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Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Community Projects and Software

Software and programming is an amazing feat of engineering. Everyone should be proud of what they’ve contributed, no matter how big or small their part in the process is. From some video game software, through to a much larger full scale operating system, software and communities have been a thing since, well, always. Programmers may typically be associated as unsocial folk, but they are amongst the most social and co-operative people I’ve met. Not everyone may feel the same, but I thought I’d talk briefly today about community projects and how they make such a difference to everyone who’s ever used a computer.

The Community Behind Code

Let’s talk briefly about what we mean by community – There needs to be some form of structure with some form of recognisable goal. It may be that the community is there to establish and maintain something; Wikipedia is a famous example of this. A community of publishers, which can be anyone, goes in to look after the pages. This can cause issues, such as when you get someone go a little bit maverick and decide to write “your mum” all over a Wikipedia page… However, this is a rare occurance. Whenever this happens, a moderator steps in to revert the page back to its previous state and hopefully to penalise the offender.

Wikipedia isn’t the only famous example of a coding community – The Open Source community is in fact a massive collective project. There are so many people involved working on all sorts, from documentation, to bug testing and fault finding all the way through to operating system development. Indeed, many Linux distributions take contributions from people all around the world, as there is power is yielding collective knowledge in a useful way. However, the communities behind these projects always have some specific goal.

So why am I bringing this particular (and broad) topic up today?

Titan Icon, City of Heroes

Last weekend, in our Top 10, I briefly mentioned a character called Reichsman. Ignoring the character for now, he was part of the MMORPG, City of Heroes. As a kid, I loved the game. I found it genuinely enthralling, albeit somewhat repetitive. I was gutted that in 2012 the game was closed down for good by the developers, but that didn’t stop a bunch of fans of the game from trying to continue to make it live on. Through a lot of Googling, I came across Titan Icon, a client for you to download and legitimately play on the City of Heroes maps. I booted it up and had a blast creating heroes.

However, the group responsible for this project are looking at making Tequila a lot more feature filled. They’re looking to eventually make it so many people can have their own City of Heroes servers to play the full game, as a way to revitalise and revive their beloved game. I started looking around and came across numerous forum posts and change logs, each showing huge milestones. People who managed to figure out how to reverse the game’s code to make it do what they wanted it to do. Genuinely, I’ve always been impressed by coding communities, but this one I was absolutely stoked by.

If their project keeps rolling on, perhaps we’ll have the full City of Heroes back in its former glory. Part of their goal was to allow people to make their own custom content, which sounds incredible. I hope the community behind Titan Icon keep working on this and I will be keeping my eyes on it closely. For now though, I’ll play another game I’ve always enjoyed – Tekkit Lite, a modpack for Minecraft. Again, a community created modpack, with lots of amazing features.

Do you have or take part in any community projects that you love? Let us know your favourites in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

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