Maintainer(s) wanted

During my holidays I realized something. O2 releases have been further and further apart, while not getting bigger at all (quite the opposite in fact).

It’s been hard for me to accept it, but I am not really taking O2 anywhere soon. Not that I lack ideas! I have a long list of awesome and cool things that you’d surely love to see inside OCTGN.

But I simply don’t spend enough time coding. I could even say that I don’t spend time on O2 at all anymore.

I am trying to do too many things at the same time. I love to practice sport, play music, spend time with my friends, have a few other projects and many other things. Uh yeah, and I have to go to work, too.

The fact is, I’m trying to do too many things and as a consequence I don’t achieve as much as I’d like to in several domains. OCTGN and music in particular.

So it was hard but I decided that I should focus on what matters most for me. And OCTGN got the cut… The fact that I can’t even play that much anymore didn’t help .

I’m not killing OCTGN but I think that I should be honest with you. I am unable to continue to push OCTGN forward and I’m going to stop trying. I’m sad for two reasons. First because there are lots of things I would love to do for O2, but I simply can’t. And second because I know there are many people playing with O2 and they’re going to be disappointed. So am I. 😦

So what is next? As I said I’m not going to kill anything. The current release is always there for you to play with. The forums are staying – at least at the moment – and the source code is available in the SVN repository (it has always been).

But if O2 wants a future some people in the community have to stand up and work for it. I would love if someone could continue my work and maintain O2. I would gladly help anyone serious to do so. If nobody volunteers I suppose it’s slowly going to die.

I’m going to miss you all… Or maybe I’ll finally have more time to play with you, who knows!

Kind regards,

–jods

PS: I hate those legal matters, but I figure I ought to write it somewhere. The current source code is mine but I grant anyone the right to take it and modify it as long as it remains free. This is what I always did, nothing changes. I forbid you to make money out of OCTGN, you should contact me if you want to do that.

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42 Comments on “Maintainer(s) wanted”

  1. Db0 Says:

    These are sad news indeed. I wish you the best jods. It’s a good thing you’ve managed to update this far, and had time to crush some of the bugs I reported. Let’s hope you get in the mood again in the future 🙂

  2. muller_factory Says:

    hey man thx a lot for your efforts and luck with your future ones. always loved octgn and its been very fun to play with. Take good care of yourself man.

  3. Thaliak Says:

    I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve enjoyed playing and creating games with OCTGN. Thanks for creating it, and good luck with your other projects.

    What would someone that wants to contribute need beyond a basic understanding of C# and time to figure out how OCTGN’s code works?

    • jods Says:

      I’d say he needs a strong grasp of C# and .NET, plus some experience with WPF for the GUI. And, of course, time and motivation.

  4. Zanial Says:

    Well, I’ve not not played card games in ages and moved to OS X but I’ve kept comming back here since I stopped plaing and I still remember the old days of the “other app”.

    Nobody would remember me anyway, but that isn’t the point. I’ve been using/watching this app for what? Ten years? It grew from that app into what it is now, and even now, the app is still great! This was a little bit of a shock!

    I know the pain of too much to do and not enough time to do so. I’ve started working as a UI Developer/Designer for an upcoming game, more school, work and family and an assortment of smaller projects…yea. Yea. lol

    Here’s to you and all your hard work jods! Hope someone can continue things, I know I couldn’t.

  5. Kelly Elton Says:

    I’ll preface by saying I feel a bit sad also. I can to octgn a little later in its stages, but I’ve been there and I know how that goes. I hope everything goes well for you.
    I’m interested in taking you up on your offer. I have a couple questions though. Since you are passing the torch, is it possible to have access to the svn and the http://www.octgn.net site, so that users can download the latest release versions? I can’t see that being feasible otherwise.
    If that’s the plan, then I’ll do it.

  6. Martin G. Says:

    We’ll miss you. OCTGN is a great game and it’s here because of you! 🙂
    Thank you very, very much for taking OCTGN development this far.

  7. Patrick Liem Says:

    Sad to read this, but it’s understandable. I know exactly how you feel. If I weren’t so busy with projects myself, I would have loved to take a look at the svn. Perhaps in the future. Thank you for all your work. I hope someone picks it up (or I hope I have the time to take a stab at it too some day)

  8. rynio Says:

    Everything good jods in real life, you did a great job, and we all understand you are going out, thats enough!

  9. Makkert Says:

    You have carried it for years as the driving force.
    You did amazing.
    Jods, I hope to here from you from time to time.
    I do miss the people.

    All the best,

    Makkert

  10. Joris Says:

    Well, sad to hear you go. But at least some people are trying to continue with it. Hope you had a nice beer for that donation that I gave you some time ago. 😉
    I know I’ll keep using it and hopefully newer sets can be implemented in the game. Because WotC loves to make cards do things that octgn can’t. 😛

    Wish you all the best in the future and good luck to Kelly!

  11. Rejusu Says:

    I was thinking of grabbing the source code so I could build a modified version with all the anti-cheat mechanics cut out (see next paragraph for details) as I’m fairly experienced with C# and .NET but I’m not sure I’d be up for maintaining it until I’ve actually seen what the source code is like.

    As far as the anti-cheat mechanics are concerned and why I want to remove them it just feels like they ruin the game for casual play. I mean with all the card data being split across different clients, no way to rejoin or save/load games it just ruins the game when someone inevitably disconnects because there’s no feasible way of continuing it. Especially when a lot of the time the disconnects are seemingly caused by some piece of anti-cheat code (well from what I’ve observed of the corresponding error message this seems to be the case). I’m not really sure why you went this direction either as surely OCTGN should be focused more on friendly play than competitive usage.

    • jods Says:

      Here’s my take on this.

      1. I think cheating prevention is needed if we expect O2 to be successful and to gather players. Past experiences like MWS teach us that some people do cheat and sometimes even go great lengths to do so. Bear in mind that O2 is totally open source and hence easy to modify and cheat if nothing is in place to prevent it (actually MWS guys already threathend me to ‘break’ O2 when it would be released). Past experiences also teach us that whenever you know it’s possible to cheat, you start doubting whether your opponent was really lucky top-decking, or whether he was really audacious by betting that you don’t have some card in your hand… And this really ruins your gaming experience.

      2. About the problems resulting from cheating prevention. Regarding bugs, I think that “seemingly” is probably spot on for most of them. It’s true that anti-cheating makes several features more complicated, but not impossible to implement. You mention Save/Restore, I have a good idea how to implement it and overcome (quite easily) the problems induced by anti-cheating. If anyone wants to implement that feature just send me an e-mail and I’ll share. But you have to be aware that there’s still a lot of work for that feature to work (serialize every state — but thankfully O2 has a clean object model for the game state, which is totally detached from UI; restore the state; the GUI for reconnecting and making sure everyone is back; and so on.)

      3. About removing anticheating. Well, it’s open source so if you want to, you can. Just be aware that you will never put it back into O2 (trust me, it’s not something you want to do as an afterthough) and you’ll have to live with it if O2 evolves from that point. Be sure to think about 1. again.
      Removing it is not simple, because you have to change many things, including the network protocol. Everything will become (much ?) simpler, that’s true, but there’s quite a lot of things that you’ll need to change.

      I hope you may find interesting information in what I said and you can always contact me directly if you have more questions.

      Kind regards,
      –jods

    • d0c Says:

      If you really would like to help, I’d suggest add me, its.the.d0c, on skype. We’re getting close to pushing out the next release(within the next 10 days) and could use some more developers(we have 3 right now).

      If you’re interested, let me know.

      Thanks.

  12. Flatline Says:

    Hi Jods!
    I’m an eager user of OCTGN to play the LCF of A Game of Thrones. Being a Linux/Mac user (and sort of developer :D) I’d like to port the software (or would it best to say “rewrite it” :)) to make it work in other OS, probably using Java.

    First things first, as I’m not at all proficient with C# (nor I desire to be :D), do you have any guide on how your network layer works? I’m trying to follow the code, but considering all the library calls back and forth I think I’m losing “the big picture”…

    Thanks! 🙂

    • jods Says:

      Hi Flatline,

      What do you want to know exactly? You should drop me some mails in private and I can answer all your questions.

      I have a good and a bad news regarding your port to other OS. I would advise you to keep the source code and use Mono. That way the only thing you need to rewrite is the GUI, and the game state is very detached from the UI.

      That was the good news.

      The bad news is that the UI itself is quite advanced and complicated. There’s a lot of code there and it’ll be a daunting task to rebuild everything on top of another toolkit, whatever you choose.

      Good luck with that, let me know if I can help!

      BTW to get you started on the networking part.

      There’s a file called Protocol.xml inside Octgn.Server. This describes all messages exchanged by the clients and the server. It is used by the various .tt templates to generate the C# code for send / receive proxies.

      For the communication itself, there’s a strange quirk dating from when O2 was supposed to be very “open” and there was supposed to be a Java implementation. O2 has 2 protocols. It starts with one based on XML messages, which is very “portable”. But as soon as it detects that it’s speaking with a server which is also .NET and the same version, it switches to an optimized binary protocol.

  13. Caspid Says:

    Hey,

    OCTGN is what got me into Magic and gave me many many hours of fun. Thanks for doing this project, and I hope someone else is brave/competent enough to pick it up.

  14. pkt-zer0 Says:

    OCTGN is the best of its kind (that I have seen, anyway), even in its current, incomplete form. The important thing is that it was heading in the right direction, and I’d love to see that continue – one way or the other.

  15. RobertMeta Says:

    jods–

    Could you pick a license, any license? http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/04/pick-a-license-any-license.html

    Due to the lack of licensing, I can’t really get involved in working on the source currently, because at any point you could revoke rights to the source to all involved, you could sue anyone who touched it, and do various other very nasty, invasive things.

    Right now it is a closed source application that you allow other people to look at (the default state of publicly posted source).

    I am extremely interested in fixing some bugs.

    • RobertMeta Says:

      If the intent is that people don’t profit from the work in the future, I would recommend GPL3. While it doesn’t emphatically ban making money from your work, it effectively does exactly that, it allows anyone who gets a copy of it full access to the source code, and limitless ability to reproduce it. So, that would keep it free and open.

      Currently the code is unattributed, due to the lack of any name on it or attribution of creation, it would seem to fall towards an orphaned status (IE: public domain). I would recommend if you want it to remain free, and for people to not just take it and profit off it that you take an afternoon, put your copyright mark on the source code, put your name on it and put the license of your choice on it.

    • jods Says:

      It’s nice of you to ask.

      Don’t worry I don’t live in the US so suing people is not the first thing that crosses my mind when I wake up in the morning 😉

      I made that statement informally before and I’ll do it again here.

      1. All the code inside OCTGN2 today has been written by me, hence I own all rights on it.

      2. To prevent American people from suing me, I need the usual disclaimer. I’ve done my best to make O2 “safe” for you to use, but if it makes your computer explodes (but not limited to!) I’m not responsible. Use at your own risks.

      3. You can take the code and do whatever you want with it, as long as it doesn’t involve commercial or for-profit activities. Any derivative work has to be free (as in “free beer”). I don’t even ask you to make your work open-source, although I encourage you to do so.

      4. As a consequence of (3), if you want to sell something using O2 code you should contact me.

      This being publicly said, I think you’re safe using O2 code. If you know any licence more-or-less fitting the description above I would gladly slap it on O2.

      Please note that because O2 currently uses VistaDB as its embedded database, it is incompatible with GPL licensing.

      Best luck with your coding!
      –jods

  16. RobertMeta Says:

    Add your full name to the source code (a copyright attribution at the top of each file) + a note that the code is licensed according the included license file. I think the below comes very close to what you want.

    ==== EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ====
    1. You can’t pull it back, once it is out, it is out.
    2. Seriously, you can’t pull it back with a patent later either.
    3. Source is available (ie: open-source)
    4. People who build stuff off it can’t claim “jods thinks it rocks” or “This is OCTGN”. They also have no rights to any other works you have created.
    5. We can’t pull it back either if we distribute a copy, once it is out, it is eternal.
    6. We can’t take your name or copyright off it.
    7. We can’t sue you, even if the program attacks and kills our cats.
    8. Seriously, you really can’t be sued, double-serious.
    9. You don’t like our license, pound sand and go find your own card game project.
    10. You try to patent stuff from this, and you lose the license as well… dirty patenting scumbag.
    11. If someone ever wants to sue you (how they would, no idea, see 7 and 8) — it is on your turf.
    12. If they did sue you, and they lost (which they will, see 7 and 8) they pay all your costs for court stuff
    13. If a court throws out a subset of the license the rest still stands (maybe the explains the earlier redundancy)
    14. Just defines what “you” means in the document.
    15. You can use it, but at your own risk.
    16. If you change the license, you can’t call it an OPL license, you would have to like call it “jods super awesome license that is not OPL approved”
    17. LAST BUT NOT LEAST! I am going to quote this bit outright because it applies to your concern “””Licensor represents and declares that it is a not-for-profit organization that derives no revenue whatsoever from the distribution of the Original Work or Derivative Works thereof, or from support or services relating thereto.”””

    ==== FULL LICENSE BELOW ====

    Non-Profit Open Software License 3.0 (NPOSL-3.0)

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    Licensed under the Non-Profit Open Software License version 3.0

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    17) Non-Profit Amendment. The name of this amended version of the Open Software License (“OSL 3.0”) is “Non-Profit Open Software License 3.0”. The original OSL 3.0 license has been amended as follows:

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    (d) The proviso in Section 1(c) of this License now refers to this “Non-Profit Open Software License” rather than the “Open Software License”. You may distribute or communicate the Original Work or Derivative Works thereof under this Non-Profit OSL 3.0 license only if You make the representation and declaration in paragraph (a) of this Section 17. Otherwise, You shall distribute or communicate the Original Work or Derivative Works thereof only under the OSL 3.0 license and You shall publish clear licensing notices so stating. Also by way of clarification, this License does not authorize You to distribute or communicate works under this Non-Profit OSL 3.0 if You received them under the original OSL 3.0 license.

    (e) Original Works licensed under this license shall reference “Non-Profit OSL 3.0” in licensing notices to distinguish them from works licensed under the original OSL 3.0 license.

    • RobertMeta Says:

      I think that license does most of what you want, is OSL approved, is fairly short in licensing terms, gives you a ton of legal production, is internationally worded… it also stops people from being slick and trying to make money around the edges of it by making a Lobby or anything like that.

    • d0c Says:

      Wouldn’t this also make a roadblock for him if he wished to make money off of it?

      • d0c Says:

        I could also send you a modified version of Repository.cs, which would use a SqlCE database instead of vistadb, if you wanted to give it a standard GPL license.

      • RobertMeta Says:

        No, as it is his source-code, he can license it as many ways as he wants, it is no barrier to him. It would only stop him from making money off other peoples contributions.

  17. RobertMeta Says:

    So, jods, how does that license feel to you (listed above) if it fails, let me know why and I will take up the challenge again!

  18. YoshiEnVerde Says:

    I was wondering… How about starting some kind of open source project with OCTGN?
    I know it’s (pretty much) open source already, but I’m talking a “community + code submitting + screening process for new code” thing (Like most serious open source projects do)…

    It’s not hard to do at the beginning, with a half dozen semi-dedicated people. When it gains a bit of momentum, it petty much works itself out.

    You’d need to do a bit of work first, tough: A bit of documentation on the code of OCTGN would be critical to making that half dozen mantainers/screeners to understand what’s going on.

    This initial group would coordinate, more or less, to mantain the program, while checking every scrap of code submitted to see what would be a good adittion, what needs more work, and what’s useless.

    The same group could, later, add some kind of plugin capability, and some serious documentation on the program ^_^

    • RobertMeta Says:

      Yoshi–

      It is already happening. Kelly Elton (posted above in this thread) has taken the lead with a small group of developers. It had a very rocky start but is starting to really smooth out.

      Please, fork it and get involved!

      https://github.com/kellyelton/OCTGN <– main github page

      https://github.com/kellyelton/OCTGN/issues <– bug tracker

      https://trello.com/board/octgn-v3-0-0-x/4efffbacce6a25c1792b8ee2 <– kanban board where you can vote on future features

      • d0c Says:

        Not to mention if you would like to just play, http://www.octgn.info

      • YoshiEnVerde Says:

        That’s great!
        I stumbled upon 3.0 after my post, but I didn’t know all this ^_^

        My C# is A LOT rusty (I haven’t touched a .NET code since shortly after Framework 2.0 came out…), and my coding time is mostly reserved for my job :P; but I can help some on this… God knows I’ve wanted to fool around with OCTGN’s code for a while.

        I’ll start reading the code tonight.

        BTW, my licensing is not up to par, but I think the explicit “go ahead” jods gave in this thread is good enough for this project to work, right? Without any other licencing, it constitutes as him giving a green light to anybody, right? Besides, with the amount of changes I’ve read you’re doing, the only thing that’s staying right now is the UI, so it’ll prolly end up being a whole new app by the time it reaches anywhere close to v4.0

      • RobertMeta Says:

        Re: Licensing. We have continued to work under the hopes that he will adopt a formal license, and under jods general blessing. He has given informal permission multiple times.

        Yet, lack of a formal blessed license is still a rather large barrier to entry, and it has made developers disinterested in helping, so we hope we can get one shortly. Developers are disinterested for two reasons (1) Lack of protection from lawsuits [unlicensed code is the easiest to be sued for], (2) The fact that jods could revoke the source license at any point.

        But, I don’t think there is ill intent, and I hope I can find a license than jods will be comfortable with, it is all his work, and he invested a massive amount of time into this — so I am uncomfortable doing anything without his blessing.

  19. RobertMeta Says:

    We are hoping at some point “jods” will approve the open source license listed above, as that is the last major blocker in getting developers involved.

  20. Seba Says:

    So do we have a license yet or what? What’s the point of calling in for maintainers and not giving them what they need?
    =<

    • RobertMeta Says:

      The project under Kelly’s (d0c) stewardship is starting to gain a good bit of steam, now that it is properly organized, on github, has an irc channel, has mutliple forks, hundreds of bugs, the mailing list is still really getting bootstrapped.

      https://github.com/kellyelton/OCTGN

      But it still has the licensing issue hanging over its head like the sword of damocles.


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