SoScared wrote: ↑
Also somewhere in between the somewhat snarky comments there was raised concerns early on on whether the community players would start hindering the aims of the developers when interests start to conflict. Further there's also more than a few indications that the competitive player base can somehow hinder
improvements on the game, does not represent the player base (as opposed to who) and should not legitimately be able to stake out the direction of the game's development.
I'd like to address this point first, since this is clearly aimed at me. Speaking for myself only, the problem isn't with the competitive scene per se, but with the attitude that being a "competitive player" means that they can expect to dictate
the direction of the game's development. Because that's not how things have ever worked here.
OpenRA is developed by volunteers in their free time. People do it for their own reasons, and their reasons probably don't match yours or anybody elses. You often talk with surprise with how "devs" like myself make so much progress on code and features, but also with disappointment at how little we interact with the players. These are flip sides of the same coin: we have limited time to contribute and choose to focus on the things that we find interesting and rewarding. Folk like yourself who are active in both the player community and IRC/GitHub are invaluable and absolutely critical for the overall flow of the project due to your interest and ability to engage with the player community and turn fuzzy opinions into actionable tasks and pull requests. Success requires both.
Of course, having an opinion and the ability to file a pull request are necessary but not sufficient conditions for having a change integrated into the default mods. Changes and development need to consider all
the groups of people who are interested in OpenRA. Not just the competitive scene, but also casual MP, skirmish, single-player enthusiasts, modders, and the people actively steering the overall project direction (we are not going to stand for or behind a project that we don't like). Sometimes striking this balance is hard, and sometimes it is impossible to please everyone. We have an established process for dealing with this, and that process works well. It is the reason that OpenRA has achieved the level of polish and fun that it has today.
Discussion and planning is done in the open and often asynchronously. This means that anybody who chooses to participate has the tools to educate themselves on a topic, to discuss it logically and reasonably, and to be get involved and implement those changes. I have a well documented dislike of Discord because it breaks these standards - discussions there are not publically logged or searchable, and the impression I have taken from discussions with you, AoAGeneral, abcdefg30, and others is that controversial discussions there often turn into echo chambers that are dominated by one or two voices that try to win arguments by repetition/exhaustion, not by logic. This is certainly true for some forum topics that have exploded here in the last six months. In my opinion this absolutely does
hinder improvements to the game.
I'm not saying that people in the discord channel are bad people, unreasonable or don't have valid opinions. I'm saying that having an opinion in discord isn't good enough - they need to be justified and discussed in the open, weighing them up against the other parts of the project before they can be considered to stake out the direction of development. Because we have years of proof showing that this works well, and we have no compelling reasons to abandon this.
I agree with your point that the disconnect between devs and players has grown over the last year or so, but I find it extremely unfair for you to blame that on us. We lost roughly half of our core developers to time constraints or burn out across this same period, and the increase in player popularity did not bring a corresponding increase in player involvement. You said it yourself that most of the "new" community don't appreciate the history or wider goals of the project, but are instead interested in it as being a good free game (i'm not faulting them for that, it just doesn't help our current situation). You've got to be kidding if you expect us to be able to maintain the same level of community interaction that we used to have under these constraints, and i'm sure you know as well as anyone how it feels to be stuck in this position.