Unfortunately these site changes are taking forever. They've been in development since October (possibly longer). At the risk of sounding arrogant, starting from October 1, 2011, here's what I've accomplished:
- Created Visibility Groups (10/2), Dynamic Lighting (10/9), Fog of War (10/11), Map Instancing (10/12), Shooter Demo (10/16), and HUD Groups (11/15)
- Updated Sidescroller twice (10/16, 11/14), Pixel Movement twice (11/14, 11/30), HUD Groups three times (11/16, 11/17, and 11/30), Map Instancing twice (both times on 11/12), Dynamic Lighting five times (10/10, 10/12, 10/13, 10/14, and 10/20), Mouse Position once (10/16), Region once (10/27), Visibility Groups once (10/10), and Shooter Demo once (11/30)
- Posted 11 articles about programming and game development (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, and #11)
- Made 35 posts on my forum to help people with using my libraries, and made 112 posts on BYOND's developer forum.
- Did an interview with EnigmaticGallivanter for BYOND Journalism.
The point isn't to show how much more *I've* done - I'm sure if you make a list of what you've accomplished since October 1, 2011, you'll have the BYOND staff beat too. Why is this the case? How are hobby game developers, in their spare hours, accomplishing more than the people who are working to improve the BYOND software itself?
What the Heck is Going On?
Many users actually care about BYOND and are interested in its development, growth, and potential for success. Having BYOND developers who are so absent and can't be bothered to post on feature requests doesn't help to inspire people to use BYOND and help it grow. I know very little about Tom, the BYOND staff, and how they view this project and devote time to it. Because I don't know any better, all I can do is observe that BYOND, as a software project and user community, is horribly neglected. It's hard for us to give a crap if the staff isn't going to give a crap either.
1. Is there a reason why staff activity is so low? Was there a death in the family? Elaborate but not-widely-publicized court trial of FUNimation vs. Tom? Kidnapping? Coma? Awesome 60-day vacation? Terrible 60-day vacation? Obsidian Gaming feels obligated to let people know that he'll be away for a couple of weeks (which isn't obnoxious, I'm sure that some people care), why does the staff vanish for weeks or months and not think people will notice? Is the staff quietly working on updates and just not posting about them? What features (from the feature tracker) are in the works?
2. How much time do BYOND staff members (Tom and Lummox JR, primarily) try to devote to working on BYOND? I work 40 hour weeks and still find some time to volunteer to BYOND projects. The level of neglect BYOND gets seems like it must be due to active avoidance rather than simply being too busy with other things.
3. What can BYOND users do to help? If the BYOND staff doesn't have time to devote to working on things, making improvements, or deciding how things should be done, leverage the community you've got! It could take a long time to figure out how to improve the site, but it takes very little time to put together a blog posts that asks the community "how would you improve the site?".
4. Is there anything the BYOND user community can do to restore the staff's interest in BYOND? It's always struck me odd that BYOND is a tool for developing games and, as far as I can tell, Tom has never used it to make a game - maybe we should all pitch in and make a game together.
It'd be nice to get BYOND moving in a good direction but without having some support (or presence, at the very least) from BYOND itself that'd make things difficult.
Note: I completely expect the long-awaited site update described in the first paragraph will be revealed within hours of making this post, or maybe it was revealed while I was writing this post.