Upcoming 0.6.3 Features

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tommai78101
Posts: 762

Post by tommai78101 »

Hold it, you still have time.

Don't release the 0.6.2b or something that updates the current version.

Just don't, and you'll see why. I can bear with my bug problems, and maybe some others will. If you release 0.6.3, and at the same time you fixed most of the bugs that had happened between 0.6.2 and 0.6.3, you may let others felt 0.6.3 is worth the wait.
Hardware Information: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, 358MB Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, Synthesia 0.7.1 preview r697, 2 GB DDRAM, 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T2330, Acer Aspire 5720-4126
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Nicholas
Posts: 12608

Post by Nicholas »

I don't think it's that big a deal. I'm still experimenting with release cycles. I think I'm going to switch up for shorter, smaller releases after this one. So, I started with:
- 3 months for 100 hours of work.

For this one, I wanted to have a tiny bit more personal time, so I'm trying:
- 4 months for 100 hours of work.

But four months is pretty long. Now I want to try the same rate, but more frequent releases:
- 2 months for 50 hours of work.

It will still be 0.6.3, it'll just have a couple fewer things in it. The little 'a' and 'b' releases are for critical crashes that a lot of people are experiencing.

And I wouldn't be able to skip fixing the bugs. ;) I can't in good conscious release a version that has known, correctable issues in it. Those always have to come first. One of my top priorities is quality.
tommai78101
Posts: 762

Post by tommai78101 »

Then wouldn't that speedens up your schedule list by a mach 1? Then wouldn't version 1.0.0 be as a whole?

I was considering another thing, but found it ridiculously "up-to-you-as-I-can't-help-you-with-your-schedule".

Original thought:
Maybe you should try recruiting another experienced C++ programmer to aid you for either a small fee or for free in the development of Synthesia.

Edited thought:
Or Give Synthesia a bit of rest, and have a contractable schedule, like first 3 months of developing/fixing it, and then 4 months, then 3 months, then etc.
Hardware Information: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, 358MB Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, Synthesia 0.7.1 preview r697, 2 GB DDRAM, 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T2330, Acer Aspire 5720-4126
New Hardware Information: Windows 10 Pro, 2GB Nvidia GeForce 860M, 8GB RAM, 1.7GHz Core-i5 4210U, Alienware 13 R1.
Nicholas
Posts: 12608

Post by Nicholas »

So, bringing someone else onto the project is really hard. First, they have to both be a good programmer and be passionate about the project. That already narrows it down. Then, they'd have to follow whatever instructions I gave them without question. ;) And finally, they would have to be in it for long periods of time, for little or no money. That effectively cuts the population down to nothing.

Those reasons aside, it gets a lot more complicated to communicate about the project. Right now I just have to make ideas clear in my own head and don't have to worry about communicating problems or solutions to anyone else working on the code. When you add even a single new developer, you have to spend a lot of time talking through the way things should be done. It's a really big leap going from one to two developers. (On the other hand, going from two to three is smaller. From three to anywhere up to six or so is almost easy from that point on.)

Otherwise, what you describe is what I'm looking for. That happy medium where everything kind of works: releases are happening quickly enough for you guys and I have enough time to get substantial features in. I don't even want to slow down or take time off from the project. It feels good to be working on something people enjoy, and I still have a ways to go before I'm satisfied with the state of the game. Maybe when I hit 1.0, I'll take some time off, but I'm not even sure about that.

(Oh yeah, and you're right that cutting the release time in half would double the rate the version number increases. That's alright. Instead of saying the "0.6.x" series, I would just say the "0.6.x through 0.7.x" series". I didn't really have much planned for the 8's and 9's anyway. ;) )
tommai78101
Posts: 762

Post by tommai78101 »

Oh, hope you're not stopping anywhere near 0.8.x through 0.9.x.

And what about the edited thought? Suppose it might work for you, as most other programs has this type of schedule.
Hardware Information: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, 358MB Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, Synthesia 0.7.1 preview r697, 2 GB DDRAM, 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T2330, Acer Aspire 5720-4126
New Hardware Information: Windows 10 Pro, 2GB Nvidia GeForce 860M, 8GB RAM, 1.7GHz Core-i5 4210U, Alienware 13 R1.
Nicholas
Posts: 12608

Post by Nicholas »

Nah, I just meant I only have about 2000 hours of tasks on my list right now (which at my usual 100-hours-per-release would only be 20, or somewhere around 0.8.3). Instead I was already going to be using the minor version ("major.minor.revision") to mark "phases" of the game's development. For example, the "0.6.x series" might be to wrap up the core game and basic features, all of 0.7.x might be the learning content, 0.8.x the online stuff, and 0.9.x final wrap-up and polish. So, I might jump from something like 0.7.6 to 0.8.0 when I run out of learning content.

But, at a 2-month-releases rate, I might just forgo all of that and just keep counting up incrementally or else I'll run out of numbers before I can really call the game finished at 1.0.0.

And regarding your edited idea, what did you mean by "give it a rest" with alternating 3 and 4 month periods? Would that be 3 months working on it and 4 months off, then another 3 months of working on it?
tommai78101
Posts: 762

Post by tommai78101 »

I meant like this example:

Suppose you made your new release after 3 months of work. After realizing there's not much left to do, as no more requests have been made by other users, you decided to shorten the release deadlines to a 2 months release schedule. Another 2 months had past, most of the bugs have been fixed, when all of a sudden, some idea struck your head, giving you more inspirations for Synthesia. Quickly, you went on with the work ahead of you, re-scheduling the deadline to 4 months. Later, just 2 weeks before the deadline, you realize there''s a hidden bug that forces Synthesia to do <whatever actions you put here>, you quickly postpone the deadline to another month in order to fix it. And so on...

The example above meant that you could change your schedule to either tight or loose. You don't have to stay on the 3 months or 4 months schedule, just slowly take your time and rest for a few days if necessary.

Most programmers who made other helpful applications to other people have adopted this kind of schedule. They wouldn't like to degrade their own health and have no time to hang around with their friends and families.

How would you like that? I hope it sounds clear.
Hardware Information: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, 358MB Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, Synthesia 0.7.1 preview r697, 2 GB DDRAM, 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T2330, Acer Aspire 5720-4126
New Hardware Information: Windows 10 Pro, 2GB Nvidia GeForce 860M, 8GB RAM, 1.7GHz Core-i5 4210U, Alienware 13 R1.
Nicholas
Posts: 12608

Post by Nicholas »

Okay, that's much clearer. I could see someday in a couple years the project switching over to a system like that. In the meantime, I have a couple years of work ahead of me and no intention of slowing down. ;) Actually, the project doesn't really cause any stress, I mostly just enjoy it. And when I recently said I didn't get a chance to work on Synthesia as much as I'd like, there were family-and-friends reasons in there too. I think I've found a pretty healthy balance where the project takes up quite a bit of my free time, but there doesn't appear to be much chance of burning out.
tommai78101
Posts: 762

Post by tommai78101 »

I hope so. I was kind of worried that if it burned out, what would happen? There might not be other programmers with the heart to do such acomplishment. If Synthesia is finished, maybe Activision might buy your product. ;)

Since you said you had a family, I wonder if you could let them help you with some ideas. If you can get some elements from your child or your family, it may give you more inspirations to Synthesia.

:D Cheers!
Hardware Information: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, 358MB Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, Synthesia 0.7.1 preview r697, 2 GB DDRAM, 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T2330, Acer Aspire 5720-4126
New Hardware Information: Windows 10 Pro, 2GB Nvidia GeForce 860M, 8GB RAM, 1.7GHz Core-i5 4210U, Alienware 13 R1.
DuncanJones
Posts: 2

Post by DuncanJones »

Hi,

I guess I have to admit that I am a bit selfish and would love to see this product move forward at a pace that only a grouping of people could attain: ie from a "for profit" company.

If you had the money you could:

Negociate with more music owners so you could supply midi files for songs people would love to play. It seems to me the argument that your users would likely buy the songs from iTunes could be an inducement for them to charge a reduced price. In fact, your site could be set up to link to iTunes and other music delivery sites. The money you woulc collect from this activity could be put towards reducing the cost of the product. Anyway as a "for profit" company, the reasonable charge to use songs should reasonably be passed on the your customers.

Supply midi files of the same songs, but with increasing difficulty, both in the notes played and the the way the notes are displayed (from the bars, to a progression of ever more "realistic" musical notations, to the final notation: regular sheet music. "Beating" the song would entail playing it from the sheet music.

Allow for 2 players and "battles" between them. Perhaps this would be considered "low brow" for some, but I know my kids would jump all over this. The score could be based on how close to the moment they should have hit the notes as well as how close to the duration they were supposed to sustain them. If competion is not to peoples liking, you could also offer midi files for duets. Split the screen top/bottom and it might work.

Online competion or duets with others via your upgraded website.

Midi files which would make a game out of learning music theory. I'm not a musician but I bet you could hire one that could dream up fun ways of using your platform for this.

Allow your platform to record into midi files, such that when I hire a music teacher, he/she could play the material I was supposed to learn and I could set about learning to play it exacly the way I was supposed to.

These are just the things off the top of my head. If you could devote yourself to this and hire three or four clever, dedicated part owners, who knows where this product could go in a year (just in time for me to buy it for myself and kids for XMas-08!)

Some ideas are so good that they should be made available to the public as soon as possible. This is one of them. Doing this project by yourself, while doubtless is very satisfying, does a disservice to the rest of us. You should at least do to the necessary things to try copywrite your idea. I expect you would enjoy the irony of sending Activision a "Cease & Desist" letter!

I'll bet there are people who read this forum who also would like to see this product evolve quickly who could also advise you how to protect yourself & how to proceed to get this product to market for the masses!

Regards,
Duncan
Nicholas
Posts: 12608

Post by Nicholas »

DuncanJones wrote:Doing this project by yourself, while doubtless is very satisfying, does a disservice to the rest of us.
Hmm, that is an interesting way to put that. I actually agree with it, though I would add "Doing this project by myself in my limited spare time..."

Adding developers would work if they were all as dedicated, only needed things explained once, and always agreed with me. ;) A little more seriously though, it is really challenging to ramp up from being an individual to having a team. Without pay (because there simply couldn't be at first) it's hard to find someone as passionate as you are about your project and at the same time have that person be extremely competent in all the required skills. More than that, the moment the project has more than one team member, there are lines of communication that must be established and cared for. Features are no longer implemented directly from my understanding, but through some re-interpreted context that I've had to deliver to someone else. Going from 3 developers to 4 is easy. 2 to 3 isn't so bad. But, 1 to 2 is a huge change.

And I still think that should I get a chance to work full time on the project starting today until Christmas-08, I would easily be able to knock all that stuff out by myself. ;) (The conversion rate is "1.5 weeks at full time" = "one of these 4-month part time releases".)

So, while I believe there is a disservice going on, my solution is to free up more of my (non-personal) time and start attacking the feature list with everything I've got.

(Those were all great ideas by the way. I had maybe half of them on my long-term internal list in one form or another, but there were a lot of new ones there that are interesting.)
tommai78101
Posts: 762

Post by tommai78101 »

What about your idea to create Synthesia Pro?

That's like adding a second project to this one, and maybe it will tire out yourself.
Hardware Information: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, 358MB Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, Synthesia 0.7.1 preview r697, 2 GB DDRAM, 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T2330, Acer Aspire 5720-4126
New Hardware Information: Windows 10 Pro, 2GB Nvidia GeForce 860M, 8GB RAM, 1.7GHz Core-i5 4210U, Alienware 13 R1.
Nicholas
Posts: 12608

Post by Nicholas »

Hopefully it won't feel like two separate projects. It's really going to just be the same game, where some new stuff can be unlocked with a key. I'm planning to work on it the same amount (that is, until I'm successful at selling enough keys to take some time off from my job and work on Synthesia exclusively.)
tommai78101
Posts: 762

Post by tommai78101 »

Well, since I'm good at economic simulation games, I'll tell you about a typical Synthesia Pro's marketing campaign, if you like to:

First, you need at least $2400.99 (US currency).

Then spend $499.95 on advertisements.

Then spend $395.95 on your commercial marketing, into either the market or online downloadable shareware marketings.

Then spend about $120.00 on either making business trade-ins, or for making CDs, then with shipping and handling.

Then spend the last of your money on either yourself off from work, or hire a new programmer to aid you.

-Or-

Above all, just ask Google and let them make an ad for you.
Hardware Information: Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, 358MB Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, Synthesia 0.7.1 preview r697, 2 GB DDRAM, 1.6 GHz Intel Pentium Dual-Core Processor T2330, Acer Aspire 5720-4126
New Hardware Information: Windows 10 Pro, 2GB Nvidia GeForce 860M, 8GB RAM, 1.7GHz Core-i5 4210U, Alienware 13 R1.
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