Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on November 10, 2010 By Draginol In GalCiv Journals

So I’m on a sabbatical which was planned a long while ago.  Basically, it’s an opportunity for me to get back to my roots.

One of the things I’m working on during sabbatical is GalCiv II (Twilight of the Arnor).  It’ll be lots of little tweaks and improvements (AI, gameplay, balance, bug fixing).  But this is the kind of thing I enjoy but can only justify on vacation.

It seems like for the last couple of years my role has been less CEO and more fire fighter anyway. While the company I work at has grown tremendously since GalCiv II’s release, my ability to work on the things I enjoy has diminished.  Ironically, what I’m best at is running a business which, if you think about it, is a lot like playing a strategy game. Perhaps I owe everything to Sid Meijer after all. 

I’m going through the posts I made previously to see which things I can nail the easiest.  Stay tuned.


Comments (Page 2)
on Nov 12, 2010

While I would personally love to see this because I'd enjoy making some of the tweaks I listed in my other thread, I can't see how it would be in Starbase's financial interests.  Most open-source software companies work because companies will still pay them for a support contract on business software, but how many people would buy a game when it's downloadable for free off the net?  Some, perhaps.  But probably not enough to fund a gaming company.

Even when GC2 reaches end of life, releasing it as open source would set it up as a potential competitor to GC3, whenever it gets made.

on Nov 12, 2010

Well, open sourcing GalCiv II's engine only doesnt make GalCiV II a free game to download.  Only the source that compiles to the libraries and support running code would be open sourced.   The game's content would still have to be purchased online as a normal purchased copy like it is now.  On the purchasing/consumer part, it would be exactly the same.   It would actually be in Stardock's financial interests, since fans like you would start their own GalCiV II support bases, keeping GalCiv II running on windows 8 when it's released, and compile friendly on .net 4.0+.  All this technical support for free.  Look at id software's example.  They open source their previous games.  People don't stop buying their new games because their older ones are open sourced. They buy their older open sourced games too.  Open Source GC2 supported by fans wouldnt be a competitor to brand new, Stardock designed, produced and tested GC3, with new tech and contnet.

on Nov 12, 2010

Ah, okay.  Open sourcing just the engine might work, although the code might not currently be architected in a way that would easily allow splitting it into engine and content, and getting it rearchitected that way might be prohibitively time-consuming.

on Nov 12, 2010

Even if marketing issues can be resolved, open sourcing still involves a fair bit of effort by StarDock. Someone has to be in the position of reviewing and accepting/rejecting/merging submissions from multiple authors. As long as StarDock still sells the game I think that this someone would have to be a StarDock employee, and one who is very familiar with the GalCiv2 code. I've done that task (coordinating development of an open-source project, selecting/testing/merging submissions, and releasing new versions.) It isn't a trivial task. And once you've started, you're pretty much committed to keeping it going, unlike the current situation where StarDock can go for long intervals with very little time spent on GalCiv2. Much as I'd love to see it happen I will understand if StarDock doesn't take this path.

on Nov 12, 2010

Elestan
Ah, okay.  Open sourcing just the engine might work, although the code might not currently be architected in a way that would easily allow splitting it into engine and content, and getting it rearchitected that way might be prohibitively time-consuming.

Well, normally game engine and library code recognizes the game's content if present, it checks whether the content in the folder is located is from a demo or from the full retail game.  The content is stored in data packs, separated from the game code itself. 

on Nov 12, 2010

SirPleb
Even if marketing issues can be resolved, open sourcing still involves a fair bit of effort by StarDock. Someone has to be in the position of reviewing and accepting/rejecting/merging submissions from multiple authors. As long as StarDock still sells the game I think that this someone would have to be a StarDock employee, and one who is very familiar with the GalCiv2 code. I've done that task (coordinating development of an open-source project, selecting/testing/merging submissions, and releasing new versions.) It isn't a trivial task. And once you've started, you're pretty much committed to keeping it going, unlike the current situation where StarDock can go for long intervals with very little time spent on GalCiv2. Much as I'd love to see it happen I will understand if StarDock doesn't take this path.

Well, that task would be done by members of the GC2 fanbase, under an open source GC2 fan engine effort. It wouldn't be maintained by Stardock. All support to such open source GC2 engine would be done by the team, not by Stardock.  Maybe some collaboration could be established between a Stardock employee very acquainted with GC2's codebase too.

on Nov 12, 2010

coreimpulse

Well, that task would be done by members of the GC2 fanbase, under an open source GC2 fan engine effort. It wouldn't be maintained by Stardock. All support to such open source GC2 engine would be done by the team, not by Stardock.  Maybe some collaboration could be established between a Stardock employee very acquainted with GC2's codebase too.

I don't see that happening. If StarDock uses the fan engine in their sold product, they'd be taking responsibilify for whatever is in it. I can't imagine them taking that responsibility without reviewing, testing, and controlling what's changed. Both for what the game does and for assuring that it doesn't contain anything malicious. And if StarDock doesn't use the fan engine in their sold product then why would they bother? They'd be pleasing just a small number of people who would replace the stock engine, and they'd introduce a possibility of incompatibility with any changes they decide to make in future. That's very little motivation for such a large shift.

on Nov 12, 2010

The way open source functions, the code would be available for anyone to see if anything malicious is added.  Stardock doesnt have to use the modified improved open source engine, they could package the original executables and libraries of the original release.  They can too take some advantage of its changes by fans to the open source engine, like modifications to compile and run on modern compilers and windows releases, without having to do that themselves.

on Nov 15, 2010

Most companies that open source their older titles do it as a fan service, a gift to the longtime fans of their older titles, which they themselves don't mantain those games' old codebase, but they still offer for sale.  For example, Stardock if they wanted they could release the full source of the first GalCiv for fans with enough skills to make GalCiv run on mac/win7/mobiles and such.  Stardock doesn't mantain or patch GalCiv I anymore, AFAIK. 

on Nov 16, 2010

I'd be happy to get some fan help on GalCiv II stuff.  

BTW, do people know for a fact that Visual Studio 2003 won't function on Windows 7 64-bit?

Right now, I'm working on Elemental AI so I haven't had a chance to install VS 2003.

on Nov 16, 2010

Frogboy
I'd be happy to get some fan help on GalCiv II stuff.

What kind of help are you looking for?

Frogboy
BTW, do people know for a fact that Visual Studio 2003 won't function on Windows 7 64-bit?

There are links in prior posts to Microsoft pages that say that VS2003 is not supported on Win7/Vista.  It might still work, kind of, mostly...but I certainly wouldn't use an unsupported compiler configuration to build a commercial product.

on Nov 16, 2010

Frogboy
I'd be happy to get some fan help on GalCiv II stuff.  

Glad to hear that.  Like Elestan said, what kind of help would you need?  This is where open sourcing previous codebases for fans to modify shows its benefits. First stuff that's done with source releases from the fans is adapt the code to run on modern compilers and windows releases,   Or maybe everything we can work with to help is in the SDK?


BTW, do people know for a fact that Visual Studio 2003 won't function on Windows 7 64-bit?

Right now, I'm working on Elemental AI so I haven't had a chance to install VS 2003.

 

It may or it may not work. It's unsupported on win7 64bit.  It may run and compile GalCiv II, but the resulting output may have errors, as you know.

 

on Nov 16, 2010

Frogboy
BTW, do people know for a fact that Visual Studio 2003 won't function on Windows 7 64-bit?

Ya, a lot of our legacy applications need to be fixed because of all the changes between vs2003 and vs2005. 

So, instead of doing that we built XP VMs....

on Nov 22, 2010

Getting Started

coreimpulse


Frogboyreply 25I'd be happy to get some fan help on GalCiv II stuff.  

Glad to hear that.  Like Elestan said, what kind of help would you need?  This is where open sourcing previous codebases for fans to modify shows its benefits. First stuff that's done with source releases from the fans is adapt the code to run on modern compilers and windows releases,   Or maybe everything we can work with to help is in the SDK?

BTW, do people know for a fact that Visual Studio 2003 won't function on Windows 7 64-bit?Right now, I'm working on Elemental AI so I haven't had a chance to install VS 2003.

 
It may or it may not work. It's unsupported on win7 64bit.  It may run and compile GalCiv II, but the resulting output may have errors, as you know.
 

I don't think that is likely, IMO.

on Nov 22, 2010

I liked my GalCivII.  Diplomacy was a lot better than sid meyer's stuff.  I can't wait until it's an RTS.