I think I disagree a little bit here. Simutrans have some unofficial leaders; the core development team that decides what is
and what is not
to be included in the main trunk.
As a developer, I want my work to be recognised and as long I don't know if my idea will be included in the main trunk or not, there isn't much point in developing it. Sure I can make a patch but it will break at some point when the trunk moves on...
I know of at least one very good example of open source development that successfully releases a steady stream of solid breakthrough technology in their product; Blender
. They have a strong front figure with a vision but as a community anyone is free to develop the software. They use Google Summer of code
to get hi-tech features into the software like camera tracking, video effect and post production. Other volunteers have written entire physic and smoke simulations to Blender. Blender has become a strong competitor to Maya and 3D Max offering the same functions and more, completely free of charge.
Okay, they do have some money, mostly donations and at occasions they hire temporary to boost development from time to time. But this isn't critical to move Blender forward. They usually announce a cool feature with a price tag and then run a fundrais until the goal is achieved. They also offer a DVD with blender (even if it is free to download), but as a DVD buyer you also support the development.
I'm not implying that Simutrans is even near the size of Blender, nor possible to sell Simutrans items or pay people to do some development, but the project is very successful.
Okay enough of the ranting
So how can we improve the Simutrans development?
I had a look at the forum system over at simplemachines.org
and we could make use of some features.
I don't think categories is enabled, or I may have miss understood what they are. But we could have categories like, patch, project, bugs, features etc... I would imagine that you could filter your search on these categories and get a more narrowed down match.
Announce major projects as polls to see if there are any interests of a specific feature.
3) Project updates.
Lets assume we stick with the current system, but tags a project with the category "project". Provide a template for a project header that will be a sticky. I don't know if it is possible to have the creator of a thread to get the "sticky" rights. It would also be reasonable that the creator of a project thread also maintains the sticky.
The sticky would contain the project goal, development team and description.
If we don't use the category feature (or I have miss understood it), we can code these project threads as [PROJECT] project name in the subject field.
Now, since we do have an unofficial leadership, and "they"
do decide what is going into the main trunk or not, "they" can show their support of various projects by announcing that this project will
go into the trunk if it full fills the description and goals as described in the sticky. Should these goals change they have the right to reject the project. But it can still be released as a patch, the usual way.
A dying project will bubble down when people stop to write in the thread and the sticky isn't updated any more by the project "owner".