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Wow....plus SMAC mod reborn!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Creation & Customization' started by Gerikes, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. Gerikes

    Gerikes User of Run-on Sentences.

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    For those not familiar with SMAC (really?) you can check out the game from it's "official" wiki article, or it's official home page.

    When I was last a regular here, Civcraft was just canceled, TheLopez had just become a father, FFH2 (Fire) was a tease, I was out of College but still at home without a job, and most importantly, I was broke.

    Now, woodelf is a moderator (gratz!), and has also brought it to my attention that he's NOT the father of Anna Nicole's baby, the project forum structure has changed, FFH Fire is released, my misspelled words have red underlines, and, most importantly for me, I have been steadily employed for a few months and have my own apartment.

    I've spent the past half-hour or so to try to come up with a neat way of saying this, but I guess I'm not good with flair. Here's the top and bottom of it:

    I'm officially throwing my hat into the ring of hats thrown by people who want to create a SMAC mod.

    I'm going to take some of this weekend (which I'll probably be too sick to go outside anyway) to sketch out some ideas about team structure, forum organization, and more. I'll have more on this when it is more or less finalized. As of now, I know that it will have SDK edits (sorry, no MAC support), and will most likely be a Vanilla mod.

    My big emphisis is going to be on a QA team that will interface between the community and the developers. Due to the legacy of SMAC, everyone has a different idea about where on the line between "Use Civ4 Rules with SMAC graphics" and "Use SMAC Rules with Civ4 graphics engine" the mod should lie, which most likely will be somewhere in the middle. The QA team will be in charge of taking the ideas of the community, turning them into simplified rules, holding debate and votes on those rules, finally giving them to the developers (mostly the programmers and XMLers) to turn into product. Of course, the internal team will be able to participate in these discussions, but an abstraction of interaction is what is to be kept in mind so that at all times the team knows exactly what will and what won't be included in the final mod will be. Also, the QA dept will be in charge of things such as the Vanilla vs. Warlords debate, which I'm sure will creep up :p

    I believe that the mod can be created in a way that even the largest rules can be set at game start time. That way, if people just want to make base units like Civ4, they can set that option, or if people want a more fine-tuning process like the workshop from SMAC, that is available as well. All with a simple game-start setting.

    It's big. It's beefy. It'll take awhile. But I see no reason why it can't be done.

    More info to follow, but in the meantime, anyone willing to join me in this is more than welcome to comment and reply. Preliminary "what it should be like" is also welcome.

    Edit: (March 10, 2007)

    Well, it's been only three weeks, and already we've had times where the mod team has been at each others necks. Luckily, we've been able to keep it together, and I think have crossed an initial point that's important for most mods, that is, we have stopped endless discussion about what to implement and just started implementing stuff! We're lucky to have a group of people who can keep a calm demeanor and do what's best for the mod.

    This means one of two things:

    1.) Things will start to progress very quickly, and
    2.) There might be a bunch of XML tags and other things that will be part of the mod, but not used in the final mod.

    This means I think that the mod itself will become a very good framework for other mods. I'm trying to stick to the idea of putting as much in XML as possible, and keep good documentation of those tags. As it is, I think we're progressing nicely, although don't expect any output anytime soon.

    Also, my theories of development has been changed, both by learning from others and from the experience that I've had thus far. In order to help speed up development time, a small group of developers are working to create much of the mod. When a release is finally made, then we'll see about putting together a QA team to get suggestions and comments from those who are playing the mod.

    Once again, don't get your hopes up for anything in the near future. As of now, it is VERY beta. You can't really play a turn without realizing that there's nothing to do. However, I feel strongly that this mod will make it all the way through.
     
  2. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    I'm there! There are a few of us who want to do SMAC. Sign me up man.

    It was TheLopez who became a father, unless there is someone out there with a paternity test I don't know about. Anna Nicole Smith's baby? Not mine!

    edit - Link to check Gerikes.
     
  3. Gerikes

    Gerikes User of Run-on Sentences.

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    ...Oh yeah... boy it's been too long....
     
  4. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    So far these 3 types of SMAC mods have been tried and abandoned:

    1 - re-creation by Apolyton. They were doing it exactly like the original.
    2 - Alternate like Roanoke and some others. The SMAC factions, but different after crash landing.
    3 - Very alternate. New factions, new everything, but it's still SMAC.

    I'd like to do something between 2 and 3. Some familiar faces, some new, and a lot (but not all) SMAC.

    Maniac has similar ideas as well.
     
  5. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    And can I change your thread title to get more SMAC into it? :p
     
  6. Gerikes

    Gerikes User of Run-on Sentences.

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    Ha! Go ahead.

    Truthfully, I was just going to say that I was coming back and wait for another thread to introduce my plans for SMAC, but then I just got too excited :p
     
  7. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    Well, you made my weekend! So I'm excited as well. Very excited.
     
  8. snipperrabbit!!

    snipperrabbit!! Chieftain

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    I will enjoy to create some new background story guys !
     
  9. Maniac

    Maniac Apolyton Sage

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    Are you someone I should know, Gerikes? Woodelf seems quite excited. :mischief:

    Anyway, I was thinking of doing something in two phases.

    First phase involves getting a playable game, with the seven factions of vanilla SMAC, and using SMAniaC as rough guideline to work from.
    Second phase focus on the alien crossfire factions. The roleplay is a large part of what makes SMAC good, so it always kind of bothered me that the seven SMAX factions would also start in 2101, while according to their background story they are shoot-offs from the original seven. But apparently it's possible in Civ4 to let civs start in the middle of a game, as FfH is currently doing! So I was wondering if it would be fun to let the seven AX factions arise when certain conditions are met, and give them certain bonuses which add spice to the mid- and endgame.

    Eg the Pirates would arise if two factions have researched Ocean Colonization (a tech placed later in the tree than D:Flex), leading to a midgame race to colonize the seas.

    The Cult could arise after a certain level of eco-damage has been reached or some Centauri techs discovered. They would have as goal to spread fungus over the entire Planet, adding a new dimension to the game. Planet should form a bigger challenge than it was in SMAC.

    Cyborgs could arise if at least two civs have researched Neural Grafting ot something. Their capital would act as the holy shrine of a "Cybernetic religion". (I don't think religions or ideologies can fit in the factionalized SMAC world, but the mechanics of religions can of course) Cyberneticism would spread to bases using advanced AI technology, giving the Consciousness line of sight on those cities, and +1 labs per base where the Cybernetics have spread. So the other factions would be faced with the choice of embracing cybernetic technology and gaining extra research etc, or reject the technology so that they're not vulnerable to CyCon influence.

    Angels would of course be the sneaky spies. They would prey on other factions unless you prepare your probe defenses.

    I was thinking of a different happiness system, involving that Revolutions mod. Drones would form part of that. Unhappy bases could rebel to the Drones, possibly leading to civil wars etc, adding a new dimension to domestic politics.

    Perhaps the aliens shouldn't appear in every game, but perhaps if the human player is in the lead, the aliens could land to add some spice to the endgame, with the choice to fight the aliens together or side with one side, either way creating some war to end all wars...

    Of course the human player should be able to switch to the AX factions midgame, or through some AI-Autoplay start with them right away.
     
  10. Ploeperpengel

    Ploeperpengel academic precarity

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    I don't know much about smac else than it's scifi so if you can use some cool WH 40K Dawn of War Models I'll probably do some now and then. Good luck!
     
  11. Maniac

    Maniac Apolyton Sage

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    Are you trying to form a mod team or the government of a multimillion country? :hmm: ;)
     
  12. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    Oh, I'm excited!
     
  13. Gerikes

    Gerikes User of Run-on Sentences.

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    Actually, the mod is just a coverup for a cult of pepto-bismol-worshipping yahoolagins that I'm developing. A SMAC mod would be the side-product.

    The reason I emphasize the seperation of the community and the final developers is to lead the way for specifications. A written set of guidelines for what will or will not be included. As much as we all know that mods don't normally have official timelines, that doesn't mean that a project so go about willy nilly in an ad-hoc fashion.


    I'll be honest, I've heard of your mod, but never played it. I'm sure with your experience in the SMAC world however I'll give it a whirl so that I know where you're coming from.

    As much as I agree with RAD techniques, I would hate to see us throw time into a prototype without any thought or notion, only to later on be forced to actually use the resulting behemoth. At the very least, a simple mod with the Civ4 ruleset, but some graphics, civs and sounds rolled in (which I believe is already available at the Aployton now-deceased SMAC project) could suffice. But, I would hate to see us "rush in" to the final version of this smac mod, say, tomorrow. I learned that lesson from Civcraft. I think there should be a minimum plan set in motion before too much coding is done (graphics and sound is another story).

    One of the things I'd like to see is a multiplayer game that plays similar to Civ4 or Smac, something not too complicated, but a single-player game that is VERY story-driven (of course, players can play custom single-player games like a typical game of Civ4 or smac). You said it best, the beauty of SMAC is the ability to do the role-playing. If something like this were to take off, there would have to be some large changes to the SDK, and that would require some bit of planning and testing to make sure it will work well. If it turns out that it doesn't, all the stuff we worked on that is based off it will have been a waste of time.

    I'm not hoping to make everyone a slave to my techniques, just get some form of ground rules so that it doesn't end up a food fight. :p
     
  14. Impaler[WrG]

    Impaler[WrG] Civ4:Col UI programmer

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    From what I saw of the Poly project they got most of the raw contents, art, tech tree, sounds and XML converted to Civ4 standards and had a bit of SMAC oriented programing going on as well (vanilla base), lack of a dedicated programmer was one of their biggest roadblocks, I was trying to get things moving on their code base but didn't get very far. The Poly mod-community is really quite dead and moving this project to CFC will likely do wonders for it. Their SF is HERE, I would recommend you contact Blake and or Rubin to get added as a moderator their if your going to be leading. THIS, is ware Gavin who was the last major Poly project leader announced that he was letting the project die, if your project necromancy proves successful he might join up. In any case his XML work will serve as a good base from which to start.
     
  15. Maniac

    Maniac Apolyton Sage

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    I knew I knew your name Gerikes! You're one of those puny Morganites we Spartans pwned during ACDG3. Ha! The sacking of Morgan Industries will always remain the biggest stunt in the history of democracy gaming. Long live the Spartan Federation! :cool:

    Err... back to business. :mischief: What are RAD techniques? I'm not sure what you're saying. Do you mean we should first have a very good idea of what we want to do before touching any file? If so I obviously agree.

    I think the C4AC tech tree and XML is useless, at least for what I would do if making a SMAC mod. They were just trying to make a clone of SMAC. Personally I don't see the point of that. I'd say we should build a tech tree from the bottom up examining the different needs and possibilities of Civ4.
     
  16. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    I think there is some stuff to be had from the Apolyton mod, but agree with Maniac. I also can't handle how dark they had it! I'm older now...

    Check your PMs guys.
     
  17. Gerikes

    Gerikes User of Run-on Sentences.

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    LOL! That's right!

    I was around there for about a month, contributed one article to the Morganite newsletter, then kinda dropped off the face of Planet.

    RAD is Rapid Application Development, which basically means "Get a prototype up running as fast as possible".

    And I agree, while I'm sure some of the stuff at the Aployton's project could be useful, for the most part I think more or less rethinking of the entire structure of techs, gameplay, etc. would be right on, although I would be hard pressed to create alternative Factions from the original 14.

    I guess some to the things I'm looking for is, rather than HOW some of the ideas from SMAC could be brought over, but which ones. While I do think that the Workshop and the unit combos it produces could be all but mostly developed using promotions, I want to see if that's something that people really want. And, if wary, to root out exactly what could be changed to make it more useful / less annoying. One thing I would do is rearrange the screen, so that instead of having a long, unsorted list of all units, having instead a screen that groups those units together, so if you want to see the prototypes you made with an infantry chassis, you can go to the workshop screen, go to the Infantry chassis screen, and seeing all of them, rather than scrolling through 100+ prototypes in no seeming order just to find the one you're looking for.

    Also, certain "transcendence" achievements, such as one I was discussing awhile ago with the Roanoke project. In my idea, once a player has developed a certain tech or created a certain secret project or some combination, then they are offered a choice to join Planet where, if they do, they leave their original Civ behind and play as Planet, controlling the Mind Worms and Earthquakes, to try to eradicate the Factions.

    Ideas like that that just give people goose pimples. :p
     
  18. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    Can we borrow some stuff from Roanoke? Maybe I should contact Gene and see what he's up to as well...
     
  19. Impaler[WrG]

    Impaler[WrG] Civ4:Col UI programmer

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    A SMAC clone is still a better starting place then un-modified Civ4, I'm in the clone first THEN mod camp.
     
  20. Gerikes

    Gerikes User of Run-on Sentences.

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    I just don't see the point of "cloning" Apolyton's or any other mod if we're going to change it later. We can still use their mod as a test bed for ideas, and if we see a large section of XML or a bunch of models we can easily rip those when we're ready. But to say start with everything they have, especially when it comes down to SDK or Python changes, means immediately having code that no one in this team can support without taking the time to learn it. XML, Graphics and Audio may be another story. I think anything that we need to test out on a prototype version could easily just be tested on their mod as a separate entity. That way, all that "prototype code" that is probably inefficient and buggy as all hell can be easily thrown away.
     

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