2016-05 dev meeting

published 04 Jun 2016

A new month dawns, and so too does another dev meeting guestpost. Like clockwork, or calendar-work, if you’re so inclined.

This month’s meeting was probably our largest yet, as the some of the new early-bird contributors (affectionately dubbed the LAZERhawks.. by me) were invited to sit in and give their piece on the way their projects were going. Many a warm welcome was given. Here’s what went down:

  • LAZER development continues at a steady pace (still), but a little slower than was originally hoped. The LAZERhawks and the core developers hope to get a usable build (without online features) onto a CE release stream at some point within the next month. The conclusion of the LAZER project is pretty much essential to future osu!next development as it makes a lot of systems and features significantly easier to implement later on down the line, so time spent getting it right is ultimately better for osu! as a whole. This isn’t going to turn into another “osz2” type Soon(tm), we promise!
  • A number of performance improvements for general OpenGL use on the Windows platform are slated to be merged in later this month. Not much else to say other than all the performance, all the time.
  • The new forums continue to draw closer and closer to full release. With the addition of a last set of moderation tools, the new forum system is teasingly close to being rolled out fully, pending a few other features in osu!web that are yet to be done. Expect it to happen soon! That being said..
  • osu!web development is not happening as fast as we would like. We’re always looking for new web developers to contribute towards the web face of osu!next - simply consult the github issues page for the current outstanding bounties to see what work needs to be done, if you’re interested.
  • Within the next month, new beatmap submissions will be moving over to using the “moddingv2” system that was trialled earlier last month. The QAT will oversee this new system (as was their role’s original intent) and will help the developers by providing feedback from users and anything else that could be used to help make the new system better.
  • Lots of new achievements incoming. We’ve got one “showcase” planned for a bunch of entry-level medals, and then we’ll start unveiling the new fiendishly difficult “hush-hush 2” type achievements on a weekly basis. Some of them are easier than others. Some are going to need serendipity for people to even get them. One thing is certain - and that is people are going to love them. Oh, and there’s a bunch of progression achievements slated to be released for every gamemode seperately within the next month, so look forward to that, too!
  • We’ll be significantly broadening our scope for music artists who are willing to work with us. We have plans to provide the community with hundreds of official tracks (eventually) on the back of a long-held vision for creating a unique music scene around osu!. If you know of any artists who produce high quality music that could readily be mapped (or is just suited for rhythm games in general), please, let us know in the comments!
  • The Chart system as a whole is being considered for a massive overhaul. Inspired by the “courses” the Mania community has taken to making for itself, we’re thinking about introducing new relevance and meaning to the charts in a similar format, though the idea is very much in its infancy at this point. Keep your eyes (and ears) peeled!

Meanwhile, flyte is slowly dying under the creative strain of drafting hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of medals. I regret nothing.

See you next month!

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early-bird contributors

published 18 May 2016

In our efforts to release the osu! client as open source, we still have a lot of clean-up and refactoring that needs to be done. I’ve been putting in as much of my own time as possible to make this happen, but things are still a bit slower than I’m hoping for.

Last meeting I made the decision to fork what is known as “lazer” into a new git repository. The purpose of this would be to remove all history, confidential code, deprecated systems etc. and provide a new starting point for the open source future.

While we are not ready to make the open source project available, I am now seeking developers who are interested in helping out before this happens. Because this is an effort to increase efficiency, applicant criteria are very strict, so make sure to read the carefully before applying:

  • Agree to work under a non-open source licence (all contributions would be copyright ppy Pty Ltd).
  • Have a confident knowledge of c# 6.0 and be able to prove it with github projects.
  • Have a confident knowledge of tree-based rendering.
  • Willing to work on specific areas we require you to focus on.
  • Be an amicable person.
  • Happy to work without rewards (though as always, I will try to reward significant contributions at rates beyond expectations).
  • Have enough free time over the next few months to contribute at a decent rate.

If interested, contact using a plain text email at lazer@ppy.sh. Include a link to your github profile and any reasons you want to be included on this project. I will give precedence to people who I am familiar with.

Don’t necessarily expect a reply; I’ll only reply to those people who we decide are good fits for the team. Also keep in mind that we are not ready to accept contributors so replying may take a week or two.

If you apply but miss out, please don’t be disheartened! This is a very targeted team only to help us prepare osu! for mainstream contributions. You will have your chance soon :).

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2016-04 dev meeting

published 04 May 2016

Guess who’s back again with another set of delicious monthly meeting notes? Ephemeral, that’s who.

There’s a fair bit to get stuck into this month, so let’s get cracking straight away. As always, these notes only encompass a tiny portion of what is actually going on behind the scenes, so get hyped!

  • Progress on the open-source branch known as “LAZER” progresses at a good pace. Additionally, one portion of osu!’s performance metric calculator went open source in the days before the meeting, allowing the technically inclined members of the community to create their own pp calculators.
  • The osu!tournament client is slated for a number of improvements in the coming months, ranging from performance upgrades to new feature additions. One such addition is the inclusion of a “score drift” bar, which will let viewers see a clean representation of the score difference between the two teams. This sounds little, but is actually a huge increase to the readability of a match when viewed as a spectator. A live prototype of this concept already exists, and we’re just waiting for a final design to get it out!
  • The final days of the current forum system draw near. The list of tasks that need to be completed before the move to the osu!next forums grows smaller and smaller with each month, and we’re well on track for full deployment of the new forum software by the end of the year, probably even a lot sooner.
  • New options will be added to the game client when playing qualified maps. These options will hinge around the new reporting system introduced in the wake of the recent QAT changes, allowing users to quickly and effortlessly report issues with qualified maps on the fly.
  • More progression achievements are slated for release later in the month. These new achievements will be tiered and available to almost everybody from the get-go. So far, there’s over 24 achievements in the set to be released, and the number is likely to increase. We’ll be looking at more map-specific achievements in the future, as well.
  • Mapping bounties for official tracks will make a return this month. Once the old bounties for the cYsmix tracks and the circles! track are sorted out, we plan to release a bunch more and get the system governing them working a lot more smoothly. Map awesome music and get cool shit for it!
  • More video content will be coming out for the osu!academy later in the month. We’ve also merged the ailing osu!news channel into the osu!academy so that people do not have to subscribe to multiple channels to get their osu! fix. There’s also a few series from last month which have been delayed, but should be released later on as well.

There was also a slight incident involving an airhorn bot, but we shall never speak of it again.

See you next month!

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demystifying open source osu!

published 02 May 2016

There’s been a bit of talk about the future of osu!, specifically in relation to my plans to open source the client going forward. There have also been a few misconceptions so I thought it was time to take a moment to explain my intentions and reasoning behind this goal.

Transparency

I want to provide as close to 100% transparency as possible with everything we do. No real reason for this, just how it should be done, in my opinion.

While I think we’ve done pretty well over the years in not screwing users over, there are those occasions we can all recall where some disgruntled guy starts a protest against something we are doing in an internal process (the team) or in our code (osu! client) which people were not aware was a thing.

Contribution

We run osu! with a pretty small team. The only full-time developer on the game client itself still remains just me. Others regular contributors are students so they have limited time, and I myself have many other things to attend to than just the game client.

All in all the progress we are making is slower than I’d like. Open sourcing allows us to grow the “team” without the overheads that come with expanding a company. I have no interest in employing more people, but by rewarding contributors for only what they commit, this can remove those overheads while still reaping a fair amount of reward.

We’ve been trying this with the new osu-web project and while the number of contributors is still lower than I’d hope, it has helped speed up development. We’ve already paid out a total of US$2,120 to open source contributors at the time of writing this.

Code Quality

By making said processes and code open for criticism, at worst you are able to see how we are doing things and just be annoyed; at best you can see how we are doing things and then give constructive criticism (or offer your helping hands) to improve for the better.

Indestructability

If I was to disappear against my own will, I would like osu! to live on. Releasing the source increases the chances of this happening by not only providing a public awareness of how things work, but increasing the number of people familiar with the project. Optimally I’d like to have a clause in the licence which removes any restrictions in such a case (that the official servers are no longer usable).

Now, to address some concerns and common questions I’ve heard.

Will osu! be released under a free licence (such as GPL or BSD) or will you have your own terms?

At this point dual-licencing is looking like a good way forward. To be honest I would love to just release the code as public domain but am not yet decided on a final licence. This may by far be the hardest decision when making the final move open-source.

Won’t people just rip osu! off and make clones? Can I make a clone?

The way I see it, if we all do things right there shouldn’t be a need for clones. We will accept features and fixes into the main branch to cater to the largest majority of the community possible. While we haven’t yet finalised a licence choice, it will likely NOT be legal to re-release osu! as your own game, but you could potentially use portions of the code to make your own unique game.

Basically there’s nothing stopping people in certain countries from ripping osu! off, but I don’t see this as a threat. Unlike other companies trying to protect their revenue streams, I couldn’t give a fuck.

That said, my final opinion on the matter is that I personally do not condone making osu! clones or private servers as long as the official server implementation is up and running smoothly. If at any point I can no longer provide what the community wants for whatever reason (and no one is able to keep things running) I fully condone using the code however you want. As I mentioned above, hopefully this can be reflected in the licence we decide on.

In summary, yes making osu! open source is a “risk”, but people have already reverse-engineered the source and made clones. if you want my approval, you’re not going to get it, but I probably* won’t take legal action as long as you don’t use any of the osu! graphic resources or names (which are copyright and trademarked).

Can I contribute? Will you include my changes?

Yes you can contribute whatever you want! Keep in mind that your code will have to be up-to-standard to have your pull requests merged. Make sure before you attempt that you have an understanding of our coding styles and the git and github ecosystem.

We will do our best to pull in any changes that are for the best. If you want to know whether a specific feature will be approved by us, feel free to ask on public slack or open a github issue before you start working on it so we can discuss further.

Can we use small portions of the code for our own projects?

Yes! We have a pretty nice framework set up to create games. The licence will definitely allow use of our code in your own projects (just make sure to understand the licence chosen before doing so).

Can we “port” osu! to x platform?

You can help us get osu! running on a particular platform. As has been mentioned elsewhere in this post, you can’t just release osu! on a given platform (this falls in the “make your own game” clause) but you can invest efforts into making osu! run better on a particular platform. This is one of the core areas I’m hoping to get contributions from open sourcing (linux, OS X, mobile compatibility).

Once osu! works on a specific platform, we will consider releasing it in an alpha/beta form based on the merged changes.

Will there be a bounty system like osu-web?

Yes. I plan on rewarding any contributions.

Will you still hire people?

I have no real intentions on expanding the team, but if any regular contributors from the open source move show promise, I will definitely consider expanding the team, should they be willing!

If someone forks osu! and makes a new game mode that becomes popular, are you open to the idea of making it “official”?

Of course! Do keep in mind that making a new game mode requires more changes than just the client, so if you are looking to do this, be very patient and offer your help on server-side changes too. Also keep in mind that we probably won’t add game modes which are already technically covered by other modes (ie. we don’t need a DDR mode because osu!mania 4k with a skin already plays the same).

Will a part of the client code be censored? As in, connection to bancho and anti-cheat measures?

Yes, some code will be abstracted out of the open source implementation in order to continue to provide a fun and clean online gaming experience. It will be done in a way that will still allow debugging to be done with a client and server, but not the live server.

Will bancho be open source?

No, but bancho will not exist going forward as we are replacing it piece by piece with a better solution. The better solution is open source.

Will I be able to connect to the live osu! servers with a modified client?

No.

Do you personally condone of private servers?

No. If you have an issue with the official server let us know before taking matters in to your own hands.

Do you personally condone osu! clones?

Let me clarify that it depends on what you mean by a clone. If you’re going to use the osu! code and make a new game called “gosu!” then no. This will infringe our trademark and also be an ass move.

If you want to make a music game with similar gameplay rules to osu!, then by all means go ahead! I “borrowed” the rules for each game mode from already existing games and to be honest I don’t believe there should ever be copyright/patent placed on any kind of basic gameplay elements. Fuck that noise.

In short, if you want to make your own game, make your own game from scratch. I guarantee it will be a more satisfying experience for everybody!

When will it be ready?

We’re very actively working towards this. In fact, lazer will likely be open source (to some degree) at the time of its availability as a release stream.

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wallpaper pack vol. 1

published 20 Apr 2016

A lot of people have requested higher resolution copies of my photography over the months since I started publishing it to instagram. I’ve finally compiled all the uploads so far as a wallpaper pack.

Resolutions I’m supporting this time around are:

  • Desktop 1920x1200 (16:10)
  • Desktop WQHD 2560x1600 (16:10)

  • Mobile 640x1136 (9:16)

I understand some of you may use different aspect ratios, but these should adapt quite well. For people running 16:9 on PC, set to “Fit” for the best result.

As an experiment, I’m hosting this on GitHub. If you’re a savvy user, feel free to clone (and star) the repository and pull new updates via git. If not, you can download the release from here.

As for the lack of dev posts for me, there’s a few reasons.

  • I’ve been busy.
  • The meeting notes and osu!weekly posts are taking a lot of my content away from me (this isn’t a bad thing either).
  • I’ve been busy.

Enjoy :). Tweet me a photo of your setup if you end up using one of these!

Update: Added WQHD resolution as per requests.

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