Author Topic: Let's talk, HLP!  (Read 28966 times)

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Offline General Battuta

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**** no don't consolidate mod boards. Imagine trying to tend your one-page release thread among 450 posts of JAD comics, complaints that Inferno isn't out yet, and a zillion threads from some BP ARG.

 

Offline Lorric

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**** no don't consolidate mod boards. Imagine trying to tend your one-page release thread among 450 posts of JAD comics, complaints that Inferno isn't out yet, and a zillion threads from some BP ARG.
Well the release thread would go into the releases board, but I agree with the overall sentiment. It would be a mess, and I could see people fighting with each other over the top of the page and raving about threads they don't like taking up valuable space.

 
**** no don't consolidate mod boards. Imagine trying to tend your one-page release thread among 450 posts of JAD comics, complaints that Inferno isn't out yet, and a zillion threads from some BP ARG.

Imagine that kind of activity on the forum!

 

Offline General Battuta

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But it's the same amount of activity either way. You click 'show unread posts' and you've got a list of topics. It doesn't matter how many subforums they're organized into.

 
Developing on posts made on Spoon's BtA thread, I think FSO more than anything needs to break free of its moribund installation system. Inevitably this will mean wrangling with questions of intellectual property and risk management, but the fact that the vast majority of FSO content can't be obtained with a single, free download hurts adoption more, I think, than any other factor.
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 
Well, logically the project heads are the most committed people....

One thing I'd like to add is to make the General Discussion board visible only to logged in users.  I don't think HLP looks like a great place to talk about modding when all one sees in the recent threads list is political stuff.  There was some step I took to suppress General Discussion from showing up in my recent posts list -- perhaps this can be inverted such that one needs to "opt in" to this board instead.

Oh, NICE, thanks for pointing this out! Doing the same thing for my own sanity's sake.

For anyone else wondering, it's the Ignored Boards option under your Profile > Account Settings page. It filters boards out of the Show Unread Posts display but still leaves the board accessible otherwise.

 

Offline Axem

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Hosted project forums is a tricky deal. Some projects benefit by having them (BP, WoD, Diaspora to name a few) and some not as much. What exactly is the point when a project or campaign needs one?

I think for the convenience of the user and the project staff you need around 4 'permanent' threads. A release thread, a troubleshooting thread, a discussion thread, and a media thread. All of these could be compressed into one (and they are in non-hosted releases), but it makes things more overwhelming once they get to a critical mass.

In my proposals I listed a ModDB style page for any hosted project (and maybe even just any campaign that wants one). I'm not sure just how doable that is though with SMF (there are portal plugins but are they nimble enough to do that?) or through the main site's CMS (which is being upgraded with the new server). If that's possible, do you all think that's an acceptable compromise of sorts? I mean I'm not sure myself. Does that really change anything in the grand scheme of things? You want to let active projects be noticed but not too fast moving for a gem to fall through.

It feels like our forum-centric foundation is quite the anchor in this dilemma.

 

Online niffiwan

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Developing on posts made on Spoon's BtA thread, I think FSO more than anything needs to break free of its moribund installation system. Inevitably this will mean wrangling with questions of intellectual property and risk management, but the fact that the vast majority of FSO content can't be obtained with a single, free download hurts adoption more, I think, than any other factor.

This may be true; but can we point to TC's (which lack that issue) as always being more widely downloaded & played? I also think that skirting with IP law is about the only way to truly sink HLP. How could we defend ourselves against a C&D from Interplay?

I think making the purchase & install of the GoG version of FS2 within the "installer" is the best way to continue here. Make it as simple as possible by linking to the website; and automatically installing (if possibly) from the downloaded .exe.

I am also... skeptical of the long term value of attracting people who can't be bothered to make a simple purchase, are we trying to compete with the simple games that tend to infest the app/play store? FSO gameplay is complex and unless we're thinking of super simplifying that I don't think we should try to compete.

Having said all that, one potential option for Freespace universe mods would be to base their data on the DEMO version of FS2. There's already work being on on making FSO compatible with the demo data. This could be used as a teaser into the rest of Freespace; i.e. an upgraded media demo with a small number of polished, short mods (or campaigns). Once you can show that off, those interested in the genre would surely not mind missing the cost of two-three coffees to buy retail FS2 and the gateway to much more content.
Creating a fs2_open.log | Red Alert Bug = Hex Edit | MediaVPs 2014: Bigger HUD gauges | 32bit libs for 64bit Ubuntu
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Debian Packages (testing/unstable): Freespace2 | wxLauncher
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m|m: I think I'm suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Bmpman is starting to make sense and it's actually written reasonably well...

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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There's already work being on on making FSO compatible with the demo data.
That work is done and has been in nightlies for, like, a week now.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Online niffiwan

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Sweet  :yes:  I just wasn't sure if that was the all the effort required.
Creating a fs2_open.log | Red Alert Bug = Hex Edit | MediaVPs 2014: Bigger HUD gauges | 32bit libs for 64bit Ubuntu
----
Debian Packages (testing/unstable): Freespace2 | wxLauncher
----
m|m: I think I'm suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Bmpman is starting to make sense and it's actually written reasonably well...

 

Offline mjn.mixael

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This gets into monetary territory, but would it be worth having regular contests for new comers to win a full copy of FS2? I'd be willing to donate $10 a month for that. It's not an idea that scales up well, but we don't get that many newcomers right now, so it might be easy to pull off in the short term.
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AFAIK trademark is more of a problem than copyright. You can make a campaign with MediaVPs and community assets only, none of which were made by Volition. But they could still claim IP if you tried to release it as a standalone.

But if WCS, TBP, and Diaspora could get away with it, a MediaVPs FSmod probably can too.
[19:31] <MatthTheGeek> you all high up on your mointain looking down at everyone who doesn't beam everything on insane blindfolded

 

Offline jr2

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If you want to attract more people to HLP, how about we make a list of what attracted each of us to it when we joined?

What I saw when I landed on HLP while looking for FreeSpace 2 mods was an amazingly supportive, friendly community dedicated to an awesome game, with continual releases of awesome new mods, complete with new storylines, models, game mechanics, and effects.  That, and the opportunity to be a part of helping others in this community, even if only in a small way.

Now, to bring that to the forefront -- what are the chances of convincing some popular YouTube and / or Twitch streamers that do let's plays to do a playthrough of the best we have to offer?  List of possible YT streamers to catch the eye of:

IGP (IndieGamePromoter)
{{High view count, Rebel Galaxy}}
TheXPGamers (Captain Shack)
SplatterCatGaming
SnillumMeister
{{High view count, Osiris: New Dawn}}
jacksepticeye
Markiplier

Now those last two are more of survival let's players. They seem to have a soft spot for sci-fi mixed with a little horror, though.  So if we can give them something that scratches that itch, they'll be all over it (and I do remember when I first got into FreeSpace, horror was never far from me when I was playing).

What would be the best completed, polished campaign to offer?  This might vary with each YouTuber, but you can probably get a feel for their tastes by looking at their playlists.

TL;DR: jr2 throws some random ideas around hoping they're actually good enough to make a difference.

 

Offline Blue Lion

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My suggestion was(and is) an aggressive push on places like Reddit, Facebook, etc. Images and videos of campaigns and other things FreeSpace related.

The modding  community is great but it's only part of a greater community of FreeSpace (or any game).

It's going to take people to get out there and post and do videos, make comics and memes to push it out there. If those people don't exist in any great numbers, then we just toil away here making campaigns until there is no one left.

Redoing FRED and other things is great but there are SO many other games out there. Check Steam and elsewhere and see the glut of games. We need to get eyeballs here otherwise the work is just moving deck chairs.

 

Offline karajorma

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I agree with the idea, but how? How do we push the game on Facebook, etc and get it attention?
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

[ Diaspora ] - [ Seeds Of Rebellion ] - [ Mind Games ]

 

Offline Blue Lion

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Have a Facebook page running, have an HLP YouTube channel, have an HLP twitch channel. Link videos on reddit gaming sections. Go to other gaming sections (forums. reddits whatever) and have a FreeSpace question. I'm still amazed at how many people played a game that supposedly sold so poorly.

I and other people here have said they can do it.

Start a twitter hashtag if there isn't one for us already.

I run several Facebook pages and YouTube videos for small local NGOs. Reddit and twitch are places I've done stuff on, it's not hard to find people with these skills.

 

Offline Goober5000

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A lot of companies have a Communications Director or a Brand Manager or a Social Media Representative.  The closest thing we have to that among the staff members is Axem who manages the HLP Newsletter.  Are there any HLP members who have social media brand experience?

Headdie is the member who set up the Reddit and Facebook groups, but he hasn't been too active on HLP recently.  Galemp also moderates the Reddit group, but he likewise has been pretty busy in RL.

I should probably take this question to Discord as well.  I got a few good leads there when looking for web-savvy people to assist Sandwich with the new main page.

 
Rock Paper Shotgun has written about FS2 before.  Getting more mods as free standalones and getting them plugged on the big websites (And making sure that your servers can handle the potential hits) would be a priority.  Websites don't usually mind writing things about free stuff. With that comes a caveat: Kotaku writing about fan made projects has gotten those projects C&Ds before, so you have to be carefull that your mod isn't suspectible to that. Social media is great for keeping in touch with people, but it won't mean anything if people don't know where to look to begin with. That's what the big websites are for. Also, try to see if you can't get yourself plugged on the Elite: Dangerous social media channels! You're not direct competitors, yet your biggest audience is there.

AFAIK trademark is more of a problem than copyright. You can make a campaign with MediaVPs and community assets only, none of which were made by Volition. But they could still claim IP if you tried to release it as a standalone.

But if WCS, TBP, and Diaspora could get away with it, a MediaVPs FSmod probably can too.

To my knowledge, the problem is the interface. We're still relying on the original interface art and game sounds, which means any mod that wants to be truly standalone has to redo them all - the MediaVPs won't help you.

However, I've always said that a problem is an opportunity in disguise. The community has already redone the entire fleet (okay, save a couple outliers like the Boadicea, blah). If we want more standalone mods - which I agree would be a great way to generate interest - why not start up a community-driven interface in the same spirit as the MediaVPs? Call it a "standalone mod starter kit" or something.

At that point, anyone could create a mod using only the FSO engine, which is clearly legal, and community assets, which are also clearly legal. IANAL, but that seems like a pretty safe way to get free FSO stuff out there. (I'm not sure what the legal status of community assets obviously based on retail assets are, however.)






At the moment everyone seems to mostly be talking about forum features they'd like to have (which is fine) but we'd also like to discuss bigger changes. What can we do to attract more people? How can we make modding easier?
Emphasis mine. A'ight, my perspective as a new user is that FSO is really not that well documented - or that the documentation is so difficult to track down as to achieve the same result. Digging through BP and BtA's tables has been a thousand times more helpful to me than the wiki. It's also made me aware that there are a bunch of options and flags that aren't documented anywhere - I can't remember them off the top of my head, but I can find them again if desired. It seems that there's no single authoritative reference, and the workaround is a variety of ad hoc forum threads that are impossible to find after the fact; an alternative statement is that the wiki is written more in the style of a man page than a learning tool, which wouldn't be so bad if there was a convenient replacement.

Or maybe there is and I'm just not finding it, blah.







Okay, and another thing. Barring a thread about mod policy or extremely unusual circumstances, admins and regular users should never argue about moderation policy in a public thread. Users get away with a lot of public JADEing about moderation actions, and to an outsider, that makes the forum look dysfunctional and hostile. If you're trying to attract users, you don't want to give that impression. Maybe this doesn't seem like a problem to established forum vets who know the people in question, but to a newcomer, it's scary.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 09:31:48 am by xenocartographer »

 
AFAIK the MediaVPs use remade interface art aside from the mainhalls. Medals, buttons, briefing icons, and logos are all custom. The HUD is stock but there are a few community-made HUDs out there, either as HD upgrades based on the retail HUD or new designs. Almost every big mod has its own mainhalls too so there's almost nothing retail about them. The few ships that haven't been upgraded yet like the Demon are retail assets but in all likelyhood nobody will notice.

As for the sounds.... yeah, they're completely retail. But really, this isn't about making standalone mods legal, whether they're legal or not is irrelevant since no mod teams can actually afford a lawyer. What's important is not getting sued and since free releases based on someone else's IP seem to be doing just fine on the "not getting sued" front I think free releases based on Freespace should be fine too.

And I think there are Freespace mods for other games like Homeworld that use those very same retail sounds and MediaVPs assets, and nobody's issuing C&Ds for those.
[19:31] <MatthTheGeek> you all high up on your mointain looking down at everyone who doesn't beam everything on insane blindfolded

 

Offline Blue Lion

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A lot of companies have a Communications Director or a Brand Manager or a Social Media Representative.  The closest thing we have to that among the staff members is Axem who manages the HLP Newsletter.  Are there any HLP members who have social media brand experience?

Headdie is the member who set up the Reddit and Facebook groups, but he hasn't been too active on HLP recently.  Galemp also moderates the Reddit group, but he likewise has been pretty busy in RL.

I should probably take this question to Discord as well.  I got a few good leads there when looking for web-savvy people to assist Sandwich with the new main page.

I would say a Communications Director or brand person but I would first start with the HLP Facebook and Youtube and twitch page, find some people to admin them and start figuring out what kind of content to post. The rest is just linking it in places like reddit and on facebook and members here helping drive it.