The road to Dev Preview 3

Towards the start of last week I gave out the first dev preview keys. So this should be the end of this thread series. The intention was to keep people informed about what we were doing to give access to people, and it has served its purpose.

Developer Experience

I spent last week thinking about the developer experience. Setting up a discord, cleaning up the wiki, walking in developer shoes.

Giving people access has been really beneficial for us. It’s highlighted problems and accelerated our development. It’s made it really obvious where we needed to focus energy to get people on the first steps, and it found a bunch of bugs too.

Getting Access To Dev Preview

We’ll be giving keys out in a trickle, when we need more players, when things are more stable.

Can I just emphasise - the way to get a key isn’t to make a thread about a gamemode idea you have. This does not by any means increase your chances of getting a key. Can we stop with the concept gamemode threads that are being made purely for this purpose, please.

I’ve got no easy answer to how to attain access. The people who have gotten keys so far have gotten them because they’re either known to us or they’ve been actively interested in messing with s&box in the past.

I suspect right now the majority of people that want a key want it to play the game, and lets be clear - there’s nothing to play yet. It’s janky and has very little content. Please step aside and let someone who wants to develop content for the game step forward.

That said - if anyone has any decent low effort ideas on how to prioritize access, I’m all ears.


Just look at the activity of the forum. The day you announced that you were looking at proposals made on the forum instead of applications made previously, the activity has exploded. Sometimes there are good ideas, sometimes very good ones, but some of them just prove that the person in front of them just wants to play the game. It’s a shame because from what I’ve seen, some members are really talented.


The people who already have keys probably have a good understanding of who in the community deserves em. Just delegate the task to them.


I mean, who’s got priority? You could check for submissions on the forums, check for users with prior C# experience via their linked GitHub on Discord or in posts they made, sit in the #code channel for a day on the FP Discord and you’ll probably have a very good list of people.

As for peeps that want access just to play, well tough luck for them, they won’t be doing anything I guess.


While this isn’t a bad idea it doesn’t fully give everyone who can code access. Because not everyone knows all the well known devs.


Create a separate (closed) forum post titled S&Box access. Whoever likes this post will have a chance to participate in the draw for a key (maybe 5% of players will get it)! This should stop unnecessary questions and forum posts. Just take time, wait and give developers time to get the job done.

This is my idea, it should be quick and easy to implement.


Not a bad idea at all, unless it becomes a game of getting all your buddies in and nobody else.


i think that browsing through the forums will be the best way to do that. there is a lot of very talented mappers, modellers and others that have been posting quality and fun content and they definitely deserve a key.

the other problem is that coders cant really write stuff, the closest they can do is prototypes in unity since theyre basically coding in the blind for s&box.


That or writing game agnostic code, which only works for certain types of addons, or gamemodes but you can only go so far :frowning:


Down to luck kinda sucks.


Can you give temporary access key ?


A decent way to prioritize access would be to give access to devs that have made a lot of open source/workshop content in the past that have showed interest in developing public s&box content.

That could be done by giving everyone with x amount of gmod workshop uploads access, popular gmod/sfm creators, etc.


Yes they can revoke all the keys when game releases.


Yes, but at least it will stop the constant questions and everyone will have a chance to get the key


Throw a bunch of filters in the #code channel on discord
in:#code has: image
in:#code has: video
in:#code has: file

A lot of people on the forums haven’t actively been working on stuff and there’s just been an influx of people wanting to get keys for the sake of it. There’s a few people on the discord which are writing some stuff regardless of if they get access or not, they’re just planning to actually work on s&box when/if they do get access. A thread doesn’t really show how competent a developer is, whereas someone constantly showing stuff off and talking about their projects shows a lott more


The game is not playable right now, I’d even go as far as to say that it’s not developable. We’re not going to see many keys this month until most bugs are gone and basic features are added. So calm your boilers people.


Maybe get a page running on s&box website with a form to sign up for a key with a little text area to describe why would someone like a key.
The major downside I can imagine is scrolling through all that waffling.
That said I obviously would like a key to try and develop my own game modes.

@ogniK 's idea sounds reasonable, #code is the way to find both coders and philosophers.


a % of the playerbase (or forum users) could get it, perhaps target users who have posted in mapping or coding related activities or sections


i mean, you do have a point

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Another problem with the forums, whereas there’s mainly mapping and modeling. That can be done in Half-Life: Alyx already. People who can map and model getting access to s&box don’t gain much except a more upgraded version of the tools. A programmer can actually create and put those models and maps to good use as well as not really requiring them.

Providing more keys to developers can allow them to hand out keys to their artists if needed, however the other way around usually can pose more issues