Disclaimer: My background is in building enthusiast communities which eventually help launch micro-startups, FOSS or otherwise. The following are my personal opinions, not those of any business that I’m associated with. Anyway, that out of the way, onto my long, opinionated, unedited rambly-rant…
Personally I agree that swift and agile are what are needed, which comes from a larger community of users, as long as that community has a realistic understanding of what they’ll find so they’re not disappointed. It also needs to be a community who contributes. This largely still comes back to making sure we find people who want what we already have or will have in the near future - ie an engine they can enjoy and influence with their contributions.
I agree with @zicklag that the version number isn’t the major thing that will make that happen. It’s about finding communities of people who would love what we have (or will in the next release or so).
I do feel that if the Armory fund were making more money (like 100%+ of the goal), that we’d be seeing more feature release tweets for Armory on the Armory3D twitter, rather than mainly retweets of the new stuff in ArmorPaint. After all, which is putting food on the table for Lubos? FOSS or not, a dev’s gotta eat and pay their bills…
Often though I feel like people make a false dichotomy between becoming popular and being stable / feature complete. Yes, exaggerating what Armory can do to reach people would just create jaded, disappointed ex-users who won’t try it again. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to reach many, many more people though, We should. Just limited to the people who’ll love Armory as it is. The people who Armory can give what they want, at a price they’re happy to pay. Note: by “what they want” I don’t just mean a list of technical features. I mean less tangible things like ease of use, a welcoming community, an easy path towards learning and then contributions, a sense of growth. By “price” I also don’t mean dollars. I’m talking about things like that the features missing are just ones they can live without, not deal breakers. Things like needing to help with bug reports and triaging if they want to see something work how they expect. Things like having to sometimes figure things out through experimentation because the docs are incomplete.
To the right user, we already have a lot that they’ll love and the downsides are just niggles not rage-quits.
Personally I LOVE how Armory is integrated into Blender. I ADORE the node logic system (while despising Godot’s “visual scripting” although I love many other things about the engine). The ease of which I can try an experiment and dig through Blender settings to see how to tweak it make me so happy, that when there’s a lack of documentation it’s still a joy to try and puzzle it out.
Other users will have different joys and pains, but the point remains that if we’re careful to mainly bring in the people who will find joy in Armory, like many of us already do now, then there’s really no problem with finding MORE people like us to help pay Lubos (and possibly even others) to give our favourite engine the love it deserves. Then as it gets better / more stable / more feature complete we communicate that with th wider community and bring those new groups of people in, as and when Armory is ready for them.
Communicating to those people though is more about hilighting what’s happening in our community rather than a version number. We need videos hilighting cool new stuff on BlenderNation, not a verion bump. We need release notes for 0.6 that we can share, rather than hype about being a “Unity-killer”. We need artists and programmers working together to make cool stuff with what we have, and people sharing that, rather than trying to chase the latest new feature from the popular engines.
Create. Communicate. Contribute.
That’s how we win. We create cool stuff. Communicate about it to people who would love what we have and then encourage contribution of all kinds at every level.
Then, even though we won’t have done any of it perfectly by a long shot… we’ll be ready for “1.0”.
PS (ok, a stable API/ABI here wouldn’t hurt here either! )