A little extra information regarding the end of the Leadwerks Community Project.
Why did we stop
There are many reasons for ending the project. The most important reason is that we think the motivation and amount of time people will invest in the project will drop extremely once LE3 has been released. It was allways something that played in the back of our heads. What if we are halfway through the game development process and LE will be released. You bet your *ss that the project will be discontinued.
Another reason that is just as important: internal communication and team building. It has proven to be extremely difficult to organise the project. It might seem very simple at first but WOW, things can get out of hand so easily. Everyone was free to programm in the way they wanted to and restrictions were almost non existent. A disadvantage to this is that code gets messy or structures within the code are unclear. It is a good lesson though how to deal with this next time.
A must have for a community project:
- A wiki for maintaining tasks, protocols and documentation
- Bug reporter
- Storage for code and assets
- Sub team leaders: Artist, Programmers, Sound
- Everyone has to write a part of documentation when it comes to programming or level design. Other members of the team have to easily find how things work that other have created.
- Make sure you test the game thoroughly in BOTH debug as release mode.
The wiki was very usefull and also under used. Protocols, code planning and structure should have been documented better. Severall members added awesome code to the project but were forced to leave the project early. At this point documentation is the most important part. Even with comments in the code it is very difficult to understand how everything is connected. Here a few images to show some of the documentation and forum communication:
What went wrong
- Use the combination of google drive for assets and SVN storage.
- Assembla (SVN repository) offers 1 GB of storage. We never should have used it in combination with Google drive. Files got deleted or were missing.
- Use level locking: editing a level is dangerous when it doesn't get updated with all the assets present. Level was redesigned many times.
- Making things to difficult. It has been said over a million times: Lets keep it simple. haha. Here is how you do that: Try to make it simple. Then we you are done brainstorming about 'simple', make it even simpler. Repeat about 5 times. If you would see the initial target list of what we should have had with the tech demo, you would be surprised.
The most frustrating part on my side was the lack of communication. Despite sending many emails, using twitter, creating video tutorials, posting sticky forum topics, internal communication was disasterous. Response has allways been at a very dangerously low level. Because of this, making a planning or having good progress was very difficult. This is something I would like to see improve with a next community project.
Having fun and learning something
The most important thing about the community project is having fun and learning something on the side. For most of us this was the case. Whether it was programming, managing or designing, there were things that no one had thought of before or had done before. Besides that it is nice to work together as an international community.
A next community project? Heck Yeah. I hope to see a new community being created with LE3. I would love to participate, although I would like to do some exploring of the new engine first.
A big thanks to all the project members and everyone who has done some testing!