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The Future of Transcendence 
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Post The Future of Transcendence
Just posted a blog entry with some thoughts. I would love to hear your comments.

http://neurohack.com/kronosaur/TheFutur ... dence.html


Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:24 pm
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
I think that's a brilliant idea. Also, from the kronosaurus productions page. Atarlost posted about lore in anacreon. I would think that since transcendence already has extensive lore, it should be possible to join them together. You should be able to play a single player campaign in transcendence or try to do a macro economy style game in anacreon. One of transcendence's greatest assets is it's game world. It's on par with or even better than many multimillion dollar games. And the best path is that it's easily expandable.take, the ares earth war, for example. It's part of history in transcendence but what if you could play it as a campaign in anacreon? One of the my problems with several rpgs is a shallow game world. Transcendence has an advantage there from the beginning. It's something you could take advantage of in creating new games or updating old ones.

As a way to help transcendence expand faster, you could delegate some parts to a competition of some sort. For example, you wanted to do a three system branch in the main game with a side quest, you could organize a competition in winch you give the outline, and have modders put in their best work. The top rentries will receive prizes and you could include the parts of the submissions you like into the main game.

One of the ways where modders like to compete is ai. You could include some additional commands to design ai within transdata and have modders design ais to take part in an ai battle our something. Give them some rules about what shops and equipment can be used. Again, the best entries get prizes and could be included in the main game to create more varied shops and behaviours.

The possibilities are endless. It's like open source where anyone can contribute but don't need to have great programming skills.

Coming to the business side of things, I assume you will be monetising this by getting a cut out of each sale. That would work well, but the semi open source nature of transcendence should help with new ideas and content making your job easier.

Coming to think of it, the way anacreon could have a system similar to transcendence is with the ais. For example, the player takes care of the macro decisions but low level resource management can be handed over to modder created ais...

On a random side note, you will need a very carefully worded licence agreement... Oh, and the mid exchange will need some digital signing technology to prevent piracy. Better to test these out earlier, veggie the final release.

To conclude, I think it's quite a brilliant idea. I haven't actually seen a comparable model at all. But an idea like this won't be able to take off without a larger community. There have been too many amazing games that never clicked because nobody knew about them. We should think of ways to boost popularity brite final release.


Any way, I'll stop with the rant now. My brain is coming up with all sorts of crazy ideas ;P


Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:17 pm
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
And about the stat/achievement system, it should incorporate some sort of security against hacking. I've played so many games in which the online scores are all hacked. I see them on my android all the time. Again, it's better to incorporate this before going live and then worry about getting rid of hacked scores. It shouldn't be a problem early on but as the community grows larger, the chances of this are higher..


Fri Jan 13, 2012 7:32 pm
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
The problem with borrowing the Transcendence lore for Anacreon is that they use different FTL concepts.

Gate based FTL leads to a very WWI combat setup where defense dominates offense and the only way to make progress is to either throw absurdly large amounts of resources into a meat grinder and hope it jams or develop new technology. The primacy of defense doesn't make for a fun strategic game. You could make a Transcendence TBS, but it wouldn't be Anacreon.

Anacreon's defining characteristics are
  • that one resource whose name I forget that dramatically increases productivity but is addictive
  • unrestricted FTL
  • technological stagnation

I think Transcendence TBS's defining characteristics would have to be
  • gate based FTL
  • technological progress as a means to gain strategic advantage sufficient to overcome the inherent defensive advantages of gate based FTL
  • a robust system for cold war style espionage and proxy warfare

I suspect the hardest part of TTBS would be the cold war system. A new Anacreon engine built with scripting support and a hybridized help/lore system like the Sid Meyer Civilization lineage games would also serve for TTBS.

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Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:33 pm
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
Can a mod require than any sub-mod (ie, mod-mod) remain free?
Can mod XML be copy-lefted? (due to the possibility of commercial mods)

[edit - I wonder if this may also cause issues with freenode; IRC discussions in the main channel would probably have to prohibit development of commercial mods]

I think that some people would also prefer to have a "donate" based system as opposed to a paid system

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Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:17 pm
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
Wolfy wrote:
I think that some people would also prefer to have a "donate" based system as opposed to a paid system


I would certainly prefer to have a donate system rather than a paid system. I would prefer that a large number of people download the mod for free than get have a few people buy it, but I do like the idea of the Mod Exchange.

I am certainly looking forward to the in-game mod selections and the other online resources, and a lot of side adventures.

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Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:59 pm
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
Wolfy wrote:
Can a mod require than any sub-mod (ie, mod-mod) remain free?
Can mod XML be copy-lefted? (due to the possibility of commercial mods)

[edit - I wonder if this may also cause issues with freenode; IRC discussions in the main channel would probably have to prohibit development of commercial mods]

I think that some people would also prefer to have a "donate" based system as opposed to a paid system


Great questions. I don't have definite answers because I'm still working it out. Actually, I should say, "we're still working it out" because like any other part of Transcendence, the community will have a strong influence.

But here are some thoughts:

I hadn't thought about restrictions on mods based on free/commercial model. I certainly think it would be possible (and desirable) to build the engine such that a mod can specify how it can be used.

In general, though, commercial mods will be heavily curated. That is, commercial mods need to be reviewed to make sure they meet certain levels of quality. A commercial mod that makes use of a free one without permission should not be allowed. [Originally I was thinking that I would do the review, but perhaps we can also have the community participate in the review (still needs to be worked out).]

I don't know the rules for IRC and such; I would have thought that you could use IRC for any purpose, even commercial. For example, AFAIK it is perfectly legal (and ethical) for me to use GPL software in my (commercial) company. E.g., I could use Linux to host the forums. What I cannot do is take parts of the Linux source code and use it in a product that I'm selling.

I definitely want to support the donation model. That is, a mod should be able to specify whether payment is required or optional.

BTW, I should also caveat all of this by saying that I haven't yet worked out all the technical and legal details of accepting payments. I would like for some basic version of this system to be up and running by the end of the year, but I don't know what roadblock (technical or legal) I will run into yet.


Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:05 pm
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
Oh for IRC, I mean specifically the official #transcendence channel on freenode, where such discussion would, while not illegal per-say, would be against their TOS (at least for primary channels, not sure how it applies for 'topic channels' (##)). (No proprietary modding)
TBH, I always thought that was weird. Freenode is ALSO the place that used the word "haxorz" in their TOS, so I'm not entirely sure how seriously they mean it.

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Fri Jan 13, 2012 11:26 pm
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
Wolfy wrote:
Oh for IRC, I mean specifically the official #transcendence channel on freenode, where such discussion would, while not illegal per-say, would be against their TOS (at least for primary channels, not sure how it applies for 'topic channels' (##)). (No proprietary modding)
TBH, I always thought that was weird. Freenode is ALSO the place that used the word "haxorz" in their TOS, so I'm not entirely sure how seriously they mean it.


Oh--got it. That makes sense, and I agree that we have to make sure we comply.


Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:16 am
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
indeed, because of the way this game is going, we will need to move the channel back to the ## channel.

However, George, if you want any help with the Stats system, I have some work done on it my self more then just a pastebin.

Although both can be discussed more on the IRC day.

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Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:46 am
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
Ttech wrote:
However, George, if you want any help with the Stats system, I have some work done on it my self more then just a pastebin.


Cool--thanks. I think you in particular will like the new server architecture I'm building. It's basically JSON over HTTP to talk to the server; the server then executes a variant of TransLISP to do whatever it needs. By 1.08 (I hope) you should be able to talk to the server yourself (I'll have to document the protocol). Eventually I will also open up the server programming model so that you can write your own TransLISP code and have it execute on the server.


Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:52 am
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
george moromisato wrote:
Ttech wrote:
However, George, if you want any help with the Stats system, I have some work done on it my self more then just a pastebin.


Cool--thanks. I think you in particular will like the new server architecture I'm building. It's basically JSON over HTTP to talk to the server; the server then executes a variant of TransLISP to do whatever it needs. By 1.08 (I hope) you should be able to talk to the server yourself (I'll have to document the protocol). Eventually I will also open up the server programming model so that you can write your own TransLISP code and have it execute on the server.



Indeed! JSON in particular is quite a nice touch, I did some work on how to prevent duplicates and abuse from people submitting if you are creating an entire system something like ldap or similar might be useful to sync all users accounts on all systems. We can talk more later though if you wish, let me know. :)

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Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:56 am
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
The Future of Transcendence wrote:
Collectively we're creating the Transcendence Multiverse, a family of games and game extensions, all bound by a common engine, built out of components like Legos, and set in an expanding and diverse milieu filled with warring civilizations, mighty starships, and wondrous items.

Yes! I use this analogy as well to explain why I love the game so much. However, most of the mods we see on Xelerus are not a universe per se, but if we take a bunch of them and combine them, (like I did with the impossible permadeath) people can pick and choose their own universes to play with.

I think that we should also support the creation of other big mods by making the procedural creation of systems a lot easier to access. Right now, most information about level spawning is in the station itself, which requires rewrites of the entire station, but if we could make easy to edit tables of stations, I think that station spawning would become much easier to manipulate.

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Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:21 am
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
RPC wrote:
I think that we should also support the creation of other big mods by making the procedural creation of systems a lot easier to access. Right now, most information about level spawning is in the station itself, which requires rewrites of the entire station, but if we could make easy to edit tables of stations, I think that station spawning would become much easier to manipulate.


Definitely! I agree that an adventure should get to control station and item spawning. The easiest way to do this (I think) is to allow <AdventureDesc> and <SystemType> elements to (optionally) override station and item spawning. Imagine a table like:

Code:
<AdventureDesc>
   ...
   <Encounters>
      <Station type="{some UNID}" levelFrequency="...." />
      <Station type="{some UNID}" ... />
      ...
      <Item criteria="f =5" frequency="common"/>
      ...
   </Encounters>
</AdventureDesc>


We could also include directives to exclude stations not listed or to only include stations below a certain level or whatever.

This is something I'll likely get to after 1.08.


Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:35 am
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Post Re: The Future of Transcendence
Well, we could just ban commercial mod development in the main channel (and keep the # and hostmasks), and force all development chat of the type to use their own ## channels instead of the main # channels

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