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Thread: To release or not to release...

  1. #1
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    Default To release or not to release...

    Ok, here's the quick summary:
    1. It's rather unlikely that I'm going to continue to do much development about ADOM.
    2. It would be a shame to let ADOM vanish with time.
    3. The release of the source code might be an alternative.
    4. But I'm completely undecided if (a) I really want to do that, (b) I just want to do it to get someone else to fix bugs (he, quite egoistic, isn't it?), (c) really start a development community for the future of ADOM. Let's face it... I still would hate to see the "Angband effect" of dozens of variants with all kind of silly stuff... that's just not what I want. But how would another model look like...
    Thus here is a new forum in order to discuss viable options or alternatives, ideas, etc. I'm curious to hear what you think...
    Thomas Biskup
    ADOM & ADOM II (JADE) Maintainer

  2. #2
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    i got a great idea TB, pick a small number of people from the community that can code and would be willing to keep the source TO THEMSELVES so that way we dont have a flood of adom mods, only a small amount of quality ones. if you keep it within the community and only give it to the most dedicated, we wont see crazy crap like being a golem ninja or an angel demonoligist. I'd love to see it released to the public, but, again, only to a selective group. and find a way to make sure they dont hand out the source, make em sign a contract or something.

    if we keep it with the dedicated to the community, i doubt adom will be destroyed. it'd be the difference i think between dungeon crawl and stone soup. not a huge difference just additions. stone soup went a little crazy in the race department, but its the best comparison i can think of. all im saying is, dont put it out to the general public theres too much magic in adom for that to happen. im sure others will have good ideas too.
    Last edited by Sradac; 12-31-2008 at 05:13 PM.
    To this day I have not once scummed in ADOM.
    Probably why I dont have a win.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sradac View Post
    i got a great idea TB, pick a small number of people from the community that can code and would be willing to keep the source TO THEMSELVES so that way we dont have a flood of adom mods, only a small amount of quality ones. if you keep it within the community and only give it to the most dedicated, we wont see crazy crap like being a golem ninja or an angel demonoligist. I'd love to see it released to the public, but, again, only to a selective group. and find a way to make sure they dont hand out the source, make em sign a contract or something.
    I don't like that idea. Not a single word of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sradac View Post
    if we keep it with the dedicated to the community, i doubt adom will be destroyed.
    As long as there is a single person playing ADOM, it lives. I, too, doubt that it will die.

    Here's what I think would be best (read: what I would like most):

    Release it. Completely and to everyone. Put it under a copyleft license (GPL, for example). And state clearly what you want to see and what you don't want to see, but do not try to enforce it. The community has respected your wishes in the past (I am thinking about the reverse engineering / decompiling stuff -- there was a revised guidebook afterwards, but it's got some very bad reputation as far as I see, though that might also be because of the copyright issues. But I digress.).

    And here's an "idea" that I do not really like: release the source code, but do not give us a license, making unauthorized modifications illegal. Means that we can examine it, write patches, and send them to you. You either apply them or reject them.

    Bottom line:
    As Thrundarr says, "It's yer choice."
    Footnote:
    I am not a lawyer.
    Of course it's unfair - that's the whole point.

    The Adom wiki: everything you don't want to know about Adom.
    http://ancardia.wikia.com/

  4. #4

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    I think Angband got lots of variants because it's easier to modify than Nethack or Crawl. Nethack has less variants and Crawl has only Stone Soup as far as I know. It's no wonder, because Crawl's source code is a horrible thing to face. If ADOM's source code is difficult to maintain and extend then I wouldn't be worried about too many variants or the fear that it would be used to spawn number of other roguelikes, using it as an engine.

  5. #5
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    i obviously have never seen the source, but TB has said in the past he has a lot of notes all over it. as long as his notes are there, it shouldnt be that difficult to manage. im not worried about anyone from the community having the source, but more people from the outside stumbling across it and going, hey im going to make an adom variant and just making it silly. putting in breeding monsters like RNGs...
    To this day I have not once scummed in ADOM.
    Probably why I dont have a win.

  6. #6
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    Default I suggest the better is to wait right now... Then Voila.

    I consider wise to wait until the first release of Jade before releasing source code itself, then declaring Adom as concluded(for now) and placing Jade as the 'brand new' fresh Project.

    That way, I think Adom will be revered for it's flexibility, while Jade for it's completeness.


    ..Um, What about releasing them altogether when Jade is ready? :-/
    Last edited by Salajem; 01-01-2009 at 06:53 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default I think releasing would be a great idea

    I have been following ADOM for the past... like eight years? And I'll begin by saying that while I am a fervant partisan of Free Software, I have always respected the wish your (Thomas) wish not to release the source: it is your decision, and I understand in an emotional level the reasons that make you not want to.

    That said, if you are really considering releasing the source I'll say that I would be very happy, because:

    1. It would mean you could build (and oversee) a community of developers mainly aimed at fixing bugs and implementing the improvements / ideas you want to.
    2. It would mean other people could learn from the code. I, for instance, am really, really curious as to how a massive and well-done work like ADOM is done, and would really like to see the guts of it.

    Regarding point 1, keep in mind that if you build an "official" ADOM developer group you could control who gets in it and who doesn't, and what changes that group makes to the source tree, and thus you would retain control on the official ADOM development, but at the same time you would benefit of the advantages of having a whole community dedicated to it.

    Many people forget that Free Software doesn't have to be democratic in the way it develops: it is usually good that developers hear the users, in order to keep the community cohesive and prevent forks, but in the end the decisions depend on them alone --- in this case, you. And I think you have the maturity and the skills to be a good "Benevolent Dictator For Life"

    There may be forks, and experiments, with the source of ADOM. But you should regard these not as ADOM, but just as what they are: experiments from someone else. ADOM will always be your version of the game. And the fans that have kept loyal through all these years and that are interested in seeing the project evolve will stick to it, because you have proven sufficiently well enough in the past that you are creative and good and building a great game --- and those are rare virtues.

    An important objection remains to releasing the source code: wether it would reveal too much of the secrets of the game. But honestly, I like rather well the approach game developers like Bethesda took with Morrowind and the like: If you want to tinker with the game, do it, at your own risk, knowing that it may ruin the fun. It is the decision of the player, anyway, and I am sure that players are mature enough to know where not to look if they don't want their secrets spoiled.

    I could go on, but I think the main point is clear, and others have said it before: release the code; make it clear (but not legally-backed, i.e., choose a good and tested license) that you wouldn't like people to fork the program for the sake of sillyness; build a small and tight community of developers around the code and guide them to another fifteen years of ADOM glory!

  8. #8
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    As other people have said, it's ultimately your decision, and you shouldn't be coerced into a particular course of action.

    Like the above poster, however, I do hope that you will choose to release the source code, for a variety of reasons.

    As you say, it would be a shame for such an ingenuitive and exciting piece of work to be forgotten. The Roguelike genre is hardly a prominent one, and as modern games continue to advance in both graphics and gameplay Roguelikes will only fall further into obscurity. New people do get introduced to these games, but the audience is always going to be a limited one. And as new Roguelikes are made (and competition therefore increases for this audience), any creator leaving their games with frustrating bugs will vastly decrease their appeal. The prospect of playing a game as long as ADOM to its conclusion, knowing that death will undo all of the player's progress, will no doubt lose some of its attraction if the prospective player is aware that bugs exist which could make an unfair death a likely prospect (as, I'm afraid, certain bugs do in the current release of ADOM).

    (As an aside, in terms of the audience being limited, releasing the source code of ADOM would no doubt increase interest in JADE. Sadly, when it is mentioned in random corners of the internet, JADE tends to be brushed off as vaporware. Though the community here doesn't need it, releasing the ADOM source code would show the naysayers that your words are backed up by action.)

    The upside to the audience being a limited one, however, is that most of the players hold a certain degree of maturity and consideration. I doubt that the sort of person who would be attracted to a game such as ADOM would be likely to create a mod where the player commands a platoon of tanks to storm the fortified citidel of Terinyo. Angband may have gone down that route to a certain degree, but Angband and ADOM are different, and will probably appeal to different crowds. For one thing, the Tolkien factor attracts people to Angband who wouldn't otherwise be playing a Roguelike. And besides which, Angband's more or less a pure grind-fest, whereas ADOM is a more cerebral game. More importantly, as people have stated, the community here has the utmost respect for your wishes, and understands that you don't want cheap knock-offs created. I honestly believe you wouldn't need to worry about that; that isn't what the players want either.

    For my part, I hold a great passion for the Roguelike genre, and for a while now I've been thinking about having a go at writing my own. Modesty aside, I believe I have some original and exciting ideas and features planned, and a good story to implement, but I've little programming experience. The source code of ADOM would be an invaluable tool in helping me learn how to implement my concepts to create something of my own.

    ADOM is a bit of a beacon to me and many others - a marker of what a good Roguelike is. I don't want to recreate it, but I do believe I can learn from it. I hope this, at least, isn't something you find unacceptable.

  9. #9
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    I can't believe I'm seeing this! I recently typed a bit of a request about
    releasing ADOM's source code, and was about to post it in the 'general'
    thread. My main desire was to see bugfixes and some interface convenience
    features. I normally don't chat about this stuff, but playing Crawl SS 0.4.3
    (recently got my 1st win!) made me see the light.

    If a good dev team could bring to ADOM what they've brought to Crawl,
    ADOM would be much better for it. A brief explaination of what I mean:
    I recently had a power failure while playing Crawl, rebooted, and the game
    was fine. Crawl has NEVER (!) crashed on me. Autoexplore (!). Crawl uses
    Ctrl-G to automatically navigate to common game points. Also, the Ctrl-F
    command basically lets you navigate to anything you have seen in the
    entire game. Inscriptions. So many command interface points that it would
    take too long to list them. Colored cursors to give at-a-glance notice of
    which monsters are friend or foe. Etc. These things may not seem like they
    would make a tremendous difference, but once you get used to them it's
    really hard, switching back to ADOM and having to do without them.

    > ADOM will always be your version

    I couldn't have said it better myself. There will never be a question as to
    which version of ADOM is the proper one. Silly variants will never be adopted
    by this community. For goodness sake, I wouldn't even enable the autopickup
    feature in ADOM when going for limited turns challenges. It just wasn't the
    same game everybody else was playing. Release the code to everyone, and
    give your OK for what you like, everything else will be universally ignored (and
    rightfully so).
    "Whip me!" pleads the adom player. The rng replies... "No."

  10. #10
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    yep right on gut. we can have someone set it up so that summoned monsters dont add to the kill count...no more super jackals...
    To this day I have not once scummed in ADOM.
    Probably why I dont have a win.

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