Do you have a rough date for when you plan to release any new plugins for your E3 universe and the E3 universe developers kit? Or has it become a situation of "sometime in the future"?
I'm waiting on Pipeline's Mission Editor and the EVO 1.0.2 upgrade. In the meantime I'm trying to finish a piece of Commercial Public Relations software called Mimesis, which is taking a lot of my time.
As far as the FH version 2.0 game engine is concerned, there's a lot of surprises and 'things they said couldn't be done' already in there.
Anybody who has a work around on something that 'can't be done' and who is willing to contribute it, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
M A R T I N T U R N E R
Thank you for telling us the current state of you rdevelopment plans. I am sure everyone here is anxious to see what you will come with next. As a side question, have you been following/considering the some of the talk surrounding how to do a EV multiplayer engine, and do you have a particular thing to say or an opinion on that?
A muiltiplayer Escape Velocity has been an idea with too much work involved. I called Ambrosia up about it (several times). As far as they know, nothing is going to change concerning that (although I could be wrong). However, Ambrosia is making an update to Escape Velocity Overide (or it could be a complete overhaul... I'm not sure). They said that the original was riddled with bugs. So, they seem to be taking suggestions for the new update. I think they refered to it as some kind of engine. I'm sorry for being so vague, but I think I'm getting too tired from writing from 6 to 9 o'clock.
Side Note: Exactly what were you refering to as "E3"?
Sleep?! Oh yah... I did that last week!
Heh, what is this, an interview? If it is you should at least ask MT some decent questions. As for the multiplayer, I've already stated my views, but then again, you didn't ask me, you asked him. I wonder if he'll reply, could be interesting to see
In reply to Captain Scurvy's comments, I know EVMP is somewhat frowned upon as a topic on these boards, but since Martin Turner has done significant work to expand the envelope and push the capabilities of the game engine, I would think he is an interesting person to ask about this, with regards to his feelings and opinion if not some of his views regarding the technical aspects. Besides, EVMP is clearly something that Ambrosia is not persueing at this time, but would like to have a hand in if possible (that last statement was a reasonable conjecture only). I realize that I am not asking significant questions to him, but I thought since others have asked questions on other topics to him before and I don't want to bore him with repeated queries, this was a valid direction to go with discussion.
In reply to Zeta, E3 is the name Martin Turner has given the universe/setting for his two plugins Forzen Heart and Femme Fatale. It is a rich setting with interesting missions, great graphics, and significant tweaks and pushes of the the game engine. It is actually a seperate plugin at this point and Martin Turner's great plugins are now largely mission plugins that utlize his universe/setting. In the past, he had intended to provide a developers kit for people who wished to make new plugins (probably largely mission only plugins) so they can capitalize on the work he has done to make a coherent universe and to have people flying around in the great looking ships he has already made (Cobra and that blue triangular stratofighter were great looking ships). At this point however, the kit has not been released, probably because he is waiting to see what happens with EVO 1.0.2 and what new innovations he can roll into E3 prior to such a kit being released. The quality of his work is amazing and leaves everyone waiting to see what he will come up with next.
The Martin Turner?! Wow! I hadn't the clue it was him. Well, if you (martin turner) are reading this, I'd still like to know if I could get a copy of those old programs that they don't put out anymore. The newer 3D programs don't work on my older computer. I could use the powerpc, but that would entail going to the office.
Hope E3 has a good interface.
<font size="1" face="Monaco, Courier" color="808BAD">Sleep?! Oh yah... I did that last week.</font>
As far as the multi-player project is concerned, I'm a bit of an agnostic. EVO is quite mission based, so (in common with most multi-player games) the missions would have to be fairly depersonalised -- eg, shoot-em-up -- to make much sense.
If Ambrosia want to push the envelope, I'd rather see true 3d, which would put EVO back in the main pack of commercial games as far as the technology is concerned.
Concerning non-PPC rendering packages, I never actually found a satisfactory one. I use StrataVision 5, and Bryce 4 sometimes, plus Poser 4 for the characters (although I was using v3 right up to the end of Femme Fatale).
I'm still dreaming up new ideas for pushing the envelope on EVO. There's definitely a lot more mileage in the current engine. The trick that worked for me was when somebody on the old EV list (the email list) pointed out that you could have a ship that looked like a weapon, or a planet that looked like a ship, or a ship that looked like a planet, or, indeed, a weapon that looked like a ship. Mix that in with VisBits so that you can swap them around, and you've suddenly got a much more powerful game environment (that just gives me a new idea one moment ). I think that there's a lot of scope for some quite small one or two mission plugs with maybe just one ship or so that really push things on.
in fact, an EV3D would be rather interesting
Martin Turner, I salute you, for you are perhaps provide the sanest aproach to this question
However, as for the missions being depersonalized, that isn't necessarily so. If you have an advanced enough AI running things, he could provide the majority of the players plots all around. Perhaps plot strings could be played over by different people (then you'd have to worry about players running the same missions twice, or perhaps the system will log what Users have done what missions). So in a sense, you could work it out so that players have fairly personalized missions (of course, you can only do so much when you're talking about thousands of players
Going with this idea, perhaps thats how people could easily progress in the game. It wouldn't be how good of a ship you have, but how many mission strings you've completed.
Also, larger missions could be made as well, and would effect each player (and perhaps they could read about it, and join up with the mission if they wanted).
Anyways, I'm rambling now. Tell me Martin, what programming experience do you have? Obviously you're working wonders messing with the EVO engine, but are you doing that just from playing around, or are you using experience with programming languages to get your way
Well, I started out on Z-80 machine code, made it to assembler and then BASIC, and then the '80s started and I sort of lost the plot.
I do very little serious programming at the code level these days. The Public Relations software I'm writing is in Filemaker Developer edition, which doesn't even make compiled code. However, modern machines are so fast that it doesn't really matter, and it makes the development cycle much, much faster. My assistant says to me 'hey, can it do this' and I say 'no, but it will do tomorrow'. It's that simple.
Most of Frozen Heart and Femme Fatale were written in Schmelta V. I only touch ResEdit when I absolutely have to. Unfortunately, because EV-Edit is so buggy, that absolutely have to is much, much too frequent.
The problem is that tangling too much with code makes you think things are coding problems. Usually they are conceptual problems. I usually begin by saying 'usually you're not supposed to do this... so what would happen if you did?' For example, giving a ship a shield of 0 makes it indestructible (in a sort of a way). The other way that a lot of the stuff in FH started was by it having to be in the story, and trying to find a way of doing it. The planet with two ports stuff began because there had to be two ports on Tesken Alpha, or the whole thing wouldn't make sense. The same thing with concurrent missions -- I needed a way of making the player wait.
As far as the multiplayer goes, I agree that it's possible -- but I wouldn't want to be the one to write missions for it. It would be hellishly complex. I actually wrote most of the text of Oreste, which is a BIG EV plug-in by Vincent Bernard with multiple-plot lines. I found it emotionally quite difficult, because I have particular views on which side ought to win. Even then it didn't actually offer the player much choice, any more than Tomb Raider I-IV does. If you think about it, a true branching plot line, even if it only involved four actual decisions which each had just two choices would end up with 32 different stories -- all of which would have to be equally good, otherwise the player would come away unsatisfied. That's just with one player. With two players, unless all they are really doing as following the same plotline, the possibilities increase exponentially.
Mission wise, I think everyone here is forgetting about the possibility of a more player controlled plot. If it were made possible for players to interact at a very low level, and permitted for players to create their own organizations, you may find yourself in the situation that so called missions occur, just because of the interaction between various player controlled organizations. The principle of this is that by placing humans into the game, they will interact on their own without any real compulsion from the game itself. In other words, the closer you come to reality in the ways the players can interact, the closer to reality the interactions become.
Look at it this way. A player decides to set up a shipping organization. He hires other captains to carry cargo for him. A pirate player notices this, and decides to start plundering the shipping. The player that controls the shipping organization needs to remove the pirate threat, so he hires a mercenary player to destroy or drive off the pirate. Boom. The players themselves created a plot, without any control from the computer.
Yup, you are correct Chris. If it was made where the players could easily set up plots like that (mainly all you would need is for the ability of players to transfer cash to another person or something, and have them keep agreements) mission strings could be set up by tons of people.
And of course, if there is one large plot that everyone could be involved in somehow, like was said before, that'd be cool as well.
Anyways, Martin, thanks for your cool imput, you've got great ideas, too bad I didn't see you around on the old board that much.