OA is a great game. It has a solid engine, decent framework (the OA part) and can leverage most of Quake III's assets (maps, bot skins, mods, etc.)
Fromhell (leileilol) is the lead developer, web site/forum operator and admin, and more. The amount of personal time he/she commits is admirable and probably under-appreciated by most players. As such, IMO, he/she ought to have some benevolent dictator leeway in OA's direction. However, I have an issue with the balance of strongly held personal views and OA's development as a game that can appeal to a broader audience.
There are numerous references in the Public and Private Forums attesting to Fromhell's disdain for semi-pro and pro players and their high tech accessories, the use by semi-pro's/pro's of certain cvars like r_picmip, any discussion of BrightSkins, AutoDownloads
, and other issues which I need not delve into.
It doesn't bother me, and it shouldn't bother anyone that Fromhell falls on a particular side of one issue or another. However, when you are in a position of power, you ought to guard against your opinions becoming dogma as the end result will typically appeal to only like-minded individuals. If you want to make OA more appealing and therefore more popular you MUST offer options, even if you feel the other side is wrong.
For my purposes, I will link the issue of r_picmip/fastsky and BrightSkins as one. r_fastsky is a client variable that makes the sky black so that enemies are more visible against this background. r_picmip modifies map textures and image quality, with 0 being the best quality, and higher numbers progressively degrading these qualities. Generally, by increasing the setting a player (particularly on a slower PC or connection) can attain a higher and more consistent framerate, improve visibility of the enemy against background textures, and make a weapon such as the LG easier to keep on target. BrightSkins allow a player to make the enemy incredibly visible by assigning one or more bright solid color(s) to the entire model or parts of a model.
I can understand Fromhell's personal objection to these. In competitive Mods like OSP (Orange Smoothie Productions), CPMA (Challenge Pro Mode Arena) and E+ (Excessive Plus) these are standard and unquestioned but in other mods including baseq3/baseoa players many see these as cheats. Moreover, when Fromhell spends months designing a model in OA, it has to be upsetting that a player then comes along and negates that by using BrightSkins, etc.
However, you have to cast personal feelings aside if you want the project to grow and flourish. The issue is how to satisfy both casual and Clan type players.
I don't necessarily have the answers but like others I can certainly make suggestions. I have no doubt that if more marketing
is done, if there is at least one release within a 12 month period, and more options like the ones listed above are added to baseoa that we can appeal to both types of players.
I have never seen a Commercial or OpenSource game have a vibrant and growing community without Clans. And you can't maintain or increase Clans if you don't attract casual players in the first place.
Semi Pro/Pro players are content with dumbed down graphics but casual players generally want eyecandy (can we scream Q3A and Q3TA texture replacement packs for custom maps) or at least something that does not look circa 1999.
Quake III was release in December 1999 and the main minimum requirements were:
Pentium II 233 MHz or AMD 350 MHz K6-2
64 MB RAM
8 MB 3D graphics accelerator with full OpenGL support
100% DirectX 3.0 or higher compatible sound card
500 MB of free hard drive space
OA still uses the Pentium II as the baseline. We are almost in 2012 and even though we use the ioq3 engine, the basis (idtech3) for this will turn 12 years next month (Dec 2011). I could be wrong, but it seems to me that holding on to this baseline 12 years later is like carrying an 800 pound gorilla on our backs. It has to be a constraint on the implementation of newer technologies and general improvements. Additionally, we aren't ioq3. We are supposed to be building on top of them so our requirements should be a bit higher. Can we say Pentium 4?, after all these were shipped by Intel starting in November 2000. I knew of two Pentium III players but my personal discussions with them on TS revealed that they were trying to have fun but it wasn't working out.