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Soren Has Replied!

Discussion in 'Civ3 Future Development' started by Ozymandias, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    Below is my draft note (so far) to Soren. I would very much appreciate any comments, especially regarding any assistance with the "bridge" from the main body of the note, to a specific tie-in to our efforts & desire to acquire the Civ 3 source code:

    Spoiler Letter To Soren (Draft) :


    Dear Soren,

    I believe we share a singular, intellectual passion: the evolution of complex systems, over time.

    My first exposure to this was as an undergrad, studying - far more closely than most -the transformation from feudalism to capitalism in Western Europe. I was privileged to piece together all of the intricate, awkward, and violent interplays of shifting economic powers, and the social roles emerging therein, in ways which those who were alive then never could.

    Throughout a career spanning the Silicon Valley, to Wall Street, to acting as CTOs for Silicon Alley startups, I only found myself delving deeper, not simply further ino historiography, but evolutionary biology, and the “deeper” aspects of anthropogenic climate change.

    Having endured interminable years, from Gibbon onward, about “why” the Western Roman Empire fell, I had a “Eureka” moment - while playing Civ 3.

    There is (was - now out of print) an extraordinary series of historical atlases by a suitably dry-witted, Oxford educated polymath called Colin McEvedy, and published by Penguin.) The volumes were uniquely arranged: thin; at 90 degrees to traditional printing; with superlatively drawn, historical arcs, illustrated by years he deemed critical, e.g. 451 CE, 476, 528. In general, each warranted perhaps 2,000 word essay and “geopolitical” map. Yet, at what he deemed to be certain key years - 528 CE in this case - he would present multi-page / multi-map layouts of population centers; religious “advancement,” etc.

    It was the 528 CE “expanded” year which I went figuratively flying to in the midst of a game of Civ 3. In this year of the now academically discredited Dark Ages, it was starkly obvious that the only “urban” center, topping a population 0f 10,000, anywhere else outside of the Italian Peninsula as ... Nowhere. Further flipping revealed the prior, analogous, and pathetic demographic situations of Londinium and Lutetia -

    In short, my formal and informal studies on the matter (spanning centuries and decades, respectively) finally bore fruit. Population pressure drove much of human history, and was either misconstrued or elided over, in general ...

    Which brings us to my reason and writing this note. I’ve read of your being thrown into a (dare I suspect?) train wreck of Civ 3 development before being put properly in charge of developing Civ 4. I’ve read your notes on the matter; enjoyed Civ 4; and am eagerly awaiting early access to Old World, with its own, intriguing sets of concepts of play and “morphology.”

    [...]

    You would probably be surprised to hear that there is a robust resurgence of interest of Civ3 underway. A robust and brilliant new editor has been written by a fellow called Quintillus (whom, if you glance at his work, I suspect you'd be tempted to hire.) It unlocks pretty much every "hidden" possibility accessible, from allowing the utilization of Teleportation and Charm to allowing drastic improvements in the management of both Units and Tiles)

    Besides Quintillus, their are at least two others whom I would have hired, in a heartbeat, for my most complex start-up and Capital Markets system (as a possibly amusing side, I could describe and define how a Synthetic CDO works on a single sheet of paper - and these guys could build a system around it.) Meanwhile, they are busy successfully (among other methods) run-time de- and re-compilations of the .exe code.

    But now, good Sir, this brings us to the crux of the matter: in order to address major issues (like making Artillery work properly) we desperately need access to the source code. I understand that you are now light years removed from this, but any assistance in this matter would - frankly and without hyperbole - add more than a gloss of Glory to your first (regardless of the degree to which you were "parachuted in" to the project) your first creation.

    I am well-versed in matters of IP; I believe that a US 501(c)(3) (Non-profit: educational) corporation could be used to accommodate any concerns along these lines.

    I thank you for your time in reading this, and any help you can provide.

    My Best Regards,

    (aka "Ozymandias" at CivFanatics)



    .. And you can something along the lines of "Civ3-New" for "Jerusalem" in the following (and, of course, any nation you might prefer to "England.") -

    Bring me my bow of burning gold:
    Bring me my arrows of desire:
    Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
    Bring me my chariot of fire.


    I will not cease from mental fight,
    Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
    Till we have built Jerusalem
    In England's green and pleasant land.

    As Always,
    :)z
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2021
  2. Puppeteer

    Puppeteer Emperor

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    I can't think of anything to add to the letter as I never interacted with him. But I will say that you may want to set a reminder to remove your name and email as this subforum may eventually become public, either on purpose or accidentally. If you care to keep the info private.
     
  3. WildWeazel

    WildWeazel Carthago Creanda Est

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    Just a few quick thoughts:

    We have nothing to lose and I'm sure he'd like hearing from us, but as he's no longer affiliated and arguably a competitor to Firaxis/2K, I really doubt there's anything he could do besides point us to someone currently representing Firaxis - but it sounds like you & Steph already went down that route. We may be able to glean some new details of game logic from him, if that doesn't run afoul of IP.

    Old World is already in public early access, if you don't mind using the Epic store. It may be coming to Steam soon.

    Nothing really springs to mind for the [...] transition but you'll think of something.

    The paragraph where you come to the crux of the matter seems, I dunno, kind of forced. It reads as awkward and overly formal to me.
     
  4. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    TY on the privacy front - all the ol' dangers on the "Exhausted C&P Front."

    BTW, as I mentioned @Quintillus in the note, I was wondering if I should mention (on the odd chance that Soren might rifle through our humble little corner of the internet) if you'd think it helpful mentioning yourself, @WildWeazel and @Flintlock (yes, gents: I "dragged" you in here to ask for your thoughts as well.) Some of the "hacking" (sorry: tired & using "shorthand") has been nothing short of brilliant - stuff he might actually glance at to see how earnest we are.
     
  5. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    Ah! How well I remember The Charge Of The Very Light Brigade! - My only thought is that now - 8 years !!?? - after my last run up this hill, it's possible that some hypothetical personage might either (a) not care (b) see little harm and maybe some gain, or (c) be amused in chucking some raw met t the komodo dragons.

    More along my line of thought: it's why I made that one specific, potentially "taunting" reference to Artillery. (If I had been responsible for something like that, 20 years ago in my own career, frankly, I can imagine it still stinging, at least a bit.

    Oh, Tsk!, tsk my friend! I signed up for the May early access directly through the Mohawk Games portal the moment I knew :cowboy:

    :bowdown: Oh, do I know!! That's where I'd really appreciate some help.
     
  6. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    I'll be sending a note out, to Soren, within the next few days. I've most certainly taken @WildWeazel's oh-so-true comment into account... AND,you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather when I came across this line:

    "[...] was co-designer of Civilization 3 (and wrote the game/AI code too)." :eek: This is/was certainly news to me, and - should he have the time/desire - might ... Well, need I really add more?
    The only delay , for me, is the certainty that I should get at least a bit of the way into a game of "Old World" first ... :hammer2: So hopefully Wednesday, at the latest - Has anyone played? If so, I'd really appreciate whatever info I might add in - short, pithy, and positive insights into the game's plain brilliance, and it's evolutionary crescendo from )I'm guessing ) Civ4???

    With that citation I found, I am certainly a bit more hopeful, and have run out of fingers to keep crossed.

    So - Excelsior! (Or something.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
  7. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Dedicated to Excellence Supporter

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    Ozy... based on your information, Soren could indeed be a Big Help if he is willing and is motivated for his time.
    "Fingers Crossed"
     
  8. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    A quick aside about, "Old World," albeit after only a few stolen hours of play time.

    I might be wildly off base here, but my first (and intense) reaction to Civ 3 was that, not only wasn't it an improvement over Civ 2, butt that it had any made number of steps backwards (I still miss the "x2 vs. Mounted" Unit attribute which readily gave importance to ATGs.) And I've not been either drawn to, nor even remotely impressed by, IV - VI. Admittedly, I might be under the influence of a very specific series, Close Combat, which I played, by internet, from Iterations 2 - 6, across perhaps 15 years or so. Yeah, there were FUBARS etc., but, move forward they did, and without overly major lurches in game mechanics.)

    My brief time with Old World immediately brought to mind the notion of the Civ franchise having gone from 2 - 6, with actual improvements made along the way. (But please do recall my caveat: I haven't even checked out if units can stack, yet.)

    For the record: after I "reach out" to Soren, I'm now eager to give "Humanity" a try as well.

    ... Civ3 AI design notes without IP worries ... knowing that Soren probably remembers so much, even without any actual source code handy ...

    Gentlemen, I might even sleep well, tonight :)
     
  9. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    So, here it is: "Hail, Mary," etc.

    I included my design schema at the end, solely because it is the only complete one at hand. And I apologize if anyone take offense at implicitly including you under the umbrella of "we." That being said, I have crafted this note (to the best of my ability) to make it as intriguing as possible:
    Spoiler Here goes ... :


    Dear Soren,
    I believe that we share a singular, intellectual passion: the evolution of complex systems, over time.

    My first exposure to this was as an undergrad, studying the transformation from feudalism to capitalism in Western Europe.

    I had already begun - and still maintain - an amateur’s passion for evolutionary biology.

    I also pay close attention to the myriad ways in which the triad of smartphones, wifi, and big data, have changed every aspect of our lives, far too quickly for us to notice.

    Professionally, I followed a different path than one which what would, essentially, have been academia.. Instead, I began my career in the Silicon Valley. After a few years, I moved to Wall Street, where the intersection of technology and the capital markets was changing the macroeconomic structures of the entire planet.

    Long ago, I became - and still remain - intrigued by Civ 3 (although I must confess that playing Old World has triggered that delightful, “Just one more turn” feeling, anew.)

    Yet Civ3 remains compelling to me, and I am hardly alone. At CivFanatics, a long term (15 - 20 years) “hard core” group remains in place. Several modders have delved so deeply into existing possibilities that (taken in isolation) you might not recognize what has been achieved, with your own code. One has developed a truly amazing, literally game changing editor. “Hidden” features like Teleportation are accessible. Ocean Tiles can now be placed directly adjacent to Land Tiles. And so on.

    Of great interest (to me, certainly) is how many "newcomers" are shown at the CivFanatics Civ3 "Creation & Customization" forums. Some of these are extremely proficient coders. And both they and some of the “old hands” have begun using wonderful, and different approaches, to investigate, and modify as many, “deep aspects,” of the game as possible. Some are utilizing run time decompiling/recompiling of the .exe; others are injecting code into the header. And their efforts are working. Yet we cannot “fix” how terribly the AI uses of artillery; etc.

    Cutting to the chase, we would very much like to build upon the game. We believe that we have devised a method to coax emergent behavior from the game engine. This can be accomplished, in part, by the simple application of surprisingly few constraints (“rules”) which would be applicable to both the AI, and the player.

    We would also keep every game “attribute” (every assignable number, or check box to a Unit or Tile, with some extra check boxes thrown in) in place. There are quite a few units and mods which are, without exaggeration, breathtaking. This hypothetical effort would be “backwards compatible” with all of these.

    As you are a game designer, I know that you understand that any such effort would require access to the source code. And I imagine that the Civ 3 code almost remains with Fiarxis. Accordingly, I understand that asking for your assistance in gaining access to it, is a long shot, yet we think it’s worth it.

    Lastly, if you’d like to see our notes regarding emergent behavior, I am happy to pass them on to you.

    My Best Regards,
    (a.k.a. “Ozymandias” at CivFanatics)

     
  10. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    @Blue Monkey @Flintlock @Puppeteer @Quintillus @Vuldacon @WildWeazel -

    Soren replied w/in 12 hours!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi Eric, nice to hear from you.

    I definitely remember you from the Civ 3/4 days, and I am glad you are enjoying Old World (Would you like access to our private testing Discord server? You'd be a welcome presence there and see some old familiar faces as well.)

    I've passed your request on to Firaxis as it's up to them - I'll let you know if I hear anything.

    best,
    Soren

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
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  11. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias Archivist, redux Supporter

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    @Blue Monkey @Civinator @Flintlock @Lanzelot @Puppeteer @Quintillus @Vuldacon @WildWeazel -

    Soren replied within 12 hours! -

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi Eric, nice to hear from you.

    I definitely remember you from the Civ 3/4 days, and I am glad you are enjoying Old World (Would you like access to our private testing Discord server? You'd be a welcome presence there and see some old familiar faces as well.)

    I've passed your request on to Firaxis as it's up to them - I'll let you know if I hear anything.

    best,
    Soren
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
  12. Civinator

    Civinator Blue Lion Supporter

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    :) Now we can be excited, if Firaxis will give a reply - and what they are replying.
     
  13. Vuldacon

    Vuldacon Dedicated to Excellence Supporter

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    Great and Fast Replay from Soren Eric!
    ... I sincerely Hope Firaxis will have a Positive Reply :please:
     

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