Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOrion?

Discussion about the project in general, organization, website, or any other details that aren't directly about the game.
Message
Author
Zireael
Space Dragon
Posts: 429
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:33 pm

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#31 Post by Zireael » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:12 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Zireael wrote:I had issues with Tortoise SVN and had to deinstall it, so no downloading from SVN repo
There are other SVN clients besides TortoiseSVN.
Such as?

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12469
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#32 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:21 pm


User avatar
Steaker
Space Floater
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 9:15 pm

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#33 Post by Steaker » Thu May 31, 2012 9:02 pm

I'd agree with RonaldX's post on page 1, having spent the last couple of weeks looking at FreeOrion and considering getting involved. The sheer volume of material, particularly on the forums, is pretty overwhelming, and takes an awful lot of reading.
I'd suggest a few things:
a) For some of the material, perhaps forum threads are not the best place? I've perhaps not completely validated this suggestion, but I suspect that an evolving Wiki page would be an easier way to capture some of the complex and evolving ideas that FreeOrion is currently tackling in the forum. By all means have discussions in the forum, or on IRC or wherever, but after the dust has settled, someone could periodically distil the main ideas into a Wiki page (which can be a great deal denser and better structured, than 6 pages of forum posts spanning many years, and containing ideas that have been discarded or changed, alongside nuggets of current design or future development
b) I'm increasingly getting the feeling that a clearer roadmap to v1.0 is needed, to give the whole think more of a sense of direction. As it is, I'm struggling to avoid a sense that there is an overwhelming volume or work and time required, and that any contribution may never see the light of day in a playable game (or at least that I'm unlikely to make it to my FO Diamond Jubilee, and be in any position to leap up and cheer "completion" )
c) Perhaps a periodic (monthly?) summary post, or email, or something, summarising what's been changed, who's joined and left various teams/tasks, what new problems or topics need attention, might help to focus current and potential contributors on what's currently happening and what really matters, so that they can avoid getting bogged down in (sometimes unneccesary) detail
d) Finally, I wonder whether more focussed teams could be formed, to tackle certain aspects of the game? As it is, I've seen frequent mention of "Design", and the "Design Team", Programming, and Content Creation, but perhaps these 3 categories are insufficient? Could the overall task be broken down into some sort of hierarchy, and experienced contributors volunteer to lead each significant chunk of work? I'm sure this happens to some degree, but to me it is certainly not sufficiently clear who I should talk to, or where I should post, about getting involved with certain aspects of the game.

I must of course add that, despite the challenges, what has been done so far is very impressive, and surely holds great promise. I hope that v1.0 can be achieved in the coming years, and sufficiently meets the expectations of enough people to be counted a success.
--Steaker--

User avatar
Bigjoe5
Designer and Programmer
Posts: 2058
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:33 pm
Location: Orion

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#34 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu May 31, 2012 11:12 pm

Steaker wrote:d) Finally, I wonder whether more focussed teams could be formed, to tackle certain aspects of the game? As it is, I've seen frequent mention of "Design", and the "Design Team", Programming, and Content Creation, but perhaps these 3 categories are insufficient? Could the overall task be broken down into some sort of hierarchy, and experienced contributors volunteer to lead each significant chunk of work? I'm sure this happens to some degree, but to me it is certainly not sufficiently clear who I should talk to, or where I should post, about getting involved with certain aspects of the game.
The design team (including content creation) is Geoff, eleazar and me. The art team is pd and eleazar, and the programming team is Geoff and tzlaine (though I'm moving more towards this category, and tzlaine has been largely inactive for a while). The music team is effectively me and 93143, though both of us are mostly inactive in that area atm. If you want to know anything about contributing to programming or game design, talk to Geoff. If you want to know anything about contributing to art, talk to pd, or eleazar if it's not about 3d models. If you want to know anything about contributing to music, talk to me or Geoff.

(Does that sound about right, everyone?)

So yeah, long story short, there aren't really enough people at the moment to split into more "focused" groups.

I do agree though, that some sort of summary of what's going on from everyone might be useful, a la Agile Development. Like once a week, everyone posts in a thread what they did last week and what they plan on doing the following week, or something like that. That way, just checking out that thread would be a good way of seeing what's current in development. Likewise, "Iteration"-wise planning might also be useful, for instance this "iteration", we plan on completing the transition from food to growth and eliminating minerals, for example. Of course when the amount of time any given contributor has to work on the project is so volatile, the the idea of a fixed timeframe for completing stuff completely goes out the window, and the concept of what an "iteration" is becomes hazy...

Better documentation of game design ideas, such as on the wiki, would be nice, but a bit time consuming to maintain - and of course the time that we can actually put into the project, we usually prefer to use to actually get stuff done, since there's little enough of that going on as it is...
Warning: Antarans in dimensional portal are closer than they appear.

User avatar
eleazar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#35 Post by eleazar » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:44 am

I consider pd currently inactive -- August is the last time he did more than make a brief response to an occasional post.

As for me, i couldn't resist the sale and bought Civ V last weekend, so FO has some serious competition for my game making/playing time for a while.

Yeah, i know this project is a real pain to follow, but with our size, adequately documenting and explaining as we progress would take a significant portion of development time. I'm not saying we have hit the prefect balance

One thing we haven't done this year is use the "Game Design" forum -- which probably would help signal which topic are "officially" being worked on.

We're usually good about writing descriptive messages for the commits, which can be seen various places, such as here: https://github.com/freeorion/freeorion/commits/master/
I'm increasingly getting the feeling that a clearer roadmap to v1.0 is needed
We used to have one that laid out everything in 10 discrete stages. Unfortunately we got tangled up for about a year trying to follow that order though it became counterproductive. So we ditched it for a more fluid approach where we choose the next thing as seems best when it is time to do the next thing.

But if it is any comfort development has been faster this year than every before in my 6 years -- in part because the scripting engine has been refined to the point where non-coders can really help move things along.
...but to me it is certainly not sufficiently clear who I should talk to, or where I should post, about getting involved with certain aspects of the game.
Just make a post: "Hey, i think i could improve X by doing Y. Any objections? Anything i should know?"
You'll usually get answers pretty quick. And if you demonstrate followthrough and do something useful you'll have distinguished yourself from 90% of those who volunteer to help.

User avatar
pd
Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 1924
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2004 6:17 pm
Location: 52°16'N 10°31'E

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#36 Post by pd » Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:17 pm

eleazar wrote:I consider pd currently inactive -- August is the last time he did more than make a brief response to an occasional post.
Yes, I'm inactive. I've informed Geoff about it in September last year. I'm still peeking in once a week or so, but won't be able to do anything. I've graduated a couple of weeks ago and am now working full time.

User avatar
eleazar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#37 Post by eleazar » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:36 pm

pd wrote:I've graduated a couple of weeks ago and am now working full time.
Congratulations!
Once things settled down i found life after graduation less hectic in general, but your milage may vary.

User avatar
Steaker
Space Floater
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 9:15 pm

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#38 Post by Steaker » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:46 pm

I've just ordered a new Core i5 machine, which should be OK for building FO - the current old clunker is struggling

I've a mind to have a look at the AI - having played a few games, its a shame that the computer players don't seem to leave their home systems. I appreciate that it probably can't be properly finished until other features are more stable, but it does seem to me that elements could be improved in the meantime.

Alternatively I could have a go at refreshing the Wiki, if that would be helpful?

Or, though my background is in Embedded C and Java, I'm sure I could have a go at some bug fixing or whatever is needed to help get the project to the next milestone (v0.5 I guess?)

Either way, seems like there's a really great foundation of code, content, and dedicated people here, I hope it can turn into
--Steaker--

User avatar
eleazar
Design & Graphics Lead Emeritus
Posts: 3858
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: USA — midwest

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#39 Post by eleazar » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:53 pm

Steaker wrote:I've a mind to have a look at the AI - having played a few games, its a shame that the computer players don't seem to leave their home systems. I appreciate that it probably can't be properly finished until other features are more stable, but it does seem to me that elements could be improved in the meantime.

Alternatively I could have a go at refreshing the Wiki, if that would be helpful?

Or, though my background is in Embedded C and Java, I'm sure I could have a go at some bug fixing or whatever is needed to help get the project to the next milestone (v0.5 I guess?)
All three of those are needed, take your pick!

User avatar
Steaker
Space Floater
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 9:15 pm

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#40 Post by Steaker » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:58 pm

I'll have a good look at the AI, and brush up my Python. Who should I talk through potential changes with?

I think I would need to be given an account, to make changes to the Wiki?

Once I get building successfully on my new machine, I'll have a look for any bugs, and see if I can make any progress. I'm guessing this might be the most tricky for now, until I'm more familiar with the code and what's being changed at the moment
--Steaker--

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12469
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#41 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:54 pm

Steaker wrote:I'll have a good look at the AI, and brush up my Python. Who should I talk through potential changes with?
Make a post on the programming forum. There already is a good deal of AI code, but it's probably just failing when making a call that leads to an error due to recent changes. There should be some indication of this in the AI log files.
I think I would need to be given an account, to make changes to the Wiki?
Yes; a wiki account is required to edit, and public registration is disabled. If you want a wiki account, send me a private message on the forums with a desired username and an email address to register the account with.

User avatar
Vezzra
Release Manager, Design
Posts: 5030
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Location: Sol III

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#42 Post by Vezzra » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:34 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:...There already is a good deal of AI code, but it's probably just failing when making a call that leads to an error due to recent changes. There should be some indication of this in the AI log files...
It is. The AI code is throwing an exception when trying to reference the food resource. I haven't tried a new build now with minerals removed, but I assume referencing the mineral resource will throw an exception now too...

User avatar
Steaker
Space Floater
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 9:15 pm

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#43 Post by Steaker » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:04 pm

I've managed to download, build, and run (all be it rev 4891 seems to have a tech tree issue)
I'll go ahead and have a look at the AI logs, and see if I can make some helpful adjustments to the AI to get it around the food and mineral changes
--Steaker--

Sai
Pupating Mass
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:15 pm

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#44 Post by Sai » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:09 pm

I think you already nailed one of the most important ones: the fact that a lot of the 'shell' of the project is horribly outdated. Perhaps we should see if we can get some of the regulars, that do not otherwise contribute, overhaul the wiki and make sure it keeps linking to up-to-date files and information. (For instance for at least a year or more, to get a recent build of the project you had to know exactly where to go on the forums, and then go through several installations, just to install! This isn't that horrible, but it'd be nice if this information was all concise and available at a single point).

Other than that, I think the front page may need an overhaul. Is there any particular reason we're having it start on the wiki?

User avatar
Geoff the Medio
Programming, Design, Admin
Posts: 12469
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 1:33 am
Location: Munich

Re: Newcomers! What's confusing about Contributing to FreeOr

#45 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:17 pm

Sai wrote:the 'shell' of the project is horribly outdated.
Could you be more specific? What information / pages need overhauling?
For instance for at least a year or more, to get a recent build of the project you had to know exactly where to go on the forums...
I'm not sure what you're referring to here... The latest numbered release is always linked from the main page of the wiki. Test releases aren't meant for everyone, but even those are also linked from the main page...
...and then go through several installations, just to install!
What do you mean by that?
This isn't that horrible, but it'd be nice if this information was all concise and available at a single point).
All what information?
Other than that, I think the front page may need an overhaul. Is there any particular reason we're having it start on the wiki?
Is there any reason it shouldn't? What else would it be?

Post Reply