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sickboy

Constructive Discussions about Community Solutions

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I would like to use this thread for constructive discussion about improving the BI Community, especially the Editing part of it.

As seen in the MLOD thread, there are a lot of questions, there are a lot of frustrations (because imo ppl have very little examples, guides, tuts etc).

As I wrote in that thread, BI is the game(engine) developer, we are the Community who make content for their games.

We should figure our things out, and share the information between our fellow "communiteeers", and if we get stuck we can ask specific questions to the BI Devs.

Again, I believe in the community itself, to be constructive, to help eachother, and to get eachother going and onto the next level.

"When you want to get things done, you'll have to do it yourself". "It's time to stop putting stuff on everyone else's plate and take the bull by the horns ourselves"

One of the problems, I believe, is that there might be proper information somewhere around on the web or behind closed doors etc... But not as obvious accessible to the masses, or in terms understandable for the masses.

People create content for the masses, but share information only to select people in small groups. Sure there's the occasional help in the forums etc, but the real tuts and the really interesting details are imo hard to find.

I'm pretty much pro-cooperation. This goes beyond sharing of information and guides, but this thread is imo mainly about the information dispersion within the BI Community, so ill not bore you with other intiatives smile_o.gif

Please feel free to comment on the initiative(s).

However I will ask Moderators to remove anything not constructive ("not constructive" does not mean "negative" per sé! )

====

General

I believe there's a shortage of information+guides, aswell as a bad availability of information. What we need is more guides/tutorials and a better availability/reachability of these documents.

I believe we could achieve a lot if we would

[*] Grow the current information, guides and tuts

[*] Ask most ArmA sites to spread the documentation or better the links to the resources

[*] I believe some kind of coordination would be important as to not document the same thing over and over smile_o.gif

The Biki

I believe the biki contains specific information for specific need. Usually on a more technical level, and not laid out for Beginners.

What we need is more guides. Guides for beginners, guides for more advanced tasks and so on.

A good example is the start of Panda's Modelling guide, and also RockofSL and xSparky are working on these things.

Sample Initiatives:

[*] Panda[PL]'s Moddeling Guide

[*] 6thSense.eu MP Scripting Guide

Workshops

We also talked about the possibility of workshops:

[*] Video / Audio

[*] Live / Recorded

[*] Virtual / Personal

[*] Beginner / Advanced

This would need people that have knowledge about the different ArmA editing areas, and people who can create or direct workshop videos/audio recordings etc.

For workshops in person it's going to be a lot harder to arrange, but I do remember Mapfact.net workshop and other stuff a while ago, maybe we can arrange something similair aswell.

You could get Beginners Training from more advanced members, or a group of more advanced members could learn from eachother, etc. etc.

Suggestions/Ideas/Wishes

[*]

One thing on the biki I'd like to see more of (and really helps) is when people link to relevant discussions or forum threads from the comments page.

[*]

..a serious set of tuts designed to teach people how to use Visitor etc, and especially configs. Configs is perhaps the least understood area certainly for me, I struggle with them each time I need to make one, usually bending an existing one to fit the new addon, surely not the best way to do it. And I have no idea as to how to generate one for a map should I ever try that out.

[*]

I think Sickboy that perhaps more people (addon makers) should have their own Biki resource that they maintain, as you do, even if it's for simple stuff they did, explaining how & why the addon came about, the methods used to make it, just like some sort of blog. Have an easy to implement system of integrating links in to your blog, for example the single biggest influence on the initiation of my addon would be Colonel Sanders' Particle Utility, which I would link to, and perhaps there could be an automation on CSL's own page that shows all the blogs linking to his page, allowing people incidental browsing options.

[*]

... OFPEC ...

[*]

I think in the 'glory days' of OFP, OFPEC served this exact function. I went to it daily for the unofficial comref, forums, addon depot, tutorials, and resources. Now, in arma, I don't think OFPEC has the same impact as a community rally point. I do wish it did, however.

[*]

1. Make configs and scripts self explanatory. If needed, comment your code.

http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/PROPER:Mod

2. If a question is asked, link to the BIKI in the forum thread.

Add a comment that the guy should ask again, if he doesn't

understand the BIKI entry. So that you rework the BIKI article.

3. If there is no BIKI entry, create a new one. Plain text is

enough. The BIKI admins or other people will fix the rest.

4. Improve the BIKI search engine!

[*]

I think perhaps that it would be a good idea to add more information to the wiki.  This is a tough thing because I know that community websites may depend on the hits they get in order to keep up with their operating costs.  I think that creating annotated lists of tutorials and community information on the wiki that are integrated into the hyperlinks with the information on the topics that already exist in the wiki structure might go a long way.

The wiki would also be a good place to store an organized list of the websights found in the addon research topic.

[*]

...BTW, your earlier comment about using the forum for discussion and a means to improve specific Biki entries has been suggested before. FWIW, my own feeling is that the 'round-trip' delay inherent in this mechanism makes it too clumsy to be useful in practice. My experience with Wikis has been that they seem to work well when people accept that they are continual works-in-progress rather than pristine reference works. Put another way, it's much easier to improve something incrementally and with some clear idea of direction (provided by queries) than it is to move stepwise through a series of perfect revisions.

I'd also say that if BIS really wanted to make Biki successful, they would have to devote more effort to providing an active presence there. I've seen the occasional article and clarification by Suma much to his credit but supporting a community takes real work.

Anyway, just one man's opinions. This isn''t meant to be a bash of those such as yourself who do put work into Biki, just a suggestion towards how it might be made into more of a collaborative place.

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Good initiative here sickboy. I was searching for some 3DS -> o2 import and skinning tutorials around. I couldn't find a good one.

PS: panda's link is the BI forums main page wink_o.gif

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Good initiative here sickboy. I was searching for some 3DS -> o2 import and skinning tutorials around. I couldn't find a good one.

PS: panda's link is the BI forums main page wink_o.gif

Thanks mate, fixed the link. The thread title needs some fixing too biggrin_o.gif

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Good idea for the initiative.

Usually the biki is helpful only if you already know what you want to do: You're looking up a specific command you know about, and checking someone else's notes on that.

Often to find the *real* meaty discussions or answers, I have to search the official and ofpec forums, as well as all the obscure corners of the biki, to get a specific answer.

One thing on the biki I'd like to see more of (and really helps) is when people link to relevant discussions or forum threads from the comments page.

Of course, I'm completely guilty of what you outline, sickboy: I'll search and search until I find out some piece of information, but then I just use it and don't really share it with others. I think an open avenue to share information (perhaps as a part of the biki) would be a great idea...

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I like the idea of an initiative for more open, readily available information in an ordered easily navigated format. IMO Biki, as well intentioned as it is, is pretty poor at being easily navigated. Certainly intuitively. All my best information has come from Biki, but also the links TO that Biki information has come from people who already knew where it was. Why couldn't I have found it? Why not have the standard category bar(s) allowing easy browsing, a lot of incidental knowledge is gotten from incidental browsing, the browsing that happens because it's so easy.

Anyways, that's one minor gripe that I have, and pretty much the only one, apart from a serious set of tuts designed to teach people how to use Visitor etc, and especially configs. Configs is perhaps the least understood area certainly for me, I struggle with them each time I need to make one, usually bending an existing one to fit the new addon, surely not the best way to do it. And I have no idea as to how to generate one for a map should I ever try that out.

I think Sickboy that perhaps more people (addon makers) should have their own Biki resource that they maintain, as you do, even if it's for simple stuff they did, explaining how & why the addon came about, the methods used to make it, just like some sort of blog. Have an easy to implement system of integrating links in to your blog, for example the single biggest influence on the initiation of my addon would be Colonel Sanders' Particle Utility, which I would link to, and perhaps there could be an automation on CSL's own page that shows all the blogs linking to his page, allowing people incidental browsing options.

I guess what I'm talking about would be a web of links & info, with related topics all having interconnections, and all topics being broadly put into categories browsable vie the sidebars. How about we try to convince BIS themselves to initiate an addon repository where we could post up the first link, allowing for the automatic creation of a page specially for that addon, allowing for discussions & addition of informations etc.

OK I got a bit carried away there, I guess OFPEC is already the resource I'm talking about even though I'm painfully aware I don't make much use of it wink_o.gif

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Warning: OFPEC-tinted propaganda speech ahead!

Come on over to OFPEC and make all your dreams come true! biggrin_o.gif

Seriously, though, By the Community, For the Community. The method of submitting your resources/tutorials to OFPEC couldn't be easier: register to the forums, find the appropriate forum that says "Beta testing & submission", post your resource, wait until someone from the ed.depot picks it up, accept a bunch of criticism from old codgers like Planck, and whammo, your resource is up.

And even if the actual uploading of resources sometimes takes time, it doesn't mean they're not there to be used: unlike the BI forums, the Search function at OFPEC actually works - quite well too. Just the other day my "saving vehicles in a campaign" script was finally officially put into the ed.depot (my bad, I was slow with putting together a "demo campaign" :P), but at least the Sahrani Run by Arkon & co. used a modified version of it long before that. Same thing goes for tutorials.

Same goes for questions asked in the forums: as Suma said in his interview, it's impossible for him to know everything that's to be put into the BIKI for instance, the game is simply too big! Each situation and question has to be handled individually. The same way we'll never be able to create a basic tutorial for every question there is out there. However, every thread that asks a question and is answered, is a mini-tutorial in itself, findable with the simple expedient of searching.

What we can't do is scour the forums here and elsewhere and ask people kindly to please come over to OFPEC and post their stuff on our forums - if they don't want their stuff uploaded, we can't force them. sad_o.gif But every question asked and answered, every resource submitted, hell, every mission created adds to this database of knowledge.

As to Addons, we've already got forums for some discussion, but the current slightly sad state of only two will soon be rectified. Hell, who knows. Maybe the Addon Depot will make a full return any time now, with hosting and reviewing and all. *polishes spanking brand new Addon Depot admin badge* whistle.gif

/end speech

Regarding the BIKI: The BIKI is a wonderful resource, and if every tutorial in the community could be uploaded to it, that'd be superb. But the BIKI isn't a forum for discussion, and it's never going to be a center of any kind of editing community - and to assure quality, there has to be discussion. It's a reference for editors - nothing more. Albeit a wonderful one at that. smile_o.gif

Good initiative, nonetheless!

Regards,

Wolfrug

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Even though I believe the BIKI should be the hub of information, it doesn't mean it _HAS_ to be the BIKI.

It can be OFPEC, or any other site or whatever for all I care smile_o.gif

As long as the information and discussions are easy accessible.

What is important is that every beginning or advanced user knows about it, so it requires references by members, by sites, by biki, hell, maybe even in the next official patch as a big banner during the installation smile_o.gif

The essence is imo:

[*] The community should work harder and closer together, if it wants to improve faster and have beginners start easier. Blaming BI isn't helping anyone. BI isn't suddenly going to own tons of free time, they aren't suddenly going to write 100's of tutorials or fill the biki with massive more amounts of information. They develop the game(engine). We do the rest, and if we can't figure something specific out, we ask them.

[*] we need more ppl working pro-active on guides and information and spread this information through the community. IMHO this should be managed, centralized and generalized as much as possible. As otherwise you remain in the same situation as right now; Details are findable everywhere and nowhere... quite hard smile_o.gif

Discussions about articles, tutorials or any piece of information indeed belong in a forum (though the biki talk pages are sufficient in some cases).

Either OFPEC or BI Forums or whatsoever. Again, it doesnt matter much where it's done/hosted, as long as it's not every other week in another place smile_o.gif

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I think in the 'glory days' of OFP, OFPEC served this exact function. I went to it daily for the unofficial comref, forums, addon depot, tutorials, and resources.

Now, in arma, I don't think OFPEC has the same impact as a community rally point. I do wish it did, however. smile_o.gif

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we're working on it.

we were unlucky enough to suffer a major crash at the time ArmA was released. that in itself was bad enough, but we spent such a long time clawing our way back to a recognisable state that the community moved on without us, and our resources seemed to have stuck in perpetual OFP mode. starting the BIKI at the same time didn't do us many favours either... whistle.gif

things have improved a great deal over the last year though, and continue to improve. i won't claim that OFPEC is trying to be the only source for editing information for the Community - that's just unrealistic. we are trying to be a decent source - searchable, easily navigable, approachable and above all helpful. only part of that comes from the staff, the rest is down to the members. by the community, for the community and all that.

to echo wolfrug's comments above, although it's easy to get caught up in the editing frenzy and forget about recording that knowledge someplace for the benefit of others, there may be an impression that even when you do sit down and write a tutorial or a handy function, there are a lot of hoops to jump through at OFPEC before you get stuff you've worked on accepted for hosting. that's not the case. we do insist on public beta so that everyone can have a look and suggest improvements to the scripts, because that way everyone learns.

at the very least we make sure the things work and are easy to use, to maintain a reasonable standard that benefits everyone. given that the staff are volunteers with real-life priorities, that process can take time and very occasionally it can seem as if the resources are simply ignored or forgotten about. all i can say is that we are doing what we can as best we can to support the editing Community, and we'll continue to do so for as long as folk type our URL.

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1. Make configs and scripts self explanatory. If needed, comment your code.

http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/PROPER:Mod

2. If a question is asked, link to the BIKI in the forum thread.

Add a comment that the guy should ask again, if he doesn't

understand the BIKI entry. So that you rework the BIKI article.

3. If there is no BIKI entry, create a new one. Plain text is

enough. The BIKI admins or other people will fix the rest.

4. Improve the BIKI search engine!

PS: Config knowledge is way more important than models. whistle.gif

'Joking' of course icon_rolleyes.gifxmas_o.gif

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I've previously made the point that I think the policing of the BIKI was far too literal in its interpretation of the 'ask no questions' policy*. I'd rather see an article with a bunch of AnswerMe's than no article at all. It's an invitation for further contributions, not just from BIS but from other users who may have knowledge. I get the impression that the BIKI moderators want it to be a static reference rather than a living discussion document.

*Edit - I think there's a clear distinction between a question like "how do I get AI's to fly helicopters in formation" and an "AnswerMe - what is the list of allowable animations for this command".

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sbsmac maybe times and people changed? Better try / ask than

guessing, right?

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I think perhaps that it would be a good idea to add more information to the wiki. This is a tough thing because I know that community websites may depend on the hits they get in order to keep up with their operating costs. I think that creating annotated lists of tutorials and community information on the wiki that are integrated into the hyperlinks with the information on the topics that already exist in the wiki structure might go a long way.

The wiki would also be a good place to store an organized list of the websights found in the addon research topic.

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Quote[/b] ]sbsmac maybe times and people changed? Better try / ask than

guessing, right?

Sorry, I don't follow you smile_o.gif Are you suggesting the policy has changed (quite possible since I haven't checked Biki for a long time) or saying something else ?

BTW, your earlier comment about using the forum for discussion and a means to improve specific Biki entries has been suggested before. FWIW, my own feeling is that the 'round-trip' delay inherent in this mechanism makes it too clumsy to be useful in practice. My experience with Wikis has been that they seem to work well when people accept that they are continual works-in-progress rather than pristine reference works. Put another way, it's much easier to improve something incrementally and with some clear idea of direction (provided by queries) than it is to move stepwise through a series of perfect revisions.

I'd also say that if BIS really wanted to make Biki successful, they would have to devote more effort to providing an active presence there. I've seen the occasional article and clarification by Suma much to his credit but supporting a community takes real work.

Anyway, just one man's opinions. This isn''t meant to be a bash of those such as yourself who do put work into Biki, just a suggestion towards how it might be made into more of a collaborative place.

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I updated the first post with most of the suggestions/ideas/wishes, either quoted or substracted from your posts. If I miss something important, please let me know.

@OFPEC lobbying smile_o.gif

If OFPEC can fulfill the role as described in this thread by ofpec and non-ofpec members, then it would be golden imo.

A few points imo:

[*] OFPEC Comref items should link back to BIKI. There is no use in keeping track of biki items and merging it everytime in the OFPEC Comref. Also, some notes, and linked functions in BIKI could give some more insight to people.  Turning this around, the BIKI should imo also link to the OFPEC comref items, for reference sake

[*] Imo keeping the editing resources centralized, or at least available on 2 important sites (which could be biki and ofpec) is vital for the easy accessibility and reachability of the resources, aswell as for keeping a clear overview. It would spread the information less over a lot of locations and because info is centralized, it should be easier for ppl to know and find the info they seek

[*] If OFPEC would form the hub for ArmA editing as it did for OFP, I believe there should be some kind of 'support' from BI or by others on BIKI, making it more obvious to everyone where ofpec is findable, what it is, what it does, where you can find this, how you can do that, etc. etc. etc.

[*] I do not believe that any other community site is so much specialized in editing other than OFPEC and BI Sites. As such I do not believe it to be a problem if OFPEC and BI Sites remain the hub of editing resources, while all the other sites out there host only news, addons, missions, servers etc. etc. while linking to OFPEC/BI as editor resource

@SBSMac; I don't believe at all that there's a bigger BI presence needed on the Biki. I believe there's massive information that has been inserted by BI; Why can't the rest be up to us?

One of the points im trying to make with the initative is basicly "Less expecting/demanding, More doing ourselves"

Also, I believe a wiki is superb for storing information due to it's nature. Navigation is a problem, it's also not created for navigation, its created for specific information look up.

Still, there can be made pages that allow for navigating the important editing resources, may it be function explainations, may it be creating missions, models, configs, etc. etc.

Even if the biki would not be good enough for navigation etc, I still believe the info should be stored in there, and maybe a wrapper page or whatsoever should be setup which provides the navigation,  setup for the different kinds of editing there are for ArmA

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I think that will be great if someone remake the Brsseb Tutorials that he made years ago, and adapt they to ARMA. A lot of people learned to make addons for OFP thanks to this tutorials.

I have made a new working config.cpp for the "Making the first car" tutorial, but I'm not expert.

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I just want to add that i am happy that some servers use my downloader/launcher tool to distribute their addons. Without wanting to impose anything on anyone, it does solve the problem of users not having correct addons to play on a server for the most part.

Maybe, i know it's a eutopic thought, some day the community will distribute all big mods in a coherent way, reducing the amount of silly "i have wrong version or lack addon"-problems multiplay servers run into.

I'm not saying my tool should do this. I'm not saying my tool is the best to do this. I'm just saying that it's a real problem and it should be dealt with, if only to minimize the amount of players that think "this game stinks" because they can't connect to a given server because they lack content.

It has allways been my dream in ofp/arma to be able to simply get the correct addons before connecting to any server. It seems a simple dream, but it's a bitch to implement.

Wouldn't it be great to have some kind of repositry where you can check the version of a given addon/update an addon to correct version?

Maybe this is something that will never happen, but just imagine the possibilities if it would.

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sickboy, there were suppose to be no finger pointing, yet the character in ur sig points 2 fingers at me crazy_o.gifcrazy_o.gifcrazy_o.gif

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sickboy, there were suppose to be no finger pointing, yet the character in ur sig points 2 fingers at me crazy_o.gifcrazy_o.gifcrazy_o.gif

Very funny... this is an earnest thread, so please do not spam it. mad_o.gif

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Any progress to report on Guides and Stuff?

Im little low on time past few days but I'll return with brushing up guides and spitting out new ones asap smile_o.gif

Another idea I had was to categorize the guides/tuts/etc between 3 groups:

[*] Server Admins

[*] Developers (config/scripting/modeling)

[*] EndUsers

Such category page could then also include for instance the server.cfg (Server Admins cat) etc.

The endUsers cat could for instance include stuff like how to tune AI Accuracy/Skill etc.

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The base mesh that I committed to is nearly complete. I don't know how useful it will be. Hopefully some people will find it more adaptable that the BIS US Soldier model.

4502334512.jpg 4502334520.jpg

I'm designing it so that you can make whatever you want out of it. It would be harder to make it female looking, but it has edgeloops so you can make it barefoot or not. It's got edgeloops for potential pants lines, short sleeved shirts, boots, etc, etc.

At the present time, it's 100% quads, and it would be up to the end user to optimize it.

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Nice one Plaintiff!

@All tut/guide writers:

Shouldn't we get some kind of management together in the sense that we share which kinds of guides we're working on and as such don't work on double stuff etc?

I believe we can achieve more and faster this way.

Quote[/b] ]Wouldn't it be great to have some kind of repositry where you can check the version of a given addon/update an addon to correct version?

Maybe this is something that will never happen, but just imagine the possibilities if it would.

Yes it would I believe. But these discussions usually end with "Who's gonna do that".

Maybe this is something for Jerry/Placebo/OFPEC Guys or sth...

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