Major issues of the current website

I created the Grappling Hook game with the JMonkeyEngine 2 in 2009 and consider returning for my next project. Therefore I have fond memories of the engine, but the current website almost scared me off and I imagine it does scare of some new people, who have no past with the engine.

=== There is no proper feature list (or at least I haven’t found one on the website) ===
It looks like the JME offers only Physically Based Rendering, AppStates, Filters and Effects.
The front page doesn’t mention the level editor, terrain, bullet physics integration, nifty GUI, audio/music, animation, model importers, supported platforms, implemented shaders (SSAO, Bloom, …) …

Every engine website should have a features section:

  • The libgdx feature list is bare bone, but it gives a good overview and has links for more details: https://libgdx.badlogicgames.com/features.html
  • Godot has some pictures on the list, but links to easily delve deeper are missing
  • Unity has also a very bare-bone list, but it looks pretty complete

None of them are perfect, but they give a broad overview of what the engine is capable of. In my opinion the ideal feature list should come with with a nice screenshot/video for each feature and a link to delve deeper.

=== Disappointing showcase ===
The first entry in the showcase list is the PBR tutorial. This made me think “Huh, no games have been created with it in the last 11 years?” The screenshot and link of the PBR tutorial should be part of the feature list and not be part of the showcase.

After scrolling down I wondered, why the showcase only mentions so few projects that have been created with the engine.
The German JMonkey wikipedia lists 55 games: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/JMonkeyEngine#jME_basierte_Projekte
Some of them might have been created with JME1/2, but this doesn’t matter for a showcase. The showcase is there to make people excited about the engine by showing what cool stuff has been created with it.

A compelling engines showcase would show me at the first glance 3-5 cool games (with 1 small screenshot per game).

=== The new monkey logo looks unlikable ===
To me he looks crazy and evil. Is that intended?
In my opinion the old one looked much more likeable.

I hope this feedback helps the project, since I would love to see more games created with JME and the community grow again.

(I had to remove most of the links, because my old account is gone and new users are only allowed to add 2 links.)

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Godot feature list: https://godotengine.org/features
Old jmonkey logo:

Is the website open source (along side jmonkeyengine/sdk) ?

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Hi @ChrisTeister and welcome back!

Thank you for taking the time to offer your opinion from a “new” users perspective.

I’ve read over it, and I’ll have another read when I get on my PC and try to address the issues you highlighted.

@asser_fahrenholz yes the front end website is open sourced and on github.

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@ChrisTeister i guess its open for pull requests then :smiley:

It might also be a good idea to create a default text to post on the frontpage marking the release of a new version. Posting this text on the frontpage can be one of the steps of the release script/scenario. Include some version info, highlights, … and a link to the full release notes on github and a related forum post.

When looking at the frontpage now, it seems like the last version is 3.3.0-beta2.

I’m a big fan of consistency. We should post something about releases (maybe only with major releases?) or not. But announcing some releases and some not seems weird to me.

The thing is it’s almost impossible right now to do this automatically. There is no way to know what was added or updated other than someone manually creating one, and me using that as some kind of API to work from.

Also, I could technically do this myself, but I am only one man. I have quite a few plates spinning right now (store, front-end website, JmeDevKit, server management, community management, releasing JME projects, the list goes on). I am trying my best. I am almost annoyingly pushing sponsorship support so I can financially reject jobs to put more time in. At the moment I’m spending every spare minute I have, but I also have actual work to do to pay the bills :frowning:

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I just started on learning github actions yesterday so forgive my ignorance if this is wrong.

I think this can be done using github actions. When a release is published for jmonkeyengine repo, I think you could update a variable with the release version of the engine and trigger a build of the jmonkeyengine website repo. The jmonkeyengine website repo build could reference the variable, or variables and use them anyway you want.

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Agreed, but we would need an account of what actually happened between the previous release and the new one - which is where we come stuck - because commit messages don’t really mean a lot or describewhat it actually changed/added as a whole most of the time.

As the 3.3.2 release manager, publicizing/promoting it might be seen as my responsibility.

I see @ItsMike54 submitted website PR #4. What’s needed for that to be integrated?

I felt it was slightly basic and wanted to find some time to create a template of sorts for someone to work with that might not be so great at writing articles, but if you are happy to do so that would be great. I can push that change, too if you wish.

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Sorta hard to make something like that interesting. As far as new releases of the engine go, it would be a waste to put much more than how to start using the new one. :grinning:

That would be extremely useful for me and likely many others.
Regardless of who writes blog posts, somebody at least needs to do it.

Yeah it’s not so much a reflection of your article as much as it being an art writing articles. It’s quite difficult as I’m sure many are aware maintaining a nice flow. Having said that there’s not a huge variation of ingredients to play with as you said.

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I’ll take what @ItsMike54 wrote and try to improve on it.

Edit: here it is, in case someone wishes to review it before it goes live: https://github.com/jMonkeyEngine/website/pull/7

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Thanks @sgold

Maybe we can add a bit more to animation and PBR.

after this part

and an animation system rewritten from the ground up.

maybe to add something like this

that uses a new Tween API coming with stock tweens (i.e Sequence, Parallel, Delay, Stretch, CallMethod,…) and out of the box support for spatial, bone and morph animation clips with animation blending and interpolations.

and after

light-probe blending

to add something like

supporting Sphere and OrientedBox Probe areas.

any thought?

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I went ahead and published it already. Much appreciated @sgold and @ItsMike54

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Awesome, and thanks @sgold for putting the icing on the cake. :slightly_smiling_face:

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