The problems I have with Wesnoth

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Elfarion
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Elfarion »

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.

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.
Tell me if I'm wrong but basically you seem to say, that there is an elitist group of devs who prevent the innovative stuff from being mainlined or implemented as a basic feature of gameplay. I'm not sure if this caste really exists. And even if it did, it would'nt be such a huge issue as your posts suggests. There are lots of add-ons that provide innovative and creative new aspects of playing BfW. I can hardly imagine that they are not mainlined because some despotic devs are afraid of losing their outstanding position. Furthermore the fact that they are not mainlined doesn't mean they are worse than the mainline stuff. According to what I read in various discussions, mainlining a campaign or implementing something as as a default feature means a lot of continous work and I fully understand anyone who is reluctant to saddle himself with this work if it's not necessary.

Which leads me to my reply on your forth point. If you focus on Mainline Campaigns only, the game soon gets repetitive. This "something" that makes "the game just a bit more exciting for everyone who plays." already exists. It's the huge amount of UMC that you can download by using the add-on button in the main menu. Those guys with talent you spoke about are out there and create innovative UMC. When you're too lazy to search the add-on forum for good stuff, download it and then test it, it's no big surprise that you get bored.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Gambit »

Fun fact: A few high quality add-ons aren't mainlined because their authors want to retain full control and don't want the extra responsibility of needing to maintain such high standards.

Why bother when the add-on server is built right into the main menu, giving your add-on a level of exposure only matched by games like Little Big Planet?


One other thing that isn't brought up enough: if you have the technical skills, you will become a member of the development team. It's basically impossible to not be if you're skilled and persistent.
  1. Get an IRC client
  2. Idle in #wesnoth and #wesnoth-dev on irc.freenode.net
  3. Check out the game from SVN
  4. Visit http://bugs.wesnoth.org/
  5. Fix a bug (There are many bugs across multiple languages. C++, LUA, WML)
  6. Create a patch for the fix
  7. Submit to http://patches.wesnoth.org/
  8. Repeat steps 4-7
  9. You will be noticed. You will be dubbed a "Code & WML Contributor"
  10. Keep doing it. You can get help on IRC. The developers honestly do not bite people except for Ivanovic that one time.
  11. You will get invited to the developers group
  12. Start adding small features and tweaks
  13. Start adding larger features
With very few exceptions, every single person on this three and a half page list followed those steps.

Even me. And that was after I had a history of being a forum troll who was so idiotic as to tell zookeeper that if I ran the forums, I would ban him.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by pyrophorus »

Hi !
I think the path you suggest is very restrictive. Many persons can contribute to Wesnoth in other ways (and first of them, of course, the artists and graphic contributors).

That said, we must admit that the internal functioning of the Wesnoth team is rather opaque. I don't say closed, because everyone can connect to IRC and listen to what is said here. But, very little comes here in the forums and I think this explains partially the OP disappointment, and its use of the word "hypocritical".
For instance:
Gambit wrote: 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.
That's right, and I will not discuss these choices, but the reasons, the process is unknown. I wandered a lot on the forums and never saw a public discussion about adding something in mainline.

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Gambit »

I think the path you suggest is very restrictive. Many persons can contribute to Wesnoth in other ways (and first of them, of course, the artists and graphic contributors).
Yes, those are other ways. I just don't know anything about them personally and can't give any suggestions.
That's right, and I will not discuss these choices, but the reasons, the process is unknown. I wandered a lot on the forums and never saw a public discussion about adding something in mainline.
People seem so terrified to ask questions and they assume ill-intent on the part of the developers. These are the necessary criteria as far as I know:
  1. The campaign must be high quality
  2. Authors must be willing to have the campaign mainlined
  3. Someone trustworthy must be willing to take responsibility for the campaign - forever. Every campaign added to mainline must have someone willing to keep it working with each new version of Wesnoth. Someone to keep it up to date with mainline standards. Someone to fix bugs and balance problems. A while back, Under the Burning Suns was almost removed from mainline because it no longer had anyone.
  4. There may be some requirements related to story/canon. That sort of stuff needs cleared with ESR.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by ancestral »

Part of any community is trying to find in what ways you can and would enjoying contributing. Sometimes it can take a while before you figure out what inspires you, what is needed and what you can do.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Crendgrim »

I think one of the big things about Wesnoth (and a lot other open source project, for that matter) which, as I think, was not stressed enough, is: There is not "the developers" as apposed to "the users", but everyone has the ability to become a developer, and contribute his own ideas and knowledge to the game. For most games out there, you have no way to interact with the developers. For a few (mostly indie titles), the developers listen to ideas from the community. In the case of Wesnoth, "they" are more than willingly to accept you amidst them, if you provide good enough patches.
Arguing that only good patches are accepted, and not everything, has no reason whatsoever. If it wasn't for a strict patch policy, the game would contain way too many bugs.

Just as for Gambit, for me Wesnoth is one of the most open-minded projects I've ever been involved with as well.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Drakefriend »

Gambit wrote:Even me. And that was after I had a history of being a forum troll who was so idiotic as to tell zookeeper that if I ran the forums, I would ban him.
(Hey wait a minute... I can do that now!)
Didn't you?
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by pyrophorus »

Gambit wrote: People seem so terrified to ask questions and they assume ill-intent on the part of the developers. These are the necessary criteria as far as I know:
  1. The campaign must be high quality
  2. Authors must be willing to have the campaign mainlined
  3. Someone trustworthy must be willing to take responsibility for the campaign - forever. Every campaign added to mainline must have someone willing to keep it working with each new version of Wesnoth. Someone to keep it up to date with mainline standards. Someone to fix bugs and balance problems. A while back, Under the Burning Suns was almost removed from mainline because it no longer had anyone.
  4. There may be some requirements related to story/canon. That sort of stuff needs cleared with ESR.
That's right and perfectly rational, but IMO it is a communication problem and what you say can't solve it. It's the common inside/outside situation: people inside and outside have different points of view. From inside, many things are known and obvious to you, which are hidden to people outside, which can imagine anything as you marked it. And you can't say anyone can come and see, using the path to become a developer, because you can't involve hundreds or thousands persons in that way, exactly like you can't add in mainline all what would be worth to be there.

If you look at Wesnoth world communication, two things (at least) are obvious:
- Wesnoth team activity and evolution is hidden. Sometimes, someone pops in the forum as moderator or developer. How ? Why ? Who knows ? I'm not suggesting everyone should give an opinion on these choices. Only that some sort of introduction could be fine: XX joined the dev team, he already did this and that and will work on... YY and ZZ are going on Wesbreak, so we called AA to help moderating the forums...

- A great many of little things finally convey the idea mainline is the only important thing. All ranks, colors and titles in the forums (except moderators) are reserved to mainline contributors. Outside of mainline and support threads, wesnoth team posts are exceptionnal. Some times ago, Blarumyrran suggested to create a subforum to review and rate the addons, but the suggestion was rejected as useless, and I could add much more.
This lack of interest from the Wesnoth team to addons (including MP activity) gives IMO a bad result: it suggests strongly to potential contributors that their work will be valuable only if it get into mainline, and this fixes them an impossible goal (because we know all and everybody can't be mainline or in mainline team). I'm not saying Wesnoth team members aren't interested at all in addons. I'm saying they don't show any interest, and maybe it could be better to value them more explicitly. Take a look at the addon feedback thread of the OP. I suspect a great part of his anger come from being ignored.

Just my two cents...
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Elfarion »

@pyrophorus: I agree with you that it would be nice to know a bit more about the "personnel decisions". Although involving the whole community would drain lot of ressources for little outcome, making announcements can't be that complicated.

I think the importance of mainline is somewhat overestimated. I just began to play some of the numerous UMC that are out there, but I already realised that a lot of them are on the same level regarding gameplay and storytelling as the mainline campaigns are. And from what I read in the forum, some UMC are so popular, that people treat them like mainline. For example IftU and AtS: There's already UMC that refers to these camapigns and an Era based on the factions from them has been released lately. I suppose that other UMC will become de facto mainline due to their quality and popularity. So maybe we should drop the idea that mainline content is somehow "superior" to UMC.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Gambit »

That's right and perfectly rational, but IMO it is a communication problem and what you say can't solve it. It's the common inside/outside situation: people inside and outside have different points of view. From inside, many things are known and obvious to you, which are hidden to people outside, which can imagine anything as you marked it. And you can't say anyone can come and see, using the path to become a developer, because you can't involve hundreds or thousands persons in that way, exactly like you can't add in mainline all what would be worth to be there.
Maybe things have changed and I haven't seen it because I've been "inside" for the past two years, but from the moment I got here back in 2007 I have always been able to strike up a conversation with members of the development and administration teams and ask them about this stuff. From when I was the newbiest of newbs I'd talk about map making with F8_Binds. I'd discuss the community with Turuk. WML with zookeeper and Mythological. Forum spam with shadowmaster. The semi-official canon of Wesnoth's space age (yes, this exists) with ESR. If something interests you, pursue it.

This idea that we're unapproachable seems absurd to me.
If you look at Wesnoth world communication, two things (at least) are obvious:
- Wesnoth team activity and evolution is hidden. Sometimes, someone pops in the forum as moderator or developer. How ? Why ? Who knows ? I'm not suggesting everyone should give an opinion on these choices. Only that some sort of introduction could be fine: XX joined the dev team, he already did this and that and will work on... YY and ZZ are going on Wesbreak, so we called AA to help moderating the forums...
This part interests me a great deal. I am brewing plans to reorganize the forums a bit, and part of that plan is to create an announcements forum to mirror front page announcements. Only developers would be able to make new threads in the announcements forum, but anyone could reply.

If you guys want to see additional content such as developer interviews, and occasional profiles of in-progress features, it would definitely fit in.

Maybe I'll accelerate that part of the plan separately from the rest of the reorganization...
A great many of little things finally convey the idea mainline is the only important thing. All ranks, colors and titles in the forums (except moderators) are reserved to mainline contributors
We have had the UMC Pioneers group for a long time to showcase outstanding innovation in add-ons. It's not feasible to just go around giving everyone a title.
Outside of mainline and support threads, wesnoth team posts are exceptionnal.
This is just plain false. Developers can frequently be found in the WML Workshop, Scenario and Campaign Development, Multiplayer Development, and others giving help to add-on authors, and leaving notes of encouragement.
Some times ago, Blarumyrran suggested to create a subforum to review and rate the addons, but the suggestion was rejected as useless, and I could add much more.
The reasons for not having add-on ratings have been discussed many times. You can find them in the ideas forum with a little searching.
it suggests strongly to potential contributors that their work will be valuable only if it get into mainline
That's an idea you all got into your heads on your own, and it's hogwash. Mainline is very narrow thanks to KISS and canon. It doesn't take much thought to realize that of course there are going to be amazing works that never get mainlined.

So yes, that idea needs to be squashed. The fact that only high quality campaigns have a shot at mainline does not mean that only mainline campaigns are high quality. All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are not squares, as it were.

Personally, I like to believe that my add-ons are of fairly high quality, and I know for a fact that they will never be mainlined because they aren't at all in line with the cohesive game that the developers are crafting.
I'm saying they don't show any interest, and maybe it could be better to value them more explicitly.
Again, there's an official add-on server on wesnoth.org. Its software is not easy to maintain. It is linked to from a button right on the main menu on the game. In what other game do you get that level of support?


If there are any less vague suggestions or complaints, my PM inbox always has plenty of space. If I can't field the message myself (for example, if you want to know why some of the merfolk wear bandannas underwater), I'll find out who can.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Crendgrim »

Gambit wrote:
That's right and perfectly rational, but IMO it is a communication problem and what you say can't solve it. It's the common inside/outside situation: people inside and outside have different points of view. From inside, many things are known and obvious to you, which are hidden to people outside, which can imagine anything as you marked it. And you can't say anyone can come and see, using the path to become a developer, because you can't involve hundreds or thousands persons in that way, exactly like you can't add in mainline all what would be worth to be there.
Maybe things have changed and I haven't seen it because I've been "inside" for the past two years, but from the moment I got here back in 2007 I have always been able to strike up a conversation with members of the development and administration teams and ask them about this stuff. From when I was the newbiest of newbs I'd talk about map making with F8_Binds. I'd discuss the community with Turuk. WML with zookeeper and Mythological. Forum spam with shadowmaster. The semi-official canon of Wesnoth's space age (yes, this exists) with ESR. If something interests you, pursue it.

This idea that we're unapproachable seems absurd to me.
To add to that, if you only visit the forums, yes, it may seem that way. However, the main discussion channel for Wesnoth seems to be the IRC, on which you almost always can talk to developers and get their opinion / help.
Elfarion wrote:So maybe we should drop the idea that mainline content is somehow "superior" to UMC.
Mainline content is not superior to UMC as in "it is better", but "it is more important". The reason being, that mainline Wesnoth is what is shipped, and what new players are to see first, so it needs to be working and make sense.
Most of the time when the argument of mainline being more important comes up, it is for one of the following four reasons:
  1. It breaks mainline multiplayer balance. This is a key point on which I should not need to elaborate.
  2. It contradicts mainline lore. While this is totally fine for UMC content, it can (for obvious reasons) not be included in mainline.
  3. It does not work with the standard game mechanics. Keeping them intact is an important thing. No way around it.
  4. Adding another campaign is not easy, for reasons mentioned by Gambit (mainline being narrow) and shadowmaster (mainline campaigns needing a live-long maintainer)
Apart from that, I do not remember seeing that argument used much.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by pyrophorus »

Gambit wrote: This idea that we're unapproachable seems absurd to me.
Right, but I never said anything of the like. Please read carefully...
Gambit wrote: We have had the UMC Pioneers group for a long time to showcase outstanding innovation in add-ons. It's not feasible to just go around giving everyone a title.
This group is quite empty, and add some 10 guys to it don't seems to me an impossible task. And if you don't see the use of giving a Wesnoth cap to people who do a good job not in mainline, why do you use this orange account ? You certainly don't need it to do the administration job. It's communication.
Gambit wrote:
it suggests strongly to potential contributors that their work will be valuable only if it get into mainline
That's an idea you all got into your heads on your own...
Not in mine, and my post was a suggestion to try to change that, but clearly, you prefer to paste here a new copy of your usual "inside" speech: "We know and you know not..."
So I leave you the point...

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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

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pyrophorus wrote:
Gambit wrote: We have had the UMC Pioneers group for a long time to showcase outstanding innovation in add-ons. It's not feasible to just go around giving everyone a title.
This group is quite empty, and add some 10 guys to it don't seems to me an impossible task.
The unfeasible part of the task is determining who deserves the rank and who does not. We have a very limited amount of people on staff (all unpaid volunteers, etc., I already explained this) and we don’t have all the time and energy of the world to go around trying every single UMC that there is and determining for whom the rank is fair and for whom it is not.

Sure, we could have normal users decide this for us, but that would create a bunch of new challenges in the selection process that we would have to deal with in the end anyway. I for one have far better things to do than filtering biased or spurious votes. That’s not to say I wouldn’t give the issue a third thought if someone came up with a reasonable proposal. Then again, this is not the topic or forum section for that.
pyrophorus wrote:And if you don't see the use of giving a Wesnoth cap to people who do a good job not in mainline, why do you use this orange account ? You certainly don't need it to do the administration job. It's communication.
You seem to have answered your question by yourself. The color is precisely intended to communicate who are the people actively running the forums and acting as a liaison between the community, the Wesnoth.org infrastructure administrators, and the Battle for Wesnoth Project administrators, as well as leading the Forum Moderators team.

If you have a problem with the particular color, well, too bad, I don’t like orange either but every other color is too similar to the colors already assigned to other forum groups — in particular, purple. Orange also has some history for people who were around back when we ran with phpBB 2.0.x (before March 2008 or so), and for people who were around during Turuk’s administration (and that’s actually a consequence of the first point).

In any case, I thought we were talking about UMC recognition? I’m lost now.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Groggy_Dice »

Gambit wrote:
  • Check out the game from SVN
Is it a good idea to still be pushing svn, considering how apparently imminent the switch to git is?
And that was after I had a history of being a forum troll who was so idiotic as to tell zookeeper that if I ran the forums, I would ban him.
Since we seem to be taking a break in this thread from the rule against commenting on moderators, I'll say that there are still times when you show a little hot-headedness. Your handling of Kyle Poole's thread is one example. Actually, your first post in this thread could have been calmer.
Crendgrim wrote:In the case of Wesnoth, "they" are more than willingly to accept you amidst them, if you provide good enough patches.
I'll see, I guess.
Crendgrim wrote:To add to that, if you only visit the forums, yes, it may seem that way. However, the main discussion channel for Wesnoth seems to be the IRC, on which you almost always can talk to developers and get their opinion / help.
When I've looked at the IRC logs, I've mainly seen "xxx has joined/has quit" lines, sprinkled with a handful of actual comments.

However, the problem is that the "main discussion channel for Wesnoth", for users, is the forum. I remember when I saw the nerfing of the footpad in the changelog, I searched for the extensive forum discussion that I presumed had preceded this change, and was puzzled not to find any. There are a number of decisions that have been taken without consulting with or informing the community about, where the community is: the forum.

As for other things in this thread I'd like to comment on, I've gotta run for now. Overall, though, the project is healthy, the moderation reasonable.
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Re: The problems I have with Wesnoth

Post by Iris »

Groggy_Dice wrote:
Crendgrim wrote:To add to that, if you only visit the forums, yes, it may seem that way. However, the main discussion channel for Wesnoth seems to be the IRC, on which you almost always can talk to developers and get their opinion / help.
When I've looked at the IRC logs, I've mainly seen "xxx has joined/has quit" lines, sprinkled with a handful of actual comments.
Were you looking at #wesnoth-dev’s logs or some other channel’s? In any case, there isn’t activity 24/7 for the same reasons I have mentioned before (time, energy, jobs, studies, families).
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