Your Opinion on the Current State of Lua in LOTRO
I am in the process of writing up about the current state of Lua with LOTRO since it's release. How it has progressed, how the community has embraced it vs. how Turbine has embraced it. I was wondering if anyone would care to pipe in about your thoughts on the situation such as if they're going good and steady, dropped the ball, exceeding your expectations, or appear to have abandoned it all together. I'd appreciate any feedback you would have on the matter. If you'd rather comment privately/anonymously feel free to shoot me a message on the board or email me at [email protected].
My current feeling is that Turbine has dropped the ball on LUA plugin support. For the most part, things seemed to go quite well at the start, with good feedback from the devs about issues and such. Recently, it appears that they have all disappeared, with no feedback, and no changes in the last couple of updates.
Overall it makes me a bit sad.
Coming from a users standpoint here....
Turbine has pretty much abandoned the plugin community since the Nov 2010 update. If you were to search the official LOTRO forums it becomes evident of that. Well also on here in LORTO Interface :P
@ Merric I truly hope a blog post about this changes Turbines' mind but I am not holding my breath ;) They are all about making the most $$ not about keeping a loyal fanbase, which the plugins can make or break weather or not someone sticks around in LOTRO.. Just MHO.
How has it progressed? Like a one-legged dog in a tar pit. Since the initial release, it's gotten very underwhelming updates, and of those - several of the changes seem more the result of an OCD complex than necessary ones. There have been a few bug fixes, and a couple of new data items available, but not nearly enough to be worth noting - especially considering it's been a year.
Now, I'm willing to entertain the idea that RoI is taking up dev time, so I'm not quite ready to chalk it up to being yet another abandoned project. However, if we don't get some nice new shinnies with RoI, I've got no choice but to assume that Turbine has abandoned it, thus abandoning it myself - until I'm shown otherwise.
I don't believe Turbine has completely abandoned Lua, but it is painfully obvious to the developer community that it is not a high priority. We, the plugin developers, have done our best to show Turbine that if they would just give us the basic functionality, we would provide immeasurable benefit for their product with a myriad of accessories and enhancements. Unfortunately, the only word of that which Turbine seems to have fixated on is "immeasurable" which they seem to believe means it can't be measured and thus must not be worth much. In reality it means it is of such vast value that it exceeds measure.
One indication of Turbine's lack of commitment is the failure to fix the event handling system. Notably, there is still no official means of protecting a plugin from having it's event handlers overwritten by another plugin as well as the significant bugs in the inventory event handlers. Both of those issues were brought to Turbine's attention over six months ago with no sign of a fix in sight.
Another indication of lack of commitment is the lack of responses to the Current API Issues & Discussion forum. We used to get responses from the devs verifying that issues were known and whether a fix was already developed or whether it was being looked into. The most recent dev response was on December 7th by Forsaken Archer regarding the non-functional TrajanPro25 font. Since then, we've had no responses to Current API Issues and in six month's time, they haven't fixed the font which was the last issue they acknowledged as broken.
Another indication of lack of commitment is that Turbine has not fixed even the simplest of issues like the missing enumeration values that have been reported, many of them as far back as last November. These are trivial fixes that simply require associating the correct numeric value with a Turbine provided constant. Since LUA allows us to see what constants are defined, it is woefully obvious that this has not been done.
Unfortunately, Turbine's priorities seem to be slightly out of wack as they continue to spend more in-house man hours building UI elements that the community finds undesirable both in appearance and functionality than implementing the system that would allow their community to build UI elements which the community finds desirable. Consider the fiasco with the Character panel - I do not know how many hundreds of man hours Turbine put into that hulking monstrosity that they foisted on the community, all to purportedly fix a UI element which was not actually broken to begin with. Many users voiced the opinion that Turbine only changed the panel so that they could add Store buttons. If that was the underlying cause then Turbine should have done the minimum amount of work needed to add the additional buttons and spent the rest of the man hours adding the hooks to the system to allow Lua developers to create their own Character panels. The community would have gotten far more options in UI display and Turbine would have gotten far better community feedback.
Given Turbine's track record with community based enhancements (XML feeds, skinning), I don't hold much hope for the Lua system in the long term. That said, as long as there is a glimmer of hope, I will continue to develope plugins, even if it's just to add some color to an otherwise bland chat window ;)
I tend to agree with everything that everyone has said here and more. Im pretty sure im right in saying that this lotro has had the slowest API/LUA growth rate out of any MMO to date. Most MMOs have an extensive API within the first 2 years, LOTRO is way past 2 years and lacks even the basic of functions.
Like you said Garan, if Turbine decide to put some man power/hours into extending the functionality of the API, then the community can do much more than Turbine can dream to achieve. It will ease the load on them, like the example you gave for the Character Panel (total waste of time). If we had a suitable API we (the community) wouldve had that and more done.
Im not sure if they realise that a good majority of people get their enjoyment in making addons/plugins/UIs and it keeps them and the people that use the addons/plugins/UIs more excited about playing the game, even after a long period of playing it. New UIs come out, New gadgets, etc and it feels like a new game.
Turbine seriously need to pull their fingers out and do something about it. Yes they have quite a few things on their plate, but surely they could spare 1 or 2 people to put some time in to unlock more features of the API for us.
Fortunis, over and out!
People who know me in the community knows my feelings pretty clearly I think even that I'm from the other part of the UI community. It's unbelievable bad decision from Turbine to not use the manhours that community could (and would) provide for them - for free!
It would be a thousand times more productive for them to just supervise the UI community than keep doing "fixes" to the UI themselves (as we all here know they were talking about UI revamp for ages, I guess the current situation is what they were aiming for back then).
Few words for Turbine that they should look at:
with the UI community - give the UI community the tools they need. Work with the UI community.
Turbine should concentrate guiding the community rather than spending their workhours on rather non-priority UI enhancements themselves (excluding developing the tools/resources ofc because without those the community can't work). Work for the bigger picture and leave the details for the UI community.
basically UI community have been here for years but still only a portion of the player base knows these things even exists. It's not uncommon to read at Turbine forums comments like "Is there mods for this game at all ?" Give the game feature (UI community) visibility.
Having a strong modding community for a game is essential when looking any game's life-span. Many games have proved this time after time (I don't prolly have to give examples as all in the industry knows which games we are talking about - and those games have all been huge hits and had a lifespan extended for years because of the active modding community).
Think about it. The stock UI have been there for 4 years now and it's still basically the same UI that we had 4 years ago (apart for a few minor improvements - and a few not-so-improvements). How boring is that ? Not very media-sexy if you ask me - and even less player-inspiring.
So to answer the original question: Frustrated because of the lack of communication
There's a lot of potential here but we are all worried about if modding is dead as Turbine haven't even bothered to answer any of our questions after the initial Lua release.
The trouble is that Turbine plays things close to the chest, if for no other reason than to not look like the bad guy (and get crucified) if there needs to be a change of plans. Adding to that is the fact that this is not a large company - and not large enough to acceptably implement and maintain the numerous great ideas we've er...I mean they've come up with :p
They need to double their development team - put one guy (or girl), all the time, on each of the following:
And the remainder could assist the existing devs with the game itself.
This would not only accelerate improvements and maintenance on these systems, but allow for a quicker turnaround between us making a suggestion, and the appropriate dev either implementing it, or giving us a reason why they're not.
Right now, no joke - I have at least 20 different ideas - in Lua and out, that I could work on. The only thing keeping this stuff basically on the drawing board, is lack of a feasible way of doing it. I'm fairly certain if I were to spend 1 day in Turbine's offices, I'd have all I'd need.
Like Daimon, I'm not a LUA author but Turbine's engagement of the UI community in general has been extremely poor. We are a small community but we have a lot of ideas and a desire to create better interfaces to share with other players. Unfortunately without Turbine's support there is very little we can do with these ideas. Browse the forums here and you'll see player request after request for things that aren't possible with the tools Turbine gives the community.
I searched the dev tracker on the official forums going back to the initial release of LUA tools. Here are all the posts I could find related to Lua Scripting (as an indication of Turbine's communication with the UI community).
I did a similar search for the User Interface section on the official forums going back one year:
Turbine has not engaged the UI community significantly within the past 6 months. Turbine's communication drastically decreased shortly after the switch to Free to Play.
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