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Author Topic: Status of all things PARPG?  (Read 13465 times)
Knitter
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« on: April 05, 2012, 12:35:27 PM »

In my quest to get up to speed with the project I keep asking myself what exactly is the status of the project and any related sub-projects. I hope I don't turn this into a rant, I understand that this kind of questions may appear from time to time.

I've read most, if not all the wiki pages, the majority of them seem to be documentation on the proposed processes and development methodologies and while reading them there is a feeling of outdated material, not that many pages really need updates, but all the text is writing in a way the gives me that feeling, leaving me thinking if I should or should not rely on the documentation. The development documentation is lacking and provides no real useful info on how to start working.

Add to that several topics in the forum that seem abandoned and tickets with modifications that are way beyond a year and I think you understand that it is not easy to pick up the pace with the current status. So, how is the project going really? Who is working on it and what is the status of the restructuring?

Some specific questions that I have:
- Is the project really going to be shutdown?
- Is moving to Git anywhere in the plans, or to another hosting provider? And why haven't Sourceforge been considered (I've read someplace that Github didn't provide a ticket system that could be used...) ?
- What projects exist around PAPRG (is there any editor for maps/objects)?

Going back to the documentation, I'm all for the use of agile processes, but reading on the all process you use I keep feeling there are some "bureaucracy" overhead and the all thing is less than agile. I do use Extreme Programming and agile methods, but I've always found that they can't really be followed to the letter, and I've always adapted (cut some parts, changed others) the process to the existing team. How do you feel about the process you've been using? Is it really useful and helpful or do you think it may be a barrier on the project's progression?

I would like to work on PAPRG, I've chosen a simple (I think) task to start looking at the code that is changing the settings dialog to use the same look as the character creation screen. I'll be scouring for information on pychan and the XML format, and I'm hoping I can finish this task without loosing too much hair Smiley. I still struggling to find a good workflow since I have no real useful tool that I can use (OS X editors for Python lack even some of what I think is a basic IDE feature). Currently I use Smultron for text editing (XML and Python scripts), puDB for debugging, and the old terminal to run everything, it's not the best setup and slows me down too much but it was the best solution I could come up.

Regards,

Knitter (slopes on IRC)
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Q_x
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 09:19:27 PM »

From what I understand, folks starting the project years ago wanted to do an improved Fallout clone with some Planescape:Tornment features. This is quite crude description, I hope it's effective. I assume you know Fallout, and if you like it - you'll probably like Ps:T as well.

As you might have guessed, that's pretty ambitious plan, a bit of utopia right from the start. And this is why Barra considers the project to be failed - at least that's my understanding of "why". The infrastructure is set up pretty much to withstand planned kind of tasks - you have all this divisions, departments and roles that - due to harsh reality - come down to three folks doing anything (or two, as I took the break) - Beliar, our coder, and Shevegen, our "the rest of the team".

Our recent past was Barra's last two recruiting efforts about a year ago, and implementing agile methodology together with Technomage. This led to people arriving in dozens, starting agile development sprint, which ended pretty much with a failure due to overmanagement, bad task distribution, overestimating infrastructure problems and man power, people finding hard to understand agile ways... And all the people disbanded before the sprint even ended, or were thrown out by people who left just after, which happened to aspidites - I guess one of the very few people who came then and had heart for the project (the other would be our writer Rowan, who sometimes is on IRC). Agile approach is our past, but the infrastructure (assembla code repos) prepared back then seems to work really well. The coders have to be comfortable with it, so I don't want to mess with the subject that is irrelevant to me, and quite meaningful for other team members - current or future ones. We're uploading release files on Sourceforge from time to time.

Documentation is really obsolete. Noone cares for anything but the most important docs. In context of the future of the project there is no longer any rational reason to care. The game will be what people will make it, almost all needs to be reinvented and thinked about over and over. I'd be happy keeping, for example, the setting, some quest ideas (at least for inspiration), graphics and RPG mechanics - all this is pretty novel and fresh. But no problems dropping some of those things in terms of implementing them - I'm not a coder, nor a fluent writer, so - again - I can only evaluate inspirational value of those elements.

If the project will continue (doesn't matter if the name PARPG will persist), I think we'll have to start to "think small" - that is rather do a simple game first and start to build content and code on top of that. And that's very unlike what has been done before (creating dialogue editor was one of the last tasks) Again - this is completely beyond my prior experience, I'm pretty much green when it comes to long-term planning of software development, and I don't have a clue about, for example, how hard coding within our codebase is.

Barra said he will pay for the hosting till the end of 2012, the future of the project is yet to be determined by whoever will be on board this autumn. My personal take is pretty post-apocalyptic: take what we like, think what we can do with it, trim all the excess and let it go and be forgotten. Last time I was trying to think about it, I though we can put really lot of the stuff into the code tree, but now I'm completely lost, as this approach may raise a need to have a wiki quite soon, so it's pointless.

We've used FIFE editor for creating maps - this produces XML output that we had to tweak with text editor to put NPCs there (dunno why all call it "agents"). It was last used eons ago to put the beds and the gate in the top left corner of the map.

I hope that's helpful. Again I have to point out I have no real clues about our codebase. Pychan is a bag of worms for me. Beliar, please, if you can give any more precise answers, do so.
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Knitter
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2012, 09:46:54 PM »

Thanks.

Barra spoke with me this afternoon in IRC, I got some answers and understand better how things are. I actually like the project and I was a fan of Fallout (1, 2 and even Tactics), and I will most likely keep hacking at the code whenever I get a chance.

I've created a repo in github but I'll probably delete it and recreate things properly when I manage to export the current hg repository. By doing this I will have a place to hack at my own pace and share any changes I do. I'm not trying to get anyone to move to either git or github Smiley.
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Beliar
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2012, 07:38:55 AM »

About Mercurial/Git:

I don't have any problem with either of them, also there are, at least for mercurial, plug-ins that allow it to work with svn/git repositories and only using mercurial locally. Anyway, unless there is a good reason - trac integration in codesion might be one, I don't see why we should change.

Also, I should probably mention that I will concentrate my efforts on this project for a while, which might help PARPG in the long run: https://bitbucket.org/Beliar/fife-rpg
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Knitter
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2012, 12:58:02 PM »

Unfortunately I can't get hg-git to work properly with the current PARPG repo setup, at least not in a way that will allow me  to keep tracking official updates to PARPG and maintain a bridge between my work and the official repo.

Anyway, unless there is a good reason - trac integration in codesion might be one, I don't see why we should change.
I don't want to suggest any change, I merely wanted to understand the status of the project and why you all use the tools you now do. Knowing why things were chosen has they have helps me get into the team's way of doing things.

Also, I should probably mention that I will concentrate my efforts on this project for a while, which might help PARPG in the long run: https://bitbucket.org/Beliar/fife-rpg
Does that mean PARPG will have no one developing any code in the near future?
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Beliar
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2012, 01:52:42 PM »

[...]
[...]
Does that mean PARPG will have no one developing any code in the near future?
Well, the plan is that it will be using the same file formats as PARPG does currently. So, if there is still interest for PARPG it can be easily made to run with it.

Edit:
Fixed not closed quote tag.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2012, 09:38:51 PM by Beliar » Logged

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skeet70
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 04:19:59 PM »

I couldn't get mine set up correctly either Knitter, as far as being able to keep a bridge between local work and the repo. I'm used to using bitbucket/github with sourcetree at work though so maybe I'm just doing something wrong.

As far as coders go, I still haven't had time to really get going, but I'm still hoping to get involved as soon as my work/freelance schedule opens up. If Beliar is going to be working on a generic engine though, we may want to work on that over the PARPG source.

I understand what you want to do Beliar but it seems like developing both at the same time would be more trouble than just one going at once, why not just have any coders work on fife-rpg and then maybe have someone backport/transfer work from that project to PARPG as long as it's alive to keep it going. That way any any content providers who happen to stay/get involved will have fresh tools and progress to work with monthly, and a more generic solution would become essentially the upstream for PARPG and could more easily be used to create something else if PARPG completely dies out.

Basically I'm just trying to say we should all work on one or the other, if that was confusing haha
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Beliar
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 09:37:53 PM »

Well, I would not mind if someone wants to help with fife-rpg. Just ask to join the project on bitbucket, or just fork the project there and make pull requests.

And, btw., I think the problem with hg-git is that the PARPG repo uses subrepositories. I think git does not have something like that and hg-git can't emulate it.
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J-Ho
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2012, 06:32:22 AM »

Huh. I just came back to see how things ended up on this project because I was quite interested in it, and it's disappointing to see that things ended up falling down. That said, it seemed like a possibility.

I came in in answer to a call for writers a few years ago, and posted a couple of ideas (well, maybe literally two  Tongue ) and checked on updates for a couple of months afterwards. My impression at the time was that everyone on the writing forum was basically using a vacuum as a sounding board - some people on the dev team or fellow writers would basically say "Good idea" or "Bad idea" and that was it. There was no clear presence of an editor or anything that offered a pathway from posting it in the writer's forum and it actually making its way into the game.

I think the issue was the game had been thrown open to contributions en masse too early in proceedings. The idea of a swarm of writers coming out with a slush pile of quests to be judged and make their way into the game would be valid and work, but the definition of the game was much too vague. I think the creators needed a fully set-down design document or gameworld bible, that would dictate gameplay and atmosphere. There were too many disagreements about what kind of game was trying to be made and whether something was 'going against it'. I was never quite clear on whether these were shared ideas by the developers or particular people espousing what they wanted to see in a CRPG.

The absence of a main quest also served as the elephant in the room that distracted everybody writing wise at least. There were constant proposals and nobody could quite agree on one, as I recall anyway.

As I said, sad to see the project fall away. I thought it had potential, and I think the idea of this kind of mass-collaborative RPG can work. Just that more work nailing down the design of the game needs to be done first.

Good luck, and I hope something comes out of it all.
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Knitter
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2012, 01:17:24 PM »

Well, I would not mind if someone wants to help with fife-rpg. Just ask to join the project on bitbucket, or just fork the project there and make pull requests.

I'll create an account and request to join or do you prefer I create a fork? Also, any task I can do to start slowly on the code?

And, btw., I think the problem with hg-git is that the PARPG repo uses subrepositories. I think git does not have something like that and hg-git can't emulate it.
I think so too, at least I managed to make hg-git work in other projects but not on PARPG with the use of sub-repositories, the export would not take into account the sub-repository in the "parpg" folder and there were some other failures as well.

I've since removed my github project because it is a bit useless unless I manage to keep track of updates to PARPG automatically, doing things manually is too error prone.

I would like to keep the project alive, I know most of the infrastructure is going to be shutdown and at the moment, given the number of involved developers, I think there are too many things to maintain. Reducing most of the project's resources and maintain only a small presence would be a better option.

If no one else does it (anyone from the development team that is), I'll most likely request some filesystem and database backups for archiving purposes and try to maintain a website (sourceforge/github/whatever) with the project's info.

 
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Beliar
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2012, 05:40:32 PM »

Well, I would not mind if someone wants to help with fife-rpg. Just ask to join the project on bitbucket, or just fork the project there and make pull requests.

I'll create an account and request to join or do you prefer I create a fork? Also, any task I can do to start slowly on the code?

[...]

I don't care if you join or create a fork, whatever works best for you. And there are not set tasks atm., the current goal is to get the functionality PARPG has. Either by just copying the code and/or rewriting it.
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shevegen
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2012, 06:45:36 PM »

Hi Knitters,

I think you were on IRC.

I am usually on IRC, much more so than the forum.

As for the question, I think your observation was correct.

A lot of the wiki documentation was work in progress.

I also think it was too disorganized taken together. It is not easy to coordinate a project.

Quote
So, how is the project going really? Who is working on it and what is the status of the restructuring?

I think Beliar is doing the most changes by far.

I also think that PARPG in its current form has no real future. We just don't seem able to continue in a way that we could say we will have a finished game one day. PARPG was probably too much work for our available coders.

Quote
- Is the project really going to be shutdown?

I think the project in its current form will be shut down.

Hopefully we will be able to save some things, either subprojects, or try to help somewhere else.

For me, I decided to try my luck in FIFE, in case PARPG is gone. I think when I will know more
about FIFE it will help no matter which game we'll do (if we decided to make a game like PARPG)

And besides, if FIFE gets better, perhaps making games like PARPG will be easier.

Quote
- Is moving to Git anywhere in the plans, or to another hosting provider? And why haven't Sourceforge been considered (I've read someplace that Github didn't provide a ticket system that could be used...) ?

Dont know any of that. Github is GREAT, it has an issue tracker. I always was a fan of using github + git.
I am not sure if anyone else thought this to be a great idea. I myself dont like Assembla much, I find
it hard to use, not that much fun.

Quote
- What projects exist around PAPRG (is there any editor for maps/objects)?

I think arikel has his project, Beliar is working on something else. No idea if anyone else is
working on anything.

Quote
Going back to the documentation, I'm all for the use of agile processes, but reading on the all process you use I keep feeling there are some "bureaucracy" overhead and the all thing is less than agile.

Can't tell you what happened there either, as I was not active during that time.

You will have to ask the people who were active back then.

In my opinion, working on quests was the best work we could do.

I think we should have continued that, every 2-4 weeks add one quest, analyze
problems, and move to github too. Then continuing may have been better - or
not, it is hard to say. Smiley

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shevegen
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2012, 08:24:16 AM »

Hmm. #parpg has been fairly quiet the last days. Mostly only Beliar comes and does things. Sometimes barra, and sho* something (forgot his name)... Have not seen Q_x since quite some time Sad

I am not sure how much longer PARPG will exist as-is. I myself think we should not wait until the end of year, I don't think we can revitalize the project as is. I'll probably take the snowman icon and put snow around it, to show that PARPG is half-frozen hehehe, at least the PARPG version we used to know!

I myself will, after PARPG in the current form no longer exists, move to #fife. And see where I can contribute.

Beliar seems to continue to work on his codebase. I am not sure what kind of plans he has, it would be great to see him continue with his vision of a game. Smiley Perhaps he will use another IRC channel one day? I'd say we should slowly give up #parpg perhaps in case there will be a follow up project.

Mostly, this note here is about that, if you don't see me on #parpg anymore (I am still there for a longer while though), I will surely be on #fife.
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2012, 12:14:39 PM »

Life's been a bit bitter to me, so I took a break from the project to swim a bit forward life-wise. I've wrote that on forums.  That's why you haven't seen me lately. I'm still looking for work, slowly and steadily. I have plenty of free time, but it was time to stop lying to myself - earning 1700 euro per year (no typos here) is in fact a road to nowhere, doesn't matter if the project will succeed or fail - I'd lose anyway. I'm 30, not in teens, or in twenty-something, with my own budget on my head. It used to be better, now it's bad, and this is how it is when one is a freelancer. It may still all change if the place I work for will turn around somehow and offer me more work.

To solidify my plans a bit: I'll be back for two more, rather long windows, that is early summer (July? June?) and autumn (starting from October) this year.
During first period I wanted to try to move our source 3D models and other stuff to OGA repository, also asking authors what they think about licensing with GPL as well, and providing contact information together with their work. During second period I planned to help to dismantle and move the project wherever it needs to be moved.

After that - probably I'll be quitting the hobby of computer game development entirely. I'd be glad to provide traditional artwork - that is graphics, scanned drawings, photos and so on, to any project I adore, along with artwork-related duties, but I have to refuse to be swamped the way I was swamped here - the situation basically lead to wanting to do everything, yet achieving very little.

And, just to be completely straight with everyone, I can only blame myself for allowing that to happen.

From what I understand, latest Beliar undertaking is transforming PARPG to become a fife module (a kind of RPG plugin) without destroying our file formats - so that PARPG will be the same, as it is now. It doesn't look like ending, more like beginning, almost like a fresh start, level higher in terms of benefiting the community, level higher in maturity.
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Beliar
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2012, 11:18:50 AM »

Just a note: Since my computer has finally decided to not start anymore - at all, and the one I am using atm is not fit for programming i won't be able to do anything on parpg/fife-rpg. I already got a replacement but this will probably take a few days until it arrives.
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