Mailing List Notes
The following letter(s) were sent to at least one of our Salp Wars mailing lists. They are archived here in the hopes that they might be useful to newcomers.
[salpdev] Salp Wars on SourceForge
From: cowexchange (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sorry for bouncing y'all around.
Since Salp Wars is GPL'd, I've set up shop at sourceforge.net. From
1) Alpha-testers can submit feature requests, track bugs, and keep
their test versions up to date.
2) Developers can use CVS to guarantee they have the latest-and-
greatest copy of the source, and relatively easily contribute to the
project. If you need help setting up CVS stuff, let me know and I'll
try to help.
In the effort to clean up some of the dead sites, I'm going to remove
this Yahoo group shortly.
If you're no longer interested in the Salp Wars project, then I thank
you for your time; feel free to just trash this message and forget
about it :-).
On the other hand, if you're still interested, *please* sign up for
the project on Sourceforge (instructions below). Your contributions
can only improve the project. If you have any friends who you think
would be interested in helping out, feel free to pass along the
Of particular necessity are:
o Tile artists (must have Windows in order to use Tile Studio)
to create map/weapon/item art.
o Sound effect gurus (any OS will do) to create PCM WAV files
for in-game effects. Background music is also possible.
o Level/Game designers to design level/item/gameplay gimmicks
and work with other team members to make this a reality. Ideally you
should be able to create the necessary art yourself; that is, you
would have similar abilities as a "tile artist". Of course, all
suggestions are worth considering, so in essence all team members
would fit into this "designer" category. Please note my "development
philosophy" comments below for more on this.
o Alpha/Beta-testers currently must have an x86 (>=200mhz)
running Win32 or Linux operating systems; this may expand to include
PPC/OS X down the road. Your primary task would be to download and
play with the latest build of the game once every week or two.
Clearly, you should submit any bugs you notice, and make suggestions
as they occur to you. The game should be exciting to play, so the
smoother we can make your experience, the better.
Let me quickly explain the current state of the game, its potential
direction, and my development philosophy.
STATE OF THE GAME
It's not ready to be played yet. On the other hand, it's also not
vaporware; you can download and play the latest build from our
website (http://salpwars.sourceforge.net/). However, besides killing
other rats, there's not much to do. For Windows users it's kind of a
pain to install right now (since it's a zipped file in need of DLLs).
If you need the DLLs necessary to play, let me know and I'll pass off
a super-secret link that has all the DLLs in one place.
The skeleton of the engine is in place, and though it is
admittedly a primitive design, it should be general enough that the
game can be shaped in various directions. For example, it plays like
a Mario-style side-scroller right now, but there is very little
keeping us from making a level where players fly ships through space.
The point? If you helped with this project, you wouldn't
be "following the master plan" or anything of the sort; there should
be enough creative flexibility for you to entertain your own level
ideas. It's an experimental projet.
I think everyone here is familiar with the "Rock" multiuser
online games. I spent a lot of time coding and administering these,
and over this time I think I've learned a few things about
development, myself and others (not to say that I'm a pro or
anything). Let me share a few of these thoughts with you, so you can
get some idea what I'm like, or what development in a project like
this might be like.
1) Interest, self-motivation is key. It doesn't make sense to
volunteer for an unpaid project if you don't have the initiative to
contribute to it. Once a project gets rolling, I think that other
team members' motivation and contributions are self-propagating. But
in order to get to this point, team members really have to be
interested in what they're doing.
2) Say what you mean. Specifically, if you become a team member
and later decide that you want out, please don't leave people
wondering. Just say it, get out, and get it over with. You might make
people sad, but at least your integrity will be intact. Plus the team
will have more time to find someone to fill your shoes.
3) Actions speak louder than words. In Rock, we received many
suggestions on how to improve the game. Unfortunately, many of these
did not get implemented, for a variety of reasons. It's interesting
to consider why the ones that *did* get implemented, were.
Sometimes Kler and I would trade our skills with one another.
For example, he'd create an item or area for me if I wrote code for
something else that he wanted. In the end, we both ended up with what
we wanted (with some realistic compromises).
Similarly, you could tell that those who contributed most to
the game had more of their ideas implemented. In other words, those
who contributed most had the most influence on the game. A developer
is clearly more likely to listen to an active team member than
someone who has been "on vacation" for the last three months.
Self-service work is really easy too. If I had a code idea,
generally I'd code it. If Kler had a map/npc/item idea, generally
he'd add it. You don't have to sell your idea to anyone, so if you
have the skills to make your idea a reality, it's almost a guaranteed
Of course, some "peanut gallery" comments were still taken
seriously. Some player-submitted ideas were so cool, or so easily
implemented that it just made sense to do it (regardless of their
active contributions to the game as a whole).
The lesson here: though everyone has the potential to shape a
game like Salp Wars, those who aren't active in the community
probably won't be taken too seriously unless their suggestion "just
makes sense". I don't write the rules here; I'm just sharing my past
4) If you've only got words, choose them wisely. If you have an
idea for a game feature, but don't have the skills/tools to make it a
reality, try doing a good job selling your idea. If it's art, try
describing the important frames/characteristics of the art. If it's a
weapon, try explaining all important logic behind how the weapon
works. For example, "Add a stun gun" probably won't be taken too
seriously as a suggestion. It also doesn't usually hurt to explain
why you think an idea would be "cool"/original.
5) Have fun. This isn't work; if it starts to feel like work,
then take a break or ask teammates to help take some of the pain
away. You'd be surprised how often this works.
I've learned more than that, but I don't want to spam you to death
with random thoughts :-).
At any case, if you're still interested in contributing at any level,
please "officially" sign up for the project. To do this, you'll need
to create a user id at sourceforge.net. This isn't brain surgery. You
can go to:
Then click "New User via SSL" in the upper right corner of the
screen, and follow the yellow brick road to registration :-).
Once you have an ID, please mail it to me (email@example.com) so
that I can add you to the project.
Thanks for the read! If you have any other questions, feel free to
mail or call me.