1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How to make collaboration work?

Discussion in 'The Back Room' started by Francis Marsten, May 4, 2014.

  1. Francis Marsten
    Offline

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    4
    Building shard can be a considerable amount of work. The more customization and quality required the more work it takes. Collaborating on a shard project if often what turns a dream into reality. I am curious find out what motivates people to work together and keeps them apart.

    Over the years I have seen a lot of talented people spread out on various shards. I always wondered what can be accomplished if all that talent and energy could be focused together.

    As for myself I have spent a fair share of time working teams on their shard projects, as well as creating a shard of my own. The main aspect that made me want to help or not want to was the world that was being created. Did I like the setting, story and thematic of the game being made. If not then finding the inspiration to help would be hard to come by. The main reason for creating a shard of my own was to have a place where I could truly create a setting I imagined and to tell the story I've been dying to share.

    I like to hear some thoughts on how can collaboration made more possible and what are the barriers that prevent it from happening.
     
  2. Enroq
    Offline

    Enroq Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    34
    I think it's fairly simply. It's about ego and vision. I used to have a good friend who did UO development and what made us work so well together and actually highly productive was the fact we were willing to concede to each other when we could tell that it meant something to the other person, or did not mean so much to us. And we found middle ground when it was important to both of us. What you'll be hard pressed to find is people willing to compromise their visions and abandon their egos for the purpose of productivity.
     
  3. Francis Marsten
    Offline

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    4
    You are certainly right about ego, its a really destructive force.
     
  4. Dian
    Offline

    Dian Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    58
    I have been pondering a similar thought for a few weeks now, and thought about voicing it at some point too, and that is the idea of consolidating some of us around the community that are still somewhat active with Ultima EMU development (be it RunUO/ServUO or Sphere, UOX whatever) and put together a shard.
    I agree, and it seems these days there is just a real struggle for shard owners to keep a shard alive with players. There are a lot of them out there still, and a lot of very capable people developing, yet we remain independent somehow.
    How great would it be to have a group of us, for instance build and run an official ServUO shard like RunUO did? RunUO made the mistake though in being Hypocritical to the community by forbidding any sort of advertising, yet that was what they used their site for primarily, to advertise their shards! I could go on about their faults, but that's not my point.

    I see a shard that would become the next best shard really. With Vorspire's Vita core and the functionality and most current versions of ServUO, I almost know for certain that it would be a huge hit where people would actually stick around for the long haul. Even if some of us that ran the shard, only did it on the side of our own shard project, I think it would still work great.

    But, the ego factor does seem to overwhelm things, since a lot of people just can not handle not being the one in control, or titled the owner, having full power over the world.

    Id be up for that, even as just a side thing, like I said.
     
  5. Francis Marsten
    Offline

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    4
    I think of my own situation, I don't have many hours to devote to UO dev. While the desire and inspiration is there, the reality of life makes pursuing feel a little pointless. I am sure there are others in similar positions.

    A few years ago when my shard was getting started I had a strange idea. A UO client has 2-3 reasonable sized maps, that made me think : Could two shards exist on a single server? Most shards with custom words used a single map, so 2 shards could co-exist, today with ultima live map streamer there isn't any real limit. So the basic idea is that the scripters from both teams would work on a single code base. The work of gathering and integrating custom artwork could be shared. As for the rest each team would be hosting their world and their stories that would allow them to maintain their creative systems. Of course the gameplay desired by both team would have to be similar enough or rules and systems can be toggled by world.

    I had offered this option to a shard that had been indeterminately closed but still had an activity community. They were not interested in participating in this experiment so I have no clue how such an experiment would have played out.

    A grand scale collaboration needs to be well defined, what goals that the effort wishes to achieve as well as the values behind the collaboration. These things need to be clear as crystal so people can look at a project and see what they would be getting into.

    A side topic, there is more and more interesting collaboration tools out there. Here is one I stumbled upon that presents a different dynamic to collaboration and democratic consensus in a project.

     
  6. Dian
    Offline

    Dian Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    628
    Likes Received:
    58
    Im in the same boat, somewhat. Spent a good 6 years developing a map with the wife, been developing my shard to the map now off and on for 12 years. A lot of my work over the years has been lost, reverted or dumped due to RunUO and UO client updates and evolution of the two.. over the last 4-5 years, my devotion to the shard itself comes and go's.. but I still do actively progress, mainly in the winter months when work is slow, and weather is crap.
    The hardest part for me is being the only developer and the overwhelming thoughts of having a player base of any decent number... the idea of trying to keep up with player demands and new development combined, keeps me from opening mine again right now. The love for the work and game has never really faded all that much though.

    A collaboration between several developers would need to remain somewhat true to the real Ultima story line and game mechanics I think though, because when you stray far enough away from that, into real custom areas, I feel that people's opinions just vary too much to get the same excitement for those custom systems or whatever. Custom artwork as items are one thing, but game mechanics in themselves can be trouble when you go too far out of the box.

    It would be really cool to at least develop a character transfer system though. I know its been attempted in the past, and I think there was one that worked fair, but there are just too many variables between shards that make it really difficult, just in the Player Mobile alone. But I would welcome a player transfer to my shard from another, no problem.

    Francis Marsten, thats a great little find on that video though, very interesting concept. Id be interested in trying that software out myself, if I had a team large enough to make it meaningful. I might just look into that further, thanks for that piece :)
     
  7. Enroq
    Offline

    Enroq Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    34
    Soteric came to me with the same idea, I'm not sure if he ever completed it.

    However, writing a system like that would not be too difficult, even if we had tons of variable in difference, we could simply export them all to xml and go through and match them. The question is: is there really enough people that are willing to implement such a service to devote the year it would likely take from start to finish? There's also the consideration that maybe we'd want items easier or more difficult to acquire than another server. Players could simply go to the server of least resistance.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't, just that it's going to require more than us three to make it worth while.
     
  8. Francis Marsten
    Offline

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2014
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dian I totally hear ya on the 6 years spent working on a map. I have a map that I've worked on for a similar amount of time, I still continued to poke it at long after I gave up UO. Last year after a long break I had discovered that CentreD was updated to CentreD+, I was all exciting to play around with some new tools. I discovered shortly after that the formats for the client art has changed making old stuff no longer valid. I had a ton of customs I used for mapping that were no longer compatible with new clients. I was pretty souls crushed. I toyed with the idea of writting a program to read the folders with the uo art files to create fiddlers import scripts but that would not spare me from entering all the tile data for everything. At that point I said too hell with it.

    On one side you have a game that is 15+ years old, an aging client and a steadily dropping population of those who play it. In my case RP shards so an even smaller population. On other side UO has one of the most incredible modding environments you can find with a ton of tools and resources. Probably some tools better than what the official team has if you consider some of the really poor map work released. It has a brilliant server client setup that allows the creation of new gameplay systems and rules. So I am sort of on the fence, UO dev represents a great hobby but also an activity that is sort of pointless on the long term. With the few hours a week I can spare to this hobby we'll probably have full immersive VR by the time I am release anything complete :p

    I wanted to explore the idea of collaboration to see the feasibility of and/or the general attitude towards it and stuff.