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  Why are so many interested, but nobody willing to...  (Read 3444 times)
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Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 51
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Posted 2006-06-18 01:53:50 »


I've been wondering about this. Why are so many people interested in joining online game development projects, and then nobody is willing to do any gaddem work?

I have this project that has 6 developers in it, and 2-3 of those developers have done 95% of the work. The others just "sit" there idle, *waiting* for something... although there is enough to do.

 Huh

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Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 186
Projects: 24
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Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #1 - Posted 2006-06-18 02:34:59 »

There a lots of reasons I suppose. One common one is that developers need leaders, people to allocate work Wink

Kev

Offline appel

JGO Wizard


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« Reply #2 - Posted 2006-06-18 03:19:18 »

Having the most active person allocating work to the least active persons is a waste of resources, if those least active persons stay *least* active. They basically cancel out the productivity of the whole group because of the overhead managing them Smiley

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Offline MasterNag

Junior Newbie





« Reply #3 - Posted 2006-06-18 09:20:43 »

As Kev said, there are many reasons and amongst them I can see : lack of skills and lazyness... But admitting one or both of these flaws requires a great amount of honnesty and courage, and I'm not sure that people behaving this way have...

Another thing is that being able to say that : "I'm currently involved in the dev of an online game" is cool, and that can give enough motivation to stay in the project, even for doing nothing ! So, IMO, the best thing to do is to remove those "parasites" or at least tell them you're about to do so (you might give them the motivation they're lacking Wink)
Offline f.l.x

Senior Duke


Projects: 3


there is no place like 127.0.0.1


« Reply #4 - Posted 2006-06-18 10:04:44 »

I have no experience on managin projects, but my 2c are roadmaps and task allocation during the desing, not during the coding, then everyone knows what must be done before starting doing anything.

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Offline EgonOlsen
« Reply #5 - Posted 2006-06-18 10:50:30 »

Why are so many people interested in joining online game development projects, and then nobody is willing to do any gaddem work?
Because it's much easier to say "hey, i'll do it" than actually doing it. Talk is cheap.

Offline zingbat

Senior Duke




Java games rock!


« Reply #6 - Posted 2006-06-18 11:45:24 »

Having the most active person allocating work to the least active persons is a waste of resources, if those least active persons stay *least* active. They basically cancel out the productivity of the whole group because of the overhead managing them Smiley

You have to be eficient. If you can't do this quickly and easly then you rpobably don't know very well what you are doing. I sugest you put your team talking together and creating a good UML documentation. Most of the time this is also the leaders fault because they are never satisfied with one solution and nobody can understand what is going on in their minds. That and leaders also have to be coerent with what they say. That is don't ask for something absurd that will then force you to backtrack and throw work away. When we are dealing with open-source free projects we must be even more cautious because people don't have a contract binding them to a project.

I have a good example that is www.startflightcentral.com. This project has more than 8 years now and is still alive. It's just than nobody has yet been able to do more than 50% of the game. Lately we have spent almost half a year documenting the damn thing and making the project more friendly to contributers.

This is sort of the track record of the project. In 2004 the main coder who has build the first functional demo with modern graphics stoped posting in the forums and was never seen again.  Grin

Before that there has been several engine shifts from DOS to win32 and later to Allegro. The organization was allways the same. One coder dude with all the code in his head and other people trying desperatly to read his mind. There is a lot of great contributions that are store in our databases, from art, music, writings, etc

When I joined the project in 2005 together with other coders we realized that most important than continuing that mess of more than 1000 c++ source files without any documentation was to ensure that future contributers would have an easiy time geting in the project and knowing what is suposed to be done or knowing right away they don't have the skill/experience to do it.

So we decided to build a doc section in the svn depot and document everything to the minimum details we could get. We also tried to change the engine and game data to be data driven and independent. Game data formats are the most common possible: obj models, xml files, pnjs and jpg images, ogg and midi musics, wav sounds. On the engine side we are planning to implement all the game behavior using a scripting language that can be easly modable. When we want to test combat algorithms for example we firts create a prototype and only when we are sure about the algorithms and interfaces to use we code it into the engine.

At the moment we haven't been doing much more than documentation, prototyping  and game data conversions. But there is already a big difference. We are getting more experienced code contributers and they stay for long and actualy contribute with something being design docs or proto code instead of being completely in the dark and having to browse trough a wall of code to be able to just figure out what they are doing in there.

And since the engine is planned to be completely independent of the game we now can acept propositions for different kinds of engines. We have one persons interesting in doing an Allegro c++ variant that runs on linux and im doing a combat prototype in jogl. We could have a full jogl engine if someone would be interested in doing, since the game is data-driven and engine independent this would not be a problem.

This is one good thing about open-source or free projects is that we can't be relaxed with docs and planning because we aren't paying anyone and if someone just finds it frustrating he just leaves.
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 51
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #7 - Posted 2006-06-18 15:42:53 »

When I recruited participants into this project I wasn't expecting idle zombies that had to be micromanaged - or even had to be encouraged to participate. Although there has been a lot of it, without much success.

Maybe because we're still in the design phase, meaning people actually have to use their brains and not be coding. Sometimes I feel like they're waiting for everything to be designed, chewed and digested for them so they can programme...

Some are very eager to start programming, and say so. But how can you start to programme a solution to a problem when you don't know the solution? It will end up in a total mess, especially in a team project like this, and we'll end up throwing away the code many times before we get it *right*.

Oh well,

ty. Dr. Phil Smiley

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Offline zingbat

Senior Duke




Java games rock!


« Reply #8 - Posted 2006-06-18 17:17:31 »

You don't have to give people a course on uml or programming. They should know pretty quickly if they are skilled enough to help or not if they understand their design doc. On the other side if they need a telepatic link to your mind to know what needs to be done then perhaps you should first get a good design doc and stick to it. You will see that things will run a lot smoother and you will get more talented contributers. The things i said in the previous thread help by geting the team working together.

"But how can you start to programme a solution to a problem when you don't know the solution? It will end up in a total mess, especially in a team project like this, and we'll end up throwing away the code many times before we get it *right*."

Thats what design is for. It's easier to throw a model away than thousands of lines of code already debuged.
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 51
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #9 - Posted 2006-06-18 19:28:46 »

"But how can you start to programme a solution to a problem when you don't know the solution? It will end up in a total mess, especially in a team project like this, and we'll end up throwing away the code many times before we get it *right*."

Thats what design is for. It's easier to throw a model away than thousands of lines of code already debuged.

Exactly. But how do you get people involved in the design thinking process? The requirements are clear, we know how the game is supposed to be like, but people don't seem to be interested in a deep-thinking of the design.

Check out the 4K competition @ www.java4k.com
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Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
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Offline benjamin

Senior Newbie





« Reply #10 - Posted 2006-06-18 20:35:09 »

I do not know much about your project but to be honest, it seems a bit over killed to have 6 persons working on the design. Actually, I believe that this might be 3-4 persons to many for the initial phase. Something about too many cooks might apply here… it can be very difficult to make good contribution to a design that is not finished unless it has been divide into separate components that can be work on independently. Additional, I think you just have to accept that some people like programming more than design, which I actually think should please you because this will help you to get things done.
However, if you believe that each team member should participate in the design phase I would suggest to break down the design phase into tasks and estimate the require time to finish each task. This will make it easier for your team member (even new comers) to pick a task to do. Furthermore, this will provide you with an instrument to ‘kick’ people of the project that do not perform their tasks/meet their timeline.
Offline zingbat

Senior Duke




Java games rock!


« Reply #11 - Posted 2006-06-18 20:56:42 »

Exactly. But how do you get people involved in the design thinking process? The requirements are clear, we know how the game is supposed to be like, but people don't seem to be interested in a deep-thinking of the design.

What are you trying to design exactly? Designing is not an easy task. Like you said it requires a certain skill and besides the necessary knowledge not many people is good at design. Specialy being capable of design a project in detail before geting into the code. If you can find models already made for a similar app this maybe a huge help. For starflight 3 which is a crpg we are are looking at other scripted game engines like Fallout, NeverwinterNights and the latest Oblivion tescs. Sometimes there is simply no other solution besides trial and error. That is coding and then trying to understand your mistakes and modify your design. In this cases it's better to do some prototypes before to gather more info. Im doing a text based dialog and combat prototype to test combat and quests. Once i gather all the necessary knowledge i will pass to design and then to implement the design in a visual game environment.
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 51
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #12 - Posted 2006-06-18 23:13:44 »

I think the general problem I'm having is trying to get feedback on the things I'm doing. I've written tons of text about how the game is supposed to be like, but still I get limited feedback. Now I'm drawing a diagram of the engine classes, and there is only one person active in giving feedback...not a single post from anyone else. Feels like I'm talking to myself.

I've even gone as far as putting up SVN accounts for all the people, and put the skeleteon of the engine in there, but people have to be brutally forced into logging on.

It also seems to me that the least experienced people are the most interested and active ones, they have a will to learn, but their inexperience does somehow make you a *daddy* in the project. But those who are more experienced seem to be keen on not involving themselves.

I've also split the project up into *jobs*, putting up jobs people can do, like: (it's a RTS game like C&C)
- Come up with a plan how we store all the game asset (jpg,png,gif,wav,map data etc.) files and how to load them.
- Define how the properties of the units and buildings are define, in what sort of config files, etc.
- Help with the game story, story of the single player missions.
- Define the map structure.

Just basically, pick your pick and do your best. But people aren't doing it. Nobody is doing the thing of taking a problem and actively find a solution.

It seems like I have to do it all myself, and also try to manage the project. Feeling sort of like a teacher, trying to explain every single bit to someone who's not interested. I could just as well do the project on my own, and the programming part is the least of my worries.

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Offline swpalmer

JGO Coder


Exp: 12 years


Where's the Kaboom?


« Reply #13 - Posted 2006-06-19 01:52:06 »

Why are so many people interested in joining online game development projects, and then nobody is willing to do any gaddem work?
Because it's much easier to say "hey, i'll do it" than actually doing it. Talk is cheap.

And some people truly want to help, but then life gets in the way and they find they simply don't have the time to do what they expected to do.  It's the nature of almost any volunteer effort, I suppose.

Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 51
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #14 - Posted 2006-06-19 02:35:10 »

Why are so many people interested in joining online game development projects, and then nobody is willing to do any gaddem work?
Because it's much easier to say "hey, i'll do it" than actually doing it. Talk is cheap.

And some people truly want to help, but then life gets in the way and they find they simply don't have the time to do what they expected to do.  It's the nature of almost any volunteer effort, I suppose.

Ronnie Coleman, a famous bodybuilder, uses this line: "Everybody want to be a bodybuilder, but nobody is willing to lift some heavy ass weights."
I think the same applies to programmers that want to make computer games.

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Offline nonnus29

Senior Duke




Giving Java a second chance after ludumdare fiasco


« Reply #15 - Posted 2006-06-19 03:28:36 »

From what I've seen it seems that projects with fairly advanced demos are more succesful at attracting team members.  There are just too many unknowns when a project is just starting for people to be able to pick a peice and run with it.  At the very least you need a design document and a uml diagram (or some such) to outline what the interfaces between the components will be.  Otherwise you'll have people contributing a Singleton class or some other meaningless bits of code.  Gee, thanks for the singleton class, that took what 5 minutes to implement (or cut and paste).  Roll Eyes

Welcome to the internet, this is just the way it is.

 Undecided
Offline zingbat

Senior Duke




Java games rock!


« Reply #16 - Posted 2006-06-19 21:26:56 »

"Ronnie Coleman, a famous bodybuilder, uses this line: "Everybody want to be a bodybuilder, but nobody is willing to lift some heavy ass weights."
I think the same applies to programmers that want to make computer games."

You are a programmer who wants to do that so i supose there must be more people no?  Grin

A demo also helps a lot but it doesn't replace good documentation. Also perhaps you should advertise your project in a more active way or have other people doing that for you. Having a demo, screenshots and good UML models to show helps a lot when advertising. You shouldn't just post in one place but in veery place/forum on the net where you can get a chance. It's a pain in the ass and most people will leave after a month but that's how you increase your chances of geting a realy productive contributer.

PS: I have to say that if your game is not a remake of some great classic is harder to find contributers. Designing software maybe harder but designing a fun game is even more. With a remake it's easier to follow what needs to be done because the game is already designed. It's just a mater of porting it and adding new graphics and perhaps fix some gameplay issues.
Offline Mr_Light

Senior Duke


Medals: 1


shiny.


« Reply #17 - Posted 2006-06-19 21:57:09 »

thats why I avoid binding myself to projects and only take on tasks / problems that are fixed in 1-2 days chopping projects up into to small separate bits

I would sugjest pick ppl per pair that live togetter. or ppl that you know from other projects.

It's harder to read code than to write it. - it's even harder to write readable code.

The gospel of brother Riven: "The guarantee that all bugs are in *your* code is worth gold." Amen brother a-m-e-n.
Offline appel

JGO Wizard


Medals: 51
Projects: 4


I always win!


« Reply #18 - Posted 2006-06-19 22:03:12 »

Yes, I had graphical demos up, and I had designed the gameplay. But how to implement it in a game engine required more brainpower, that's why I requested assistance.

If I could design the whole thing myself, graphic, gameplay, and the engine, why would I need help?

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