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appreciate ZK

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2 months ago
so. after ILrankAdminhokomoko and DErankManu12 had the nightmare of meeting me, i learned the following, which i want to address here:

hoko is, aside from kl00t, the only engine(-confident) developer, and the only one heavily involved with ZK. he is about to start his 1st job after finishing his studies. meaning not having that much free time in the future.

the (as he called it) bus-factor is pretty low - 2 persons which actually can save the world when needed and this count will be approximately lower in the future.

i dont know how to increase the number of engine devs, as the making the engine has a hillarious learning curve and it was made aeons ago. getting someone with the skills and the dedication, just as hoko, is very unlikely.

i fear the day, when i cannot attend my therapy sessions anymore. this is just for awareness. no lobsters were harmed in the making.
+9 / -0
2 months ago
It's the funeral already?
+1 / -0

2 months ago
You increase the number of engine devs the same way you increase the number of kernel devs. You create a foundation and use it to funnel money to them, or you use the engine in your project and submit modified code back to them.
+1 / -0

2 months ago
It was made USrankaeonios ago? Seriously though, not touching that heap of garbage. Not unless I was getting paid for it. Good cpp code is difficult enough to work with, and nobody ever accused spring of being well written. It'd probably be easier if you just threw it away and started over from scratch.
+1 / -1


2 months ago
Make ZK2 in Godot?

Wesnoth can, why not ZK.
+4 / -0
2 months ago
Maybe we should ask the active engine devs how did they manage to keep working on it and what is their profile.

I hacked the engine a bit (dynamic water level), but with a full time job and other things in life, can't invest nowhere near enough time into finishing it. Are people mostly picking up while students (missed that opportunity :-p) ? Do they want to fix something (first time I heard about hoko was when he fixed zk performance with latest engine) or build something new?

The we would know where to advertise ...
+1 / -0

2 months ago
I think it might be a bit too early to mourn Spring/ZK/me. Even though the situation might look bleak, there have been worse times in spring's history.

quote:
The we would know where to advertise ...

I'm not sure if the situation can be remedied by advertisement. While Spring isn't even close to being the horrid monster USrankaeonios describes, it doesn't make life easier for people who want to contribute to jump in and do so.
Can it be made easier? Yes. Do you have people with motivation and time to make it easier? Unfortunately I don't think so.
In some ways becoming an engine dev is similar to getting into ZK, you need to stubbornly face technical and inter-personal obstacles. While steam brings a steady stream of players to ZK, how many stay? how many interact with the community? very few.
Similarly I think a recruitment call such as the one made by Wesnoth (which brought something like half a dozen devs, they told me) might bring some initial interest, but in the end it's not going to work for Spring for various reasons:
1) Wesnoth is a flagship linux game, Spring is not even a game. While they could get advertised on Slashdot, it's likely that we won't be able to. (although I think we can get to some other places like phoronix)
2) Wesnoth has a much bigger player base and campaign developer base.
3) Wesnoth people are far less notorious about their friendliness or lack thereof.
4) Wesnoth is a less complex engine.
Add all these together and you understand that you need a miracle to find someone that would have enough time motivation to be part of the Spring project and isn't already around here in some way or another.
Moreover, you can only put a call out if the current devs have time/motivation to really assist and work with newcomers.

quote:
You use the engine in your project and submit modified code back to them

Yes, PLrankAdminSprung and RUrankivand do this and they are definitely talented and brave enough to hack the engine.
quote:
You create a foundation and use it to funnel money to them

Probably no. But although money and Spring don't mix too well, we have a unique opportunity here, as I have a free week or so starting Oct. 15th, and will code for shelter/food if it's somewhere nice and not too far from Germany.
I know that doesn't solve the problem at all, I'm just abusing the thread a bit ;)
+3 / -0

2 months ago
IMHO Zero-K/Spring can have an unique appeal for slashdot (and other) "nerds" : Zero-K's physics simulation.
+2 / -0

2 months ago
Here is another recent one :)

+3 / -0

2 months ago
Huh, didn't know that Offworld Trading Company had free multiplayer...
+0 / -0
quote:
Here is another recent one :)

Shows some cobbler making storage farm and several factories... Bleh :\
KILL WITH FIRE!
PURGE PURGE PURGE!
+5 / -0
2 months ago
Maybe we approach this from the wrong angle. Reading hoko's answer got me thinking that in order to have active developers, they need to work on something that interests them (which probably is not fixing bugs for ZK). They must develop features in the engine, and, as side effect the community gets people knowing the engine.

So, instead of talking to RTS gamers only, maybe "advertisement" in the form of lundum dare jams and some adjustments on spring engine website (for example: probably you can do more than RTS with spring, especially with the UI/lua scripting available from ZK, but that's not at all visible at first sight) would have higher chance to get developers trying to fiddle with the engine.

And then, let the best spring based game win (and get the developer love)!
+0 / -0
I would like to help, but having no idea of coding at all it doesn´t seem likely that i can be of much help until in a few years, more likely a decade...

To give you a bit of a contrasting opinion, i think that zk is in a very good spot if you look at what it is: an old, obscure niche game with a super-small playerbase. And that playerbase hasn´t collapsed for how long? I know a lot of games that died while having more players. Zero-K is a zombie, not willing to die. It is kept alive by few people that are sooo dedicated that they don´t stop to play, even if you have to wait a few hours for a 1v1.
This is also why i think it´s less important (while by no means unnesessary) to care to bring just more players, but to give really interested ones and first of all the veterans a good time here. If you loose the dedicated veterans, even a bunch of new players wont stop the zombie from dying eventually.
+5 / -0

2 months ago
in my case, the only reason I keep on playing zero-k is that I am hooked and no other RTS can give me my fix. [also that considering zero-k is mainly multiplayer I am both a consumer and a product. so I try to be a bit of a nice product]

if any commercial game out there that has the thing that Zk has, I think this game would have a mass exodus.

advertisement done on the scale of 1-2 people 100-200 USD per try has been tried to no discernible effect.

The best thing that happened to ZK advertisement wise that I can see was the decision to go to steam [may be itch.io helped as well]
and the completion of the single-player campaign.
+0 / -0

2 months ago
RUrankFirepluk
its what lobsters do, building storages and porcing :)
+1 / -0
Sad news :( Ceasing engine development wouldn't immediately render zero-k dead. In the long term if the community is still kicking there would perhaps be individuals that would start contributing to the engine, but also it could mean the slow death.

I wondered, since Zero-K is now probably almost the last user of Spring Engine, whether kickstarting the Zero-K port to modern engines such as Godot, Unreal or Unity is a bad idea? Aside the monumental work that it would require, would it run better with many cores? I'm very concerned over the CPU usage that ZK does to run decent on any not top-notch machine. For the longest time I was being gatekept from the multiplayer experience because my machine couldn't handle 4v4 for longer than 10 minutes. It's a wonder I've stuck around with such experience.

Also hypothetically how much funding would Zero-K require to keep current engine-devs as a part-time job? I considered donating for that goal.

I was poking the engine slightly when the wiki documentation on modding spring wasn't enough, but I don't think I'd be able to/be dedicated enough to work on it.
+5 / -0
2 months ago
quote:
if any commercial game out there that has the thing that Zk has, I think this game would have a mass exodus.

What I like about ZK is the evolution - it keeps changing over time. Commercial games do not do that reliably over a 10 year period (ok, ZK proper did not do it either yet, but if you consider all precursor games it kinda did).

Also, the topic is about the engine! I think for the game there are more developers, and more people doing side projects (new units, new maps, campaign, lobby, etc, balancing ideas, crazy ideas). For the engine on the other side situation is different as mentioned in the first post.
+1 / -0

2 months ago
Because we make games, not engines, Zero-K is already over critical mass and will keep going as a project.
+1 / -0
i would be more concerned about the server-situation in the long term tho.
+0 / -0
If the currently active (primarily-)engine developers closed up shop, in the long run I expect the existential problem would be compatibility with new software and hardware. The (primarily-)ZK developers are probably capable of limited bug-fixing in the engine or workarounds outside it, but that would not be sufficient to maintain compatibility forever.

Porting ZK to a different engine would be a monumental task that I doubt any of the present developers have anything even resembling the time, let alone the motivation or inclination, for.

The server is also a concern.
+1 / -0
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