Author Topic: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake  (Read 7847 times)

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Offline sisko

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A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« on: June 27, 2012, 06:18:04 PM »
neutral_leader from CFC wants to Take Matters into Our Own Hands:

Quote
Let's all get real for just a moment: no one is going to make SMAC 2 for us. Not EA, not 2k, not Firaxis, nobody. And, let's be honest, after seeing CiV do any of us trust them to anyway? If we want it done, and I know many of us do, we have to do it ourselves, and there's no reason we can't. The modding community has access to tremendous amounts of source for CIV and inexhaustible talent. We can make this happen, and I want to see it happen. I want it for myself but, at the risk of sounding too fanatical, I want it for my children. I learned so much from that game as a teenager (I still manage to impress people with my many memorized quotes) and I want my kids and all of yours to be able to enjoy a modernized version. What's more, I read the forums and I know you guys want it too.

What I propose is that we produce an independent, open source modernization of original SMAC plus SMACX. I have tried to raise interest before in a total conversion mod for CIV or CiV, but there has been little response in those forums, and a stand-alone development will provide the best opportunities for development and refinement independent of Firaxis and without the damn thing breaking every time a patch is released. I'm not a programmer, but I can help coordinate efforts, code XML, and translate user interface in a number of languages. If we can get a couple of programmers and a couple of graphics guys interested, we can get off to a good start.

The chief design principle, as I see it, should be conservatism. It would be too great an undertaking to try to produce an entirely new game and many of us really just want an update on the classic anyway. Mods can satisfy whatever hankering for a sequel anyone may have. To that end, I think our aim should be maximum use of original game text, sounds, and artwork (although on-map graphics could stand a major update). That also makes the job a little easier. For the most part, technologies, facilities, improvements, units, etc. would be just as in the original. So what should change? The following I regard as essential changes to modernize:

Graphics
Although much still artwork can be used from the original, city, unit, and terrain graphics need a major overhaul to be brought up to speed with CIV and CiV.

User Interface
So many little improvements have been made to this since '99, like the ability to see what cities are producing right on the map and the ability to move units in groups. Interface should be brought up to CIV standards.

Number of Factions on one map
Seriously.

Multiplayer
Simultaneous turns would be nice, for starters.

Besides this, there are a lot of developments in the Civ series featurally that I think could be fun inclusions to base SMAC with minimal adaptation: culture and attendant mechanisms (reflecting ideological influence), promotions, hexagons, city states (which could be an interesting way of implementing the Data Angels and possibly also the Nautilus Pirates, as they would not have very strong centralized governance anyway), and even religion (where the religions would represent global infrastructure projects like the Planetary Datalinks or the Planetary Energy Grid that, CiV style, would provide bonuses to the faction founding them and to all of the cities that link into them). Whether or not to implement these (and how to do so if they are wanted) can be a matter for further discussion once we have a project team together.

It won't be easy, but it will be fun and it will be worthwhile..


anyone willing to join his project?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 08:37:14 AM by sisko »
Anyone else feels like it's time to fix the faction graphics bug?

Offline Kilkakon

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Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2012, 05:32:24 PM »
If I'm honest, not really. :( I have enough projects as it is and the rather poor response to my SMAC project hasn't helped morale towards the game.

Offline Green1

Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2012, 08:09:38 AM »
I am interested to see how it turns out. But, you have to admit the OP over there has it right. Short of something like that, it is going to be a cold day in hell before you see any attempt to update SMAC/X.

That said, I am a bit leary of the direction it is taking going the FreeCiv route. But, I reserve judgement. I have a few days off and I am going to sit with FreeCiv and see what I think.

I was really hoping Scient, Kyrub, or someone else could just put the only main complaints I have with SMAX. I liked the approach those guys used doing it as a "patch". But I will agree, where the posters are going on Civ Fanatics would be a bit easier. Probably would require a bit less arcane skill.

Basically.. what i would love is.

-14 Factions.
-Way bring higher res textures in. (Does not have to be 3d) I lurk, and rarely post places, but I know BU would have a nerdgasm :)
-A bit better AI at times.

Notice, no TCMs..no "total redo", no taking a lot of things out. Just a loyal true blue update.

I suspect this, if it really happens, may be like Planetfall but on a FreeCiv engine. I hope I am wrong. Just like I have a strange feeling something will happen to the Courisity rover like what happened to another probe I was excited about, Phobos-Grunt. I hope I am wrong...
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 08:14:59 AM by Green1 »

Offline Buster's Uncle

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Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2012, 03:13:51 PM »
Welcome to AC2, Green!

I have to say that I pretty much agree.  Should things get rolling, I certainly support the project, but it's a crazily ambitious notion that I'd be surprized to see succeed.  Us SMACers are a flighty bunch.

...It's sorta like being, as you say, nervous about the latest Mars probe after the Martians have shot so many probes down...

Offline Earthmichael

Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2012, 05:38:01 AM »
All I really want to see with an update to SMAC is the same type of thing I wanted to see with MOO2, instead of the total screwed up redo that MOO3 turned out to be.  What I want is:

1. Recompiled and libraries updated to work natively with Windows 7.
2. Networking using Windows 7 standards for easy multiplayer games.
3. Bug files directly incorporated in the game, no patches needed.
4. Ability to set up games like a MOD does now with far less aggrevation, so that two players can set up a custom game without needed a moderator.
5. Retain the ability to create custom factions/rules/etc. for player generated mods.

What I DO NOT think is important is:
1. Graphics updates.  Player mods can take care of these if needed.
2. Game changes of any kind other than bug fixes and simultaneous play (although I think simultaneous play could have issues).  It may be that simultaneous play only works until two unfriendly factions come into contact, then reverts to serial play.  My biggest concern with adding simultaneous play is that it may double the effort for the project.

If the changes are limited to what I posted above, I believe the project is doable, and I would be willing to help with coding it, assuming that we could get permission to use the original source code as a starting point.  If we can't get the original source code, I think the project will be way to difficult to attempt in our spare time.

Offline Kilkakon

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Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 06:39:28 AM »
You're right in saying that scope creep is a killer here. Creating a game like this can be a never ending story if it's not handled properly.

I will have to make a TBS engine eventually. :S

Offline Green1

Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2012, 05:41:14 PM »
@Earthmicheal.
I agree 99 percent. I think even the (I guess formerly because even the idea of an open sourced AC brought me out of the woodwork) lurkers like myself agree with you.

One of the problems is any serious discussion of wide ranging updates that would really solve most of the issues is CENSORED most places. Now, I know that many forum boards are insanely defensive about any .exe mods or recompiling of any kind. At Civ Fanatics, you have to be careful. Even though I recognize the names of the mods and I do think secretly they would go "hell yeah", any discussions like that would be squished. Of course, I see no point. Most of us do not I guess either. This game is borderline abandonware and over 10 years old. Consider some classics of the past, particularly from the 1980s. If it was not for those modders, no one would be able to play it. Archon for the C64 is like this. All abandonware copies proudly read "cracked by xx" and are the only copies available.

As far as graphics, as long as the graphics are serviceable and are not so bad I think I am playing on a Commodore 64, I have no issues. SMACX, I can deal with and it works fine. Would I love it if the gorgeous Planetfall terrain made it in without the aberration it made of terraforming and kept things the same? I think all of us would nerdgasm. But, the FreeCiv engine looks like something out of the era of the IBM PC jr and C128/64. That is just unbearable.

Redo or rewrite using existing code would be the way to go. However, I am not so sure the communities between the 4 respective forums (Apolyton, WPC, CF, AC2, maybe missing another.. jeesh you guys move too much..) that there is the sheer talent and manpower to do it. The only ones I know are Scient and Kyrub. Excellent work they did. I am using SMAX patch plus, and I can tell you. It is a much better game. But, more would be needed for something like that. The changes to do like you said is a HUGE undertaking.

I also agree and reiterate... no additions or subtractions. That said, there are a few things I think that would be cool and groundbreaking but would be another tbs engine in and of itself which brings me to..

@Kilkalon

YES! A good tbs engine would be great from the ground up. A hell of a lot of work and knowledge needed and can pyrimids of Monster energy drink. Hell, I wish I could code. I decided to take up therapy and not Comp Sci. Too many folks with comp sci and networking degrees ending up working at Subway for my tastes. Ever read DICE job boards? If something serious comes and there is a consensus, I would alpha test and bring out the MS paint to do QA reports, though. I am good at communicating. As long as I am allowed to suggest changes on the design level. I would be a good person for that because many folks just go "This SUCKs.. You SUCK..blah blah" without any constructive points or good documetation to back up thier claims or without suggesting alternatives that do not require the coder 500 hours of tedius hell just for them! You got to have empathy. Modders and coders are not your personal army.

Which brings me to an idea I do not thing ANYONE has ever done. You know, no one has ever done space warfare right. I am not talking FTL travel like in Gal Civ. I am talking Hieinlin style interplanetary warfare in a solar system. Or even moon/planet warfare. I mean Planet had moons where they put mining colonies and orbital platforms. But.. the options there are so bare compared to what they could have done. Nor has anyone gotten a space program right. Now, for SMAC, not sure an extra layer like that would be too wise. After all, the story is about Planet and the sentient natives, not the moons or any other planets in the AC system. Or even low planet orbit.  I read Space War Daily, tons of hard sci fi, and have the Planetary Society blog and UMSF on favorites in my browser. But, this is another topic for another time and detracts from a possible AC fan remake/mod effort.

Offline Buster's Uncle

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Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2012, 05:47:02 PM »
...I haven't discussed it with my partner, but we would be thrilled to host something here.  It could have its own forum and all.  Sisko will probably have more to say on this, but where better to work on AC2 than AC2?

Offline Green1

Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2012, 03:52:06 AM »
...I haven't discussed it with my partner, but we would be thrilled to host something here.  It could have its own forum and all.  Sisko will probably have more to say on this, but where better to work on AC2 than AC2?

No need probably yet. Unless there are PMs and IMs going back and forth, it seems to be talk. However, one of the guys posting on that thread there is a FreeCiv admin who does actually code. Do not recognize the other names except Kilkakon. So who knows, one of those guys talking may be Scient far all I know.

But, something needs to be done. Let's let the pot simmer to a boil a bit more :) SMAX fans need to stir.

Offline Buster's Uncle

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Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2012, 04:08:07 AM »
...Shall I call scient's attention to this?  I've got him on Skype.

I know a few people who'd be useful on this if they chose to be.  I've sorta been looking to see if this amounted to anything, but I could encourage a few parties...

Offline Green1

Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2012, 04:11:48 AM »
It would not hurt, I suppose. A name like Scient would really "stir the pot"!

Offline Buster's Uncle

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Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2012, 04:14:18 AM »
I just sent him a link.

Offline Green1

Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2012, 04:34:36 AM »
Love to hear his reaction on it.

I hope I am not too harsh on the FreeCiv approach in that thread. But, something is wrong when my eyes bleed from the awful graphics and I have to read a wiki just to turn a settler into a city on my first turn. But, I do not think I am alone. I can also see why the FreeCiv guys would love an attempt using thier engine. Hell, folks working on it would have to rebuild almost the whole durn thing to get it up to standards. They do have one advantage: existing code that does work.

Offline Kilkakon

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Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2012, 04:40:29 AM »
There's potential for me to contribute some work towards something like this, mainly as it would be excellent practice for me doing something commerical (I want to do an X-COM clone for Android/iOS as my first game).

Still I'm not one for reinventing the wheel--FreeCiv is like 90% what we'd need as a base, just redo the UI and add more functionality into the areas I mentioned on CFC. That's like, probably a year of dev time already saved. :|

Offline Buster's Uncle

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Re: A Proposal for a Fan-produced SMAC Remake
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2012, 04:56:01 AM »
...And of course we're well-fixed for the graphical aspect of the UI...

 

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