Age :32
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Location: Czech Republic
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Clients  /  11 Jan 2013, 22:40
The future of ezQuake
Hello to fellow Quakers! I would like to make public the news that might have already leaked to some of you.

As most of you have noticed, I wasn't doing any activities in the ezQuake project or any other QuakeWorld project for quite some time now, and I don't plan to come back any time soon, most probably ever. But, because I love ezQuake and all the time I have spent on it, I would like to hand over the project to those who are still interested in actively contributing to it, so that the project continues to thrive, or at least still actively follows the community needs.
In the last months of 2012 I had a couple of discussions with other members of the development part of the QW community about what should happen with the ezQuake project in the future. We have come to a point where we need to decide, and we need some feedback from the community, mostly from the people who are still interested in participating in the development.

There are a couple of options in what to do at this point:
  • Close it all down, let other people create their own clone with different name
  • Hand over the project to some of the few remaining developers so that it continues the way it is
  • Make a rather radical move, start fresh

None of these options are ideal, none of them would work without some sweat and pain. But we need to choose one of them.

Let me digress here a little. The problem of the future of the client development is, in my opinion, tightly connected to some other problems.

1. The lack of new players leads to lack of new developers. The decline in number of players leads to decline in number of developers. If you are upset that development is stalled, but you know nothing about coding, help attract fresh blood. New players means new developers.

2. In the past there were lots of opportunities in the QuakeWorld scene to contribute for a single person. You were excited about coding something or creating a website? You could do it all on your own. Nowadays this perhaps is not so true. To create some new and original contribution, some project that would bring something really new and refreshing to the game, you would need to cooperate with other people. For example, to integrate the game with the web, you need to have a web team and the game-client team. Cooperating with somebody on projects you do in your free time is not much fun, as you have to make some compromises, plan things, etc.

3. The client development itself is not the main thing that needs to be done or kept alive to keep the game alive anymore. The client is, in my opinion, "good enough". The most pressing problem nowadays is the stable decline in number of active players. That is much more pressing problem for QW than the client development.

Many more words could be said here, but I would like to let the community talk here. I welcome any sort of feedback. If you are somebody who would be interested in participating in the client development, you are especially welcomed to share your opinions.
Comments
2013-01-12, 00:24
Although I'm not somebody who wants or can participate in these technical matters, i do have something to share.

I want to thank you for all your sweat, pain, time, energy and love you put in it all so far.
Thank you Johnny-cz.
May your future be lighter, brighter and less painfull withouth the hassle of this.
2013-01-12, 08:51
"qw is dead"
2013-01-12, 17:26
As Johnny said, with a lack of players there's also a lack of developers.

As most of you already know, I was a part of the ezQuake dev-team since a while back, porting new sound code for Linux, doing small fixes here and there etc, but lately it's been more or less only me left. Some of the other devs have been commiting something one or two times per year. I got some plans of my own of how to make some new features and fix old ones, but it's pretty big tasks some of them and my time is also limited. So with this in mind I've decided to fork ezQuake and make a "new" client instead of continuing doing development for ezQuake, let me explain some of the reasons:

- The current ezQuake code base is pretty messy, and for me to be able to handle it, I need to do some "controversal" changes to make it more managable.

- Many people just know they use ezQuake, not ezQuake 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 alpha/beta/stable etc, it's just ezQuake. It's my belief that doing a lets say "ezQuake 3.0" and change a lot of behaviours/features would only confuse as there would be a need for two versions of many things (like documentation) and the behaviour would differ a lot.

- ezQuake is as Johnny put it: "good enough" and if you don't want to switch to another client, you won't have to. Just stick to current/latest version of ezQuake.

- I've not been a core part of the ezQuake development team, hence starting to tell the original developers, if they decide to commit stuff, what they may or may not do with "their" project, feels a bit weird.

- I'd get rid of, if any, old "backpacks" and can start fresh.

Now of course there are also disadvantages to this were the obvious one would be: I'd lose the well-known brand ezQuake.

There's also some other obstacles when going away from being ezQuake to something else, and I don't say this to start any flame war and I'll try to keep opinions away from it. The most commonly used server package today treats ezquake differently than other clients, this requires some extra work in certain situations to make it behave like you want.

So if you'r now wondering, what about the "new" client mentioned? And why not join another clients dev-team? Well briefly:
I've more or less always used ezQuake as a player, I like it to play quakeworld. It has most of the features I personally want, I just want to add some and make some of them better.
My time is also limited, I got a lot less experience about the source code than most of the other devs still left, which requires more time in my case to get in to how stuff work, hence it's easier to take a working solution and trying to make it better than reinventing it from scratch. Then there's the obvious one: This way I can choose whats prioritized in the project.

So whats new? What's changed? Briefly:
(xewie started a Linux fork of ezQuake some years ago, some of this comes from his work and I've continued on that)

Some big stuff:
- IPv6 support (currently server browser doesn't support it)
- New raw mouse input for Linux: XInput2 (No need to choose /dev/input/eventX and be root to make it readable etc. It just works (TM))
- No more screwed gamma when you have multiple monitors/run in windowed mode. Gamma is rendered via OpenGL shaders.
- No built in server (plans are to put one back in when the client is more mature)
- Uses GLEW
- No software renderer
- Currently works on Windows and Linux (I need some help from Mac people to improve OSX support as I currently don't own a Mac)

Minor stuff, some of it:
- Use the same fov no matter what screen you have, no need to recalculate fov with vid_wideaspect etc, it shall look the same. (I'm currently working on fixing conwidth/conheight problem..)
- Download works automagically from XS4ALL
- Some cleanup and other fixes

Some of the plans I've got:
- Improve the server browser
- Improve the renderer
- Clean up code
- Simplify stuff
- etc...

That's just some of the things I've planned. I'm currently in the works of putting "infrastructure" up to put up source code publicly, fix bug tracker and feature request page and get things working so that others can get it and if they want to also help out. I'll put up a forum post/blog post/news post whenever it's ready to take off.

Ideas/comments?
2013-01-14, 12:02
The world is getting dumber and dumber, not only the QW community is going down but also the whole Linux community and many more communities full of passionate people and very usefull (i lived this so many times with decline of Dark Reign community or StarCraft 1 community and so on).

I think that the main problem that made QW going down is that a new player cant join a game and play against professionals players that are doing this everyday since 1998, is just not fun. I think the only way to attract new players is the development of a new mode for the beginners with a updated graphics and a full tutorial with all the functionalities of the game and a tutorial. Probably even by using the new Quake engines.

Quake is the best 3D shooter ever but the people today dont want console lines or binds or stuff like this, they want to interact, to be in the game, to see 3d and to touch things for real. Thats a bad thing but maybe one day some of you will be able to combine the interaction within a virtual world with the command lines and the professional features and i think that QW is the best place to start doing this.

I think that QW has to be started again because it doesnt need just new codes but also needs new ideas and a target focused development and needs new technologies and drivers and stuff.
2013-01-14, 14:30
"I think the only way to attract new players is the development of a new mode for the beginners with a updated graphics and a full tutorial with all the functionalities of the game and a tutorial. Probably even by using the new Quake engines."

Have you seen the youtube vid: "If quake was made today"? Go look it up otherwise and read between the lines.

Updated graphics <- not what QW is about, never has been.
Full tutorial of functionalities <- Shouldn't be needed. XonX, ready/break, play and learn tactics should be somewhat sufficient.

What you are talking about is some other game than QW.

One thing I do agree with you about is the complexity of the engines. If you have a need for a gazillion help files your design is utterly wrong. There shouldn't be a need for hardly any help files at all, that's when you have designed properly.

My intentions is to simplify a lot of things, I haven't figured out how to do it exactly but it needs to be done. There's too many options today, not even experienced players knows half of them and I myself who is now coding one of the engines don't know all of them.
2013-01-14, 16:19
I agree with epurple on many things here. QW needs a restart from the ground up. With focus to new players. You need video tutorials, tournaments, new modes was mentioned. Or just make better use of current. FFA ranking/FFA tourneys, some better 1on1 modes perhaps. MIX tourneys. Something that make new players feel like they progress. There are many "on the drawing board" projects to address all these issues, but it's a huge task that need all branches to come together. I just don't know if it will happen though.

Btw, having something like video tutorials has nothing to do with the video you mentioned "if qw was made today". It's just another way for users to learn about the game.
When I was young I went to the library and downloaded manual for QW with all commands. Went through them 1 by 1 and found what could help my setup. That's not really how gamers work anymore, or how we share information.

But without some serious common goals for the community or developers, working towards the bigger picture with some milestones or whatever to really make headway, I think it's gonna continue to go the same way it has for the last 10 years.. slowly but steady.

And many new games really did go far in terms of usability, simplicity, accessibility and innovative ways for the gamers to interact with the community and the game that we could incorporate as well. But it all has to come together on many fronts.

This does not have to neglect the current scene either. It's not like regular tournaments would be put on hold for all the other things, quite the contrary, it would just give hope to current players, that new players were coming in on a more long term basis.
2013-01-14, 21:30
EZQuake right now is the best client I've used in any game period. The only stuff that comes close to it are other various open source projects for Doom/Quake. For QW to take off again you'd need major resources (read money) to launch it again with updated graphics and single player along with an extensive advertising campaign. I've always thought Q1 single player sucked compared to say Doom 2 and I think that's the one main area that would be improved a lot in QW but the focus isn't on that now it's on DM. Until some hardcore QWer wins the lotto and dumps a lot of money into QW we'll be stuck on the slow decline.
2013-01-15, 16:35
thanks for the fish johnny.
2013-01-16, 13:27
Suggestion: Make the client automatically remove the map in your folder /qw/maps/ when the server says that itīs the wrong version. Always something that has annoyed me that you have to do it manually, closing down qw, finding folder, map etc.

EDIT: Make an IRC interface integrated in QW, much like steam works, so you can Query people on a friends list and stuff. IE: "Hey, Friend#2, come to foppa2 and play pov". Itīs not needed for anyone today really. But might be nice for future players to have a full-scaled friend-and-chat system in QW based on IRC.
2013-01-16, 15:02
Paradoks: You completely missed my point. The video was to illustrate an important point; is that the QW we want?

Imo when you completely change the fundamental core of QW, then it's not QW anymore but something else.

Another thing, I've said nothing about external tutorials, I think that's great. I don't get it how you connect that part to my video link? You shouldn't need big ingame tutorials, if at all, that's what I meant. Things should be simple.

pg: Single player, then we're back to Quake not QuakeWorld.

I think many people over time has wanted _a lot_ of different stuff, but in this race, which also shows in the code, they all got lost from the core values. It ended up something being half-arsed and buggy or non-complete in many areas instead of having less features but properly and good working features. I think that's the key to success. You can have done something 95% done, if it doesn't work well people won't use no matter how great the idea is.
2013-01-16, 15:12
http://floris.ruwhof.net/upload/engine.jpg


too bad
2013-01-16, 21:55
"I think many people over time has wanted _a lot_ of different stuff, but in this race, which also shows in the code, they all got lost from the core values. It ended up something being half-arsed and buggy or non-complete in many areas instead of having less features but properly and good working features. I think that's the key to success. You can have done something 95% done, if it doesn't work well people won't use no matter how great the idea is."

Is it about ezquake? There is definitely few areas "half-arsed and buggy or non-complete" yet, quoting pg, "EZQuake right now is the best client I've used in any game period", but its collaboration of 20-30 programmers over time.

Regarding your ezquake fork, well, as you recall, there popped some dude on forum some time ago, who done ezquake fork as well, he removed "crap" from ezquake for few months, added some functionality (like gamma via GLSL, I guess you get it from there?) and then abandoned it (checked his git some time ago), it is sooo predictable. I am not a prophet by any mean, but its your fate as well, matter of time, may be not this year, but in few years for sure. You will lost interest in it, you will, just because noone use it, even negative feedback will be great, this way you will be motivated to improve/continue. There is an exceptions, like FTE, dunno why Spike still motivated, probably because there is still other devs besides him, but I think its not your case. Why you simply not apply yourself to fodquake instead, at least you will be not alone. I am sorry if that all sounds gloomy/pessimistic,but one man project with 1 user (yourself) -> fail by default.

Btw, with a friend of mine, we checked FTE on his Samsung sgsII phone, works steady with 60fps (drivers upper limit?). Was able to spec and qtv. Now need to bother Spike to add support to iOS / windows phone, so we all will have something to do while in toilet !!! Oh, and may be a bit more players will face this great project, and give Spike some advice how to make his project more usable even in normal playing on PC, I wish FTE is same playable as ezquake, I really wish. Tbh, there is not that much missing, I am not even sure WHAT is really missing, there is just variables/commands called differently, so ezquake usage is mostly a habbit and laziness, well, I recall now - no proper documentation, and that actually significant issue. Other issue, every time I tried to use FTE on PC, it crashed time to time, was annoying, probably more stable nowdays.
2013-01-17, 01:19
Content cleared - apologies.

(Edited 2013-01-20, 07:22)
2013-01-17, 02:18
dimman: I was just saying that's one major area QW can improve upon. Having a better single player or coop experience is helpful in getting new players. Doom is more popular than QW in NA and I think that's a strong reason why.
2013-01-17, 07:44
"Is it about ezquake?" Yeah as one example.

There is definitely few areas "half-arsed and buggy or non-complete" yet, quoting pg, "EZQuake right now is the best client I've used in any game period", but its collaboration of 20-30 programmers over time.
-- I was after the conceptual fact, I've also been using ezQuake for a lot of years but that's not really relevant though I've explained all this already.

"Regarding your ezquake fork, well, as you recall, there popped some dude on forum some time ago, who done ezquake fork as well, he removed "crap" from ezquake for few months, added some functionality (like gamma via GLSL, I guess you get it from there?)"
-- If you read my comment you will see i specifically said that some of the work comes from xewies fork, although I've continued and fixed most of it. He removed a lot of things and it was purely Linux only and in proof of concept state.

"...and then abandoned it (checked his git some time ago), it is sooo predictable. I am not a prophet by any mean, but its your fate as well, matter of time, may be not this year, but in few years for sure. You will lost interest in it, you will, just because noone use it"
-- So because he put down his project I will do the same to mine? Just because no one use it? Too much vodka for the brain to work now? Where do you get all nonsense from?

" There is an exceptions, like FTE, dunno why Spike still motivated, probably because there is still other devs besides him, but I think its not your case."
-- I dunno what you'r dilling about really, about like how ezQuake is abandoned right now despite the 20-30 devs you mention? You make no sense.

Spike is more or less alone in FTE, he doesn't focus on QuakeWorld but on technical stuff. His engine is pretty up to date and advanced compared to anything else QuakeWorld, not in the same league.

"Why you simply not apply yourself to fodquake instead, at least you will be not alone. I am sorry if that all sounds gloomy/pessimistic,but one man project with 1 user (yourself) -> fail by default."
-- For the first part I've already explained _why_ in the comment. For the second part I dunno if you speak for yourself, I may consider a lot of your design solutions fail though, if that's because you've been more or less alone in your projects I dunno, but what you do and what you think doesn't really apply to other people by default or become some de-facto standard.

As a last point about development in general: It's very common that when one project dies, someone "forks" it and continues with it in some direction, it becomes something else, then when that project is over, someone else is "forking" that and it continues. In your own example isn't it pretty obvious that work in "my" client comes from another project that I've continued and improved upon (or indeed several projects)? Thats the way it works.

Didn't you guys base ezQuake on for example zquake and fuhquake from the beginning? Do you consider those projects failure because they are no longer maintained? ...

Don't take all this the wrong way, I appreciate all work that people have spent on actually anything Quakeworld including ezQuake etc, but without continous development, maintenance and improvements, things start to rot.
2013-01-28, 22:13
Well some above here mentioned that new players wont play and get owned. Now that is a fact no matter what you do with the client. Making a total new and great single player thing with PR will of course get some new players but they will still get owned when they try it online.

What it really comes down to is to attract new/more players. Doing a quakeword live (like q3 live) will probably help some.

But from my experience the alfa and omega is about having fun when you play and not get pwnd. What is fun is to play equals...rite?

So how do you do that?

Well I tried to tell certain weak admins like 10 years ago that if you go down the TB3 road this game will end up dead. I'm not going to say I told you so. We all know i love kenya but thats not the issue here, the issue is having fun when you play.

THIS IS ABOVE EVERYTHING

So if winning is fun and loosing hard is not, then yeah, we really need to start from scratch. Well, TB3 aint starting from scratch, i can tell you that.

For me this is really simple; In order to attract some more players, and then some more, and then some more, and then some more....you need to offer them something. Not only the client, but content. You got different kinds of content. You got qw.nu...and what else? Some youtube videos? Ok that is nice, at least for me who know this game!

But for new players? Not sure. Also the new players are told by us what maps to play. "These are the maps we play...so you have to play this....you can not choose for yourself...unless you want to play all alone".

So how long you want them to play TB3 then to get where we oldtimers are?

Why on earth did we make the handicap feature for example? It is useless, no one uses it. Why? The handicap feature was meant to even things out? For fun yes? I guess owning noobs is more important than grow a community?

Just look at todays 4v4 league; salvation. Now what is that? Its a mix league really. So what has TB3 mixes done for us these last years? Well, "new" players that came in lets say 5-6 years ago got introduced to 4v4 on TB3 only and was told: "play mix games and you get better! play play play!" So they do that. Also they watch demos of the best players making tons of frags. "Wow, I also want to be like that!".

So what did this do for qw?

Well, after 17 years of qw, there is only the salvation div. 1 teams that got, lets say: "good" teamplay.

The div. 2 teams suck pretty much at the teamplay stuff roaming around ffa/mix style.

Why?

Because we told them to. It's our own fault.

If we for example had told the "rookies" to do something else, maybe we still would have a decent amount of active clans? Lets say we would have a CTF league for the rookies, where they could learn the basic stuff of teamplay; Defend, Attack....COMMUNICATE! Just an example... I spec salvation div. 2 these days and i cant believe how much players still suck at teamplay. Its like the game is still only 2-3 years old.

Now why do I use these arguments (tb3 and teamplay) ?

I will tell you why:

Clans are what make the community big/strong. YOU DONT GET CLANS doing TB3 mixes! Clans are formed because people have something in common, they want to play together because they want to work together. You dont work together in mix games because you dont have anything in common with the guys you play with. Also the game doesnt mean anything for the team, except for yourself getting the most frags you possibly can...because that is fun for YOU.

Now this is not what i call team building. You dont get more clans this way.

In order to get more stable teams you need to have something to fight for, together. Not to play with someone that pisses you off. When you get a group of players that want to fight for something together, then you will get a clan. And only then.

In the early days lesser skilled clans could challenge much better clans and have some fun. Why? Because they could choose their kenya and have some fun, they had a shot at glory...at least for 20 mins. Dont you come tell me anything else. That was some fun shit. Sure, someone will always whine, but that was also some of the charm with qw; whine and drama. I dont see any more whine and drama these days, so i had to make some drama of my own and tell the captain of Rikoll2, Xenic, to fuck off, for being an useless captain. Also i congratulated Rikoll on his choice of captain. /Link got bored with life.

But enuff of that, we dont want drama do we, that might just spawn some attention!

But back to what i want to make a point of: CONTENT!

Back in the days when i started to make daily reports on the games being played in NQR (i guess it was nqr3 or nqr4...cant remember), in all divisions, suddenly the community started to grow. Suddenly the div. 6 players got to read about themselves. Now that was pretty cool for a rookie, to read about themselves. So the lower divisions had good activity...they where having fun and they got good content. Rock on! Div. 1 was ofc still a bit lame those days, as usual, with lots of WOs and delayed games etc; it was all about winning. Whine and drama.

So to sum it up, if you want more players/clans to keep develop qw, then we need to take a few steps back and rethink what we are doing. We dont need an ownage qw.nu site, we dont need some elite leauge, we dont need some great client....what we need is to bring the fun back in the game and to add content to that fun. Then you will seed something that will grow, maybe slow, but for sure it will grow.

Then you add the guy that made 5 custom maps for the qw community in 3 months and made Slackers and Legeartis do playoff games in NQR vs eachother on kenya to run the whole shit... and I can promise you one thing: All uphill from now on (well...we are at rock bottom soon so that wont be so hard will it?)

So if some of you great coders can work with me for a week or two, i will save this game from going down the tb3 abyss and die out. We need more choice of freedom, we need to reward activity and we need to give the players who play CONTENT on the game THEY are playing....not what WE think they should play.

If just one of you who can code can get your head out of your ass, wake up and PM me, I will get you more players to this game.

...or underestimate me...again.

Peace
2013-01-28, 23:07
*moved to feature requests*
2013-02-17, 00:35
"-- I dunno what you'r dilling about really, about like how ezQuake is abandoned right now despite the 20-30 devs you mention? You make no sense"

I think you misunderstood him; what he is saying is that he believes that projects / branches led by individuals that don't get widespread recognition don't have a long-term future because eventually the developer will get bored/frustrated. With FTE/Spike being the exception.
2013-02-20, 18:32
@HangTime: I do get it that it's his opinion. If it's a "one-man" project where the only user is the developer, sure the project in itself may be abandoned after a while. However I don't get the logic when viewed from an open source perspective. Even if a project doesn't get a big userbase, every little commit made to that project can be broken out and re-used somewhere else in another project or whereever.

Then again I don't agree with many of the decisions he made in the past either and I think some of them is the reason why Spike isn't focusing on QW anymore but more focusing towards newer technical stuff etc. FTE isn't primarily used in QW afaik, there are others doing a lot more high-tech projects with FTE, a bit like the situation with darkplaces.

Btw, he also mentions that I would be the only user of it, which I don't get either, since no one is left developing ezQuake and my plan was to fork of ezQuake and make it better, I don't see why a lot of people wouldn't move to it, especially since it would more or less be a continued development of ezQuake under a different brand only.
2013-02-20, 21:41
"every little commit made to that project can be broken out and re-used", re-used where? In other one man project? With one player user base? Yeah, that a quake1 open source, instead of ONE good quake1 engine we have 100500 mediocre, instead of collaborating we are forking...

What about letting Spike speaking for him self? Also, I am not contributing to QW almost a year now, not so much news so far, right? Well, I mean where all the activity from all the projects which I choke while I was active?

"Btw, he also mentions that I would be the only user of it, which I don't get either, since no one is left developing ezQuake and my plan was to fork of ezQuake and make it better, I don't see why a lot of people wouldn't move to it"

cause linux only, mkay?
2013-02-22, 09:52
@qqshka: You're still not making any sense. Does ezQuake have ONE user? Still it's a LOT of copy paste from other engines. That is: re-used content/code.

Regarding the fork etc I haven't decided how to do that's why nothing is happening externally. I also haven't heard back from Johnny_cz since last mail. We started talking about it 6 months ago, but he seems extremely busy with real life.

"cause linux only, mkay?": In case you missed, I clearly stated that:

- Currently works on Windows and Linux (I need some help from Mac people to improve OSX support as I currently don't own a Mac)

The latter aint true anymore either, I do now own a Mac.
2013-03-30, 07:02
Need some new player? Here i am! What do you want me to do now? :p
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