What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

skyace65
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What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by skyace65 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 16:52

I found Minetest the other day and was extremely impressed at the progress you guys have made with the engine and Minetest Game (Especially how deep you can dig). And I want to try and help contribute.

I'm not experienced with C++(I know a little but nothing advanced) and haven't used Lua before(I know C# and Python). I do have experience using Git and Github. I'd like to try learning pixel art so I could make blocks for Minetest Game, but I'm not sure if you could accept that without code implementation. I could also write documentation or update the wiki, I've contributed documentation to the Godot engine in the past, and It looks like info can be spare on the Minetest game on the wiki, there's nothing listed in changes for v 5.0.0 right now.

So what is the best way I can help this project?
 

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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by Andrey01 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 19:17

Of course it would be very nice if somebody could contribute in Minetest because the development is going now too slowly. And it would be nice if you would become even Minetest developer because the game needs extremely it. You can do what you want and can. And the dev wiki is needed to be updated before 5.0.0 release and also simple wiki (e.g. more articles about mods).

Lua is easy language, try to learn it here: https://www.lua.org/manual/5.3/ and then Minetest API if you want to make mods as dev.minetest.net or rubenwardy`s tutorial book.
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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by Gael de Sailly » Thu Oct 11, 2018 21:24

Welcome skyace65 :)
What we need first, according to me (I'm not developer but I've been following the development quite closely for 4 years).
  • Good subgames. There are quite a lot of subgames but most are of low quality. Some time ago there was a poll about bundling subgames in the download, and we ended up saying that no subgame currently deserved it. I put it first because I think that the current core already allows to do very nice things, and we are just waiting for someone to do it.
  • More active core development, and it would be nice if some developers are specialist of a domain. We won't go very far if everyone is dealing with everything.
  • Testing, PR reviews. You don't need special knowledge in coding, only compiling, and it helps the developers a lot.
  • Better interface, especially main menu
  • Documentation, either technical (see Rubenwardy's online book) or gameplay-related (the wiki).

By contrast, we are quite full of mods and servers, to the point where it can be difficult to find what you are looking for. Making a mod or setting up a server is a good idea only if you are proposing something unique and of good quality.
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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by DrFrankenstone » Fri Oct 12, 2018 02:42

(also not a Minetest developer)

Gael de Sailly wrote:
  • Testing, PR reviews. You don't need special knowledge in coding, only compiling, and it helps the developers a lot.

Rubenwardy has called for more help from the community with this, and wrote about how to do it

Gael de Sailly wrote:
  • Good subgames. There are quite a lot of subgames but most are of low quality. Some time ago there was a poll about bundling subgames in the download, and we ended up saying that no subgame currently deserved it. I put it first because I think that the current core already allows to do very nice things, and we are just waiting for someone to do it.

Yes! I can't commit to the time for creating a quality [sub]game myself, but it's enough of a weak link at the moment I was considering work on a tool to automatically create fancy tech-tree graphs for Minetest games - to help put focus on game progression, design, and coherence. [sub]games can even benefit from being the vision of an individual, or small set of designers.

(that's not to diminish the other areas raised here that could use work)
 

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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by sofar » Fri Oct 12, 2018 04:47

What we need first, according to me


This sentence captures the correct answer.

What we need is active developers who do things that they care about. This way the developers are motivated and put in their valuable time into improving where they want to, where they see value, and where they get enjoyment for doing the work that they do.

So, what you need to figure out, is what exactly it is that motivates *you*.

That's going to be what we need *you* to work on.
 

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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by texmex » Sat Oct 13, 2018 05:38

DrFrankenstone wrote:Yes! I can't commit to the time for creating a quality [sub]game myself, but it's enough of a weak link at the moment I was considering work on a tool to automatically create fancy tech-tree graphs for Minetest games - to help put focus on game progression, design, and coherence. [sub]games can even benefit from being the vision of an individual, or small set of designers.

I’d completely LOVE for design-aiding tools like these to be available. As you’ve already blown people away with you Amidst viewer I’m convinced you would suceed in this endeavor as well. I saw rubenwardy did try something seemingly similar but it’s not working as of now. https://github.com/rubenwardy/minetest_item_map
 

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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by Wuzzy » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:48

I think the first and most-important thing in Minetest right now is development on games.
As you said you're not very good in C++, you should stay away from engine development for now. But if you want to code for the engine, you MUST learn the basics first (i.e. C++), obviously.
Why I believe games are so important:
Content is king. There has to be something to … well … play with. The engine has to be experimented with, to see its problems, try out cool and interesting ideas, etc.
The engine should NOT exist in a vacuum. Games are also, for obvious reasons the only thing that count in the end for players. Players don't care about the engine alone.
Getting more games out will also indirectly help engine, because you will inevitably uncover engine bugs that way. ;)

The second most important thing to work on the improvement of usability of the Minetest interface. Let's be honest, the main menu just looks horrible and also has pretty poor usability and pretty breaks many basic usability rules. I think many players would agree here (correct me if I'm wrong).

This list is based on what will actually bring Minetest forward. I see Minetest not as a goal in itself, but as a project to create great games (and possibly other things, too) that players will actually enjoy.

As for the wiki, I don't think there is much need to work on the wiki right now, it's pretty much complete at that point. There are always small things that need fixing now and then, but it's not a pressing priority, but if you find a mistake, you can always correct it. Anyway, to be allowed to edit on the wiki, you must request an account here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10473

What we need is active developers who do things that they care about. This way the developers are motivated and put in their valuable time into improving where they want to, where they see value, and where they get enjoyment for doing the work that they do.

I mildly disagree, at least when it comes to Minetest development.
Under that logic, you would have to accept any crappy idea as long someone is dumb enough to actually code it. For instance, I could feel very motivated to replace OpenGL bindings with DirectX calls (just an example). I could make a huge PR with that, but it would still be a terrible idea, no matter how badly I want it in Minetest. You'd have to do some sort of quality control.
My point is: Contributions do not exist in a vacuum. You also have to consider other contributors and the existing codebase, otherwise you will quickly create a mess that no one likes to work on. Also, someone has to maintain that stuff. Besides, already review tons of stuff, so pretending that there's some sort of “anything goes” culture feels a bit nonsensical to me.
This attitude also disregards priorities. Not all tasks are created equal. Some tasks are more beneficial to the project than others. It's about being effective and bringing the project forward. There are lots of features that people love to work on, but almost no player cares about.
I don't deny that motivation plays a big role, maybe a huge role even. But if it's only motivation alone that counts, this will hurt the overall quality of Minetest in the long run.

Of course, nobody is forced to do anything, but neither should the Minetest core developers feel obliged to accept any crap idea based on the amount of work someone spent on something.
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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by sofar » Sat Oct 13, 2018 19:14

Under that logic, you would have to accept any crappy idea as long someone is dumb enough to actually code it.


Also, I can recommend that you don't follow Wuzzy's argumentative nature, and I invite everyone who has the energy to code their "crappy idea" type things to just DO IT.

Sometimes, especially if you're relatively new to OSS and programming, it is incredibly helpful to FAIL at something. Because you don't learn much at all if everything "just works" right away. You learn much more when you fail, and fail again. And failing often and fast is a fantastic way to learn.

So if you have any motivation to do something of your own, no matter how "dumb enough" it is, just go ahead and do it. I won't judge you for it. I will review your code if you ask me to (really). I will give you feedback if you ask me to (I'll even sugarcoat it if you desire it), and most of all, I will never tell you that your ideas or questions are dumb or stupid. Inefficient, maybe ;).

Have fun, try stuff, learn.
 

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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by Wuzzy » Sat Oct 13, 2018 21:08

I am not against experimenting with things for fun, I'm just saying that Minetest core devs should not feel obliged to include any code automatically.
Sure, if you feel to do <some crazy thing XYZ> with Minetest, feel free to do so. I will not stop you. Contributors should be aware that there is NO guarantee that any code will be accepted. It really depends.

(I'll even sugarcoat it if you desire it), and most of all, I will never tell you that your ideas or questions are dumb or stupid.

I don't like this attitude. If you lie to your contributors just to make them feel better, they don't know when they failed. This is counter-productive. And guess what? I don't care about feelings. I just care about getting things done. If a contributor can't handle the truth, that's their problem.
Bad ideas absolutely need to be called out as such, otherwise, crap will start to pile.
Minetest can not and should not include every possible idea, even with infinite contributor time. If Minetest would allow every idea without any quality control, it would soon become Everything and the Kitchen Sink that nobody likes to maintain.

Also, sofar, you know that Minetest has a pretty strict review policy. I mean, core devs are reviewing, like, every single commit. Minetest does have quality standards. For newcomers, going through the review process for a PR can be actually quite a daunting task, especially when the scary label “rebase needed” appears. I don't know how many otherwiese perfectly working and tested PRs have failed because of a forgotten rebase.
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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by Chiantos » Sat Oct 13, 2018 21:34

Hello, What is Bad or Good Ideas ?

It is not a mistake not to say "his truth" to a person, it is even better. It is a matter of open-mindedness, respect and humility. Even if you think that the person does something bad, it's not good to say that it's bad or not good, because it's often personal as a vision, but to have a constructive approach. is to encourage it. We are not robots, and therefore do not react like them.

Otherwise, we will simply lose our humanity, and the creativity that is linked to it. If we can no longer make mistakes or be able to do different things that look bad or wrong, then many progresses and changes would never have happened.

And if you like the free and / or opensource, then it's not just useful for licensing, but also in our overall vision of others and in respect of their freedom to be wrong, to do bad or to do different things. Even if it is not considered good or useful. As long as there is respect for the laws, I do not see the problem ...And quality is a personal vision that is unique to each individual.

It's like trying to judge art, the code itself is art.

Good Day.
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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by sofar » Sat Oct 13, 2018 22:54

Wuzzy wrote:Also, sofar, you know that Minetest has a pretty strict review policy.


which is ENTIRELY irrelevant for people writing mods and making game content.

Please, stop eating salt as a major source of carbohydrates already.
 

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Re: What's the best way I can help Minetest development?

by Gael de Sailly » Sat Oct 13, 2018 23:48

For me it seems that you don't disagree that much. Restraining you from saying it's dumb or stupid does not mean accepting it blindly, I mean you can reject the work without offending the author, like a teacher can give low marks without insulting their pupils.
This is not about approving the work or not, but about respecting the people. Which would avoid the heated discussions we are so used to see in PRs. Like what is beginning to happen in this thread... Look at the first impression you are giving to the newcomer who asked the question.

sofar wrote:
Wuzzy wrote:Also, sofar, you know that Minetest has a pretty strict review policy.


which is ENTIRELY irrelevant for people writing mods and making game content.

As I understand it, Wuzzy was speaking about engine only. Of course we don't need a review policy for mods. Since they are completely managed by their authors, the dev team has nothing to maintain and nothing to select. Players' approval will do the selection.
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