Sorry to butt-in as I never really contributed and I also don't want to sound like a smart a**
(Well maybe I should so that you complain about me and stop accusing each other -- that is very bad for the teamspirit
IMHO OD has three problems in my eyes:
1. First of all (and that is has in common with the majority of open-source games) it seems to depend on one central programmer who bit off more than he can chew, or at least will take a long time to establish his goals over which he or the other contributors will will likely lose interest (current state).
- One possible solution would be to find some way to collaborate on a common code base with other teams so that more developers and dev-time leads to quicker results. Likely candidates would be other Orge3D based games, but I am not sure in how far the current code-base is suitable for a restructuring. Potential projects might be Summoning Wars (sadly also on the verge of dying for similar reasons) or maybe DNT (does that use OGRE3D?)... maybe Lips of Suna, or OpenMW? But I am skeptical if this will work as motivation is low right now, and changing codebase will take (a lot of) development time before one can reap the benefits.
2. The second problem, and again this is sadly all too common is the tool-chain... some see what you wrote above: Artist are complaining that stuff doesn't get integrated, the coder is complaining that stuff isn't fully integrateable and that he has do play around with Blender to do it.
- Projects should never depend on the central programmer to integrate art assets! Artists need to be able to get stuff running in game themselves easily, at least in a viewable prototype state (game-play integration is another thing). I am actually amazed how much great art assets have been done for OD regardless. For me I don't even bother with games I can't get stuff running myself to test out things (with minimal programming skills, e.g. editing a configuration .txt is pretty much the most I will do).
Most artists actually only start contributing (regularly) to a project after they played around with things on their own, without ever even contacting the developers. If they can get things running with the publicly available tools, documentation(!) and game-builds, they will be hugely motivated to invest further time.
3. Last but not least, and this is specific to OD (and other "clone" projects): Basing a game on a known and well loved classic will get you interest of both developers and players, but that will fade quickly once they realize that development is slow and they can rather just play the original instead (which they will probably not do either, but that is another story). Differing from the classic and making your own thing will result in a small but very vocal part of the developers and players who want everything like they are used to from previous builds or the target classic, but IMHO those people are a brake to development and should be silenced rather sooner than later.
- One potential solution is to mix things up right from the start, e.g. saying is will be based on Game X,Y and Z (while adding ones own ideas also). Case in point: OD als a DK clone never really interested me much even though I liked the original quite a bit; A Game of Dwarfs ( http://www.agameofdwarves.com/
) on the other hand interests me as it seems to be a healthy mix of great games, and that even given the fact that I never played Dwarf Fortress