Out with an old project, maybe in with a new.

First and foremost, I'm stating that I'm not doing After Nova anymore. It's a very interesting concept, but I've found I'm not morbid enough of a person to continually write about how civilization was wiped out on each planet and station, etc. When I get some spare time, I'll extract the altered resources and compile the notes sitting around in my mind and release them publicly in case that someone want to take the plug anywhere or find something useful in it. I shouldn't have let myself get hyped into it by all of your interest. I BLAME YOU ALL! :laugh:

Don't know what After Nova was? Read this topic.

However, despite that, I'm feeling a calling to do something plug-in related with Nova. Whether it be a small useless plug or something nice and big, doesn't matter. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to come up with any one idea on my own that interests myself. I've thought of things spanning from silly plugs such as scrambling the ship resources so you have things like Shuttles with the stats and weapons of a Fed Carrier or turning all the ships invisible, but leaving things like running lights and engine glows visible, to the bigger and more serious such as a Moash storyline plug-in or coming up with some other random story with a new group and what not.

But then I got a new idea, one that I'm a bit surprised nobody has had before. When doing their large plug-ins, people tend to work by themselves, in pairs, or with a small team. We go and hide in our secret towers, slipping out minor details here and there to the curious masses below. They look upon the tower and see that there are never lights on, never giving indication whether we're still there working on our secret projects or not. Occasionally someone is invited to help out, but not often.

Why must we keep this up? Under this system, very little as actually seen the light of day. Many TCs and large plugs are announced, few are updated much beyond the first few posts, most silently slip into land of vaporware, a are publicly stated to be so. The ones that do keep going are being done by people who only come down from their towers every great once in awhile to feed us some information before locking themselves back in and vanishing once more. And we often find out that lack of free time or enthusiasm is causing it to go slowly. It's not an efficient system, especially since I managed to start on a TC a few years after some of these projects started and finished before all of them, perhaps also by a few years. Not bragging there, but I just feel that shouldn't happen, even if Colosseum was small.

So, here I am making a radical proposal when it comes to plug-in developing. Heres my idea: an original universe TC. What's the TC about? I have absolutely no clue at the moment, but you can be assured that, if made, it would involve ships, missions, planets, and text. And Earth would likely be somewhere in it too. Now, why am I so uncertain as to what this TC will be about or contain? Well, how about I just cut to the chase.

I'm proposing a public, open-sourced project. A TC that anyone can come in and help out on and contribute to. All facets of its development would be a public affair. No secret emails, no webboards that only few can access, no tall towers for all to hide in while people have no idea whether we're actually getting anything done. All discussion about the project would be held here on the Dev Boards. It would be a project theoretically immune to being vaporware, because anyone could be involved and there'd be no critical developers. If someone is unable to work on it, it could go on without them and, if they were able to, that someone could join back in later. It probably wouldn't get done at the fastest rate, but those following its progress would know when things are getting done and when things aren't.

If we were to go with this, I'd like to suggest some guidelines.

- It'd need to be totally original, not based off of an existing universe. That way we could create as we saw fit and nobody would be left out just because they didn't like that book/game/movie/tv show/whatever.

- It'd need to be set in a generalized interstellar space age. Aka not just setting out to explore the stars, not post-apocalyptic, etc. In other words, think like the EV trilogy. Have a war going on and an age of great opportunity for an up and coming pilot.

- Major things would need to have a general consensus, such as what groups to include, what storylines to do, etc. I say general as opposed to complete, because otherwise nothing would get done.

- Participants would need to be open to having others edit and modify their contributions. You may write an awesome planet description, for example, but it'd seem awkward if it didn't fit the tone and style of the rest of the text.

- They'd also have to be willing to go with something they don't quite agree with. For example, if they want to add a super-powered malevolent alien species who swoops in and kills everything and the general consensus isn't for it, then they'd need to be fine not having them if they wished to continue developing. We don't want to stall the whole thing just because a couple of people disagree with something.

- Things would also have to not be set in stone. An idea that sounds good might not be so good later, and vice versa.

- Public discussion would be key here. Informing people of your progress and additions, as well as distributing them would be very important. Feedback would be critical. If someone adds a weapon, it'd be best if others could look at it and see if it needs anything changed about it.

- We'd need to come up with a way to keep everyone up to date and an easy way of distributing contributions. For the latter, I recommend passing around of plug-ins containing only the new/modified resources, which other devs could then paste into their copies. On the former, I'd advise against using the addons page.

That's about it. Anyone interested in an open-ended project like that? It doesn't necessarily have to be a TC, though I think that'd actually be the easiest since it'd allow for greater creativity and we wouldn't have to worry about meshing with the Novaverse. I think something like this would have great potential, even if everyone participating can't work tons on it because of other projects and/or Real Life™.

Brilliant idea. I'd like to help out with such a thing.

Totally open idea: instead of the whole growing up in an advanced age, what if the pilot has some kind of background explaining why he/she knows absolutely nothing about the universe? Some other species opens contact?

Logic: For keeping people up-to-date, it's a sad thing that sourceforge doesn't accept projects that create only content. Does anyone know another hosting site with VC? Of course, VC systems don't generally handle binary well, at least not in the way we need, and there isn't yet a cross-platform text format, so that's out. I would recommend using .rez for all transfers, with great emphasis, since most Windows people can't create a .bin file (I haven't bothered to do it yet, though). For the actual files, I would suggest a highly descriptive naming system with a large number of small files. Split everything up, generally by type, but with some grouping. Does the engine have any known issues with extremely large numbers of plugins? Non-graphic files would easily fit in 100kB attachment space.

More when I'm not tired.

I really like this idea.

How about every so often (once every two weeks?) the developers send in their data (what THEY worked on) to a central source, and someone else copy/pastes them all in. If communication is done well, there shouldn't be any resources that have the same RID.

You know, I just wrote a very long response to this idea and I deleted it. I came off sounding too much like a jerk and I wasn't even trying to in any way.

This can be a good idea, and I bet a lot of people would have fun with it, but I don't think that I would be one of them. Best of luck to you, JTH, and any that contribute to this project. I hope that something awesome comes out of it.

Josh: Seed the project please. Make a universe that contains one system, Sol, that contains one planet, Earth. Make one ship, Shuttle, with zeros in most of its stats. And provide PLACEHOLDER graphics and sounds for everything required to run EV Nova. That is, make AbsoluteMinimum but replace all the PICTs, all the RLEs, all the snds, all the spďns, shäns, and so forth, with things not reused from previous EVs. It doesn't matter if the images are white squares and the sounds are you saying "Hello universe". If you get this off the ground, I'm sure people will run with it. Eventually, you'll need to start coordinating things, saying "Person A, work to the north" and so on, but for now just seed it.

Also, there's a limit to the total combined size of uploads each forum-member can have. So you'll need to take all the "generally agreed-on stuff" every few weeks and combine it into a single "build" which is hosted elsewhere. But for now, uploads to the forum will work.

I have a couple things to say...

Wasn't Acheron designed with this purpose?

What type of a universe do you want to throw the player into?

How would you distribute the ID's for each resource... You would have to find a way to give certain people certain ID's to work with so they don't overwrite other developer's works...

Also, I don't know if any of you remember the Argolian Alliance plug with the swarm and the argolian, but that was kick butt and it was only 2 systems and a planet added in... You could probably take that idea as it says in the read me that the author didn't have time to do anything else and wouldn't mind seeing his ideas expanded apon as long as he gets credit for his nice graphics...

Okay, just realized how much I was just trying to sell the idea... Anyways, you might wana check out the plug for ideas atleast?

Good luck on what comes of this epic journey into the universe 😛

Apparently git works with resource forks, so if you want a central git repository, that'd probably work...

@nonconventionally-creative, on Oct 15 2008, 12:17 AM, said in Out with an old project, maybe in with a new.:

Totally open idea: instead of the whole growing up in an advanced age, what if the pilot has some kind of background explaining why he/she knows absolutely nothing about the universe? Some other species opens contact?

Well, technically every idea is going to be open. Both of those are good starts.

@1purevengeance1, on Oct 15 2008, 12:41 PM, said in Out with an old project, maybe in with a new.:

Wasn't Acheron designed with this purpose?

What type of a universe do you want to throw the player into?

How would you distribute the ID's for each resource... You would have to find a way to give certain people certain ID's to work with so they don't overwrite other developer's works...

Also, I don't know if any of you remember the Argolian Alliance plug with the swarm and the argolian, but that was kick butt and it was only 2 systems and a planet added in... You could probably take that idea as it says in the read me that the author didn't have time to do anything else and wouldn't mind seeing his ideas expanded apon as long as he gets credit for his nice graphics...

Okay, just realized how much I was just trying to sell the idea... Anyways, you might wana check out the plug for ideas atleast?

Don't remember if Acheron was designed for being open source. However, it's still not quite the same. Acheron was originally a larger TC being done just by Crusader Alpha and then got axed down in size so he'd be able to actually get it released. I know he'll allow others to write mission strings for it, however.

ID distribution, that's what communication will be for. And even if one or more gets duplicated, it won't be a problem to change some of the IDs around as long as we fix them as soon as they arise. Keeping a comprehensive list of used IDs could easily avoid this problem to begin with.

Never heard of the Argolian Alliance.

Anyways, this topic is mostly a sort of interest gauge, of which there seems to be. I'll wait a bit to see the remaining interest before doing anything further, though more than likely there's enough to get started (assuming everyone making suggestions are interested in contributing). I'll make a more structured thread for the actual discussion of the development and perhaps throw together a sort of seed as Qaanol suggestions. Probably won't replace every single resource, since some of those need to be specific dimensions and I don't want to break anything, but I'll have a sort of AM equivalent.

Excellent idea. I'm willing to lend a hand with such an idea.

I've said this before, but my older bro once tried to dream up a TC of his own ("The Fifth Sun" et al), and, having long since abandoned the idea (or, at least, his original concept), I've been left with a literal box-full of outdated notes on things like governments, weapons, names, and the like that would otherwise never see the light of day. I'd be more than happy to donate such vaporware material to a good cause, and I'm pretty sure he'd agree. So don't hesitate to contact me if you find yourself in need of ideas.

@prophile, on Oct 15 2008, 11:00 AM, said in Out with an old project, maybe in with a new.:

Apparently git works with resource forks, so if you want a central git repository, that'd probably work...

How then would we Windows people handle it?

If we do get some kind of VC server up, it would be trivial for me to write a piece of client software that converted a .rez file to individual resources and then call the external program to commit them to the server, and to call the actual VC program to download files and assemble them in some sort of pattern. This process would be more or less invisible to the user, I'd just distribute a couple of scripts "commit" and "refresh" that called the necessary flags. It would be possible to create a special resource that instructed how to assemble the individual files into resources. If CVS is used, I could look up and copy the NetBeans code; SVN requires an external program. I know nothing more of specific VC systems than this, but anything with a simple command-line protocol for committing files (namely, any system worth using) would be easy.

Assuming captain bob agrees, I will donate a section of Dawn of Infinity's SVN space on sourceforge to this project as long as the following rules are met:

Only .txt and .rtf files may be used for textual notes. No strange .docx formats and such.
All nova resource files must be uploaded in .rez format for robustness. If you can't make a .rez, get the plugin converters.
I would suggest zipping files before uploading individually, so you only need to download what you want.
Captain Bob and I retain final say on the management of our SVN space, and we can do whatever we want to the files you upload if we feel the need, including deleting them. We probably won't, but we need the power anyways because its DoI's SVN space first, and this project's second.

Acheron was originally a private TC of Crusader, Geek, and I. However, we decided to release it as-is because none of us had time to keep working on it.

Assuming the Enigma crowd permits, I can donate a finished universe map, balanced weapon/ship set (including associated graphics), and some flets and dudes. I don't believe dudes are in the syst resources yet, but that's not hard to add. Also, there are working trade missions.

If it were hosting on SF, I think I'd trump. I'm just not sure what the license says. I think it's something like "new projects cannot be created that will only generate content" which is an easy-to-weasel-around phrase. I'd have to check.
Oh, and by the way, the DoI page doesn't meet the guidelines. The Sourceforge.net image must be linked to the main SourceForge page. Or is this another legalish issue? It said something about "all pages hosted on SF.net servers." Is it actually hosted on some other server? because dawnofinfinity.org seems identical, and neither appears to redirect, unless they're doing it invisibly somehow.
Note to other people: hosting on SF only has CVS/SVN access for people who've registered a SourceForge account and have been approved by a project administrator for CVS access. Which would be just as well, since we wouldn't want just anyone committing. Thus the post attachments. This would also mean that end users (i.e., plugin developers) wouldn't need to know anything about how the files are stored, since they only need to download, which all they need to do is double-click this file to retrieve/update the files.
Agreed on .docx, etc. Even .doc is bad, since it is not an open standard like .odt, and for most purposes unnecessary because .rtf can handle a lot. It's interesting how MS finally got up to industry standard in creating a .zipped document format, which of course caused major problems to people who try to open them (primarily from email) because the tag (generic term: what is the correct one?) is picked up incorrectly.

Is anyone thinking on how the meta-resources to determine how to generate the files should be done?

Main topic is up.

Any and all donations of content and ideas would be appreciated.

dawnofinfinity.org is an invisible redirect, I believe.
As far as legal issues, it shouldn't be too much of an issue unless we make enough of a ruckus to make someone want to come after us. We aren't taking up any noticeable part of slashdot's server capacity, and I doubt we will even in the final stages of this TC.

I promised myself that I'd abandon EVN plug devving after I finished off CTC-C, so why do I have the sinking feeling that I'll be working on this instead? 😛

You've got me here. I had a similar idea a while ago, but the main idea was that the devs would take turns. Here, everyone and anyone would pick up the project and run with it. I like it. I'm going to throw some stuff into the melting pot for you guys; you can count on it. I've got ideas for ships that didn't fit into any universe that exists to date, so I'll make some sketches for you guys when I get the chance.

I also had an RID outline that successfully mapped out the RleD/PICT resources so that the maximum number of sprites for all the resources could be used without overlaps and with room for expansion. You could have 512 outfit PICTs, 2048 landing scenes, 768 ship sprites each for base, alternate, lighting, and engine animations, and everything else under the sun. I'll dig that up and post it; it should prove very useful to lay out the resources based around such a plan while the first resources are being made, as opposed to after the fact.

I have every intention of trying to join onto this project at some point, but it certainly won't be anytime soon. I can still throw ideas around, but I can't do anything time consuming for quite a while I would expect.

Don't worry about time consuming. If you can only do a little bit at a time, it'll help. Keep in mind, this will have several people working on it. That several people only need to do a little bit each to get a lot done. For example, if there was ten of us and we only had time to do five descs each during an update period, that'd be fifty descs. Even if some of them had to be dropped for one reason or another, it'd most likely still be more descs done than anyone of us could have done on our own. As long as people are just doing little bits at least, this could go pretty quickly, at least compared to a normal development time.

Personally, I'm not going to be able to do huge chunks at most given moments. But, combined with everyone else's bits, it'd become a huge chunk without being a major time sink in the least.

@lnsu, on Oct 15 2008, 07:34 PM, said in Out with an old project, maybe in with a new.:

dawnofinfinity.org is an invisible redirect, I believe.
As far as legal issues, it shouldn't be too much of an issue unless we make enough of a ruckus to make someone want to come after us. We aren't taking up any noticeable part of slashdot's server capacity, and I doubt we will even in the final stages of this TC.

In that case, link the image. It's in the rules.
My point, though is this:
DoI != EVN
And RezEditor is related, and I like to keep things nice and organized in my mind. It's not that I'm trying to disagree strongly, but I am reasoning according to the logic I know.
Do you have experience with the management techniques? Because I never have done anything other than use NetBeans to commit my project, which automatically outputs a bunch of information about adding new files, incrementing the version, and (in a few cases) "deleting" it, which because it's version control and all that only means that it marks it as "dead."

Sweet. Can I do some sort of über-expensive, über-cool weapons and equipment dealer? I love writing the descriptions, as I'm sure some people know ;). They can be tucked away in some little corner of the galaxy, and have their own mission line or something.

Log in to reply