Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Utilizing The Community

Before I get onto my main topic for today, I'll note that Kimboot 1.00 got released today. You swing a ball and chain around and bloodily annihilate stick men. Lots of violent fun without being too gross. :-)

I spoke to HellcatV today. For those who don't know, he's one of the original Vega Strike developers and pretty much the guy in charge of VS.

Vega Strike has not released an update for over 2 years. On the face of things that might be a sign of inactivity but that is the opposite of the truth. The community and developers have been continuously active and there is massive change between the last version (0.4.3) and the current version. I'm trying to push them to release an update.

"It's imperfect!" they lament. "It needs playtesting and bug fixing!" they decry. Commercial game companies have QA testers. Open source games have a community. Make a release, label it beta, and people will be happy to try it and report bugs. That's the nature of Free and Open Source Software.

I tried to talk HellcatV into labelling the next release 0.5.0beta instead of 0.4.4beta. There's been so much change in SVN and x.y.z is major.minor.bugfix and this is not a bugfix update. People are often far too conservative with version numbers (Torcs being another example). Let the version numbers reflect development activity! Not how perfect the game is. The utopia of a perfect 1.0 software release never, ever happens. It's better to aim at milestones and forget perfection as anything other than a distant goal. The only Free Software project I have seen pull off a decent versioning system with a lofty near-perfect 1.0 release goal is Inkscape and they keep it very, very simple - 0.x where x always increases 1 with every release - no point releases (well, ok, 0.x is a point release... but no 0.point.point releases) except for critical bug fixes. That works. The rest just make the software look less mature than it actually is and turn away fickle users and users are almost always fickle.

Perhaps I care about version numbers too much. :-)

Anyway... music tip:

Babylon Robot - Dop4m1n (Delicious & Errick mix)

By the way, almost all the music I (will) mention builds up. Don't listen for 5s then judge it, unless you want to miss out! ;-)


Anonymous said...

You're completely right, it's better to release something and get people looking at it than try to get everything "perfect" first. Going for perfection is fine goal, but it is unrealizable; however with all the people playing a beta release trying crazy things their qa people wouldn't have thought of... It just makes sense to leverage the unique power of FOSS, and that is the multitude of eyes, and that the people are willing to help.

Andrew said...

That and the fact that when someone tries an open source game; they try it once and if its unfinished they'll say "it sucks" and then never download that game again.

Zyphrexi said...

word to your mother, homey.

There's nothing more detrimental to the perception of a project than developers who don't increase the visibility of a project due to some inane fear of large numbers.

Wawrzek said...

I checking VS page from time to time waiting for the next release... Please send info there are more people waiting for the next release (0.5 sound better).

And something happened at Pingus website.

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