Monday, September 3, 2012

Planning ADOM 1.2.0+

Greetings everyone! After ending the ADOM: The Resurrection crowd funding campaign with a blazing success, after having a nice ADOM: The Resurrection virtual party and after getting some rest from the campaign I'm starting this week to setup the new project (as the many changes and the additions during the campaign completely wrecked our old plan ;-) ). Here's an overview of things to happen first...

All in all my estimation is that the next two weeks will be taken up setting up the project to get it really rolling without distractions. This entails (in no particular order):

  1. Scheduling a meeting with my tax accountant to clarify issues on how crowd funded money is taxed in Germany.
  2. Setting up contracts with Krys and Lucas for the work sets they are going to within the context of the months to come (contracts actually are necessary for tax reasons).
  3. Setting up a contract and a licensing exception from the GPL with Zeno about NotEye integration (we already agreed on doing that beforehand but now we also need to do a safe legal contract; requires me to get into contact with my preferred open source lawyer to get this set up).
  4. Planning the exact work packages with Lucas, Krys, Zeno and Jochen (our original project plan was pretty much wrecked by the many changes wrought about the original idea during the campaign ;-) ).
  5. Revise the project plan to catch up with all the changes and additional features to be added (I'm about 65% done but there's an amazing amount of stuff left to organize and add up).
  6. Revise all pledge submissions. I need to merge the official list from Indiegogo with the hundreds of mails that flooded in during the last days and hours of the campaign. Additionally the heap of pledge upgrades also needs to be organized and there were some special issues to be taken into account. All this currently is stored in a mix of tables and mails and needs to be sorted into one master table. This alone sadly will take days :-(
  7. Finally I need to set up forms to get into contact with donors and start collecting information about the various pledge reward details.  Sadly Indiegogo's support here is... non-existant (compared to all the infrastructure that according to my knowledge is provided by Kickstarter). *Sigh* So I'll have to come up with something myself... currently I'm thinking about Google forms, suggestions are welcome for building dynamic survey forms that collect the responses on an organized manner.
  8. I need to catch up with emails. Didn't read single one during the weekend just to clear my head :-)
Some actual work also will be done as we'd like to start releasing updates of the ADOM 1.2.0 prereleases:

  • Jochen will finish his work on an automated build and deployment infrastructure for ADOM to allow us to compile, package and upload new releases with a single shell command (otherwise it would be impossible to do timely updates).
  • We will set up a download site for the Wanderer level donors (and above) so that they can "get their fix" with the latest prerelease :-) (you will be mailed with information on how to get there as soon as we have the site set up).
  • I have started tinkering with ideas about the ADOM Lite RPG. This is the one thing that needs to  happen in parallel to the actual ADOM programming work so there is no reason not to start as soon as possible. Blog post upcoming about preliminary thoughts.
Ok, that's it for today. I'm now trying to get work done - read ya ;-)

Oh, BTW, I will use the ATR label as a tag for all posts on this bog relating to future happenings related to the ADOM: The Resurrection campaign. So if you want to get an overview after a while just click on the ATR label in the list to the right.

17 comments:

  1. Oh, and I forgot: A ton of interesting questions were raised during the party. They have been collected and will be sent to me (or have already been sent - as I said, I didn't check my mailbox at the weekend ;-) ) and I'll answer those in a long blog post, too.

    And I'm going to post collected information about my experiences from the crowd funding campaign and things I believe to have learned so that they hopefully will benefit other roguelike games and develpers in getting their act pushed forward, too.

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  2. Honestly I don't think you need to pay a lawyer just to work out a licensing exception for NotEye. As far as I know, a licensing exception is nothing arcane or complicated, it's just that ZenoRogue gives you his code (and/or binary) with another license just for you, the terms of the license are whatever you want and this doesn't interfere with the GPL distribution, since they're different distributions (from a licensing point of view, it's as if the GPL NotEye and the ADOM NotEye were different pieces of software with different licenses).

    I think it's a pity to spend part of the money on (eek) lawyers, the more money that can go to actual development, the better.

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    1. That's true in theory. In practice there also needs to be a guarantee that he holds all copyright and intellectual property rights to NotEye and thus really can grant that right. While I personally believe and trust Zeno 100%, I have learned to rely on contracts for such matters as the consequences otherwise might be... severe.

      Costs shouldn't be overly much here but dealing in a clean and professional way is what I'm going to do. As in all other respects (see the tax issue, I'm pretty sure that quite a lot of campaigns just bypass various laws... which is not what I'm going to do).

      When we open sourced OpenSAGA at QuinScape (http://www.opensaga.org) I also learned that open source licensing is far from as trivial as most people (even in the open source community) believe. Many of the non-standard licenses (e.g. those drafted by some open source programmers) are complete nonsense and legally simply not valid. Many of the open source contribution licenses out there (especially by US companies, who erroneously seem to believe that US law is true for the whole world) also are invalid and quite a threat to the projects themselves. Even Sun botched on this with the contribution agreement for the open source Java variant... which is simply not valid according to German law. I just hope for Oracle that there weren't any German contributors... otherwise they might get a problem if someone decides to sue.

      So in the end it's all about wording and I want to have a valid and legally binding wording. Seeing that some f******g trolls accuse me of not releasing the source code because it (their words) "probably contains stolen sources from other projects" I'm not going to handle any of this in any but the most correct way.

      If you don't like it I'm sorry but you'll have to beat up the trolls.

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    2. A voice of wisdom and experience. I'm grateful you're aiming at coming in above reproach in all this. The project is in good hands :-)

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    3. OK, you convinced me... I wasn't thinking that anyone would be b*****d enough to find some shady corner of code to sue you, but who knows. I guess it's always good to be as safe as possible.

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    4. Hey, at least trolls are worth lots of XP! :)

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  3. Legal advice isn't terribly expensive when you're working with funds instead of on your own time. If the lawyer is good (and Thomas' "preferred open-source lawyer" would have to be) and the issue is indeed simple, it'll take a few hours and a few hundred bucks to sort out. That's much less than what it is likely going to take to navigate German tax law, and the taxes themselves.

    Getting into a lawsuit (not even with ZenoRogue, just anyone with the faintest claim to any code, remember SCO and Novell) - that is expensive, and would likely eat up most of the funds regardless of the outcome. I'd rather see a little of the money spent on lawyers than all of it.

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    1. Absolutely. I'd hope that this thing is total standard for the lawyer and he'll do it in an hour. And be assured that I'll fix the price before hiring him... I'll handle the granted funds in the most careful way.

      But I'll also regard the ADOM project as a professional software project due to the huge amount of trust put in me and so that's how it's going to work ;-)

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  4. Which level was the Wanderer level again?

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  5. When Thomas commits to something, he's going to do it RIGHT. That includes professional legal advice, if only to make sure that if something goes belly-up in legal matters, he's got someone to hold responsible.

    By the way - the adom.de page, the one that leads to blog, forum or download links, seems to think the campaign is still underway. Should probably fix that!

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    1. Damn, thanks. So much stuff to clean up :-P

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  6. I want to say "Hurry up!" but that's only because I'm anxious to get my fill of new ADOM content!

    Really glad to see you taking a transparent approach to the further development of ADOM and forming what seems like a comprehensive plan, the cornerstone of any project.

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    1. Absolutely. The task ahead is a lot more complex than quite a number of medium sized projects (for a 70-person-company like QuinScape) that I had to manage. So this can only be done professionally and since that's my real life occupation I'll also treat ADOM: The Resurrection as a professional development project.

      There are already enough shady and suspicious crowd funded (gaming) projects out there - I don't want to become part of that line ;-)

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  7. Hey Thomas,
    ich war in einer aehnlichen situation bezueglich auslaendische Mitarbeiter und habe einen vorschlag ( wie ich es bei mir damals mit meinem Steuerberater abgesprochen habe ): Anstatt sie als Angestellte zu betrachten und einen Vertrag aufzusetzten, kannst du sie als freie mitarbeiter anheuern. In der praxis ist es dann so, dass sie dir jeden monat eine rechnung schreiben auf der vermerkt ist "Hinweis: Es handelt sich um eine Leistung nach Paragraph 13d Abs. 1 UStG. Steuerschuldner ist der Leistungsempfänger."
    Danach sind sie selbst dafuer verantwortlich das es ordnungsgemaess in ihrem Heimatland versteuert wird. Spart unmengen an Papierkram und ist auch fuer die anderen leichter zu managen. Sprich mal mit deinem Steuerberater drueber, es macht die ganze sache wirklich ungemein einfacher.
    Gruesse,
    Felix

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    1. Danke für den Hinweis - sehr interessanter Tip. Habe ich mir direkt aufgeschrieben und werde ich zu meinem Steuerberater mitnehmen!

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