This is it, I have decided to cease ESMS development. Hard decision, but I think it's right. Here is what I posted in the ESMS announcement forum earlier today:
Hello,

I regret to inform you that for me ESMS has reached the end of its road. It hasn't been an easy decision for me, but it's something that was brewing in my head for a long time now, and after a long thought in the last couple of days, I decided it's time.

Effective immediately, I will cease further ESMS development and involvement in the ESMS community. ESMS was always open source and free and it will remain this way. You can still download the full source for ESMS 2.7.3 from the website, and if anyone is interested in the work done so far on ESMS v4, the code is also online: http://esmsdev.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/esmsdev/

Anyway, I feel obliged to share with you some of my rationale for this decision:

1) Personally I haven't been interested in ESMS (and PBEM soccer generally) as a game for at least a couple of years - it's been some time since I played in a real ESMS league, and when I tryed to re-join some league, I lost interest very quickly. So I and was continuing to work on ESMS purely out of momentum and interest in it as a programming project. This motivation alone is no longer enough.

2) The whole ESMS community lost a lot of its thrust in the last couple of years. This is understandable too - there are massive multiplayer soccer managemenet games online now, CM (and probably others) are easily playable online, and so on. It's reminiscent of the situation fans of text adventure games in the early 90s faced when graphical quests began coming out. Community is very important in open source projects, because the author has to know someone is actually interested. Especially when the author himself is no longer interested :)

3) Although it's hard to let go, I now feel that I must. Counting Dave Bourke's original WWIFL (sp?) I think I spent 10 years in this domain of PBEM soccer. I'm a different person now, my interests have shifted. It's really time to let go. Although the ESMS rewrite I've undertaken in a different language was a fresh wind, it went astray too as I realized I have other things I want to spend time on, more than this.

So, that's it folks. Thanks for playing and showing interest in ESMS. I hope you enjoyed - and you can continue to enjoy it for as long as you want, as the original ESMS doesn't go anywhere - with its portable C++ code online, it will outlive us all :)

P.S. About a year ago a small sum of money was donated to me by ESMS fans for the purchase of the esmsworld.net domain, which I did (for 3 years - at godaddy.com) and which I host at my own hosting service. I won't maintain the website any longer, but the forum still can be used for ESMS discussions if you want, and if someone is willing - I will gladly transfer the website and domain to your control (just let me know the DNS addresses of your hosting to point the domain to). I also have about $50 in my PayPal account from that donation - I will willingly transfer it to the new owner of the domain, for possible extensions, or hosting, or whatever.

Eli
Another couple of thoughts which I feel have no place in the ESMS forum as they're more personal:
  • Indeed, I kept going with ESMS as a programming project. Especially when I began the rewriting in Ruby - I felt it's a great way to learn the language. I also made every effort to learn about new technologies and techniques - to use this project as a springboard for becoming more proficient in high-level programming. I used many advanced Ruby techniques, mastered test driven development, used YAML, code generation, etc.
  • However, lately I understood that I can use my hacking time better. While parts of the Ruby rewrite were fun, larger parts were rote programming - of the kind you must do at work sometimes. This is not a good way to spend a few quality hacking hours per week. I can do other things with this time: continue reading and solving SICP, learn Ruby On Rails, learn Javascript, write articles about topics that interest me, and so on. Rote programming during hacking sessions sucks.
  • What clinched the decision for me was meta-glimpse into the future, self reflection if you wish. I tried to imagine my life without ESMS - and while in the past I was horrified at the idea, when I asked myself this question this week I realized I was happy about it. It made me feel good, taking this burden off my back, freeing a few hours a week for other things.
So, that's it. It won't affect this blog almost - since I didn't write about ESMS lately anyway. I will later restructure my programming and code page to better reflect my new priorities.

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