Proposed Changes

Since the departure of @erlend_sh from the team the project has had no manager. This has resulted in the slow declination of guidance and overall managerial tasks of the engine and the forum, so I am proposing some changes to improve the workflow, appearance and future of the engine.

  • Delegate a Manager
    I propose that I be delegated as the project manager. I have mainly worked on the server side of things virtually since my arrival, but feel that my presence can be better utilized through improving the footprint of the engine on the internet through changes to the website and organizing the team we have to ensure the titles are recent and up-to-date. I’m happy to continue with the server stuff, but it’s so rare these days it’s barely even a thing.

My proposals to improve jmonkey are as follows:

  • Retiring core developers that are no longer active.
    Many users listed as core developers are no longer active. I propose we attempt to contact these developers and enquire about their proposed future activity. In the case the user does not respond or expresses that they no longer wish to contribute for one reason or another, move them to a new group labelelled “Retired Core Developer”. This not only establishes the fact that they do not actively contribute (and as such aren’t @mentioned for things they no longer participate in) but gives new blood the opportunity to be promoted. There are several names that speak for themselves in the github repository that warrant such promotion, and said users should be noted as such should they accept. This also means that a “Core Developer” is an active one, not a developer we haven’t heard from in 5 years. It brings more clarity to the status of active development. Right now we “just dont know” who is and who isnt actively contributing.

  • This is the same for “contributor” titles.

This may take some time to get through, but as it stands now, the titles don’t really mean a lot as a result of the lack of secretarial work over the years. Titles need to mean something, and they need to be as a result of recent vetting. Nobody is saying “you need to contribute x times a month” - but if you haven’t even logged in for 5 years…

  • Clean up the github repositories
    Several of the repositories aren’t even necessary. Some are test projects, some aren’t valid anymore. The whole area needs to be cleaned up. People that are no longer active and have no desire to be active anymore should have their permissions removed so people that are active can take their place.

  • Improve the homepage.
    The homepage hasn’t been updated since the forum migrated. There’s nothing “wrong” with it per-se but many improvements have been made since then and they should be highlighted. PBR, Shader Nodes, GLTF models, etc. None of these are visible. The general consensus of the engine on the internet is that it is outdated, and while it may not be as cutting edge as other engines, it certainly isn’t as old as a “glancing look” would suggest. A news page, features page, a page about what our license actually means for individuals and companies. These things alone will show that the engine isn’t “stuck in the mud”.

  • Replace the header links with an actual FAQ page. Be it a simple dedicated/locked post or a page unto itself. We’re cramming one thing into another because we don’t have the other.

  • Actively support the Store
    We all know that an asset store of some kind has been needed for a long time. Now that one is available the community and team should take this opportunity and allow it the opportunity to improve the engine. People will have a place to display and sell products. All funding/profits go straight back into the engine in one form or another.

  • Promote Modern Communication Technologies
    Links should be provided for the following:
    – Youtube. We are just not using it. I have no idea who owns the current one, but if we can’t get a hold of it, we should just make a new one and start using it. There are some really awesome videos out there and they should be put in a list so people can see how good this engine looks and what it can achieve. Nothing speaks better than a video.
    – Discord. I hear its what all the cool kids use. We should have an official one.

I think if we have the support and sponsorship of the community to deliver a more professional engine with regular news, an up-to-date developer team and a more managed outlook the website will look a lot less “static” than it is now and show joe public that the engine isn’t “sitting still” and that it’s moving into the modern era with everybody else. Right now all we have are github commits. There should be way more information about what’s actually going on, what people are doing, what it looks like, what it means and how it improves the engine.

Let’s bring this place right up to the edge of the knife already. Amirite?!?!

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I 100% agree with everything suggested above - jME is an awesome engine with a very talented developer community around it, but unless you’re already in the thick of things it’s hard to see. I think @jayfella’s suggestions above are on a great track, and if it’s relevant to the decision I’ll be the first to second his nomination to project manager.

since i agree with 80% of what you said, i mostly disagree this should be lead by one person (if yes, then this person should have big knowledge about each aspect of engine that noone have - together yes) so IMO just “Core members” together should decide about future of engine parts. I would rather make subranks like Render-specialist, physics-specialist, shader-specialist, since there are no people currently who are specialist in every part of engine.

thats just my opnion.

Anyway nothing will be done without current core-developer permission/help.

If I understand correctly, the “managing” @jayfella is referring to is handling/planning website, community, & infrastructure, not single-handedly directing (or controlling) changes or planning for the engine itself.

Yeah. I have no say in what others do. They do as they please whether I like it or not :stuck_out_tongue:

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Erlend was “barely” even a software developer and was the community/project manager for a long time. Managing a project doesn’t require any coding knowledge at all… just being able to wrangle cats.

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well i know, since i were under Project Manager before who had 0 knowledge in programming.

then i belive you had a very good communication so he knew every wrong moves he might do.
Communication is very important in case like this. Also i thought simple apps / sites is one, but 3d Project where need to know what are special terms and how it works, here this “barely” was required as minimum i think. Im surprised it worked anyway.

I think we can make this the official discord server

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We can think a little about the points that all are agreed with. They are important points as well.

The homepage made me thought that the engine is outdated for a long time.

A video to a new or planned feature on the engine will be very exciting and a record of some powerful games will make the engine more famous (many of java programmers don’t know about the engine).

Well said. 100% agree with everything written, but I have some comments.

It’s a nightmare finding anything that still works in jme-contributions github, so this gets a big :+1: from me.

Currently, jme’s Youtube and Twitter haven’t been active for a couple of years. That said, according to my Youtube view data, there is some potential for someone making jme content. My PBR tutorial got 8 views from people searching “jmonkeyengine” on Youtube in the last month, even though it’s not a beginner tutorial. That’s above average for my channel. Given that most jme youtube tutorials are outdated at this point, a new one might not be a bad idea.

Even though there already is a community discord, I kind of disagree with @RiccardoBlb about making it official. Most of us there have been there for so long, that we poke fun at each other for no real reason, like friends do, and new people joining often get confused and/or turned away by it.

Yeah, and while it’s nice chatting there… it also tends to be super negative a lot of times. There is a place for something like that (which is why it exists) but probably not good for an official JME channel.

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Right, but the point of having a discord server is to have unfiltered direct discussions, i think, otherwise it wouldn’t be much different from the forum…

  1. Where and what would they be @mentioned? On the forum? GitHub? Because currently we don’t have “that” dedicated place to discuss the future of the engine (like maybe a category “core developers”). But when here and when on a github issue and why one or the other? which is best?

So that’s a thing for you to think. I always handled it like this: small things, relevant to a tiny problem -> Issue. Otherwise: here.

  1. “Core Developer” is a title that I wouldn’t feel confident to wear. It sounds like you’d have to write large parts of the engine to be “the chosen one” like kirill, paul and remy were. I don’t know if that is “the” title. Maybe just have “Contributors” and section specific “Maintainers”. However for the short term we probably will only have Contributors, because:

  2. While these changes sound good, they are a thing for the future, because the reason we still have the “Old Gods” is because we effectively lack new blood, there is like no one contributing, which could be promoted. However I guess the plans for Social media Presence as well as a clear guidance (like what should we work on next), will definitely help attract, because nobody knows where he/she could help atm, so that noone offers his/her help.

Yes, I also would be against it or to say it more drastic: If it became official, I would be less less active. I know these Discords and having a more direct way for problems will be like providing personal support for everyone with their tiny issues.

I like the Discord because as grizeldi said it’s a place to hang out with like minded monkeys and be silly. Maybe share some experience, complain about common issues, maybe also sometimes discuss ideas and solve problems, but the main point is:

The forum is better for problem solving. A well put post is much more informative than asking back and forth a few hours, most problems get solved while structured typing and formulating the problem and when not, they are ARCHIVED for the future. As soon as this discord is “official”, it will be the 24/7 support group where you can even annoy people and tell them to stop playing a game to help them asap.

So yeah, it kinda shouldn’t replace the forum. Not sure how a non-negative official Discord would look like and what the topics would be then apart from support

I mean, yeah, but sgold has been “core developer” in everything but name for a while now.

In the “Erlend days”, the “core developer” team would have already been turned over twice by now… or his pushing to refresh would have kept people active.

wrong topic lol

Unfiltered direct discussions is one thing. 80% of the traffic being local politics, engine bashing, and “I’m writing something under Unity/unreal” is another.

There is absolutely a need for something like that… which you already have.

But it might be nice if someone wading into the JME waters looking for direct access to other JME folks could count on things being a little more on topic.

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Which?

I think that was meant to be in the staff topic.

Maybe… I was responding to:

In the old days, Erlend would push hard to put those titles on active contributors.

Yeah, that’s all true.

Many discussions happen on that channel that I wish were forum posts so that I could respond better.

As a developer who cares about the engine, I find it almost impossible to hang out there, though. Half the ‘questions’ start “This engine sucks so bad, I can’t even get it to do X.” So maybe not a good place for core devs to hang out.