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Author Topic: Simutrans manager wanted?  (Read 12587 times)

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Offline prissi

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Simutrans manager wanted?
« on: August 24, 2008, 06:50:53 PM »
I think the current discussion about donations has clarified one point very much: Simutrans is too disorganized. Having read that, I wholeheartly agree. Most things in simutrans are done as one man shows, the programming team was in the best ages never more than three persons.

Graphics sets were usually done be two or three persons, however often with no close feedback to me (or "the developer team").

Now we have the tools for an open source community: The source code is available (and occasional patches are coming in), the pak sets are (to some extend) available, we have a simutranslator (soon hopefully fully working). However, we are still lacking resources, i.e. we are very poor at recruting.

I think I am one of the responsible for that situation. I am deeply rooted in academica and have to manage 15+ people on a daily basis. Thus, at my hobby time I just do "my thing". I never bothered VS with updating pak128 and so on. In the last year, there was Frank, which did many of the open tasks. However, (sorry) his english is not too well thus he was mainly acting in the german forum.

Therefore I think we need a new "Project Head". He should be able to read code and paks (and sometimes doing them), and should also have a lot of spare time. And he should be good at coordinating people.

If I had more time, I would have liked to do this. But, my time is very limited, and will getting more limited in december (with my second child ... )

Offline Spike

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2008, 07:32:12 PM »
I'd like to do it, but on a more serious note I'm not stress-resistant enough anymore, and I definitely need an atmosphere of harmony to work with other people. Which is seldom found in bigger groups, usually there are many options and everything is most controversially discussed.

I must admit, I more than once was very unhappy about the current state of the Simutrans project after I returned and watched and tried it. Several times I considered to fork the code base and official pak set and try again, move it more into a direction that I think is right - since I didn't feel that my suggestions are considered.

I assume I rather should join, but actually no one told me who is in the team when I returned, who is important in the community, and who is doing what. I faced a lot of strangers, and felt like an outsider. Today Simutrans is developed by strangers for me, who never seem to ask me something, or not even try to contact me. Prissi is the only one who I know as recipient of my wishes. It's partly my fault, I never asked who is who, just tried to find back into the community, hoping there will be a place for me.

The problem is, after my breakdown four years ago I never really recovered. I don't think I can do it anymore. I don't have the strength and I don't have the nerves, not even the time to really do something about it.

But I'd like to have someone to talk to, who considers my opinion seriously and who leads the project. Who leads in the sense of feeling responsible for the quality of the project as a whole, including images and translations, not only the code.

This discussion comes up in a bad moment for me, though, since the next days I'll most likely not be able to read and contribute much. I just can hope it turns into a good way.

Edit: I know, in the first paragraph I talked about harmony, and the rest of my message was a pretty harsh critique of the current state. While I look for and think to need harmony, I have a talent to break things. It's hard for me to escape that trait of mine. I'm feel sorry for the people whom I hurt with my message, but I want to keep it the way it is written, because it summarizes my thoughts and impressions. Maybe someone else could have put it into better words, I can only write this postscriptum, that I know words can hurt, and that I assume my words hurt people, and that I don't know how to say it better.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 07:53:07 PM by Hajo »

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2008, 08:10:27 PM »
No Hajo, do not worry. I realized the problem, and I think I am somehow part of it.

Offline vilvoh

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2008, 09:00:07 PM »
An aspect I haven't clear yet. Should this person take care of all? I mean, we could create a team, divided in several areas, which the headmaster must coordinate. This way all important task related with the project are not in hands of a single person. The head master decides the direction the project must go and has the final word but he do not have to spend time in specific tasks. He just coordinates the sub teams from the different areas (he can take part in the if he/she wants to) There're people that's better at coding, painting, solving doubts or maintaning the wiki. Why not to take this? Divide and conquer. Not everything needs be done by a single person. In addition, as Hajo said, if you have some suggestions or improvements you want to discuss, you can put in contact with the person which manages that area, and talk to him. I think is a good idea, an it works in many OS projects.

Some possible areas:
  • Code development (Bug report/testing, new features)
  • Graphics development (128, 64, 96, 32, etc..)
  • Translations (ingame help, docs, game strings)
  • Help support (solve doubts)
  • Language support (language boards)
  • Community services maintenance (forum, wiki, translator, addons)

Possible area structure (just an example):
Community services maintenance:
  • Division leader: Isaac
  • wiki: Frank(P)
  • translator: Tomas Kubes
  • forum: Igortekton, Joker.
  • addons: Lmallet

There can be more than one person per area, and a single person can be in more than one area (no more than four subareas for the same person) What do you think?

Offline Spike

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2008, 09:12:29 PM »
No Hajo, do not worry. I realized the problem, and I think I am somehow part of it.

You have a family to take care of. A project like Simutrans needs a lot of time, for communication, and for working on it. You kept the project alive all the years, and spend a whole lot of time on it, Prissi.

You deserve big thanks of mine, Prissi, because you kept Simutrans alive when I couldn't do it anymore. You might know, I had another project at that time, and it just died a few weeks after me being away ... so this really means something, that you kept it going.

An aspect I haven't clear yet. Should this person take care of all? I mean, we could create a team, divided in several areas, which the headmaster must coordinate. This way all important task related with the project are not in hands of a single person. The head master decides the direction the project must go and has the final word but he do not have to spend time in specific tasks. He just coordinates the sub teams

First of all we need a person who wants and can act as a head master. With enough time at hands to communicate with all the other persons, and a will to feel responsible for all the ongoing tasks.

Prissi and me can tell, that a leader will be attacked often for his/her decisions, and continuously must explain and defend the chosen path. This takes a lot of strength and wears people out. Happened to me, and happened to Prissi.

So this person needs good communication skills, more than anything else, and time to explain and discuss everything. Also this person needs some knowledge which things are good for a game, and which are not. A feeling for graphics, at least as much as to decide in which direction the official pak set will be developed.

He/she does not have to actually _do_ all the things, but needs knowledge in all areas to know what is right to do, and skills to explain why these directions are right - and also to listen to comments and suggestions of others, and incorporate as much as possible into the big plan. It's a full time job, really.

Edit: The responsibility thing that I talked about in the first sentance is important. For example the Simutranslator moved responsibility away from Prissi, towards an blurry crowd of helpers, who felt or didn't feel responsible for the quality of their translations. And as mixed the quality is nowadays. Some things not translated at all, not even to English, others are very well translated. I think there must be a person who takes responsibility of such, and does take care of achieving some standards in quality. Quality of code, quality of graphics/sound and quality of translations and text. I think this is what Simutrans lacks most currently.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 09:21:38 PM by Hajo »

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 07:40:52 AM »
Last year there have been some efforts for someone maintaining pak64. This would be very good, since adding a single engine (not even a great looking one) costs me a three days. I am much better at coding (and I can balance stuff) but for graphics I would like to have somebody else. And also a person taking care of the web sites, writing news updates at sourceforge and so on would be great.

Offline vilvoh

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 07:49:55 AM »
Therefore, I think we are agree that we need a general manager and a set of area managers, aren't we? Next point would be to decide the candidates or volunteers...

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 10:05:36 AM »
Well, we rather need a team than several parallel one man shows. Like somebody managing a set (like Napik did for pak128) and then some body updating the web sites (sf, and so on, feeding news, keeping translator ok) and then some programmers and coordination.

Offline Spike

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 10:18:14 AM »
I also think more of the "team" communication should be open for others to read. A long while I had no idea what is going on, although I had access to the developers boards. But I think much of the communication was held by email and/or PM and thus hidden from the other developers. If it wasn't, then there just was very little communication going on. It'd be nice to know more about the ongoing work of the pak maintainers and programmers.

Offline sojo

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 11:55:11 AM »
I am Hajos opinion.
Perhaps it should also be a developer's homepage. With internally discussions and news!?

Offline vilvoh

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2008, 12:07:51 PM »
Why not just use the development forum? I mean, perhaps in the past we didn't use it that way (IIRC most of the development was discussed in the extension request board) but now we have the opportunity to change that. Discussions would be public, people interested in development could have a meeting point and we even can create subforums for graphics and code (Should we consider Development only refered to code and programming ? )
« Last Edit: August 25, 2008, 12:11:38 PM by vilvoh »

Offline Ashley

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 01:39:06 PM »
I would in principle be happy to take over maintainance of the graphics for pak64, my lack of C programming experience disqualifies me for a more general project role however I feel.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2008, 02:23:49 PM »
Which internal discussion? The only internal discussion I had about developing simutrans was with tron, and that is probably better kept private anyway. Unfourtunenately there was very little discussion, since there were little developer. Most was discussing with me alone ...

Therefore, any bit helps. I would be glad, if Timothy would take over pak64 graphics. I have still nice graphics from Raven for making towns more uniform, there are efforts on the german server on better town rules and a few key-engines are still missing for pak64. I will post, what I did salvaged and the we discuss ;)

Offline Spike

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2008, 02:32:04 PM »
(Should we consider Development only refered to code and programming ? )

No definitely not. It includes the official set (pak64), translations and texts for that, too. We should start to see the project as a whole again.

Offline vilvoh

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2008, 06:15:43 PM »
Ok...I just said it because in that case, we could move and post things related to graphics development in that board.

Offline Ashley

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2008, 10:13:11 AM »
Well let me get correct in my mind what is involved with pak64 maintainance.

Obviously graphics, which are contained in the svn? I'd need access to that, are the .pak files generated automatically via the svn, or manually?

Translations for pak specific objects, how do the object names make their way into Simutranslator? Manually? Or is there some script that can do this (if not I might write one).

Scenarios look like quite a young feature, presumably there's no way yet of scripting a game (to allow for the production of a tutorial?)

Config files - these are presumably also stored in the svn?

What sort of reign would I have to tweak/modify existing graphics, e.g. to correct pixel errors, alignment etc? I would prefer that I don't have to go via commitee for such things (though obviously seeking other people's opinion for more major changes).

And really, what do you envisage my role being in this? I am happy to take over everything if need be, but less is fine so long as it's defined.

Offline whoami

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2008, 07:21:21 AM »
An entry point to the sourceforge-based SVN repository can be found here (HTTP access), but I don't know whether this is the real reposity, and how to access it with SVN itself. (Of course, only Prissi can give you write access to the repository.) I would also be interested in (anonymous) read access to Pak64 by SVN itself, and information on how to build/generate pak files, so that the result would be the same as in the official releases.

Offline DirrrtyDirk

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2008, 03:35:10 PM »
I would also be interested in (anonymous) read access to Pak64 by SVN itself

Me, too!

Offline z9999

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2008, 03:41:30 PM »

Offline DirrrtyDirk

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2008, 03:42:56 PM »
Yes - couldn't get it to work. But maybe I'm just too stupid to do it right...

EDIT:
Yes, definetly me being too stupid. ::)  On the... don't know 20th? attempt it seems to work now. If only I could remember what I did differently all the times???
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 03:46:45 PM by DirrrtyDirk »

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2008, 08:16:45 PM »
I think pak64 has many graphics on the backburner. raven did some nice middle europeen middle level towns for pak64 (which, as many raven graphics) would need a liitle tweaking. Some engines are needed. GG1, and some diesels. I can point to my resources for stealing them (which still need conversion).

Maybe the engines can be discussed (usually I do this too, or get the request), but the rearrangement of towns, nicer bridges, corrections of vehicle alingment, ... does not need any discussion.

And then there are the internal stuff, i.e. the "real" switches idea or the elevated tracks and so on. And then, of course, preparing things for a release, playtesting the balance etc.

And will somebody take care of the english help files?

Offline Ashley

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2008, 08:42:00 PM »
English help files I would likely delegate, sure the documentation people can come up with something good (if not, I can do myself). Integrating and tweaking Raven's graphics and "upgrading" other graphics (e.g. bridges, etc.) also I can take care of easily.

Realistic switches/elevated tracks I could definitely take care of (I have a full set of pak64 switch graphics ready and waiting to go with programatic support, so just say the word!)

Playtesting/balance is probably the hardest thing to get right, but also the thing which will have the biggest effect :) All sounds like things I am happy to take on TBH.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2008, 08:57:54 PM »
Then register with source forge, and you get write acess. Tell me your sf-name though ...

Offline Combuijs

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2008, 09:49:23 PM »
Quote
And will somebody take care of the english help files?

I can help with the english help files, if you want. But I'm not a native speaker. On the other hand, I can read german, if that's any help.

Offline prissi

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Re: Simutrans manager wanted?
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2008, 02:57:19 PM »
Probably better take care of the help files in your native language, which I probably failed to mention. With simutrans constantly evolving, the help files are somewhat aiming at a moving target ... Even the german are no longer 100% correct.