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Note: This document has been partially superseded by the announcements of The Technology of Peace.
In particular:
  • Ares has been modified to show a very clear disclaimer in unstable builds, making additional marking of unstable builds as unstable unnecessary.
  • We accept the publication and usage of unstable builds by the general community.
Remember, however, that using unstable builds for general gameplay and distribution is unwise, and that you are still bound by the license.





We have expressed the sentiments of this announcement numerous times over the past few years, but since some people still seem to be unclear about them, I will explain this once more as officially and clearly as possible:
The only supported Ares versions for end-users are the publicly released stable versions.
  • Any version that is not one of the publicly released stable versions is a testing version and only meant for testers.
  • Anyone who is using a testing version despite not being a tester is not entitled to any support from us. If you're not a tester, you weren't supposed to use the testing version in the first place.
  • Testing versions are not released or marked as stable versions because they're not fucking stable. Any particular testing version could unexpectedly and randomly be utterly broken and unplayable. They can be unstable, subtly flawed, features can randomly be broken, they can be slow due to excessive debugging code, or can be built for a very specific purpose only the testers know about. Using testing versions without being a tester is an invitation of trouble and frustration and nothing else.
  • Testing versions can be outdated rapidly. In a development cycle, it's entirely possible there are multiple new versions per hour, each one fixing issues that existed in the one before, or introducing new issues. Picking one at random is akin to Russian roulette. Just because a build is the latest version released doesn't mean it's the most stable build of the past 24 hours. Educate yourself before picking an unstable version.
I will repeat this once more, since certain elements in this community are famous for their dimwittedness and nothing else:
Any version that is not a stable version of Ares is inherently unstable.
If you use a testing version of Ares and complain about any of its properties, specifically in regards to bug counts, stability or feature completeness, you're a fucking moron. Period.

We do not support end users using the testing versions of Ares. We didn't lock them away so far because there wasn't much of a reason to, but if it comes to a point were wide-spread use of testing versions creates problems of any kind for us, we have absolutely no issue with preventing testing versions to work for anyone but testers.

As we have discussed just recently, the community had chance enough to join the testing crew and get the testing versions in advance, it had no interest in that, so it shouldn't turn around now and try to obtain the testing builds.

If you figure out where the testing builds are, good for you.
If you know how to get them, shut the fuck up. They're not for public consumption.


On the related topic of distributing mods with Ares, the following can be said:
  • In any situation, adhere to the license. To put this simply, your right to redistribute Ares is founded on your acceptance and adherence to the license it is under - if you violate the license, you don't have the right to distribute Ares, legal or otherwise. Before you redistribute Ares with anything, read the goddamn license and act accordingly. It's right there in every release, so don't pretend you didn't know.
  • If you're distributing a stable version:
    • Always make sure your Ares is up to date. We only support the latest public release, and if anyone with an outdated version asks for support, our first and only suggestion will be to update to the latest stable release. Patches exist for a reason, we don't release them for fun. If you're distributing your mod with an outdated version and/or your mod is incompatible with the latest version, you're risking support troubles and you're risking broken games.
    • If you or your users uncover Ares issues, report them to the bugtracker.
    • Make sure you deliver Ares cleanly. Do not distribute a virus-infected Ares.
      (Sidenote: Since a virus modifies the Ares binary, and you would not mark Ares as modified in accordance to the license, you would technically commit software piracy by distributing a virus-infected version of Ares. Just sayin'.)
  • If you're distributing an unstable version:
    • First of all, you're stupid. Plain and simple. Releasing your mod based on and with software that has officially not been deemed stable is in no way smart.
    • If you're doing it anyway, we expect the following disclaimer in very clear view in an unmissable place:
      Ares Testing Version Disclaimer Wrote:The version of Ares distributed with this mod is an unstable testing version not meant for public consumption. The Ares developers do not support the usage or distribution of testing versions with public mods. This version of Ares has a certain likelihood of being broken in various ways, including, but not limited to:
      * frequent Internal Errors
      * broken features
      * incomplete features
      * frequent Reconnection Errors in multiplayer
      * broken stock functionality
      * degraded performance due to debugging code

      We, the authors of this mod, consider this version of Ares stable enough for general distribution, but we are required to stress that the Ares developers disagree and do not support this move.
    • Do not dare blaming us for your mistakes. Should it turn out that you distributed the wrong version and your mod's players are angry, don't you fucking dare blaming Ares - it was your stupid decision to include a broken testing version with your mod. We told you it was a stupid decision in the first place. It's your stupid mistake, and it's on you to take the blame.
    • Do not advertise the inclusion of Ares any more than required by the license. Do not go forward and boast about all the awesome additions made possible by new and not-yet-publicly-released Ares features. If you want to include a testing build, do it quietly. (Except for the loud disclaimer, obviously.)
    • Choose. fucking. wisely. As said above: Just because something is the latest build available doesn't mean it's the most stable build available. The latest version could introduce horrible bugs or even intentionally be only half-finished. If you must include a testing version, make an educated choice which build to include, and make note of known issues with that version.

tl;dr: Don't use testing versions unless you're a tester. If you know how to get the testing versions, stfu about it. If you distribute testing versions with your mod, accept the consequences.


This post is a living document and may be modified and amended at a later point in time.

Guest

Sheesh, calm down, buddy.
You know and reckon it's not your fault, so you don't have to get angry about it. Be more professional about it?
You should really clean up some of the "fuck", "moron" and "stupid" out of here. Sounds like you were having a bad moment and went on a rampage in your post.
Calmer than you are, dude.

Guest

Haha, I was expecting to see this news post. Awesome as usual Renegade.
(22.09.2011 20:28:01)Guest Wrote: [ -> ]Sheesh, calm down, buddy.
You know and reckon it's not your fault, so you don't have to get angry about it. Be more professional about it?
You should really clean up some of the "fuck", "moron" and "stupid" out of here. Sounds like you were having a bad moment and went on a rampage in your post.

you should focus on the actual message instead of the swearing.
Personally, I think ares beta version should be open(and clearly let everyone know they may be unstable), but that is just my opinion.
Of the two guests that posted here, approximately how many words of that post do you think they actually read?

Combining both of their word counts together, probably less than 100 xD

@YRM: Technically, all ares versions are open to the public, but for exactly the reason that Renegade is making this post, we don't necessarily want every single stinking bonehead in the RA2/YR modding community to know about all of Ares' unfinished and buggy releases.
Worm: by "open" I meant the links should not be "hidden" and be available on the front page. I honestly believe noobs wont be an issue. But it does not matter, Ren is not going to change his mind.
Also, there is no need insult the entire community, worm.
YRM, you're either too naive or underestimate the amount of n00bs in the community.
It's not specific to PPM or any community. Some people just don't have much appreciation for the development process and will take test releases as an end product, regardless of how many disclaimers say otherwise.
YRM Wrote:Also, there is no need insult the entire community, worm.

I didn't insult the entire community. I meant exactly what I said; not everyone in the RA2/YR modding community is a bonehead, but we don't want those boneheads to come and find Ares' buggy and unfinished releases and then criticize us, saying that we're "just as bad as NPatch" because we have buggy and unfinished releases available to the public.

Basically, anyone who is intelligent enough to understand how our operations work here is intelligent enough to get their hands on our unfinished releases. Those who would be stupid and call us morons for having unfinished material available to the public are also generally stupid enough to not figure out how to find our releases.

That's exactly how they wanted it to be, and it's exactly how it should be.
Concerning leaks, I believe you kinda had it coming.

It's that over-organization I believe I talked about in the IRC channel once, hard to describe for me. Ares suffers from it. You have a designated somebody for everything, which can be good, but is probably unmaintainable in a community consisting of limited people and dedicated to a game that's over 10 years old.

Naturally people have something better to do, which you really shouldn't be mad about. Sure, they applied as testers and kindof lied about being available or willing to test every bit, I can understand you being mad about them. But then again, what's the chance of somebody dedicating a lot of their time to something like this, especially if you bitch back at them if they miss a few days and go on vacation and delay releases for ages. There has been one Ares release since I started working on the DLL system 3 years ago...

I say use these leaks as public testing versions. Those developing mods will know best about what's wrong, a lot better than these designated testers having to test by protocol. I'm a professional software dev by now, and I know how testing sucks.

If people who illegitimately use Ares 0.2 leaks report problems (yes, even if it's some n00b bitching about it and set the wrong severity in the bugtracker and is illiterate...), stop calling them fucking morons, but be happy that somebody is finally testing stuff and use the input. It's enough to emphasize that those builds are inherently unstable, and there's also nothing wrong telling mod developers to not f'in distribute them. But voluntary, motivation-driven cross-testing is the best thing that can happen to you these days.

I'm not turning into n00b-friendly Banshee v2, I just think all these politics don't work for a project like this. The result is delayed releases, which will rather make people quit than motivate them to test harder next time. My two cents about the whole situation.
I am not quite sure how to reply to that post, since it consists entirely of misconceptions...I will try to address each point individually and hope to clear things up.

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]Concerning leaks, I believe you kinda had it coming.
We did not have a leak. You cannot leak something which is open and public. What we're suffering from is mishandling and false advertisement regarding our testing builds, which is something we're trying to control and contain. But no one distributed anything that wasn't available anyway. (You will notice that it wasn't us who had read the license that ganged up on Gangster.)

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]It's that over-organization I believe I talked about in the IRC channel once, hard to describe for me. Ares suffers from it. You have a designated somebody for everything, which can be good, but is probably unmaintainable in a community consisting of limited people and dedicated to a game that's over 10 years old.
First of all, personally, I don't see any over-organization, and I have yet to hear credible arguments for one to exist. We have developers, we have testers, we have The Amazing Doc Man, we have Nighthawk to manage non-code issues.
What lines would you like us to blur? Do you think it'd work better if we asked SM to learn Assembler and start digging around the exe? If we asked NH to go edit the documentation?
Having dedicated people for certain activities does not constitute "over-organization". Especially if specific people have specific abilities and talents that others don't have.

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]Naturally people have something better to do, which you really shouldn't be mad about.
Secondly, do you realize your entire argumentation is "people have better stuff to do, so give the individual people more work to do!"?
Seriously, having less people dedicated to singular tasks means more work for everyone. Instead of focusing on development alone, we'd have to focus on development, user documentation, advertisement, tester applications, etc., etc. Which means development would take about four times as long, and people burn out four times faster.

Speaking of which, you should read this great article about community burnout linked by Graion recently. Says there, among other things:
The Article Wrote:Graner further suggests that free software work, "needs to be a team effort so no one person is responsible for it all."

[...]

Another suggestion that Graner makes is that project roles be clearly defined -- something that rarely happens in a distributed project staffed partly by volunteers. That way, people might be less apt to take on new responsibilities.
Read the whole article to get the context.
Point is, everybody can't do everything. Without structure, all you get is overwhelmed people. Look at the normal modding projects in the community: Are they not constantly looking for Voxelers, SHPs, testers? Past a certain size, one person can't do everything anymore.

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]Sure, they applied as testers and kindof lied about being available or willing to test every bit, I can understand you being mad about them. But then again, what's the chance of somebody dedicating a lot of their time to something like this, especially if you bitch back at them if they miss a few days and go on vacation and delay releases for ages.
That is pure polemic and nothing else. We have never once done that. Quite the opposite, we've always understood when people came up and said "I'll be gone for X, got Y".

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]There has been one Ares release since I started working on the DLL system 3 years ago...
According to the forum archives, you quit almost three years ago. The release was one and half years later.
Direct question: How many releases would there have been if it hadn't been for the rest of us? And in what frequency would they have come? In what quality?
After all, it's not like you never added a feature to Ares and lost interest before it was finished...

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]I say use these leaks as public testing versions.
See above, both the first part of this post as well as the grandparent.

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]Those developing mods will know best about what's wrong, a lot better than these designated testers having to test by protocol. I'm a professional software dev by now, and I know how testing sucks.
Yesterday, I was linked to a mod's page which distributes an ancient 0.2 development build from a non-trunk branch with 0.1's ares.mix. Billed as stock Ares rev. Foo.
Sorry, but we simply can't trust the community to handle development builds properly. There are too many confused and stupid people out there.

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]If people who illegitimately use Ares 0.2 leaks report problems (yes, even if it's some n00b bitching about it and set the wrong severity in the bugtracker and is illiterate...), stop calling them fucking morons, but be happy that somebody is finally testing stuff and use the input.
Again, nothing but out-of-context polemic. We have never called people names for proper reporting of issues. In fact, several people have been giving steady bug reports over a long time without ever officially being testers.
What I called stupid up there was the production use of test builds in the first place.

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]It's enough to emphasize that those builds are inherently unstable, and there's also nothing wrong telling mod developers to not f'in distribute them. But voluntary, motivation-driven cross-testing is the best thing that can happen to you these days.
Which is why we're happy about proper issue reporting, and have, contrary to what you're claiming, never discouraged it.

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]I'm not turning into n00b-friendly Banshee v2, I just think all these politics don't work for a project like this.
What "politics"? The "policy" of wanting to be represented by actual, proper, stable Ares, instead of a random, broken, mislabeled, half-finished testing version that somebody mass-distributed and sold as the real deal?
There are no "politics" here. It's a very simple thing: We're a bunch of people doing a bunch of stuff that want to be associated with the stuff they did, not broken shit that some impatient asshole associates with our names by force.

If you're fine with people mass-releasing broken shit under your name, that's your good right. Personally, I want my name on what I release, not what some random downloader deems releasable.

(30.09.2011 20:46:09)pd Wrote: [ -> ]The result is delayed releases [...]
Bullshit. What's delaying releases is that everybody wants the release, but nobody's willing to invest a little work in it. All it'd would've taken is that all these supposedly interested people would've helped out for a month, got this thing properly tested, and all would've been well. They would've played with latest Ares, we would've fixed the bugs, 0.2 would've been stable and released a long time ago.
Instead, only a handful of people even claim to want to test, and even fewer actually do it.

If you were actually around, you would've seen how, last time people claimed Ares was oh-so-stable, around July, my push for more testing uncovered several additional issues that needed fixing, one of them so obvious that it's ridiculous no one noticed before.
Just two days ago, Graion reported high probabilities of Reconnection Errors under certain conditions, despite the fact that people keep claiming Ares is so amazingly stable. With what magic are we supposed to fix this issue, if nobody continues testing to narrow down the cause?

"Politics" is not what is holding us back. It's the fact that Ares is a big, complex piece of software that people just don't grasp needs proper testing before being released.
Because the same people who are vocal about releasing Ares now are the ones who'll be first to whine when actually using it uncovers unfixed issues.



If you have actual criticism of stuff that is actually happening, I will be glad to listen to it and see if we can change things for the better.
But that post was as far from historic and developmental reality as it could get, and we cannot fix lies and fantasies.
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