Confusion

For announcing, describing and discussing code changes to BNT.

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Ron
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:07 am

Confusion

Post by Ron » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:20 am

There seems to be confusion. This stems from the fact that the GAME ENGINE is being developed while the GAME is trying to be played and supported without a clear difference being understood. Confused? Thought so...

There are 3 types of visitors to this site:

PLAYERS:
Players come here to look for games to join and play. They are those who enjoy classic games, looking for something new to play and relax and have fun. Players host their own YouTube channels and blogs and spread the word about the GAME of Black Nova Traders. Players do not care about hosting their own GAME on their SERVER and care nothing about DEVELOPING. Even so, they usually support each other in the PLAYERS section of the board (which needs to be created) and answers each others questions, provide tips and tweaks for GAME play. This board section is open to registered users and visitors to the site. A sub-board can be created which allows for GAME HOST to post their current games and invites for PLAYERS to join.

GAME HOST:
Game Host are those who wish to download the current release of the GAME ENGINE to install on their own server and create a GAME to play for their site PLAYERS. GAME HOST are expected to have some knowledge of the GAME ENGINE and installing it, following the FAQ and HELP sections of the install, setting up a new game, etc. The Installation board of this site is already setup to support the GAME HOST.

DEVELOPERS:
Those who create the GAME ENGINE. The GAME ENGINE is Black Nova Traders. It is this software which GAME HOST download and install, create a GAME on and allow PLAYERS to play. This section requires this site board area be accessed by DEVELOPERS only. A DEV GROUP account needs to be created and only DEVELOPERS can access and read this board. Why? Because being Open Source does not mean open development conversations and issues being broadcast outside the DEV GROUP.

Remember the 3 groups above? The only ones who care about DEVELOPMENT are DEVELOPERS. GAME HOST are looking for stable release code for the GAME ENGINE and having an open DEVELOPMENT board on the site destroys that confidence. No GAME HOST equals no PLAYERS.

At this point please lock down this board section and those wishing to be DEVELOPERS need to request to the forum admin your desire to join. Please insure that the phpBB setting for show only to groups members is set. What you can't see you won't miss. You may also wish to think about a DEV section on the site for collaboration, DEV wiki etc later as more DEVELOPERS come on board (I think they will). Let those coming in wishing to help create those sections, build the wiki and get a community of folks managing those things as they are needed and created.

I hope this makes since and is my suggestion. Again do you guys agree?

cheers..

Ron
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:07 am

Re: Confusion

Post by Ron » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:36 am

Looking at the board it seems this is setup as a DEV forum. Anyone have an idea on marketing with a GAME HOST and PLAYER focused forum? Maybe a landing page which promotes the game and allows for downloading of current releases etc. and a link to forums. After all the point is to have GAME HOST and PLAYERS of the game.

Cool? I'm throwing ideas out..

cheers..

thekabal
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Confusion

Post by thekabal » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:45 am

Ron wrote:There seems to be confusion. This stems from the fact that the GAME ENGINE is being developed while the GAME is trying to be played and supported without a clear difference being understood. Confused? Thought so...
That is one way to look at it, but I look at it a little differently. In another thread, you brought up Minecraft, which I think is an excellent example of why looking at it as three distinct and separate things loses much of the value. Minecraft is popular primarily because it is so extensible, modifiable, and easy to discuss among the community. There are no artificial barriers between "developer", "server admin" and "player". In fact, many people are all three, and started as players, developing over time into the other two.

My personal story with BNT is exactly that. I was bored, had extra time, played the game - as a player. I never programmed in PHP, and didn't even know about the forums. I found an item that could be added easily, from a similar door game "back in the day", and then discovered that it was open source. I found the forums, discussed the idea, and was warmly welcomed to contribute. I looked through the code, it took me a day or so to figure out how to add it, and I submitted the patch. It was added to the game the next day.

I went from player to developer in less than a month!

So I definitely see the value in not building artificial barriers between the three roles, as a general statement.

However, that leaves plenty of room to see the value in adding more resources for players. I asked, begged, and pleaded for years for people to contribute to documentation, FAQ, and the like. We spent lots of time and energy with Wikis, forums, and lots of other solutions - but the documentation just never really got much better. Players need a great new player guide, lots of simple/clear explanations for game play, and more. That there is definitely value in building, its just a matter of time/resources. :)
Ron wrote:This section requires this site board area be accessed by DEVELOPERS only. A DEV GROUP account needs to be created and only DEVELOPERS can access and read this board. Why? Because being Open Source does not mean open development conversations and issues being broadcast outside the DEV GROUP.
I'll strongly disagree on this point. We've done closed mailing lists, we've done open, we've done private forums, we've done public. The one consistent element in my opinion was that when we were open, we attracted other developers with our transparency, our public history of choices, and our design direction.

Open source is VERY much about open development conversations. Gnome, the Linux kernel, Redhat/Fedora, Apache, OpenBSD, the list goes on and on. All of them are very open, very public. There are open source games - and they follow the same trend. The legend of the green dragon, for example, very very public, similar in development and issues to BNT.

On this point, I strongly recommend reading The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Especially this quote: "Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to rapid code improvement and effective debugging."

I'm a perfect example of that in action.
Ron wrote:No GAME HOST equals no PLAYERS.
Well, sort of. It depends on how you define things a bit though.

The primary server at blacknova.net for a LONG time WAS the only server around. Others simply stopped running it. During those times, there was no alternative, yet there were still players. So you could have "BNT" without having a stable codebase for other folks to run on a server.

I happen to think things are better when there is stable code, and there are other servers, but the point bears mentioning.
Ron wrote:At this point please lock down this board section and those wishing to be DEVELOPERS need to request to the forum admin your desire to join. Please insure that the phpBB setting for show only to groups members is set.
We've done that before, and now you are asking for action on TMD's part. He has done a LOT for a very long time, and is battling some serious health issues. If you'd like to run a private forum, I'll be happy to join, and I suspect he might as well. Maybe even some of the other devs that contributed over the years.

I won't speak for TMD and say it won't happen, but as his friend, I'd suggest taking action yourself, rather than giving direction to him to perform more work (especially without consensus, discussion, etc).
Ron wrote:You may also wish to think about a DEV section on the site for collaboration, DEV wiki etc later as more DEVELOPERS come on board (I think they will). Let those coming in wishing to help create those sections, build the wiki and get a community of folks managing those things as they are needed and created.
This too, happened in the past. We were pushed, aggressively, to build a wiki "or else" folks wouldn't contribute. We built the wiki, spending much time on security, spam, setup, etc. And no one contributed anything substantial.

Here is one that was built in the past by a different group: http://bnt.wikidot.com/
And here is part of what is left of one the BNT team had (we have had many): http://sourceforge.net/p/blacknova/wiki/Home/
And so on..

I ran a forum for TKI recently, with a generously contributed virtual server by another member of these very forums. LOTS and LOTS of time was spent battling spam, settings, we had almost no visitors, and finally the domain expired, got taken over by Adult Content Spammers, and .. I gave up. It wasn't worth it. TMD has run (a variation) of these forums for over a DECADE. And the sourceforge project. And the emails. And the IRC channel - it was still there last time I checked, with a bot from TMD still there!

Many of your suggestions (wiki, forum, etc) are very reasonable ideas - I know because we've done them in the past because they did make sense. But they are more difficult and time consuming than is immediately obvious - especially if linked from the main BNT site. The spammers LOVE the Google ranking for anything connected to this site. Its a blessing and a curse.

Follow your advice - if you want a community of folks "managing those things as they are needed", and you feel they are needed, BE that community! Make them, please, feel free. :)

thekabal
Posts: 92
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Confusion

Post by thekabal » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:05 am

Some of our old mailing list posts seem to be available (although I thought this was the private list, shrug): http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.comp.games.blacknova.devel

And yes, the IRC channel is still around, still has TMD's bot and settings! irc.freenode.net / #blacknova

Ron
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:07 am

Re: Confusion

Post by Ron » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:50 am

Thanks for the reply. I come here with questions, ideas and an open mind so your information is really great. First I do not wish to add anything to stress and load TMD with ideas and added work. The post were my ideas and suggestions for how to market and bring the game back into light for many who may have forgotten it or never knew about it. I have not seen many game sites which have the DEV forums as open this one and felt a discussion on closing the DEV from public view needed to be thrown on the table. I don't expect every idea or suggestion from myself or anyone else here be accepted, so I understand and again appreciate your reply.

I hope you, TMD and others here don't misunderstand my ideas and suggestions as non discussed "pushy" attitudes on my part, because they are not. Reading your reply it sounds that we have all thought of the same things and ways of attempting to market the game (which is cool and weird that you guys have tried the suggestions in the past). I'm sorry they did not work out as expected, I felt they would. Again thanks for the reply and the confirmation that we are on the same page only suggesting to try the same ideas a few years apart, weird man!

cheers...

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