[WF-General] Rumors of my death have been greatly exagerated (was All dead, all dead)

Bryce Harrington bryce at neptune.net
Mon Oct 16 15:06:36 PDT 2000

On Mon, 16 Oct 2000, Jason Oppel wrote:
> Why just noticed that
> Uclient now connects with Cyphesis C++, it uses the new libAtlas and snow
> has been implemented. 

Snow?  Cool!  I saw the rain.  Methinks we ought to adjust Mason's game
design to include some weather effects so we can take advantage of these
new features.  The most amazing thing that struck me about it were the
sound effects.  I hadn't realized how well integrated they'd gotten.
Good work Karsten and Uta, if you're listening.  :-)

> I'd also like to note that STAGE is has had quite a bit coding done 
> (gasp!) and cvs commits coming quite regularly.

*grin*  Yup.  The STAGE architecture design looks like it is going to
work well for us.  We've been discussing these technologies for so long,
it's nice to finally see them getting implemented.  Major kudo's to
everyone contributing to STAGE.  

> > There ARE server(s) that run, but they don't do much
> > that a very simple irc server couldn't do. There's a
> > zillion of projects on top of the worldforge idea, but
> > none of them has more than a few lines of code done.
> I can't speak with the other areas but I know that Cyphesis has undergone
> lots of changes even in the past month or two and lots more are in the
> future.  Some new things in cyphesis just in the past month or so have
> been new skeleton behaviours, bug squashing, fire and a new
> major optimisation effort has begun!  Lots of good stuff going on and
> there is a lot that I didn't mention..

Yeah, the above accusation is pretty spurious.  No one that has looked
at Cyphesis would say that.  

> > No client can easily connect to a server, and there's
> Uclient connects quite easily to a running cyphesis server...

Amazingly so.  Also, due to use of Atlas, STAGE is not far from this
either.  We need to get the database hooked up to manage accounts first,
but I think really it's only a few Atlas calls to get STAGE talking to

> > no functional map editor. 
> This is a problem that really needs to be solved some time soon but a map
> format has to be settled on before we create a map editor so slamming us
> on both counts really isn't fair is it?  Ok, so it is... hehe :)

This is certainly not the only gaping hole we need help filling, but yes
it's one of the more important ones.  Sal has laid a secure foundation
for us, though.  The trick is finding someone with a lot of time to
think about how to do this, who is also not afraid of having to get the
format heavily criticized.  

Documentation is probably our biggest hole to fill.  And things are
getting to be mature enough and stable enough that documentation written
today will probably still be applicable well into the future.

We also still need a better handle on our lists-of-tasks.  We're doing a
heck of a lot better at this before, but we also have a lot more
products.  I would heartily encourage everyone to make sure that they
are producing and making visible wishlists, todo lists, or job jars of
some fashion.  I've started collecting these things into the task tool
on SourceForge, but a TODO file in CVS, or a page in Wiki, would do as

> > Additionally team members are dying away quickly.
> Actually I'm seeing just the opposite of this.  Recently we've had a bunch
> of newbies coming on IRC interested in helping (and some of them
> have stuck around and are contributing).  We've had some losses but I
> think this influx of newbies is at least offsetting any losses we've had.

Turnover is normal and nothing to be too worried about.  Actually, I've
been amazed at (and very thankful of) how many people have stuck around
for the long haul.  But people have lives, children get born, jobs are
changed, and interests evolve.  So we have to accept a slow-but-steady
development approach, and also try to organize projects such that they
can be done by small chunks of effort from many people, rather than huge
chunks of effort from only a few.  (And yes, there are all sorts of
communication issues involved when adding more people onto a project -
you can see why we consider our infrastructure team to be so critical
to our success).

Well, if there is one thing I obsess over it's getting and retaining new
people.  I've been in many other projects over many years, and know from
experience that one of the biggest downfalls of projects is lack of
fresh blood.  New developers bring new skills, new motivation, and yes,
even new criticism to kick everyone else in the butt and get them
going.  ;-)  

Every time I log onto irc I see at least one person I've not seen
before.  A lot of these people end up sticking around and contributing
good stuff.  :-)  

I do think that the project needs a tad more visibility among the other
open source projects.  A little recognition goes a long way as a
motivator.  We really need to have someone do a little marketing for us,
and try to get WorldForge links spread about.  In those lists of games,
'W' is a long way down, so we're going to have to depend a bit more on
word of mouth than we did when we were called Altima.

> > interest, and that's what I've seen here. The most
> > visible thing is that mailing list traffic has decreased
> > steadily and there hasn't been an announcement
> > of a new version of some part of the project for
> > a while. 

In any net project, mailing list traffic is cyclical and a poor
indicator of the health or status of the project.  I've noticed that
when the mailing list is quietest, sometimes that is when the most is
getting done, ironically.

> > ever seen anyone doing as much for a project (judging
> > from many long high-quality posts e.g.) as Bryce does.
> > 
> Bryce is good at that...  I think that's why we keep him around, to keep
> our mailing list numbers up. ;)
> /me tweaks Bryce's nose ;b

Ow!  :&)

And I'm good for the occasional rexexp when Peregrine or Jack aren't
around.  ;-) 

> I find that most of the people who do alot of the work in WF generally
> march forward in their respective project without posting very often to
> the lists (esp general@) and without much fan fare.  I suppose this is a
> bit of a wake up call to us that perhaps we *should* start posting more 
> accomplishments to the list if for no other reason than to motivate others
> who are involved.  Of course a desirable side effect is that ppl casually
> following the project get clued in too. :) This desire of greater activity
> on the lists is however tempered by the fact that I know some people have
> an extreme distaste for a lot of email. 

Once about a year ago, an individual came on to IRC looking for me,
dragged me into private chat, and then scolded, reprimanded, and
cajolled me about ensuring that the news on the website get updated
regularly.  His point was that without a frequently updated set of news
items, the project would appear dead.  People often go straight to the
news items to get a feel for the state of a project.  If they see huge
gaps, or postings from only one guy, or lack of an appearance of
continual progress, then they move on.  

Posting news is (deliberately) very easy.  You don't even need to get an
account.  Go to the website, click on News, and then Add News Item.
Please post even the most seemingly minor achievements (if you're
feeling modest, you can mark it as Low importance, and if you're shy you
can leave your name off or usea pseudonym).  Posting news is important
because there is a sizable number of people who will judge the state of
our project on that alone.  And I check the news every day so you at
least have one reader!

Bryce Harrington
bryce @ neptune.net

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