Strip the default status from MTG

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Strip the default status from MTG

by Wuzzy » Mon Sep 23, 2019 18:31

This is a serious thread. Normally my MTG threads are pretty ranty, but I try to be serious this time.

I propose to drop the current status that Minetest Game has: As the default “game” (actually: modding base) for Minetest.

One important thing to clarify: I do NOT propose to kill MTG. Nor do I urge any current MTG dev to abandon MTG development. I don't care whoever wants to dev MTG or not. You can tweak it all you want, even dedicate your whole life to it and I won't mind at all as long MTG doesn't reign supreme which it currently does. I don't want to dictate what you can, and cannot contribute to.

There are several reasons that led to my request:

  1. The name “Minetest Game” is misleading: MTG is now commonly referrerd to as a “modding base”. Well, but if Minetest Game is only a “modding base”, then why call it a game?
  2. It's basically a modding base, but it's promoted as if it's a game.
  3. MTG is pretty bad in singleplayer. It's an big empty sandbox; it simply gets boring fast and there's just not much stuff to do and you run out of gameplay fast. But I don't want to go into great detail here, I have discussed this (and other gameplay issues) in great length elsewhere.
  4. People often say you are supposed to install mods to make MTG interesting. Well, OK. But this basically means: Basically, players have to become a part-time game dev themselves and turn it into an actual game. That's nothing that new players like to do.
  5. No game (or modding base) should reign supreme over other games.
  6. Minetest devs, including celeron55, often say the point of Minetest is to be a mostly generic game engine for all sorts of voxel games. Therefore, the concept of a default game just waters down that goal. This might (!) bias MT development towards MTG
  7. With the addition of Content DB, there seems to be no longer a need for a default game
  8. All the free promotion that MTG gets for being the default is distracting potential contributors from actual games
  9. MTG is unplayable if you're new in this kind of genre. There's no help, no crafting guide, no nothing. Yes, we do have a wiki. But remember that people might get Minetest from other sources than minetest.net, so they might not be aware that the wiki exists. But the lack of a crafting guide is the worst of all, given that crafting guides are standard in pretty much every game for Minetest. This makes it unneccessarily hard for newcomers to start with Minetest.
  10. MTG is the first “game” that new players see. As I pointed out in this thread and elsewhere, vanilla (!) MTG is weak for singleplayer. New players see this weak “game”, and will be rightfully disappointed. Being the default “game”, some players will think “Well, if that's the best that the Minetest community can offer, then why should I bother with the rest?”. We can't blame the newbies for thinking like this.

Now some of you might wonder about which other game to use as default. My answer is: Nothing! We have so many different games by now that I think it simply doesn't make sense to pick a single game and promote it for free. This would just mean that another game will reign supreme, gets all the free promotion and attention, and all other games get forgotten. It's possible the new default game will just lead to the same problems that we have with MTG as the default game now.

The whole concept of a default game, frankly, doesn't make much sense anymore. And therefore, I think, there should be no default game.

Instead, Minetest should ship with no games installed.
It will definitely help a lot to improve the homepage to better showcase high-quality games, but this is a different discussion.

Side request: Minimal Development Test should be removed or at least hidden from non-devs as well, if that hasn't been done already. For this I only have one reason: Minimal Development Test is only meant for Minetest core devs, i.e. <0.1% of the playerbase.

Remember, the goal of this thread is not to kill MTG. It's also not to hate on MTG (not this time!). MTG has its 100% legit applications, like “modding it to death” and “hosting great modded servers with it”. But “being the default game for Minetest that all newbies will see” is not one of them.
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by TumeniNodes » Mon Sep 23, 2019 19:19

My intention, is to try to coerce eventually changing Minetest Game... to Minetest Base
default mod would simply provide only the natural basics/resources which would be found in a world... (stone, trees, grasses, water, lava, ores, and tools and carts used to collect them.
Anything else would need to be added by the game creators.
So, one could use it simply to walk around collecting/placing stuff... but no way to do anything with it, without adding their own mods

What is currently called Minetest Game... could be labelled as merely an example/sample, and downloadable but not provided by default. It would serve as mostly a proving ground or proof of concepts

At the current moment, and the way things have come to be, I feel this is the best course.
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by Linuxdirk » Mon Sep 23, 2019 19:58

Wuzzy wrote:The name “Minetest Game” is misleading: MTG is now commonly referrerd to as a “modding base”. Well, but if Minetest Game is only a “modding base”, then why call it a game?

Why not actually call it “Modding Base” to make clear what it is?

Wuzzy wrote:Instead, Minetest should ship with no games installed.

It should also show the games category as startup tab when there are no games except “Modding Base” being installed. But in a less technical and more entertaining way than it is currently done. It’s a game engine after all, not a business application (same applies 1:1 to the web page).

Wuzzy wrote:Minimal Development Test should be removed or at least hidden

Absolutely. It serves absolutely no purpose for “regular players”.
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by PolySaken » Mon Sep 23, 2019 23:51

I agree wholeheartedly. I personally use a "modded to death" version of MTG for my singleplayer worlds, and like to build my games on the default mod, but I agree that it should not be the default game, or even that we should have one. On a fresh install a message saying "Please install a game" should show up, and possibly even take the user directly to the content tab.

Side note: calling it minetest game is a bit misleading too, since minetest is not, in fact a game at all. maybe it should be called 'basic' or 'simple.'
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by duane » Tue Sep 24, 2019 00:43

You might want to specify where this "problem" even occurs. I use arch and gentoo, both of which require me to specifically install minetest game separately from the minetest packages.

Personally, I enjoyed starting with minetest game. And yes, it is a game. Game covers a lot of ground. Do you consider Little Inferno (one of my favorites) to be a game? Just because the kiddees get bored doesn't invalidate the title. Sandboxes are every bit as much games as the button-mashing nonsense that keep children amused.
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by v-rob » Tue Sep 24, 2019 03:28

Yea, MTG isn't the greatest. But what are the alternatives? MTG is stable and has the most possibilities. Should more attention be given to other games? Yes, but are any of them good enough to be bundled? MTG is the most qualified to be bundled as the default game -- Its neutrality covers everything. If you bundle something specialized like The End or Labyrinthus, it is too specialized and doesn't represent Minetest enough. And are Repixture or Voxelgarden different and better enough to replace Minetest Game? I don't think so.

Another thing: Mods aren't neutral; many of them only work with MTG, so removing MTG as default will make nearly no mods work. Picture a new user: They download MineClone 2 only to find that NONE of the mods in the Content Database work. That would turn out as an even bigger detriment to many players. Sure, they have a good first impression (maybe, depending on the game they choose), but then they find that Minetest doesn't work beyond the vanilla game they downloaded.

And a third thing: A new user goes to the trouble of downloading MT and finds that they have to choose a game. No one wants to spend that extra time; they want to play. Something has to be bundled, and as I already said, MTG is the most qualified.

Minetest Game is too ingrained to remove, and it's pretty much too late to change. Is it really that bad? Not really.
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by firefox » Tue Sep 24, 2019 06:13

regarding the "no games included" thing:
emulator programs, such as Snes9x do that, which is only logical as they can't legally share game roms, yet there are people who criticise it as bad because "it's just a program and there are no games in it".

no matter how well presented to newbies it may get, there will always be those people.


the general mod dependance on MTG may be bad, but if everyone would create their very own base (like i do, if i wouldn't procrastinate so much) then most mods would be incompatible with each other.
for that, people have approved the idea of a shared base. currently that is MTG, and while it may not be the best, a new one would probably not be much different.
someone will always dislike something, in the end the new base might end up the same as MTG now, just with different names and appearance.
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by ShadMOrdre » Tue Sep 24, 2019 06:28

Yes, rather than strip it out, simply clarify it's intended purpose.

A simple sandbox game environment to show case the engine features, and to provide one base upon which users can write mods.

Other "games" should be included, but instead of packaging them in, and thus requiring maintainence work from someone somewhere to ensure that each release of MT engine also includes up to date games......

No wonder the devs include only MTG. Simple, lightweight, easy to maintain, easy to package, and completely in control of licensing.

NO OTHER game can say that

So, "games" should be included not in the package, but easily installable from within the main menu from the content db. The content db should have two ways to showcase games. For existing games, a most popular and a most downloaded. Just don't game the system to bump your game to the top. Also, a community supported list of featured and spotlighted games, to balance those games from the most popular/downloaded lists.

For new games, a completely separate showcase, to give the new games a chance to be found and highlighted, without having to compete for space in either of the above lists. Just to help keep it fair for game devs, and easy for users.


At first I hoped Wuzzy meant to encourage the disassembly of default mod, but alas, just another rant about how bad MTG is. MCL sucks just as bad, being the MC open world sandbox with no clear goal that it attempts to ripoff.

Instead of whining, post solutions. Mods. Game bases. Something constructive. Whining about problems doesn't solve them. Solutions are only found in hard work. Let's start that part of the process, and leave the tired worn out, over dramatized, well discussed, too well regurgitated whiny part of the "discussion" behind. We ALL KNOW how bad MTG is. We play it too. The difference, as pointed out above, is rather than cry about spilled milk, I'd rather get the towel and starting cleaning it up.

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by Linuxdirk » Tue Sep 24, 2019 07:33

firefox wrote:regarding the "no games included" thing:
emulator programs, such as Snes9x do that

Completely OT here, but have you tried Higan/bsnes? It's cycle-accurate for most emulated chips and with HD mode 7 SNES games look completely new. (But need some work to get the correct chip firmwares, but this is very well documented so when you manually dump your legally obtained hardware you can compare the MD5 checksums and name the dump files accordingly.)

firefox wrote:the general mod dependance on MTG may be bad, but if everyone would create their very own base (like i do, if i wouldn't procrastinate so much) then most mods would be incompatible with each other.

Nah, that is just not the case. The reason why so many mods and games depend on "Minetest Game" is that it provides the mod "default" that adds a lot of stuff and some APIs.

This should all be extracted and should be made available individually through the content database so mods/games no longer need to depend on default - which itself could be a "meta mod" not providing any real content but simply depending on all the stuff that was extracted so backwards compatibility is granted when someone simply depends on "default".
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by firefox » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:42

Linuxdirk wrote:This should all be extracted and should be made available individually through the content database so mods/games no longer need to depend on default - which itself could be a "meta mod" not providing any real content but simply depending on all the stuff that was extracted so backwards compatibility is granted when someone simply depends on "default".

but wouldn't that just produce another MTG-like game? (or mod collection)
and when it's not a functional game, how would people use it when there are just functions but nothing "usuable out of the box" inside?
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by Linuxdirk » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:50

firefox wrote:don't interpret too much into that example.

Aww, too bad. With such an example like actually naming an SNES emulator ... :)

firefox wrote:it's not like having MTG bundled would prevent users from looking at other games.

Not quite sure about that. People are lazy. They search for "Minecraft" in their repository and Minetest pops up. They read the description and install it and start a new game ... and see that it is very barren and no fun at all after a few minutes. Most of them likely remove it because they do not care about Minetest being an engine and "Minetest Game" being just a modding base.

It's like a restaurant offering awesome food but not advertising even being a restaurant and not giving out menus to the randomly appearing guests but expecting guests to go to the kitchen and check for food they like.

firefox wrote:there are those who know what it is, those who read and learn about it, and those who don't read at all and judge everything by the first few screenshots they see.

Exactly. And the vast majority of people downloading/installing Minetest does not care about games or mods.
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by benrob0329 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 13:16

Instead of whining, post solutions


OP has literally spent years developing one of the most mature games we have, revived an otherwise dead and broken game, has made countless mods, the tutorial game, and needs to "post solutions"?

I support removing MTG as the default, and showing the ContentDB on first startup. This would allow new players to see that we have so much more than one or two base-games to offer. Even if it still just downloads MTG/Repixture/Tutorial/Some Other Thing on first load or what have you, doing so through the CDB interface shows players that we have more. Of course, letting them choose a game themselves is better but people seem to think the players we want are the ones too lazy to look at 99.9% of the content we have.
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by texmex » Tue Sep 24, 2019 13:24

I wholeheartedly support this suggestion. The best part is that now that we have the whole ecosystem of content distribution in place both on the web and in-game, the path forward is clearer than ever before. Let's tighten integration between game client and the web-based ContentDB so that content becomes even more discoverable and easily installable. The minetest:// custom browser protocol feature suggestion would improve these possibilities, for example.

v-rob wrote:Yea, MTG isn't the greatest. But what are the alternatives? MTG is stable and has the most possibilities.

v-rob wrote:And are Repixture or Voxelgarden different and better enough to replace Minetest Game? I don't think so.


MTG is just a sandbox, while Repixture and Voxelgarden both have more gameplay mechanisms than MTG.

v-rob wrote:Picture a new user: They download MineClone 2 only to find that NONE of the mods in the Content Database work. That would turn out as an even bigger detriment to many players.


No it would not. A first-impression decent game will shape opinion more than extensability. But even if true, how to ever change that fact if not by pivoting away from promoting a non-game?

v-rob wrote:Minetest Game is too ingrained to remove, and it's pretty much too late to change. Is it really that bad? Not really.


What's with this entrenched conservative approach towards development? Is the Minetest at the end-of-curve maintenance mode already?? Life-support though still at 0.5? (Well, 5.x, but you know) Minetest hasn't even hit any mainstream adoption at all yet so if ever, now is the time to adjust former mistakes.

ShadMOrdre wrote:Instead of whining, post solutions.


Do you mean this topic?? Imo this is a very concrete, constructive solution to a severe problem. It's well-presented and thoroughly argued for.
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by duane » Wed Sep 25, 2019 02:08

texmex wrote:
ShadMOrdre wrote:Instead of whining, post solutions.


Do you mean this topic?? Imo this is a very concrete, constructive solution to a severe problem. It's well-presented and thoroughly argued for.


I suspect that what Shad means is put in a pull request with a finished solution. If no one likes your pull request, guess what, it's not going to fly -- in that case, either fork the project, or move on.

I like you, Wuzzy, and I think you're an outstanding developer, but I'm getting weary of these diatribes against MTG that seem to be primarily motivated by a desire to promote your own game. Not all of us are interested in it.
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by benrob0329 » Wed Sep 25, 2019 04:17

duane wrote:I like you, Wuzzy, and I think you're an outstanding developer, but I'm getting weary of these diatribes against MTG that seem to be primarily motivated by a desire to promote your own game. Not all of us are interested in it.


>Doesn't mention his own games
>Isn't keen on including the one suggested in a recent issue with the engine, even though others are
>Is not the first to suggest that MTG be treated like any other game and the ContentDB be what is mainly promoted (I mentioned it to ruben a while ago, but people weren't keen on the idea)
>But somehow is doing this mostly just to promote his own game

Now don't get me wrong, many of the recent threads could be written much nicer, but I understand the frustration that can be had with stuff like this. PRs aren't worth the time to write if there is no support. I suspect a goal would need to be defined that includes promoting the ContentDB before any pre-installed games long before MTG would ever be removed.
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by Linuxdirk » Wed Sep 25, 2019 06:54

benrob0329 wrote:Now don't get me wrong, many of the recent threads could be written much nicer, [...]

All of the the threads are written wonderfully on point. The absolute right amount of anger and passion. Unfortunately this is misunderstood by a lot of people and some of the devs.
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by rubenwardy » Wed Sep 25, 2019 07:28

This could actually be a constructive thread if it wasn't derailed quite so quickly

I support removing special status from minetest game to encourage more parity of games. However, despite all its criticisms, Minetest Game is still the best game to recommend to new users as it is reasonably stable. It is actually quite fun when you add a few mods on top of it. Promoting the ability to install other games when first opening the client would hopefully encourage the creation and continued maintenance of other games
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by Linuxdirk » Wed Sep 25, 2019 07:48

rubenwardy wrote:Minetest Game is still the best game to recommend to new users as it is reasonably stable. It is actually quite fun when you add a few mods on top of it.

That's the exact point of this thread. Neither is it a game (not even close to "the best game"), nor can we expect absolute newbies and casuals to dig through mods they want to install. MTG is barren and lacks everything a good game should have. Mods do solve the problem for experienced players and server owners but someone having their first contact with Minetest likely be like "wtf" and installs Minecraft.

Having it not being the default game and offering the games tab (or a version of it more fitting in a gaming setting) instead would be a far better solution than having a barren modding promoted as default game.
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by texmex » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:38

(Apologies if I’ve somehow contributed to any derailment of the topic.)

When thinking about it the discussion on whether MTG is still the most decent starter game or not is kind of irrelevant.

Instead, why not promote games on features? With this solution it would still be in the cdb game section among the others. There it can be accurately presented by something along the lines of: ”A lightweight stable sandbox game maintained by the Minetest Core Developer team”.

If new players are looking for those features then it’s a one-click install.

This move will benefit games that haven’t yet been made as much as existing games. It will incentivize makers that new games will be much more easily discoverable in the MT ecosystem, which will in turn catalyze more content creation.

The content distribution system is already in place, so let’s evolve the whole ecosystem!
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by runs » Wed Sep 25, 2019 21:15

I think MTG is cool as a base game. it should be not removed.

Nerds should only know that could add some mods over it.
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by Wuzzy » Wed Sep 25, 2019 23:03

I'm not too happy with how the discussion turned out so far, tbh.

I think many posters (not all!) just seem to miss the point.

I would really like it if you could just start replying directly to my 10 points brought in the 1st post instead of talking in circles …

Thanks! :D


Another thing: Mods aren't neutral; many of them only work with MTG, so removing MTG as default will make nearly no mods work. Picture a new user: They download MineClone 2 only to find that NONE of the mods in the Content Database work. That would turn out as an even bigger detriment to many players. Sure, they have a good first impression (maybe, depending on the game they choose), but then they find that Minetest doesn't work beyond the vanilla game they downloaded.

I think this is just a terrible argument to keep things as they are. Part of the reason why the overwhelming majority of mods are for MTG is exactly because of its default status.

Also, it's nonsense that the mods would cease working. I don't want to kill it. But the modders might have to specify the game they mod in future. But any good modder already does that. :P

Minetest Game is too ingrained to remove, and it's pretty much too late to change. Is it really that bad? Not really.

Ooff, I really dislike this negativity. And I think this is also completely false. Removing the default status of MTG would not break anything at all. In fact, development can happily continue without any issues. It's basically just a (non-)promotion thing.

The content db should have two ways to showcase games. For existing games, a most popular and a most downloaded.

Meh. The majority is rarely right. I am strongly in favor of some basic curation. Games should be required to tick a couple of boxes in a quality checklist to even be eligible for promotion. Like, not crashing every 5 seconds.

A first-impression decent game will shape opinion more than extensability.

Quoted for emphasis.

However, despite all its criticisms, Minetest Game is still the best game to recommend to new users as it is reasonably stable.

I DO agree about the stability part.
But I disagree about the “new users” part. As long MTG does not have a crafting guide, it's not accessible enough. IMO the missing crafting guide is the most important missing feature in MTG.

I think MTG is cool as a base game. it should be not removed.

Sigh. Nobody wants to kill MTG. It's only about removing the default status.
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by TumeniNodes » Thu Sep 26, 2019 00:12

But every game has a "default"
MCL2 has "core" but, no matter what it is named, "default". "core", "base", or "Louie"... there has to be somewhere that common, useful code is stored... otherwise you will have a mangled gathering of regurgitated code throughout, to use the same sounds and textures throughout each individual mod which can be used by the base game

As I stated many times, default (or whatever it is called) should only provide the basic materials related to the world itself... anything outside of this should be added via mods... making the overall game a huge modpack where mods can be interchangeable
Each individual game, should be able to host it's own space for mods available for that specific game, and the mods should be installable/uninstallable (just like one can do with MTG)
Which means that development of the Minetest Engine may need to become more "neutral" and not solely focused on MTG. (Then again, this is where MTG began in the first place... as a testing/proving ground so...., catch22)
All games should be independent regardless of what their core, base or default is

MTG as the "official" introduction should remain (in my own opinion) but... there is a caveat... it needs some reorganizing and love... (and it is actually getting just that but, under a skeleton crew of what used to be.)
If some are so hard up to remain at 0.4.17 then let them fork & host the code and maintain it as a separate group like "Minetest Classic" or something dumb like that.

Need to stop worrying about backwards compatibility for such old code, that should have stopped at 5.0.x and people told to suck it up and that they have an option to host it all themselves and maintain it... period.

So, with no way to make this comment shorter... my opinion is to keep MTG, but to really push polishing it out more.
If a PR seems "trivial" but it is related to a feature which much older and even newer but less extravagantly coded games have... then merge it in if there is a PR. Even if it is not exactly "perfect"
Yes... it has to work, and at least close to the desired function but the little bits can be addressed at a later date.
I promise that not every bit of code in MC is executed precisely perfect and following the code styles to the T.

That's my small, drawn out opinion. Sorry if it strays but that's how my brain works
I answered or put my opinion in on at least the main topic of this thread anyway.
Ich mag keine grünen Eier und Schinken, ich mag sie nicht Sam I Am
 

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rubenwardy
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by rubenwardy » Thu Sep 26, 2019 06:19

Wuzzy wrote:But I disagree about the “new users” part. As long MTG does not have a crafting guide, it's not accessible enough. IMO the missing crafting guide is the most important missing feature in MTG.


Minecraft didn't receive a craft guide until.March 2017. It's an important feature, but you underestimate the willingness for people to google
 

GayJesus
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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by GayJesus » Thu Sep 26, 2019 06:38

I prefer a clean slate with the option to customize with mods. I hope that doesn't grow into a game with features that only a coder can remove unwanted bulk and remain stable.

PolySaken wrote:On a fresh install a message saying "Please install a game" should show up, and possibly even take the user directly to the content tab.


A stable base plus Polysakens idea. The content tab could advertise a few basic games suited for everyone. Minors, mature, heavy or lite devices, creative, pvp or rpg ect.. And stable mods for those who wish to customize and run their own servers.
 

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Re: Strip the default status from MTG

by parasite » Thu Sep 26, 2019 07:22

In my opinion the only logical solution is to remove any kind of game from the minetest distribution.

We have some games, more or less complete, but I suspect that none of these games satisfy 100% of players. Should all of them be integrated with the default config of minetest as MTG is now? In addition, many games are later abandoned by their creators and become _outdated_. Should minetest devs monitor the game scene very detailed way all the time to know which games should be excluded from further distribution? Which games should be considered worth integrated with the default distribution of minetest? And what to do when all of these games will be outdated?

MTG - as a template that you complete with mods by your own to create the game you want - is OK, but since it raises so much controversy, maybe it would be better if minetest app - after downloading it from the Net by someone - did not contain even MTG.

Therefore, the best solution would be if the default minetest distribution only contained information: You can add games here and play them in singleplayer mode or create an own server for other players. Games can be found and downloaded here ...
 

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