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Re: Anyone on this list?

Steve Baker:

> It's hard to get *ANY* new project started from cold.  Sometimes projects
> start from a grass-roots need - most times one person just starts
> something.
Yeah, it's hard, but Xarvh has been under developement for 2 years, it has a 
shape, is a real thing, is not blocked in planning status...

> * In the first case, the peril is that the whole project never gets going
>    because people just talk about it and write design documents without
>    actually getting any code together.
> * In the second case, it's very hard to get other people to sign on to your
>    personal vision of how things should be.
> In both cases the answer is to write code more or less as a solo activity
> and get the project to a stage where it's actually useful for something.
> In the case of projects with lots of people already on board, this focusses
> discussion and activity around a concrete task - in the case of solo
> projects, you stand a much better chance of recruiting more people if you
> have something more or less working so that they can see what they are
> getting into.

Please take a look at the site.
There are only two messed up pages, but they contain lots of info.
Xarvh is at a good developement stage, and has a good graphic.
I keep the source tarball updated (`relase early, relase often`) and i try to 
constantly add new material... spare time permitting...
I don't want someone to have the same thought i have about a great game, but 
some feedback, some costructive critics would be appreciated...

> Either way, the bottom line is that you have to be able to write most of
> the code yourself.
Of course, but only 'cause i'm not going to trust anyone.... i must be able 
to complete the entire project by myself: code, port, GFX, SFX, Music, site, 
documentation, rules, testing.

> Don't be discouraged.
> OpenSource projects in general have a spectacularly high failure rate.
This won't fail.
Shall I work on it for 20 years, *this* won't fail.

I started Xarvh with just a raw knowledge of C, under DjGpp, then I had to 
learn GFX programming, Linux, Network Programming, pathing algorithms and 
such, i won't resign.

> I've started/run eight web-based projects over the past few years.
> I'd rate this at maybe a 30% success rate...but if you count the projects
> with large communities around them - maybe I have a 15% success rate.
> I get the impression that this kind of track record is par for the course.
They failed bacause you lost interest in them.
Maybe they weren't worth the effort, while PLIB is (and I think it is).

> I don't think that's true - it's just not happening at LGDC.
I hoped so, LGDC was just a loss-of-interest example.

> You need to read HappyPenguin (aka Linux Game Tome) twice a week.  It used
> to be just an archive of game titles - but it's grown of late to include a
> slashdot-like community.  There is a fair amount of traffic there these
> days...mostly from games *PLAYERS* - not from *DEVELOPERS*.
I'll check it out...

> Well, sometimes.
> We are unlikely to want to talk specifically about your game here - but
> problems of a general nature would certainly engender interest and lots of
> advice.
I don't want you all to talk about my game!! =)
I was expressing my feelings as a linux game developer, as it seems that i'm 
not the only one who feels sometimes frustrated.

> Games *are* personal visions.  I can't tell you the number of times I've
> seen wildly enthusiastic people with ideas for games who seem to think that
> I'll just *obviously* want to jump in and help them.  Well, I'm sorry but I
> have some great ideas of my own.
Yes, i know, i've lots of good ideas none likes... =)
And i've also refused to join lots of projects, because they didn't meet my 

> Ideas for games come very, very, cheap.  Code for games is harder work.
> Artwork and Music is harder still.
> It follows that people will not join your project just because it's a good
> idea. They *may* join if they see a great code-base emerging - but to
> REALLY attract developers, they need to see the whole thing basically
> working - playable, etc.
So, they'll join when all work's over...

> Take a look on Sourceforge's Game's Foundry.
>       Board Games (307 projects)
>       First Person Shooters (420 projects)
>       Multi-User Dungeons (MUD) (630 projects)
>       Puzzle Games (217 projects)
>       Real Time Strategy (423 projects)
>       Role-Playing (1049 projects)
>       Side-Scrolling/Arcade Games (280 projects)
>       Simulation (605 projects)
>       Turn Based Strategy (535 projects)
> That's 4500 games projects...and those are only the ones on SourceForge.
Some projects have more than one entry... Xarvh is both rts and tbs...

> What percentage of those turn into actual playable games?
Yes, a good 30% does not emerge from planning and the others are all 

> Well, SuSE Linux (which happens to be the distro I use) packs in as many
> OpenSource projects as it can.  I think a reasonable measure of success for
> a game is "Did it make it onto the SuSE distro".  You may have another
> criteria... but this is one I can measure.
I feel the distro criteria is quite good.

> > I'll continue developing Xarvh myself, but the overall situation seems
> > quite sad...
> It's a hard call.  Do you carry on with a project as a solo activity in the
> hope that you'll get fame and glory when it's finished - or do you abandon
> it because nobody else thought it was a great thing and start something
> new?
> It's a difficult decision.
I've already made it.

> I've decided that there is little to be gained by writing GAMES as a
> community project - all of my new games are developed by me and my son
> without external input.
> HOWEVER, there is a lot to be gained by writing SUPPORT TOOLS for games
> writers in a community setting.  I put as much of the code from my solo
> game projects into my shared library code project (PLIB) - so that the
> ratio of game-specific code to shared-library-code is as small as possible.
I can't understand this.
There is an *overwhelming* amount of libraries and tools for games, and no 
Lots of words are spent about the `technologies` to use, but linux games have 
still the appeal of  commodore64 games...

> My first Linux game (TuxAQFH) was about 60% game-specific code and 40%
> library code.  My second game (TuxKart) is about 10% game-specific and 90%
> library.  My next game (to be announced) will be about the same ratio.
> This means that I get lots of help in writing, debugging and maintaining
> the vast majority of the code (and that's mostly the boring parts) - and
> 100% control over the places where the creativity lives.
Yes, but that means all games will be always old-fashioned, nothing 
innovative, nothing original, nothing great, and that all games will look the 
same (and that will also depend on strange libraries, so that ./configure; 
make; make install will be always be a pain!)
Take a look at FreeCiv: it relies on X windowing system, and its interface is 
ugly, hard to use, and has lots of problems (mouse wheel is useless, 
scrollers must be activated with mouse buttons and cannot be dragged...)

Xarvh does not rely on any specific library: at the time can work with SDL or 
ALLEGRO indifferently, and will work with BSD network calls, SDL_net, 
DIRECTX; i'll make a native Linux port using raw GPM input (like ALLEGRO 
does) and framebuffer, so that it will use no other libraries other than 
linux libc, with better control and performance than ALLEGRO or SDL...
(no framebuffer? use SDL)
Try to use a non-US keyboard with SDL!
I still have not found a way to print in my game accented chars like тащи, 
while reading directly from the terminal i get the right translated char.

Francesco Orsenigo