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Author Topic: general practices  (Read 15101 times)
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sixf00t4
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« on: January 18, 2005, 05:05:18 AM »

1.  Cataloguing of Modifications:  Yes, very good idea.  Also time consuming.  Webpixie started on this project, but I haven't seen her online since November.  Status unknown.

Issues:  Tracking of forked versions, updating listing - if the authors do not follow up and notify the administration, the catalogue will be inaccurate.  I, for one, am not overly interested in spending vast amounts of time tracking down threads and uploads ensuring each modification is captured in the catalogue.

2.  Modification of another author's work:   Falls into a couple of categories - correcting bugs, minor additions and major changes.

-  Bug reports:  Assuming the author is still active in DragonPrime, bug reports should be made in the mod's announcement thread by posting the required corrections (or reporting the error), not by providing a corrected file - that could cause problems if the author is already in the process of making changes to his version.
If the author is not active, and does not respond to notification of the error, arrangements can be made through me (Talisman) to upload a corrected version into the author's folder.


-  Minor changes: Should be suggested by posting in the announcement thread, providing just the changed code.  If the author decides to incorporate the code within the module, then you don't need to do anything else.  Remember though, that your vision and the author's vision do not always agree - if the author chooses not to use your suggestions, do not harangue the author.  In this case, if you are using your modified version of the file anywhere, you must provide public access to a copy of it.  That may be accomplished through DragonPrime or by a link on your own server.  If you're capable of hosting a game, there is no excuse why you would not be capable of hosting modules which have minor modifications and do not really need to be uploaded here.  A new thread need not be started for the minor changes.

-  Major changes: A major change can be considered significantly changing the operation and features of another author's module.  In this case, start a new thread, describe your changes, give credit to the original author, and upload your file.  Do not announce or discuss your module in the original module thread.

-  Abandoned modules: Yes, some people do tend to disappear, either through lack of time for hobbys, real life issues, and even a *gasp* lack of interest.  Determining when a module could be considered abandoned will not be an exact science; however, some indications would be:

  • No sign of the author in DragonPrime for a few months (I can check how long since the last login/visit)
  • No response from the author to bug reports and suggestions in the thread for an extended period of time
  • No response from the author when you send him IM or attempt to contact him through the assorted means of communication posted in his profile
[/color]


the more settings and variables in your module, the more dynamic it is, allowing it to fit easier into other realms.  things like shop name, owner, items, could all be server specific.

when uploading mods, upload them in an compressed archive format such as .tar or .zip.  changing the file extension to .txt and then uploading it is just annoying.

capital letters in file names and modules should be avoided.  I am guilty of this one, but so are a few others.  everything should be kept in lowercase.

Use lonny's version checking system with your modules and keep it up to date!
http://dragonprime.net/index.php?board=17;action=display;threadid=1634;boardseen=1
« Last Edit: February 17, 2005, 03:53:57 AM by sixf00t4 » Logged

Elessa
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2005, 09:24:27 AM »

a few things i thought would suggest to the community as general practices and courtesies.

1.  Issue - A common practice that is going on is people are fixing bugs or added new features to other peoples' modules and uploading them back here under their directory for the original author to get.  I think this is great energy for the community.
 Suggestion - once the original author acknowledges that he/she has downloaded your version, remove yours.  

there were more that escape my memory at the moment, but i'll put them up later.  feedback is welcome as well as others.

might i suggest in keeping with this, that if ye make changes to a module and have uploaded it to thy folder for the original author, send that individual a private message to make him aware that such has been done.  with the number of threads for modules and real life interfering sometimes it is difficult to review all the ones pertinent to work that has been done.

if they have set their preferences to forward an e-mail when a PM is received they will know to pay a visit, review the modifications and give comment if necessary.

having a head's up to alert them that there have been modifications is just another way to keep this community as willing to assist each other as it is.
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Arune
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2005, 02:13:56 PM »

I think this is an excellent  rule basis that we should all follow. I also have been guilty of fixing something and re-uploading to my directory which I will correct.

But yes that is actually a HUGE problem because I just went through at least 3 module threads to do updates on my modules and I saw one that maybe was the original...Then this person's fixed one...Then the other person's fixed one...Then no posts from the original author and I ask myself...WTF ...

What do I download? What is good, what is broken? We really need to start obeying this ruleset because what used to take me 10 minutes to grab new versions once a week now takes me well over an hour. Because I have to read through every Tom, Dick, and George's code to see who actually has the last USABLE revision.

I think what also needs to be looked at is if the project is not abandoned by the original author ...So and So's version should be deleted out of their own private directory and if not at least deleting the links out of these threads...I understand helping but  really there is a line that seems to be getting crossed in places where people are not only helping to correct problems but adopting code.

Arune
« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 02:18:06 PM by Arune » Logged
enderwiggin
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2005, 02:18:46 PM »

I always grab the last one I see mentioned in a thread.
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Arune
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2005, 02:19:57 PM »

Not always a good rule of thumb. Problem is many of times people make changes and re-submit broken code. Then your worse off than you started.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 02:20:45 PM by Arune » Logged
enderwiggin
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« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2005, 02:22:25 PM »

Except that when someone other than the author is uploaded a "newer" version, it's usually Sichae and Lonny, who both are excellent coders.

And if there is broken code, it's just an opportunity for me to debug and troubleshoot.  And I need pratice if I'm every going to learn anything.
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Arune
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« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2005, 02:27:53 PM »

enderwiggin...

The whole point I understand. But in the same sense I believe changes made should not be truly publicized in the author's thread until the author has had a chance to look through them and decide if it's actually a change that he/she wants to be made. Or approves that it actually fixes an issue.

We all make mistakes and to be completely honest it all comes back to a support standpoint. I don't want to have to support this person's and that person's revision. Especially if they break my code or re-work it in a way that I don't like. It shouldn't be in my public thread on display and for download. It confuses users.

Now the code should be available for download to the author or to others but I don't think it should be in the author's release thread.

And to be completely honest... I wouldn't release a piece of code to everyone so  they can find it broken and have to debug it and change my code to make it work. Its not good practice.  Although, it would be different if I said here is this, I know it's broken, see what you guys can do with it.

I don't doubt Lonny's abilities or Sichae's, in fact I have worked with both of them on numerous occassions. Although I am only saying this out of respect for everyone that develops. That includes Lonny's released code and Sichae's. And I'm sure there are others who feel the same as I do.

And it all comes back to the one point. Which is it won't Always be Sichae / Lonny doing fixes. What happens when someguy01 off the street comes in and picks my code up and says oh....This needs fixing..this does...this does... Then he releases it in my thread. Everyone downloads it to find out this guy didn't know wtf he was doing and just made a mess.

Thats why I think there should be a ruleset in place for that.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 02:36:39 PM by Arune » Logged
enderwiggin
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2005, 02:59:17 PM »

I'm sorry.  I began to argue semantics and get away from the main contention of this thread.

But I disagree that there should be a rule regarding this.

A few times I've made changes to an author's mod.  I send them a PM, and they can take a peak at the module I've uploaded, an altered version of their own.  A few times they've integrated said changes into their module.  This can all be done privately without putting any notice in the author's thread, assuming that the author is still an active member of the forum.

Other times, the author can't be reached.  Many times when I see someone post a "newer" version of someone else's module in a thread, it's because the original author is inactive.  I'd love to run the WorldMap module, but it's still buggy, and I don't know if I should alter it or not because the author can't be reached, but hasn't been gone that long.

Should we have hard and fast rules to determine when a module is "abandoned" because the author is inactive?

No.  The reason being is that the license covers all of this.  At any point in time, I have the right to modify any bit of this code.  I just have to keep the original author's information, and share my changes.

I'm seriously considering modifying one of Sneakabout's new modules.  The Thief's hidden area is a great idea, and one I was considering the very samy day.  However, in said module, you can buy skill points with gold.  I'm worried about balance, and the fact that there is already a generic skill shop module.  I'm considering changing it to a gem cost, and making the player solve a riddle, puzzle, or just get lucky via random chance.  If you're increasing your skill 2 times a day or more, then that will greatly affect balance.

When I change the module, should I just upload my change and not say anything as to not confuse people as to there being two versions?  Should I post my change in the thread and give people the option to choose which version they want?  Should I only contact the author?

One could argue for all three of those choices as being the most tactful, or correct.

My two cents is that so long as one follows the license, there shouldn't be any complaints.  If you make changes, then keep the original author's information intact, and share your changes.

I should be able to open up a module, and see that said module was originally written by X, and modified by Y.  Hopefully, there are comments detailing the changes, and then I can decide which version to run.

If you're worried about one version being more buggy than the other, I would hope that when people release a module they clearly explain whether or not it has been tested.  And last time I checked, this was all beta, pre-released code.  If you're not willing to risk the possibility of having bugs, then you should opt for the latest stable public release.
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Elessa
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2005, 03:04:49 PM »

i think that there really needs to be an index of all the modules that have been coded and uploaded.

the idea of them being in the original author's folder is good. however... what if changes are made to original code by coder(1) that are rather spiffy, submitted to the author and approved. coder(2) also makes some changes to the original code, but in a different but equally spiffy way, also liked and approved by the author.

should both versions be kept in the original author's folder?
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Arune
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« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2005, 03:07:22 PM »

Lets understand one thing.

Quote
I would hope that when people release a module they clearly explain whether or not it has been tested.  And last time I checked, this was all beta, pre-released code.  If you're not willing to risk the possibility of having bugs, then you should opt for the latest stable public release.

Don't ever lecture me on development. I have been around long enough to know what I am working with and I don't need someone that has been here a couple weeks and working their post count up  to explain to me about the LoGD releases.

Now since that is said. The only thing I have said which is in the last 2 posts is this. If you take someone's code and update it then you should post what you did but you shouldn't be sticking links in the main thread unless truly it has been 3-6 months and the author is completely unreachable. First of all when someone makes changes to code that is not theirs and posts it 3 hours after a release is put up, without even telling the author in the thread something is broken, is impolite. Honestly, the author should have first crack at fixing his own issues, if he fails at that over a long period of time, then post your changes but keep your own links out of the thread.  Most people that are active developer's here have the ability to fix issues with their mods and most times all they need is someone posting saying something is broken and they will fix it.

And I think Elessa has an agreeable question. If the author is in current development and is actively working on releases and fixes...He should hold the current copy... Not Randomcoder01 somewhere else.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 03:10:55 PM by Arune » Logged
enderwiggin
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« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2005, 03:29:23 PM »

Except that if I make a change and implement said change, then I am obligated to keep it in my shared folder to comply with the license.

And I didn't lecture you.  You complained that you don't know which version to download, and I suggested the most recent.  You complained that some people's code may contain bugs.  I merely reiterated that all of this is beta prerelease code.  If you are not willing to accept the risk of potential bugs, then this isn't the area for you.

People often want the best of both worlds.  They want new material and features instantly, don't want to wait for those features to be tested, and then complain when it doesn't work perfectly the first time around.
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« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2005, 03:34:43 PM »

should both versions be kept in the original author's folder?

What would be best, is if the original author enjoyed the changes, then s/he could make them into his/her release. If there are two different versions, and people like both, then it really matters not which folder they are in.

If the new changes are not feasable, or not liked by the original author, then the modding of the mod, could/should be held in the other person's folder.

Also, I can host all my files from my server, or I can hold them anywhere, as long as I make them available for download, which brings me back to where it doesnt matter where the file is held, as long as it is held somewhere.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2005, 03:36:23 PM by Sichae » Logged

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Elessa
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2005, 03:39:06 PM »

....it doesnt matter where the file is held, as long as it is held somewhere.


which is why, with the sheer number of modules that have now been developed there needs to be an index or some means of tracking where final released, then modified versions, of them exist.
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« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2005, 03:44:33 PM »

which is why, with the sheer number of modules that have now been developed there needs to be an index or some means of tracking where final released, then modified versions, of them exist.

I always make sure to PM the people that go through my code and make changes, and then ask them to take down their file, and I shall keep the finalized versions in my folder.

I don't know how others work... but if we are providing some sort of rule set:

Sichae's Rule (Whichever Number is Next): If there is an active developer on a project, and you decide to make a modification to his/her script, PM the original author, submit your changes. If they are liked, then please remove your file, and push all links towards his/her file. If they are not liked, then you may host them yourself, as long as ample credit is still held towards the original author.
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Elessa
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2005, 04:03:23 PM »


If you're worried about one version being more buggy than the other, I would hope that when people release a module they clearly explain whether or not it has been tested.  And last time I checked, this was all beta, pre-released code.  If you're not willing to risk the possibility of having bugs, then you should opt for the latest stable public release.


ummm...enderwiggin, ye being newer to this site may not be aware that arune has run and coded for .97 as well as .98. he has some very valid concerns, criticisms and opinions that should be taken into consideration.

personally i find it insulting that ye and others throw the comment about that if 'if ye don't like the .98 environment, go back to .97.'

especially when made to folk who have been involved with .98 since the beginning.
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Play the latest beta version here on LoGD DragonPrime - Axebridge
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