Project announcement

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Public relations.png This article covers public relations!

Public relations articles cover the interaction of the developers of the project with the community. Taking care of public relations is a key task of the project management department.

Project announcement #1 is the first public announcement that presents PARPG to a broader audience. It's meant to be posted on various forums as well as at the FIFE developer blog.

Contents

Title

PARPG - a post-apocalyptic RPG in early planning stages.

What is PARPG?

PARPG is the working title of an isometric open source roleplaying game based on a post-apocalyptic setting. The project is currently still in its early planning stages. It will be a hommage to the golden age of RPGs of the late 90's and early postmillenium years. Main source of inspiration will be the Fallout series but also other classics of the genre, e.g. Arcanum and Planescape: Torment.

There are no fancy screenshots in this announcement so in case you're just looking for the eyecandy don't be disappointed: there is none at this stage of development.

The vapourware trap

You've seen such announcements prolly over a dozen times before and the vast majority of them might have turned out as vapourware in the long run. There is no guarantee that PARPG might not suffer from the same tragic issues however I'm trying to explain why this project has a better chance of succeeding than some others that you've seen in the past.

My main source of confidence is my prior experience in the field of open source development. I was one of the founders of the open source game engine project FIFE and worked on the project over the course of three full years from 2005-2008. While working on FIFE I learnt a fair share about project management in general; but also about public relations, developer recruitment, maintenance of development-related infrastructure (SVN, Trac, Wiki) and software engineering in particular. This development background will hopefully help the PARPG project to succeed in the long run.

I know that it's impossible to remove doubts about the future development of the project at this moment. Some might still know me from my involvement in FIFE and I can hopefully convince the ones who don't know me yet with solid progress over the course of the next months.

Technical framework

There is no final decision about all details of the technical framework of PARPG yet. What can be said is that the majority of the game-related code will be written in Python. Python - the 2.5x brach of it for now - was chosen as it features an easy to adopt clean syntax (yes, we are aware of the whitespace complaints), comes with a large standard library and seems to be well suited for easy and fast prototyping of game concepts. We might need to mix in some C or C++ in case time-critical code turns out to be too slow in Python.

The most important decision besides the programming language of choice is the question which engine to use for PARPG. FIFE might be well-suited for the task, however I'm not a programmer so I won't try to enforce any decision in this direction. One of the key principles of the project is subsidiarity: leave the important decisions to the departments that understand them. Therefore we'll sit together with interested programmers later to see what kind of choices we have (FIFE, GemRB, custom engine based on libraries like pyglet, etc.) and decide about it once we feel like having a clearer picture of what we want to achieve and what kind of technical framework would be needed for this purpose.

Setting, game mechanics, key design elements

The exact setting is yet to be defined. There are numerous interesting locations to be picked. The game could be set in a snow-covered world, or in a more temperate climate or perhaps in a desert as in the Fallout games. The final decision would be on a community of skilled people with imagination, in which great concepts would hopefully evolve.

Game mechanics are planned to feature a combination of meaningful, well-written dialog and turn-based combat. The player would have multiple progress paths through the game and not all would include combat. The combat itself would be turn-based and include various tactics to overcome your foes.

Everything else besides that is up to the people who are attracted by the points outlined above, have experience in the relevant fields and would like to get involved in PARPG development. A compiled list of key design elements (which are currently more personal proposals than decisions set in stone) as well as important remarks about the project philosophy can be found at the PARPG wiki.

What is done

So what is done so far? A couple of things: I've set up the basic infrastructure for the project (blog, forums, SVN, Trac, wiki) and I've started to outline the concept at the wiki. I might need three additional weeks to flesh out the remaining details that are currently flying around in my head but haven't been written down yet. Once these steps are tackled, I'll start to try to recruit developers for the other development departments: writing, game mechanics, programming and graphics. Audio / music is not a top priority at the moment so we could get started without any developer in this field though having a composer or an audio engineer on the team is surely a nice plus.

What's still left to take care of

A couple of things are unfinished business at the moment. I'm still waiting for a final decision from sourceforge if my hosting plea gets accepted. Hopefully they'll get back to me in the next couple of days. Furthermore there are a bunch of wiki articles left to flesh out. I'm not totally sure what kind of essential information is still missing before actual recruitment can start but that's why I decided to announce the project at this early stage of development.

The purpose of this announcement

I'm posting this announcement on a couple of forums where I'm either actively contributing or at least lurking on a regular basis. Hopefully there are community members out there who would like to provide early feedback. The best part of it is that there is still a lot of things to decide so your informed opinion can make a real difference.

Feel free to sign up at the forums, take a peek into the project wiki, visit the development blog or simply join the project's IRC channel. All kind of early feedback concerning the game (development) concept outlined at the project wiki is really appreciated.

Contributions

Last but not least one final word about contributions: the project is still in its planning phase. That means I'm still busy writing down my ideas to convince other developers to join the effort. Once concepts are properly outlined - which will be hopefully around the end of February - official recruitment can start. The contribution policy is: power to the people who understand what they're doing and who don't mind spending some time on doing so. That means that although all kind of feedback is appreciated and will be taken into account, decision making will happen among the developers of the revelant department who invested their time into the project. We prefer the rule of decisions based on informed discussion over the rule of decisions by simple majority vote.

If you would like to know more about the next steps of PARPG development beyond the developers recruitment phase, feel free to check out the roadmap article at the wiki. Furthermore we recently compiled some first guidelines for interested contributors.

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