Author Topic: Overcoming issues related to Windows, Libpinproc master and dev, and P3-ROC  (Read 3649 times)

SwizzleFish

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This is terribly frustrating Gerry... as this got to the point where you had Jimmy call me after you couldnt help me get your boards working in Windows, and we screenshared and walked thru getting my PC in Windows to see the PRoc after a seriously unacceptable amount of time trying to get this to work based on the scattered info on this site, and this forum.  I'm all for problem solving, but i believe we've passed a threshold where its clear that windows is not only not a priority, its been ignored.

It wasnt just one or two things that needed to be fixed to get things working, and involved a fair amount of problem solving on Jimmy's part, who had Control of my machine and could figure things out as we went.. Jimmy is AWESOME, and after an hour or so.. we worked it out. Based on this, and the clarity of actually how important this is to you Gerry, is Windows support seriously going to happen?   

I'm spending a tragic amount of time on my game, and now i'm hearing at its core, I'm screwed software wise, and as you may surmise, terribly frustrated





Gerry Stellenberg

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Admittedly, we haven't done a very good job at keeping up with the needs of our new users.  For a long time, the majority of our users were experienced developers and software systems problem solvers, many of whom actually enjoyed working through the tool installation process and viewed it somewhat as a pre-req for custom pinball software development.  Lately, with the increased awareness of the P-ROC and high level software frameworks like pyprocgame and MPF, more casual users are getting into custom pinball development.  The associated shift we're seeing in user expectations is clearly something I haven't managed very well.

Relative to libpinproc, pypinproc, and pyprocgame, Windows has never been considered any more or less important than OS X and Linux.  The process has been the same in all cases (download the github repo, compile and install the libraries, and develop pinball apps).  The difference is that installing and using the build tools and dealing with 32-bit vs 64-bit architectures has proven to be much more difficult in Windows than in Linux (and in OS X up until the last year or so).  I personally don't own a Windows machine, though for a couple of years I tested the tools in a Windows VM and distributed a libpinproc/pypinproc installer tool with pre-built binaries. 

Regarding the recently discovered issue with initial switch state reading with libpinproc master, please accept my apologies.  We have many P3-ROC users, many of whom have been P-ROC customers since the early days and are comfortable working with the libpinproc dev branch.  That it's been so long since the dev branch was merged into master is entirely my fault.  Yesterday was the first time I heard about anybody having issues with reading initial switch states with the P3-ROC and libpinproc master, and I identified the problem immediately and proposed a work-around.  We're now working on getting the dev branch tested so we can officially move the feature(s) over to master. 

Given the amount of frustration users are having due to the Windows installation process, a number of us got together today to discuss ways of making the process easy.  Instead of going into the details, I'll just say that we hear you, we're working on it, and we expect to have a good solution.  In the (hopefully short) meantime, the source code is (and will remain) open and free, and it can be installed manually for those willing to work through the process.

We're here, we're listening, and we want to improve the process.  We're also human and time-slicing free software tool development and support with other jobs and activities.  The amazing efforts of a lot of people have gotten us where we are today, and we continue to need their help in moving forward.

- Gerry

SwizzleFish

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Lately, with the increased awareness of the P-ROC and high level software frameworks like pyprocgame and MPF, more casual users are getting into custom pinball development.

Gerry, being called casual, with all of the disciplines involved with making a pinball, from core concept, to woodworking, gameplay, ART PACKAGE, metalworking, Sound, Music, Wiring, Soldering, Unity game engine back end, and on and on and on. I'm doing all of this for my game, and It sucks that it makes me feel like you dont respect that not everyone is a full time programmer, and you've maintained one of my least favorite "programmer barrier to entry vibe" with this attitude: " many actually enjoyed working through the tool installation process and viewed it somewhat as a pre-req for custom pinball software development." 

Thats cool that some people felt that way, but for you to use this as reasoning to not make your product usable to not JUST that crowd comes across as defensive.

I know you dont mean it as a diss, but it really comes off that way.  Like its my fault that I cant figure out your product INSTALLATION. I value Jimmy's time getting me up and running, and to be frank, it wasnt just a few clicks here and there. There was a fair amount of problem solving involved.  Absolutely solvable, as i've worked with ultra talented programmers, and know that most things have a solution.   
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 01:56:49 AM by SwizzleFish »

SwizzleFish

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also, to be clear, i didnt Start this thread.. this was moved onto its own thing.

Rosh

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Lately, with the increased awareness of the P-ROC and high level software frameworks like pyprocgame and MPF, more casual users are getting into custom pinball development.

Gerry, being called casual, with all of the disciplines involved with making a pinball, from core concept, to woodworking, gameplay, ART PACKAGE, metalworking, Sound, Music, Wiring, Soldering, Unity game engine back end, and on and on and on. I'm doing all of this for my game, and It sucks that it makes me feel like you dont respect that not everyone is a full time programmer, and you've maintained one of my least favorite "programmer barrier to entry vibe" with this attitude: " many actually enjoyed working through the tool installation process and viewed it somewhat as a pre-req for custom pinball software development." 

Thats cool that some people felt that way, but for you to use this as reasoning to not make your product usable to not JUST that crowd comes across as defensive.

I know you dont mean it as a diss, but it really comes off that way.  Like its my fault that I cant figure out your product INSTALLATION. I value Jimmy's time getting me up and running, and to be frank, it wasnt just a few clicks here and there. There was a fair amount of problem solving involved.  Absolutely solvable, as i've worked with ultra talented programmers, and know that most things have a solution.

Wow, so lets me see if I got this right, and I may not have this exactly right, but . . .  You had issues, Gerry tried to help, but not being a windows guy, he connected you with Jimmy who helped you get this figured out.  Gerry comes back and acknowledges that the software and installation is not as user friendly as it needs to be, given the shift as to who the users are, and your response to that is to attack him?

Sometimes someone runs into an issue that is new, and it is not always simple to figure it out. 

There are a ton of folks who help others on this forum, in a wide range of ways, which is how most folks get from nothing to working games.  In fact, Gerry pulled together a group of the most knowledgable and experienced people on this forum to come up with a plan to improve the installation process for the wide range of different platforms people use.   That groups has spent hours in discussions and planning around this.  All of those folks have taken time away from their jobs and their projects to figure out how to make this easier and cleaner, because that is what we do as a community.   

While I understand your frustrating, we have all hit brick walls at time, but I don't think the type of attitude you took in your post, where Gerry is acknowledging the issue and the need to improve,  is going to earn you any friends. 



SwizzleFish

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Respect your work Rosh, and have seen you help out others.

Not sure why you feel the need to come to Gerry's defense: I said I was frustrated, and wasnt happy being considered a casual, thats it. No name calling, no personal attacks, just bummed out that this problem, which came up over a year ago, was ignored, and only when there was a bit of an outcry, things kicked into gear to fix it.

Your mention of "not making friends" leads me to believe there is more going on that I am unaware of, no worries, I respect your work and your help Rosh, and look forward to sharing what i've been working on with you.

Rosh

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I get worked up over things and I can be defensive of Gerry, since I know how nice a guy he is, and I know how hard he works, and how committed he is to help folks -- all while truing to get the P^3 into production.

I am one of the folks who Gerry asked to help to get this better figured out (although to being a windows guy I am not nearly as helpful in this as some of the others involved).  No one is happy when folks struggle with this,  the big challenge is there are some many different setups and I know you ran into at least one issue that no one had really seen before.

So, I'll apologize for my 'friend' comment, I was a little worked up,  I read your post as being somewhat harsh and rude given where I felt Gerry was coming from, and I did not think he deserved that, and I defend my friends.   If I mis-interpreted, I apologize.

Good luck with your project.

SwizzleFish

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No worries at all Rosh! Thanks for your reply

Nate

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For what it's worth, I am also not a programmer, and had issues with the software installation, and hardware as well.
The community here has always been willing to help and have been very patient, no matter how "noob" the question.

Having said that, I don't think that building a pinball machine will ever be a walk into a shop, buy the bits, put it together and it just works scenario. It has a steep learning curve, and whilst it can be frustrating, that's half the challenge.

MOcean

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SwizzleFish,

We are trying to come up with a solution for window installation. While it seems like it should be easy, as Gerry has said, we are all working on other things and trying to make time to work on all of these projects.

Without a doubt the install process leaves a lot to be desired. The windows side is complicated by the need for MinGW and Msys which was one thing (among others) that Jimmy's one-click installer handled extremely well.  The fact that this installer has aged and that the source was lost is a real pain for everyone.  I have written a second-pass installer that will put files that might have been missed by a failure in Jimmy's installer, but honestly, I'm glad I didn't help you because, I don't use the P3-ROC  so I would have been one more person to spend time helping then ultimately walking away also frustrated, saying "I'm sorry but I don't know what's wrong."

With respect to its user base, p3-roc is relatively young compared to the p-roc which has been around for 5 years now. This is not to say there are any deficiencies in the p3-roc hardware or software --both have the full benefit of the p-roc and software work before it; the deficiency in this case is simply a smaller user base and that is what caused this oversight in the need for the -dev version of Libpinproc for the p3-roc. If nothing else we are ensuring that it is safe for all users to merge -dev into -master so this will be avoided in the future.

While it might seem a lame excuse to say that you're just on the early wave of this and as an early adopter there are going to be some rough edges...well, it's true. The good news is that those of us who have been at this for a while have cut our hands on those rough edges and smoothed many of them out for those who should follow, and hopefully this will make your experience better.

It's unfortunate that these issues have been so understandably frustrating for you. I think we've all been there at one point or another.

I hope you reread Gerry's message from a more neutral perspective and see what I saw, which was no intentional malice or attack.  I think both parties here were understandably a bit defensive :)

If there's anyone here who knows just how momentous of a task making your own machine is, it's Gerry.  I've always found him to be helpful, supportive, professional, and just an all around good guy. The P-ROC's existence has changed my life, and while I know that sounds absurdly hyperbolic, it's also true --I'm sure I'm not the only one who would say that.  It's hard to not be defensive of the guy who made that a reality.

Anyway, you should give us all a second chance.  I think you're unlikely to find a more supportive and helpful group of folks on the Internet.

Good luck!

- Michael

Chris and Nye

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Any update on a pre-compiled version of libpinproc/pypinproc dev branch or an installer option for us P3-ROC users? I am using MPF and I'm hung up on the initial switch state issue.

Chris

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Pretty sure we've decided on the route we're going to take.  We've got some a couple of installer-support features to implement in libpinproc/pypinproc, but we could potentially put together a temporary installer based on the dev branch relatively soon.  A few of the guys participating in this effort are going to pinball shows in the next couple of weeks (Pintastic, CAX, ReplayFX).  So I can't promise a delivery date, but hopefully it won't be too much longer.

- Gerry

holygerst!

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I'm a software and OS X guy myself and I can't tell you how excited even I am to hear about this. Thanks, community.

MOcean

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The beta version of a brand new installer for windows is finally done. 

It uses the -dev branches so it should make p3-roc users happy.  Tested working on a brand new system. Lots of smarter error checking, etc. it's still in early stages so I won't post a link until I get some more feedback from the pilot group.

PM me if you'd like it before then.

- Michael

Gerry Stellenberg

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HUGE thanks to Mocean for working on the new installer.  It was the result of a lot of discussion, but MOcean took it upon himself to do the implementation, and it was a lot of work.

Thanks, Michael!

- Gerry