Curious fantasy and hypothesis

Friendly conversations, and everything that doesn't fit into the other forums.
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Bloodknight
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:58 pm
by Bloodknight » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:55 am
So, given my clear lack of talent for post titles, and since you are here wondering WTF is Blood talking about.

So I've been mulling over questions brought up by the spawn of satan and a couple of others who made points about the Steering committee and the future direction of both the engine and its governance.

We have in place, potentially options that allow for full transformation from GG 'owned and controlled' (in quotes because it's all loose as all heck) to an independent organisation.

Questions I have are fairly fundamental, who, how, when, and why. OK, so why is relatively easy, and everyone has their own reasons so it's probably irrelevant, and given there are enough people who want something out of the engine or want a future for the engine. we need to tack why onto the how and who questions!

I'm going to be brutal, but factually brutal, the how and why and wherefores of how we got to this point in time in this particular condition aren't particularly important, but the next steps are. So here are the brutal facts, we currently have a small and dedicated team of developers who do most of the work ( @
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JeffR
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Timmy
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Azaezel
sorry if I missed anyone, my bad ) and we have a small community of outstanding contributors (too many to list sorry, but small is getting smaller all the time.

My initial thoughts are simple, we are at the stage of a small startup, we have a product, we have a small dedicated team, we have interested clients.

Do we have enough people to do everything a startup needs?
Do we have enough people in the community to take up some aspect of turning the possible/potential new organisation into an expanding game engine 'company'?
Do we have people here willing to chip in with their expertise?
Do we have people who can do the grunt work, advertising, screaming from the rooftops, whatever?

We need more of everything, more users, more contributors, more devs, and I have no idea how that can be achieved if we don't have the warm bodies to do the work of expanding the organisation in the way it needs expanding.

On top of all that, I have no idea who can manage to organise such a task, because it needs leadership and organisation. even if that leadership and organisation is in the form of a committee, a steering group, a despotic tyrant, whatever.

I'm just rambling, I'm just curious, curious because it's easy to criticise, anybody and everybody can do that regardless of qualification, if you criticise without a solution, you are dead to me if you demand your solution is the only solution and cry when it is not adopted, you are dead to me.

More rambling.. sorry :p
JeffR
Steering Committee
Steering Committee
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by JeffR » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:39 am
Honestly one of the big issues would mostly come down to streamlining workflow processes for doing work.

Posting blog updates, and having them aggregate around instead of needing to manually re-post it in multiple places, for example. I mentioned in the discord, but being able to do a post here, and have it show on the landing page, get linked on twitter, show up on the moddb articles section, etc, etc would go a long way to letting people to quick piecemeal updates(because I know that most people aren't too keen on posting Novellas as I am every update ;) )

Likewise, figuring a way to streamline the testing process would help a lot. Ideally we get some sort of nightly build shindig we can toss PRs into and have up for people to just download, run, and report(as humans are notoriously lazy creatures) but any steps towards that end would be useful. Still, even outside that, the bit with this, for example: Image definitely helps to streamline the testing process, we just need to ensure people know it, and help 'em if issues crop up.

I honestly think that part of the initial hurtle for people helping is git seems scary so they don't try because they may "screw it up". If we can simplify that end in as many ways possible, people would be more willing to try.

On the management side of things, I'd mentioned prior, but I do think it's time to begin le migration to the Torque3D 'project' on github and start separating from GG's repo. This allows full control, establishing new roles, permissions(letting the community help with tags and the like, for example, is good) as well as letting more people have the ability(even if not the primary responsibility/task) to merge in PRs, manage issues, etc.

But I think the biggest frontrun outside of that(which obviously goes a long way) would be tighter community integration. Ensuring that the site, forums, git, discord, wiki, etc all get really gross and incestuous in cross-linking as much as possible to better establish a sort of intra-network for all things

Better integration between stuff like patreon(s) and the community would also be really useful. Outside of just fun community bits like contributing to the patreon yielding colored names or funny roles in the discord, the subject came up of a tier for prioritized support, which I'm seriously considering now.


Long and short of it, is my perception is this: the community is small, but very tight and largely really knowledgeable and dedicated.
More people do come into the community fairly regularly, but it's more of a trickle than a stream or river, or horrifying, torrential waterfall of death.
A bit reason for why this likely is, is that we don't have a lot of outreach or marketing. Usually people coming into the community either stumble upon it, or had distant ties to it(like picking up an old project that used Torque). We absolutely need to do more to act as a sort of beacon of "yeah, this is here and it's actually pretty sweet".
With the tighter integration of community elements, it'll be easier for people to integrate and find what they need.
And then obviously, once they feel like they're part of the community, they'll hang out, contribute in whatever ways the can, etc.
This gives us our bodies, allowing more work, and so the cycle continues snowballing.

Can we do it? Absolutely. It requires some spit and elbow grease, but I know we can bring it together(even if it takes some time and bumbling about ;) ) and make this even better than ever before.
Monkeychops
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:53 am
by Monkeychops » Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:09 pm
I think there's a few major stumbling blocks at the moment:

1) People looking in see the engine as outdated - that should be fixed with the new PBR release and the GI that's being worked on.
2) Not many people understand the engine - that should be helped with the new cleanup work and the new modular approach and ECS.
3) Not many people know or want to use TorqueScript

I think #3 is a big problem. It perpetuates because those that know T3D and work with it understand torquescript well enough and don't see it as a problem. Meanwhile the rest of the world peeks in and sees a decent but outdated engine with a weird scripting language for which no modern tooling exists and moves on.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the new release with PBR and cleaned up modular structure and I think that will go a long way to sparking interest in the engine, but I really think for the engine to have a long term future it will need to have official bindings for a more popular language like C#. Unless or until that happens, its going to remain a niche engine - that's the primary reason it died out under GG and hasn't picked up much traction since going open source either.
JeffR
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by JeffR » Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:08 pm
but I really think for the engine to have a long term future it will need to have official bindings for a more popular language like C#. Unless or until that happens, its going to remain a niche engine - that's the primary reason it died out under GG and hasn't picked up much traction since going open source either.
Funny you say that(and also shows we need to be better about displaying everything that's going on work-wise) but Lukas' cinterface work was specifically designed to allow use of C# as the scripting language. The work itself allows for pretty much any language to be used to interface with the engine - you'd just need to write the hooks for whatever it is - but Lukas did the work specifically to utilize C#.

So yeah, while it won't be the frontline scripting language, C# support is *technically* already a thing. It's more about building out examples for it's use and documentation for the people that want to utilize it. Which I'd anticipated leaning on post-4.0 more since we could have a flag for something like that in the Project Manager.
Razer
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:29 am
by Razer » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:30 pm
I agree most people won't want to learn a scripting language that is used only by Torque 3D.
While lot of people already know C# and they prefer to learn C# that is "portable" or usable in other 3D engines or for other purposes.
Bloodknight
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:58 pm
by Bloodknight » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:37 am
I'm also willing to lay down good money that people bitching about TS have never even looked at it, nor do they care that apart from recent years pretty much EVERY engine had its own special version of script, and yes that includes the mighty unreal and the less mighty unity, and well they get even less mighty from there, its a downward spiral :p

What is also really funny, even if there was C# common usage in torque those skills are not transferable to unity or any of the other engines, the only portable parts of any programming language ate the bits you learn in the first hour of programming the bits that are virtually the same in every language that has its parentage in the C family tree, C C++ C# Java JavaScript... almost all of them really.

Also, while C# is the current darling of app programmers (if you are old enough you see these cycle every few years, was java for a decade for example) see only a few engines using it as a scripting language cryengine and unity and maybe Godot depending on who you listen to. And it's worth repeating that learned skills aren't transferable, all engine use different APIs and the pain of learning any engine is the API IMO, while there are industry standard terms every engine has their own unique twist on how it does what it does.

As for scripting, we have, actionscript, angelscript, typescript, we have another dozen or so engines with their own scripting, or C++ there re more engines using C++ for scripting than C#, and then we have LUA and Javascript, I mean between those two we have about 35% coverage of all game engines, arguably, C# is only the 4th entry on the list if we are using popularity as a measure for which scripting system we should implement first apart from Lua they are all C like, I guess Lua is to some extent, but whitespace syntax, no thanks not for me.

So, pretty much doesn't matter what language you learn, if you can code you can script if you can script you can script (unless you lua, you have a harder curve, sorry), if you can't code or script, you are gonna have to get used to compilers/interpreters screaming errors at you for a while, its the pain we all had to go through.

Bottom line, if you are using torquescript as an excuse to not use torque because the skills are not transferable, you are lying to yourself about transferable skills, if you post that horsepoop, you are lying to everyone else too, there are reasons for using one engine over another, not gonna sit here and say T3D is the greatest, but it does have advantages others don't and vice versa is also true, and I'm also not gonna sit here and listen to people talk about crap like they actually know when they don't and not comment. Use Torque3D or don't, but don't be spreading lies, do some research.
suncaller
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:03 am
by suncaller » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:32 am
I've seen this mentioned before: "decent but outdated engine with a weird scripting language for which no modern tooling exists and moves on."

Did Godot's scripting language put people off? Not at all. Godot got c# and python scripting well after it boomed in popularity. Writing UE4 blueprints is not really a transferable skill, but that sees quite a bit of use. Regardless, a better scripting interface has been proposed and work on it has started.

Is the real issue that there is no modern tooling? If so, Torsion is a thing that exists, and creating language highlighting and tossing it into the IDE of choice isn't really that hard. I intend to have something up for VS Code some time in the near future. Do you feel that would be a significant factor in people choosing Torque? If not, what more would need to be done in this regard? Blood's viewpoint on this is a bit harshly phrased, but not really wrong.

I very much like the image you've created of Torque as a small tech startup. I wrote more, answering the original questions you posed with reasoning, but I'm exhausted, so I've removed it for now in favor of rewriting it with a clearer head. I'll summarize my thoughts to: I think we have all the components of a major game engine at hand, we just need to optimize for success. Forget the committees, the voting, etc. We just need to start writing things down and organizing ourselves better. I assert that we should distribute discussions over the discord, forums, and wiki based on what is most appropriate. Not because discord is bad or anything silly like that, but because the forum and wiki can facilitate different kinds of discussions more appropriately and also be readable down the line if needed -- something that's a bit challenging with discord. That, or make an army of bots to sort out things discussed in discord. It's all about using the right tool for the job.
Duion
Posts: 1377
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:51 am
 
by Duion » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:07 am
I've seen this mentioned before: "decent but outdated engine with a weird scripting language for which no modern tooling exists and moves on."

Did Godot's scripting language put people off? Not at all. Godot got c# and python scripting well after it boomed in popularity. Writing UE4 blueprints is not really a transferable skill, but that sees quite a bit of use. Regardless, a better scripting interface has been proposed and work on it has started.
Nobody cares about the technical details, you don't become popular through offering a good product, popularity is bought primarily through money. Godot is "popular" because it gets subsidized, because it offers mobile support, cryptocurrency support which then offers great protential to rip people off through microtransactions, that is what matters.
Bloodknight
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:58 pm
by Bloodknight » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:41 pm
the idea behind this post was rudimentary recruitment, finding out whos interested and what they are good at or can do to chip in, but as per usual the asshats have to pile in and shit on everything, God bless the internet and the fact that it's been made so easy even idiots can do it!
JeffR
Steering Committee
Steering Committee
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:49 pm
 
by JeffR » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:13 pm
Alright guys, namecalling isn't needed.

I'd say sun's ultimate point is correct though.

The script language an engine use doesn't magically define how popular it is, and many large engines have their own snowflake implementation.
Supporting a 'mainstream' script would primarily be for the purposes of ease of new people coming from other backgrounds, but anyone that knows how to program any object-oriented script is going to be able to port that to just about any language an engine will use, TS included.

If T3D is exactly what someone wants for their project with every single need and feature, but sees it uses TS, most people aren't likely to turn their nose up at it for that one thing(when again, anyone with programming experience would transfer their knowledge very quickly). Having C# or whatever other language within arms reach merely makes the decision to use easier. I really doubt the language would be a lynchpin/breakpoint element on it's own.
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