Does FAF suffer from being the "official" community platform

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Does FAF suffer from being the "official" community platform

Postby AdmiralZeech » 14 Mar 2019, 16:57

Looking at all the drama recently (and throughout the ages), it feels like being the "official community platform" comes with a whole lot of useless responsibility, and not many advantages.


If we look at successful mods in the past like DoTA or Counterstrike, these were the result of some people developing what they wanted and players liking their work. Sure, the developers could seek opinions, and players could give feedback and complaints, but ultimately it was the creation of some guys and everyone else could just take it or leave it.


FAF began as a creation of some guy, and he did pretty much what he wanted iirc. Although there was a lot of criticism and hate to be sure. However, when he left FAF was acquired and then bequested to "the community" where it acquired a veneer of democracy.


Now, one could say that democracy is a messy, noisy process but ultimately yields benefits. But I've yet to see any video game or video game mod successfully developed on a democratic basis. I'd love to see counter examples, but as far as I know, it's always just some people doing what they wanted.


It feels like the separation between players and developers that you get from being a company that owns a game makes things much simpler. You can choose what you want to listen to and who, choose who to allow to speak and who to silence, and the only thing you need to keep an eye on is player retention numbers.


A lot of the fighting seems to come from different subgroups of contributors disagreeing with each other, though. I guess this is why large open source projects get forked all the time. Doesn't seem like there's any fix for this other than, "have a company and a boss."


Anyways, I probably don't have a strong position on this, I just wanted to see what people thought about FAF holding this mythical responsibility for being "of the community", instead of something like dstojkov's thing, which is merely, "I made what I wanted, play it if you like."


(Heh, I just stumbled on this article that said, "FOSS is free as in (public) toilet. Everyone shits on it and expects it to be maintained." I thought that was cute.)
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Re: Does FAF suffer from being the "official" community plat

Postby Dunstklinge » 14 Mar 2019, 18:54

Carefull not to fall for survivorship bias here. For every private game that made it, there were many more private games that didnt. If you look at the top 0.001%, you will obviously only find private games since there are many more of them to begin with. Its the ratio that should count here, which is a number thats hard to find.

AdmiralZeech wrote:It feels like the separation between players and developers that you get from being a company that owns a game makes things much simpler. You can choose what you want to listen to and who, choose who to allow to speak and who to silence, and the only thing you need to keep an eye on is player retention numbers.


I have only played 2 MMOs in my lifetime, but both of them (GW2 and BNS) went to complete shit because of this. Because the Developers dont play their own game, they have no idea what state it is in, so they keep driving it against the wall; and because the only goal is player money, they prefer cheap short sighted tricks over actual game improvements. Over time, these tricks morph the game into something that feels like a completely different game - usually a much worse one. Big MMO publishers literally view their games as having an "expiration date", because they know full well that they are probably going to drive it into the ground. The BNS and GW2 Forums, shortly before i left, where just a mass of demoralized and/or angry people venting their anger about how the game goes to shit. The FAF forums look like a haven of productivy in comparision. Im willing to bet that other genres with constant updates (MOBAS, Card Games etc) suffer from the same problem.

I think the real problem with community-run projects is getting the community to run it. A company will always have a pool of talented staff because they offer full time pay, work experience and dont require extensive knowledge of the community to join. Meanwhile, a community-run project has to find people amongst their potentially small community who are willing to work for almost free or completely free in their free-time on changes they might heavily disagree with, while sitting at physically different places and having vastly different work times. Obviously, the work is going to get much less efficient (or effective if they want to have more speed). Also, the threat of forking (which is basiaclly murder-suicide for small communities) certainly doesnt help.
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Re: Does FAF suffer from being the "official" community plat

Postby AdmiralZeech » 14 Mar 2019, 19:26

It's easy to find negative examples of organisations that don't perform in each model. But do any positive examples exist of games that do it well? Most of the really beloved games I've played are made by Japanese developers who literally don't even communicate with most of their playerbase.
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Re: Does FAF suffer from being the "official" community plat

Postby Dunstklinge » 14 Mar 2019, 20:01

If i think about it, i dont think i know of a community project that didnt go well.
Project M comes to mind as something that went so well that nintendo shut it down.
Black Mesa or Skyrim Enderal were/are also pretty popular, though they might strech the definition of the whole "community maintained" (more like mods made by a small set of dedicated fangs).
OpenArena is community maintained (afaik) and is also doing pretty well considering the relatively small audience of oldschool 3d fps fans.
Katawa Shoujo was literally made by a community from ground up and is probably one of the most popular vns in the west, so i'd say thats a pretty huge success story too.

Of course none of these games are huge successes a'la fortnite, but i guess thats just a consequence of the facts that a) communities dont have the resources to make huge games from scratch and b) that taking an existing game and making it huge is impossible as the devs either wouldn't have left it if it had mass appeal or would just come back to claim it if the community somehow did make it profitable again.

Looking past games, the whole community maintaned thing works even better, with things like unix-oses, sqlite etc, some of which actually did become huge to the point where it rivals paid software from actual professionals.

So, i would say it works pretty well.
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Re: Does FAF suffer from being the "official" community plat

Postby relent0r » 15 Mar 2019, 01:21

FAF has done amazing when you consider the timeline involved.
As an older person (39yrs) I can see the advantages of having young motivated people with the time to put into the project, but with that comes some issues of maturity. But if everyone was older and more mature the project wouldn't progress because of general life time commitments.
It's the need to balance those two that the FAF community generally does well at, the simple fact that people get to have a conversation like this without getting jumped on shows it.

I missed out on FAs golden years due to my OE and I'm in awe that I can still enjoy it this many years later because of the amazing work you guys do. I hope it will continue for years to come (cause no one seems to be able to come close to making a better game).
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Re: Does FAF suffer from being the "official" community plat

Postby moonbearonmeth » 15 Mar 2019, 02:40

AdmiralZeech wrote:It feels like the separation between players and developers that you get from being a company that owns a game makes things much simpler. You can choose what you want to listen to and who, choose who to allow to speak and who to silence, and the only thing you need to keep an eye on is player retention numbers.


Simpler, perhaps but to point this out is an exercise in futility because the reality is that FAF is not this and never will be this and I am tired of people point out how some other company does things and how we should be more like them. Companies have this simplicity because they have money at their disposal but this simplicity doesn't mean they get to choose what they do and who to listen to because the money comes from shriveled old cunts looking to improve their stock portfolio.

We have no (in the sense we can influence direction) money but we are also blessed by the fact we also have no shareholders and believe it or not this freedom actually does get shit done, what is holding back progress now is a cubic fuckton of bureaucratic fuck-shittery, case and point, ICE.

At this stage I would unironically prefer this open-source-fork scenario you talk about, at least then something might actually get approved and we could probably superglue shit together at the end when devs give up.

Dunstklinge wrote:Katawa Shoujo was literally made by a community from ground up and is probably one of the most popular vns in the west, so i'd say thats a pretty huge success story too.

Funny you mention this one given how absurdly close it came to death on numerous occasions due to everything from artists running to people having irl commitments.
To say Katawa Shoujo beat the odds would be an understatement as evidenced by how many failed 'KS inspired' VN projects have happened since. Hell, I am watching at least 3 slowly burn down right now.
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