What's new

The current state of OpenTibia?

Zikerek

New User
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
I have left the community somewhere around 10 years ago (right before OTFans was shut down) and decided to take a look back out of sentiment.

I already asked this question on another forum, but the answers were mocking, vague at best. Will I find some serious people here who could feed my curiosity?

I had a look at OTLand and seems like many things has changed over the years. My feeling is that those changes were for the worse unfortunately.

Are there any serious (and knowledgeable) people left in the community or am I just wasting my time and arrived at the right moment to see the fall of OT?
 

Avemajor

Advanced User
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
344
Reaction score
12
In my opinion, otland has changed, and a lot of people have already left it
 

Zikerek

New User
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
In my opinion, otland has changed, and a lot of people have already left it
Giving the shit show I observed yesterday that doesn't strike me as a surprise. Where did they all go though? Just left for good or is there a place that I'm not aware of?
 

Avemajor

Advanced User
Joined
Feb 6, 2012
Messages
344
Reaction score
12
Giving the shit show I observed yesterday that doesn't strike me as a surprise. Where did they all go though? Just left for good or is there a place that I'm not aware of?
You know, I think a lot of people have already started families and have left for good
 

Zikerek

New User
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
You know, I think a lot of people have already started families and have left for good
Fair enough. Myself included ;) But that doesn't mean I can't contribute to a sane open source project (except it doesn't seem sane at this point, which is why I'm thinking of forking both TFS and OTC)
 

Zikerek

New User
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Just get to work
Right, should have been more clear about that one, it's obviously a simplification and that would require a couple or even a few people willing to be maintainers :LOL: Hence my questions as to where has everyone gone and whether there are some serious people still around
 

Kuzyn

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
1,837
Reaction score
132
People are still playing OTS so nothing changed. The number of players on otservlist.org is the same as few years before and there are also big servers that are not listed on otservlist.

If you ask about devs, most of them are still around but they're not working for free anymore. Many serious servers got their own servers based on TFS or OTX and nobody wants to share it and I understand it completely. We're not kids anymore, everyone wants to be paid for their work (or at least be taken seriously...). Team from Otland is trying to distort the truth, but these are the facts. Of course some guys are still doing it for free, but there is another problem that nobody wants to test new code. There is no team that will fully mantain efficient development of TFS. I think that Brazilian OT scene with OTX is more organized.
 

Zikerek

New User
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
People are still playing OTS so nothing changed. The number of players on otservlist.org is the same as few years before and there are also big servers that are not listed on otservlist.

If you ask about devs, most of them are still around but they're not working for free anymore. Many serious servers got their own servers based on TFS or OTX and nobody wants to share it and I understand it completely. We're not kids anymore, everyone wants to be paid for their work (or at least be taken seriously...). Team from Otland is trying to distort the truth, but these are the facts. Of course some guys are still doing it for free, but there is another problem that nobody wants to test new code. There is no team that will fully mantain efficient development of TFS. I think that Brazilian OT scene with OTX is more organized.
Thanks for the useful insights. I know we're not kids anymore and I appreciate that people doing the hard work are in for the money. I suppose it's been so long since this whole thing started that they forgot how they got where they are in the first place - benefiting from a vibrant open source community project.

It simply makes me sad that the same people wouldn't give back to the community that made them earn money in the first place. That they are short-sighted enough not to see what's coming next when they have nothing to work off the back of, because TFS dies one day. Luckily this isn't my problem, it's just sad. I've been an active member of this community more than 10 years ago and it was founded on sharing, making things better and allowing people to enjoy the experience as close as to real tibia we could have achieved at the time.

I wouldn't expect people to share their improvements, custom code, etc. But if TFS is to mimic Tibia (which it isn't anymore, I know - it follows OTC rather than the Tibia client) bug fixes and improvements to things that work differently from their respective Tibia features would be the least they could do.

Anyway, that's me saying it from a completely different perspective, being a contributor to a number of FOSS projects (through my job, but also in my spare time). It makes me sad mainly because I know how contribution-led projects work and that the whole ecosystem can only work when people give something back. Otherwise it dies or people who maintain things switch to less permissive licenses in order to force people to contribute. Seeing the way it all has gone is heart-breaking, but hell - time to completely move on and never look back.
 

Shiva

New User
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
4
Reaction score
5
You ask a broad question, so I am going to type out a broad answer and serve as a mouthpiece of the most popular arguments I've heard on this topic as well as my own observations.

As someone who's been around for 12 years, I can share my perspective on things which might help understand.
It's hard to make total analysis of the situation as all factors that comprise it are not always obvious and there are no readily available analytics on them, but there are certainly several noticeably impactful contributing factors.

Also sorry if there are some typos, im a bit tired.

1. Decline of quality of administration and maintenance

The collapse of OTFans and Vapus left OTLand as the only main international forum without "competition". While this was good for congregating all communication and most resources into one place, it left one administrative team in charge of the international community, and since Mark departed, there has been a set of sketchy decisions regarding governance of the forum.

Unclearly defined rules, and rules that are not enforced equally. There have been cases of personal bias affecting decisions of mods. Strange (and evidently by various accounts, repulsive) changes to the forum structure and software. Noticeable long periods of minimal effort from the head administration. This has left the community in a state where they must accept whatever is shoveled down their throat. Despite the effort being minimal, at least there is some effort which makes the forum not die, but it doesn't really thrive either.

Things are really hard to change, even if there's popular demand, if it goes against certain rules they've set in stone in their heads, the communities fell on deaf ears. But since there is no alternative, it's either start your own forum, or accept. Some people have tried that too, but it fails due to lack of ability to incentivize the community to migrate. Why would they leave OTLand, when all resources so far are there, all people are already there, and also people value their reputation and post count/likes/etc. so they don't wanna migrate to a place where they don't enjoy the same reputation I guess too.

Many factors, but this is totally the fault of the community's mindset and perhaps laziness to even give it a shot. And there were chances. In fact, I think tibia.net.pl's internationalization effort which we're seeing right now will be the next and possibly last opportunity.

But as I said already, credit where credit is due - someone out there is still paying the hosting costs, keeping the forum alive and updated with newest forum engine software, etc. Just enough to keep the illusion going that 10% fuck is given.



2. Mentality and technology shift in development

Since the old times, technology has advanced quite a lot, and many of the script kiddies from those times have become professionals by now.
As the programmers' knowledge grows, so does their intolerance to inferior patterns and code become smaller and smaller.
Even though a high tier programmer's desire to do all things in the most modern, optimized and perfect way, may be coming from a good place in their heart, it is often their intolerance for noobs, their ego, the dogmatic and toxic principles which they parrot from others who parroted it to them, which end up making their presence feel really hostile for newcomers.

This has also reflected on the barrier to entry to getting a basic TFS set up, and while it might be easy for us once we learn how to do it, a total newcomer to the world of programming and hosting will have massive trouble getting TFS running. Compare this back to the days when each release came with a precompiled .exe and sqlite database preset, you could just download a pack and run it, and you were walking around on a GM character in notime after creating an account with an ingame account manager. Then you could open the provided documentation and get going with messing around with your first server.

Back to today. Account manager is removed, so you need to host an actual website and connect it to the server in order to even make an account. I don't see why the default database couldn't at least be injected with a 1/1 acc with a premade Admin on it at least. Nope, not even that.
So you need to know how to set up a web host. Then you get to pick from one of the several horrible and outdated AACs that are still around, which might not be easily set up depending on what environment and tibia version you are using.
So you're new, and now you already have to learn Web Host and MYSQL. Then, you're encouraged to compile your own distro, but compilation on windows (which is what most newcomers use) can be quite terrible. First you download something like MSVS which downloads like 20 GB of stuff, and then you need to also make sure all dependencies are linked properly, etc. I mean, this is not trivial at all to someone who's never done any of that nor knows why it has to be done. These are already potentially weeks of learning for a total noob. Don't get me started on Docker or using VM to compile with linux because "use linux bro that's much easier".

Furthermore, this mindset is prevalent among the official TFS repo maintainers (and perhaps rightly so), so before you're able to even attempt to contribute to it, you have to take months if not years of learning in order to be able to meet their standards, and your PR might not even be merged because of lack of testing.
Good luck writing unit tests in the extremely coupled TFS with no base to begin with, so just go on and recruit an army of people who have nothing better to do than sit and manually test your code until hopefully maintainers have mercy on you to say it's good enough and merge it.

In conclusion, standards are very high, barrier to entry is very high, and ....



3. Influx and retention of New Members (is low)

Tibia has not performed terribly great in terms of playerbase growth over the years. Sure, they maintain a steady count, but that's about it. Tibia is, from what we can safely assume, the major and probably only source of new members for these communities. So every now and then, even if a user might come from Tibia to the OT community, a large percentage of that small usercount is still going to just be players, not developers.
They might snoop around, find a few OTs and play them.

If they attempted to develop, unless they are extremely motivated, the aforementioned barriers to entry are likely to kill their desire very quickly.
Skilled developers will likely choose to work on something else, rather than an OT in 2021.
That leaves us with those who are players primarily, and they get a choice selection of shitty upon shitty poorly managed download-and-run cashgrabs. Rare are the quality projects nowadays. Enough experience with poor servers will drive them away entirely.

Especially now that a relatively good PC is not that expensive, and they can choose to play from the greatest catalogue of games ever in human existence... why would they subject themselves to this shit?



Part 2 in next post, reached char limit
 
Last edited:

Shiva

New User
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
4
Reaction score
5
4. Not playing to strengths of the remaining demographic

After you put things through all the filters I listed above, you get a bit of a demographic that looks like this:

People who, still in this day and age, have terrible hardware so they have to resort to playing games like Tibia. Which is, honest to god, a surprisingly large part of its appeal. As we know, Tibia is mostly popular in third world countries for this exact reason. Brazil, Poland and Egypt come to mind as "huge" communities of tibia players, and those are countries with poor economy which push their people really hard in order to make it in the world.

This creates our second subcategory: ambitious people from poor economies - who are not going to spend their time if it's not going to make them some money. Even when they get extremely good at something, they will not contribute it for free. And given their situation, I don't see a reason why they should.
However, this fact seems to be ignored by those who get to decide whether a marketplace for OT resources will exist, and users who attempt to make any coin on anything OT related are berated. Meanwhile, head admin of OTLand shills his OT-predisposed hosting service to people, under the guise that it's not strictly OT related, after all, you can host anything on his machines, but he'll gladly offer you those with OT software installed on them, even at a discount!

Now, what would happen if on top of that, global economy collapses because of a major COVID epidemic? People lose their jobs, housing, etc.
You think someone will sit around and use their time pleasing TFS maintainers for free while they struggle to put bread on the table? Forget it.

Then we have aspiring developers who are still trying to do something, but as mentioned in chapter #2, are shut down due to their inadequacy in providing perfect code, without being at least provided a framework or facilities that would encourage or tutor them related to TFS. Documentation is poor, some bad coding patterns in the code are present and not eliminated, etc.
Turns out that, if you learn by reading a shitty codebase, you will produce shitty code. Who knew.
So naturally, once you come to this realization, you will turn your head away from TFS and go learn from other resources... which might lead to you not even coming back to TFS at all.

Then, there are mythological beings called diehard Tibia fans, and oldschool Tibia fans. The stalemate produced in the above situations resulted in TFS development stalling on a certain Tibia version, failing to catch up with what Cipsoft is doing. This means that those who want to experience OTs with latest Tibia features can only find that in a small set of highly developed and invested in servers who have their own engineers doing this work, while TFS sleeps.
Oldschool fans are something else, I won't even get into how that crowd might be pleased...

And then, you have a minority which is artists, mappers, that sort of thing. And while their work is certainly nice and desirable to have around, it does not contribute to TFS at all. As an artist and mapper myself, I think those guys are treated relatively well, but like I said, not much to contribute code-wise, and that's what needs most of the work in order to keep OTs alive.

We could extrapolate a few more minorities, but I think I covered the main ones.



I could write more if you want, but I think that about makes a great chunk of the issue.

In summary, we are in a bit of a vicious circle here.
Without abandoning the meaning of either Open, or Tibia, or both, the community is stuck in vicious circle of the negligence and gatekeeping of higher ups negatively impacting the userbase, and the userbase's (mostly expectable) behavior antagonizes the experienced ones and the gatekeepers.

Add into that mix the fact that even the userbase itself is divided in ideas like emancipation from Cipsoft's resources, and lack of clear goals to play toe to toe with them, while Cipsoft just keeps growing Tibia, and it gets worse.

What else can I tell you except make an important disclaimer:

By criticizing some of these things, I am totally aware I have personally contributed to the problem in some capacity, that, I am willing to discuss if there's interest, and am in no way saying I know any perfect cure. We all have notions and ideas.
I have drawn the above conclusions from the times of my active experience, interest and participation in the OT community as well as from what I heard from other fellow users.


Personally, I have made a career and a bunch of money both directly and indirectly from interacting with the OT community, and am in no way ashamed of what I did, in fact, I am proud of the accomplishments participation in this community has driven me to achieve, and many of its users who I cooperated with seem to be happy with that too.

Nevertheless, I recognize that, and have also tried to contribute useful knowledge or resources, but due to a dwindling lack of time which most of us experience as we grow from teenage kids with no obligations to responsible adults, I find myself at a loss for time to continue contributing in large capacities.

Furthermore, I have been developing on a number of custom projects, and talked to even more custom project developers.
It turns out that none of them like being shackled by TFS capabilities, and went on to change and fix up the engine on their own to walk their own path.
When asked why they didn't share such contributions, the most common answer is (which applies to me as well), something along the lines of:

"Because the fixes are wrapped in a bunch of other changes which work on my project, but would break TFS."

Thanks to the extremely coupled and untestable codebase that TFS is, this is bound to happen as soon as you start diverging into the path of a custom server with custom features, + the strictness of its repo maintainers, there is no wonder why this seems to be common.

This post is getting way too long, so I'll stop now. Hopefully this sheds some light on the situation.
 

Zikerek

New User
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
@Shiva I hear you clear!

I've read it all twice over the weeend and I'm glad to see that there are some sane people out there! And it's that I like what you said because I confirms my assumptions and reitrate my findings. It's because it's a very pragmatic, constructive and in-depth analysis.

I'm not going to quote any of it, because it's extremely hard to pick up the highlights - it's all very important. And does it shed "some light"? Man, it makes everything crystal clear.

I actually came here looking for an alternative to OTland, because I'm allergic to bs :LOL: It's a shame it's so quiet here. But to be honest I'd prefer a smaller, but more sane community, perhaps there's a chance to build one here?

I think point 2 is the biggest issue here. I said it a number of times back when I was active: this codebase is bad. I was in no position to influence change at that time - I was too inexperienced to make significant core improvements (and the codebase didn't help). But now I can see even more clearly that this is not how you want to build things. Except maybe that's what it takes to develop games - I'm no game dev. I do have many more thoughts now. Happy to share with interested people who'd be willing to also contribute (as much as they can, I myself have little time these days, but one step at a time)! ;)

And let me be clear on one thing - I see nothing bad in making money / doing paid gigs / selling your work. It's when you join an open community, take from it and provide nothing in return you ruin it, for everyone else and eventually yourself too. It truly amazes me how can so many people be so blind to the point they can't see that simple truth. But you're right, if the seemingly open community / project is not so open, the fault is on both sides. I just wish there was a simple remedy (other than dual licensing fo example).

It's so refreshing to see someone with a clear head around, thanks for that mate! I wish more people were like that, we wouldn't be having such discussions at all!
 

Shiva

New User
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
4
Reaction score
5
I actually came here looking for an alternative to OTland, because I'm allergic to bs :LOL: It's a shame it's so quiet here. But to be honest I'd prefer a smaller, but more sane community, perhaps there's a chance to build one here?

I think it's because this was a polish-only forum for a long time, @Kuzyn started the initiative to translate and open things up for the international community just a few weeks ago from what I know, so this is still very much in the stage of inception. If we provide it with useful discussions and resources, it might become attractive for users to checking out. I think if they really want to incentivize more users, they could do what OTLand failed to, and rectify some of the issues mentioned, including but not limited to, making and maintaining their own fork of TFS like the brazilian community does.

And while there's certainly a ton of crappy stuff going on there as well, the fact that their community is much more open to changes and merges, and that it's so active, makes things more attractive for participation as well as gets impactful bugs fixed quicker.

A huge part would be just to provide a new starter pack that's easier to install for newbies as well.

But anyway, I think from my previous post, that one can deduce more points that could be acted on to start remedying the issues.

I will keep an eye on both communities and contribute where I can as always, but I've withdrawn to a more of a lurking position now that I got my hands full of stuff to do.

There's definitely more people with a similar mindset, I know cuz I talked to them, but such discussions usually take place on private chats on discord rather than public discussions, so you might get an even more pessimistic outlook on things if you don't consider that. I'd love to engage in a more open and unrestricted community, and perhaps that's exactly what this forum might become.

It would be good to have you around as well, you seem like you have things to contribute and say, and who knows, maybe it's exactly your actions that might spearhead further movement.

I'm currently working on a marketplace and repository for sprites so I'll make my contribution in that way when all is finished, but yeah like I said, that's not the primary concern, more of a luxury if anything. Code is what matters atm.
 

Zikerek

New User
Joined
Oct 22, 2011
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Right, this is what I thought! Hopefully it'll become more vibrant soon, although it'd need a lot more content than it has currently (not as much as OTLand, perhaps more curated and of higher quality rather than measured by it's volume). I already saw a nice mapping tutorial made by @Kuzyn!

I also agree that building a community around a project (as in the server) is a great advantage. Except I'm not very keen on dealing with a TFS fork for the reasons we both already acknowledged - it's bad. I tried helping some folk on OTLand, but they rarely give you enough information to isolate the problem and you need to be really familiar with TFS ins and outs to provide any real support without looking at TFS source code for hours every time :LOL:.

There's definitely more people with a similar mindset, I know cuz I talked to them, but such discussions usually take place on private chats on discord rather than public discussions, so you might get an even more pessimistic outlook on things if you don't consider that. I'd love to engage in a more open and unrestricted community, and perhaps that's exactly what this forum might become.
See, I wasn't active for the past 10 years so I wouldn't know of any worthy discord channels nor the people you talked to. Which is fine I suppose.

I'm currently working on a marketplace and repository for sprites so I'll make my contribution in that way when all is finished, but yeah like I said, that's not the primary concern, more of a luxury if anything. Code is what matters atm.
Good for you! I hope it works out. I assume it's something like DevianArt or Unity Asset Store, just for OpenTibia? May I ask what tech you chose for it? (Also feel free to ping me if you come across any tough issues, as long as I'm familiar with the tech stack or it's an engineering problem I'm happy to help)

Given what I said about TFS earlier, I've started familiarising myself with Rust yesterday night. Neither Go nor .NET seem particularly suitable for real-time game servers, for different reasons, and I'm unwilling to use C++ due to its inherent flaws and awful tooling. So I'm going to start building a new server in Rust sometime soon and a new client, most likely using Unity + C#. Bear in mind that this won't support the original Tibia client, because it'll use completely different netcode.

This is actually one of the problems with TFS that startled me after these 10 years. Given the existence of OTC and the fact that TFS is developed against OTC I can't understand why they're still using Tibia's proprietary / reverse-engineered network protocol o_O
 

Shiva

New User
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
4
Reaction score
5
I also agree that building a community around a project (as in the server) is a great advantage. Except I'm not very keen on dealing with a TFS fork for the reasons we both already acknowledged - it's bad. I tried helping some folk on OTLand, but they rarely give you enough information to isolate the problem and you need to be really familiar with TFS ins and outs to provide any real support without looking at TFS source code for hours every time
Given what I said about TFS earlier, I've started familiarising myself with Rust yesterday night. Neither Go nor .NET seem particularly suitable for real-time game servers, for different reasons, and I'm unwilling to use C++ due to its inherent flaws and awful tooling. So I'm going to start building a new server in Rust sometime soon and a new client, most likely using Unity + C#. Bear in mind that this won't support the original Tibia client, because it'll use completely different netcode.

I've dabbled with possibilities of remaking the engine with my team at various points, and yeah through various discussion, we also landed on the conclusion Rust might be a good choice. Unfortunately we haven't committed to doing something like that, it would be an enormous task, but it's fun to discuss.

Good for you! I hope it works out. I assume it's something like DevianArt or Unity Asset Store, just for OpenTibia? May I ask what tech you chose for it? (Also feel free to ping me if you come across any tough issues, as long as I'm familiar with the tech stack or it's an engineering problem I'm happy to help)

Well I used to have a website that had basically a gallery of my sprites which are for sale, but it was missing a lot, from a proper cart system to an automatized payment system and all else. So I decided to remake it now that I have the knowledge how to, and eventually open it up for more features and sellers to join, etc. Back when I started on it, I began with just Bootstrap and Laravel, but now I learned about various useful technologies like React, Svelte, InertiaJS, etc so I'm considering incorporating some of that to ease the maintenance of the frontend as it grows.


This is actually one of the problems with TFS that startled me after these 10 years. Given the existence of OTC and the fact that TFS is developed against OTC I can't understand why they're still using Tibia's proprietary / reverse-engineered network protocol

They could easily depart from it given the existence of OTC, but nobody still considers OTC usable enough to be embraced by the official engine code and discard the possibility of connecting to Tibia altogether. It would probably also destroy backwards compatibility completely too.
 
Top