Author Topic: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...  (Read 210 times)

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Offline BFG

Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
« on: February 21, 2019, 07:30:56 PM »
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  • Playing as Zak on the Thinker mod, Librarian difficulty, Huge custom map.  Found a data pod early on with Miriam’s com signal.  For obvious reasons I had no desire to talk to her.  Five turns later SHE contacts ME and promptly declares Vendetta.

    This seems like a small bug considering she didn’t have my signal yet.  Worth patching/possible to patch?

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 09:17:11 PM »
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  • Are you sure she didn't physically run into you, and you just couldn't see her unit on the map afterwards?  That can happen if the screen is shifting around as the computer moves and they end their turn in a place that's not visible to you.

    I've noticed that sometimes when I get a comm frequency but forget to contact the faction, they contact me anyways a number of turns later.  On the order of 5 to 10 turns perhaps.  Sometimes it may have been coincidence.  Other times I've suspected a bug.

    Offline BFG

    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 10:42:02 PM »
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  • I thought that too so double checked in Scenario Editor.  Nope, she didn’t have any units anywhere close by.  ‘Tis either a bug or an...ahem...feature, I think.

    And it’s not that big a deal either.  There are plenty of larger bugs than this one to quash.

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    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 11:07:29 PM »
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  • She probably just popped a pod with your frequency...

    Offline BFG

    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 11:33:07 PM »
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  • Well now, while that’s statistically unlikely, it is a possibility.  I may try scenario editing to test that out...IF the experts on here can confirm they would be willing to fix it upon confirmation.

    Offline BFG

    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #5 on: February 22, 2019, 12:13:08 AM »
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  • I didn’t have to test it...Scenario Editor setup proved it.  As soon as I set a Univ-Believe commlink in diplomacy, the reverse (Believe-Univ) was also set.  Removing one also removed the other.

    Looks like all commlinks are bidirectional in the game, for better or worse.  Too bad, too...if they are going to keep track of 21 comm frequencies, why not 42 to make it more realistic?

    Offline Geo

    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #6 on: February 22, 2019, 09:13:53 AM »
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  • Looks like all commlinks are bidirectional in the game, for better or worse.  Too bad, too...if they are going to keep track of 21 comm frequencies, why not 42 to make it more realistic?

    Its a *link*. Without trying it out, how could a faction know whom's frequency they just acquired in that pod's database?
    Obviously before there's a talk between the faction leaders, there has been conversation between comm technicians.

    Offline BFG

    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #7 on: February 22, 2019, 11:33:26 AM »
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  • Oh, I agree that it could be justified in-game / in-lore.  You can just as easily argue against it though: there’s no reason the data pod couldn’t ID whose signal it was, and if it was suspected to be a sworn enemy’s, the tech wouldn’t just “try it out” for fear of sparking a war.  Plus, if they were going to “try it out” like that, I would have heard from Miriam that turn, not 5 later.

    I just expected the signals to be unidirectional, for cases like the one I experienced, but they aren’t.  Not that big a deal.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #8 on: February 22, 2019, 02:27:31 PM »
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  • Its a *link*.

    It's a commlink frequency.  I say that's like talking over the radio.  If your faction is broadcasting on 107.5 FM, that doesn't mean I am.  "Commlink" in my opinion is the name of the communication technology.  They use this fancy word because they don't want to say "radio", and maybe also so it doesn't have to exactly be a radio.  In a more modern context, maybe we'd think more in terms of encrypted multi-channel radio.  They didn't talk about this or deal with it in the game, so I think it's perfectly legitimate to find it confusing and hand wavy.

    Offline BFG

    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #9 on: February 23, 2019, 06:12:29 PM »
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  • Good conversation.  I assume that this would not be easily moddable?  Considering how rarely it would really have an impact - pretty much just situations like the above - it’s probably not even worth discussing.

    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #10 on: February 23, 2019, 07:43:23 PM »
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  • If "modding" means altering .txt files to achieve a result, no, it is not moddable.  If someone who does .exe patching wants to deal with it, digging around in assembly code etc., well then you could try to convince them to do it.  Or you could learn how to do it yourself.  Or learn how to assist someone, such as identifying the relevant ASM code sections, even if you don't personally rewrite them.

    But personally, I wouldn't consider this kind of minor tweak or chasing at perfection, to be even remotely interesting.  If I was an .exe patcher, I'd only do it if I happened to already know where that code was, and how to tweak it.  And I'm not an .exe patcher.  I have thought, for the learning curve of doing that sort of thing, I could be writing a brand new game from scratch.  Which is a project I'm trying to start now, but I keep running into problems about the nature and scope of the game I might do.

    A minor flaw in comm linkages, definitely doesn't compare to the mental exercise of trying to design good games from scratch.  I think sometimes, people pursue these "minor polishing" issues, because doing major game design work is hard.

    Like I look at the piles and piles of stuff that Yitzi polished up, when he was working on things.  I think he was exploring the codebase and found many targets of opportunity.  Things he realized he could do, so he did them.  But how many of those things were seriously consequential?  Maybe I have a single player bias, maybe his fixes more profoundly affected multiplayer for all I know.  But living without any kind of Yitzi patch, I don't find myself bothered all that often.  I'm even willing to guess that Yitzi eventually burned out, because his bug squashing mission wasn't inherently consequential.  You can only do that so long before you say, hey, why am I doing this?  What have I really got at the end of the day, and is this putting food on my table?

    I'm getting close to a calendar year of part-time modding of SMAC.  I think I've crossed a finish line where there are no more moddable game design changes I would make.  I think it is somewhat consequential, I think it plays somewhat better than the stock game.  But at the end of it all, isn't it still just SMAC?  Not like I made an unrecognizably different game out of it.  Like if stock SMAC is a slice of cake, well maybe I've made a "higher end" version of that same cake.

    My last 2 test games, I quit out of boredom.  Even with all my modding.  1st game, I just got sick of all the base improvements I was building.  Got really late in the game, pretty viable for some kind of victory.  But I was like, you know, I'm sick of this, how many times have I done this before?  I've even got piles of AARs written up about that sort of thing, and I quit half of those AARs out of boredom too.  All my modding, hasn't prevented me from getting bored.

    2nd game, I vowed "once again" to be more violent.  How many times have I said the answer was more violence?  Well I did it; in fact, I was handed ideal early game conditions on a Huge map to do it.  2 adjacent enemies with irreconcilable ideology, 1 of them immediately declaring war on me as we came into first contact.  So I stomped one, then the other.  But... it became a drag.  A mindworm weapons package drag.  There were just a bunch of cities to get through, it wasn't particularly quick war.  Exhausted by my warmongering mouseclicks, I gave up.  My position in the game was fine, but other factions had grown a lot (thanks to my mod), and I felt I was just being offered more of the same.  More bases to slowly overrun with mindworms and rails, joy.

    This game has problems and it will take a lot more than fixing a comm bug to solve them.  Even a year's worth modding doesn't solve them.  I have been deep in thought about what is wrong with all of this for almost 20 years.  Why don't I ever really see the answer?  Why does it elude me?

    Offline BFG

    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #11 on: February 24, 2019, 12:13:41 AM »
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  • For what it’s worth, the fact you are even asking yourself such questions 20 years later, as well as thinking about how to build a new game from scratch, says a lot about (your opinion of) how many things the game DID get right.  There’s a reason we are not talking about one of the Civs, including AE.

    Though I am a coder, my skill set in VB and C++ would not lend itself well to such a project.  I would need to learn some more modern languages.  And at least right now, assembly is beyond my grasp.  Perhaps a Flash based version would be accessible to me but that comes with its own limitations...plus, as a software engineer I would be more interested in the design (artwork, mechanics, lore, etc.) anyway.

    My first question, if people are truly serious about SMAC/X 2 and not just something similar, is...what is the license/rights status?  I know it’s a quagmire but haven’t done any serious investigation.  To attract serious attention and make it a viable project, it would take a lot more than the sparse smattering of fans on this forum...a serious business case, profit statement, etc. to make it worthwhile, for starters.

    You have started the cogs in my mind turning...


    Offline bvanevery

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    Re: Something I noticed in gameplay last night...
    « Reply #12 on: February 24, 2019, 04:05:26 AM »
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  • And at least right now, assembly is beyond my grasp.

    I have an erstwhile hardcore ASM background, and I still think it is career suicide to be wasting time on SMAC's aging .exe.

    Now, maybe someone much younger than myself, doesn't see it that way.  Maybe in the 4 years it took me to master i486 ASM back in the day, which led me to getting paid to do DEC Alpha ASM for 2 years, I could have blown that learning curve on patching a game like SMAC.  If such had been available for me to do, but there wasn't.

    Anyways, in the present, I think there's an amount of time you can justify spending to learn how to do something.  Then eventually, you come to know what long term engineering suicide looks like.  You know how much testing things will take, how much maintenance it will take, and how difficult it is to convince other people to do maintenance in the absence of serious cash.  If you haven't reached a point of career sustainability doing something, i.e. getting paid big bucks for it, you stop going on these fool's errands.

    Quote
    My first question, if people are truly serious about SMAC/X 2 and not just something similar, is...what is the license/rights status?  I know it’s a quagmire but haven’t done any serious investigation. 

    It's a quagmire, you aren't getting the rights, and there's no point in you trying to get the rights.  Make an original work, inspired by SMAC, and don't pay anybody for anything.  Do you watch Star Trek?  Well there's this new Seth McFarlane show called The Orville.  Many people think it's better Trek than Trek currently is.  He doesn't owe the Trek people a dime.  Do like that.  Make better SMAC than SMAC itself, while still doing your own thing.

    SMAC as you said did a lot of things right, and pushed various things farther than the 4X TBS genre has otherwise ever been pushed.  That doesn't mean they did everything right, from a modern sensibility standpoint.  Either for game design or for narrative.  Much can be improved.  The question is all about how you set your priorities and what you can get done.  SMAC did not tackle easy problems.  If I had easy answers on how to produce something "better", I would have been a career success a long time ago.  I'm not.  These are hard problems.  But to some extent, I don't think games are worth making if there isn't some difficulty to it.  I think you get out what you put in.

     

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