Newcomers need to know "what's going on?" and "how can i help?". That information has been rather lacking over the past year.
Do you have any thoughts on general ways to distribute this information? What formats and mediums should be used?
I've just rewritten the Graphics
and Requirements (Design)
pages on the wiki. Would a general "How to Help?" page, linked off the Main Page be better? Is the wiki in general a good or bad system to provide the info?
Or are the issues more procedural? Tradiationally, most design has been done with forum threads, though there's been reluctance to doing this for v0.4 design issues, for reasons I don't entirely understand. I suspect this is largely the cause of the lack of progress, due to limiting public involvement, and creating bottlenecks when one or two contributors is too busy for extended periods of time, but won't defer authority.
I've recently started the Ship Design
thread, in the hope of getting more public involvement. Is this good, and how can it be helped or improved?
For programming, there's a more practical problem, which is that FO tends to crash quite a bit due to segmentation faults on linux, due to an apparent bug in boost signals. I suspect this significantly limits the potential pool of contributors, and is not easy to fix...
I've tried to encourage anyone new who shows up who might be interested in programming, but there hasn't been much response. A few people will respond repeatedly on a specific issue
, which has been helpful, but I'm not sure how better to get people to start making significantly larger contributions. There is a Programming Work
wiki page that I've tried to make more helpful, but it hasn't seemed to do much. I could link it more prominently from the Main Page, or on the proposed "How to Help?" page, if that might help. Suggestions are welcome...
In general though, some public advertizing on other forums or websites might help. It's how I found FO to start with.
..there are many pre-v.4 aspects of the game code & design which could be worked on (such as a simple AI or implementing planetary specials) but progress has not been solicited, nor is apparently desired.
The problem with planetary specials is that, like techs, there doesn't really seem to be that much interest in making game content. Doing this requires people to learn how to use the FO content scripting system, which is a barrier of entry that's apparently too steep. Back when techs were being initially designed, it ended up being me doing essentially all the work, because everyone who contributed refused to learn how to write their techs in the then-used XML format. One can argue chicken vs. egg of public interest vs. return on soliciting contributions, but at the time when techs were started, there was already interest. Tutorials on content creation were written, but didn't help much.
I suppose there not much specific solicitation of game content in the wiki. I could add some, if it's thought it would be useful.
If anyone wants to discuss specials that exist now, there is a thread
to post in. Contributions of actual written specials, with accompanying stringtable text are also welcome. There's also a separate forum for techs discussion. Any structural, thematic, factual, effects-related or other issues may be discussed. New tech proposals, particularly Applications to put after higher-level theories are requiested... hopefully properly formatted, though thematic ideas are also useful.
Or perhaps specific delegation: "Person X, please moderate a topic to address this aspect of gameplay, to meet these criterion. Then compile 2 or 3 of the best solutions and present them to me."
As above, I'm trying to move back towards a more public design process. Is it necessary to specifically ask someone to moderate a topic, rather than just posting threads about them? In past, it's generally happened that good contributors were self-motivated and then recognized. The one case that comes to mind, tech tree design, when the reverse happened, it was fairly ineffective. Obviously self-motivation and recognition is difficult without a good public design process going on, though... so if we get back to that, hopefully thing will happen on their own, to a degree.