About: “alpha focus”

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Hello snõwkit users and onlookers!

A little overdue, I have been pretty busy and a little under the weather. Now that I have a gap this lovely autumn night let's get some important notes out of the way.

This post is to address a few of the more common questions that have come up, share a bit of stats for interest sake, explain how we are going to move forward as a community, and talk a little about what the concept of the alpha focus sheets mean to me and their impact on our development process.

quick notes

Some things that keep coming up since announcing that I wanted to address.

Alpha reminder

It's important to also remember what alpha means. Things are going to change, some things are missing, some things are not at their peak, some things are messy or even half incomplete.

This is expected! This is the definition of the alpha release phase. Things will move quickly either way, so you don't need to wait to start digging in - you just have to take things in perspective and understand why certain things wouldn't be tip top shape and that some things will be removed, new things added and so on.

How do you pronounce luxe?

luxe is an english word, pronounced like "deluxe" without the de part, or like "lucks".

You can hear a pretty close version from Google Translate here.

For interest sake - lux is a unit of light, this concept is all over, including the logo which shows light emitting and various other concepts rolled into a single icon. The original name for snow was lumen but snow was a better fit for what it is and it's goals.

Donations?

Currently no donations are accepted. You are welcome to support me by spreading word about or buying the game that I am actively working on - Drifter. It's not made with any parts from snowkit or haxe - I work as the artist.

While you can (<3) still buy the game mentioned above, you can also support snowkit directly now. http://patreon.com/snowkit

snowkit vs luxe

It is important to take note of the difference when talking about things to others and writing about your endeavours. We want to avoid confusion about what things are. It's very clear :

  • luxe is the higher level game engine
  • snowkit is a group of developers and tools

In future, when there are other tools and frameworks this distinction gets even wider. They are not the same thing, and using the term as the same thing just confuses people :)

3D in luxe

As you will see some people making 3D stuff and isometric using perspective cameras - please keep in mind that these people are willingly forging their own path against the official support of the tools.

It's easy to get excited about but there is only basic 3D facilitation and almost nothing else. There is no lighting, no animation, etc. Anyone doing 3D is basically doing everything themselves on top of that, and are often picking projects that don't need any of the usual 3D stuff that people would expect to be in a 3D engine.

As before - the focus will remain on 2D for luxe until it is well past alpha. 3D is not officially supported it is a side effect of the way rendering works in hardware based engines :}

Ripples

One of my goals in creating snowkit, and luxe especially, was to expose users outside of the Haxe development community to Haxe. This will help widen the landscape and attract new types of talent into the community, which is required to expand and grow. Haxe is an amazing toolkit that has a lot of upward growth since I found out about it - and already covers massive potential. I wanted to do whatever I could to help it's future and adoption, and I am really excited to bring others to the community that have never heard of it and to push many friends over the edge that have, but haven't tried it yet.

I am pretty happy with the announcement in this regard, Gamasutra posted about it into the general game development community, a few reddit and forum threads were made around, and all in all, it went better than I could have asked for a single blog post.

The stats below are for interest sake, and are not any form of competing or bragging etc, just transparency for how it went. As always stats are not really indicative but do reveal patterns that are interesting to see.

Left: announcement blog post
Right: http://snowkit.org
Date: 29 sept -> today 16 oct

stats general

The numbers below are Impressions (views), Engagements (interaction). The first post is the first tweet I made about it, the second two were a day later and in a different timezone, as twitter is short lived, but they still add up.
stats twitter stats other

From the github traffic stats, 140 unique cloners and 393 unique visitors, which means about 35% of people that visited the github page cloned it which is interesting. 8,091
Views total, from those 393 unique it seems.


About: “alpha focus”

Now, as we move forward you will see something called a “focus sheet” posted for each marked/named alpha of the libraries. What this means is that each alpha tag will have a specific goal/set of goals that we as the community will focus on together.

An example of this is the first focus sheet for luxe specifically - it will focus on text and tilemaps. There are a larger number of users than I anticipated trying various things with the tilemaps, and there are some things that need to be addressed. Text was already an ongoing endeavour, but it's more important to resolve some of the issues now instead of later.

Even with a specific focus, other things will be patched up and progressed as well along the way, provided they aren't distracting from the focus sheet. This is especially important for critical bugs and the continuous cleanup and consistency passes of course.

forward movement

This is the reason the alpha was released - to find the pressure points of wider usage sooner than later and address them. In closed development, I could only imagine use cases, or facilitate my own (more adept) ones. But in the open, use cases are presented all the time, and deciding on whether they can be helped is weighted against the design philosophy etc, but with the sharp focus we move forward as a whole one step at a time.

By focusing as a community on a few important things at a time, we can quickly solidify the baseline of where things need to be for first beta, and which things are further down the road (1.x).

luxe alpha-1.0+parrott

The first alpha focus sheet will be posted in the next few days (if that) and will elaborate a bit more about the process and what it means.

The alpha phase will use names of notable contributors to the development of the tools and the support structure that made the tools possible in the first place. Each one will explain who and why, in the focus sheet post.

EDIT:
Read how focus sheets will work
Read the first focus sheet!

Onward

Thanks to everyone jumping on board early, and especially thanks to the contributors that have already done a great job of helping out, it feels like a fun road ahead and I hope with the clearer roadmap and focus sheets we can all get our hands dirty. I appreciate the enthusiasm and the help even more so.

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