A Note About Open Development

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A Note About Open Development

Postby Vino » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:01 pm

1. Open What?

Action Boogaloo is under open development. This means the source code and project files for development of the game are available to everybody. There are no barriers to enter as part of the development team. Any person can take any role that they want. Anybody can download the source and begin programming on this mod. Anybody can download the Source SDK and make a map. If your skills are in modeling or animations or textures then you can contribute those. If you are a manager or producer then you can help guide production of other team members. If you have no skills but you like to playtest games and give your feedback then you can be a tester.

Many mods have been taken over by a subset of the team or their teams have fragmented. It may seem that open development can lend itself to increased fragmentation. Since anybody can come along and make their own version of the game, then the project can be fragmented at any time. However, it is my hope that open development will actually prevent this, and the fact that anybody can make their own version of the game should be seen as a strength. This will keep me as a game designer accountable for the decisions I make. It also prevents any one person including me from holding a monopolistic grip on the design. If someone else makes their own build of the game and it turns out to be more fun than mine, then the path forward is clear - use the version that is more fun.

2. Don't Be A Dick

That raises a question though. What if a person takes our hard work and moves it away from the community but then does not contribute back to the community? What if they take our open-development project and fork it away, and create a closed-development project of their own where they don't contribute to the original project? In short, that would make that person a dick. Please don't do this. We're not making this game because we want money or because we're on power trips. We're doing it because we want to play a fun game that we're passionate about. If you want to modify the game, please help us, be a team player, and submit your changes back to the community.

"Don't Be A Dick" has another meaning. The DA team is full of nice people who care about the game and about each other. We like it that way. If you want to join our team, you'll be joining a team of people who have a mutual interest in each others success. There's no room for mean-spiritedness in this environment. Keep those personal attacks and harsh words away.

3. Be Willing To Try Anything

You probably have an idea of how this game should be developed. Probably your idea is not the best idea. The same goes for my idea. But somewhere, scattered in pieces in our collective heads, is an amalgamation of the best ideas for this game. If we can cherry-pick all of the best ideas from each person then we can put the puzzle pieces together, but each person will have to be willing to let go of their own personal preferences and try other people's ideas or we'll never find the best ones. So the rule of thumb is, be willing to try anything. Be willing to test your preconceived notions of what an action game should play like, and consider every viewpoint. Just because you think that the way it is right now is perfect doesn't mean that it can't be made better somehow. Only after we've tried many things can we definitively say which is the best.

4. Don't Get Too Attached

In game development, many ideas get floated around. Many times work progresses in one area, and then later that work turns out to be the wrong direction or inappropriate, or simply outdated. It must be thrown away and replaced with better work. And so what happens often is that your precious hard work will get thrown away.

Don't worry about it. This is normal in game development. The cathartic process of throwing away old, bad work and replacing it with new, great work is essential for developing a great game. Things get thrown out all the time, so it's important not to get too attached to your own work, because it's more than likely that it will be thrown out.

Don't take it personally either. It's not a personal judgment. Just because it didn't work the first time doesn't mean the idea can't be improved. Try it again with a variation, or rework the idea. Maybe we can be convinced after all.

The number one rule for developing for this game is: Don't make anything that you're so attached to that you can't stand it not being in the game.

5. Your Work Belongs To The Community

When you make content for Double Action, your work belongs to the community. That is, it's no longer yours, but it doesn't belong to any individual person either. You can't "take it back" or dictate how it will be used. You signed up to work with the rest of the Double Action contributors, and part of that arrangement is that you trust them to use your work in ways that will benefit everybody. If you're not comfortable with this, just don't contribute.

Why do we have this rule? Because we can't have people making stuff and then after it's been placed in the game coming back and demanding that we remove it, or change it in some strange way. Or worse, pay money for it! If everyone put rules and stipulations over their work, who can work on it, and what can be done to it, then it would arrest our ability to function and make improvements to Double Action.

Since the work belongs to the community, it's best that the sources for your work are available to the community. For example, if you made a player model, the original Maya file. If you made a map, the .vmf file. There are many people with many talents on this team, and if the sources to your work are available then someone later could come along and make it better in a way you hadn't thought of. It takes a lot of bravery to let go of your work, but it's better in the long term.

What contracts will we have to keep this system in place? Absolutely none. Contracts are expensive, and we're doing this for fun. I only ask that you not contribute unless you trust us and you're willing to join a community.

6. The Tyranny Of The Programmer

You have ideas for the game. You want some things to be changed. But you don't know C++ or anything about game development. So you can't change anything. You must resort to begging a programmer to make a change for you. This means the programmers have all the power! The rest of the team are slaves to the whims of the programmers, and they must try to "sell" the programmers on what they want to see. Programmers can't be expected to work on anything they're not excited about, so things don't happen unless a programmer wants it. That doesn't sound very open!

At the moment there's only one programmer, and that's me. That means anything people want needs to go through me. I don't like that at all.

Here's what I hope happens. You want to see something in the game? Great! Make the art for it and I promise I'll put it in the game. We'll try it. Even if i think it's a bad idea, you can point me to this paragraph and hold it against me. If you can make the art for it, we'll playtest it. Usually, people are ingame, playing with the feature, it becomes obvious whether the idea is a good or a bad one. I've been convinced I'm wrong many times. But if people don't like it and it needs to be taken back out again, refer to section 4.

Ideally, if the project grows and other programmers join the team, the power of the programmers will be spread across a number of people and the development can remain open.

7. How Do I Contribute?

Just do it. Make something. Code something. Try something. If you want to make a weapon model, just make it. If you want to make some sounds, just make them. If you want an option for a special kind of third person camera, crack open the code and write it. When you're done, submit it to me and I will throw it into the game. We will try the game with your stuff and see how we like it. (We may not like it, in which case, see #4.) There's no formal process for joining the team, just make stuff and send it to me.
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby Riet » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:01 pm

Some excellent reading for open development would be The Final Hours of Portal 2. There's an entire section dedicated to the point in development where Gabe simply said, "Okay, everyone just stop. We're doing something very wrong here, so everyone split into groups and work on a new project for a month." Some of the projects were pretty awesome, some actually had bits of the code implemented into Portal 2, like the gel blobs, while some of the projects never really saw the light of day past being presented after the month or so. Reading the widget in its entirety is also good to see how everyone on the team came to be at Valve, their different backgrounds, and how Portal 2 eventually came to be how it is today, so it's very much worth the $2 on Steam.
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby Vino » Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:52 pm

Oh it's on Steam? I thought it was iPad only. Buying now. Valve is basically my role model for the open development model.
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby balla nigga » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:19 pm

oh vino
you're so cute
UST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE A NIGGER, IS NO REASON TO BE HATEFUL TO OTHERS, ASS HOLE...
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby Yener » Wed May 01, 2013 9:27 am

Hi there,

I would like to contribute and I also have experience with coding, studying Computer Science. My question is where to get started as a coder. Since it is open development does that mean anyone can get the source code? If so I was not able to find it.
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby Vino » Wed May 01, 2013 9:39 am

Source code is here: https://github.com/BSVino/DoubleAction

Look in the contact info thread for my contact info. We can talk this weekend if you want and I'll help you get all set up to start hacking DA.
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby ThinRedPaste » Wed May 01, 2013 10:38 am

also, the IRC channel on quakenet seems to be the place where most of the code related discussion takes place. a lot of minor design stuff gets done in there too.

irc.quakenet.org #doubleaction
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby Yener » Thu May 02, 2013 3:32 am

Thanks, Il be on irc this weekend.
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby cjmagee » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:21 am

Well, I downloaded the latest version and even though nobody was in the server I fell in love. Vino you make a certain style of game I can't help enjoy playing. I can't promise a lot of time, but I do have a good software development background and I'd like to contribute when and where I can. I'll see if I can catch anyone in IRC/game this week.
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Re: A Note About Open Development

Postby Vino » Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:19 am

<3 So glad to hear it.

Directions to get set up and contribution guidelines can be found on GitHub: https://github.com/BSVino/DoubleAction

Hit me up on Steam chat or email or something if you need any help. Contact info is in another thread.
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