Author Topic: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended  (Read 1130 times)

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Offline jamespetts

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As regulars here will know, Simutrans-Experimental, as it is now called, is often confused for a testing build of new features for Simutrans-Standard, whereas it is in fact a fork with a different feature-set intended to provide more realism. The name "Simutrans-Experimental" originally came from when I first started work on this project back in 2008 and did not know what would become of it (the idea originally was for the features to be implemented into what was then termed "the trunk").

As many may recall, there was a discussion some time ago about renaming Simutrans-Experimental to Simutrans-Extended to reflect the real status of the project. Several people had then recommended doing so as soon as possible. I did not take action on this at the time because the official release builds, from the now old 11.x line, were still named internally "Simutrans-Experimental".

However, now that I have a nightly build setup for both Windows and Linux, this seems as though it would be a good time to make the transition, and deprecate the old 11.x release builds (although I will still keep them available in case anybody wants to use the older executables; I believe that Carl Baker was using these until recently at least).

The popularity of early access development and the interest that people have shown in playing the latest, in-development builds over the last few years, it seems sensible to me officially to deprecate the releases and point new users towards the nightly builds with the caveat that these are still work in progress.

In fact, even the old 11.x builds had bugs and gameplay issues and the current builds are in many ways more stable and complete than the older builds. It does not seem to me to be sensible to release a new release build until I have completed at least the first pass at pakset balancing, which can only be done once a number of balance critical features are implemented, which will take some considerable work. It is evident that people would like to play the updated version in the meantime.

Doing this now will have a number of advantages, including familiarising people with the new name, the ability to use the updated name explicitly in videos (there is not much point now in adding commentary referring to "Simutrans-Experimental" knowing that the name is due to change), and setting up social media accounts with the new name.

Before I actually make the changes that I need to make (including renaming inside the code), I should be grateful for any feedback that anyone might have as to any possible transitional issues in respect of this that I might not have considered, as well as views from those who administer these forums about the practicalities of renaming the "Simutrans-Experimental" subforums to be "Simutrans-Extended" subforums.

Edit: Another thing to consider is the use of Github branches. I have just accidentally (I am not quite sure how this happened, actually) pushed the road-vehicle-rescaling branch of the pakset to the master branch, which was supposed to represent the latest pre-half heights code. Prissi mentioned recently that it was confusing that the master branch of the code on Github was so out of date.

Might it be sensible to start using the master branches for the official nightly builds, and create sub-branches from that especially for release candidates and release final versions in the future?
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Offline Carl

Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2017, 08:56:13 AM »
This seems sensible to me. This would likely spark me into helping with testing the new versions. You're right to say that I currently still use 11.x. I am expecting my legacy maps to be unable to make a smooth transition to the new version due to the sweeping system changes, so I'll probably just package the old executable with the savegame downloads for the time being. When I commence new projects I will do so in the new version, assuming everything is in order there.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2017, 11:21:41 AM »
Thank you for your feedback. I was planning to make the legacy executable available for download indefinitely in any event.
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Offline Ves

Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2017, 01:32:53 PM »
Big congratulations James, making this step towards your goal!
I think there are a lot of interest in what you are doing and I think it is wise to address accessibility so even more new players can find the amazing work you've done!
You could for example create a page (or fan page or whatever it is called) on Facebook as a blog, writing maybe a weekly update on what you are doing, posting videos and pictures of new features. Or even open up a 'real' blog on for example Wordpress, linking it to these forums and Facebook etc.

Also on the theme of accessibility, I think you could indeed change the GitHub focus and maybe even "clean up" a little bit on the GitHub branches, maybe even starting a new repository which is called "extended" for the game respectively the pakset. That would help keeping it organized and make it easier to navigate new  patches and projects etc.

Some suggestion in respect to the nightly builds:
Include some hint in the name of the executable and makeobj of 'which' version it is, making it much less tedious for downloaders to keep multiple versions on their computer at the same time as they would have to rename every download. I would suggest both a time stamp and some letters from the commit. That also makes it much easier for bug tracing, as players gets much easier access to what version the game is since they can just read and copy/paste the file name instead of having to open up the entire game. 
Also allow for there to be the last, say maybe 5 or 10, versions be online at any given time. This way, downloaders can use an older version if the newest one contains some devastating bug or similar.

In either event, changing ones mind to "extended" from "experimental" is going to be a huge task, at least for me :p

Offline fam621

Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2017, 05:35:34 PM »
True. Nice one James, BTW.

Offline isidoro

Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2017, 09:48:46 PM »
[...]
As many may recall, there was a discussion some time ago about renaming Simutrans-Experimental to Simutrans-Extended to reflect the real status of the project. Several people had then recommended doing so as soon as possible. I did not take action on this at the time because the official release builds, from the now old 11.x line, were still named internally "Simutrans-Experimental".
[...]

James, you forget to mention that some people were also against the new name because of the connotations it has regarding to the status of Simutrans Standard (of which name, by the way, I think you were the author too).

It's true that Experimental doesn't do justice to the present status of your fork, but I keep thinking that Extended isn't the best alternative.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2017, 09:54:10 PM »
James, you forget to mention that some people were also against the new name because of the connotations it has regarding to the status of Simutrans Standard (of which name, by the way, I think you were the author too).

It's true that Experimental doesn't do justice to the present status of your fork, but I keep thinking that Extended isn't the best alternative.

I know that there was not a consensus on the choice of name, but there was, I think, on the fact that, to whatever the name should be changed, it should be changed sooner rather than later. Apologies if this was not as clear as it needed to be in the original post.
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Offline Spenk009

Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 05:58:20 PM »
It's very nice to see you taking the step in renaming to Extended. And the current development builds don't have the spin-off and modification feel that releases before 11.x do. All the work invested in multithreading and relentless bugfixing especially with the signalling system is very present in the performance and reliability that the nightlys show.

I doubt that there is a solution in the naming that will satisfy everyone, but Extended was the popular candidate.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 11:38:59 PM »
The name change has now been effected in the code, and is being propagated in various places on the forum and elsewhere (I have just finished editing the Wikipedia page, in which I also updated the information about the latest Standard release).
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Offline Ves

Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2017, 02:29:59 PM »
Should the pakset forums "Pak64 Experimental" and "Pak64.German Experimental" also be renamed? Or are they maybe not supperted by Simutrans Extended anymore (ie needs update to work)?

edit:
Also, the "Makeobj-experimental.vcxproj" is still named "Makeobj-experimental.vcxproj" (should be Makeobj-extended.vcxproj).
« Last Edit: February 15, 2017, 02:44:16 PM by Ves »

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2017, 03:04:27 PM »
Those paksets are not actively developed; their official names remain "Experimental". If development were to resume, and if their authors were to update the names, then the forum names should likewise be updated.

Edit: I have now corrected the makeobj project name.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 10:04:07 PM by jamespetts »
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Offline Junna

Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 04:41:43 AM »
Why is the new exe 7.5 MB as opposed to under-4?

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Moving to an early access model and finally changing the name to Extended
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 08:44:37 AM »
I believe that this is because more libraries are statically linked: the older builds required the Visual Studio redistributable.
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