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#1 dteviot

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 01:10 PM

Hi All,
Those of you who regularly visit Strategy Core may be aware that Colonisation, another attempt to create an X-Com successor, has re-started. The Leader of this project, "Munty", has approached me with the possibility of using the XNA version of Xenocide as their starting point, and the possibility of even combining our respective teams and efforts. I'm hoping he will post here with a more detailed proposal.
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#2 Munty

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 02:40 PM

Hi David and thanks for your post here and for all of your correspondence so far regarding this. Hello to the rest of the Xenocide community as well and thanks to everyone who takes the time to read this thread and let us know your thoughts on the possibility of a merger between Colonisation and Xenocide.

Firstly let me introduce myself to those of you who don't frequent the StrategyCore forums (and those who do as I've not posted this information there just yet and won't until I hear some feedback from you guys) My name is Tim, most of my team knows me as Munty and everyone over at StrategyCore will probably know me as The Veteran. I was one of the founding members of Project Colonisation several years ago as a small fan-based project which we started over at StrategyCore and since then it's been a really bumpy ride and the Project officially ceased to be in 2007.

Since then a lot has changed for me but not so much has done for the majority of the original team so when the time came to give Colonisation one more chance at life I've found myself mostly alone starting out. The reason I'm able to give this another shot now though is that I've made a serious real life move into the Games Industry and while I'm learning the tricks of the trade I'm meeting a lot of other people who are also doing the same thing! Because of this the team soon started to grow and we currently have eight full-time members of the team and probably another half a dozen who are contributing but unable to commit fully to the cause!

Colonisation is intended as an additional chapter in the official XCom timeline by creating a distant prequel to the original series on earth and attempting to answer a lot of the questions that the other games leave us asking. We will experience an alien genesis and the first war the ethereal race and it's allies will ever participate in whilst leading our heroes to victory in time-honoured XCom style.

We're not attempting to splice genres or introduce new and radical fads and features but in the same vein as Xenocide we are trying to recreate the timeless success of XCom and provide its fans with another chapter of gameplay. Current development is progressing well with a great deal of documentation, history and statistics and such already compiled but the actual coding is currently on hold while we decide whether or not a merger between our two projects is possible.

Obviously neither David nor I would be suggesting this here if we didn't think it had it's merits and I think it should be clear to most what these are. As with many purely fan-based projects Xenocide (and Colonisation in it's previous incarnation) have both lost the support they need to become complete games one day and unless this is rectified neither will ever become the next chapter that we so long for. In the case of Colonisation this has now been addressed by moving to a more professional level of devlopment and seeking out more committed team members all of whom have something to gain from the successful development of a project like this.

By bringing Xenocide on board I believe neither projects will need to fear for their existence again and we will be pooling together even more resources than are currently available to either project by utilising the brilliant source code already compiled by the Xenocide team along with all the detailed documentation and backstory already prepared for Colonisation. Even better than completing a game we will be creating a new one and not simply recreating the originals to today's standards. By working together we really can produce the next chapter in our favourite franchise and with the work already done here in Xenocide and David's continued dedication to the task it really isn't as daunting a task as it may seem!

The only link I'm going to include in this first post is one which will direct the clicker towards the Colonisation forums over at StrategyCore which have been at their very busiest over the last week since we've publicly reopened the boards and declared the project live again (though work behind the scenes has been going on for many weeks prior to this declaration!) A lot of good discussion there will give a brief idea of what our goals are for Colonisation but they don't take into account the work already done by Xenocide which rest assured would not be lost and forgotten in a merger by any means.

I'm interested to get an idea of what the community here has to say about a possible merger and how they feel it could be best approached so please do let us know so we can guarantee that we're doing the best thing possible for the fans and the projects. Of course I realise I haven't tried very hard to prove myself or Colonisation but this is done deliberately to ensure the most honest responses regarding what people really want to see happen to Xenocide and how they would feel about a merger.

Once we get through the first round of responses (provided they are in favour of such an occurence) I will be more than happy to reveal some of our current artwork and such to display the level of skill already on board and essentially do what must be done to convince any uncertain members of the community that this is the best possible way forward for both projects. I'll stop at that for now and eagerly await any responses so please leave your feedback including how you would like to see a merger carried out if it goes ahead and what aspects of Xenocide can be maintained in their entirety as a homage to all those who worked on it (not including code which will undoubtably be used regardless!)

Below is a link to the Colonisation forums on StrategyCore and I would advise a quick flick through some of the active topics there to get an idea of what we're up to at the moment. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read this and I look forward to all of your thoughts!

All the best, Tim

Colonisation

#3 Mad

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 03:19 PM

Hi Tim!

What you two are proposing sounds very interesting in my ears. The only concearn I have, and I will be completely honest with you on this one, is that I fear a lot of work by CTD and AWD will go down the drain on this merge. I think it would be a shame to loose the Identity of Xenocide or Colonisation over a merge. However, I do see a common groun don the backstory, so if integrated carefully this could really pan out very well.
So if we all can agree that neither of the projects will be canibalized, I think we sould give this a try.
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#4 Munty

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 03:43 PM

Thanks Mad for your support. I'm sure both David and I are thinking the same thing about losing any of the work that has already been done as it would be both a shame and a waste to discard perfectly good work! But then this is a merger and not an assimilation so we would be looking to reuse as much material as possible. Primarily we've discussed the programming side of things so far which as I already said will be kept almost in it's entirety I imagine but we need to discuss in more detail what design elements have been completed for Xenocdie (as I already know what we have for Colonisation!) Then we can do the best possible job of saving what already exists and integrating everything into the one project.

Regarding the departments that have worked on Xenocide in the past, we are still looking for additional team members for the continued development of this game regardless of what direction it takes and I should stress that it's not only the code and resources that we want to merge but also any team members who are still committed to completing this game as well.

#5 kafros

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 04:34 PM

Nice post, interesting ideas! Thanks for sharing Munty :)

My input:
1) In any merger, work is going to get lost, period. As you said, we can try and salvage as much as we can
1.B) Which, I think is not really possible. This part of your post frightened me a bit:

Colonisation is intended as an additional chapter in the official XCom timeline by creating a distant prequel to the original series on earth and attempting to answer a lot of the questions that the other games leave us asking. We will experience an alien genesis and the first war the ethereal race and it's allies will ever participate in whilst leading our heroes to victory in time-honoured XCom style.

DISTANT prequel? In Xenocide, the whole universe concers an era after 2010.
1.c) In addition,

2) dteviot is a very talented individual, and kept this project going for the last years (I thank him greatly). Your team too seems talented, I've read about your project in the strategycore forums, some years ago. And, in order for a project of this magnitude to survive (and to prosper!), a fairly large team needs to be assembled. A merger would definitely provide the people and talent needed for such an endeavor.
2.a) Because, we can't kid ourselves, the main limitation of UFO projects is code-related. Thus, a merger would prove useful, helping you guys focus on the difficult tasks that need solving.

Conclusion:
I believe that such a merger would change (I don't want to use the word "spoil") the individual character of both projects, but it would definitely be easier to complete the new project, and then add any material that the team finds fit.
I'll definitely be happy to work with you guys :).

Concerning the xenocide assets, I believe a lot of music material would be a nice addition to the new project.
In addition, most of Shinzon's art is top class, and it would be really sad to go to waste.

Just don't let that WONDERFUL, HEAVENLY Laser Rifle go to waste <3 <3 <3. (or the research facility :O)

That's it more or less, I'm feeling a bit tired now, so I guess I'll have to post again at a later time.

And, of course, no offense was meant (in case Ι get misunderstood, it'll probably be bad expression of my thoughts).

#6 PezzA

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:02 PM

I'm sure no wants a UFO:Forever type situation! I'm a newcomer to PX, and have had made only a small contribution, but I would agree that pooling of resources is a sensible and reasonable proposition given that fan-projects benefit from a critical mass of participation/volunteered time.

My only query, and it's a minor one, is how a prequel fits with the technology/time-line and game play, and how that can be reconciled with the PX creative elements.

#7 Munty

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 05:33 PM

Thanks again for more feedback guys! It's appreciated as always!

Regarding Kafros' major concern and also covering PezzA's query over the time at which colonisation is set we must address the fact that while Xenocide and Colonisation are very similar games inspired by the same series, Colonisation is attempting to actually integrate directly into the XCom series by creating an additional chapter to go hand in hand with all previous titles. Obviously I can't say too much but rest assured the homework has been done!

Regarding technology and such you need to treat this as essentially a different planet and race to earth and the humans of the original games but essentially we're looking at the same biology and similar (if not advanced) technology levels to those experienced in the original XCom titles. To be honest I can't really explain the reasons for this without going into immense detail and taking this thread totally off-topic but the major difference we have between colonisation and Xenocide is the story due to the fact one tries to tie into the original franchise and the other is essentially an alternate timeline.

You just need to know that what we have planned falls inside all the legal boundaries and doesn't touch anything that is owned and likely to get us sued for money we don't have! I only say this as I can see it being the next logical question!

Regarding the re-use of material I totally agree with Kafros even regarding the individual items he's referencing. The base facility images done so far are really nice and will certainly have a place and the weaponry that already exists is beautiful too! We'll be having the Ethereals play a big part in this game too so the nice cloaked models here would work brilliantly for that.

I think the best way to pay homag to Xenocide as a project and as a team would be the inclusion of key references like the name of the defence force or even the name Xenocide itself to provide a permanent undeniable reference to to the game itself.

I won't go on anymore here as this is a place for your opinions and not necessarily mine but thanks for the feedback and please keep it coming. It's all fairly positive so far!

#8 kafros

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 06:06 PM

Btw, have you talked to the guys over at Quasar - Intro Theory? I think they also worked on XNA. Maybe they too are interested in joining.

And, some more questions if you don't mind:
Have you worked the whole storyline, or are there things to improve? In other words, will there be any work for us Creative Text writers? :P
If we can manage the alternative timeline theory, then we probably shouldn't meet any issues with the whole theme. Will further information be shared only after the merge is completed?
And last, will the new project be influenced by UFO:ET?

Thanks again :)

Edited by kafros, 26 November 2009 - 06:10 PM.


#9 dteviot

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 06:25 PM

I'm going to add that I'm not concerned about Xenocide CTD and Art being lost. The reason being, Xenocide was designed to be easily modified, all the data is stored in XML files (or other) files that are loaded at start time. Thus, joining with colonisation means we have one team working on the game engine core. Then to play Xenocide instead of Colonisation, we just swap the data files. Where things might become a bit more difficult is if the games decide to have different features. (e.g. and purely hypothetically, Xenocide wants a real time battlescape, and Colonisation wants turn based). In which case we would probably need to build a "plug-in" design that supported both.
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#10 gu35s

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 08:37 PM

I for one do not like the idea of losing Xenocide. It has a different feel to it as to the original and therefore would lose a lot in the merger. However, I agree that a merger would benefit both sides. If switches is as easily done as dteviot said, then it wouldn't be much of a problem other than when the merger happens, and if most of Xenocide team are in, then there would be barely anyone to work on Xenocide's artwork at all. So maybe in the merger, Xenocide would be lost after all. What if Colonisation becomes a secondary skin to Xenocide? or vice versa? I do not know much about how this can be done but I suppose I would like to see Xenocide up and running with all the nice artworks it already accumulated rather than a rework. I don't know what I m saying anymore. I m off to dreamland. cheers.
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#11 Munty

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 02:54 AM

Kafros thanks for the suggestion, maybe they can be the next group we speak with!

As far as the storyline and creative text goes we've got the majority of the physical content complete but to be honest a lot of it was done by me personally and quite a few years ago so a rewrite is something I've been considering to help it read better and there are some aspects of the concept itself that also need working on. As you said Kafros, I won't be sharing the ins and outs of the plot with just anyone but everyone who joins the team in any capacity will have access to such resources.

The project won't be affected by ET because the nature of that game (although a much closer game to the original XComs) is still a spiritual successor in that it disrupts the storyline of the original games by having us lose the first war. Therefore none of the other titles could take place as earth has been overthrown!

In response to gu35s you seem to be suggesting the same thing as David has already mentioned just above you so by the sounds of it you can still have your pure version of Xenocide even if the merger completes! I do sympathise though and the reason we're taking the time to see what the community thinks is that you guys deserve to have your say. This isn't a sellout or a hostile takeover, rather it is an attempt for both of our projects to be able to work together to reach our goal quicker than we would alone.

Again thanks for the feedback and unfortunately I'm going to have to go awol now for the weekend which as has been the norm for me this week is absolutely awful timing with all of this going on! Unfortunately my partner and I have had plans for some months as to this weekend and thee most likely won't be the chance for me to log in and respond to anymore queries until Sunday!

Feel free to take this time to read through any information we have on strategycore or just ask yourself what result you'd like to see here! I'll be back on sunday at the latest so will pick up where I left off then! Thanks, Tim

#12 kafros

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 04:04 AM

Thanks for all the answers :), and enjoy the weekend! :D

Edited by kafros, 27 November 2009 - 04:04 AM.


#13 Loshult

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 04:54 AM

I'm all for a merge! The major thing (except real life) that has made me put Xenocide as a low priority project was the slow progress. David have really done a great job but it is hard for anyone to keep a one man show up. And the rest of us, contributing programmers, haven't been near as focused on the project.

A merge would certainly give us a kick forward and hopefully all the way to the end of a playable game, with whatever story we decide for.

#14 Darkhomb

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 12:09 PM

I agree and disagree as other have said, mainly because of loss of work. But if dteviot statement holds true then I am all for it. Lets be honest we have no true art department I can possible do 25 percent of the needed art tasks. All sound experts are gone. I'd rather see a project come to life then keep what we have and never complete it.

#15 kafros

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 02:01 PM

Indeed, exactly what Darkhomb said. UFO:AI progresses well alone. All other XCom-inspired projects need far more manpower to progress (or even to survive). That said, I'm in for the merge without any further thought.

#16 Munty

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 04:55 AM

Thanks again for more good input guys, I think it's sounding like fairly positive feedback this far so maybe David and I should try to get together and discuss what we can use and reuse from each project and if we think a plug in for the final game is possible to release Xenocide as a fully player skin as well. That certainly sounds like a very good 'you scratch my back I scratch yours' solution and there's no reason why I wouldn't be happy to take that extra time in production to achieve this goal as well as our own.

That aside any for of merger is going to see drastically increased productivity across the board and if we can draw members of Xenocide like Loshult back into the fray once we join then we have an even better chance of accomplishing what we all originally set out to do! Same goes to Darkhomb for artwork and Kafros in the CTD. I'd love a chance to expand on the team we already have and work with all of you in the near future so please keep this thread full of your thoughts on a merger but I feel that it's noe time for David and I to begin discussing the logistical aspects of a possible merger.

Whatever is discussed we'll keep you fully updated about it here! Thanks again for all your feedback so far, Tim

#17 dteviot

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 12:34 PM

Progress update, such as it is.
Discussions are still ongoing, and nothing has been decided yet.
I've asked Tim if he's OK with me posting our e-mails to this forum, so that you can all see where we're at.
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#18 dteviot

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 01:25 PM

My e-mail to Tim, 1st December

Sorry this is short, but I?m pressed for time, so here goes.

Let?s assume plan is to get colonisation working, using the existing Xenocide code as a starting point. And putting aside the existing other Xenocide assets (for the moement.)
So, the question is, where does your team want to go? I see several possibilities.
1. Continue using the existing XNA and C# code base.
2. Keep the existing C# engine, but swap out XNA with Axiom or some other multiplatform C# engine. There are two reasons we might wish to do this. Firstly, it would allow your Linux (Andrew?) developer to participate. Second, the existing Cegu# library we?re using for the UI is, to put it bluntly, crude. We would want to select a framework that has a better UI library.
3. Use the existing C# as a model for how to implement, and write the whole thing in a different language and framework. E.g. C++.

Assume we take option 1. What is the state of Xenocide.
Well, the non-battlescape stuff is basically working. The underlying engine/code is there for nearly everything. There?s a UI that works, but needs a lot of effort to make it look nice.

As regards the battlescape, a lot of work is needed.
Firstly, there?s what I think of as the ?terrain engine?, although possibly it should be called the map or environment engine. As I see it, the ?terrain engine? has the following jobs.
1. Building the battlescape terrain/environment. That is, the ground, the buildings, walls, floors, and obstacles (trees, shrubs, furniture, shelves, packing crates, etc.) That is pretty much everything on the battlescape except the combatants (and the screaming/fleeing civilians.)
2. Handing line of sight, line of fire and pathfinding calculations.
3. Handling changes to the battlescape, due to damage.
4. Rendering the battlescape on the display.

Note, a problem we currently have is providing ?raw data? to create the battlescape. Currently we have a number of 3D models of the various base facilities. Which we can actually render on the battlescape. However, they?re just 3D models, so they?re rendered much like the alien or soldier models. But the terrain engine has no way to use these as data for any of the points above.

Obviously, if we used an existing engine, e.g. Ogre, Irrlicht, Source, Quake2 or 3, or Unreal, we?d get an engine that?s capable of those tasks. The problem is, all of them are BSP tree based, and none of them handle a fully destructible battlescape. (That said, it may be possible to modify them to be dynamic BSP trees.) Cube2 on the other hand, will handle destructible.

Note, in addition to rendering the battlescape, there?s also rendering the combatants on the terrain. This is a slightly different problem, and boils down to rendering 3D models. Doing that, it?s a case of what format are the models in? and what code can we get/write to render the models? (More on this later.) Note, in theory we could use a Quake 2 engine for the terrain and an MD5 (Quake4 engine) for rendering the models. Or cube for the terrain and whatever source is for the models.

If we want to use Xenocide assets, first thing we need to do is inventory the assets. What do we have, and what state are they in?
e.g. Mesh, Textured, Rigged, Animated? Do we have the original source? What target versions can we convert them into?
What do we have for Colonisation.

Back to Battlescape. As well as the ?terrain engine?, there?s also the ?game engine? which applies the actual turn based rules. The basic logic for this can be found at: http://svn.projectxe.....e machine.png I?ve started to build this for Xenocide (and it does appear to work.)
Note, I?ve also got ideas on how a Real Time engine would work. Turns out, it?s not THAT much different.

Anyway, I?m out of time and need to go.
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#19 dteviot

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 01:26 PM

Tim's response.

Hi David sorry I took a while to get back to you but thought it best to discuss the majority of your points here with my Devs before just replying with a load of nonsense that makes sense in my mind!!!
I'm a little concerned about how communication may work if you aren't going to be using msn and only have good internet at work as I'm not sure how we'll be able to discuss things concisely without sending emails constantly back and forth so maybe you can let me know what you usually use or what could be used to provide us with some form of instant or at least near-instant chat feature! We need to be able to get hold of each other as easily as possible and although everyone has their jobs and commitments we at least need to be able to get together as a team once a week to see how everyone is progressing.

I think the best way to progress would be the way you mentioned, just getting Colonisation working using the work you and the Xenocide team has already produced. That said how to treat the other assets from Xenocide will depend on how we intend to complete it's production once the engine is in place. For example if we want to create a plug-in or mod for Colonisation or even create two separate games in the long run (which would be better at providing Xenocide as a unique game than a mod) then we can't reuse any of the assets in Colonisation regardless. If we plan to take on certain aspects of Xenocide in the making of Colonisation however obviously they would be unusable for Xenocide as a seperate game or mod without causing queries of ownership between the individual games. While I don't see this as a problem and am happy to progress down either road I think both projects can quite plausibly be completed as individual games and therefore we should attempt to avoid using Xenocide assets in Colonisation unless it is decided that they will not be used in Xenocide itself at a later date.

" Use the existing C# as a model for how to implement, and write the whole thing in a different language and framework. E.g. C++"
Regarding which way we want to go I've spoken with my devs and they're still moreover fans of C++ than C# as they aren't familiar with how to program in the language you've used so far. Now in my personal opinion this seems a little counter-productive in that we would be losing a lot of work that has already been completed but there are two reasons this can be combatted as a negative opinion. Firstly the fact that my team doesn't currently work in C# means they would be essentially useless in developing under said language, secondly it gives us a chance to use the Xenocide code as a model for 'how' whilst still allowing us the freedom with starting on a blank page. We still need to discuss engines as I keep saying to you but as I already mentioned the team is currently pondering the SOURCE Engine and besides that fact engine choice will not affect the merger so I want to get that settled firstly, one way or the other!

Concerning the 'terrain engine' I understand what you're talking about but by the sounds of it this is something which still requires a lot of work so we won't be gaining or losing a lot of work in this area regardless of whether or not we merge our project resources or how we intend to complete both game builds. Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me hat we'll be starting on this aspect of the code pretty much from scratch regardless unless we use an already established engine as you mention. The problem you raise with using an engine that can already perform the above tasks though is that of destructible terrain and such but if the use of an engine gives us a benchmark to start from then it's quite possibly the best way to go!

I'll raise this as a seperate paragraph but it's still regarding engine and battlescape coding. I downloaded UFO:AI yesterday and in the install window it had a section called 'source' which suggests to me we can access the programming data from their build if it will help us with ours. Now I was very impressed with the graphical detail already in AI but I was pretty disappointed by the battlescape in that I took one turn and quit the game. It needs a lot fo refinement and they use static (pre-mapped) levels which we don't want but it's all a good start! On a simialr note I also checked out 'Quasar : Intron Theory' and it seems they have a similar goal in mind but have no team or progress to speak of so I wonder if Kafros is right in suggesting that we approach them next. As they don't seem to have much of an identity for their project it may be a simple case of assimilating the team rather than trying to add another project to our own as well which could be highly beneficial to us all!

You mentioned 'raw data' being a problem which I understand based on your explanation of them being just 3d models currently. We have a good team of 3d artists, one of whom is also switched on with basic coding skill and will be looking to learn the code we use as we progress. Based on the variety of team members we have and their understanding of so many various programmes I'm sure we could rectify this problem but I'm not the best person to tell you this which is why an instant messenger would be good for team chat. I've spoken briefly with one developer on the team whilst I'm writing this and he's convinced that he understands how we would go about implementing terrain and buildings etc. correctly whilst still ensuring they remain destructible. This really needs a group discussion involving all the devs and yourself though as will a lot of future developments. This is why it's important to find a good IM system for the team that's quicker than long drawn out emails.

The last thing you mentioned regarding the battlescape before you ran out of time was the game engine which will be responsible for carrying out the turn-based rules. Ideally I want to implement both a real-time and turn-based mode for use in our battlescape though obviously there will be no ability to switch between the two during a mission. So you can imagine I'm happy to hear you say they may not be that different! In my mind (as a non-devvy person) it strikes me as a simple allocation of TUs per second - ie. soldier x can perform yTUs worth of tasks per second. Then to become turnbased we simply decide on a turn-length and adjust the TU allowance accordingly so the formula becomes something like - soldier x can perform (yTUs multiplied by length of turn in seconds) per turn.

But then it's not my forte! It's simply another thing that needs discussing in detail by all the devs working on the project at some point. Another cry for instant-messaging!

Anyway I know you ran out of time when you put together your last email so there's probably more you want to ask but as I keep saying I can only answer so many questions regarding programming and languages. We really need to get together with my devs and discuss it in real-time.

As the main point for me right now I really want to know one way or another whether or not we can start work on pooling our resources (team wise) as a few Xenocide members showed some interest in returning to the project after a merge and I want to make it public at StrategyCore this week if it's going to happen. So please let me know what your personal thoughts are but it's my opinion that the Xenocide community is in favour of it and what we've already discussed will vastly improve the likelihood of either game ever reaching completion so I see no reason why we shouldn't have both projects work together and share 100% of their resources wherever possible. Once the battlescape and geoscape code is done for example, we can separate to our individual teams again and let the art and sound teams finish bringing the game to life while we go about adding any features that are unique to each game. I see no downside of a joint venture though so please let me know in your next email first and foremost whether we are going to go ahead with the merge.

Also let me know your thoughts on an instant messaging system as life will be incredibly difficult for us all if we can't get hold of each other a little more easily than is currently the case!
Saving the world from the scum of the universe is hard work. Especially when you have to create the scum to begin with.

#20 dteviot

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 01:29 PM

My response.

As regards communication, I?m on skype when I?m at work (david.teviotdale.pharos) but if this isn?t satisfactory, I could try setting up MSN. I should also note, that because you?re in the UK and I?m in NZ, there?s a 12 hour time difference. (Note, best time to communicate with me is usually around 7am in the morning. I?m the build master, so need to get in to check the build. If it?s OK, I?ve usually got about 30 minutes of spare time on my hands.)

I believe, strongly, that choosing C++ vs. C# is a mistake. Xenocide started out using C++. And progress was slow. After talking to one of the development teams at work that had switched to C# from C++ I suspected that C# would allow faster development.. The other Xenocide team members disagreed with me. So I started the C#/XNA version as an experiment to see if it was faster or not. (Note, I was also learning C# at the same time, I?d been a C/C++ developer until then.) End result, C# is a lot more productive than C++. (Work has shifted almost entirely to C#.) And C# isn?t hard to pick up. If you know C++, C# takes a couple of days to learn the differences. (The main gotcha in C# is the difference between value and reference types.) Delegates (C# version of function pointers) are a little tricky, but not that hard. Other than that, the syntax is almost identical. That said, if you choose to use a C++ framework (e.g. Source) then you?re pretty much locked in to C++.

As regards UFO:AI, yes, the source is freely available. (This also includes the content.) Check out http://ufoai.ninex.i...x.php/Main_Page
I?ll comment, even if you don?t like the UFO:AI?s AI, it still makes a good testbed for your own AI logic.
Also, as you say, their maps are pre-built. (That said, I find myself wondering how hard it would be to have a set of pre-built modules (like UFO:ET) and use them to build a UFORadient file which is then compiled down into a map.

?Quasar : Intron Theory?, yup, I haven?t seen much action there. Actually, a lot of them were Xenocide people, who ?moved on? after I kind of ?burnt out? around April of last year. I suggest you talk to Azreal.

 I've spoken briefly with one developer on the team whilst I'm writing this and he's convinced that he understands how we would go about implementing terrain and buildings etc. correctly whilst still ensuring they remain destructible.

I?d certainly like to know what he proposed.
Saving the world from the scum of the universe is hard work. Especially when you have to create the scum to begin with.

#21 dteviot

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 01:32 PM

Another e-mail to Tim (I seem to have misplaced Tim's e-mail that I responded to.)

To be honest, if Colonisation is going with C++ and Source, I don?t see a merge benefiting Xenocide, as you?ll be months building up the Geoscape. OTOH, if you start with the Battlescape, I?d certainly be interested, as that?s where my efforts are currently focused.

I?d also question if our teams? goals are the same. Your team look like they?re trying to make something they can sell, possibly to impress potential employers? (Who is T2G?) Xenocide is very much, non-commercial.

Bluntly, I?m reluctant to say yes or no to a merge until these questions are resolved. (And we probably need an IRC/MSN/Skype conversation with the developers.) Note, I have no control over what the other Xenocide Team members do. And if they decide to join Colonisation, I wish them well.
Saving the world from the scum of the universe is hard work. Especially when you have to create the scum to begin with.

#22 dteviot

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 01:34 PM

Tim's response (sort of)

I'm still trying to think of a way to ease your worries but wihtout some way to hold a group discussion with yourself and my devs I'm not sure how it could be done!
Saving the world from the scum of the universe is hard work. Especially when you have to create the scum to begin with.

#23 Munty

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 02:08 PM

The missing email didn't have much in it by the way of relevant information so I won't bother posting that up! And that last one from me wasn't really a response to your last email as it was part of the response I sent you saying it was ok to post our emails but that's fine as I haven't really sent you a proper response yet due to the reason listed above!

The current situation as far as I'm concerned is that we need to get together for some form of real-time discussion with myself, David and my developers to discuss the points raised in the last few emails listed above. Given a 12 hour time gap though this becomes rather difficult so this is really all we're waiting for. I'm at a stage where I'm actively delaying development now though so I won't hold off forever, I really do think msn would be a good solution and we can arrange it several days in advance!

#24 geerzo

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 11:39 AM

Has there been any further conversation about this?

My late response:
- From a "moving forward" perspective I support the idea of a bigger team.
- I agree with David, if C++ is the language of choice, there isn't much good about the merger (from a code perspective). That doesn't mean we can't share our concepts of how it was implemented though.
- How many of our developers are C++ vs C#? I know for one I'm almost useless in C++ (although given how much I've been around lately you could argue the same about c# :) )

#25 dteviot

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 01:03 PM

Has there been any further conversation about this?

My late response:
- From a "moving forward" perspective I support the idea of a bigger team.
- I agree with David, if C++ is the language of choice, there isn't much good about the merger (from a code perspective). That doesn't mean we can't share our concepts of how it was implemented though.
- How many of our developers are C++ vs C#? I know for one I'm almost useless in C++ (although given how much I've been around lately you could argue the same about c# :) )


Actually, I'm fluent in both C++ and C# (and C, and others), but I can't speak for anyone else.

Sorry for the delay in posting this up. I was expecting Tim to post this up. However, as he hasn't I am.

Hi David,
I've had plenty of time to think about everything we've discussed over the last few weeks and after much deliberation I don't think I can offer you the situation you're looking for.

I appreciate all of your input regarding language but the fact is I have a team of 4 developers who would all rather work in C++ than C# so to go against there wishes would be to shoot myself in the foot.

It is also obvious that we wish to approach our respective projects from completely different angles. Whereas you already have a completed Geoscape and want to work on the battlescape now I am more interested in seeing some quick results which we can use to further expand the team based on early successes we will experience from approaching the less code heavy aspects of the game first.

Unfortunately I imagine this means we'll be unable to work together in the way I was hoping but my invitation still remains for the other members of the Xenocide team past and present. Colonisation shares a great deal of features with Xenocide and other XCom inspired games and therefore will be utilising similar if not identical skill-sets throughout it's development as have already been showcased by the Xenocide team in numerous fields including art and creative text departments. Therefore the offer remains open for anyone wishing to join the Colonisation team to reprise their previous roles and anyone interested in doing so should contact me on this address.

Regarding source code as we have previously discussed, access to what you currently have for Xenocide would be much appreciated as a guideline for my own team to get working on the Geoscape and related aspects of the game which you've already had a great deal of success with. We won't be using your code as we're using a different language but reference to it as an example would be greatly beneficial if you're still happy to share it.

I'll give you a chance to respond to this and post it to your forum if you want before I post there myself with my final decision. I think working together would have been hugely beneficial to us all but I'm not willing to put my project in jeopardy by telling my developers to code in a language they aren't familiar with or happy using.

Best of luck with Xenocide in the future and hope to hear back from you soon,
Tim


Saving the world from the scum of the universe is hard work. Especially when you have to create the scum to begin with.

#26 geerzo

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:09 AM

Thanks David



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