Jan 2012 IRC day Q&A! [warning huge post!]

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Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:17 pm
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Heya internet, here is a summarized log of all the questions George answered during yesterday's 5 hour Q & A session. :D
Sadly, I forgot about IRC day, and I didn't get to ask any questions of my own T_T *cries*

Text in [square brackets] is mine, probably, but George kept using square brackets instead of regular ones and I might have missed some.
I would like to thank Ttech for organizing IRC day, George for answering tons of questions whilst also remaining remarkably unexploded, and whoever made Katami for making Katami. You guys are awesome :D

i.e cost, distribution, Kronosaur, etc.

Q: Would you consider dropping by on IRC more often now that you are full time?
A: I definitely think we should do this more often. At least once a quarter.

Q: Will transcendence be offered in the Humble Bundle or on Steam?
A: Haven't though about it yet. I would love to offer it on Steam, but I don't know if the model of selling individual mods makes sense for them. But I haven't investigated with them yet. Haven't heard of Humble Bundle, but I'll check them out. I do hope to spread out to marketplaces that make sense. Maybe Android someday?

Q: Are there any plans to be selling Transcendence in the future? Or are you sticking with Transcendence being free and expansions?
A: I like the model of having the core game (including all the D&O parts) be free and selling expansion packs. I don't know if that will work or not (financially) but I think it's worth trying.

Q: Alterecco has mentioned this. Have you looked into doing something like the Skyrim model of distribution of expansion packs?
A: Not yet--I would like to try something like that, but I don't know exactly how it would work.

Q: What is the release cycle going to be like now that you have KP and are working on Transcendence (and other games) more or less full time?
A: I would like to have at least one or two major releases per year for Transcendence. For example, I would like this year to have at least one commercial expansion pack. Also, I'm working on Anacreon, so some of my time is devoted to that. I would like to have an alpha/beta version of Anacreon online this year. I think that's a lot for one year, so we'll see how well I do. But it should be fun!

Q: Speaking of releases, are you planning or thinking of any additional games for the Transcendence universe?
A: Not this year, but yes, I definitely want to add other games. Some will be based on the same Transcendence engine; others not. For example, I'd love to do an RTS on the core Transcendence engine.

Q: You mentioned possible releases of Transcendence for Android, are you planning on doing iOS as well and ARM (For Windows 8?)
A: For Windows 8, the porting effort is much easier, so I think that will happen first.

Q: Would you consider open sourcing some parts of the game and use collaboration sites like github or bitbucket?
A: Yes, definitely. Particularly for some of the backend stuff that I'm writing. I was thinking of github in particular.

Q: Will there be support for Linux soon? (I personally have heard from quite a few users who have wanted support for Linux - since wine makes the game somewhat sluggish) - this might expand the audience to very dedicated players.
A: I would like that too. The code is not in great shape for a port, unfortunately. But I hope that we can do it. I know Gambit has been very busy in RL lately, but maybe someone else can take up the challenge. (This is another reason for putting the code up on github.)

Q: With regards to taking changes back to the code - what are the difficulties with that?
A: Again, mostly time. I would be reviewing all the changes, making alterations, resolving conflicts, etc. I would hate for changes to interfere with new code that I'm writing, or vice versa.

Q: Will there need to be Quality Assurance people managing this? Will you open it up to the community to do this if you plan on having such people? And with the mod site - will there be a similar group of people doing QA
A: Eventually, but I can't pay anyone yet! The company is still in the burn phase, so I'm saving as much money as I can. Once we make some revenue then I can think about hiring QA. Meanwhile, I'm afraid you're all unpaid QA people! :)

Q: You have a pretty dedicated community, I'm not certain they are thinking about being payed as much as being able to help out as much as they can. I'd like to point out the network we are using does something very much similar to this. freenode has only volunteers who donate their time to help the project and manage it. (we can discuss this later if you want)
A: I appreciate that. And I think we can figure out a way to do that. Particularly for getting registered commercial mods approved. Yeah, I think that's a great model. I'm counting on that, particularly for creating new mods.

Q: Now that you have Transcendence being worked on more full time, will you start using the transcendence-game.com domain and make use of subdomains - {code,wiki,trac,pastebin}.transcendence-game.com?
A: Probably. I'll definitely move away from neurohack.com, but I'm not sure if I should move to transcendence-game.com or transcendencegame.com or transcendence.kronosaur.com. All the APIs will be on transcendence.hierosteel.com

Q: Do you have any suggestions Regarding the namespace restructuring?
A: For the wiki? Haven't paid enough attention to that. In general I would recommend fewer namespaces rather than more, but I'm happy to defer to others.

Q: Now that you're working on Transcendence full time, will the proportion of time spent on different aspects change? ie. more time spent on new content compared to tickets etc
A: To be honest, I'm surprised at how little extra time I have. This year I'm spending half my time on Transcendence and half on Anacreon. Some of the Transcendence and Anacreon time is spend on the server. And some of the Transcendence time is spent on community building (IRC, blog posts, forum posts, etc.) The remaining time is divided on new features for the engine, new content and Trac bug fixes/enhancements.

Q: With the game being written in HTML5? Does that mean it will be platform/browser independent? Are you going to make use of the Chrome / Apple store for the game?
A: Yes--definitely platform independent. I would love to use the Chrome store, but not sure it it makes sense yet. Also, I'm planning on having the game be free to play but sell extension.

Q: What is the current progress on that?
A: I've started some technology investigation. In fact, check out: Trantor X1

Q: GeorgeMoromisato, Will single player still be supported?
A: Yes, but it probably won't show up until a little later. My first goal is massively multiplayer. Next, I will add private group multiplayer. And then finally single-player.

Q: Will game mechanics be getting an update as well?
A: Definitely. I don't know how extensive yet, but the mechanics will change. I want to preserve to core, of course.

Q: What specifically are your plans regarding KP? (ie, with regards to games, future games, etc)
A: I think between Anacreon and Transcendence I will have my hands full. But what I would really love is to get some mods to become popular games in their own right. Perhaps Prophet's tower defense mod or perhaps Wolfy's adventure or something. That's what I really hope for.

Q: Are you planning to allow licensing for Transcendence Total Conversions? Like Unreal or similar? How about licenses for schools?
A: That's a good question. I hadn't thought about it, but if there is an offer I would consider it. I would definitely be interested in licenses for schools, but I haven't had any contacts yet.

Q: Any other official development you can reveal to us?
A: Well, I do want to produce an expansion (for Transcendence) this year. Not sure if it will be Sol or what yet, but I think that would be cool. Maybe people can make suggestions.

Q: <alterecco> You mentioned github... are we going to see github.com/kronosaur?
A: Yes. I don't know the exact URL, but you guys have convinced me to put stuff up there.

Q: <alterecco> I would like to ask about backend stuff... when you will be implementing things, what language will you use?
A: OK, this is going to sound really stupid (and it really is) but this is one of those things that I just happen to enjoy as a programmer... I've written the entire backend from scratch. I've got a HTTP server hitting a backend databased (which I've written) and tied together with a TransLISP variant. The whole thing took me forever and it is only 1% as capable as a LAMP stack, but I'm pretty happy with it so far. And we can expand on it as we go. The backend is written in C++, but it hosts scripts (in Lisp-like language). As I said earlier, though, the execution engine is syntax independent, so I will eventually do a C-syntax for the scripting language. That will definitely be open sourced.

Q: <alterecco> One thing that i really think we need to focus on for the sake of community is documentation. I wonder if making a curated documentation site in some non-wiki format would be an idea? Perhaps collaborating on it over github?
A: Agreed. That's something that I hope the community itself can participate in; anything that I can do to help there, I'll do. Well, I'm certainly open to trying github. If someone is willing to take the lead on that, I would be more than happy to help in any way I can.

Q: <Ttech> Since the community is going to be somewhat expanding and Transcendence - is not open source (but will be?) should we be moving to another server - network really? Where we can tailor more to your games and such or keep it here?
A: Is there a chance that you could ask the freenode people about that? I mean as long as the principal discussion is about mods (which are open source) wouldn't that be OK? We don't generally use IRC to talk about proprietary stuff.

Q: <Avan> What sort of community volunteer work would you be accepting? For example, Atarlost & I are probably well qualified to do balance QA, etc.
A: Exactly what I was hoping for! Don't worry, plenty of unpaid work for everyone!

Q: Basically I want to emphasize the multiplayer aspects of Anacreon. I would love to have a massively multiplayer version of Anacreon running online 24x7.
A: Also, I would love to add more customizability (like the mods in Transcendence).

Q: Will you be updating the graphics? The engine?
A: Yes, I'm rewriting the whole thing in HTML5. Also, because it is massively multiplayer, I will have to change a lot of the mechanics. Plus I want to change some of the less fun mechanics (like resource management) and enhance other mechanics.

Q: <R_P_C_> for Anacreon, what will you do about graphics? will you have something in feel similar to T?
A: Probably not like T, at least not in the sense of realtime. It will be a little bit more static (more strategic). But honestly, I haven't gotten that far on it yet.

Q: <Atarlost> Um. when Anacreon came up on the forums you agreed you wanted to replace the resource model, but weren't sure what with. Any new thinking on that?
A: Not really. The thing I want to keep is the resource specialization--i.e., production increases if a planet sacrifices self-sufficiency. But I agree that we need to deal with the mundane resource management aspect. The original DOS game had some simple scripts for programming supply lines. Perhaps we can do something like that.

Q: Is there any plans for network multiplayer?
A: Not in the traditional sense (two players fighting against each other in real time). The engine really isn't set up for that, nor are the game mechanics. But I think we can add some meta-game aspects (score competition, etc.) Plus we might be able to add some async collaboration (i.e., taking turns attacking something.) A campaign makes sense, but it would be difficult/impossible to have both players flying in the same system.

Q: <Taben> On the balance of large systems and player progression. How do you prevent going to a system and having nothing to gain from it?
A: That's a really good question. I'm having that problem in Part II because there are so many systems. Not sure what a good answer is, but it is definitely a problem.

Q: Will there be cake?
A: Heh heh! No, the cake is a lie. But if we get together we might be able to come up with our own cake.

Q: <PKodon> Oh, yeah, real auto-pilot with waypoints to set on the system map, Is that a possibility?
A: Well, I will probably start with mod capabilities and see how it feels before adding to the game.

Q: <PKodon> Oh, and an option to turn off "friendly fire" so you're not shooting your wingmen and the ship you're escorting, since they seem to love to get between you and your targeted enemy.
A: Yeah, that's a good one, especially for a mod. Add that to Trac; that's more likely for 1.09.

Q: <Atarlost> Okay, twir's freighter question reminded me of something I'd wondered about Korolov. Why don't they cover inbound traffic from the stargates to the station? It's not a coding limitation because you're asked to escort inbound stuff for CSC missions.
A: That's a good question. It's really just an oversight on my part. But I really like the idea of having those kind of missions. You're right that there is no coding limitation. good idea.

Q: <Belxjander> Engines are currently somewhat boolean in being none or maximum thrust. Gradiations of thrust? (% of thrust for a new vector when flying?) would this be possible?
A: I like that idea. If you can suggest a UI for it, I think it would be possible to implement, particularly as a mod. If you can, write a Trac ticket for it (or post on the forums). Good idea, for sure.

Q: And the only other thing I would like to ask about is limitations of ship definitions... and the possibility of an "Aircraft Carrier" setup with limited "Squadron" that is Modder AI based, only user input is target selections. Or multi-part ships where each "part" can be assigned a target. Would that be functional in the existing T-LISP environment? Or possibly asking too much?
A: I think some of that will be possible with the RTS enhancements that I'm planning for late in the year. (scroll up to earlier conversation). Basically, mouse support to select targets, etc.

Q: <Avan> Do you plan on having kronosaur being just for games you (and you alone) produce? Or do you plan on eventually having other games developed in part by others or using open engines made by others?
A: Good question. Initially, that's probably true. But ultimately I want to expand. Certainly I would love to hire other game developers. And I'm not against using other open engines.

Q: Why is Domina calling you, and countless others, to the core, even if her goal is to prevent Oracus from rising, and the quarantine is for that goal, which means you have to breach it?
A: Some of that will wait until Part II, I'm afraid. But I think there is a difference between individuals and the masses. That is, the masses need to be contained, but individuals need to be called. Why? Well, that should wait until Part II.

Q: Oh noes! Can you give us some hints? spoilers? ;)
A: This is probably not a spoiler, but, I'm sure people have considered that Domina and the Ancient Races don't necessarily have to have the same goals. And even if they do, they may not agree on the right way to achieve them.
Also, this might be a spoiler: [spoiler=WARNING GEORGE ISN'T LYING]you will reach the galactic core this year in the first piece of Part II. [/spoiler]

Q: Can we destroy the Ares completely when you added Ares Prime to the game?
A: That might be a pretty interesting achievement. Sure, that's worth thinking about.

Q: What do the Dwarg raiders raid and why are they at the Outer Realm? I remember some discussion about them being zoanthropes, but that is all I remember.
A: The Dwarg masters are the ones in charge. They exploit the zoanthropes as their army. I haven't worked out the entire backstory, but I think they have a lot of potential.

Q: What are the purposes of ferians in the game? Were they meant to be farmed? Is their inclusion a way to characterize the Pilgrim by the player's actions?
A: I always liked the idea of a semi-sentient bee-like creature that mines. They serve a couple of purposes in the game:
1. They definitely are meant to be farmed, although I need to tighten up the mechanics a bit so it is not too easy or too hard.
2. They present the player with yet another choice (exploit them or not) and choice (free-will) is one of the main themes in the game.
3. They (and other zoanthropes) serve as a contrast and comparison to the player. The player is compelled to go to the core (at least in D&O) just like they are compelled to mine.

Q: Who are the settlers, the sovereign represented by &svSettlers;? They are on asteroid mines, and apparently on related to the Abbasids. Why?
A: That's actually an artifact of old code. Originally I didn't want to have too many sovereigns because I thought I could save some memory. (Plus I didn't have backstories for everyone.) But if I had to do it again I would separate each into separate sovereigns. (In fact, I will end up doing that eventually.)

Q: Will we see the cruiseliners, lh2 tankers? Are there unexplored systems in the QZ?
A: Yes, I like the idea of cruiseliners and tankers. I hadn't thought about unexplored systems, but that makes a lot of sense. D&O does not cover the entire topology of Human Space, obviously. It would be great to have little nooks and cranies that have unexplored areas.

Q: Does this mean there are humans outside of the QZ? Why were they not killed if there are?
A: Yes, there are definitely humans caught outside the QZ, but they are few in number. Think of it this way: when you use insecticide to kill pest you end up killing 90% but some number always survive.

Q: Will the player be able to align with Oracus (and have those powers?)
A: That's a great question. Originally I intended that, but didn't have time to implement it all. I don't think it will be possible in the initial version of D&O, but I definitely like the idea. Probably in an expansion.

Q: <Twir> Why do the freighters have very weak armor, especially with all the pirates about?
A: Heh. Good question. Out-of-game, the answer is that it gives the player something to defend. In-game then answer is that most systems are not that pirate-infested so it doesn't make economic sense to armor all freighters.

Q: <Twir> and why aren't there fireteams of civilian ships going out to clear the system of pirates?
A: Because they keep coming back! Just as no amount of police will rid a neighborhood of crime. Also, you end up with a tragedy of the commons. Everyone wants the pirates gone but no one is willing to risk their lives to make it happen. (btw, piracy still happens in the real world today-it is interesting to speculate on why that is)

Q: Ticket #713 Is it possible to set up SysFreezeTime so that it could be used to to freeze only a single ship or to leave multiple ships and stations unfrozen?
A: Yes--I believe that's on Trac. I can bump that up to 1.08, if it's not there already.

Q: Will it be possible to add support for LUA and other scripting languages into transcendence core?
A: That's very difficult, unfortunately. I don't think that's going to rise up in priority because it would take a lot of work. I would rather enhance the capabilities of TransLISP.

Q: Is there a way to abstract the engine so it supports more languages using just api built into Transcendence? [on why this is important] This was suggested to me by a friend, but the reason being is most games support LUA and similar, it might open up the Transcendence engine to more programmers and modders from other communities.
A: Yes, definitely, but as you can imagine that would take a lot of work. For example, how many entry points are there to manipulate an object (objSetData, shpOrder, etc.)? Each one of those would have to have its own entry point. It is always possible. It just takes a lot of time. I've found that good programmers don't have a problem with language differences. Most languages are the same (if, loop, variables). The syntax varies, of course, but that's not too hard.
BTW, I should also say that I'm working on a new engine for the language that will be syntax-independent. That is, you should be able to use C-style syntax instead of Lisp. That's probably not this year, but definitely in the works.

Q: What improvements will be made to debugging?
A: Good question! I would love to hear some good ideas there. The thing I want to prioritize is error reporting and robustness. That is the engine should be much better about reporting errors. But I would love to hear additional ideas.

Q: Will AI be accessible by mods?
A: Yes--I want to improve that. I think I can add two things: 1, add more AI settings that you can control, and 2, add more order primitives so that you can chain them together with script. E.g., a order to fly in a straight line for x light-seconds.

Q: How do you see the AI evolving as Transcendence improves and grows?
A: I want to add more variety to the flying style of ships. For example, enemies should have different tactics, not just always flying towards or away. Plus, I want to experiment more with group AI, that is, ships working together to attack the player.

Q: What are your plans for support networking in the game? IRC client, Global XML (dynamic content update), and other features, such as stats?
A: [IRC client] I've been thinking about including that in the game. I think the protocol is pretty simple, so it might not be too hard. Would that be something that people would like? If so, why?
[Global XML] Not sure exactly what you mean by Global XML.
[Stats] I am working now on an API to publish and read stats from a central server.

Q: What if there was Global XML and was updated on load (or periodic)?
A: I think that means having some XML stored on the server that can be modified by the clients (so that a mod can have server-backed persistence). If so, then yes, I'm planning for that. Probably not till later this year. The stats will be the first to show up (in 1.08).

Q: Could a background task be launched by Transcendence to handle network functions and keep a connection with Transcendence to trigger updates from network events?
A: Yes, that's how it works now. Although I don't know if I can have a persistent connection per client--that might be too many connections. Instead I was going to try a periodic polling. But I don't know how often. I'd love to hear of use-cases so I can plan.
BTW, lots will change as modders get their feedback in.

Q: <alterecco> Regarding mods having a hook into system generation (as i proposed on the forums). Is that something you would add in? [[urlhttp://neurohack.com/transcendence/forums/viewtopic.php?p=44004#p44004]Link to forum thread[/url]]
A: In 1.08 there is a way to add arbitrary code at system generation time. That should help a little bit. Also, of course, you can always add code in the <OnCreate> for a system.
[After discussion, alterecco said he'd post on the forums to explain further sometime. Link to thread]

Q: Will there be support for multiple screen sizes and transparent menus?
A: I've found it hard to go below 1024x768, but I know that's going to be more popular. I'm working a bit on supporting higher resolutions. But probably not until 1.1. [On in-game right click context menus] During combat? Seems like that would slow things down.

Q: Click to station support with mouse? Waypoints support? And other additions using mouse.
A: Got it! Yes, I want to support that as part of the RTS effort. For example, an adventure should be able to turn mouse support on and get an event when the player clicks on an object. Same for dock screens. I'd like to do that this year sometime. Not for 1.08 but probably for 1.1 or a little later.

Q: What are your plans for configuration of UI elements?
A: There is an infinite amount of work possible in that area, so I'd love some help prioritizing. I'd like to work on at least improving the customizability of the HUD. At minimum, i'd like to add <Effect> support to the HUD.

Q: This is for all those dockscreen people! What are the challenges of the dockscreens, what improvements would you like to see being made?
A: For dockscreens, I'd like to make them more customizable. For example, the cut-scenes at the beginning and the end (prologue and epilogue) should be implemented as dock screens.

Q: What are your plans for supporting PNG? [An image format favored for it's small size and high quality]
A: Definitely plans. Probably this year (1.1) but not in 1.08, unfortunately. It is a little tricky to incorporate the libraries. But it will happen. I love PNG.

Q: Is there any info on the ship flight UI that you would like to see? What improvements can be made to the minimap?
A: Good question. I would love more customizability, but again, I want to be guided by what people want. I can spend an infinite amount of time adding things that no one uses.

Q: Is the big map screen working well? Do you use it to maneuver and pilot much? Is there way of selecting things on it while keeping the current functionality?
A: I definitely like the idea of selecting things on the map. Personally, I think it is important to fly around while the map is up. But maybe some total conversions (such as an RTS) would have the option to change that.

Q: What kind of modding access do you want to see?
A: As always, I want to add more and more. I think the RTS elements will open up a whole new kind of mod.

Q: This is a general AI question: Have you considered flocking algorithms?
A: Yes. The Dwarg use a flocking algorithm, but I'd love to use that more generally.

Q: <Fluffy_Wolf> Ticket #638 OH and what about a lisp command to add weapons with all the same parameters available in the XML? weapons installation? such as fire arc, if its asecondary, if it is linked, where on the sprite it gets positioned, etc
A: I think fireArc is there already. I can add secondary, etc. Make an ordered list of each function you want and I can prioritize for 1.08. I'll get as many as I can in that order in 1.08.

Q: Will we have an easy method of removing all D&O content for mods?
A: Yes, that is definitely my plan. I want the engine to be as flexible as possible.

Q: How will the new stat and mod site be different from Xelerus?
A: I think the main difference will be the commercial model. The site will allow people to purchase mods. Also it will have a public API and ultimately allow mods to write and read to it. But I think Xelerus should remain as the principal site for free mods. Xelerus has been great and there is a lot of excellent content there. I haven't heard from him [bmbl - Xelerus operator] lately, but I would love to work on building in code in the engine to talk directly to Xelerus. (Certainly all the work I'm doing for the Transcendence cloud is using a simple JSON protocol, so it should be simple to adapt.) I would love help on the leader board. Let me get something out for 1.08 that's more or less coherent and then we can change it. As I said, it is all based on a JSON protocol and implemented on the backend with a TransLISP-like scripting language.

Q: How about an open source mod/stat engine (for hosting/serving) mods (one that you can have control over yourself, in case xelerus goes offline?
A: I definitely like that idea. As I said, the protocol that the game uses to communicate will be public, so it should be possible to do it. I plan on open-sourcing the server code, so that should be possible too.

Q: <Taben> What do you feel is more important for modding, the flexibility to do what you want or ease of modding including compatibility?
A: I'm going to duck that question. I think both are important and it's all about the balance between them. Plus I bet I would give different answers for specific features. For example, in some cases I would prefer flexibility in script over ease of modding. But for XML I might go the other way. Maybe.

Q: <Taben> Do you have any plans on a sandbox directory for files for mods? [you read a file in runtime and tell the command prompt to eval that read in string, that way you could use any text editor you want without worrying about the command prompt]
A: I do this today with extension. I have some extensions that just include code in <Global> and then I can eval any of the function I define. Add that as a request in Trac. I think I can do a reload function or something. Or do you want a command-line version of that? If so, I could do that in TransData.

Q: <Taben> Would it be possible to load xml files during runtime? This would allow for random and complex stats on ships and items (assuming mods can write temp xml files) This is also related to the sandbox directory mods could play in :D
A: That's not easy, unfortunately, because the save file relies on existing (and stable) UNID definitions. We would have to save the XML files to the save file as well. But I get what you need. There may be other ways to solve it. Let me think about it.

Q: <PKodon> Well, I think it needs some thought and discussion, but right now the options are limited. Only two sets of frames with a timing for which ones run for how long? I might like some more options, like different animations if in combat (running lights change color, for instance).Animation in the HUD, as well.
A: That's cool. I'd like to handle that with <Effects>. That is, add optional <Effects> for running lights, etc. I also want to support animation on the HUD. The easiest is just the static image animation, but eventually we'll have more. I think there is a ticket for that already. Best bet is to make a prioritized list of (small and discrete) features and I will implement the features in order.

Q: <PKodon> I still would like some primitive vector graphic commands in the Dock Screens, too. I think I already made a ticket for that a while ago.
A: Not sure the current status of the ticket, but if it is important for a current project, feel free to bump it (change the milestone to unscheduled and leave a comment).

Q: <Ttech> this goes along with transparent menus / debug menu. Is there any plans to open up the interface to support custom menus that we can use - extra consoles for debugging, or extra information? (I'm thinking of like a content store from within the game kinda)
A: That's a great idea. I would love to do that. What I'm looking for is the biggest bang for the buck. What's the simplest feature that I can implement that would help the most? If you can reduce it to that, then it would make my job easier. Or, failing that, an ordered list of small features would help. But I think it's a great idea.

Q: <Ttech> I was also wondering about the stats. It is something that I'm always curious about and I drew up rough designs a while back for storage of the stats. My question is with stats - what were you thinking of the leaderboard?
A: Well, I will start simple: Just a leaderboard per adventure. But then we can add additional leaderboards: a daily board, one for anyone in Massachusetts, one for anyone who started with the Wolfen, etc. But would love to hear ideas.

Q: <alterecco> Tscript, Tlisp or Trans LISP... which one is it?!?! Can we settle on one that is easy to write? XD
A: Heh heh! I've been inconsistent. I say we vote on it!

Q: <R_P_C__> Ok, so with making a multiverse means making topology, now how would you work towards that?
A: Well, we can already create a hand-crafted topology today. I'm adding some stuff in Part II to make it easier to create random topology. Ideally, though, I hope someone will create a topology generator.

Q: <R_P_C__> I remember you’ve talked about overriding the station spawning, I’m interested in your ideas for finer control on adding stations to a system.
A: The easiest thing would be to add some XML syntax to override the levelFrequency line for a station. (And items too) But you may also have to override some modifiers.

Q: <R_P_C__> I was thinking of also meshing the system generator and the station spawning, but I think that it would be something for a later time. for instance, labelling a system a Sung -controlled system and having the appropriate stations and items spawn.
A: If you've got some concrete ideas, definitely write them down. Even if they are somewhat complex, at least we'll have it for later. [thread created and tickets made, links soon]

Q: Can you make a SysCreateStargateTopology that forces the creation of all systems? It would be helpful so that even though the player can’t access other systems, at least systems would be created through code and modders could have access to the data.
A: Add a ticket for that, please. I think it would be cool to have an adventure option that creates all the systems ahead of time.

Q: Now for thrust [-er animations], can we also use the weapon syntax in place of an image? It would be nice to work with what we have, like using the ferian plasma cannon effect for thrust.
A: That's a great concept. I've been trying to add that because I think it would be cool, but it is a little tricky.

Q: <Belxjander> Is there any declared boundaries for Mods that may include or cross-over into the original T storylines? An example being an "outside" character imported into the T universe?
A: For free mods there is no boundary. You can do whatever you like. For registered mods and commercial mods I would like to make sure that they stay consistent with the canonical universe. If by "outside" character you mean from another source (e.g., Star Wars) then that would probably not be allowed. If you are inventing new characters, then I would love to discuss it.

Q: <Avan> you mentioned "registered mods" - what are those?
A: I'll have to do a post on it. I haven't totally figure it out yet, but I think it might be something like this:
1. free mods have no restrictions--do whatever you want. But they will not support a high score or stats, etc.
2. Registered mods are mods hosted on transcendence.kronosaur.com; they have certain quality-control checks; they can have their own leaderboards, etc. They don't have to be part of the canonical universe (they can be their own universe or alternate universe or whatever).
3. Official mods are just registered mods but they are in the canonical universe. These I will try to exercise a good deal of creative control.
p.s. Registered and official mods can also be commercial (i.e., not free) but it is not required--they can be free.

Q: <Avan> And what sort of restrictions (beyond simply quality) would commercial mods have? (For those in the audience, I'm just asking this just in general for those interested, not for myself)
A: Basically a commercial mod will have all the restrictions of a registered mod. Again, this is just my initial idea. It will change with feedback.

Q: <Avan> Will registered mods be able to use the reserved UNID space? I think its B/C?
A: Yes

Q: <Avan> So with regards to TSB, because it essentially works as an expanded universe to D&O itself (With some minor changes, such as clavicus insurance being removed for gameplay/balance reasoning, as well as some differences in balancing, etc.) There may be times when an official mod comes around that is also commercial, but because it resides within the realm of 'alpha-canon' as I call it, that I want to TSB-ify, for lack of any better words. (ie, make it so that the faction functions as a proper TSB dynamic faction, fit into the nonlinear topology, etc) So I presume I'd have to make it a separate mod/module for TSB; is there any way I'd be able to do this without having to use another unid-space? ie, so that its just a "drag & drop" module so-to-speak? [Congratulations to Avan for winning most confusing question of 2012!]
A: Ideally, it would just work as long as the player owned the commercial mod. I don't know (exactly) how to do it mechanically. But I get what you want and I totally agree that it should work that way. It's like TSB should just light up with new content if you already have the commercial mod.

Q: Next, regarding QA, what sorts of things are considered part of "quality"?
A: Good question. Clearly the mod should not crash or emit crazy output. Also, the mod should be balanced, etc. Plus, it should be something that people would like (i.e., not just a simple mod)

Q: Do you still have a paying job? Aside from Transcendence?
A: Heh. No-but I hope that this will turn into a paying job! I have enough financing for three years. If I don't start making money by then, then I guess I have to get another job! But I'm very optimistic.

Q: People are curious about your dog, how is he? Do you have a picture?
A: Doggie :D We named him after the Battlestar Galactica character.

Q: GeorgeMoromisato, Awesome! What breed is he?
A: Standard Schnauzer.

Q: What are some of the (hardest) challenges you've faced over the years of programming? How did you overcome them?
A: The hardest problem is programming even when you don't want to. There are fun parts of programming and there are not-fun parts. But you can't ship something without working on the not-fun parts. In fact, those are sometimes really important. So I try to force myself to work on the not-fun parts and then reward myself later with fun parts. That mostly works :)

Q: Are there any other development secrets you can tell us? With KP or Transcendence?
A: Well, the biggest challenge in any project like this is finishing. I know so many people who started working on a game but never finished. My advice is to start small and get to a playable state as soon as possible. There are lots of people who try to create the next version of World of Warcraft in one month and never finish.
Last edited by jimj316 on Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nice post jimj. Here is the link to the topic i started on transcendence topology http://neurohack.com/transcendence/foru ... f=5&t=4748
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Awesome work with the IRC Day Question and Answers! This makes it so convenient to get all the cool information!
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Why isn't this stickied?
Tutorial List on the Wiki and Installing Mods
Get on Discord for mod help and general chat
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I don't want any sort of copyright on my Transcendence mods. Feel free to take/modify whatever you want.
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Good question. :)
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Woot stickied :D
*hugs all*

Also, if you see any problems in the Q&A, like questions not matching answers, please tell me ^^
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