About the community

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About the community

Postby Corbeau » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:04 pm

I followed a link somewhere and then followed something else, anyway, that's irrelevant, and I ended up here:


In short:
"The Battle for Wesnoth, or simply Wesnoth or BfW, is a fantasy themed 2D turn-based strategy game started by David White in June 2003. The game is programmed in C++ and its code and media are licensed under the GPL. This game does not require 3D hardware acceleration. "

The point of this? This:
Wesnoth has a large active community at the Wesnoth forum with about 10,000 members and over 280,000 posts in their forums as of February 20th, 2009.

So, how did they get so many people and what did they do and what do they have that we didn't and don't?

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Re: About the community

Postby VladimirSlavik » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:54 am

Hard to say easily. FWIW, I used to contribute to Wesnoth a lot (maintainer of one localization team) so I saw the dynamics and whatnot firsthand for about seven years. Freeciv is a fundamentally different type of game, so many of my points may not be applicable. Let's see...

- The game had both strong multiplayer and singleplayer (campaign) experiences.
- The game had a free multiplayer server with moderators, linked to forum, etc.
- A casual game did not last more than a 2-3 hours at worst, making it easy to stuff the gameplay into normal schedule - no big commitment. Campaigns could be saved any moment, again no time pressure.
- Modding (UMC) was made easy, identical to official stuff, with a dead simple format and a rather flat learning curve (WML, one object per image etc.).
- Mods were encouraged by an official add-on repository, accessible easily from the game itself
- The high graphics standard and excellent rule balance that you see over there has been achieved only after the community started expanding.
- The community existed from the beginning and was never seriously hampered (IIRC). Look back at how many times the Freeciv forum crashed, now GNA etc...
- The community was really welcoming for both players and contributors. /me points to cazfi's thread about holding back from contribution as a good thing
- The community was concentrated around a single project, with single code base, singular communication vehicles (forum, irc, wiki), single modding scene...
- The community had on a single forum spaces for casual gamer lounging, modding, and the core dev stuff, with no barrier except moderation. People who came to whine about overpowered elvish rangers could always see what the cool guys are doing, perhaps learn a bit about how it's done, and take part in the serious stuff just by posting about why does not their file parse instead of op ranger chat. Arguably, that's here too - or not, since the code "just happens".
- BDFL? Who is Dave's counterpart here? At that, who is responsible for this, that, etc.? We have neither a visible leadership, nor visible "doers", it seems.

I can't really point to a single thing. It's all and nothing at once. Really, building an community / player base around a project is something of an exponential process: When it exists, they will come and make it exist. At any rate, making best of what's here and now is better than dreaming up some glorious alternative!

On a final note, somewhere else I remarked that on the surface, Freeciv feels like a finished, polished monolith, inaccessible with no place to start making impact by changes. Arguably, Wesnoth has reached that stage too, and it shows. Six years ago, their forums bustled with activity. These days, it's a ghost town. Those who take a look only now just can't compare and are lulled by the numbers, but it used to be far more glorious. So in a sense Freeciv sems to have already "won", too ;-)

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Re: About the community

Postby cazfi » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:57 pm

VladimirSlavik wrote:Look back at how many times the Freeciv forum crashed,

The freeciv forum reset might be the biggest single factor for the different numbers in members registered to forums. The old forums were a lot more active than what we have achieved now.

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Re: About the community

Postby drgerg » Thu May 10, 2018 12:18 am

I really liked Vladimir's comments about campaigns. We have a few scenarios that can be used as a basis for a campaign. But we could use more.

What I'm thinking about is historical campaigns such as Spain and Portual during the age of discovery, the Apaches coming south out of Canada (based on oral history?), population of the Pacific islands, population of Australia and New Zealand, the Chinese navy sailing the pacific before 1492. I want to be careful how I phrase this because the local populations were wiped out! I am not trying to glorify the conquerors, what Vasco di Gama did as he explored the Indian Ocean is absolutely nasty/ruthless (listen to a Tides of History podcast on that subject or do your own research).

There could also be campaigns based on Ghangis Khan or the spread of a religion through a region.

I also feel that campaigns could be created on non-Earth based maps. I'm not a science fiction fan, but I'm sure that there are stories that could be adapted to campaigns.

Some of these campaigns should not end with a space race, or with world domination. As the developers work on diplomatic or cultural victory conditions, these could be worked into campaigns. Another way to end a scenario is for it to have a predefined set of technology, gold, and units, and run for x years. How well did you do after x years? If you start the campaign again, did you do better? I really don't want to get into leader boards because now we are incentivizing people to break rules and look for back doors to improve their score.

Vladimir's comments about being able to play 2 to 3 hours at a time, and saving a campaign, and coming back to it, a day or two later--these ideas I like and I agree with him that having more campaigns will help casual players stick around ( and post on these boards).

What I don't know is if existing scenario can be forced to use a defined ruleset. For example, I've never (knowingly) played with the civ3 ruleset. I feel that for certain campaigns, one ruleset would be better than another. I think (but am not certain) that rulesets allow for different technologies and wonders--I haven't played around in this area, so I definitely could learn something. I'm thinking of a minor wonder such as a "printing press" (again, go listen to a Tides of History podcast on that subject).

I also feel that we need more non-European naval vessels, a dhow, a junk, tea clipper, etc.

Thinking out loud, I wonder if there could be campaigns for single users, and campaigns for two users--again Spain and Portugal come to mind, as Spain discovers the Americas and the Pacific, Portugal discovers Africa, India, and other points on the Indian ocean. If I remember correctly there was a "treaty" between the two countries, so it wasn't the two countries fighting each other, nor was it a cooperative set of voyages, just two sets of competing peoples discovering what was unknown to them.

Finally, on another Tides of History podcast ( can you tell that I like listening to that podcast on my commute?), he mentions one of his sources is a economic historian. I'm going to go have to read a book by that person and see what ideas for campaigns spring to mind.