Really interesting discussion, thank you guys for having it.
Yes, Duality is kind of underused and it would be an awesome thing if word spread and it was out there with all the other cool kids in engine town. Unfortunately, I'm really bad at marketing - you probably know the saying: A businessman will tell you about a product's greatness, a developer will tell you what doesn't (yet) work. Anyway! Trying to improve here and recently presented Duality in a few local developer meetups, we'll see how far I get with this kind of thing.
So let's grow this community. You all have some ideas on how to do this, so I'm going to try to focus on what I think both the community and the project need, on what we want or should try to achieve by spreading the word.
All efforts are certainly valid, but for the most part, I'd wager Adam would find that someone out there to help him develop Duality would be much more beneficial.
Basically this. Long term, what we need are core developers and other contributors. We need people who are involved in the project and have the expertise and technical skill to drive forward development and spread their knowledge, because long-term I can't remain the only one doing that, especially with, say, 10x more users. Bigger community, more projects, higher public visibility are all either prerequisites to that or will very likely happen on the way, but this one thing, active contributors, will be what ultimately fuels the project itself.
Community growth is generally a good thing for us, but it is also a stressful thing that needs to stay within reasonable limits relative to the established social framework. Before anything else happens, growth means a lot of newbies will arrive. They'll naturally ask a lot of questions and overall require attention. You do a great job with that and the current influx of new users (Hey guys btw!) is well within our manageable comfort zone, but this isn't self-evident: Whatever we do, we need to do it in a way that increases new user influx and the fraction of them that stay equally. If we attract a huge wave of new users, but none of them stay for long, all it will do is put pressure on you guys and that's it. Instead, I think that a slower, gentler growth with a larger percentage of people who decide to stay would help a lot more.
It's a similar thing with the needed core developers and contributors that I mentioned earlier: I would assume that they don't just appear out of the blue - but slowly evolve from people like you, people who are part of the community already, want to learn and help and try their hands with improving the stuff they've been using for a while. Greater user influx alone won't give us contributors and core developers. Rain and fertile ground. You need both, but 10x the rain won't help 10x more and can actually do some harm.
Okay, so how do we keep and extend the fertile ground and achieve sustainable community growth? Not sure yet, but here's some quick thoughts:
- Continue to do what you already do: Develop, learn, help each other, build crazy stuff and watch it crash and burn 9 times until the 10th doesn't and it's awesome.
- Talk about it to your developer peers.
- Take it to Twitter and Reddit and whatnot. Don't advertise. Just show what you do and if someone might find Duality useful, mention that it exist and why you think it's neat.
- Continue to make this forum a nice place to be.
- As some of you already did, help me improve the documentation situation. If there's a topic you know really well, maybe write a tutorial or an article? If you're up for it, that is
Some specific responses:
From a technical side, Duality's package management doesn't mesh well with the Steam workshop and I don't really want to split the package ecosystem in two parts, where one is on the workshop, and the other is NuGet-powered. Also, getting on Steam would be an issue on its own (we'd need to pass Greenlight) and community management on Steam is also not a task that comes for free.
First, its own Subreddit:
Similar to the Steam thing, I can't manage a second community and I certainly don't want to actively split the community in two. Not entirely
against this, but with the limited resources we have right now, focusing on only one thing might be the more viable choice.
And thirdly, a facebook group/bigger twitter presence:
Agreed, except for the Facebook part. I don't get the feeling that we have a viable target audience there that isn't reachable via Twitter or Reddit. Again, not in favor of creating a second and third community on different social media sites, but showing some presence when you're already there anyway? Sure, why not?
To conclude, what we need at the moment are tutorials (e.g. "How to make an editor plugin")
The fact that this is a forum, separate from other gamedev communities hurts the ability for people to come here on their own.
Kind of. But it also creates a platform for regulars, a smaller space to get to know each other and less of an anonymous one-in-a-million vibe. This is a good thing - but yes, we are way harder to discover that way. I'm not sure what the alternative would be though.
What really helped is to attract more of these high-level coders creating quality content (games, plugins, etc..) to show off.
Totally agree here.
Is Adam this forum's only moderator/Admin?
SirePi is a moderator as well, but he isn't that active anymore these days. Would be willing to appoint more moderators when the community grows. Right now, it's manageable.
What sure helped to attract, was an in depth tutorial series using Duality, which is beyond the existing ones, and shows how to make an actual game with the engine.
100% agreed. I personally prefer non-video tutorials when I learn something, but I think a lot of people like them and I do have to admit that they're great at giving you a quick overview. Bonus: You actually get to see what the editor can do. In any case, any kind of bigger game tutorial would be a great improvement over now.
Whoa. Sorry for this wall of text. Would love to hear your opinions. If I'm totally in the wrong with something, tell me.