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» SmaugMuds.org » General » General Discussions » An apology, an explanation, a...
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An apology, an explanation, and a proposal.
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Post is unread #1 Dec 7, 2009, 3:03 pm
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Kayle
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While this may not be deserved, or maybe it is. I'd like to apologize to everyone for my most blatant disregard for the bases I'm supposed to be keeping up to date.

For those that are unaware, I was in the military, and I was injured. This has not been an easy thing for me to deal with, because it makes me feel like I failed in my duty to defend my country. Due to those feelings of failure, I've done things I never thought I'd do. I stopped working out, I stopped staying in shape, and I stopped caring about my health. This has recently faded into my hobbies, and I've been less and less indulgent in them. One of which has been developing things for this community. I've recently made several large changes in my life, and I'm trying my best to follow through with them, some are harder than others. I'm going to be trying to turn my life around, and working through whatever issues I can. Some of these things will make me cranky and less personable at times, others could do the opposite. (Kicking my caffeine habit will make me a horrible person to be around for a while, as an example.) So I apologize in advance.

Many of you may have noticed my blatant disdain for anything Diku lately. And that's certain unbecoming of an administrator for a major Diku-derived base. And well, I apologize. But I can't help it. I enjoy writing a codebase from scratch far more then I do working with Smaug or anything Diku related. It's a simple matter of taste I guess. I used to enjoy Smaug. And then Affects and discussing their revision just really soured me towards the base. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to work much on Elysium lately either, because the wife roped me into working on a MUD for her. And while I'm working with Smaug in that one, a good majority of the content is my original work. Many of you have noticed it in my Sig recently, and some of you have even stopped by.

For those that haven't, Star Wars: The Sith Wars is a Star Wars MUD. But it's not your regular one. It's not done using a Star Wars base. It's a SmaugFUSS that I've added SWR/SWFotE-esque features to. Some of you are no doubt wondering why. Why did I do that? Because the Star Wars bases are a mess. Both of them fell into horrid disrepair, and they are worlds behind SmaugFUSS. And I didn't feel like taking one of them, updating it to be on par with SmaugFUSS, and then carrying those updates over here. Mainly because I find that I lack the ability to care much about anything that isn't my own work right now.

I'm not going to lie. I would love to see the Star Wars bases here updated, cleaned up, and brought up to par with SmaugFUSS. There are a lot of features in SmaugFUSS that would make the SW bases a lot better. But at the same time, there are a lot of nasty bugs in the Star Wars bases that I just don't have the... Hmm... missing the word.. I'm apathetic in their regard. I don't see the need to fix them. (Or anything really, unless it's for Elysium.)

So here's my proposal. I would love to see these bases updated. But I can't fix things in bases I don't work with regularly. Last I talked to him, Keb didn't have the time to devote right now because of real life. I'm not even going to try and make a claim at Samson's availability, or willingness to work. But I find myself unable, or unwilling, to work on bringing these bases up to date. I'd rather see them modernized. So, on to the meat of the proposal. If you want to see things updated or modernized in these bases, Grab a copy of it, and start finding bugs, prepare a fix, and post it. Or email it to me. (<my handle>@malevolentwhispers.org OR <my handle>@thesithwars.org) I'm going to try and do this myself. But I'm not going to lie to you guys, and make promises I might not be able (or willing) to keep.

Anyway, I'll quit ranting for now.
       
Post is unread #2 Dec 7, 2009, 3:19 pm
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Samson
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I'm not even going to try and make a claim at Samson's availability, or willingness to work.


No, but I will :)

I have the feeling people already know I've been pretty thoroughly soured on doing much of anything regarding MUDs. It's been that way for awhile, but more recent events over at MudBytes have just about put an end to any lingering desire I had left to do much of anything. I'll be blunt. I despise the attitudes of very nearly everyone involved in the hobby who posts over there for one reason or another, and my forced removal as an administrator of something I helped create was the last straw. Yes, it's a nasty outlook on things for someone who still administers a MUD related website and runs a hosting business, but that's just the hard reality of it. I'm in my niche and intend to stay there, out of the way of the hostile public.

I'm sure you've all noticed that I don't say or do much anymore, here, or anywhere, except when really bored. So I think it would go without saying that I've no particular interest in sitting down to start dissecting a codebase I never had any real interest in to begin with. That's why SmaugFUSS got most of the attention. It was what I was more interested in, even if only as the sister project to AFKMud. So I wouldn't count on seeing my participation go much further than greenlighting someone else who is interested in doing the grunt work. Keberus was handling that for awhile, but life has this funny habit of taking people away when they're needed and making them do other stuff.

Kayle may be willing to do it, but I'll be even more honest and flat out tell you I want nothing to do with it. Cleanup is a great thing, and the SWR bases have needed it for years, but it seems that it isn't just the two of us who have no motivation to bother. I think the best solution would be to get someone who is motivated, and has the time to devote to the task, to bring on as another administrator. If anyone has any potential candidates in mind, now's as good a time as any to start mentioning names.
       
Post is unread #3 Dec 7, 2009, 3:28 pm
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Hanaisse
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While it was nice of you to keep the community updated, I don't think it was really necessary to apologize. I mean that in the nicest way.

People get down, people get moody, it happens. To apologize for not keeping up with a hobby is impractical. If there is anyone out there that is upset that YOU haven't kept up with your hobby to make them happy is just unreasonable.

On the other hand, congrats on Sith Wars, I might just pop in one day. :) And it's good to see you making positive changes in your life.

(P.S.: The fact you did your duty means you didn't fail)
       
Post is unread #4 Dec 7, 2009, 10:40 pm
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Samson
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Hanaisse, truer words were never spoken and my apologies to Kayle if my own response here came off in a bad way. It's good to see you're getting the really important things together.
       
Post is unread #5 Dec 8, 2009, 2:52 am
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ayuri
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As using the bastard child of smaug for many years, I personally think any changes to the swr/fote bases at this point in time is almost worthless. A quick look around shows maybe five fote bases out there - and not that many more swr games. I was running a fairly popular one till a few months ago when it seems all the Immortals and players lost interest (myself included) coupled with a major server hiccup.

While I love the code for what it is, I honestly do not think anything can be done to save it at this point in time.
Just my two cents.

By the way, no need to apologize. Diku-ish really irks me in how things are done. Now, its damn near 6am for me. I should have been in bed 3 hours ago.

ayuri
       
Post is unread #6 Dec 8, 2009, 3:50 am   Last edited Dec 8, 2009, 3:52 am by Caius
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Caius
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I've done some odd jobs in the past for SWRFUSS, and I don't mind contributing more in the same way. I also prefer keeping my involvement on that level.

On a more general note, I'm a little curious what you're looking for. It's never been clear to me exactly what "fixed up" in FUSS really means. For instance, I think it would be a good idea to do certain intrusive changes to improve the overall design, readability and maintainability. One example would be generalizing the engineering skills. As of now they are pretty much copy/paste of eachother, where the differences are the components used, the skills used, the XP type to award (often, but not always, Engineer), and the strings echoed to the player and the room. Otherwise they have the exact same basic structure, and it's entirely realistic to create a more general system where you can create engineer skills from within the game with OLC tools. Another example is a more involved redesign of the space code, as mentioned often before. And even if the vector math is left untouched (as this has proven a somewhat controversial topic), the space code needs to have well defined interfaces, to move the calculations from dozens of if checks and into a distinct set of functions, and to add a higher level set of functions to easily handle combat and ship movement.

This leads back to what "fixed up" means. Does this kind of thing fall outside the scope of the FUSS project? Does "fixed up" mean patching superficial bugs, or is solving the underlying problems also desirable?
       
Post is unread #7 Dec 8, 2009, 11:34 am
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David Haley
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First off, I agree that there's no need to apologize. Hobbies should be enjoyable. There also hasn't been a deluge of general interest, so you haven't even been failing to keep up with all the suggestions because, well, there aren't that many. :wink:

Second, I agree with Caius that there is something of a mission statement question to be answered. This is something I've said a few times, actually. I think that the FUSS project needs to decide if its official goal is to fix bugs, fix features, fix fundamental design, or maybe even create a full but separate "clone" of SMAUG from scratch. Or maybe some combination of all of the above. Nominally the mission statement is just to fix bugs, but we've already seen that "bug" has extended not just to code bugs but also to "feature bugs", that is, a feature that was deemed to be implemented incorrectly. The weather system is a good example of addressing a "feature bug". There's talking of adding Lua to SMAUG to replace mudprog; is this anywhere in the mandate of just fixing bugs? This is neither a code nor feature fix; it's... well, something else entirely.

I don't think it's a problem at all if FUSS expands its mandate; actually I think that would be pretty nice. I just think it should be clear what people want to see. Ayuri for example seems to think that working on the Star Wars bases beyond small bug fixes is worth the project's time. I haven't seen a lot of demand for this stuff in general; people think changes would be "cool" but it's unclear how much real demand there is. I'm not saying there isn't any, but I am saying that I haven't seen it. :wink:
       
Post is unread #8 Dec 8, 2009, 12:10 pm
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Samson
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It's probably fairly safe to say at this point that FUSS has outgrown the original goal of simply fixing bugs. There's nothing wrong with that either. Figuring out exactly what the evolved goal of the project is now would definitely help.

As far as the SWR bases, if a massive overhaul isn't in the cards based on workload, maybe it would be saner in the short term to take the existing FUSS 1.9 code and use that to incorporate what makes the SWR bases what they are. The big major things seem to be Force powers and the space system. Kayle already mentioned having incorporated the space system into a standard SmaugFUSS.

Also, perhaps instead of bringing on another full blown admin we could just widen the range of people allowed to make commits into the SVN repositories. Not all developers are interested in becoming site admins after all.
       
Post is unread #9 Dec 8, 2009, 2:40 pm
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ayuri
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David Haley said:

Ayuri for example seems to think that working on the Star Wars bases beyond small bug fixes is worth the project's time. I haven't seen a lot of demand for this stuff in general; people think changes would be "cool" but it's unclear how much real demand there is. I'm not saying there isn't any, but I am saying that I haven't seen it. :wink:


Actually, at this point in time due to the lack of demand, I'm saying it is *NOT* worth trying to fix it up in its current state. Sure, some fixes should be back ported if it applies to all smaug branches. However, a lot of the problems are SWR/FotE specific (Space, Force, even skill sets to some degree), until someone with the abilities and interest comes forth. I don't want to see it thrust upon someone who has no desire to work on it then burn out leaving the community all together.


Samson said:

It's probably fairly safe to say at this point that FUSS has outgrown the original goal of simply fixing bugs. There's nothing wrong with that either. Figuring out exactly what the evolved goal of the project is now would definitely help.


So, before I give my thoughts on this, let me ask; Are we the only player's in the SMAUG game? Does anyone else keep a version up to date with new features, new bug fixes? The same goes for any other code bases out there from SWR to FotE.

If so, then it would seem the goal of fixing up just isn't enough. Not if you want people to pick SMAUG over say a LPMud or any number of other code bases out there.

Samson said:

As far as the SWR bases, if a massive overhaul isn't in the cards based on workload, maybe it would be saner in the short term to take the existing FUSS 1.9 code and use that to incorporate what makes the SWR bases what they are. The big major things seem to be Force powers and the space system. Kayle already mentioned having incorporated the space system into a standard SmaugFUSS.


I spoken to Caius in the past about this idea, just for fun. And I'm glad Kayle has started to under take this project with his Sith Wars. My only concern then if Kayle is doing this, as he seems to be a little more motivated than most; Will he then release it to the community or will we all have to suffer under his tyrannical rule? :grinning: I don't want to speak for him here and I'm not even going to pretend to. I know I've given consideration to releasing the version of FotE I help run (with permission from the main owner), but I run into a few things. The code isn't all mine as I came in late in its life cylce and I can't track down where it all came from, so I do not know if it was lifted from someone else or not. Also, what code IS mine I have no desire to redo it all over again in a clean slate. Again, getting back to burning out. (Note our space system and force system is problematic...)

If I'm ranting here just say so. But I hope to have brought up a few points worth looking into.
ayuri
       
Post is unread #10 Dec 8, 2009, 2:52 pm
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Samson
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ayuri said:

So, before I give my thoughts on this, let me ask; Are we the only player's in the SMAUG game? Does anyone else keep a version up to date with new features, new bug fixes? The same goes for any other code bases out there from SWR to FotE.


As far as I'm aware, this is the only place updated versions of Smaug are kept and maintained. If it hadn't been for this project, I'm pretty sure Smaug would have ended up like every older 12 year old codebase - sitting in some repository somewhere rotting away never being updated. With the odd exception of the official 1.8 release from the folks at RoD, but even that was an ancient fork of their current code.

Outside of SmaugFUSS, the only other projects I'm aware of are Ram (updates for Rom) and ACKFUSS, which is more or less the equivalent to SmaugFUSS only for the ACK codebase. I have no idea what the current status of Ram is. Kline is still maintaining ACKFUSS as an active project.

tbaMUD started off in much the same way for Circle, but they evolved well beyond the boundaries of bugfixing a long time ago. I have the feeling SmaugFUSS has now reached this level and will end up in this category at some point.
       
Post is unread #11 Dec 8, 2009, 3:34 pm
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Kayle
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This project, at least as far as Smaug goes, is pretty much far passed the Bug Fix stage. The SW bases, as has been said, still have a lot of issues that need fixed. Where Smaug is concerned we have very few bugs left to fix, and are left facing the horrible design decisions of the original Smaug, Merc, and Diku teams. We're left looking at things from a different perspective, and it needs to be decided whether we'll fork off a new branch for modernization and redesign, or just go ahead and start radically rewriting the current SmaugFUSS release.

Personally, I'd rather see it happen in a separate branch. This way, if people don't want to play with the advanced stuff we add they don't have to, they have a stable base available that they can work from. However, if we do go down the modernization and redesign path, we need to consider whether or not it's worth it. Is it worth being trapped under the license when we're going to, in all essence, be rewriting the entire core of what we have so that it truly no longer even holds a resemblance to the original Diku code? Would it be better to start over from scratch?

On that same note, I won't be heavily involved in the modernization/redesign process. At least as far as code goes. I don't want to cross contaminate whatever we get going here into Elysium. And before anyone asks, No, I won't allow Elysium to become the new from-scratch project here. Elysium is my haven, my sanctuary, my work, my escape. I would prefer it stayed that way. I'm using Elysium as a way to learn how to do things that I just can't learn from an existing codebase. And if others start working on it, things get out of my hands, and things I wanted to do, get done a different way and that's not something I'm interested in.


Samson said:

Kayle already mentioned having incorporated the space system into a standard SmaugFUSS.

There was no incorporation. I wrote it from scratch.

ayuri said:

My only concern then if Kayle is doing this, as he seems to be a little more motivated than most; Will he then release it to the community or will we all have to suffer under his tyrannical rule? :grinning: I don't want to speak for him here and I'm not even going to pretend to.

I hadn't given much thought to releasing it. Most of the code running on The Sith Wars isn't something I'm overly proud of. I haven't been entirely careful, or standard in my practices, I've just been making things work so that my wife can run her pet project while I work on Elysium. The end goal for The Sith Wars is to swap it over to run on the Elysium base once I have it finished, so that it can run alongside MW as a sister mud of sorts.
       
Post is unread #12 Dec 8, 2009, 4:43 pm
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ayuri
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Kayle said:



ayuri said:

My only concern then if Kayle is doing this, as he seems to be a little more motivated than most; Will he then release it to the community or will we all have to suffer under his tyrannical rule? :grinning: I don't want to speak for him here and I'm not even going to pretend to.

I hadn't given much thought to releasing it. Most of the code running on The Sith Wars isn't something I'm overly proud of. I haven't been entirely careful, or standard in my practices, I've just been making things work so that my wife can run her pet project while I work on Elysium. The end goal for The Sith Wars is to swap it over to run on the Elysium base once I have it finished, so that it can run alongside MW as a sister mud of sorts.


And that's fine.

So, my next question is where does this leave the FUSS project at and then where do we go under who's guidance? With Samson and now Kayle who are burned out it seems the 'leadership' if you will have parted ways to find greener pastures. I'm not tying to be mean here guys, I have the utmost respect you for what you've done. You are way better programmers that I could ever hope to be, and I know the pressures of daily life and then the virtual life of having people yell at you for whatever reason.

Just wondering,
ayuri
       
Post is unread #13 Dec 8, 2009, 5:31 pm
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Kayle
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I hadn't planned on going anywhere, and I'm far from burnt out. I just really hate Diku. >.>
       
Post is unread #14 Dec 8, 2009, 5:41 pm
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ayuri
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Sounds like burnt out :P
       
Post is unread #15 Dec 8, 2009, 5:48 pm
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Samson
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Well there's a big difference between hating Diku and simply hating it all. Diku code does have an awful lot that's deserving of hate compared to more modern code. They did what they were able to within systems that weren't as flexible as those we have now. It just ended up staying that way for far too long.
       
Post is unread #16 Dec 8, 2009, 6:00 pm
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Kayle
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ayuri said:

Sounds like burnt out :P


Burnt out would imply that I'm done with MUDs entirely. I'm not done with MUDs. I'm writing a brand new engine completely from scratch. I am, however, fed up with the crap that is Diku and all of it's unsightly children.
       
Post is unread #17 Dec 8, 2009, 8:50 pm
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Hanaisse
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Samson said:

I'm sure you've all noticed that I don't say or do much anymore, here, or anywhere, except when really bored.

It's been noticed, and you've been missed. It's nice to know you're still lurking though.

Samson said:

If anyone has any potential candidates in mind, now's as good a time as any to start mentioning names.

Keberus, Remcom and David come to mind as active individuals who know the code inside out. But before we go there, we need to go here....

David Haley said:

I don't think it's a problem at all if FUSS expands its mandate; actually I think that would be pretty nice. I just think it should be clear what people want to see.

ayuri said:

So, my next question is where does this leave the FUSS project at and then where do we go under who's guidance?

I see these two statements as kind of related. If people don't feel it necessary, or want to see further development at this time then it's clear FUSS is at a standstill and perhaps doesn't need a new admin. Although I for one would like to see Lua added even if only for easier mudprogs.
OTOH, that doesn't stop anyone from grabbing a copy and having at it, like Remcon and his LoP project. Sometimes I wish I could code and be a lot more productive to this community, but that won't happen any time soon.
       
Post is unread #18 Dec 8, 2009, 9:54 pm
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David Haley
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ayuri said:

Actually, at this point in time due to the lack of demand, I'm saying it is *NOT* worth trying to fix it up in its current state.

Heh, my apologies. That's what I meant to say. Somehow the "not" didn't make it into the sentence...

Kayle said:

However, if we do go down the modernization and redesign path, we need to consider whether or not it's worth it. Is it worth being trapped under the license when we're going to, in all essence, be rewriting the entire core of what we have so that it truly no longer even holds a resemblance to the original Diku code? Would it be better to start over from scratch?

Note that we can do a fair bit of redesign and improvement without rewriting that much code. Being bound by the license is more annoying, but, well, it's not like I'd make commercial ventures with this code anyhow.

I hope that my Lua extension to FUSS will be a good demo of how it is possible to add fundamental potential, without tearing the code inside-out.

Kayle bandied around the name "SmaugFUSS++" as a branch project to house these "new and crazy" ideas. If we use version control that can really handle branching and merging more easily (svn isn't acceptable, at least in my experience) it would even be easy to maintain bugfixes in "stock FUSS" (heheh, geddit) while merging them automatically (to some extent) into the FUSS++ branch. But as Kayle pointed out, the FUSS branch is very, very stable these days, and it's unlikely that it will see much more development other than the occasional bugfix. Indeed, it is quite possible that people will not want a fancy-pants feature-laden version, and will still want their plain ol' distribution even if there's a nifty other version available.
       
Post is unread #19 Dec 8, 2009, 10:20 pm   Last edited Dec 8, 2009, 10:21 pm by Kayle
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Kayle
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David Haley said:

Indeed, it is quite possible that people will not want a fancy-pants feature-laden version, and will still want their plain ol' distribution even if there's a nifty other version available.

We've already seen an example of this with Tonitrus and his dislike of us using g++ to compile.
       
Post is unread #20 Dec 8, 2009, 10:35 pm
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Samson
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David Haley said:

Kayle bandied around the name "SmaugFUSS++" as a branch project to house these "new and crazy" ideas. If we use version control that can really handle branching and merging more easily (svn isn't acceptable, at least in my experience) it would even be easy to maintain bugfixes in "stock FUSS" (heheh, geddit) while merging them automatically (to some extent) into the FUSS++ branch.


Well I certainly don't see a problem with branching off into something else where all the more experimental stuff goes on. And I've got no problem with supporting whatever version control method is desired. If SVN isn't sufficient, suggest something, and I can install it here as long as setting up access to it isn't a major pain.

Kayle said:

We've already seen an example of this with Tonitrus and his dislike of us using g++ to compile.


I fail to see what the issue with simply using g++ is, but there's always someone who needs to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the 90s :)
       
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