Hi Philip,

Well, I think you are right. The primary mistake I made with beta 19
was simply that I didn't explain to the end users that this was to be
considered an experimental release only and not in anyway a full
production release. Beta 18 was an official production release were
beta 19 wasn't. Beta 19 was an experiment to see how well the
cross-platform engine run on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7  which I
should have been up front about from the beginning. Plus I didn't say
why I had removed joystick and mouse support, and people assumed the
worst and   thought that I was  intending on taking it out of the
final release when it was only intended for that specific release or
build only.

The thing is, and I wish I had made this clearer from the beginning,
what we have is two different engines more or less in production at
the same time. I've got the Windows specific version of the engine
which is definitely production quality, has been in development for a
couple of years, and is  fairly stable. Then, we've got the
cross-platform or Linux version of the engine that isn't yet
production quality mainly because I haven't found something comparable
to DirectX I can replace those components with. I've not actually
converted the full Windows engine over to Linux yet so there are a lot
of things that need doing like adding joystick support, for example,
before it is 100% up to par for writing production quality games as is
in evidence with beta 19.

Plus I confess when it comes to writing applications for Linux I'm
still largely in the dark about many of the libraries and APIs it
uses. I've been writing both private and professional software for
Windows for probably 10 years so when it comes to Windows core APIs
and components I pretty much know what I'm doing so I can put together
something pretty quickly and it will be pretty stable because of my
past experience. With Linux if you tell me to write an application
using one of the graphics toolkits like GTK+, QT, WX, etc I'm going to
have to study up on it, write some experimental code, etc because I
have no background experience working with those APIs. The only times
I've been called upon to write a professional application for Linux
such as a graphical front end for a MySQL database I wrote it in Java
using the cross-platform Swing toolkit, and since Java is all pretty
self-contained that doesn't count as practical experience for what i'm
doing now with this cross-platform engine. So its all pretty much
experimental  code at this point as far as the cross-platform engine
is concerned.

I think the best thing to do right now is to finish MOTA using the
Windows specific engine since it is production quality, get the game
sold using that technology,  and put off finishing the cross-platform
engine until that is out of the way. That way when I say I've got an
experimental release that might be cross-platform people aren't going
to be as upset with me because if they don't like the experimental
cross-platform version they can fallback on 1.0 which is stable and up
to their personal standards.

The lesson I've learned is this. First, be up front about my
intentions, long term goals or plans, and people will understand what
I'm after. Second, attach, if possible, a buglog.txt file to the
release so people will be informed what problems are in the release
and what is on the todo list for the next upgrade. Third, don't try
and remove a bunch of features after you just released them in a prior
release as some people aren't going to respond well to bleeding edge
code regardless of how temporary the removal might or might not be.

Cheers!

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