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11 days ago
From http://zero-k.info/Forum/Post/250045#250045

quote:
wouldn't this require proper requirements engineeing first? without tight definition, you can get anything. good thoughts thou.

This. Onboarding and managing anyone who was hired would take a lot of work, probably painful work. At some point it is much easier to implement something myself than to specify requirements and guide someone through satisfying them. With programming vs. someone who is brand new and not really interested in ZK itself, I expect this point to be pretty early. Modelling probably isn't much better.

People are also really expensive. Would we rather have ten years of server funding, or one entry level game developer for less than half a year? We're only going to gain developers from the pool of people who are interested and familiar enough with ZK to contribute something.

Improving the website seems slightly more viable, but anyone coming in would be left with the task of either learning the current infrastructure or re-implementing all the things we rely on. I think the most efficient way to do infrastructure development (for a newcomer) would be to develop APIs that allow for things like game stats or running planetwars, then run the stats or planetwars themselves on another site. But this raises the issue of maintenance, as anyone who runs anything we rely on had better hang around in some capacity to maintain it.

quote:
hiring dev work seems a bit weird when everyone else is doing it for free, its pretty ez to dump excess money into the black hole that is advertising, I do facebook and google ads a lot in my job

Also this. People are expensive and it sort of devalues everyone else who has contributed. But someone putting in manpower for free towards a task that inherently uses money seems like a great use of some portion of the donations. Nobody has followed through on any offers to do this though, and I am thoroughly uninterested in doing it myself. I'd want to have measurable results before throwing any significant portion at it though, so this task would involve marketing and analytics. It really just requires someone to step up and demonstrate some capability.

quote:
Trying to switch to a different engine is a surefire way to kill a project such as this.

Yes. But if we change the question to "engine improvements" then the best way to get them is for someone to dive into BAR engine dev. Engine dev is in some sense a shared project run by BAR and ZK, except that ZK has very little contribution to it so BAR things are prioritised. That could change if someone went and did engine dev.

That said, even "engine improvements" is too low level for player-facing results. Perhaps "performance improvements" would be better. Engine is still important for that, but someone skilled in openGL4 would also help.

quote:
I've kind of stopped actively suggesting things, as the response is always the same (not enough mana), which is no ones fault and I don't blame anyone for, but maybe this would be a way to progress ZK faster?

Don't stop suggesting thing. Put them on GitHub and maybe someone will be inspired by the idea and dip their toes in development. Small tasks are valuable like this. If an idea isn't on GitHub it will be lost, and even then it's not sure to surface again.

Some sort of community suggestion and bug report collator would be a very useful role. ZK is pretty stable so its hard to even see what progressing ZK faster would look like without an overview of the suggestions and bug reports. There aren't any low-cost tasks with significant payoff that I know of (where cost is relative to the actual skillsets that exist at the moment. Someone with openGL or marketing ability could sweep in and pick some low hanging fruit for sure). I have trouble remembering reports or suggestions beyond the medium-to-large projects, and these projects (like Dodge AI, or Planetwars) are time consuming for various reasons. Other tasks, like marketing or openGL4 migration, are too personally unappealing for me to pick up. But if we had a list of such tasks, then maybe someone would.
+4 / -0


11 days ago
If development isn't much of an option for spare funds, other suggestions include:

1 - Advertisement. May be good to have a thread on this suggesting ideas such as a sponsored stream? Professional Artwork/promotional videos?

2 - Prize money for tournaments, map creation competitions, or other prizes that encourage improvements both in the community and competitive play.
+1 / -0

11 days ago
Have you considered bounties?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_bounty
+3 / -0


11 days ago
Spring considered bounties fairly seriously with the google summer of code, but nothing came of it. I don't want to run bounties for the same specification and validation issues of hiring programmers. But perhaps the beauty of bounties is that anyone can make them. A community bounty system would at least serve as a list of tasks that people care enough about to put a bounty on.
+2 / -0
What about Fiverr requests? Those seem to be a lot balanced in terms of money investment. I have used it for some 3D simple animations and stuff but clearly, we also have coding there in LUAui.

I already found something with a simple search some users with an experience that also have lots of reviews: Fiverr Lua Coding

At the same time since we are talking about engines, why not switch to free engines that were developed recently (like UN5)?
+0 / -0
I think the most straightforward application of bounties, at least on a technical level, would be for new models. That would target an area where ZK has had very little mana for years, and doesn't require the bounty hunter to understand or interact with a large amount of ZK's existing codebase (animation would be the biggest concern in this respect).

The downside is that new models would have to be consistent with ZK's existing art direction, and I don't know that we have a way to easily convey what that is to a newcomer.
+0 / -0
10 days ago
quote:
The downside is that new models would have to be consistent with ZK's existing art direction, and I don't know that we have a way to easily convey what that is to a newcomer.

I think I read somewhere that the style is meant to make it easy to differentiate units from each-other at a glance. But, of course there is more to it than that.
Documenting such design decisions would certainly help would-be contributors.
Is there a new model wish list?
+1 / -0
quote:

At the same time since we are talking about engines, why not switch to free engines that were developed recently (like UN5)?


Does UN5 = Unreal Engine 5? Spring is GPL licensed, whilst UN5 has a form of proprietary 'semi-open source' license. It is too restrictive for open contributions.

Additionally, there is no engine quite like Spring; I doubt Unreal Engine 5 is deterministic across all its supported machines. Spring also handles pathfinding, lua scripting, etc etc. that would all need to be reimplemented. Spring also works on basically any machine past 2013- UE5 only works on the latest.

Spring's architecture is also very unique- there are several lua states, some of which need to be deterministic and some do not. UE5 doesn't have this degree of separation between 'synced' and 'unsynced' in its code, which would also make determinism a massive problem.

It's hard to stress just how one-of-a-kind Spring is.
+2 / -0
quote:
At the same time since we are talking about engines, why not switch to free engines that were developed recently (like UN5)?
Because doing so would be completely nuts. You're talking about spending years to even approach reimplementing what already exists. A large team of people experienced across all areas would be required. Have you seen indie RTS on engines like unreal or unity over the past few years, or talked to their developers? Fundamental requirements (like pathfinding, good netcode, replays, AI) seems to need writing from scratch and a lot of games struggle with it. Just play a range of recent RTSs and you'll see that it would take years of many peoples time to reimplement ZK to anywhere near the current standard of ZK on a generic engine.
+1 / -0

7 days ago
I think that Planetwars would be a good investment.

When I first joined Zero-K, I saw the "Planetwars" section, was very curious, and clicked on it just to see that it was offline. I was disappointed, even though I didn't know what it was, because it sounded really cool. I had a lot of ideas of what it could be, and hoped that someday I would be able to play it, whatever it was. Eventually I found out that it wasn't a thing anymore, and may never be. I explored what it was though, looked through the wiki at everything about Planetwars, looked at the map, looked at the factions, etc. etc., and I thought it looked really amazing and like it would be awesome if I could be part of it, part of a big war with other people against other planets and factions, part of a greater, bigger battle.

Imagine other people who join, and see "Planetwars", and find out it's not running, and end up getting disappointed as well. Now imagine if it was a thing, and people saw it and were curious and raced to find out what it was and what they could do to be a part of it, without being disappinted. I feel like it would draw the attention of more players, and perhaps draw old players to play again. Maybe I'm wrong, all I know is how I felt about it, and what I observed from other people. For instance, many people have asked about Planetwars, asking why it's not running, if it will run again, etc, and I think that's because they were interested in it.

Now I know that Planetwars needs a loooot of work, and if I had the skills (which I might someday), I would help contribute. But I think that it might be worth it. I think that it draws the attention of more people, and that it's good to have something unique and different from everything else so some people don't get bored, something that people come here to play instead of any of the hundreds of other places that they could go.
+1 / -0


7 days ago
Planetwars would certainly be good. All the issues with getting someone up to speed on infra development and design make it pretty difficult to pay anyone to bring it about though.
+1 / -0


7 days ago
Saying that again but planetwars works and can be re-enabled :-) There is another proposal which I intend to implement once I get there in my todo list here

https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K-Infrastructure/issues/2872

Please note that not all server expenses were published due to laziness. Personally I think it would make sense to spend money on PR /ads
+3 / -0


6 days ago
Given the cost of engineering, I'd expect even 100K USD would not go that far. These projects thrive on intrinsic motivation of people who love the game and the code.
+2 / -0


6 days ago
Then maybe advertisement is the way to go. With a larger player base, a greater chance of gaining players that are also happy and capable of contributing to development.
+1 / -0

6 days ago
Yeah maybe, although I remember someone (I don't remember who) saying at some point that advertising didn't seem all that helpful, and when people saw an ad for Zero-K, they just said "Huh, never thought I'd see that!" and move on.

Although I guess there are different ways you could potentially advertise, for instance, people can be a big advertisement. People can advertise by just telling their friends how good the game is and that they should try it out, or by making cool videos on something like YouTube that attract attention, and much more.
+1 / -0


6 days ago
I have seen games advertised by sponsored streams before, i.e. paying a popular streamer to play the game for a few hours to his viewers. This streamer would need to be carefully chosen, ideally one with an RTS viewer base (Day9, large AOE2/4 or SC2 streamer?)
+2 / -0


5 days ago
I don't know, that might work. My impression of streamers that main a game like AoE or SC2 is that they aren't great at seeing beyond their niche. ZK is probably too dissimilar to be given a proper attempt.
+1 / -0


2 days ago
Well I'd be happy to sponsor a tournament if there was interest on the side of people running it. I know BAR had a tourney that had some prizes, how did that work out? There could also be prizes for best cheese, best new player, etc, to get more people excited for it.

Separately, why is BAR so good looking. I want zk game and BAR animations and sounds!
+0 / -0