What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 28 Oct 2017, 12:28

Kind of a brainstorm what the users of this forum and related services (blog, planets etc.) think should become of this website in the medium term.

Any ideas are welcome :)

Background: As you might have noticed the innovations behind this website, or simply updating the forum-software have kind of slowed down in recent years. This is largely due to the original people behind having less time & motivation, but also due to a slightly complicated server setup with multiple people administrating different parts only. We have a thread on this in the admin sections for a while now with a few ideas what changes to make, but nothing much has come out of it so far.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Lyberta » 28 Oct 2017, 16:30

Maybe host website config and source code in a git repo so other people could learn and improve it?
Some crazy person on the Internet.
User avatar
Lyberta
 
Posts: 310
Joined: 19 Jun 2013, 10:45

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 29 Oct 2017, 08:16

You mean the source of FGD? It is really just a basic phpBB installation so far.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby charlie » 29 Oct 2017, 10:15

I'd like to see the various parts of it merge really.

Without saying be a FLOSS Steam, I'd like to see it head towards a more Steam-Community-like platform where projects are submitted, news updates posted by the devs (replacing the Project Showcase & Collaboration and blog), articles are submitted (replacing the blog), those updates and articles syndicated (replacing the planet), and forums automatically created for each project. A community platform, if you like. Steam without the game launching and the workshop.

However to get from here to there is months of work and I've never made time to at least create a mock up of this, so can't pretend it is even realistic at this point.
Free Gamer - it's the dogz
Vexi - web UI platform
User avatar
charlie
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2003
Joined: 02 Dec 2009, 11:56
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby farrer » 29 Oct 2017, 12:02

+1 to what charlie said (which seems to me like a modern LGT for FLOSS games).

Maybe someone of the community who knowns some CMS system could set up a repository with a mock up for others to start / join from there.

I have almost NULL skills on web programming (so I can't suggest to use this or that framework, or set up the bare bones of some), but with something already set up I could try to submit some small patches for some specific features or fixes or something like that.

Anyway, I believe that have everything up and running well is a complex task...
User avatar
farrer
 
Posts: 80
Joined: 24 Feb 2014, 21:00

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 29 Oct 2017, 12:17

farrer {l Wrote}:Maybe someone of the community who knowns some CMS system could set up a repository with a mock up for others to start / join from there.

This is similar to LGDB https://lgdb.org/ which is based on Drupal8 (and we could probably get the source of that website). But for that to work, we would need to find someone to update the Drupal <-> phpBB bridge to work with more modern versions of both (see: https://www.drupal.org/project/phpbbforum or https://www.drupal.org/project/phpbb_sso).

An integrated platform sounds good, but hard to do (lots of custom programming) and also I personally prefer to not reinvent the wheel too much. The question is also: is there really a demand for such a platform? Not so sure...

Edit: one of the things I thought would be neat, is a https://movim.eu/ (XMPP) based platform for developer chat & microblogging, that could also be linked to better IRC services (there are somewhat slack-like interfaces such as https://thelounge.github.io/ ).

Another thing that came up in the admin discussion was an ideas voting platform, a bit like this: https://www.phpbb.com/community/ideas
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Sauer2 » 29 Oct 2017, 15:02

Ideas for the Wiki?

I just did a minor edit for a still incomplete page and discovered that it has been the only edit for quite a long time. Meanwhile, most articles are outdated and/or incomplete or simply need an overhaul.

Possible options might be:
a. Leave it as it is. That takes no efforts, but you know that incomplete or false information could cause damage as much as it can benefit.
b. Wipe it. There are probably better sources of game dev information elsewhere, anyway.
c. Overhaul it in a giant community effort. Probably to end up in most articles being replaced.
d. Remove articles that are obviously incomplete or outdated. Most likely, that would almost end up being b.
e. Remove articles that aren't strictly focussed on FREE/OPEN SOURCE game dev. There are probably better sources of game dev information elsewhere, anyway.
User avatar
Sauer2
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 19 Jan 2010, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 29 Oct 2017, 16:00

erhm... yes the wiki. I would be a bit reluctantly for option b (wipe it) as this is an absolute uphill battle to ever get that up to date or relevant.

In a sense that is also why I am not super confident in creating a kind of FOSS game project site like Charlie was indicating... like similar efforts it will quickly turn into a graveyard of abandoned stuff (just look at our bottom forum section).
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Sauer2 » 29 Oct 2017, 16:54

I doubt anybody will protest if you cut off some liabilities like the wiki.
User avatar
Sauer2
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 19 Jan 2010, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Duion » 29 Oct 2017, 19:16

I would like to see some actual game development related talk instead of drama only.
Duion
 
Posts: 254
Joined: 16 Mar 2013, 20:33
Location: Germany

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby farrer » 30 Oct 2017, 10:53

Julius {l Wrote}:This is similar to LGDB https://lgdb.org/ which is based on Drupal8 (and we could probably get the source of that website). But for that to work, we would need to find someone to update the Drupal <-> phpBB bridge to work with more modern versions of both (see: https://www.drupal.org/project/phpbbforum or https://www.drupal.org/project/phpbb_sso).

As far as I remember LGDB was up to be a replacement of LGT. But, at least for me, the interface is so not-user-friendly that I never got used to it (among other reasons too, but not related to this)... But, using its source as a start would save a lot of time...

Julius {l Wrote}:The question is also: is there really a demand for such a platform? Not so sure...

For me it's more a egg and chicken problem: the FLOSS game scene from some time now loss momentum to the indie-game development bubble, so there isn't much interest (or even knowledge) in or about FLOSS game, but, on the other hand, probably the FLOSS game community won't grow up again without a place to 'spread the word' and explicitly differentiate to what we are and what we aren't.

Julius {l Wrote}:Edit: one of the things I thought would be neat, is a https://movim.eu/ (XMPP) based platform for developer chat & microblogging, that could also be linked to better IRC services (there are somewhat slack-like interfaces such as https://thelounge.github.io/ ).

Seems interesting...

Sauer2 {l Wrote}:Ideas for the Wiki?
(...)

In an ideal world, I would be favourable to:
f. Wipe it, in favor of another integrated way to here (for now the wiki is just a very hidden place, without almost any interaction to the forums).
User avatar
farrer
 
Posts: 80
Joined: 24 Feb 2014, 21:00

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 30 Oct 2017, 14:01

farrer {l Wrote}:As far as I remember LGDB was up to be a replacement of LGT. But, at least for me, the interface is so not-user-friendly that I never got used to it (among other reasons too, but not related to this)...
(...) For me it's more a egg and chicken problem: the FLOSS game scene from some time now loss momentum to the indie-game development bubble, so there isn't much interest (or even knowledge) in or about FLOSS game, but, on the other hand, probably the FLOSS game community won't grow up again without a place to 'spread the word' and explicitly differentiate to what we are and what we aren't.


Yes, but is a catalogue of FOSS games the right tool for this and is it something FOSS game developers & players want?
Sure Steam has something like that by necessity of being a shop, but at least I hardly ever go into the catalogue and filter/search for games. Same for LGT or LGDB... I don't really see the point as usually you get to know about game through blogs, tweets, articles, forums etc. and then you can go to the games website directly. In addition I always felt that a huge (usually outdated) catalogue of mostly dead games doesn't exactly leave the best impression with users...but this is what these catalogues (or similar efforts like wikis) tend to become quickly.

farrer {l Wrote}:In an ideal world, I would be favourable to:
f. Wipe it, in favor of another integrated way to here (for now the wiki is just a very hidden place, without almost any interaction to the forums).


Something like this that is fully integrated with phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/exte ... edge_base/ would of course only be a very simple replacement for a full wiki, but probably sufficient to post some tutorials etc.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby charlie » 31 Oct 2017, 11:16

Julius {l Wrote}:Yes, but is a catalogue of FOSS games the right tool for this and is it something FOSS game developers & players want? Sure Steam has something like that by necessity of being a shop, but at least I hardly ever go into the catalogue and filter/search for games. Same for LGT or LGDB...

Yes, people regularly will try to find the kind of game that interests them. Browsing for FOSS games isn't easy. The best place is LibreGameWiki but it is high maintenance. You want something that empowers the developers (which LGT did with a simple submission interface for updates).

Julius {l Wrote}:I don't really see the point as usually you get to know about game through blogs, tweets, articles, forums etc. and then you can go to the games website directly.

Right but that requires:

1) you know about the game first

2) requires a lot of effort on the part of the player/user. I still frequent the planet because it is an easy way to see updates, even though many of my faourite projects don't get included by it. The more you can catch all projects under 1 umbrella, the more eyes you get on all those updates because people will come to you for news. I found this with the blog. At it's best it was 1-2k views per day because people enjoyed the regular updates and finding new projects without having to do the leg work themselves.

Julius {l Wrote}:In addition I always felt that a huge (usually outdated) catalogue of mostly dead games doesn't exactly leave the best impression with users...but this is what these catalogues (or similar efforts like wikis) tend to become quickly.

Right, which is why a community site/catalogue has to be update driven, encouraging developers to post regular updates and players/members to post articles, because new content gets the most eyes. It's another reason LibreGameWiki struggles.

Julius {l Wrote}:Something like this that is fully integrated with phpBB: https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/exte ... edge_base/ would of course only be a very simple replacement for a full wiki, but probably sufficient to post some tutorials etc.

Yeah, a well configured PHPBB with extensions could do the trick. There's many ways to skin a cat, as they say.
Free Gamer - it's the dogz
Vexi - web UI platform
User avatar
charlie
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2003
Joined: 02 Dec 2009, 11:56
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 31 Oct 2017, 13:49

charlie {l Wrote}:2) requires a lot of effort on the part of the player/user. I still frequent the planet because it is an easy way to see updates, even though many of my faourite projects don't get included by it. The more you can catch all projects under 1 umbrella, the more eyes you get on all those updates because people will come to you for news. I found this with the blog. At it's best it was 1-2k views per day because people enjoyed the regular updates and finding new projects without having to do the leg work themselves.


Yeah, I agree on that... and I really like Planets/RSS feed aggregators and popular sites like Reddit are really almost the same (with a comment function). A blog is similar but requires a lot of work by a few authors.
There are feed bots for phpBB (https://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtop ... &t=2411596) that would allow to integrate planet like functionality right in the forum. And with movim.eu every user of the forum would automatically have a very easy to use microblogging service (possible to use twitter like, but also allows for markdown formatted longer blog posts). And these microblogging feeds can then again be aggregated to a planet like metablog.

My criticism was really much more specific to LGDB like catalogues, which I personally think are mildly counter productive and rarely developers will bother with updating their pages if they are already struggling to update their own website :)
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 31 Oct 2017, 14:56

Another idea:
Would there be interest to have a Etherpad-Lite based collaborative coding tool? Etherpad-lite is relatively easy to setup and I just found out it has a cool programming plugin, see:
http://codepad.etherpad.org/
https://github.com/LaKing/ep_codepad

No idea if developers would want a service like that on FGD tough...
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby charlie » 31 Oct 2017, 16:38

Julius {l Wrote}:My criticism was really much more specific to LGDB like catalogues, which I personally think are mildly counter productive and rarely developers will bother with updating their pages if they are already struggling to update their own website :)

My end game, were I to really go at it, would be to have it so the site itself could basically be a project's website. If you have everything on there - from updates / forums / screenshots - then you only need a place to host the downloads (which you might argue you should use github etc) then that's all a developer needs. Just add a human friendly url (http://fossgames.domain/a_game/) and voila. The idea is to reduce the amount of work developers need to (1 location to post updates, etc) rather than add to it. That's when it would become something decent for the community.

Further to that idea of reducing the work needed, if users can submit screenshots/videos and you have a voting system, then you move that to the users as well as providing additional activity for a project.
Free Gamer - it's the dogz
Vexi - web UI platform
User avatar
charlie
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2003
Joined: 02 Dec 2009, 11:56
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby domtron » 06 Nov 2017, 13:44

I'm curious who has final say on this? Is it a majority rules kind of thing or is there an owner/set of owners that will make the final decision. It is fine to talk about the future, but we need to know when/how the decision is actually made.

Personally I generally only use the blog. I pop in once in awhile to get reviews and news summaries about what is happening. I generally don't watch dev news feeds very much except for the games I'm really into. So I kindof feel it would be a loss to drop the blog and replace it with micro-blogging. Or did I misunderstand that?

charlie {l Wrote}:My end game, were I to really go at it, would be to have it so the site itself could basically be a project's website. If you have everything on there - from updates / forums / screenshots - then you only need a place to host the downloads (which you might argue you should use github etc) then that's all a developer needs. Just add a human friendly url (http://fossgames.domain/a_game/) and voila. The idea is to reduce the amount of work developers need to (1 location to post updates, etc) rather than add to it. That's when it would become something decent for the community.

Further to that idea of reducing the work needed, if users can submit screenshots/videos and you have a voting system, then you move that to the users as well as providing additional activity for a project.


So you basically want a sourceforge 2.0 minus the baggage? Provide file hosting, website hosting, and forum (maybe wiki too) all in one place with minimal configuration needed. You basically have this with github minus the forum which you can get by using some free forum provider.

If we went that way the benefits over GitHub would be 1) forum included and 2) no connection to a commercial entity (I know some people refuse to use GitHub because it is a for profit business). And the benefits over sourceforge would basically be 1) no scammy baggage that has tarnished the name and 2) no Ads.
domtron
 
Posts: 75
Joined: 10 Jun 2013, 16:22

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 06 Nov 2017, 14:12

I think github or source-forge is maybe not the right comparison, as those are really file revision (git/svn) focused. To me Charlie's idea sound more like a FOSS game focused Wordpress.com or Blogger.com i.e. a very easy to setup (AND low maintenance) place to showcase your game and foster to a community.
It's not a bad idea, but the demand for that is probably low and better served by free services such as github pages or itch.io that include other services that FGD is unlikely to ever provide (huge free git repo, payment services).

I personally think a simpler setup that especially focusses on easy 'developer to developer' exchange and a convenient interface to those players interested in testing (& contributing) to unfinished versions of your games (like this forum) is the way to go. At the same time it could easily be the go-to-place for any kind of news related to FOSS games.

The problem with the blog is that there is currently no-one willing to be a very regular writer. We tried a few times to get additional people on board, but in the end it was always two or three people writing most of it, and those have kind of lost motivation or don't have the time to do it any more.
Thus my idea is that instead of trying to recruit new writers for a traditional blog, make it really easy for anyone to write a blog entry by offering a sort of micro-blogging service (not limited to 140 letters like Twitter of course) and then just promote good posts to the front page.*

As for decision making... there isn't really any. So far this site is just a few dudes paying the domain costs out of their own pocket or letting us use a larger server they are renting for other purposes anyways. Most of them aren't even really involved in this community any more...
Charlie as the "founder" (actually of the blog, by the time we started the forum it wasn't just him any more) has of course some say... mainly because he owns and pays for the domain. Otherwise I guess a few of the old-timers and the moderators of the most active hosted project forums would get a say, but ultimately it will be merit based, i.e. who is willing to step up and configure and mostly maintain (probably even pay for) an improved system (as the current shared server is very limited in what we are allowed to do with).

*my preferred system for that would be Movim.eu, see some features here: https://nl.movim.eu/?node/pubsub.movim. ... 474fc3b443
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby MTres19 » 08 Nov 2017, 00:00

The Linux Game Tome from what I saw of it was cool and good for its day but I think the concept of game directory or portal isn't really what people look for nowadays, since freeware PC games are pretty few and far between from what I gather... I think mostly this is due to search engines improving so that people don't have to look through lists of stuff manually.

Most freeware games today are on app stores which handle publishing but essentially isolate users from getting involved in projects—after all, they're not supposed to get involved in closed-source projects. Of course, Linux doesn't really have an app store yet, but that's on its way with e.g. Flathub, and with this context I think it's too bad that Flathub seems to be mimicking the proprietary app stores so closely, in that there's no sign of a community behind any of the applications listed there.

Personally, I think SourceForge excels at this. For users, each application/game has its own storefront with screenshots, downloads, etc. But the entire community is right there too: tickets, code, reviews, wiki, etc. The only problem with SF in the context of this discussion is that it follows the directory approach instead of being integrated with the OS. If SourceForge started a Flatpak release system, I think we would have our deux ex machina.
User avatar
MTres19
 
Posts: 159
Joined: 17 Aug 2015, 20:15

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby themightyglider » 09 Nov 2017, 02:48

I like the idea of a micro-blogging service and would suggest to give Mastodon a try for this.
Mastodon seems to be the decentral social network/micro-blogging service with the biggest community so far. I know a few FOSS game-devs already use it and having some mono-thematic instances inside the federation seems to be very common e.g. Bookwitty.social or Mastodon.art .
People who are interested in FOSS games could join the instance and start posting. Devs for instance could post updates about their games.
The admins could pick some posts with a higher relevace for the community and place them on some kind of frontpage. Maybe it would be possible to write a little bot that puts everything a admin likes or repeats in a rss-feed. In this case we would only need a nice page that shows the elements of this feed in a human-readable form.
User avatar
themightyglider
 
Posts: 102
Joined: 23 Feb 2016, 12:13

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 09 Nov 2017, 13:00

Hmm...not sure if Mastodon is a good target right now. They just switched the underlying protocol and are in general not too concerned with interoperability outside of the Mastodon federation. I have also no experience in setting up stuff in Ruby... but that's another story :)

Matrix.org is also interesting, but when it comes to setting up a integrated system XMPP is still better as it is more widely supported.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby themightyglider » 09 Nov 2017, 23:08

Of course Mastodon was just the first thing that came to my mind. If you prefere a XMPP-based solution then movim really seems to be the best. I guess there is a chance that the XMPP-solution for player account management you suggested a while ago could be merged with this some day.
I like the idea of a micro-blogging platform because it offers best changes to bring players of FOSS-games together, what is much more important then giving the devs a place to promote their latest releases IMO.

If it comes to a nice frontpage that allows to offer an overview about the most relevant posts on such a platform I think freepost could be a easy solution. You just would need to trow the URL of interesting posts in there.

Here is an example for a working instance of freepost:
https://freepo.st
User avatar
themightyglider
 
Posts: 102
Joined: 23 Feb 2016, 12:13

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby Julius » 10 Nov 2017, 06:15

Thanks for the hint regarding freepost. Seems like a nice clean Reddit like site. An alternative I had in mind was Voten ( https://github.com/voten-co/voten ), which is a bit more "fancy".

However one of the things I really dislike right now is the fragmentation of blog and forum comments, thus I would rather like to setup a system that refers to the forum for comments (could be probably done with a phpBB RSS bot that automatically starts a thread for each promoted blog posts).

That said... probably not worth reinventing the wheel regarding Reddit (see also: https://www.reddit.com/r/opensourcegames/ ) as such kind of sites only work with a huge number of users, and who needs a *tumbleweed* filled FGD Reddit clone... (I know I am somewhat contradictory here, as the promoted microblogging idea is not so much different from Reddit, but that I see more of a potentially nice side effect of implementing a fully featured XMPP/IRC hybrid chat and not a full website features by itself).

themightyglider {l Wrote}:I like the idea of a micro-blogging platform because it offers best changes to bring players of FOSS-games together, what is much more important then giving the devs a place to promote their latest releases IMO.


Any more ideas how to do the former? I would hope that we could bring developers and players (early adopters) together, but of course just connecting players is also a worthy goal.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” - Buckminster Fuller
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby themightyglider » 11 Nov 2017, 00:09

I think that setting up a federated solution like movim or mastodon are has the best potential because such networks are populated with people who are already aware of free software. Such people are the most promising candidates for becoming early adoptor of a FOSS game.

I think there are a few games around who already have a active community (eg. Battle for Wesnoth or Minetest). Such a community grants this games some kind of supply with new players. This is a psychlogical effect I guess. If you see a game is played by other peoply you are more likely to give it a try yourself.
The problem with this communities is that they are very focused on one game. If we could have a place where people can talk about their favourit game but also come in touch with people from other communities this would have a positive inpact on FOSS gaming.

About Freepost:

I am sure at a place like described above people would start posting news (like new game releases but also interesting articles, videos etc.)
My idea was to use a freepost installation for the admins to collect such posts and offer some kind of FOSS gaming related news stream for everyone.
User avatar
themightyglider
 
Posts: 102
Joined: 23 Feb 2016, 12:13

Re: What direction should FreeGameDev.net take?

Postby DGMurdockIII » 14 Nov 2017, 20:49

i would like to see more news updates on open source games/engines and maybe ever 6 month a state of maybe state Linux gaming update and that dosent have to just focus on free/open source can include steam and how gaming on linux as a whole is doing. I would like to see interview with the people that work on the game you post about and if possable a podcast. If you wanted to have a donation system you could look at https://liberapay.com/ & https://liberapay.com/about/faq Liberapay is designed for long-term stable funding and only supports recurring gifts.

people have been saying to do some kind of voting thing well if you want to u need to check out this open source progect http://www.telescopeapp.org/
DGMurdockIII
 
Posts: 50
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 17:47

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest