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printz

Open sourcing your megawad work-in-progress?

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I've seen a tendency for some ambitious mods, especially community projects, which used to depend on SVN, and now are Git, to simply upload all their progress to public Github repositories. This means that everyone can see what levels are being worked on, everything is transparent and completed levels can already be played.

I'm not gonna link to them because their maintainers probably prefer discretion, but how comfortable are you with this idea?

The risk:
- arbitrarily many people are gonna see your work and be much less surprised when your project is over

The rebuttal:
- there will be equally many people who will discover your project only after you release it, and they will not be already spoiled.

Possible advantage:
- "free" playtesting: any stranger can download your work and then comment on it. Anyone can send improvements quickly via "pull requests"

I still prefer to keep my repository hidden, but I'm not sure if it's really that necessary... Unlike software source code, it's not just utilitarian, it's also entertainment which hits people emotionally. They need to be surprised and impressed.

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printz said:

everyone can see what levels are being worked on, everything is transparent [...] I'm not gonna link to them because their maintainers probably prefer discretion,

Don't you see how contradictory that is? If they really insisted on discretion, would they make their work transparent to everybody in the first place?

"Welcome, random stranger, feel free to look at my entire work - but I'd prefer if you didn't." What kind of logic or attitude is that?

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They probably would if they can. Problem is that private repository does require payment.

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Personally I don't really care about "surprising" people with the finished product. But maybe that's just me. I've never really minded spoilers either.

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scifista42 said:

Don't you see how contradictory that is? If they really insisted on discretion, would they make their work transparent to everybody in the first place?

"Welcome, random stranger, feel free to look at my entire work - but I'd prefer if you didn't." What kind of logic or attitude is that?

Maybe they're not aware of what they really did, so I'm probably helping them. Or, like Archi said, they have no choice and really wish things were different.

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The main thing is most likely collaboration and backups (sort of). In the olden days mappers used to send each other maps over floppy disks and BBSes for compilation in megawads. Then as technology progressed that lead to flash drives and the internet (usually free web hosts or the very few WAD hosting services).

I would recommend something that say uses deutex so that resources such as levels and other things are standalone and more versionable.

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IMO surprise megawads and keeping projects a secret usually don't have a very positive effect on the project as a whole. If you are working on a secret megawad that no one knows about and you announce it the day its completed, people will play it with certain expectations, and most likely half or more will be disappointed that its not what they expected.

However posting frequent screenshots and progress updates give people concrete examples of what to look forward to and keep players in the loop of what's going on. With the exception of jokewads and terrywads, I've never heard of a major release such as a short episode or megawad that benefitted from no one knowing what the fuck it was before they started playing it. Personally I avoid touching anyones community project before its done because I expect to have my experiences diminished when I play unfinished or unplayable stuff. It's a little ridiculous to assume that not keeping your project behind closed doors will ultimately hurt the experience people will have with it. I think there's a lot of missed potential for good reviews and community feedback by frequently updating people with things like "Hey everyone, this is my project, this is what I'm doing, this is how much left I have to do, etc."

It's a little bit of extra work sometimes but I've never seen a review that said that a wad could have been better if they hadn't seen screenshots of it beforehand.

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40oz said:

If you are working on a secret megawad that no one knows about and you announce it the day its completed, people will play it with certain expectations, and most likely half or more will be disappointed that its not what they expected.

[Citation needed]

I think that expectations/disappointment are more likely to happen with expected releases, not surprise releases. I also think that expectations depend primarily on the content and form of the project presentation, not so much its timing - in other words, no matter if the presentation comes 2 years before the project is released, or along with the release.

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I personally think there is such a thing as exposure fatigue where everyone has seen the imperfect bug ridden beta versions 1-9 and there is little interest in the finished product when released but that is obviously preferable to having a bug ridden release. The best of both worlds in my opinion is having the luxury of a small in house playtesting team that ensure there are no critical faults so that the first link available outside the development team is the finished project or a release candidate at least.

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