It is with great pleasure that I formally hand over the SourceMod project to Nicholas Hastings, a.k.a. psychonic.
Nicholas has been invaluable to the SourceMod community. Over the past two years he has ported games, reverse engineered updates with heroic speed, supported the community on the forums and IRC, and championed on behalf of gamers and server operators. He is in touch with the gaming community, both as a player and a server administrator. I know he will continue SourceMod's tradition of empowering Half-Life 2 players with high-quality, open-source software.
Power of the Community
I am not leaving, but my role is changing. AlliedModders is an amazing place. Seriously. This community means a lot to me, and after having participated in the Half-Life scene for almost ten years, it'd be hard to let go.
What have we accomplished? We've released open-source software that runs on 40% of all Half-Life servers (including Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2). We've written almost 4,000 plugins, those being made by 1,500 individual contributors. All open-source, for anyone to use, learn, or evolve.
What makes this community special to me, though, is its effect on individuals. Over the past ten years, I've seen people write their first programs, literally learning how to program by writing SourceMod or AMX Mod X scripts. I've watched people learn to hack on our source code, and end up mastering C++. I've seen AlliedModders make multiple careers. I know it has made mine. It also makes friends. I consider myself very lucky to know people here, and even luckier that I have been able to meet a few in person.
While this stuff could happen anywhere, it is really rewarding to know that our community is providing more than neat tools. We are teaching each other, helping each other, and evolving the way people think about games. And when we, as individuals, move on to bigger and better ideas, we take that with us. AlliedModders is more than just gaming.
I have been responsible for the deaths of more than one community during my tenure, and watched as others have fallen. I have two observations that I hope will guide this community moving forward.
When you say something to someone on the forums or Bugzilla, remember that you're talking to another human being. Many online communities are nasty; filled with hate and negativity. They breed contempt, promoting an upper echelon of users who know what to say, and take satisfaction in saying it. AlliedModders is nowhere near this bad, but it's human nature, and it creeps in. Our demographics and popularity are against us, but this is no excuse. By being supportive of each other's ideas, we encourage further development and involvement. We don't have to promote bad ideas, but we can find constructive ways to address them. I am proud to say that I think we are better at this than most communities, but we need to work to maintain it.
AlliedModders was not the first Half-Life development community, but it has outlasted and overwhelmed almost all others. Our platform, source code, and development practices have always been open. Anyone can contribute. Projects are less likely to die if they are not dependent on their maintainer, and are more likely to succeed if they empower users. Even with open-source, it is possible to hold onto a project too tightly; if so, you and everyone else may lose it.
As for Me
In February 2008
, I wrote that I would "drift out of the gaming scene." That has happened. For the past year or two, I have had neither the time nor the emotional energy to meaningfully work on SourceMod, play the latest Source games, or even attend to much of my SourceMod-related e-mail. In part, my full-time job demands most of my attention.
In terms of my other projects, I cannot reliably maintain Stripper or CS:S DM except for reviewing/committing patches I receive. I plan to publicly demonstrate Lysis, an experimental decompiler, in a week or two, but I will not work further on it. I will continue to maintain Metamod:Source and AlliedModders infrastructure with Scott Ehlert's help. Knight - with any luck, my next baby - will receive whatever focus I can manage outside of my job.
I will continue to pay the bills (I am, of course, ever grateful to our continuingly generous donors), and I'll always be available on IRC (dvander on irc.gamesurge.net), e-mail, and the forums (though I may be slow to respond there), to help wherever I can.
SourceMod now rests in the capable wings of psychonic. Please join me in congratulating Nicholas!