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Allegro 5 "marketing" :)
Polybios
Member #12,293
October 2010

Quote:

Since about half a year or so, SDL is commercially supported by Valve, and so it's no wonder that it gets all the attention. But Allegro also has a bit of an "unprofessional" stigma I'd love to get rid of. While I really think the Allegro API is better than that of SDL on a technical level, we really should think all together on how to also get more wide interest for Allegro, lest I fear we fall by the wayside. That may include becoming more welcoming to others.

I'll probably start another thread on this though if there is enough interest.

Just did that, if you don't mind.

Is there any place on the Internet where you can learn about why you should definitively choose Allegro 5 over other irrelevant APIs?
I think Allegro 5 needs more "marketing", i. e. more people need to know how great it is.

There is a special rule governing this thread:
Everyone demonstrating his/her creativity by posting gay alligators is obliged to contribute at least 1 serious logo design.

beoran
Member #12,636
March 2011

Thanks for starting this thread.

I agree that Allegro needs more marketing. We should emphasize the strong points of the Allegro API for any 2D programing or as a base for 3D programming in OpenGL. Allegro 5 has a great API for sound, for primitives, for rotating and tinted sprites, for easy font loading, for pack file integration, .... Our main competitor requires you to get a truckload of half-baked add on libraries that don't always work too well together or have a quirky or incomplete API.

Perhaps the Allegro web site and this site need a bit of a make over to make them more "web 2.0" stylish?

But I think Allegro also still needs more quality in the form of bug fixes, unit tests, features, ports, documentation, and tutorials. I think that maybe moving main development to GitHub could be very helpful as this makes it a lot easier for everyone to contribute to improving the quality.

And I think it also needs an (even more) welcoming community around it. I saw some people badmouthing Allegro on other forums because someone made an insensitive joke to them here on this forum. That's the thing we should definitely avoid.

Also, I feel that, because we are thinly stretched as it is, we have drop Allegro 4 support completely. IMO, it's obsolete, and Allegro5 is mature enough for daily use. Moreover, we should recommend Allegro 5 wherever we can.

Just a few thoughts...

StevenVI
Member #562
July 2000
avatar

??? ??? ???

Polybios said:

Allegro needs more marketing.

Did I miss something? When did popularity become the mission? (Feel free to tell me to shut up if you're contributing more to the development of the library than I am. I'm just an olde timer former user.)

beoran said:

Our main competitor requires you to get a truckload of . . . add on libraries

...doesn't Allegro 5 require add-on libraries, too?

Quote:

we are thinly stretched as it is, we have drop Allegro 4 support completely.

What does that even mean? Nuke all traces of previous versions from the Internet? Does that also mean that adherents to the Allegro Religion cannot use competing APIs? :o :P

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beoran
Member #12,636
March 2011

StevenVI, thanks for your questions.

In open source projects like Allegro, popularity is not a goal, but a means to improving the project. It's a way to attract more developers who in turn could help us out improve the library. As I said before, I feel like we're running short handed. I'm not a big contributer but I contributes the haptics code (which I still didn't get ported to windows nor mac osx since I'm a linux only user :P ).

Allegro 5 requires third party libraries, yes, bit it's API is better integrated. The API of our main competitor is incomplete and that's why you need about 4 extra not integrated add-on libraries to get all the functionality that Allegro integrates in one comprehensive API.

With Dropping allegro 4 I mean: 1) Not releasing any patches anymore. 2) Removing reference to it from all Allegro related web pages we control, and redirect or mention a "upgrading to Allegro5" or so web page. 3) Deprecating Allegro 4 in the sense that if you use it we will not give support anymore. Too many people come in the forum with Allegro 4 questions. The answer I always want to give them is "please upgrade first, then we can talk". Though I normally refrain from doing so as I don't want to sound too hostile... :p

I hope that clarifies my ideas a bit...

Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

I don't intend to ever switch from Allegro to SDL. I tried SDL in the past and didn't like it. :P

In the future, I'll be making a better effort to credit Allegro in the projects I release, so that should help at least a little. Before that can happen though, Allegro really needs an official logo. I know there's been some artwork and such but nothing seems to have been officially adopted yet. (And if something has, it hasn't been properly implemented on Allegro's homepage or even the allegro.cc website.)

A logo would be the first step. Then all we need is a major indie release or two using Allegro that properly credits the thing and that should be a good start. 8-)

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

pkrcel
Member #14,001
February 2012

This is old news and an old topic but it's only fair that it gets its right amount of debate.

Allegro does not strictly need marketing of course, but all this

beoran said:

I think it also needs an (even more) welcoming community around it. I saw some people badmouthing Allegro on other forums because someone made an insensitive joke to them here on this forum. That's the thing we should definitely avoid.

Seems a bit strange to me, this is not a warm community but most of the times newbies come here with a question and got the tihngs working after anybody has tried to help, and sometimes jokes are thrown in but not on the "insensitive" scale.

That's only my opinion of course.

I think that the one big problem of Allegro right now is twofold:

  • on one side, the library has a not-so-off-the-shelf feeling. Sure you can be up and running with a windows precompiled binary quite fast....but I see MacOSX iOS and Android aren't quite so, or at least it's the IMPRESSION I get with the kind of posts I usually see pop seldomly.


  • on the other side...time changed a lot the ecosystem of hobbist/indie game developers (the main Allegro audience since ever), go take a tour on GameDev....and low level libraries in general aren't the hot topic of the late years. At All.

Damn well at least years ago you got "newbie" game programmers that DID know the difference between an IDE and a compiler and did know WHAT does mean to "link something against another something"....today's quite different and low-level libs do not have the "magic" of the tools out there nowdays.

There ARE out there commercial projects that use(d) Allegro, but there is no buzz about them on the site (go compare...uhm, Ogre3D to name one which is not SDL?)

To attract developers you have to grow a competent userbase, which Allegro has not....the forums attract a lot of newbies but there is no significative "hi-level" interaction about the Allegro proper.

I guess thigns are bound to stay put for a good while.

Quote:

Perhaps the Allegro web site and this site need a bit of a make over to make them more "web 2.0" stylish?

Yes and no....I mean no stylish crap, but yes for a more actively maintained site...of course the more prominet rescource that is lacking for this is TIME.

It is unlikely that Google shares your distaste for capitalism. - Derezo
If one had the eternity of time, one would do things later. - Johan Halmén

Polybios
Member #12,293
October 2010

pkrcel said:

and low level libraries in general aren't the hot topic of the late years. At All.

Of course not. But that's a different "target audience".
I've tried to hack on a SDL project some years ago and I can't find any reason why I should prefer it to Allegro.

Except when I didn't know about Allegro 5 and nobody was able to tell me about it, because nobody knew.
That is the whole point.

Ok, I really don't want to step into anyone's turf here, and, you know, all active Allegro developers are my personal heroes, but maybe the official webpage could use a bit more of ... errr ... design, perhaps? And it could be a bit more "open" in naming the features, no?
Don't get me wrong here, but I just think Allegro 5 is an excellent library, which deserves an excellent "presentation" as well.
I mean it's for the public good, why should anyone be stuck with SDL when they could have used Allegro 5? ;D

StevenVI said:

Did I miss something? When did popularity become the mission?

It's not "the" mission. But I don't think more users would be bad.
Apart from more developers, more users means more people testing the library -> more bug reports -> better stability.

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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beoran said:

I saw some people badmouthing Allegro on other forums because someone made an insensitive joke to them here on this forum. That's the thing we should definitely avoid.

Do you have links for this? I am very interested in what was said/done.

Usually allegro.cc is pretty friendly to newbies, but occasionally things are said that can be taken the wrong way.

Polybios said:

maybe the official webpage could use a bit more of ... errr ... design

We welcome patches! ;D

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Aikei_c
Member #14,871
January 2013
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Latest news on the release we have on the main page says that allegro 5.0.9 has been released, and is a year old (While I think it was late even then). This says something to new visitors.

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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allegro.cc is unofficial and almost no one looks at the front page any more ;) http://www.liballeg.org is up to date.

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"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

MiquelFire
Member #3,110
January 2003
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I think I posted about 5.0.10, but it was never approved for some reason.

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Chris Katko
Member #1,881
January 2002
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I don't recall anything to terrible about Allegro at all.

It does what I need it to, and it doesn't get in my way. That's basically what a library should be.

Hand-holding is for people without sufficient programming experience. Debate whether or not those people are important, sure, but I don't think I've ever had a problem getting advice or information about an Allegro question quickly and thoroughly. And I've been writing "games" for over ten years now.

As for the A.CC community, I do see some pessimism regarding newbies who can't be bothered to frame their question or write legibly. But it's no where near the kinds of rebukes I've seen people say on Stack Overflow.

As for anything Allegro library lacks in support? 99% of people here have day jobs and lives. Anyone who's willing to dedicate time to work on it, I absolutely salute. But there's no reason random person A can't add a feature just as easily as the Allegro Devs. I'm hacking on the Dolphin emulator code. Nobody gave me permission, guidance, or even a design document. They're extremely hard to get ahold of compared to Allegro.CC. I literally was stuck looking a swafts of code for days. But I'm making progress, and ironically, I'm getting more help from A.CC then Dolphin devs toward my project.

And so that's not really a knock on the Dolphin devs, but more of a shout out to the Allegro ones.

The best thing to market for Allegro is to make some kickass games for it. GET ON IT! :D

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Kris Asick
Member #1,424
July 2001

The best thing to market for Allegro is to make some kickass games for it. GET ON IT!

Actually, tomorrow or the day after, following over a year of being in Design Hell, I will FINALLY be getting back into coding my latest project! :)

--- Kris Asick (Gemini)
--- http://www.pixelships.com

beoran
Member #12,636
March 2011

@Kris Asick
A (better) logo is a great idea. The one we have now reeks of the '90ies. (And I can know because I started using Allegro on DOS+DJGPP). If anyone has a good idea for a new logo design, then please post it here.
Of course I agree that the Allegro API is significantly better than that of SDL, but the problem is of course, no one will use Allegro unless we can get them to know about it's existence.

@pckrel
Well, I agree that there's work to be done to make Allegro even more easy to use "off the shelf" for some platforms. But as Polybios says, the people who write games in Javascript or Löve or Unreal engine or so are not our "target audience". Our main target audience are programmers who want to develop portable and high performance games or other audiovisual applications in C, C++, or Pascal or other compiled languages that can easily interface with C.

@Aikei_c
I agree that the allegro.cc web site could use an overhaul as well, but that's Matt's domain, I presume?

@Thomas:
This is the thread where I saw this:
http://www.cplusplus.com/forum/lounge/108321/

Also, about the official web page:

Look once at http://www.libsdl.org/. There is no news section on the front page, but an explanation of what the library is, and who is using it. I think that's the best idea, the intoduction page should be the main page for SEO purposes, and the very best Allegro projects should be mentioned in a hall of fame.

Also the introduction still mentions Allegro 4 as a sorta kinda viable option. I feel it isn't. It should be marked legacy and deprecated, to discourage anyone from using it to develop new games. I don't know how Peter thinks about this, but that's something I feel rather strongly about. Especially, because, as Chris Katko says, we all have day jobs and lives, and not enough time and manpower to keep patching Allegro 4 or answering to Allegro 4 questions. I know there are quite a few games and apps that still use Allegro 4. Of those, I'd respecfully ask the developers to upgrade. I know the effort is nontrivial, but something has to give. OK, I'll stop beating the Allegro 4 horse now... :P

I'm a web developer also, so if you agree then I'd be willing to help redesign the web page.

@Chris Katko:
Yeah, I should get cracking on improving Allegro as well... But I really need help from people who have a windows or a macosx computer. I can write the haptics code for windows "theoretically", and then hope that it will work, but someone else will then need to test it intensively, and preferrably provide bug fixes. And that person should be willing to spend +-20$ to buy a haptics enabled joystick as well.

Yodhe23
Member #8,726
June 2007

"Usually allegro.cc is pretty friendly to newbies, but occasionally things are said that can be taken the wrong way."

In my experience, having lurked and occasionally posted on this forum for over ten years, I would actually say that allegro.cc isn't always as welcoming and friendly as it should be. Infact even I have found it downright hostile at times, and if I hadn't been so used to Allegro it certainly would of made me use another library in general disgust.

www.justanotherturn.com

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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beoran said:

This is the thread where I saw this:

Ah yes. BHX. I remember him. He was a bit odd. He has a habit of repeatedly coming and going, and flaming out, closing his account, then coming back later...

But yeah, I made a dumb joke. I didn't expect him to take it that way.

Quote:

I'm a web developer also, so if you agree then I'd be willing to help redesign the web page.

If you think you can do better than what we have, get a mockup going and post it in the Development forum and/or the AD mailing list.

Yodhe23 said:

Infact even I have found it downright hostile at times

:( Yes, sometimes it can be a bit hostile, I wish it weren't. Some of the members get a little snarky.

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Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

pkrcel
Member #14,001
February 2012

I'm really sorry for Specter, but I really don't get his vibe on that. Even if Tomasu did a dumb joke, THAT TIME, Specter has been more than once (since when I frequent a.cc and I'm really a NEW member) tutored and confronted...and besides one should always remember that internet is not RL...so fellow forum dwellers aren't necessarily aware of "YOU" as a RL close friend could be.

Dumb jokes are just that, jokes...even if dumb. Meh.

Well anyway, generally calling a.cc downright hostile is a bit too stretched in my opinion...nevertheless there is PLENTY of room for improvement...also maybe I'm just a bit grumpy.

Good tutorials are lacking, and the wiki get some love and a general appealing redesing...I know I should contribute like everyone else, maybe I need an "organizational" push :P

Polybios said:

Of course not. But that's a different "target audience".
I've tried to hack on a SDL project some years ago and I can't find any reason why I should prefer it to Allegro.

Well okay, but I was pointing that out in the sense that we are looking for a rare kind of user.

If you think you can do better than what we have, get a mockup going and post it in the Development forum and/or the AD mailing list.

Seconded, and I would use the forums. I'd like to say that it's not a matter of "better than what we have" thou, but more like "get the thing going"....sane discussion is useful discussion.

beoran said:

Also the introduction still mentions Allegro 4 as a sorta kinda viable option.

Well, there's a fundamental problem there....for most of the experienced community "out there" Allegro IS Allegro4 and prior, so I agree with the idea of shadowing it a bit foreboding more Allegro 5.

That should DEFINITELY get a logo.

It is unlikely that Google shares your distaste for capitalism. - Derezo
If one had the eternity of time, one would do things later. - Johan Halmén

Yodhe23
Member #8,726
June 2007

I also wanted to say when I first started frequenting allegro.cc it wasn't quite so "unfriendly", in fact I found it extremely helpful and informative, which is part of the reason I hung around so long. Things just change though, and hopefully my experience will change once more to something more fluffy, otherwise I guess I will move on as well.

www.justanotherturn.com

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
avatar

pkrcel said:

but more like "get the thing going"....sane discussion is useful discussion

Problem is I see it may get into bikesheding on the forums ;)

Yodhe23 said:

I also wanted to say when I first started frequenting allegro.cc it wasn't quite so "unfriendly", in fact I found it extremely helpful and informative, which is part of the reason I hung around so long. Things just change though, and hopefully my experience will change once more to something more fluffy, otherwise I guess I will move on as well.

I have personally seen some somewhat hostile behavior in help threads, though usually its pretty good. I try to just not post in a help thread if I feel like being snarky for one reason or another. Sometimes the snarkyness is triggered by the poster's behavior, but not always.

The Off Topic section on the other hand is something else.

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

pkrcel
Member #14,001
February 2012

Problem is I see it may get into bikesheding on the forums

Right, but still....is allegro.cc such a pace to put unnecessary weight on this ;D

Quote:

Sometimes the snarkyness is triggered by the poster's behavior, but not always.

I know for a fact that I have posted somewhat tongue-in-cheek in newbie questions and got heated responses. But that's not the GENERAL cliamte in a.cc, I simply can't be convinced about that.

It is unlikely that Google shares your distaste for capitalism. - Derezo
If one had the eternity of time, one would do things later. - Johan Halmén

beoran
Member #12,636
March 2011

Well, to coordinate this, and to have hopefully less bike shedding I have made this:

http://wiki.allegro.cc/index.php?title=Promoting_Allegro_Project

In stead of competing let's just split up the work. The wiki needs a lot of work, and almost everyone here could contribute to this.

I think we should keep the hostility out of the help threads, even if the person who asks is being completely clueless. You can catch more flies with a spoonful of syrup than with a barrel of vinegar. As for the off topic forum... perhaps a "sticky" would be needed to remind people that anything goes here and that it's not for people looking for help or easily offended...

True, the general climate of theis forum may be OK, but people aren't going to stick around if they have a few unpleasant experiences, especially when they just joined... So my plead would be: pamper the newbies, because once upon a time we were all as clueless as them.

Dizzy Egg
Member #10,824
March 2009
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beoran said:

This is the thread where I saw this:

Ahhh Specter Phoenix (aka about 100 other names)....he was a character! And a bit of a douche. :P

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pkrcel
Member #14,001
February 2012

allegro.cc is unofficial and almost no one looks at the front page any more ;) http://www.liballeg.org is up to date.

Just tought about that but why not feed the news from liballeg.org to a.cc then? It shouldn't hurt methinks.

beoran said:

Well, to coordinate this, and to have hopefully less bike shedding I have made this:

http://wiki.allegro.cc/index.php?title=Promoting_Allegro_Project

Instead of competing let's just split up the work. The wiki needs a lot of work, and almost everyone here could contribute to this.

Seems a good Idea, but a wiki page is a bit of non-interactive for discussion, shal be jump on the talk page there?

It is unlikely that Google shares your distaste for capitalism. - Derezo
If one had the eternity of time, one would do things later. - Johan Halmén

beoran
Member #12,636
March 2011

I'd keep the forum for discussion, and the wiki for keeping track of things. That's the basic idea.

Polybios
Member #12,293
October 2010

beoran said:

Look once at http://www.libsdl.org/. There is no news section on the front page, but an explanation of what the library is, and who is using it. I think that's the best idea, the intoduction page should be the main page for SEO purposes

Yes!

Quote:

Our main target audience are programmers who want to develop portable and high performance games or other audiovisual applications in C, C++, or Pascal or other compiled languages that can easily interface with C.

Yes!

I think we should also mention/stress that you can use native Open GL alongside Allegro 5 as well and that therefore it's a very nice library to have for doing all the boring and platform-specific Open GL setup stuff, plus giving you a lot more.

Quote:

Also the introduction still mentions Allegro 4 as a sorta kinda viable option. I feel it isn't. It should be marked legacy and deprecated, to discourage anyone from using it to develop new games.

Agree. It should be made very clear that Allegro 5 is completely different. Maybe people will finally get the idea that it isn't a DOS blitting library. ::)

I found this community to be generally exceptionally polite and friendly.
IIRC everyone was quite friendly and polite to SpecterPhoenix, too, given his "easy to work with" behavior... ::)



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