Tuxemon: Gaining more contributors & targeted calls to action

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By freshreplicant 23 Sep 2020 11:23

New member · 3 comments

Hey everyone, I've been thinking about ways that Tuxemon could gain more contributors and get boost in its development.

I believe that one basic thing needs to be addressed:


People outside the project often get the mistaken impression that Tuxemon is a dead project.


In part, I believe this is due to the Tuxemon project having spread to various platforms over the years, which could not be actively maintained due to the relatively small size of the community. One example of this being: https://www.reddit.com/r/Tuxemon/. The newest post on Reddit is old year old, from somebody having issues downloading Tuxemon on Ubuntu. This post has 0 replies. The next newest posts are 2 years and 4 years old respectively.
   

The Tuxemon website itself adds to that impression. The donations page only one donation from 2016 listed. It is not immediately clear if this really the last donation received, or if the table just isn't being updated. This page also links to Patreon which, though it opens up another possible route for donations, adds some confusion about where the best place to donate is if you want to support Tuxemon. Do on both platforms go towards the same objectives? It also means somebody has to maintain the PayPal donations table, as well as a Patreon page. If either fall behind, it adds more fuel to the 'dead project' impression.

On the website's homepage, features that don't appear to be implemented yet (or any more) in the game take centre stage, in a way that may be slightly misleading:


"Multiplayer. Battle your friends online in their world."
"Fusions. Create new, unique creatures."
(Not sure if the phone controller idea is still present in the current state of the game)

The images from the carousel are old and not terribly exciting, with one image linking to the multiplayer section.

Only when you visit the 'About' section, is it clear that the project is still in 'alpha level':

"Note that Tuxemon is currently alpha-level software."

But even here, some information may be out of date:

"The current release has a two maps that you can walk around in that demonstrates some of the functions that have been implemented so far. "

The 'Music' section only contains:

"Coming Soon...."


How these issues could be addressed:


For the active community members, an inventory of platforms should be made. What platforms might one find mention of Tuxemon on, and which are still actively maintained? If they are not actively maintained or visibly 'alive', they should be either:

1) Closed/Deleted
or
2) Updated with a disclaimer linking to platforms where Tuxemon is more active (such as Discord).

This may require making sure that the active community members have access to all relevant social media accounts, etc. created for Tuxemon (It also might be worth looking at things like https://tree.taiga.io/project/tuxemon-tuxemon/ to see if they are still useful).

- - -

An example for option 2) above for Reddit:

TO STICKY/PIN ON R/TUXEMON:

NO! Tuxemon hasn’t died fainted! Our dev team and small but active community are alive and kicking...we’re just not very active on Reddit.

Want to contribute and get involved?

You can join us on Discord:

https://discord.com/invite/3ZffZwz


On our Forums:

https://forum.tuxemon.org/


On Github:

https://github.com/Tuxemon/Tuxemon


Or on IRC:

https://tuxemon.org/irc.html

- - -

Doing either 1 or 2 will effectively 'prune' the Tuxemon project and let the parts that are still active shine through, which in turn will help ensure that people potentially interested in contributing don't feel discouraged because they believe the project is dead.

The Tuxemon website could be more clear about the actual state of the project. This will do two things:

1) Head off disappointment from newcomers that are expecting a finished game with features like multiplayer and fusions.

2) Send a clear signal to contributors: "Hey! These are our cool ideas, this is what we have done so far and this is where we could use your help!" Links to Github issues, roadmaps, etc. should be front and centre where possible.

Once the steps above have been achieved and the smaller but active core of the Tuxemon project has been revealed, the next step can follow:


Spreading the word:


Now that you have set out a place for new contributors and made clear what Tuxemon could use help with, you can start trying to gather more contributors.

For this it would be helpful to have some set calls to action that could be used on Tuxemon's social media pages or website, which target a specific 'demographic' and point each to a specific way that can help the project. These MUST be used sparingly and only in places where the will not be perceived as a 'spam'. On the feeds of official Tuxemon accounts might be one such place.


Some examples below, each targeted at potential audiences (when Github, Issues, IRC, etc. are mentioned, these should be links):

- - -

1. PYTHON CALL TO ACTION (79 WORDS)

Are you a Python Dev/Evangelist out on a mission to show the world that Python can be used to build amazing games?

We could use your help! Join us on Github, check out our Milestones and Issues (especially those tagged ‘Help needed’). Engage with the developers and community on Discord, our forums or IRC.

We’ve already done a lot, but even with a few tiny contributions, you can help us make Tuxemon a showcase of Python’s true potential.

- - -
2. FOSS CALL TO ACTION (62 WORDS):

Are you passionate about open source software and games?

Want to break the shackles that bind the monster hunting/training genre and bring a truly open monster game and engine to the masses? Join the Tuxemon project and guide more people to the power and potential of open source software.

Engage with the developers and community on our forums, our Github or IRC.

- - -
3. ENTHUSIAST CALL TO ACTION (87 WORDS):

Are you a monster hunting and training fanatic?

Don’t necessarily care about Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) but just have to play ‘em all? Frustrated with the features that the big name franchises or other indie games have given you? Have helpful and useful ideas to make the genre better or just love to draw or code? Then check out Tuxemon. You won’t just have to play what others make; you can help raise our project like your very own digital monster. 

Engage with the developers and community on Discord, our forums or IRC.

- - -

4. ARTIST CALL TO ACTION (122 WORDS):

Do you spend your days dreaming up and drawing magnificent monsters?

Fascinated with drawing 2D tilesets and sprites in homage to the classics? Love your ideas enough to let them go free (and open source)? Let Tuxemon be their forever home. Your creatures and assets will come to life in campaigns, maps and stories shaped and shared by our community and developers. And hey, if you’d love to do this but really need to put food on the table, the Tuxemon community has commissioned artists in the past and may well do so again in future – so keep in touch!

Engage with the developers and community on Discord, our forums or IRC.

- - -
5. POKEMON FAN GAME & PROJECT CALL TO ACTION (109 WORDS):

Do you have amazing ideas for fan games based on a certain monster fighting franchise?

Have ideas for monsters, settings or regions that this franchise won’t give you? Afraid that after pouring hours of your imagination, time and effort into your creations a legion of lawyers will just charge in and burn it all down around you? Join the Tuxemon project. We have hundreds of open source creatures, art assets and lines of code ready to help you realise your vision. Your creations will help create a truly independent, flexible and diverse place for monster fighting fans.

Engage with the developers and community on Discord, our forums or IRC.


In Closing


A lot of great work has been done recently by a small but productive few. It would be great to maximise the reach and impact of their efforts and attract more potential contributors to ease their burden somewhat, making sure these core contributors don't get burned out and letting them take guilt free breaks in between. Challenges lie ahead, but Tuxemon is a unique project with a lot of potential and solid foundations.

Curious to see what others think of these ideas, your feedback or own ideas are very welcome.

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By tamashihoshi 23 Sep 2020 12:52

Champion · 261 comments

Kudos to you my man!

Those are valid points. One could definitely update the website. I personally didn't have a reddit account until recently, so I never checked the tuxemon subreddit.

Now, someone probably has to work a bit beforehand, I'm not sure how much time ShadowApex has to tackle all of this - but that's why we're a community right?

I'm not sure about having access to all relevant social media channels. I guess it is a bit hard to organize who posts what at what time... I fear there is software that might help but also make it more complicated, duh sad

We could put up updates on patreon. Like, we have a document (something like cryptpad or whatever) where we collect updates over the month (new or progress on monsters, functionality, maps, story etc.). Once per month someone could write a little bit of text and throw it out into the wild on patreon?

Once the project has automatic builds (thanks bitcraft!) we could also add it to itch.io or gamejolt, changes from the pateron list could be added as a devlog, idk. Not sure if that gets too much though...

I think we defo need someone who is just doing PR, until this project reaches a state where it speaks for itself.

Something important maybe: We can shout around as much as we want, but if there is noone on reddit listening, noone on pateron listening, noone over the website listening, noone on youtube listening, it won't work...

I dunno how one could manage this, but something I know from art is: Art trades. You create artwork for someone and get one back - sharing eachothers talent with the fanbase of one other. Is something like this managable for us?

I know there has been dozens of commisions for tuxemon already, but I'm not talking about "I get paid, it's my job and when I'm done it's over"... more like, devs chatting with each other, getting to know each others projects. Or artists getting in touch, maybe writer getting in touch. I think there's a subreddit for writer, what if someone writes down (if not done already) the plot of spyder in the cathedral and asks for feedback?

There's a lot of stuff floating around right now, I'm glad you try to pick up the loose ends here.. thank you very much! I hope my gibberish can somewhat help big_smile

Also a shoutout to all our members at this point who have been working on this project for such a long time, you guys are really inspiring and amazing! Love yoouuu! °v°


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By freshreplicant 23 Sep 2020 13:44

New member · 3 comments

Ideally, ShadowApex wouldn't need to do anything, except maybe find a way to give some trusted community members access to 1-2 key things like the Tuxemon subreddit.

Agree with you on the Patreon, that would be worthwhile investing a little into and updating even just once a month.

I think to maximise the impact of such a small community, you need to be really strict about where you post, rather than trying to be everywhere at once. So maybe narrow it down to say, the Discord, Forums and Patreon. No need to post somewhere like Reddit if you pin a post that directs people to the more active places in the community.

Even if we only have 5 or so active members, if newcomers check these places and see activity, new features, etc., they might be encouraged to join in.

IRC is dead right now, but it might be interesting to look at setting up an IRC bridge in Discord. They have that setup for the Unofficial Minetest Discord, allowing users from Discord to post on the IRC as well (the IRC is just another channel on the Discord server). That would make it easier to occasionally check the IRC.

A tool that would allow you to schedule one post across say, Mastodon, Twitter and maybe the Patreon (or Reddit) would be great. That way somebody could for example spend 1 hour and just set up 6 posts, one for each month targetting all 3 platforms at once. Something like https://www.socialoomph.com/ might work.

If individual community members still want to post outside these 2-3 'Official' Tuxemon platforms, then that's fine. They could still do what you suggest and ask for input on the story, do art trades, etc. As long as even the tiniest bit of automated official Tuxemon stuff is being posted, it will keep the project visibly alive.

There's also some developer/open source specific places we could highlight certain issues from Github, such as places like https://up-for-grabs.net/#/ which target new developers.

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By Sanglorian 24 Sep 2020 13:12

Champion · 550 comments

Thanks for doing this thinking, freshreplicant -- I like it! And I agree some of the places we do outreach could do with a fresh lick of paint.

I've seen some websites set up as their own Github projects ... I wonder if that'd work for tuxemon.org as well? That way ShadowApex could still approve any changes, but others could put in pull requests.

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By freshreplicant 24 Sep 2020 16:29

New member · 3 comments

Does this exist already?

https://github.com/Tuxemon/Tuxemon-Website

It appears this repo hasn't been updated in 3 years though and a pull request from 2018 that didn't seem to get reviewed:

https://github.com/Tuxemon/Tuxemon-Website/pull/6

If nobody else has access to this, it would be good if ShadowApex could appoint at least one trusted person to be able to accept pull requests.