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development and life cycle of a game community

I originally wrote this as a reply to the thread about porting to idTech 4, but it grew too big so I isolated it here.

Newbie talk

Today is my 3rd day playing this game, but I hope that doesn't disqualify me from sharing my 2 cents here.

First of all, I want to say, I certainly don't have a conclusion myself, but I think there are a few points worth considering.

The story of World of Padman

I came from another game, World of Padman (ioquake 3), which used to have a great friendly community as well, but now the community shrunk to less than a dozen players. I love that game's completely non-gory feel and its humor, but it really was the community that got me hooked for 7 years.

In that community, players were nice to newbies (in games, too), mappers shared tips, developers listened, and in general people were mature and respectful.

Right now, as far as I know, there's only one (excellent) mapper who serves as the central person the remaining players hang out with.

There are many reasons that game (practically) died. Some of them, I think, could be relevant to what we are discussing here.

The primary artist wasn't able to clear the copyright for all materials (models, sound), and he wasn't willing to let others freely use his materials either. That pretty much made releasing any new versions legally impossible. They ended up releasing a patch that didn't include any questionable contents. New games need to download two parts in order to connect to the latest version of the server.

Here comes the relevant part:

1. There were a few attempts to replace all copyright-ambiguous materials, but it was too big a job. At the end, no efforts succeeded. People got frustrated and left.

2. Between versions, some map don't translate well, so we lost a lot of good maps, and players left, too.

3. The game as is was fun, but it couldn't attract new and younger players because it looked dated, so in the end, it became just a place to say hi to old (pun intended) friends.

The community is everything!

I very much agree with Smilecythe. The community is the most important thing. Splitting the community is very dangerous. And splitting such a great community is very costly!

Mapping has such a high learning curve so once mappers figure out how to make a good map, they want to put the energy on the design, not the technical details.

So unless there's an automatic way to convert maps on the fly, we'll lose a lot of maps. Two reasons: 1. Not all mappers are available to re-map or run some conversion tools; 2. We may not find the original mappers any more to acquire permission to convert.

Losing maps, from what I saw, is very hurtful to the player community.

And a game will definitely die without a community. (Duh!)

Lately the forum server of World of Padman died. I feel a strong sense of loss. I very much miss that community.

Can we still grow the community?

MirceaKitsune's concern in this thread and another one regarding active development is very relevant, too. If a game stops evolving, and if it gets stuck in older technologies, we may not attract younger players. That means the community would only get smaller (say, people getting older may stop playing because of other real life responsibilities).

For me, and I believe for most of you, people are what matter the most. There will always be some people who appreciate a good game (don't we still play good old games with emulators?). So I would suggest operating within the current parameters to attract new people, for example:

1. A guide for absolute newbies.

The current newbie guide is a bit advanced. For example, even as an FPS player, I still don't really understand Xonotic's HUD completely; I still don't understand why I have more than 10 types of weapons but much fewer types of ammo; it was still hard for me to know which team I am in the beginning of a game. Obviously I will eventually figure these out, but I believe many players may not have the patience.

2. Hold events.

I'm not sure whether this community already has that, but it wasn't obvious for me to find out. These are some ideas (besides the obvious tournaments):

2a. In World of Padman (WoP), we once had a WoP Academy server and a day when experienced players would spend the day teaching newbies in game.

2b. Special weapon day. Force people to use only a specific weapon.

3. Open this game to players who prefer non-gory, light-hearted feel, like me.

Not all players can look past these effects and just appreciate the game mechanics.

I understand the game has a certain feel and style, but is it possible to keep that in the official release, but still make it possible for easy customization?

For example, I know I can turn off the bloody effects, but I wish there are some characters I can choose (as myself, and as bots) who wouldn't scream and explode into pieces. In WoP, a character usually whines with some witty come back line. Are there any player model repo?

I personally prefer brighter maps with cleaner and warmer feel. Are there any? Is there anyway to categorize maps according to their styles/feels?


After WoP died, I've been looking for another community to grow old with. Xonotic seems to be a good one for me. Therefore, my motivation here is very selfish.

I very much respect the history and culture here. I apologize in advance if any of my words sound offensive in anyway. It's definitely not my intention.

First of all, welcome, thx for your post. I hope I don't sound too negative in this post, but I will try to breakdown some things. ^_^

It's true ammo is not covered in Halogenes Newbie Corner, however that is written by a single person and he explained the main parts of the game. It's tough to put any possibility together, but there is still the wiki (check "Weapons" and "Items" I guess). Also it's a bit time consuming to keep everything maintained. :/ Xonotic does not have the man power.
Team color: The only thing that comes to my mind is a centerprint telling you "You joined <color> team!".
Basically there are quite a lot things to notice it: In CTF, your base you will spawn in is usually colored in your team color (if the map is good Tongue), your weapon model has the color of your team, the scoreboard of course, the tiny scoreboard in the hud should show it too I think. Or when you teamkill your mates. Big Grin

a) Works by asking people on a server or in IRC (QuakeNet, #xonotic , #xonotic.pickup), most of them will show you stuff or take you to an empty server and explain things (Newbie Corner more or less, map specific stuff).

b) Does not really work, we don't have real official servers, there are tons of different servers, hosted by community members who also like different things. Tongue You may the noticed the vast variety of server settings.
Some could unite, but then the players have to join there - which is difficult.
In the past I did host little Deathmatch Cups with NIX mutator (every holds the same weapon for a certain amount of time), but it's of course not the same thing.

- Try cl_gentle_damage 2 and cl_gentle_gibs 2
- Maybe enable "Automatic taunts" in the Audio menu (don't know if it helps much)
- Increse brightness Smile No, kidding. The origin of Xonotic is Nexuiz (we have experienced a community split already), which is ~10 years old by now. You can imagine the number of custom made maps (I would guess 2000, 3000) and a map repo does not exist (copyright issues etc).
But from the official mappool.. try Solarium.

Hello there.

Some additional points:

With default settings, all HUD background images are colored in your team color, in addition to everything Mirio mentioned.
[Image: eZeO5Yu.jpg]

Every contribution to (default) Xonotic has to be licensed under the GNU GPL (or compatible).
The GPL does not just allow free use of the work, but also gives everyone the explicit right to share and modify it.
The situation you described, where an artist holds the game "hostage", shouldn't be possible with Xonotic.

To put things into perspective about development activity, I recommend a look at the Gitlab repositories.

Thank you, Mirio. It's very helpful, and you don't sound negative at all.

By the way, I got a 404 from the wiki link. Did you mean the following two?

The information on those wiki pages is very terse. I searched a bit more and found more information outside:

I see now that there are only 4 kinds of ammo and more than one weapon can share the same type of ammo. I did not know that and I thought each weapon has its own unique ammo.

Since I'm still new here, perhaps I can use my perspective to help make a guide. Is anybody already doing that?

sev, thank you very much. You made the team color super clear for me now. And thank you for the very hopeful Gitlab stats. Do all maps on most servers go under GNU GPL, or just the official game itself?

Huh. What's with that wikia site?! They call it "the Xonotic Wiki".

Did anyone else know about this?

(03-27-2015, 09:48 PM)BuddyFriendGuy Wrote: Do all maps on most servers go under GNU GPL, or just the official game itself?

Not all maps on the servers are GPL.
Maps that were made for Xonotic (or Nexuiz), by members of this community, often are.
However, the servers also use a lot of maps that were made for other (Quake-based) games, by other communities. They usually aren't GPL.

@Mr. Bougo, Wikia has a huge collection of fan-created wikis. I've usually found it more useful than many official websites, since not all fans get easy editing permission to the official wikis. Most of their content licenses are CC-BY variants. I assume we can use the contents in the official wiki with proper credit (?).

@sev, thanks.

(03-28-2015, 02:43 PM)BuddyFriendGuy Wrote: @Mr. Bougo, Wikia has a huge collection of fan-created wikis. I've usually found it more useful than many official websites, since not all fans get easy editing permission to the official wikis. Most of their content licenses are CC-BY variants. I assume we can use the contents in the official wiki with proper credit (?).

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that people want to work on an unofficial wiki to document the game. I'm just surprised here that it presents itself as "the Xonotic wiki", with logo and theming and all, which makes it appear official when it's not. That should be cleared up.

I should mention that I used to run the "Official Unofficial Nexuiz Site" which 4m started on Wikia and then got moved to a DokuWiki instance (at which point I took over). I requested a dump of the OUNS pages from Wikia through their admin panel in 2009 or so and I still haven't received it. I don't like Wikia that much since then.

As for licensing, you're right. It says it's CC-BY-SA. But we won't be porting pages systematically without asking, that would not be nice to the maintainers of that wiki.

Don't get me wrong, the community is what made this game what it is. The friendly and helpful nature that Xonotic community has, is a very good bonus also. But I'm not here for the community exactly, I'm here for the game specifically. If everyone in this community left and moved to some other game like for instance CS:GO, LoL or Toxikk, I would not follow them there because they are and will never be my games. I would simply quit playing Xonotic if it comes to point where you can't even depend on successfully arranging 1v1 pickups.

@Smilecythe, I guess I was thinking that by making the community strong, people won't leave Xonotic, and you will be able to depend on successfully arranging 1v1 pickups (I have no idea what that is).

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