So I’ve started building a new game called Project: Classified and I /hate/ @desc things so I put up ads looking for a builder. One of the people who offered to help said that they were interested in helping because they wanted to eventually make they’re own game but didn’t know where to start. They thought that helping on a place just starting would give them a good idea to all the work that is required to get a place ready for the public.
To me this is exactly how a person who isn’t sure what is needed to run a game should start out. Helping on some place where they’re not expected to run the whole thing cause there are a lot of stumbling blocks that even experienced people fall over. To many times I’ve seen someone ask something on a code channel or a linux type group about how to do something that basically turns into them wanting you to build their entire game for them. So to me there are a few rules about things a HeadWiz of an active game should know for their own sanity.
1) They should know basic commands for the shell. They need to be able to untar, patch, backup, and use some sort of text editor to modify their files. If they write their files up on a different machine then they need to know how to get them onto the server. And the most important thing is knowing how to start the game. If you don’t have any idea on how to do those you need to ask around, search some howto’s etc before you consider running your own place. If you don’t know how to do these things and you’re relying on someone else to do it for you then you’re not really the headwiz because you’re giving someone else the keys to your kingdom and they can destroy it or take it away from you in a heartbeat or a moment of anger.
2) Have a basic understanding of softcode. I don’t mean be a psychocoder and be able to make some incredible softcode cause I’m sure not. But if you have a coder that you haven’t got a lot of experience with and know what they’re like. It might be wise to look at their code and see what they’re making. By the same token if your players are able to build you might want to watch what they’re making as well.
There’s several other things that a headwiz needs to deal with but without these two basic things you’re dependent on someone else. As long as the person you rely on is someone you’d trust with your child then it shouldn’t be an issue. If it’s someone you’ve never dealt with then in my opinion is the equivalent of deciding to head out to the casino to try your luck and grabbing someone you’ve never met to watch your 16 year old daughter.