Becoming a better community to inspire more modders? [SMALLTALK]

raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
8,846
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
Hi guys,

since I am still on my "philosphical trip" I realized a few things lately. :)

One of the things I realized for example was that inital motivation and lasting passion are not the same.
You might be motivated to start stuff but still not feel happy, passionate or fulfilled keeping up working on them.
So at one point or the other you will be very very tempted do simply give up again ...

So e.g.
You may feel obliged to keep a promise or do stuff to be respected but feel stressed doing so because you would rather do something else.
You may work on something because you are given a favour in exchage but still not like doing it because it keeps you away from something more fun.

Extrinsic motivation is often the spark you need to ignite the fire and start working.
But only passion is the fire itself that keeps you going because you feel fulfilled.

But every time you have to re-ignite the fire of passion, it gets harder to find enough motivation to do so.
So what keeps the fire of passion burning? Well I think the fuel is simply a feeling of fulfillment.
(What lets us return to modding even if private life is stressful and we feel burned out?)


Normally these things let us find fulfillment and passion?
  • Socializing with people we like and with which we share similar values --> Community
  • Having the possibility to be creative and feeling that our ideas are heard --> Participation
  • Contributing to something we consider valuable and feeling appreciated --> Appreciation
  • Having the chance to grow by learning and getting helped if needed --> Chance to grow
  • Having a common vision and common goals as source of inspiration --> Inspiration
And when thinking about WTP team I asked myself:
Do we offer such an environment for new motivated modders?

To formulate it differently:
  • Do we offer community and maybe even friendship?
  • Do we give enough possibility to participate?
  • Do we give new modders enough appreciation?
  • Do we give new modders enough chances to grow?
  • Is our vision easy to understand and inspiring?
Because often people join and say they want to become modders, but after a short time they are gone.
  • Why are we not able to turn their starting motivation into lasting passion?
  • And if modders lose their passion how can we help them to find it again?
------

By the way, I think this can not just be applied to new modders.
Also old modders lose their motivation and passion sometimes ...

It has happened to myself more than once and it has most likely happened to others as well.

Wouldn't it be great if we could create some kind of environment that prevents us to lose our passion?
Wouldn't it be great to create some kind of environment that might convice some old guys to return?

------

Well ... please excuse for being philosophical again ... :hug:
(But maybe thinking about that stuff might help us become a better community.)

What would be needed to make this community better for you? :thumbsup:
 
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Kendon

Warlord
Joined
Aug 23, 2012
Messages
280
Location
Rocky Mountains
  • Socializing with people we like and with which we share similar values --> Community
  • Having the possibility to be creative and feeling that our ideas are heard --> Participation
  • Contributing to something we consider valuable and feeling appreciated --> Appreciation
  • Having the chance to grow by learning and getting helped if needed --> Chance to grow
  • Having a common vision and common goals as source of inspiration --> Inspiration

“Chance to grow” for me was the beginning. An old friend who's been a programmer for years told me working on a game would be the best way to get an intuitive understanding for how software works.

In WTP the process was explained so clearly that I finally was able to make changes appear onscreen without crashing the game or my own computer. Here for the first time code started to make sense. For this experience I'm truly grateful.

“Participation” has been good. I've gotten flattering comments. Sometimes people get mad at me but I've learned from what they said and they haven't held a grudge.

I agree with the common vision which isn't all that common in our money-driven world. The historical debates are well-researched. Socializing adds to my worldview, though I'm not much of an extrovert.

Your final question is “What would be needed to make this community better for you?” I'll say “Appreciation”, not from the other modders and supporters, but from players at large.

I remember how excited we all were, counting the downloads after a release. That hasn't happened for a while.

It's like a band in a club waiting for an audience. Rehearsing makes everything better, but it's never as inspired as the live show. If the rehearsal takes too long the audience lined up outside starts to go home.

I don't have the technical competence to know how well a new release will work. Maybe the bugfix will make multiplayer better, but I also hear it might not. It's hard to know until more people are playing that release.

Plains looks ready to be play tested. It's the obvious forum for new modders to tweak things, fix problems and respond to the wider playing community. Once lots of people like what's been done, then there's a good reason to do more.

For something to gain momentum it first has to be put into motion.
 

raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
8,846
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
For something to gain momentum it first has to be put into motion.
That is correct ... but it needs enough modder to help pushing and enough motivation to reignite the modding machine.
Once the mod is moving and the fire of passion is burning again in the modding machine things get easier.

So before we start pushing like crazy and get frustrated again that we do not make it over the hill of a big release anyways I would rather ensure that we have enough people to help pushing, enough motivation to reginite the machine and enough passion as fuel to really make it over that hill of a big release.

I'll say “Appreciation”, not from the other modders and supporters, but from players at large.
Well, players simply do not care much about a mod or a game when there is no new release.
Only once there is a new release they get exited and appreciate the hard work invested.

I remember how excited we all were, counting the downloads after a release. That hasn't happened for a while.
I agree ... and it is most likely a huge part of the reason why we got frustrated and lost our passion. We simply could not make it over the hill.
But thing simply do not always work out perfectly ... and sometimes therer are issues you simply cannot solve and also find nobody to help ...

But well, it is upon us how we react to that. :dunno:

We may stand up, learn from our mistakes and do it better this time.
Or we may simply give up and walk away, hoping that somebody else will do the job.

-----

Maybe "Plains" was simply too big for a single release and too much work was still to be invested.
Let us first start small with a bugfix release and get at least a bit of movement again. :thumbsup:

-----

To be honest at the moment I do not want to talk about big monster releases because it kills my small fire of passion I achieved to ignite in myself.
Only once the team is really passionate again and has fun modding and working together big releases would become a topic again for me.

Until then these simple points are my focus:
  • Let us help modders that asked for support (like e.g. @Ramstormp) so they are not blocked anymore.
  • Let us continue to fix bugs and implement small change requests to simply stay active.
  • Let us try to create small successes by at least publishing bugfixes and improvements.
  • Let us try to have a bit of fun by working on stuff we want. (for me it is currently e.g. "Yields")
  • Let us try to get our friends on board again (I feel that the last months were a bit tough for some of us)
  • Let us stay patient and appreciate also small contributions because some of us have a busy real life atm.
Summary:
Let us first get an active community again, then start talking about big releases. :thumbsup:
(But yes at some point "Plains" should be released ... it is more or less our Release 4.0 ...)

----

Every journey starts with the first steps ... :)
So let us not create pressure but just start walking together. :grouphug:
 
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raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
8,846
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
  • Having the possibility to be creative and feeling that our ideas are heard --> Participation
  • ...
  • Having the chance to grow by learning and getting helped if needed --> Chance to grow

To be honest, I think that these are our biggest weaknesses. :think:
At least in the long term we need to get better involving community and attracting + keeping new modders.

Just do not really know yet how we can give more modders a chance to contribute their own ideas.
At least not without driving the few experienced modders crazy supporting the newer modders or fixing bugs.

Just brainstorming although we have more important priorities atm:
Spoiler :

Maybe we could of create some kind of "mini-projects organisation" backed by experienced modders as "mentors" to help new modders implement accepted ideas.
But course giving the new modders conceptual freedom and trusting in their motivation and their skills.

And once such a "mini-project" is done the "core team" and community could decide if it should be integrated into the core mod or not.
But well, it would take new modders to take the initiative and have the motivation to start such a min-project and also take the repsonsibility.

This could only work if both sides keep the deal:
  • Experienced modders are willing to support and trust in motivation and skills of the new modders.
  • New modders are motivated to take the initiative and also the resonsibility for such small projects.
  • The goal of these "mini-projects" should always be to create some value* for the core mod to justify the effort invested.
* I.e. to either be fully integrated or at least to re-use assets of it for the core mod.

Let us see if we find such motivated new modders taking the initiative for small projects.
Once we have found them we can discuss which projects they take and how we organize their support.

We will not solve this by tomorrow. :)
(But thinking about it does not hurt either.)
 
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raystuttgart

Civ4Col Modder
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
8,846
Location
Stuttgart, Germany
One of the things I notice regularly is the problem of "fame distribution" ... :undecide:

Most of the "fame" and "appreciation" of community is directed towards me ... simply becaue I am quite "loud" with my feature stuff.
That is however quite frustrating for other team members investing effort and time without being appreciated for it.
  • So why should anybody invest effort and heartblood into this mod if he is regularly overlooked?
  • Why should anybody want to become a team member if he does not feel like being equal and valuable?
  • Why should anybody want to be a "supporting role" only in a project if he could have a "lead role" in his own?
----

In the last weeks for example @devolution has been more active internally than myself.
He fixed various bugs, implemented lots of improvements and also started creating some small features.
He has been working on "Release Candidate 3.0.2" to at least publish all the bugfixes and small improvements we have.

Also @Kendon has continously worked on text improvements with lots of persistance and reliability. Every few days there is a commit.
It may not be the most technically difficult task, but his motivation, persistance and reliability also gives a good example for others.
Basically by just continuing to work, he showed to others that he still believes in the mod, which is valuable in itself ...

@Ramstormp has implemented a new feature to build roads to a city / location in an automated fashion.
It is not yet completely finished to my latest information and a bit of work still needs to be invested to fix a bug.
But I have very little doubt that we can finish it together and that players will like that new feature.

@Raubwuerger has been showing up again and might work e.g. to correct the Screens for the new Yields which is absolutely necessary.
Or he might e.g. continue working on Events (e.g. for new Units) which is very valuable work for the mod even if it is not a "huge flashy feature".
Whatever it is he might contribute, it will help to improve the mod and it will help to move this huge beast of a mod a bit closer to the release.

----

It is simply that player community does not notice ... thus also not appreciate.
And most of the time, we modders internally are not giving enough appreciation either.

Other team members that had contributed enormously in the past like @Nightinggale or @Mr. ZorG or @nci are also still around.
They are simply really busy with handling their real life at the moment and of course we understand that.
But even if they are currently busy, their contribution and participation was and is key to success of this mod as well.

Not to forget all the other people that supported us.
e.g. the support with graphics of @Moandor, @MightyToad, @Kathy, ...
Thanks guys and girls once more. :)

----

So at least from me: Thanks guys for your continous efforts. :hug:
And also for the people currently busy with real life: We understand. :thumbsup:

It is also not just the big spectacular stuff that counts. Because they are usually fun and will thus get done.
Often the small boring things that nobody wants to do are most important and should get most respects.

And sorry for me being quite loud sometimes with my feature stuff. It is the exitement of a child playing with his toys ...
But as I said so often: Tell community about the great stuff you do, do not just work in silence. :rolleyes:

----

@devolution: What happened to the "Multi-Threading"? :think:
(It is probably one of the greatest achievements in Civ4Col modding I know of.)

----

To community:

Please give all team members the appreciation they deserve. It is not just the feature programmers that are loudest in the forum.
Especially the small boring, grindy things deserve appreciation, because they are often least fun and nobody wants to do them.
 
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Mr. ZorG

Prince
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
443
Location
Russia, Vladimir
until a method of separating texts into different languages is implemented, there is little I can do.
however, I am always ready to make suggestions based on the results of testing), however, the team still has more priority tasks.
 
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