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Thread: Passing the torch A revitalized Clash team?

  1. #1
    Mark_Everson
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    Exclamation Passing the torch A revitalized Clash team?

    Hi All. You may possibly have noticed that things have been pretty dead around here for a bit. . . The old Clash team members have all moved on to other pursuits. For me, the time came when I just needed a lot more time for RL, and also more of a chance to Play games rather than design them.

    Clash, as it exists now, has tens of thousands of lines of code, and a Lot of novel features that you dont see much in games produced by the industry. I wont jump on that soap-box here because overviews of the unique stuff in Clash is easily available on the web site and in overview threads here on the forum.

    I still get emails from people willing to work on Clash, but never enough at the same time to jump-start the project back to life. I decided to start this thread so that people that are interested in moving Clash forward could post here, and find out how a new team could be constructed. Another possibility would be to put the current codebase on sourceforge and see if that can get more people involved. The teams previous agreement didnt allow for complete open source operation although weve always been semi-open-source. I could provide a little bit of assistance in getting the project off the ground again. Laurent also was working on coding until a new job took away most of his Clash time, but he might also be willing to serve as a resource.

    If youre an interested lurker, or long-time team member who would like to re-engage, this is your place to speak up! The code base, collection of graphics, etc. are available to be turned over to a nucleus of a new team. Please include what your skills are and the amount of time that you might be able to contribute. The most important skills are coding in Java, and graphical art, but there's room for a wide variety of contributions.

    I wish you the best of luck. Id still love to play a more-developed version of Clash!

    Best of Luck!

    Mark

    PS I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the prior Clash team memebers for their work and dedication over the years. We really did a lot together!
    Last edited by Mark_Everson; September 3, 2007 at 12:20.
    Project Lead for The Clash of Civilizations
    A Unique civ-like game that will feature low micromanagement, great AI, and a Detailed Government model including internal power struggles. Demo 8 available Now! (go to D8 thread at top of forum).
    Check it out at the Clash Web Site and Forum right here at Apolyton!

  2. #2
    LDiCesare
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    I could no longer work on Clash when I changed job. I changed again, but since (almost?) noone came around during that time, I didn't post since. I have very little time available to code (what with having almost no holiday for the year to come) but I would gladly give the code I have to anyone interested. I couldalso contribute a bit, but not as much as I used to, and not if I'm alone.
    Clash of Civilization team member
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    Tellius
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    Hi,

    The concept of interacting with your people, with the various religions and beliefs they share, always seemed very interesting to me.

    Unfortunately, I suck at programming, but I did manage to do some graphical stuff on Call to Power 2, so I'm always ready to do the same for Clash. This game promises to be too interesting to quietly die.

    Greetz

    Tellius

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    alms66
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    Well, I've been swamped with RL for quite a while, but I'm certainly still interested in Clash's development and I've been checking back from time to time just in case something got started again. In fact, I need an update of the latest version of the code, so please send that to my hotmail account Mark (or Laurent) whenever you see this message.

    As for getting the project running again, I still say we need to work on grabbing people's attention again, and you do that by eye-catching visuals - just like the pro's do...
    You release screenshots showing sexy graphics and people will notice them more than they notice you talking about the game. I mean we're developing this game in 2007, but the graphics in Clash look like a game developed in 1997 - at best. People that see these new sexy screenshots will likely look into the features, which needs to be a fairly simplified bullet list, not pages and pages of models with endless fields of equations. Once you've grabbed their attention like that, they'll likely play the demo and hopefully some of the people that do that are the 'talented modder' types that are rather prevalent in the Civ community - and more than likely there will be a few who also know Java and are willing to code for Clash.

    Since the begining Clash has run under the "add new features constantly - that'll draw them in" philosophy. Now that we've got this current lull, at the very least, let's try something different...
    Two different approaches follow, though they can also be combined.

    ********************
    Option 1

    The two biggest "ugly" things about Clash right now are the graphic tiles themselves and the windows interface. The Windows interface is ugly, period. What I mean by 'the graphic tiles themselves' is that the small size of the tiles limit the artistic quality that can be attained by any artist, so they definitely need to be of a larger size. In addition, the lack of transition artwork makes the map look blocky - not sexy.

    Both problems involve some coding, but going fullscreen and building our own interfaces is more difficult and time consuming than fixing the tiles, so that should be done first (in fact, I'd put off doing our own interfaces as long as we can, but the windows look can be minimized somewhat - see next paragraph). This would require a single coder and artist at minimum, with the artist's work obviously redrawing the terrain set and creating the transition tiles while the coder's work being to put a "tilesize" block in the scenario.xml (so that we can easily change sizes later if needed, and so that different scenarios can use wildly different tilesets) and fixing the code to use it. When it comes to doing units, it would also be nice to have them animated instead of static - more of that sexy appeal.

    I had an interface proposal which outlined the design of many of Clashes windows as well as a full proposal on minimizing the windows look of Clash a little more. I don't recall if I ever did post the thing and I can't seem to find that document now unfortunately. It was a fairly detailed thing, but the point about minimizing the windows look is to get rid of all the windows except the main window and the popup windows as well as the toolbar (the menu can either go or stay). Then you draw directly to the main window and move all the needed functions to buttons around the drawing area on the main window.

    ********************
    Option 2

    Another approach I've been thinking of is perhaps pooling some money together and hiring someone to do the coding, sort of like I did with the world map. We could even make a PayPal account and allow people to donate to Clash's development. It's something to think about anyway, and I'd be willing to go along with that approach if we can get enough people together putting in on a regular basis. If you're interested in going that route, Mark/Laurent, send an email between us three and we can discuss some numbers.
    Last edited by alms66; November 8, 2007 at 19:26.

  5. #5
    alms66
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    Option 3
    Do a total conversion mod of Civ4. The game is very moddable and Clash could possibly achieve more that way since there's a more readily available workforce in the modding community.

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    LDiCesare
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    What would you start changing in Civ 4?
    Economics, ethnic groups, combat, tech, population, public works?
    Tech would look like a good candidate. Keeping research points, changing the canResearch based on amount of rp's...
    The population model would probably be harder to adapt, seeinf it's definitely discrete?
    Clash of Civilization team member
    (a civ-like game whose goal is low micromanagement and good AI)
    web site http://clash.apolyton.net/frame/index.shtml and forum here on apolyton)

  7. #7
    Mark_Everson
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    Hi All:

    On things to change in CIV. . . Civ 4 AI is much better than the prior versions thanks to Blake etc, but could certainly still use a lot of work. Any of the areas that cause micromanagement like the pop-rushing model would be other candidates to my mind.

    Best,

    Mark

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    alms66
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    Honestly, I hadn't looked into where and what to change at all, I was just throwing the idea out there as one option we could use to keep Clash going. If we're not getting enough interest here, maybe we can do so in Civ4's modding community is about as far as I'd gotten with the idea.

    The way I see it though, we can take civ4 and strip out as much of civ as possible, then use Clash's code to rebuild the game or we could decide what we believe is fundamental to Clash design and try to incorporate those designs into the civ4 game. To put it another way, we can try to use as little of civ as possible or we can try to use as much of civ as possible. Once we'd decide which of those approaches to take, then we could decide where to start with this.

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    yellowdaddy
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    RL and that

    Yes, I've been thoroughly drowned in real life since my course (electronics) got rather intense, and the birth of my second son not that long ago!!!

    Still, I've learnt C, and I'm due to get into JAVA soon as part of my course.
    Dunno if I'll ever have enough time to do anything, but never say never!
    I promise to check the progress at least once a year anyway!
    click below for work in progress Clash graphics...
    clicaibh sios airson tairgnain neo-chriochnaichte dhe Clash...
    http://jackmcneill.tripod.com/

  10. #10
    LDiCesare
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    It been almost a year since last post in this forum...
    I've checked the demo again and found it was fun, has great features, some bugs and is ugly.
    Being what I am, I'd start looking into the bugs first, seeing that some of them stem from the military model, I'd probably scratch it totally and replace it with something else. I'd also try to make interface less clumsy. Right now it's very inconsistent from one window to the next whether you need to hit a Confirm button, too much stuff is just entered by clicking Enter with no confirmation/undoing. Save/load is also still severely lacking.
    I'm still quite happy with the artwork, but changing/customising tilesize couldn't hurt. It would certainly be possible to change the fixed 80x60 tilesize to something customisable in xml quite easily. It would be much better if that could be zoomed in/out, however. Blending at the edges is another issue, which requires more coding and much more artwork.
    I've got little if any idea whether using 3D would be useful or harmful in terms of getting nicer terrain. I think the one thing 3D would provide is easy zooming. Otherwise, keeping the camera fixed I'd keep the rest as it is, although tiles could be textured squares/diamonds. Only did 3D in C++ and python though. I don't know java3D. It's a scenegraph, which looks good. OTOH, Ogre is nice too and Ogre4j exists. Still, I only really want to texture the terrain and place 2D unit graphics (billboards) on top, so I probably don't need much.
    So:
    Redoing the user interface in order for it to be more consistent, then more beautiful (less ugly actually), and maybe even texture it somehow.
    Changing some of the models so the game doesn't crash (something in the military/riots/social - all my fault).
    Checking if tiles can be made better by opening tilesize through xml or using 3d and textures. Might even do hills/mountains in 3d, that's quite easy to do programmatically in ogre but flat units on top may look weird.
    Save/load.

    I could also create a windows installer using nsis with some shortcuts which would make life slightly easier for modding.

    I'm not committing to actually do anything yet, just thinking about what I could/would do.
    Clash of Civilization team member
    (a civ-like game whose goal is low micromanagement and good AI)
    web site http://clash.apolyton.net/frame/index.shtml and forum here on apolyton)

  11. #11
    notyoueither
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    LDiCesare, that would be cool.

    I'd like to check on where you folks got to.
    Last edited by notyoueither; May 8, 2009 at 18:09.
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    TCO
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    Kill it.

  13. #13
    Petrell
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    LDiCesare, if you decide to continue the project all I can wish is good luck and hope for the best. Just don't overdo it. CoC was interesting but ultimately over ambitious (to say the least) from the start. I enjoyed following the development and even enjoyed the demos so I would certainly follow any further development.
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    alms66
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    I haven't had my civ-fix since I switched from Windows as my main OS to Ubuntu Linux. I decided to start up the Windows drive a few weeks ago, install and play civ4 for a bit. It got me fired up about civving again, but the annoying flaws of the Civilization series were apparent as always and quickly ended the fun for me, though I still managed to get about half way through the game before quitting. That's better than usual for me.
    That brought me to go download the 8.1 Clash demo again and play it for the past two weeks. Man that really got my civ-juices going again - it even made me come post here the other day. I can't wait to play a full version of Clash one day.

    To that end, I'm jumping back in.

    My plan is to first develop a set of new scenarios. I'm just too sick of the other ones to play-test them any longer, sorry, but I've played through them too many times. I want to see every scenario stripped out for the next demo and replaced with:

    Tutorial (a new overview tutorial scenario, I really can't take playing Dawn one more time)
    Fresh Start (It'll be as close a simulation of what the random game would be like as we can manage in the demo's current state. There will actually be multiple ones, maybe five at most, all practically the same except with different maps)

    I don't really see a need for any other scenarios besides that anymore. Perhaps that alone will be released as 8.1.1 or 8.2. The goal is to have a tester play the tutorial once, maybe twice to learn all he needs to know to play Clash. Yes, that will make it a very long scenario, and saving will be needed more than ever. Then he can play all the Fresh Start scenarios as he likes to get a feel for a real game. After this point, scenario development for each release should be nothing more than adding "Highlight" bulletins into the scenarios to highlight new features or changes, until we reach a point that newer scenarios are required.

    Once scenarios are done, I'll jump to the coding side. It'll take me a while to get familiar with the code base and to get used to coding again - it's been a long time since I've written a single line! I haven't gotten as far as to decide what to do at this point, but I'm leaning towards what I spoke of before, grabbing people's attention with a major graphical overhaul. Doing proper transitions, render larger tiles with more detail, fix the slowness of the drawing code somehow, stuff like that. Save files, as stated before, will also be important. Then development will switch to finishing up the models that have already been partly implemented, and finally adding in new models.

    Of course, I hope to not do it all alone, but I'll try if I have to.

  15. #15
    LDiCesare
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    alms, I'll send you the code and resources bundle when I get back home this evening. I just copied the stuff on my new computer, but I'm not sure I compiled it there, so you may have to recompile it yourself.
    Clash of Civilization team member
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    web site http://clash.apolyton.net/frame/index.shtml and forum here on apolyton)

  16. #16
    LDiCesare
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    Code and resources sent. Can you confirm if you received it? I get mailer demon error messages since I didn't receive it at my main email address (at gmail) but I think it got through to yours.
    Clash of Civilization team member
    (a civ-like game whose goal is low micromanagement and good AI)
    web site http://clash.apolyton.net/frame/index.shtml and forum here on apolyton)

  17. #17
    alms66
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    Got it. Thanks.

  18. #18
    binTravkin
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    Is it still possible to share the aforementioned development package?

    Not signing to contribute, but I have professional interest in open source games.
    -- What history has taught us is that people do not learn from history.
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