Once I get that upgrade to 36-hour days, I will tackle that. – Mychaeel
Some rants I posted on Project Aims which I don't feel give a fair view of what everyone is doing here.
The story so far...
The Unreal engine is one of the fastest 3D game engines around. More than that, it's flexible and easy to adapt. More still, UnrealEd, the editing application, is fast and powerful. Stand by, there's a 'but'. In their haste to unleash Unreal games onto the world, the folks at Epic didn't take the time to write much by way of documentation for the engine. We don't blame them – how would it have sounded if they'd said "UT is delayed by 2 months, while we write up how to edit for it"? We wouldn't have been amused. What they did write is great (UnrealScript Language Reference and Mod Authoring) but it's highly technical and not for the faint-hearted.
So the community at large muddles along, and information is passed along in the many Unreal Editing forums across the web, and also with a lot of guesswork. Since Unreal was released way back, many tutorial sites have sprung up, and many mappers have put up information about editing on their sites along with their creations.
It's great... as far as it goes. To look up a piece of information, you need a list of links as long as your arm to stand any chance of finding what you're looking for. Many of the great reference sites are no longer updated, and only partly relevant to working with UT's UnrealEd 2. Many tutorials only cover part of what you need to know, or they go over the basics... again.
So, what's the story here? You've heard it all before: "new tutorial site", "ultimate reference", blah blah blah. Only this time, there really is a difference. This site is a WikiWikiWeb, or Wiki for short. The Wiki system is a powerful tool for open document creation. Upshot: any reader can instantly edit any page on the site. You don't need to email an admin to recommend changes, you don't need to submit new material for approval. What you add to the site will be subject to peer approval, which means everybody, including you.
Here's how it works:
- Use the site as a reference. When you find:
- a page that could say more on a topic
- something that could be explained more clearly
- a topic that isn't covered
- or a good old-fashioned mistake
- ... just change it, there and then. You don't need to commit your life to the site, just a couple of minutes. Edit, save, you've made a contribution.
- if you want to write material, great. Reference, tutorials, anything you like. It's best if you find a suitable page to link new pages from, but you can always link from Mapping Lessons or Inbox and sooner or later somebody will rearrange the site structure to fit your material in.
- if you already have tutorials, you can import them. In fact, you can import your whole tutorial site wholesale, and add your site's header and page design to the available skins here. Just remember... they may well get updated, improved and expanded.
The New Contributors Quick Start page covers details you may want to quickly browse before making any edits.
That's it... enjoy.
(no, I'm not project leader... I'm just the idiot who thinks this might work...)
The Cathedral, the Bazaar and the abandoned Chapel
The concept of the cathedral and the cathedral bazaar is explained in this document.
The Bazaar is what brought us Linux & Mozilla. Wiki is an implementation of the bazaar model that's turned to document production, and at Wikipedia it's produced an enormous volume of work. This is just a rough analogy, mind you.
So far, we've largely had a scattered community. Many people have deplored the fact that to find tutorials and reference you need a list of links as long as your arm, and that furthermore many excellent tutorials are now out-dated and only partly relevant to the new Unreal technology.
The point is that a bazaar is greater than any of its members. An open project runs independently of the driving forces of individuals. An admin-run site only grows when admins process and upload new material. If I take a month off, people can still work on the site. If Mychaeel and myself totally lose interest in it (for example, Mych becomes a rock star and I join a closed order of Buddhist monks) then this site would continue to grow without us.
Many people suggest building "the ultimate" or "complete" site for the editing community. Two recent proposals are a site that would host all Unreal mappers and an Open Source UnrealScript site. Both are excellent ideas with plenty of potential. Lately I've been suggesting to these people that they join forces with this site. For the record, I don't mean that they should be absorbed into the Wiki. What I mean that they could set their bazaar down next to ours, and let the two work together.
When people reply that they want to set up their big idea themselves, it seems to me that they're not building a bazaar that can flourish. Their trying to raise another Cathedral in their own spot. I don't have a problem with my toes being trodden on – if people have dreams of building the ultimate and complete reference site, then they're welcome to make this site their own. But by setting up something else, they're not just choosing to ignore what's being done here, they are robbing this bazaar of their ideas and talent.
A fair comment at this point would be: "why set up this site from scratch, why not join up with an existing reference site and bring the Wiki system on board there?" The simple answer is that that converting to an open system would have needed permission of all the writers, as the nature of the copyright of work here is a little different. Setting this site up first means people can see how it works and add their work to it if they wish.
We've seen lots sites start up promising to be the "number one editing resource". It's a sad fact that these projects don't get very far, and end up as abandoned chapels.