Author Topic: How You Can Help  (Read 31846 times)

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Offline Once

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How You Can Help
« on: December 27, 2011, 03:21:39 pm »
Hey Guys,

I know I've been a little quiet over the holidays here. Working on a new business and dealing with some interesting issues in some of my current ones but I saw a very intriguing debate on gossip this morning and read an excellent article that got me motivated to start 4d off right in the New Year.

As many of you have noticed (some for months) this place has stalled a little bit in terms of new development. Some of it can be attributed to busy-ness with the holidays. Some of it could be personal issues/interest for programmers. That said, I think a big part of it is we don't have a clear plan of what people can do to help move the game forward.

My goal with this post is to help break down what a successful project tends to be organized like, and make it clear to you how you can help us. Essentially there are four key elements that make up the successful execution of goals in any project (especially ones with multiple workers). 

1) Macro Issues (What large scale, categorical issues are wrong. For instance: Combat, No Grinding Alternatives, Annoying Bugs, PvP Actions, etc)

2) Stating the Problem with detail and breaking the problems into components (arbitrary, likely incorrect example: Combat is currently an issue because it's not very fun to play. It's slow. Managing your speed isn't particularly interesting. Typing the same skill again and again is boring. Spells are somewhat interesting, but I just stick with fireball because it works best 90% of the time, and we could use more variety in the different spell types).

3) Taking the Components and turning them into Tasks (example:  Speed is kind of boring to manage because you always want max speed and it only takes X hours to get the best speed gear. Let's make speed negate strength, but create a "critical hits" system that triggers around 1% of the time. You can take very slow strong hits that may one or two hit a mob, or you can have very fast attacks that can get you a critical hit and do bonus damage. Lower Speed will also allow you to block more, so low speed will let you be more like a tank, and higher speed will do seriously quick damage.)

4) Doing the work (Random Coder:  "Hey, looks like I can:

A) Make a critical hits system.
B) Add some code to make slower hits get better dodging and blocking, and
C) Create a system that makes it possible to manage your speed.

I only have 2 hours so I'm going to work on B because that sounds more fun, and I'll see if I can get A done too. If I can't, maybe somebody else can")

Those are essentially the components of any successful project. Research has found that people are most motivated to work when they can have a sense of progress. In order to have a sense of progress, you need definable tasks that you can complete. We need to give people meaningful goals that they can complete, and we need to be able to give beneficial feedback to people for completing those goals. There's a certain motivation boost to seeing your code in the game.

This is a big wall of text I know, but the end goal here is to make it clear to you guys what it'll take to make 4d successful, and how you can help in making it successful. Following those goals, here's the Macro areas we need help with:

A) Breaking down what the problems are. (Please create a new thread for this called Macro Issues, I will edit this thread heavily and have Molly integrate the macro issues into her "Priorities" thread)

B) Understanding a few solutions to the problem. Please provide your solution to for instance, Combat. For each Macro issue give it its own thread. If it were me, I'd name a combat thread Macro: Combat.  Break down exactly what's wrong with Combat in your mind, and a few things we can do to fix it.  Do NOT get bogged down in fighting as to who has the right solution, that tends to kill a project..

After we have enough ideas and theories backed with examples/data we can then sit down and figure out what the ideal solution looks like. From there, we can break it into tasks and get things done.

C) Create individual task lists. I'll be honest, at the end of the day I'm pretty decision fatigued. I've been on calls, I've answered all manner of questions, I've been making decisions and taking action all day and I'm not exactly energetic about figuring out what I need to do for a game. 

I do however have some coding skill that I can put to work. If someone's broken out the tasks that need to be completed for a given item (similar to what I did above for the critical hits system for combat) I'd likely pick one or two and just code them. I might code them slightly differently than they're laid out once all is said and done because I have more knowledge of the codebase or I know what's easier, or I just have my own style. That's okay, every programmer will be different and won't *exactly* follow your vision. Having these things broken down though will make it easier for us to get stuff done though.

Sorry for the wall of text. Thanks for reading guys. Open to criticism here. I think this is the best way for us to get this MUD moving and improve the game as a whole. Join me, and together we can create a kick ass game that'll last another 10 years. ;)