Quantcast What developers say about their motivations: My survey findings - WoWInterface
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11-20-13, 08:47 PM   #1
A Deviate Faerie Dragon
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 15
What developers say about their motivations: My survey findings

Greetings -

Several weeks ago, I posted a request to this forum for assistance with my dissertation research. Specifically, I asked folks to visit my survey to provide some insight into why addon developers (You) do what they (you) do. To date, I've received 37 responses to the survey - a number which exceeded my hope for an unpaid survey on the Internet. While the survey remains open for a few days more (if you haven't responded and you're interested, it's located here), the activity has tapered off that I think I've probably gathered the majority of the responses I'm going to get.

Among the feedback I got on the original post was an interest in seeing the results, and so this post (which will totally be TLR-bait) is intended to do just that. Maybe no one cares, or maybe it will contribute something to people's understanding of what the addon community is - either way, posting back these findings makes me feel somewhat less like only a "taker" of people's time. So, here goes:

Question 1: Have you developed an addon for WoW?
Yes - 37, No - 0
Question 2: Do you still develop or maintain addons?
Yes - 35 (94.59%), No - 2 (5.41%)
Question 3: How many addons have you developed?
1 Addon developed: 1 (2.7%)
2 to 4: 12 (32.43%)
5 to 7: 4 (10.81%)
8 to 10: 1 (2.7%)
More than 10: 19 (51.35%)
Question 4: Have you made your addons available for others to download and use?
Yes - 34 (91.89%), No - 3 (8.11%)
Question 5: When you began developing addons, did you also play WoW actively?
Yes - 37, No - 0
Question 6: Do you play WoW now?
Yes - 30 (81.08%), No - 7 (18.92%)
Question 7: Have you developed addons, maps or mods for another videogame?
Yes - 20 (54.05%), No - 17 (49.95%)
Question 8: When you began developing addons, would you say your PRIMARY reason was:
Trying to fill a personal in-game need: 26 (70.27%)
Trying to fill an in-game need of someone else I knew: 2 (5.41%)
Wanted to improve the game for all players: 1 (2.7%)
Wanted to learn more about programming addons: 8 (21.62%)
Hoped to develop job skills, or get a job in the games industry: 0
Wanted to meet other people interested in addons: 0
Question 9 (multiple selections allowed): When you worked on an addon and needed technical assistance, where would you go?
Wowwiki/Wowpedia: 29
Official Blizzard UI forums: 6
Websites that host addon development forums: 32
IRC channel devoted to addon development: 14
Email other developers: 2
Search engines: 14
Printed books on addon development: 9
Other internet resources: 11
Other personal contacts: 3

6 "Other" answers were received, three of which mentioned wowprogramming.com
Question 10: Do you primarily develop by yourself, or as part of a group?
By myself: 37
In a group: 0

19 answers were received in the free-text "Why?" area. Most answers cite personal preference for working individually, or that the size of the addon project was generally too small to need a group effort. Another good answer: "I don't trust others enough to let them mess with my code."
Question 11: Have you ever read the code of another addon to understand how it accomplished some task or behavior?
Yes - 37, No - 0
Question 12: If you found a section of another addon that contained code you wanted to use, would it be acceptable to take that code without the permission of the original author?
Yes - 13 (33.33%), No - 24 (66.67%)

25 answers were received in the free-text "Why?" area. No simple characterization of the responses exists - the answers are rich and varied, from "Just...personal belief" to "I find it to be quite disrespectful to other others to steal their code without permission, whether it be via the addon having a license permitting it, or by direct permission of the author themselves. On the other hand, I see no problem looking at somebody else's code to find out how they accomplished something and replicating it without copying."
Question 13: Have you ever had direct communication with another developer of addons?
Yes - 30 (88.24%), No - 4 (11.76%) (4 skipped question)
Question 14: Have you ever assisted someone else with addon development, either with bugfixes, feature suggestions, documentation or programming questions?
Yes - 35 (97.22%), No - 1 (2.78%) (1 skipped question)
Question 15: If you could get a full-time job developing addons, would you take such a job?
Yes - 17 (47.22%), No - 19 (52.78%) (1 skipped question)

24 answers were received to the "Why or Why not?" area. Answers vary widely, and I'll need to pair the text answers to the yes/no response to give the answers greater context.
Question 16: If asked to rank who gets the most value out of the work you do in addon development, how do you rank them?
The answers here boil down to:
#1: Me (64.71% chose this as #1)
#2: Players of WoW (55.88% chose this as #2)
#3 and #4, virtual tie: Other addon developers and the Websites that host addons (This was very evenly split at #3; Websites had a clearer majority as #4)
#5: Blizzard Entertainment (64.71% chose this as #5)
Question 17: When you consider other computer games, are you more likely to consider playing them if you know they have some sort of addon or modding functionality?
More likely - 21 (60%)
Less likely - 0
It wouldn't impact my decision to try out a game - 14 (40%)

21 free-text answers were received. A common theme could be seen in comments about poorly-designed UIs and the desire to fix them.
Question 18: Which best describes your attitude to incorporating user suggestions into your addons?
If my addon fits their playstyle, they're welcome to use it as-is: 2 (5.71%)
I'm willing to consider suggestions, but it's unlikely I'll incorporate too many suggestions: 22 (62.86%)
I like suggestions, and try to incorporate as many as I can, even if the suggestion doesn't really fit a need of mine: 11 (31.43%)
Question 19: What best describes your plan for providing long-term support for your addons?
I値l support the addon as long as I知 playing; if I stop playing, that will stop the addon development too: 4 (13.33%)
I値l support the addon, and if I stop playing, I値l give the addon to someone else if they want to take it over: 11 (36.67%)
I値l support the addon, and if I stop playing, I値l still continue to support the addon with only bug fixes and patch compatibility: 10 (33.33%)
I値l support the addon, and if I stop playing, I値l still continue to support the addon and develop new features. 5 (16.67%)

Nine free-text answers were received. Among them, "I can't imagine myself quitting WoW, so..."
Question 20: Which is a more accurate description of you?
I am a gamer who got interested in addons because of the chance to change the game to my tastes: 25 (89.29%)
I am a programmer or software developer who got interested in a game because of the chance to use my technical skills: 3 (10.71%)
Question 21: Which is a more accurate way to describe your opinion of developing an addon?
It's like a game itself, that I play for fun or relaxation: 20 (57.14%)
It's a way to give something to others to improve their game play: 4 (11.43%)
It's a way to learn new technical skills: 9 (25.71%)
It's a job, or work, that I do for reasons other than fun: 2 (5.71%)
It's a opportunity to meet others socially: 0
It's a way to gain the approval of others by showcasing my technical skills: 0
Question 22: What term, or terms, would you say best describe your feelings about addon development?

31 answers were received, and there's a great deal to digest and evaluate. I appreciate all the thoughtful answers. And to the person who answered "Currently? It beats the hell out of watching most television shows." - you, sir, win the Internets.

Just as a personal note, I again want to express my thanks for everyone who responded. During the phase of my dissertation work where I attempted to find some example of this sort of information, I really struggled to find any resource other than an occasional poorly constructed question such as "do you do this for fun, or to get a job?" I can't say my survey will make it all that much easier for the next researcher, but hopefully they'll at least see that it IS possible to get thoughtful responses if they try.

Thanks again. As I said, the survey will remain open until Nov. 24th. After that, I gotta start writing....

Eric Ellis
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11-24-13, 06:28 AM   #2
Sentient Plasmoid
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 133
Awesome. I'd love to read the whole thing, when it's done.
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