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Post by mrknowitall on Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:51 pm

After having a phone call with another developer the topic of user base came up. In the modern day and age, the "youth" of today use social media as their main source of information. Some could say its used more than google in terms of searching for certain things. 

is there, or would there be a way of users, developers & everyone in-between would push OpenBVE on social media? after a general search for "openBVE" on Facebook. there is no real "concrete" page for UK content. would Chris or someone on his behalf create a Facebook page? then maybe any social media posts in regards to the simulator use a certain wording that can eventually populate Facebook with content?

Im all for the simulator but i just thought this might be something worth discussing? Generating more interest for completely new players/developers can only be a benefit for the simulator as a whole? 

Any pros and cons are always worth talking about.
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Post by graymac on Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:06 pm

There's nothing to stop any one from creating a Facebook "group"  -  I see openbve hungary comes up in the search. If anyone does follow on from this, please DO use the format "OpenBVE" in the name (capitalised Open, as previously discussed)  I use FB to promote Celtictrainsim material and it generates more interest than the forum seems to. Not that the two are intended to do the same thing.  Be aware, it does need watching and perhaps some moderation so it will be a burden on whoever implements it.
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Post by Quork on Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:38 pm

Facebook and such certainly have a tendency to derail discussions into toxic swamps, yet they are a powerful tool for generating attention, that's true.
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Post by Traumflug on Sat Aug 03, 2019 10:48 pm

A few thoughts:

- Advertising is certainly a good idea.

- Opening discussion groups elsewhere kind of splits the community, just as opening distinct forums for each country. To attract hungarians, opening a hungarian section in this forum is IMHO a better idea.

- All advertising is moot if installation and startup is a chore. That's what I just tried to do. Installed the Debian package on my shiny Ubuntu, lauchned the application and ... just some cryptic preferences dialog. No train, no track, no landscape, no engine dashboard, no hint to a need for such things, much less a link to a location on where to find these. A modern application should have a few simple tracks and trains built in to get newbies basically started within, say, 3 minutes. Some graphics, something moving, that's the fun of all of this, isn't it? Once caught, people happily invest more time into searching and learning additional stuff.

Oh, and: hello everybody! Came along here while searching the internet up and down on how to get something going. Even managed to find and install a train and a track withing a few hours, but loading the game crashes at 61% loading. Enough for today, perhaps another try next week.

My distant goal: simulate and evaluate train schedules, like the new Deutschland-Takt.

Admin's note: Off topic section on initial UX moved to a new thread, please discuss there. If you require assistance with your problem (the second section greyed out), please open a new thread in the support forum.

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Post by Quork on Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:37 am

Welcome on board and thanks for your input. Please open new threads for new topics (here: one for your technical installation problems, one for your ideas on setup process) since they're off topic.
The community on OpenBVE has never been monolithic and concentrated in one place and probably will never be for a variety of reasons. We here on BVEWW are central in a way, because this is where the program development happens and this is where different language communities keep contact with one another; but it's neither a goal not would it be sensible to incorporate the whole communities themselves into this board.

Concerning your distant goal: This isn't the correct tool for this, you'd need something focused on the network like Bahnplan, Transport Fever, OpenTTD. Not a simulation focused on one single train.
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Post by Anthony_B on Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:14 pm

Personally I see a three main aspects going into the future:

  • This forum for serious and more in-depth discussion, technical content etc;
  • Facebook/social media for showing off new content and generating general interest and comments;
  • Easily accessible content.

On the latter point I am trying to deliver something this year at least :-) I get the impression the user base has shrunk considerably from what it was when I was last active, so quite a bit of work on all sides may be in order, to create a perception of activity and progress for the sim.

I would agree that some kind of sample route and train, even if short and sweet, would be good to just help people get started without having to look for content to see how the sim handles and looks; just something which demonstrates openBVE’s key capabilities within a few minutes of driving along with it's strength of creating a feeling of realism.
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Post by Dexter on Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:24 pm

I was aacutally considering adding a page here - or maybe a couple of pages. I think it would be reasonable to have the addresses for train / route / add-ons in general listed here rather than having the need to search it elsewhere (wiki etc.)
Someone mentioned such thing already (it was here on the forum as well), although I am not sure which topic it is in right now.
EDIT - It's here https://bveworldwide.forumotion.com/t1762-traumflug-on-the-initial-installation-experience
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Post by mrknowitall on Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:30 pm

I think social media is key for generating interest and showing what OpenBVE can offer. But I also stand by my comments of having a route and train packaged in the simulator on initial download so to showcase what the players can expect Smile
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Post by leezer3 on Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:28 pm

To note, I don't do social media full-stop Razz
From what I can see, the active developer base has definitely shrunk a little, but the main site is getting 1,000+ hits a day from search engines so we can't be too badly off.
(I'd guess probably 10% or so are real hits)

A pre-packaged route / train is an interesting idea, but I don't know if it's the right way to go specifically. For starters, that would multiply the download size by a factor of two or three....

It'd be possible to get the installer (or the program for that matter) to pull down a couple of sample routes / trains without too much difficulty, but if we're not careful, we risk bringing back all of the issues involved with managed content.

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Post by mrknowitall on Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:17 am

leezer3 wrote:To note, I don't do social media full-stop Razz
From what I can see, the active developer base has definitely shrunk a little, but the main site is getting 1,000+ hits a day from search engines so we can't be too badly off.
(I'd guess probably 10% or so are real hits)

A pre-packaged route / train is an interesting idea, but I don't know if it's the right way to go specifically. For starters, that would multiply the download size by a factor of two or three....

It'd be possible to get the installer (or the program for that matter) to pull down a couple of sample routes / trains without too much difficulty, but if we're not careful, we risk bringing back all of the issues involved with managed content.

Although you dont use social media, if someone was to push it on social media with your backing, it would get out to a new audience maybe? 

I can also understand the issues regarding file size for pre-packaged download. but if it could be a suggestion for future versions? I am sure in the early day BVE came pre packaged as such with a route/train combination. 

What issues regarding managed content are we speaking about?
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Post by Quork on Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:23 am

Problem is: OpenBVE is an international and highly modular simulator. Michelle knew why she had planned on renaming it to Framework. What should a sample route demonstrate? Just put a lazy Sunday afternoon in Ballyfeckin and a busy morning in Chashinai to comparison. I think a better way to go would be to have a dialogue window pop up on first run: "It would seem you have just installed this simulator and have no content yet. Do you want to find some routes and trains now? [Show me the download site]/[I know where to find them]".
The page they land on should strictly only contain quality tested stuff in correctly working packages so that good experience is guaranteed.
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Post by mrknowitall on Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:14 am

Other simulators come with a host of routes from the start. Yes it would make the base file a bigger download, but I’m not saying we Demand it be all UK routes and trains. I’m saying if it was to be a possibility, why not put feelers out to all forums asking for the communities views on what they would want. And if it was ok’d By the developer of said route to have 1 diagram from their route or one train from their collection to come with the game from the start? 


So then you could have a route/train from the US, one from the UK and others from around the world. 

After all, it’s just a topic about what may or may not generate interest? 

I do like the sound of a dialogue window though! Smile
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Post by graymac on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:05 am

I think it needs to be left to individual developers to take any initiative whether to use "social media", or not.
The BVEWW forum is what it is, a discussion board to ask and answer questions around matters of the sim and related items. I wouldn't see the OpenBVE project being a comfortable fit with Facebook or Twitter. Reasons being that it would be more of a distraction than a help and would waste people's time that is better spent on production matters.

However, individual producers may find a media presence helps to boost awareness of their brand. By promoting a brand there is a secondary effect of drawing attention to the actual sim program. There is nothing undesirable about that, and it won't get in the way of developing the sim program. And anyway, as Chris has stated:
To note, I don't do social media full-stop
Good man yerself, Chris Very Happy

Personally, my view is that the sim program is fine coming as it does now with the program, tools and the "Package Management" facility to enable a simple installation of the routes and trains. That is fully the remit of the OpenBVE Project, as I understand it.

What COULD be done, if it was thought appropriate, might be to create a page on this forum with a listing of a few routes and trains, possibly some of them suitable as "starter" material. Any item listed would need to be FULLY compatible with the "Package Management" in the program - NO manual installation required or allowed.
Perhaps this page could have a link to it from the OpenBVE project website
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Post by leezer3 on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:15 am

graymac wrote:Personally, my view is that the sim program is fine coming as it does now with the program, tools and the "Package Management" facility to enable a simple installation of the routes and trains. That is fully the remit of the OpenBVE Project, as I understand it.

What COULD be done, if it was thought appropriate, might be to create a page on this forum with a listing of a few routes and trains, possibly some of them suitable as "starter" material. Any item listed would need to be FULLY compatible with the "Package Management" in the program - NO manual installation required or allowed.
Perhaps this page could have a link to it from the OpenBVE project website

I've actually considered a routes page on the main site.

This would likely help with the content issues, but I'm concerned it'll hit exactly the same issues as the managed content experiment:

  • Who decides what is there? (Me probably, but what makes me the arbiter?)
  • Content standards- Do we push only 'nice' stuff, or does anything go (see above....)
  • Sites unfortunately drop off the radar- Do we attempt to force the issue of redistribution as Michelle did (terminally stupid IMHO, but you've got to ask the question)
  • As soon as the main site starts pushing routes, the support workload is likely to go upwards


That's just a few issues off the top of my head.

Management of a project this size isn't easy Razz

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Post by Dexter on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:22 am

LOL.
I am on the same ship with Chris there, I don't do social media.
However, a page displayed on BVE WorldWide, with routes and trains for download, is probably not a bad idea as it reduces the amount of websites anyone has to find to actually find something.
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Post by Traumflug on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:30 am

leezer3 wrote:A pre-packaged route / train is an interesting idea, but I don't know if it's the right way to go specifically. For starters, that would multiply the download size by a factor of two or three....

7 MiB is tiny by today's standards. Just weekly system updates on Ubuntu (kernel, firefox, ...) average to some 50 MiB per week.

On package based systems example routes would go into a separate package, avoiding redundant downloads on application updates.

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Post by leezer3 on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:54 am

Traumflug wrote:
leezer3 wrote:A pre-packaged route / train is an interesting idea, but I don't know if it's the right way to go specifically. For starters, that would multiply the download size by a factor of two or three....

7 MiB is tiny by today's standards. Just weekly system updates on Ubuntu (kernel, firefox, ...) average to some 50 MiB per week.

On package based systems example routes would go into a separate package, avoiding redundant downloads on application updates.

I don't disagree that 7mb is peanuts Wink
However, best practice has *always* been to use as little as possible.

That I think is something a lot of modern software has lost sight of.

Just because we can get away with something doesn't mean we should do it without carefully considering the consequences.

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Post by graymac on Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:23 pm

I agree with what Chris points out, above,  is "best practice".
In the main, I believe it's down to individual content producers to promote their own material. Unlike commercial simware, where content and program are inextricably linked by business interest, this sim is independent from the makers of the routes and trains. The sim is, if you like, a "tool" - by which the operation of a multitude of free content is facilitated. I like Chris's observation concerning any add-ons:

  • Who decides what is there? (Me probably, but what makes me the arbiter?)
  • Content standards- Do we push only 'nice' stuff, or does anything go (see above....)
  • Sites unfortunately drop off the radar- Do we attempt to force the issue of redistribution as Michelle did (terminally stupid IMHO, but you've got to ask the question)
  • As soon as the main site starts pushing routes, the support workload is likely to go upwards

and it's plain to me that avoiding involvement in recommendations is the best way to go forward, when wearing his "Programme Official" hat.  (Of course, promoting the excellent "BVE Cornwall" routes in his "BVE Cornwall" hat is a different matter, so I'd just like to chuck that recommendation in - do visit http://www.bvecornwall.co.uk/wordpress/   Arrow )

Being freeware, and with participation to build material open to everyone and anyone who cares to do it, this makes OpenBVE different from the "paid-for" sims, in that there is no quality guarantees for add-ons. Hence, it should be incumbent on producers to promote and present their material themselves, any claims to authenticity or quality being down to them, and not to the actual program producers.

At least there are great routes and trains to be found (eventually) and if you chance upon any that turn out to be total "lemons", at least it's cost you nothing apart from a bit of time wasted.
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Post by Quork on Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:52 pm

Well, LokSim3D is freeware just the same, and it has both a demo route and the homepage is *the* central hub for content. But the first is eased by the fact, it's a dedicated simulator of German railways; and the latter by the fact that LS3D content is LS3D content, full stop. Content for OpenBVE is seldom exclusive, even less so with older stuff. It's for classic BVE, it's for BVE 5, it's for OpenBVE, it's for Hmmsim...
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Post by Phonteus Nevolius on Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:37 pm

As far as using Facebook goes it really does generate interest. Here in Hungary as Facebook became well-known the forums started emptying out. Large forums which were unbelievably active lost something like 70-90% of their users and people created Facebook groups for the same purposes as the forums earlier. The Hungarian BVE community started to shrink too because the young generation wasn't interested in forums anymore, they only wanted Facebook.

After several months of looking at the almost empty forums we decided to go to Facebook and use a group there. People started coming there and now there are some 850 people in the OpenBVE Trains group, and that number is slowly increasing. There are many kids too. Not all those people are active, of course, but the news we post (might easily) reach them. And we post everything there, new releases, pictures of projects, new objects in our collection, etc.

In the case of OpenBVE itself it would probably be a Facebook page, not a group.

On the flipside Faceboook is losing popularity too, at least in Hungary, kids don't sign up, they only use Instagram and Messenger. Still, Facebook is probably the social network which can reach the most people.

As Chris doesn't do social network stuff it would probably have to be someone else with enough free time volunteering to manage the Facebook page and always coordinate with Chris to see what's coming up. It would be quite a lot of work. (In our group we have 4 admins and some moderators, too.)
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Post by Dexter on Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:16 pm

Alright, enough of this.
We are all forgetting the main thing that creates interest is an actual content to the game. I mean - why are we talking about having a facebook page when there's very few competent developers at the minute? What will we be putting to that facebook page, if we create one? Promises and vapourware? Routes where you travel on a straight rail in a stripe of green thing that is not even remotely close to grass?
The best PR is always quality contents. Once you have that, you can talk about its presentation. I think presenting promises is a domain of politicians. I am not a politician. albino
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Post by Traumflug on Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:07 pm

Even the best software gets barely recognized if there is no kind of marketing. But marketing generates interest and interest brings users willing to improve the situation. Especially as OpenBVE has quite a number of nice showcases already.

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Post by leezer3 on Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:34 pm

Another thought-

I'm actually considering at the minute adding a links page to the main site. This would not contain any reccomendations, lists etc. but would rather simply link to a selection of sites.
User submission of new sites would probably be do-able without too much trouble- The site itself is hosted on GitHub, and it'd be possible to use the issues there as a quick and easy way to track link requests.

Sorta a halfway-house....
This argument is also made stronger by the fact that we already link to the main user boards. Further, if we suggest where users might find content, they're probably more likely to develop in turn Smile

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Post by Dexter on Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:58 pm

Traumflug wrote:Even the best software gets barely recognized if there is no kind of marketing. But marketing generates interest and interest brings users willing to improve the situation. Especially as OpenBVE has quite a number of nice showcases already.

So where are the users willing to improve the situation then? There was a massive forum when Michelle was developing the sim, there were many websites with great content. Somehow I don't see the effect you are talking about, nowadays it's mainly people who were developing already in BVE 4 times. Don't get me wrong, but I stand by what i have said earlier.
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Post by Traumflug on Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:02 am

It's general experience with open source projects. OpenBVE isn't the only one I'm looking into, actually I run a few myself and I even get paid for doing so.

Being attractive to newbies ( = growing the community) is all about being visible and lowering the entry barrier.

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