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SMACX AI Growth mod

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by bvanevery, May 15, 2018.

  1. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

    Oct 11, 2008
    You can sell what ever you want. Don't mean people with half a brain will buy it. And a provision with GPL is that the first person that does buy it can just put it up for free download at his leisure legally.

    And that's fine for them. But I am a programmer. My business model is not like that. And therefore I hate it.

    This is not difficult to understand.

    I'll boil it down to simple bullet points:

    1. I am a programmer. I make software and sell them for money. Well, my employer sells them but you get the idea.
    2. Open source is a great tool for me to acomplish #1. It's free work someone else has done to make my life easier.
    3. GPL is different. I can't make a product and sell it using GPL code because people will just pirate it legally.

    Conclusion: GPL is bad because it takes a good thing (open source software) and makes it useless for me.

    But that's because Linux is honestly a dead end product anyway.

    Really, the key to having a good open source project is for it to be something a lot of people and in particular business customers will use. Because you want those people and especially businesses investing their spare time and money into improving your product for you.

    As such an OS is literally the worst thing you can do as an open source project. It won't appeal to the casual user who prefers to pirate the polished and functional proper ones. And it won't appeal to the business user who prefers to have something that comes with proper manuals and technical support.

    Which is where my self centered programmer narrative comes in. The people who love, defend and prolifically use GPL are the software equivalent of the sort of self righteous people we see on social media. People drooling over ideals to stroke their own ego.

    I respect you for lasting that long. My look at linux lasted for about as long as it takes to say NOPE.

    I am not sure if I should take your post to mean that 10 pages is a lot or little. Because it can be both depending on the subject and I am not sure where you stand. I most definitively had to both do very long reports on complex subjects and very short ones to sum things up. And I am a software engineer by education.

    And whilst there are definitively those in my trade inept at communication it's not for lack of trying on part of educational institutions. At least not in my experience.

    Do not confuse synergy with necessity.

    Ideological fundamentalism goes great with a pyramid shaped society because it helps keep the people in line. But that does not mean they require one another. You can have ideologically fanatical anarchists and conversely you can easily have a society where an omnipotent dictator uses his militarized police to oppress his people without ever bothering to set up a cult or ideology of any kind to aid that. It's just that using them makes things so much easier that it's the obvious logical thing everyone does by giving you a carrot to go along with the stick.

    I am not really sure how to respond to that. I newer really saw Yang as a Mao equivalent. He always struck me as more of a traditional ascetic philosopher taken to its frighting extreme. As in, the sort of people who preached that if a loved one dies you should just decide not to be sad.

    So whilst he obviously does not live as a faceless mindless hive member it would be extremely hard for me to picture Yang living a life of luxury or behaving deeply opposite to what he preaches.

    I always took that quote to be referring to the entire industrial economy as opposed to the monetary one. After all it is on the Industrial Economics tech.

    As in, he is talking about establishing entire sectors of industry top to bottom at once, from the mine to the refinery to the factory that makes the tools to make the machines to assemble the robots that construct the flying cars. And that requires a high degree of understanding of all those fields as well as the economic forces behind all that.

    Than again, I always held and still hold that the faction leaders are all basically superhuman. Like, they are the top 1% of capable and intelligent people else they simply could not have lead their people to survival on planet.

    Well obviously. I mean he is a capitalist. But it takes some conviction in both your world view and your capabilities to be willing to take the once in a lifetime opportunity that comes with ruling a nation and risk it all on the dice roll that is free market capitalism.

    Newer heard of it to be honest.

    Also, comic sans. Hope you don't mind.
  2. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

    Dec 8, 2011
    Asheville NC

    Various things that I thought didn't have half a brain, nevertheless have gotten crowdfunded. Don't know about GPLed stuff specifically. I don't make the mistake of thinking something has to make sense to me as as customer. It only has to make sense to someone.

    That's the point.

    Being a programmer isn't inherently material. The people at the Free Software Foundation are programmers. People who work on Linux kernels are programmers. Whoever is writing firmware and drivers for Cisco is a programmer. Some of these programmers are employees and don't have personal ownership of the stuff they produce. They are hopefully compensated in cash.

    That's the real issue. I don't hate the GPL, but I do nothing to help that culture. I don't believe in it.

    Making something useless for you doesn't make something inherently bad. How is something like Linux supposed to get done in your universe? You'd be scrounging with BSD. Arguably, you wouldn't. BSD may have only survived because of the GPL ecology that Linux provided. Now, maybe you don't want BSD, like it, or care about it, and are perfectly fine with proprietary OSes like Windows and Apple. But I say ceding all OS development to corporate overlords is shortsighted. You end up with Morgan as the endgame. "We make products so good, nobody feels a need to compete with us." :cry:

    It's working just fine in its own niches. And it's not going away.

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux <cough cough>. Doesn't have to be exciting or sexy to you or me.

    RHEL. Solved problem.

    Often true. However, I've also encountered people who don't have well formulated ideas about "sharing code". So I convert them to MIT.

    It's ultimately all about who gets paid to do what. Industry doesn't pay programmers to write? Well their writing, taken as a whole, isn't going to be very good.

    The dictators generally make statues of themselves and enact cults of personality. Show a counterexample.

    Apparently you don't know enough about Mao. He was a scholar. He was bookish. Reading books and quoting from them is a dead ringer for Mao. But I think these aspects of Mao's persona, are not well known in the USA at least.

    Exactly Mao. Death is supposed to be this great journey for everyone. That's what Mao says. But his words are for other people, not for himself. What he does is avoid death at all costs. Even if that means many, many other people's deaths, while moving armies around, just to preserve himself!

    Only because the game chooses not to illustrate it. It makes the writing more interesting, because then we as readers are left trying to figure out if this mysterious guy, actually has any kind of point or is full of BS. When someone like Mao is laid bare, there is no mystery anymore! You realize that people at the top of these collectivist regimes are inevitably crooks, swindlers. None of their words actually work, people don't believe this stuff. What does work, is killing people who oppose you, the authority of the crazy gaslighting narrative you're spinning for everyone. The brutal part of Yang's brutal nihilism is how things really get done. Pick 5% of the population, call them "spies", and kill them. They are of course not spies. It is about terrorizing people into absolute submission. The game doesn't choose to talk about that much. The concept of 'atrocity' is thematically present, but usually not explicitly enacted in dialogue or video.

    It's much more obvious with cult leaders, because society doesn't have any kind of historical sympathy for them. They've been labeled! Whereas world leaders have often managed semi-successful media campaigns, to change how foreigners regard them.

    Nice pitch but obviously we've already been making weapons, armor, and terraformers before then.

    Nah. I don't buy that for a second. They are products of their circumstances and environment. Auntie Entity says in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, "On the day after I was just another survivor." Go study the lives of Hitler, Mao, and Stalin. You're not going to find superhumans. And various people who are 'better' than them, get purged / killed. There are also people every bit their equals, their rivals, who get killed. The historical picture of these leaders, is looking at the top of a pyramid scheme, a dynamic of culling. "Oh, the one who wasn't culled, must be so special!" No, it's just that pyramids are societally required to have a top. This happens to be the top. There was always going to be a top, unless the whole society collapses utterly and everyone dies.

    Are you kidding me? Wall Street runs at least half of Washington, maybe more. There's no "risk", there's control of the mechanisms of government.

    The units in SMAC are actually little 3d voxel models. They were implemented in a proprietary format called Caviar. The company that made the Caviar thingy, has changed hands and doesn't really have tools available for this, far as I know. Some people have reverse engineered a lot of the file format, but nobody has coughed out an editor that is terribly usable. There's not a lot of motive to. I'd personally put that kind of gruntwork into a new game with sane art asset formats.
  3. Petek

    Petek Alpha Centaurian Administrator Supporter

    Nov 8, 2001
    Berkeley, Calif., USA

    Here’s a caviar editor:


    Are you aware of it and/or consider it usable?
  4. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

    Dec 8, 2011
    Asheville NC
    If you had read the thread, you might have seen that my last post in it was 2 days ago. It allows you to add color to existing .cvr files. You cannot create new voxel geometry with it. It is also very slow, not a joy to work with. The tool is not under active development. The author had something else in his GIT repository written in Java that might have been trying to be more advanced, but it is not under active development either and doesn't build. I tried leaving an Issue about the latter, to see if it would get any kind of notice or response. I haven't tried contacting the author directly because he does not appear to be active on the forum anymore.
  5. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

    Oct 11, 2008
    True. But that still does not mean it's a smart thing to produce and sell things people likely won't want as opposed to things they definitively will.

    Exactly. The evil, evil point.

    Sure, but let's be real. If my company won't let me use a piece of code than that piece of code is useless from my perspective. And if that piece of code happens to be something that would really have helped me if not for its license than it is not just right but outright mandatory for me to hate the license and the men who designed and chose to use it.

    It's just common sense.

    Love that which aids you, hate that which harms you. Only than will your actions be guided at all times to promote your own well being.

    [quite]Making something useless for you doesn't make something inherently bad.[/quote]
    There is no such thing as inherent good or evil. All is a matter of perspective.

    Thing is, I honestly do not think that it is realistic for something like an OS to function and thrive any other way. Not only is it a complex ever evolving peace of code but it grows in complexity with each generation. That is simply not something I can see being achieved successfully by a group of semi-organized volunteers of varying skill levels. It needs a proper driving force behind it. A structure. Someone with enough clout in the industry to get done what needs doing and hire the talent needed to do it.

    That's why desktop linux newer really took off as good as it should have if it really was as good as windows but free. And it's why the versions that did get off are the enterprise ones like Red Hat where you do have a corporation behind driving it.

    That's what makes it a dead end though. Linux by its design pitch is supposed to be THE free operating system. It's supposed to be the thing that breaks the deadlock of corporate control over all our devices and allow us to have a not just fully free but customizable OS on every machine. And yet it ended up being the stuff of enthusiasts and a niche business market.

    You do have to admit though that not only is Red Hat a very, very strange child of the linux family. You don't necessarily buy it just for how it works but the support that comes with it. So it is again the model of giving away the product and selling you the servicing. Fine if you are into that, but I am a programmer. I want to sell my programming. It's literally in my nature.

    Every cult has many hangers on that only hang on because they don't know better. It's good to hear you doing good work saving them.

    Can't argue with that. And whilst I've not once had someone hang over my shoulder controlling my code to comment ratio it is a sad fact that without direct incentives many will neglect the later as the former is where the fun is.

    Tzarist Russia comes to mind.

    Sure, the state practiced a deep connection to the Orthodox Church but that newer reached any sort of proper fanaticism like what you'd expect from a state-cult. And there were plenty of non Orthodox and even non Christian subjects who were largely left alone. And there was no cult of personality around the Tzar. Just the secret police taking anyone who dared speak up to Siberia.

    And it worked for centuries.

    As someone from the right side of the ocean I don't really know what americans know. Probably as little or less than what I know about them.

    But I personally find your assessments to be a bit too cynical. Obviously everyone in power is going to be looking out for #1 first and ideals second. But that does not necessarily mean they do not, or at lest did not at some point genuinely preach the ideals they espouse. Fundamentally the fact is that to reach the top like that it's not about what lie you tell but how you tell it. And it's much easier to pick one you your self can convince your self is not a lie. So it is going to be a reflection of you in some way.

    Just because you embrace something as inevitable and therefore good does not mean you can't also fear and avoid it like the plague.

    I disagree with you on that completely. There are plenty of examples of people on top of such regimes that genuinely and truly believed in what they were preaching. None the least of these being Hitler. He as well as many others were completely and fully honest. They were also completely and fully dead wrong. The two can and do coexist.

    Thing is, none of these things are things you have to be evil or dishonest in order to do.

    You can be (at least in your mind) a good honest person who truly believes that what they are doing and having others do is for the greater good. Hitler truly believed that if only he killed all the Jews and other lesser races that would end class struggle and create a socialist utopia for Germans.

    Again, you can simply be honestly crazy, stupid and wrong.

    And yet cult leaders too often demonstrate true devotion to their cause, often to the death. Not something you'd expect from plain swindlers.

    Honestly if you look at history I'd say the split between swindlers and true believers in their own crazy is closer to 50/50 that is comfortable.

    Obviously this is my speculation only as we don't have any context. But that quote always sounded to me like he was describing a past action. Like, I always imagined him giving an interview centuries later going "these were the problems we faced when we got here" as opposed to it being a motivational speech or something.

    But this is obviously only my inference as we really have no evidence either way and no context.

    You make it sound as if it was pure blind luck it was them and not somebody else that rose to the top. And I categorically disagree. To get into such a position requires a nigh superhuman level of ruthlessness, political skill and savvy and general capability. Obviously though this still does not mean they can't be crazy or just flat out wrong. But it is not and can not be blind luck.

    That takes a very long time to acomplish though. And Morganite lore clearly states that they practice free market economics which means he would have had to deal with potential competition both from within and abroad. Yang can just order all imports of something halted so that his factory complex is the only one selling it for maximum profit. Morgan can't or at least won't. It takes some dedication to chose not to become a monopoly by force but to earn it by becoming better than everyone else. And that is a risk to take.

    Plus there is the additional risk from the fact that early in your development on an alien planet any sort of economy not completely geared toward survival provides. Wall Street does not have to contend with mind worms bursting through the front door because the private sector still hasn't come up with the funding for a flamer factory and the government can't just order one built and staffed by slaves.

    Could you link me to the reverse engineered documentation? I'd be curious to take a look.

    Also, I genuinely like Comic Sans so much I modded my copy of CIV4 to use it as the default font.
  6. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

    Dec 8, 2011
    Asheville NC

    As opposed to, say, ditching your employer and working for one that uses GPLed code as part of their business model? Some people do make that choice.

    AFAICT it has dominated the server market. To the point of Microsoft finally playing somewhat nice with it. I think the beginning of the end was knowing that within units of Microsoft, in Redmond, Linux was being used to run various things when that was in fact the best tool for the job. That Microsoft wasn't able to keep discipline over the rank and file to use inferior MS networking stuff.

    The server market is not niche. That is why Linux isn't going to disappear. It's the desktop, where the ideology and aspirations of the average FOSS advocate just don't mean anything as far as getting real things done.

    That's the whole point of a GPL business model. This is exactly what RMS said he wanted to have happen. There's nothing strange about Redhat doing exactly what the GPL is designed to have a company do. They aren't the only company in the FOSS ecology doing something like that either. As I said earlier, dual licensing is a common practice. Don't like GPL? Pay us a lot of money.

    Dual licensors are selling their programming. They're not giving it away to you. You can either take the free version with licensing strings attached, or you can pay a lot of money.

    Could be. But Mao was definitely a swindler. There's not really any way to know, in the fictional universe of SMAC, whether Yang is or isn't. We don't actually see much of anything about the daily actions of Yang. What his regime actually does. I've wondered about writing a game more about that sort of thing.

    Actually if the talent pool for a required xenobiologist is sufficiently large, it is blind luck why Deirdre is on board compared to any other possible xenobiologist. Ditto any other role. I'm sure many chaplains would have done fine. If you've seen any of the various "world disaster" movies in recent years, like the one where everyone's gotta get on some Arks for the big world flood, you can reasonably wonder why Morgan is the only "rich man who bought his way on board" represented. The answer is simple: because we don't have time for narratives about lots of rich people. From a simulation standpoint, there should be lots of such people who bought their way on board, not just Morgan.

    Morgan nerve stapled people that saw something they weren't supposed to see in some of his Research Hospitals. He is separated from Yang by degree, not by any purity of principle. He can talk all he wants about the free market or human nature. What do we see him actually do? 1) monopolize, 2) nerve staple, 3) apply spin, "Recon Rover Rick", I'll just stop there for now. He's a BSer. A lot of the stuff about the Morganites, is very much aimed at the 1990s monopolist Microsoft. "Where do you want your node today?"

  7. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

    Oct 11, 2008

    Ah, the good old if the world upsets you change your self.

    You are starting to sound like Yang. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output. ;)

    English is not my first language so excuse me if I am wrong. But I was under the impression that niche is defined as only present in one or several sectors of the market as opposed to being everywhere. Irregardless of their relative size.

    True that. This said, it's funny that of the two of us I am the guy that writes games for a living and yet it is you who cares more about the gameplay than lore. Like if it were up to me I'd be content to spend the next decade making up fan theories and doing speculative worldbuilding until CIVfanatics runs out of hard drive space.

    Even if we ignore the obvious implication you are making that the officers on humanities most prestigious and important ship in human history were chosen by blind luck as opposed to merit and political connections your luck theory still can not account for the fact that not only did these individuals manage to rally others around the in sufficient numbers to form nation states but managed to both hold on to power and govern effectively enough that their organizations lasted long enough to give us lots of tech quotes.

    By degrees and directions. Because frankly I can see it going both way.

    Like, Yang might be a swindler. He might be just a dictator doping the masses. In which case he is pure evil. But if he isn't. If Yang is genuine and he actually believes in what he preaches than he is actually not evil. Because evil is a matter of motivation and not end result. And if Yang is genuine; his motivations are pure. Yang (if you take his word for it) really believes he is creating an utopia. If he isn't lying than everything he does really is for the greater good. And that would actually make him less morally bad than Morgan because Morgan has no such illusions.

    Morgan is, if his actions and words are to be believed a naked and open true believer in the sort of cutthroat free market capitalism that Marx was raving against. His monopoly speech clearly shows that he believes capitalism is the way the best get into power over everyone else.
    And honestly I think that this is his true self. I don't think he is putting up a show. The reason why I believe this is because, if you look at his actions we know off, they can all easily be explained by the following hypothesis:
    - Morgan believes capitalism is the way the best get on top
    - Morgan is on top because he is good at capitalism
    Ergo: Morgan is the best, the master race, everything he does is without fault because he is on top and only the best are on top.

    It just all fits far too well with his behavior. Like the time he nerve stapled those people. The way he talks about it is like neutering a pet. Sure, you're cutting off its balls and you probably feel sorry for it and cringe a little; but you are human and it's an animal and you get to do that. You don't stop.

    And I think that is how Morgan sees those less successful than him.
  8. bvanevery

    bvanevery Warlord

    Dec 8, 2011
    Asheville NC
    "Niche" in English has the connotation of being a minority aspect of the market. For instance 4X TBS is already a niche genre compared to the game industry writ large. SMAC is a niche within a niche! There is nothing niche about Linux in the server market, it dominates. The GPL is not driven by lots of ideological volunteers, it is driven by companies with a stake in that business model.

    With either Morgan or Yang, what retains people's interest about the game, is the degree to which the philosophy doesn't paint these characters into a complete corner. So you can project what you like about either, unless of course it completely contradicts something they said. They don't do all that much in the game, so that leaves a lot of room to project what they might have done. In a different style of game, you might be required to play or pass through a specific event where, say, Yang puts a bunch of people to death in a show trial, or Morgan bankrupts several competing industries and takes over the government.

    As for how world leaders actually get on top, I can only suggest reading more biographies of more world leaders, to see how those cutthroat dynamics actually work. The ones who get the historical attention, usually aren't uniquely qualified to their posts. Rather, they survived the bloody purges.

    The game is fictional and does not have to follow any simulationist reality of how leaders or societies actually work. You get your attention focused on 7 individuals because that's "good" dramatic staging. People tend to attribute superhuman abilities to such people... because they are participating in a power narrative. Compare belief in the powers of Jesus Christ.

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