I’m sorry to ping in this communication, but I feel this may be the best way to reach you. A few weeks ago, I reached out through official channels using the firstname.lastname@example.org email, but have been met with no response. So I feel at this point, maybe the best way to reach out is with a community post here where other community members can also add to the conversation.
Please know that this discussion is coming from a place of love for the MonoGame framework. I started using MonoGame several years ago and immediately felt right at home. Over time, I started writing tutorials for others in a different community I’m involved in, specifically for those that were wanting to dip their toes into MonoGame coming from Unity. I have developed extensions for the MGCB editor that is used by others. Over the better part of the past year, I have invested more sociably within the community forums here as well as on the official MonoGame discord. I provide guidance and help on questions that are asked by users when I’m able to, mostly on the discord side. I have also been using the donation system monthly for a few years to give back to the project as a way of showing my support.
I say all this not as a brag or an ego, but to hopefully give some weight to the conversation and dialog I would like to open with the admins and maintainers and project leaders of the framework.
There are times within the community discussion that the question is asked “Is MonoGame dead?”. These types of questions are generally met with the same response, “Official releases take time”, or “Don’t judge a framework by update frequency, but rather by community activity”. Both quotes can be found in a recent forum discussion. One response in the linked thread in particular kind of hits the nail on the head. To quote from @SimonDarksideJ
“I agree, things could be a little more active but the team are working hard behind the scenes to improve momentum, however, remember, MonoGame is completely open source, no one gets paid to develop this stuff and if you are truly frustrated, just FORK the project and make the change yourself and see how it goes”
Outside of the community forums, there is also the discussion on the official discord. Here is a link to one of the more recent discussions. This user specifically stated
“I have been browsing this discord for a bit and now I am confused: it seems like a lot of people in here advise against using MonoGame these days and all sorts of other things are recommended. Is it just not a good idea to use MG for any new projects? Is it deeply flawed?”* (reference: Discord).
I would suggest taking a moment to view this question and some responses that come after to get an idea of how these conversations go.
Then there are other issues with community perception. To name a couple, PRs sometimes take a while to be reviewed and or merged. Sometimes even the maintainers do not have the user privileges to continue contributing to PRs. For example, here is one of my PRs which does a simple fix for including the missing XML documentation in the NuGet packages. It has been code reviewed and approved, just waiting on maintainers to push it through.
Another example is a different PR of mine, which fails due an issue with the GitHub actions, yet one of the maintainers (@CartBlanche ) does not have the repository rights to look into resolving the issue. To quote from his comment on the PR
I, and many others, appreciate the work that has been done. However, it is disheartening to see the community discourse both on the forums and the discord sum things up to “just fork it and implement it yourself”.
Many new people coming into MonoGame are doing so from other engines such as Unity and Unreal, where they may not be as familiar with the concepts of judging how active the GitHub repo is based on PR’s merged and closed, seeing the Milestones in the repo, or looking into the Projects page listed in the Repo. All they see is the Release page showing the latest release (as of this post) was July 26, 2022, over a year ago.
And even if they were to look into how active it is based on PRs and Issues, that doesn’t tell much of a story either. The last PR to merge into the
develop branch was on May 7th, 2023. Currently there are 107 PRs waiting to be reviewed and merged or closed. There are also 718 open issue, 164 of which have zero comments or communications, with the oldest dating back to 2012.
Let me be clear, I 100% understand that the admins and maintainers of MonoGame are real people, with a life, jobs, families, and other responsibilities. Working on MonoGame is not something that you are getting paid for as if it were a job with a salary and you have other obligations that take priority. Updates and official releases take time. I understand this and many others do too, but the general perception from a community standpoint is that MonoGame seems stagnated and often the more vocal members in the discord community do recommend using other frameworks and/or libraries instead.
As I am not a part of the administration team or MonoGame in any official capacity, I do not know what internal standard practices may be in place for directly communicating with the community and users who are considering using MonoGame. However, as a user of the framework, and someone who frequents the forums and the discord on a daily basis to offer help where I can, I can see from the “Last Seen” status of the admins and moderators shows that the majority haven’t been on the forums (at least logged in) in quite some time, and I very very rarely, if at all, see any direct communication from maintainers and admins on the discord.
With all of this said, I would like to offer some suggestions to help with the community perception for both new and existing users of the state of MonoGame.
A Monthly newsletter of some type. Either through an official email newsletter service or under the News category here on the official community forums. As @SimonDarksideJ mentioned in the previous quote "…the team are working hard behind the scenes to improve momentum…".. What is this work being done and could it be provided in a monthly communique that existing users and new users can see?
If possible, to correlate with the monthly newsletter mentioned above, maybe have a general meeting if possible, where maintainers look over existing PRs and submitted issues and provide responses to them. I realize that maintainers are spread across the globe and coordinating something like this would take a greater amount of effort than it may seem worth. However the lack of communication on PRs made by community members and not ones made by maintainers is clear. Some have even closed their PRs all together due to lack of update or review after it’s sat there for a while.
Regardless of the suggestions I’ve made above, I think the consensus is just more official and recurring communication as to the development of MonoGame behind the scenes in a way that can be easily communicated for current and potential new users to find and see. Even if it’s something like statistics of PRs submitted and merged over the past month and what future features are being worked on and developed and their current status.
I am open to having more discussion about this if needed and am willing to help play any part in this if needed to foster better communication with the community on such things. Regardless, I hope all is well with the admins and maintainers of this community and I really do appreciate all the work that has been put into this project over the years.
Thank you for your time,
Chris Whitley (AristurtleDev)