It is with immense pleasure that I present my latest "cheese talks to" interview, this time featuring the thoughts and perspectives of Robert Kooima (RLK) on the evolution of the open source game Neverball, which he personally developed until the game's 1.5.0 release.
We touch on Neverball's origins and inspirations, its development, and the community that has grown around it. We also focus on what it's like to hand over a project to community development. RLK's responses were so detailed and fascinating, that in addition to the two part interview, we were able to put together a separate History of Neverball article that goes deep into Neverball's evolution.
To whet your appetite, here's my favourite answer from Part 1:
How did you go about opening up the project to community contribution? Did you find it easy or difficult to allow others to have input and bring their own ideas and priorities to the project?
It was very difficult, but I got past it once I let go of my ego. I think it's an all-or-nothing issue, like pushing a baby bird out of the nest. It's tough but necessary. Once the decision is made, then it's over. I feel that an open source project lead can have either total control or zero control, and anything else will lead to animosity, infighting, and failure.
And my favourite from Part 2:
What do you think the most major and significant developments have been since/including the first community release? Have there been any surprises?
I really can't point to any one thing. I'm deeply impressed by people's ability to make sense of the bowl of spaghetti that I cooked years ago, tearing out single strands here and there and delicately threading better pastas in their place. It's a solid piece of work now, and everyone who has contributed to it should feel proud.
I guess the single biggest surprise was Nuncabola. Where a normal code fork begins at the source and heads somewhere else, Nuncabola is like an anti-fork: it begins with a completely different code base and ends up at the same place.