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Author Topic: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"  (Read 105536 times)

Tamren

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #210 on: July 31, 2008, 01:28:28 am »

*claps hands* well that settles things. Time for pie!  ;D
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dreiche2

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #211 on: July 31, 2008, 02:52:57 am »

Lastly, I may have a good way of mitigating the breakage of third-party clients at every release, without requiring your direct involvement. Assuming that you develop your own open-source interface at the same time as your closed-source server, you would likely publish your interface changes to a public SVN server. You would probably do it incrementally, at the rate of one or several commits a day - akin to backing up your work whenever you've made a step. In that case, you can bet that enthusiastic developers will watch those changes keenly, to see what's going on with the interface. This means that third-party client makers will already know that moving "dwarven armies around on the world map, with a tactical view and various options" is coming for the next version (from your very detailed dev notes), so they'll have time to plan which kind of interface they want to provide for that. And since they'll see the necessary code changes evolve gradually, because you'll always need an up-to-date interface for bugfixing, they'll be able to follow closely your development. They might have to adapt to your last minute changes, but otherwise I believe that the days of bugfixing prior to release could be enough for some of them to finalize their clients on time.
Now of course, you have to feel comfortable with that way of working.

Hm, Toady seems to be pretty strong about not wanting to work with other people (apart from taking suggestions), so I'm not sure the above would work. In practice, I don't think you can make part of your program open-source/create an API with the intention of giving other people access, but then work totally independent of these people and basically work further on your program as if these people wouldn't exist. So I guess once you go this way, you would have to commit to cooperating with the third-party programmers.

I guess we might be better off concentrating on suggestions for actual interface improvements. Possibly, when the memory hackers create a prototype for an interface, that would change things again.

I'd also like to point out that Toady made a long and apparently thoughtful reply, where probably everyone could find parts of their argument somewhere, and not a simple "I've said it already and now shut up". I think that shows that the discussion could have been much more "chilled" from the start with no need for people getting so worked up.
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Mr.Person

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #212 on: July 31, 2008, 04:21:44 am »

Hm, Toady seems to be pretty strong about not wanting to work with other people (apart from taking suggestions), so I'm not sure the above would work. In practice, I don't think you can make part of your program open-source/create an API with the intention of giving other people access, but then work totally independent of these people and basically work further on your program as if these people wouldn't exist. So I guess once you go this way, you would have to commit to cooperating with the third-party programmers.

Tell that to every company who's made an SDK. Valve changed a bunch of shit with relation to mods and basically told the modders,"Go over to the new engine yourself". Then again, the old mods still worked, so maybe things would go differently.

I don't think it would be in Toady's best intrests to go client-server or make an API or whatever right now, though. It might be best to do that kind of thing when he's working on the Presentation stuff more intensly. At that point, hopefully the 3rd party interfaces would be less needed, so the bitching and moaning that compatability is broken would be reduced. That may not be the best use of Toady's time.. but whatever.

Toady, I think you're underestimating your ability to ignore people. On the other hand, I think some people are overestimating how much extra cash allowing 3rd party interfaces would bring in. With many things on the internet, most of the users are going to be using the product vanilla simply because they don't know alternatives exist.
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dreiche2

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #213 on: July 31, 2008, 04:30:49 am »

Hm, Toady seems to be pretty strong about not wanting to work with other people (apart from taking suggestions), so I'm not sure the above would work. In practice, I don't think you can make part of your program open-source/create an API with the intention of giving other people access, but then work totally independent of these people and basically work further on your program as if these people wouldn't exist. So I guess once you go this way, you would have to commit to cooperating with the third-party programmers.

Tell that to every company who's made an SDK. Valve changed a bunch of shit with relation to mods and basically told the modders,"Go over to the new engine yourself". Then again, the old mods still worked, so maybe things would go differently.


Well, I guess the point is that Toady would be unhappy with the situation - as he said in his post: Either he works with the 3rd party people and is unhappy, or he doesn't but still feels the pressure etc. and is unhappy too. So yeah, he *could* ignore it, but he doesn't like the situation. Toady is not a big coopeation after all, but much more intimate with his user base.

Or that's what I understand.

edit: typo
« Last Edit: July 31, 2008, 04:39:42 am by dreiche2 »
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Tormy

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #214 on: July 31, 2008, 08:08:11 am »


I guess we might be better off concentrating on suggestions for actual interface improvements.

Exactly, thats what I was saying since this topic has been created. Toady needs creative ideas & suggestions, nothing else. [+bug reports  ;D]
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DJ

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #215 on: July 31, 2008, 08:16:08 am »

Even though I'd very much like to see 3rd party interfaces, I completely understand Toady's position on the subject. There is a lot on the stake, and long-term gains aren't great enough to justify taking this risk.

I do feel the need to correct some of the opponents of the idea, however.  It seems to me that a lot of people think that decoupling the interface from the game logic would be a waste of time. This is simply not true. Separating interface from the game logic is something that needs to be done anyway to boost productivity. An interface that is intertwined with the game logic is a recipe for bugsplosion, and debugging takes up at least 50% of programming time (well, at least when I'm programming).

What I would like to hear from Toady is what kind of graphics he has in mind for when he gets to the interface overhaul. That way we could at least prepare some sprites ahead of time and have nearly complete graphics sets as soon as the version with the new interface comes out. I personally waste a lot of my free time doodling in GIMP, so I might as well do something useful.
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dreiche2

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #216 on: July 31, 2008, 08:22:24 am »


I guess we might be better off concentrating on suggestions for actual interface improvements.

Exactly, thats what I was saying since this topic has been created. Toady needs creative ideas & suggestions, nothing else. [+bug reports  ;D]

yeah but did the whole negativy and hostility bring anything beneficial here? And did the discussion hurt anyone? We could have the same discussion in a polite fashion, voicing opinions and laying out arguments, then Toady joins in with a long reply that further ellucidates on what he thinks about it and why, and everyone is smarter in the end. No need for insults or "shut up" comments.

Alright I think I made my point. Shut up dreiche2!  ;)

I do feel the need to correct some of the opponents of the idea, however.  It seems to me that a lot of people think that decoupling the interface from the game logic would be a waste of time. This is simply not true. Separating interface from the game logic is something that needs to be done anyway to boost productivity. An interface that is intertwined with the game logic is a recipe for bugsplosion, and debugging takes up at least 50% of programming time (well, at least when I'm programming).

That's true, discussing about and making suggestions for how to organise interface and engine could still be useful even if Toady only uses it for himself (so no open source/ pubilc API/ scripting interface then of course).
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Anu Necunoscut

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #217 on: July 31, 2008, 09:05:19 am »

Well, I'd like to say to everyone I disagreed with or unfairly misinterpreted in this thread:  I don't doubt the generosity and respect behind your requests.  if I got frothy, combative or personal it's my own fault, and I apologize.  Presumably the reason this happens is because we all care so much about the game.  I try to only take issue with arguments presented and not the people presenting them, which is a good general rule for debate on the internets.  :-P

I'm a big fan of open-source development, where enthusiasm for a project can make new features develop at an amazing rate, and I was hoping that at least the interface of DF might benefit from it, freeing you to work on the Army Arc, among other things.

I'm a huge fan of open source development, but there are projects (and developers) that it just isn't right for.  While it can provide huge benefits, it also carries risks.  Many an open source project (especially in gaming!) collapses under a confusion of additions that don't mesh together, and organizing everyone and everything whilst maintaining a system to remove faulty or commercially licensed code can be a full-time management job.

Plus some authors feel such a personal attachment to their work, they want to code every significant line.  To make another flawed analogy, Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson often fought with his syndicate over this issue, as the latter viewed his refusal to license his characters as non-sensical.  Licensing would have brought more money and (arguably) popularity for the strip, and Watterson's concerns about playing factory foreman to a group of hired artists that would produce the merchandise seemed frustrating and obtuse.  It's not necessarily selfish to keep control over all major aspects of your own creation, especially when your method of distribution and your dialogues with the community are -anything- but selfish.  Hopefully the equivalent of bootleg "Calvin pisses on x" bumper-stickers doesn't show up with regard to DF to fill the void.  :-)
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Tormy

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #218 on: July 31, 2008, 09:12:54 am »

I'm a huge fan of open source development, but there are projects (and developers) that it just isn't right for.  While it can provide huge benefits, it also carries risks.  Many an open source project (especially in gaming!) collapses under a confusion of additions that don't mesh together, and organizing everyone and everything whilst maintaining a system to remove faulty or commercially licensed code can be a full-time management job.

Well said, Anu. I guess everyone wants to see DF v1.0 one day. Toady knows what he would like to do, and what not. Its not worth to have some user created interfaces if theres a 0.0001% chance even, that Toady might get pissed/loose control because of a related problem, and stop working on DF.
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Frobozz

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #219 on: July 31, 2008, 09:50:24 am »

Quote from: dreiche2
yeah but did the whole negativy and hostility bring anything beneficial here? And did the discussion hurt anyone? We could have the same discussion in a polite fashion, voicing opinions and laying out arguments, then Toady joins in with a long reply that further ellucidates on what he thinks about it and why, and everyone is smarter in the end. No need for insults or "shut up" comments.
What did it do beneficial? It finally caused Toady to step in and give us a detailed explanation of his point of view thus I guess the best way to get him to respond is to insult one another. Or just report posts.

Quote from: Toady
Somebody reported a post in this thread...  it didn't really matter which one.  A bit of chilling would be good.  There are a few people that have failed to chill.  There are quite a few statements here I'd respond to in person myself, and some very sharply, but internet discussions are more fragile and more prone to derailment.  So I'll try to stick to what seems to be the core of the matter.
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Blacken

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #220 on: July 31, 2008, 10:00:21 am »

Quote
As the guy who started this thread, I obviously was hoping for a different conclusion to this discussion. I'm a big fan of open-source development, where enthusiasm for a project can make new features develop at an amazing rate
If you look at the various examples of open-source games, you'll find that that's not how it works for game software. The successful projects operate under a very closed-sourceish model (the "cathedral" model, in ESR's essay). It's not like an application, where you can just add bits and pieces here as you like (the "scratch your own itch" part); it has to come together as an integrated whole.

Besides: Toady doesn't want to do it. That's the end of it. Pushing him and "yeah, but you could do this" once he says "don't want to, nope" is more than a bit disrespectful.

(I've noticed that this is something of a trend for most, if not all, good, free applications out there. Even the ones where, as Toady does, the devs live off donations. "Open the source, and we promise the donations won't stop" is pretty laughable. It's one of the things that bugs me about the open-source community more than anything else.)
« Last Edit: July 31, 2008, 10:04:47 am by Blacken »
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isitanos

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #221 on: July 31, 2008, 10:36:10 am »

Quote
As the guy who started this thread, I obviously was hoping for a different conclusion to this discussion. I'm a big fan of open-source development, where enthusiasm for a project can make new features develop at an amazing rate
If you look at the various examples of open-source games, you'll find that that's not how it works for game software. The successful projects operate under a very closed-sourceish model (the "cathedral" model, in ESR's essay). It's not like an application, where you can just add bits and pieces here as you like (the "scratch your own itch" part); it has to come together as an integrated whole.

What about Battle for Wesnoth? It's pretty much a bazaar, and it's a wonderful game.
Also, if you read the original post, you will have noticed that I am suggesting the open-source model for the interface only. Toady wants to protect his game logic and I understand that. But even a messy open-source model would be perfect for the interface, so that many different ones crop up: who cares if there are 100 different ones, if at least 5 are excellent.

Quote
Besides: Toady doesn't want to do it. That's the end of it. Pushing him and "yeah, but you could do this" once he says "don't want to, nope" is more than a bit disrespectful.

(I've noticed that this is something of a trend for most, if not all, good, free applications out there. Even the ones where, as Toady does, the devs live off donations. "Open the source, and we promise the donations won't stop" is pretty laughable. It's one of the things that bugs me about the open-source community more than anything else.)

Please cut the bodyguard stuff. Toady is obviously open to (peaceful) discussion, and I didn't read "leave me alone" anywhere in his post or between the lines. The conclusion of his post suggests that he's interested to know if he missed anything.
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Blacken

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #222 on: July 31, 2008, 12:45:07 pm »

Quote
What about Battle for Wesnoth? It's pretty much a bazaar, and it's a wonderful game.
You have a very different definition of "wonderful" than I do, then. Wesnoth is an aimless pile of crap, tugged in all sorts of directions by people who want to make it into different things.

Quote
Also, if you read the original post, you will have noticed that I am suggesting the open-source model for the interface only. Toady wants to protect his game logic and I understand that. But even a messy open-source model would be perfect for the interface, so that many different ones crop up: who cares if there are 100 different ones, if at least 5 are excellent.
At which point it becomes considerably simpler to build a replacement open-source engine. Whoops, there goes Toady's DF.

Quote
Please cut the bodyguard stuff.
I'll say that you're being disrespectful if, as in this case, I think you are--because if you read his post, it's pretty plain that he's already considered what you brought up.
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FlexibleDogma

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #223 on: July 31, 2008, 01:06:51 pm »

Quote
Also, if you read the original post, you will have noticed that I am suggesting the open-source model for the interface only. Toady wants to protect his game logic and I understand that. But even a messy open-source model would be perfect for the interface, so that many different ones crop up: who cares if there are 100 different ones, if at least 5 are excellent.
At which point it becomes considerably simpler to build a replacement open-source engine. Whoops, there goes Toady's DF.

I seriously doubt the lack of a fully-featured 3rd party GUI is holding anyone back from creating a DF replacement engine.   :P
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Andir

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Re: Third party interfaces and "Losing control of the project"
« Reply #224 on: July 31, 2008, 01:32:07 pm »

Quote
Also, if you read the original post, you will have noticed that I am suggesting the open-source model for the interface only. Toady wants to protect his game logic and I understand that. But even a messy open-source model would be perfect for the interface, so that many different ones crop up: who cares if there are 100 different ones, if at least 5 are excellent.
At which point it becomes considerably simpler to build a replacement open-source engine. Whoops, there goes Toady's DF.

I seriously doubt the lack of a fully-featured 3rd party GUI is holding anyone back from creating a DF replacement engine.   :P
Agreed.  I've thought to myself many.. many times how to do a fortress like game since I really don't care about the history, adventure mode, or some of the other things.

I could have gone on about how I think that the world should be a server, the interfaces should be separated into adventure and build interfaces and all kinds of other fun stuff, but that's neither here nor there.

The idea that somehow the separation of the interface is keeping people from making their own DF clones is ridiculous.
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