciative as that.

Here you have this game created by hundreds of volunteers from all over the world in their spare time and delivered for free in more than one way. You don't have to pay for it, and they have relinquished nearly all exclusive copyrights to the world at large.

They pay - out of pocket for a sizable amount of time before the various phone ports - to host official multiplayer servers for it so that the community needn't be fractured among many disparate servers that come and go at the whim of their owners.

They've never asked for any donations. They've never locked features behind a paywall. As individuals, they have never taken a cent for their work (apart from the occasional art commission recently).

And because all that wasn't gracious enough for them they decided to throw a community forum and official wiki into the mix for us all (they themselves are quite content to rely on mailing lists for communication and their own memories for documentation). They document each new feature on the wiki. They respond to well presented ideas on the forums. They play with us on the multiplayer servers. We have the developers' ears here at Wesnoth more than at any other video game I've ever been involved with.


Now how do you decide to use those resources? How do you choose to use the time they spend with us? Not to create anything useful. Not to help them out with this endeavor. Not to contribute to the game in any meaningful way. Not even to make gentle suggestions. Which is something many who are also incapable of being useful choose to do in the Ideas forum while acknowledging that the developers certainly don't owe us anything.

No no, that'd be too much effort. Instead you use these resources to insult them. To demand more from them.


I have to download the game every time a new version comes out. There's no in-game updates and there's hardly any new content added to the main game itself.
If someone stops complaining long enough to make this, then we'll have it. How do you think people become part of the development team? Do you think they just spring out of holes in the ground? No. When people put their effort where their mouth is and do some work, they become developers.
I haven't seen a new mainline campaign in a while, and the ones they have are just too repetitive for me to play over and over. [...] Wesnoth is too repetitive. Most of the mainline campaigns are dull and droll, with very little excitement or differences between them other than the factions.
Mainline campaigns come from high quality user-made content with willing authors. Under the Burning Suns, Dead Water, Delfador's Memoirs, and many many more.
Those they have known for a while and kiss their boots are typically given more attention than those who have talent and are lesser known around the forum.
Developers favor people they are familiar with over those who only show up to whine? Shocking.

Bring forth these lesser known people with talent.
There is pretty much no talk about this game. Each and every person I have talked to about Wesnoth has no idea what this game is.
Wesnoth is an independent project. There isn't any room in the budget for annoying advertisements on other sites. It's up to us all to spread the game by word of mouth.
If a mod doesn't like what you have to say only for the fact that they disagree with you, say goodbye to your speech privileges in the forums.
If only.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Sapient » March 20th, 2013, 2:37 am

Let me just ask this: what other strategy game, turn based or otherwise, have you played for more hours than Wesnoth? I agree that eventually most players are going to reach a point where it becomes dull and move on with their lives. But is that really such a bad thing? Does that mean Wesnoth's devs have failed? I think not. Better to have a clear vision and fulfil it than to cater to every new whim of radical alteration to gameplay. Take that new idea and use it to make a new game. Use your boredom as a springboard to motivation. Or offer to maintain a mainline campaign and show how it could be better. I agree there is room for improvement. Btw leave the immature insults out please.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by 8680 » March 20th, 2013, 4:03 am

Great_Mage_Atari wrote:However, many of the mods here are hypocritical in their ways, claiming that being overly judgmental is taboo and results in punishment, while most of the time the mod is the instigator.
Please provide evidence to back your accusation.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by ancestral » March 20th, 2013, 6:06 am

I can’t agree more with Sapient here.

You know, as far as boring and dull campaigns and scenarios, there have still been some truly creative and inspiring add-ons, like To Lands Unknown and so many experimental add-ons, RPGs, zombie crawlers and a large number of alternative eras and factions.

Yet there are many boundaries that have yet to be pushed. Economic turn-based strategy games, story-based choose-your-own adventure… I’ve been in a part of a live roleplaying game with a DM and it was awesome.

Wesnoth may not be that perfect game. It has flaws. But my goodness the quality trumps most (if not nearly every) open source games in existence today. We’re lucky to have this. And shadowmaster is right — this is a do-ocracy. Things only get better when someone makes it happen. How did The Battle for Wesnoth come to be? From the overly ambitious goals and dreams of an aspiring game designer, probably not that much unlike many of us here.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by lipk » March 20th, 2013, 8:14 am

I agree that eventually most players are going to reach a point where it becomes dull and move on with their lives. But is that really such a bad thing? Does that mean Wesnoth's devs have failed? I think not.
QFT. I don't understand why do some people think that Wesnoth should somehow provide life-time entertainment for the whole humanity. I don't play my favorite games, watch my favorites movie or read my favorites book over and over and over again. You've get enough of everything after a while.
Mods don't accept ideas and mostly just argue with the regular forum members over stupid things like this.
'Open source' means that you have absolutely no excuses not to work on your own ideas. Go ahead, get the source, show us that you can do it better. You don't know programming? I'm sorry, I didn't learn it to work on other people's stuff.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Telchin » March 20th, 2013, 9:57 am

Honestly, I like that the developers have (or at least seem to have) a clear vision of what to add and where to go. I don´t say that I agree with all their decisions, there are multiple things on the FPI list that I think would be cool. However, I know that the developers don´t owe me anything (more like the players owe them for making the game for free) and if everything somebody liked in another game/ thinks is "realistic"/ saw in a dream was added to the game the result would be what English calls "Too many cooks spoiled the broth." (In Czech we would say "like when doggie and pussycat made a cake")
Spoiler:
And there are always the add-ons. Just because a feature isn´t going to be added to the mainline doesn´t mean you can´t (or shouldn´t) make it or that it doesn´t exist. I was bored with playing those same Tolkien-style factions, so I made an UMC where you command sapient molluscs. Do I demand my campaign to be added to mainline? No, because I´m aware that it contradicts Wesnoth canon and I respect the rights of the people who make the game to set their standards for the game´s expansion. Other people implemented even crazier ideas in their add-ons. RPG elements, technology researching, spell casting, tower defense, sci-fi setting, same-sex marriage, whatever. If you search the list of add-ons long enough you can find almost anything you want and if you don´t you have the tools to make it yourself.

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