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This guide was based on a mailing list post in regards to CVS, but the same rule set applies to SVN.
Log messages should include the following:
It is not necessary to go into a long exposition, and pasting the actual changes is not generally useful. But this log message should be useful for someone looking over the logs at a future point to see what did change. Having a log like 'various skill stuff' isn't very useful. A log message like 'prevent abuse with the literacy skill, and increase chance of singing' is much more useful, and not a lot more words.
One of the main uses of the log entries is when bugs are reported where behavior changed between version X and Y to be able to look at the log entries and get an idea of what specific revision may have caused that change.
If doing a commit of several different files at each time, and the commits are different in nature, do try to at least mention what is changing in each file.
Do not refer to other files or other log messages. Saying 'see changes file' is not useful, nor is a message like 'continuing with last set of commits'. Such messages are not useful when trying to look back through the logs at a future point.
There is no excuse for not having a good log entry. Worst case, cut and past from the CHANGES file or those prior commits. My typical method of doing commits is filling out the CHANGES file, and then copying/pasting from that when I do the commit.
When referencing a bug report, include the SourceForge bug number and description - this makes the reference easy and convenient. Meaning, the person won't have to visit the bug tracker web page to get summary information.
All checkins should go through at least minimum testing: For source code, this means it compiles and at least a basic test has been done (for example, if it is a new spell, have you tried casting the spell?) This basic testing implies the code at least compiles also. I realize it is very difficult to do 100% testing of code, but at least a basic test should be done.
All source code should also be ANSI & POSIX compliant. Don't use C++ / / for comments.
Be careful of new library calls that are not being used elsewhere in the source
- there may be a reason they are not being used.
“It compiles on my system” is not justification for writing code that does not work elsewhere.
It is understandable that you may not know that the code written is non-portable,
but once this is learned, it should be corrected.
For archetypes, this testing should involve rebuilding the arch file and running with the new file. There should be no errors in the loading of the archetype files.
For maps, this means that the map should load, and the exits should lead back and forth. Note that maps in the unlinked directory are more work in progress so can be checked in a more experimental state.
Your changes may work, but do they fit in with the rest of the game. This basically means following the files guides that already existing, e.g. doc/programming_guide, doc/mapguide
There really is no arch guide, but take common sense. Does the object fit in with the game (i.e., a blaster rifle would not), is this arch very unbalancing, etc.
Before starting a big project, send a note to the mailing list asking for opinions. While it is not possible to prevent someone working on whatever they may want, if the general consensus is that it is a bad idea, you may want to find that out before spending a lot of work on it only to find out that your idea will not get added to the game.