The Unofficial Allegro.cc Poster's Guide
Last updated: 2004-Jul-23
[#] Table of Contents
- Table of Contents
- What is this?
- Basic Guidelines
- Forum Overview
- General Questions
- Common Questions and Answers
- Recruiting Threads
[#] What is this?
This is the Unofficial Allegro.cc Poster's Guide. It aims to provide a source for the basic rules of conduct that are currently merely "unwritten laws", yet are accepted by the community as a whole. These rules are occasionally broken by new posters who do not yet know of them, and regular posters are forced to repeat the same things every time it happens.
To prevent further such waste of time, the Guide aims to provide a consistent repository of such guidelines that all new posters are encouraged to read before posting, and that regulars can simply post links to when need arises. Some of these rules are basic, universal guidelines pertaining to forums in general, but they bear repeating. The purpose of this Guide is not to give coding help; such can be found elsewhere (see below).
The Guide is not affiliated with Matthew Leverton or anyone else responsible for Allegro.cc — it's entirely a project run by concerned regulars (well, one regular) who want to make sure Allegro.cc remains a pleasant community.
If you think that something in this guide is inaccurate, or if you wish to make an addition or modification, please contact X-G (user id #856) on Allegro.cc.
The URL to this document is https://monkeyblah.com/allegro/unofficial-posters-guide.html. If you found this document elsewhere, beware that it may not be the most recent version. This document is public domain, and you are free to copy the document in its entirety or individual sections for any use you see fit without restriction as long as you do not misrepresent its origin.
[#] Basic Guidelines
A few things are basic decorum on the forums, and should be observed at all times.
Write good English.Pay attention to your spelling and grammar. Sloppy writing, l33t or AOL speak will make you look unprofessional and will usually get you considered a nuisance more than anything. People will usually be very understanding if your English is not perfect, as long as you make an effort to write properly. Don't apologize if you know your English isn't perfect, either — that hardly helps anyone, and is mostly a nuisance.
Use the mockup tags, especially the code tag.We have a system for formatting a post for easy reading. Use it. Nothing is worse than seeing a page with two hundred lines of unformatted code or a post full of links that aren't clickable. Click the "mockup is on" link above the post box for a list of mockup tags.
Give credit.Threads can be marked as questions. After a question has been answered to your satisfaction, it is customary to give credit to the people who have been helpful in the thread. To cheat a particular person out of credit, or to not give credit at all is considered a bit rude. Note that once you've given credit, you can't change it!
Don't beg for credit.If you've helped someone with a question and they don't give you credit, don't be sour and beg for it. If they think you've helped, they will give you credit.
Don't start unnecessary threads/Don't crosspost.Don't start the same thread in multiple forums, or start a new thread if you've accidentily started one in the wrong forum — usually a moderator will come along and move the thread for you. Do not start threads to direct attention to other threads you've created or similar.
No screenshot, no download.When announcing a project, post screenshots, else very few people, if anyone, will bother to download and try it out.
[#] Forum Overview
The Allegro.cc forums are divided into several boards (listed below), each with its own purpose. When posting, make sure that you're posting in the right forum. Misplaced threads will typically be moved when a moderator sees them.
Allegro DevelopmentBug reports, improvements, enhancements, suggestions etc for the Allegro library, or anything else pertaining to the development of the Allegro library goes in this forum.
Installation, Setup & ConfigurationQuestions regarding how to install, setup and configure Allegro or other libraries goes here.
Allegro.cc CommentsQuestions, comments or suggestions regarding the Allegro.cc site go here.
Off-Topic OrdealsBits of interesting randomness, not related to Allegro, go here. Topics about religion will probably get you banned.
The DepotThis is the place for announcing and discussing your projects. Questions about the Depot system on Allegro.cc go in the "Allegro.cc Comments" board.
Game Design & ConceptsGame theories, ideas, design questions and similar not directly programming-related go here.
Programming QuestionsWhere to ask if you have a problem with your code or just need help with programming.
[#] General Questions
It is not uncommon to see a post asking a question about how to use a function or how to implement a piece of code, or why a particular error shows up when you use the STL. These questions have been answered a hundred times before, and asking them again only serves as an annoyance to everyone else on the board. Therefore, before asking a question, make sure you have consulted these sources first:
The Allegro FAQ.Many questions are covered in the FAQ, which is available at http://alleg.sourceforge.net/faq.html.
The Allegro Manual.Very often regulars will respond with a simple 'RTFM' to a particularly trivial question. Thus, you should always consult the manual first. The manual comes with the main Allegro distribution, and is available online at http://alleg.sourceforge.net/onlinedocs/en/index.html.
The Allegro Examples.Some times people ask how a particular function is supposed to be used together with other things. In most of these cases there's an example that shows how to, in well-commented code. The examples come with the main Allegro distribution and are all in the 'examples/' subdirectory.
The Forum Search.The same questions have a tendency to be asked over and over again. Often a question has been answered somewhere on the forum already; use the search feature to find such posts.
This Guide.This guide has a short section on some questions that get asked very often. Check it before posting.
If you are certain that these sources cannot provide an answer for you, post your question in the appropriate forum. When asking a question, you have to be as specific and detailed in describing your problem as possible. Do you get errors? If so, post them. Does your program crash? Then note where and how and under what conditions it crashes. Submit a stack trace if you have one. Try to narrow down the bit of code where your project crashes, and post it (use the code tags — see above) along with your question. Be conservative in the amount of code you post first off; it is nearly impossible to locate a problem that's hiding somewhere in 500 lines of code you've never seen before, no matter how well formatted it is. If the readers need to see more code in order to solve your problem, they will ask for it.
Should you after posting a thread about your problem figure it out yourself, do say so in the thread. At this point, if the solution was non-trivial, it is also good form to explain what was wrong and how you solved it, so that others may benefit from this insight in case they run into a similar problem further down the line.
[#] Common Questions and Answers
This is a list of questions that get asked a lot.
My Depot project has been queued for weeks now. When will it be added?The crew of people who review projects for submission is small, and few of those involved do it on a regular basis. This means that it can take a long time — days, weeks, even months before a project gets added. There is really nothing you can do but wait for them to get some extra time.
Why doesn't my project show up in the Depot?Only projects that are 70% complete or more show up in the Depot. You can still link directly to the project, but it won't appear in the listing.
How do I give credit?When first starting a thread, you get to pick what category your thread belongs to. If you mark your thread as a question this way, you can then say that your question has been answered to your satisfaction by clicking the appropriate check box under the post box when replying to the thread. After doing this, you will be shown a list of all people who have posted in the thread. Simply mark the people you wish to give credit to in this list, and they will be awarded credit as appropriate.
[#] Recruiting Threads
Every now and then a post appears where a person requests the assistance of other people to aid in his or her project. The requested people might be coders, or (more often) graphical artists, musicians or anything else that the current group requires to complement itself and complete its project. A variant of this is when a single person posts in an attempt to gather a team from scratch.
There is nothing inherently wrong with requesting assistance with a project. However, the way most people go about doing it alone merits an entry in this guide; such posts tend to be poorly formulated and are often marked by a lack of any relevant information pertaining to the project or the tasks that a recruitee would perform.
One should also be aware of that Allegro.cc mainly consists of coders; there are both graphical artists and musicians there, but the coders are a vast majority. Thus, a post recruiting pixel artists or someone to make sound effects is likely to get few replies.
When considering recruiting additional help with a project, first ensure that you have all of these:
A working prototype.You can get quite far on a project with placeholder graphics and sound effects. Having a working prototype of your project is a necessity; if you do not, your project will be considered a risky deal, since less complete projects are more likely to fall through.
A good idea of what needs to be done.If you can't provide a good description of what is required of your potential new members, people will feel discouraged, as you will appear unprofessional and confused. You don't need to have everything written down, but a general idea is required.
A design document.If you are recruiting an entire team, it is imperative that you have a complete design document draft to show. Otherwise, you will appear unserious and unprofessional.
If you fail to provide these, then it is likely that anyone reading the thread will feel discouraged and simply not respond. When writing your post, there are also a number of things that must be kept in mind if you are going to be even remotely successful:
Describe your project in detail.Give as much information about your project as you possibly can. Use screenshots and concept sketches. Go into detail and be specific, and hurl as much information as you can at your readers — this helps people get a good idea of what your project entails, and will inspire faith in your project; more information means a more mature project, which is less likely to collapse at a later stage.
Offer the working prototype.If your game is reasonably small, offer up a version for download so that people can try your project out. People will understand that your graphics look bad — that's the whole point with the thread! This point goes towards the same effect as the previous point, but is less crucial.
Again, failing to provide these will discourage people from making an effort. There are also a number of pitfalls that must be avoided at any cost:
Do not demand that people contact you for information.A common mistake is to give a very brief description of the project, and drop an e-mail address or IM account and insist that people contact you for more information about the game. This is very bad; you are the one in need of help, and it is you who should offer up as much information as possible up front. If not, people will simply not bother to contact you for information about a project that from a brief description does not seem very interesting. Furthermore, people might feel that they are committing to something simply by contacting you; something that they most likely do not want to do at such an early stage. And of course, everyone does not have access to all Internet contact media.
- Improved page formatting.
- Added minor point on apologizing about bad English.
- Added minor point on the purpose of the Guide.
- Added point on the official URL for this guide, and copyright information.
- Various minor link additions and edits.
- Added note on letting others know the answer to a question you figured out yourself.
- Added subsection on how to give credit.
- Added table of contents.
- Added section on what each forum is for.
- A slew of miscellaneous edits.
- Added section on mockup tags and moved some things around.
- Added section on how to ask questions.
- Added section on commonly asked questions.
- Various minor changes.
- Project started. Sections on general decorum, general questions, and recruiting threads added.