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Survey - Mac Editor - OS Version, and Quality vs Quick Release

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Macintosh' started by Quintillus, Mar 9, 2010.

?

See first post for details on how to vote

  1. Immediate release

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Complete Functionality

    33.3%
  3. Basic Protection

    22.2%
  4. Full Protection

    11.1%
  5. Map Support

    33.3%
  6. OSX 10.5 or later

    55.6%
  7. OSX 10.4

    22.2%
  8. OSX 10.2 or 10.3

    22.2%
  9. OSX 10.1

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. OS 8.1 through 9.22

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    Update: An editor with custom rules/custom player data support is currently available here. Custom map support is a work in progress, and is not available at this time.

    I know several of you have been hoping for a Conquests editor for Mac for, well, ever since Conquests came out. The goods news is that my slow progress in expanding my Civ3BIQCompare utility has resulted in a mostly-functional Conquests editor for scenario properties (i.e., not maps). So, if you all wanted, you could have the ability to do some Conquests editing on Mac OS X as soon as tomorrow. However, it's not polished, and it's not complete yet, either. Still, I suspect some amongst you may prefer to have any Conquests editor than none at all, even if it isn't very polished.

    Thus, the poll. Two votes are requested - one for which timescale you'd prefer, and one for which OS version you are running. The timescale will be explained below.

    OS version will help establish how much of a priority backwards compatibility should be. Right now, OSX 10.4 should be supported, although I have no way to test that. 10.5 definitely would work with what I have today. As far as I know, OSX 10.0 does not support Java, so it is not an option in the poll.

    The timescale options are as follows. Each lower option is a superset of the features above it:

    *Immediate release - A very raw product, with very limited ability for adding or deleting items from a scenario (only adding/removing buildings currently works properly), and no protection against inputting illegal values that could make a .biq invalid if you overwrote the old version. Some editing portions, notably the custom player data and flavors, will not be in working condition, although most sections notwithstanding adding/deleting items will work.

    *Completed functionality (outside of maps) - Everything will be working for non-map scenarios. You'll have a complete editor for random games - but it will still be easy to create invalid (Civ3 won't run them), potentially corrupt (no editor will be able to repoen them), .biq's.

    *Functional with basic protection - In addition to the above, you'll have protection on such things as city name lengths to make it difficult (ideally impossible) to create corrupt .biq's.

    *Functional with proper field protection - Proper limits on the data will be in place. You shouldn't be able to create a scenario that Civ3 rejects, unless you disable the safety nets to test what happens when you use settings that the Windows editor won't allow. At this point, you should also be able to delete resources and the like from maps with custom resources without unintended side effects (prior to this level, you could safely edit scenarios with maps if you did not delete items. at this level, you could not actually edit the maps - just delete Horses and not have it adversely affect the map)

    *Functional with support for custom maps - You'll be able to create your own maps. Note that this is anticipated to be a major jump and may not come to be even in the long run. But it's not out of the realm of possibility.

    There are no estimates on when each of these milestones will be reached, but development is very slow (don't expect "completed functionality" in the next two months). A milestone will be reached when it's done.

    As a warning, the first option, and to a lesser degree the second and third, will mean that the editor will initially be user-hostile. It won't do many things you want to do, and it will allow you to do things that you probably don't want to do, with no warning. But it'll still making many parts of editing a whole lot easier than the current best alternatives on Mac OSX (the vanilla 1.22 editor, or hex editing). That, along with the realization that development is very slow, is why I'd be willing to release it now.

    Let the voting begin (in a couple minutes when the poll is completed).

    edit March 20th: It seems most of you prefer to wait for a more completed version; so it will be unless the voting results change. Progress is still slow, but is progressing. Functionality is being added, bugs are being squished, and the design is being improved.
     
  2. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    I would like the ability to deal with maps but will be happy with what we can get. I would prefer to do as much as possible under OSX even though I'm running XP via Parallels. When you get to the point that you want testers I'd like to participate.

    Steph has been working on an expanded editor for the Windows version. I'm not sure to what extent there would be any crossover but it might be worth consulting him.
     
  3. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    An update. A polished, complete product is clearly winning on the polls; thus, there will be no release in the short term. However, progress continues, and milestone (1), complete functionality outside of maps, has been nearly reached. This means that all tabs, including flavors and custom player data, have been implemented, and you can now add/delete any item that you can in the normal Windows editor, with the bonus of being able to add/remove difficulties (making sure to do so only where permitted by law). Testing has been light, but not nonexistant.

    The next phases include:
    • Adding support for the last few functional things that aren't on par with Firaxis's C3C editor capabilities - such as showing war/peace status in alliances.
    • Adding FLAV tab add/delete support
    • Adding highly experimental add/delete support for a few other tabs, such as EXPR and ESPN. Elements in these tabs are not deletable in even the hacked C3CEdit for Windows, but I have not seen anyone attempt to manually add/remove these to see what effect that has.
    • Then moving on and adding better security options, to prevent the user from clobbering .biq files, thus moving towards stage (2).

    As you may be able to tell, I hope that once completed this editor can be used for testing what happens in Civ when traditionally illegal values are used. I have already investigated the effects of traditionally illegal values/number of items in WSIZ (there must be 5), FLAV (there can be more or less than 7), and DIFF, and having an editor that can be used for such a purpose would make such testing easier and more accessable to the community at large. The FLAV and DIFF experience indicates to me that continued testing of these limits may lift some of them.

    Map support is still somewhere over the horizon. I have implemented some level of support for reading .pcx files, and converting them essentially into bitmaps, but do not plan on trying to tackle the map question soon. I do have a book about Java graphical programming, including isometric games, so once I get around to it I think I will be able to pull off the map. It just might take quite a long time.

    edit: Forgot that I planned to add a teaser pic, so now I have. Ignore the titlebar; that's an artifact of my forking this project off of my BIQCompare utility back in June.
     
  4. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    I'm glad you're still working on this. Whatever you get functional will be useful. Has Steph been able to be of any support?
     
  5. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    As of today, support for "Full protection" is almost complete - all that remains of the core safety implementation is the Flavors tab (always the last one), and activating the system. However, there do remain several other tasks to be done before that stage is really entirely complete:

    * Adding checks to the lengths of names for new elements.
    * Implementing the remaining capabilities that are not up to par with Firaxis's editor (most of this is carryover from the April update).
    *General user-friendliness improvements. There are still several traps that one can fall into without knowing the editor well, despite several traps being closed in recent days.

    Even with those updates, the editor would only meet the requests of 33% of users, as it will not in its current state run on OSX 10.2/10.3. There remains no release schedule, but I'll try to update every 2 months or so.
     
  6. CharcoalDioxide

    CharcoalDioxide Chieftain

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    Do you have any idea of the release date?
     
  7. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    :rolleyes:

    I'm following the thread even if I don't always post a reply & I look forward to the opportunity to give it a go whenever you feel it's ready for testing.
     
  8. CharcoalDioxide

    CharcoalDioxide Chieftain

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    I meant that Quintillus would estimate the time needed.
     
  9. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    I don't feel that I could give an accurate estimate, so I feel it's better not to give one at all. The reason I don't feel that I could give an accurate estimate is that there isn't a consistent pattern as to when I work on it, which is largely due to it being a free-time activity rather than something I have to do. So I'll work on it if I feel like it in the evenings or weekends, but sometimes I don't feel like programming after work (where I already do a good amount of programming), or I feel more like hanging out with friends or playing a game or browsing the Web. Then again, sometimes I do work on this several evenings in a row - but even then, the time spent varies a lot. During the first 4 months of this year I was in school, and how much free time I had varied significantly, from plenty to not much at all. Thus any release estimate wouldn't be reliable.

    When I do feel a release is highly probably within a couple months, I'll mention it. I also have not decided whether to include map support in the initial release or not - although it's a popular feature, it would add an undetermined delay to release, and the editor could add value without that.
     
  10. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Even though a full editor would be ideal, a useful one would be better than waiting forever for a complete one. An editor without the map functions could be used to make scenarios with random maps. That would allow testing of the editor itself. Adding the map functions onto a tested editor later would be feasible, wouldn't it?
     
  11. timerover51

    timerover51 Chieftain

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    Steff's editor does not have a map editor and I find it very useful regardless. I would be happy with an editor for the Mac that does not have a map editor, but would have the option of later having one added.
     
  12. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    It certainly is possible to add on a map editor later, and I probably will release it without the map editor in the beginning simply because the map editor would probably add considerably to the development time.

    Progress has been as good, probably better, than expected in the past 20 days, addressing all three of the bullets listed last time at least in part, as well as several items not listed there. Still not to release status, but I'm pleased with the improvements I've been able to implement during the past three weeks.
     
  13. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    How difficult would it be to add a function that would allow us to attach the rules to a map already made? That way we could take advantage of the many maps already uploaded here.
     
  14. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    That's a good idea! :thumbsup: It would take a bit of coding, but I don't think it would be too difficult to pull that off. It may actually be easier to import a map (already made, in another BIQ file) to a BIQ with rules already existing. I think this would be functionally equivalent to adding rules to an already-existing map - in essense, both would be merging the BIQ with the rules and the BIQ with the map. Thus you wouldn't have to manually re-change all the rules to move (say) a Medieval Europe scenario from a map of England to a map of France - just attach the different map. Correct me if this isn't the type of function you were thinking of.

    There would be an implicit requirement that the terrain/resources would have to match up between the BIQ and the map, as well as any buildings/units present on the map. The standard sets of resources and maps without cities would probably work best.

    At this point I've eliminated all important bugs that I am aware of (though not all bugs), so it shouldn't be easy to lose work with this editor. I still want to do a few things before release:

    • Improve a few more editor items
    • Try some more to find show-stopping bugs
    • Create some decent documentation

    But once those are done, I'll release the editor and allow you all to play with it and spot any remaining bugs. I'll add additional features (including this one) after the initial release.
     
  15. timerover51

    timerover51 Chieftain

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    Now that is something that I would love to be able to do. Import a map into my already modified rule set, rather than have to recreate with EVERY NEW MAP. That would save me about an hour and a half for each and every map, minimum.
     
  16. mythusmage

    mythusmage Chieftain

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    Quint,

    Thanks for just assaying the effort. I look forward to the release, because I know a scenario <cough>Age of Imperialism</cough> that could use porting to the Mac. Just one small favor, a comprehensive set of guidelines please.
     
  17. mythusmage

    mythusmage Chieftain

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    Just a query whereto editor progress. Quintillus, how are things going?
     
  18. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    With multiple people wanting it, I'll make sure this is in the first major update after the initial release (where bugfixes don't count as major updates). With the exception of a couple minor scenario property items, the initial release has hit feature-freeze to avoid an infinitely-protracted development. It would be easy to keep adding features to make a better initial release, but we know what that leads to.

    Could you explain a bit more what you mean by "a comprehensive set of guidelines"? Is this on the use of the editor in general, or do you mean porting scenarios to Mac in particular? If it's the latter, do you know of a good reference on this (ex. a CFC thread)? As a Windows Civ player, I don't know this procedure myself.

    At this point, there are only a few relatively small items in the scenario properties that I feel really ought to be added prior to release. As it is now, the editor supports roughly 99.5% of what you'd be able to edit (non-map) with Firaxis's editor, and that would take it up to about 99.9%, plus a couple of the hacked-editor addons. Hence why I consider the editor at feature-freeze.

    Some of the enforcements of constraints won't be as tight as the Firaxis editor at release, for example, you will be able to check Small Wonder traits for regular Improvements. Such discrepancies shouldn't cause any actual issues, and support for those constraints will be added. You will receive a visual warning if you attempt to do something like give a unit a negative cost. These differences won't put any limits on what you can do in the editor, however.

    Much of the focus now is on improving code quality and style. All the elements of the interface appear to be working properly and saving data properly, but I plan to continue with my fairly comprehensive code review to hopefully catch bugs now rather than later, as well as generally make maintaining the code easier in the future. The idea is to try to eliminate instances where the editor does not do what it appears to be doing (saving, changing properties, whatever) before release.

    Non-code documentation also could use some beefing up. I think, beyond a couple of new features, the editor will be pretty intuitive to anyone used to Firaxis's editor, so I may not spend too much time recreating the documentation it already has before release (which is pretty extensive).
     

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