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[Freeciv-Dev] Re: Documentation, Usability and Development

[Freeciv-Dev] Re: Documentation, Usability and Development

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To: Justin Moore <justin@xxxxxxxxxxx>, freeciv-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Freeciv-Dev] Re: Documentation, Usability and Development
From: Christian Knoke <ChrisK@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 22:37:42 +0100

Hi, Justin,

I like very much what you say.

On Tue, Nov 27, 2001 at 11:04:09AM -0500, Justin Moore wrote:
> ... 
>    When a first-time user downloads freeciv and wants to start playing,
> odds are the first game is going to be them against a few AI.  They don't
> want to bother with starting up the server, starting up the client, trying
> to figure out what server variables do what, start the game, have it crap
> out because the path doesn't have the rulesets in it, re-set the path,
> etc, etc, etc.  They want to:
> - Click "Freeciv" in their window manager menu
> - Have a GUI pop up that lets them start a new game, load a game, connect
>     to an existing game, etc
> - Click on "new game"
> - Quickly and easily find the "Pit me against 2 AI"
> - Select a nation
> - Start
> Or, alternately,
> - Do steps 1 & 2
> - Click on "load game"
> - Load the appropriate game
> - Start


> ... 
>    We need a GUI that pops up when the user just types freeciv or clicks
> on the menu.  For the average user, two processes are a hassle.  This
> first-stage GUI can exec the civserver and civclient with the appropriate
> command-line options, but the user doesn't need to know the details.
> More importantly, it can check up front to make sure various parameters
> are set *before* these two processes start up, rather than give some error
> message about incorrect path, etc, etc.  We've got error-checking and
> other such routines in common/, let's use them.

I once wrote a script that did that. Besides there was some hassle 
with it, there were bad things: It was a seperate application,
and it needed an additional library (Tcl). This has been discussed
here, and it was said to make the client-server-integration so that
you can control the server from within the client. I remember there
were even patches (which have not been applied). I think that's
the way to go (start with gtk ...). But I don't do C ...

> - This GUI must have a universal config file, such as $HOME/.freecivrc
> - $HOME must be the only environment variable the user has to worry about.
>     Everything else should be in the config file ($FREECIV_PATH must die).
> - Make the common case fast: figure out what most first-time users want,
>     and make it such that a brain-dead, on-a-feeding-tube parrot can use it.
> Other notes:
> - The user must be able to save the current game and load or start another
>     game mid-play (how did we make it to 1.0 without this feature??)


> - The user should be able to change tilesets (although not necessarily
>    between iso and non-iso) in the middle of the game.

Take this one for later ...

> - The user who is controlling the server should have a nice GUI they can
>     use to change all the values.  I saw a few different attempts to make
>     some sort of GUI (Tcl/TK, gtk) but *none that are in the main
>     distribution*.

No seperate application please.

> - We need to liberally sprinkle the GUI with places to contact developers
>     with comments, and encourage them to do so early and often.  We need
>     bugzilla which, contrary to what some people may say, doesn't take a
>     lot of big iron to run.  I have it up and running on a 486 with an old
>     IDE drive.
> - It would be very nice for the bug reporting tool to be able to download
>     a quick summary of the state of our bugzilla.  How many bugs, average
>     initial response time, etc, etc, and make that readily accessible to
>     the end user.  If they see in "real time" people working on Freeciv,
>     they may be more likely to send something in because it would feel
>     less alien or less abstract to do so.

The beginners only ask FAQ's. Rather include the FAQ in the help.

> ...
>    Remember, we're making a game here, not an essential application.  If
> people (or developers) don't particularly like it off the bat, they're
> going to move on.  We've got a great game engine and tons of good ideas
> and good programmers.  Let's try to capitalize on that.


* Christian Knoke                           +49 4852 92248 *
* D-25541 Brunsbuettel                  Wurtleutetweute 49 *
* * * * * * * * *  Ceterum censeo Microsoft esse dividendum.

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