The future of the game.

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The future of the game.

Post by science on Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:40 am

It would seem that the future of the game is in doubt. (Yes, I'm being diplomatic, by all means correct me if I'm wrong)

If they are getting out of dodge, perhaps they could consider selling the code to the community. Whether the amount we could collectively raise would be sufficient to make it worth their while is hard to say, but there is precedent for this kind of thing. Years back, Blender the flagship open source 3D tool was sold to the community for 100k euros (according to the wiki). I believe that a target was set and then people made donations that would be returned if the figure was not raised in time. (much like kickstarter now).

I'd guesstimate that the game has a sufficiently small audience that even if it were opened up for public development and made available for free (client and server) that it wouldn't compete with their future products to any degree. So, aside from any licensing complications (which, given prior disclosure could be worked around by omitting problem code or libs for replacement by open alternatives) they don't have much to lose in the effort.

Just thought I'd float the idea.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Belshirash on Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:05 am

MB as an community-driven open source project would be a really great thing. I mentioned that possibility already when I wrote to uberent, but until now, they still didn't answer. They seem pretty ignorant to me. Not even one sentence.

They main problem with making MB open source would probably be the graphics engine. Maybe the make the game itself fre, because it's probably already dead for them, but if they use the graphics engine in other games, they surely want it to stay under their control.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by the-anger on Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:58 am

the graphics engine isn't anything special, it can be re-created easily enough as far as graphics engines go.

fmod (sound) is licensed. bass is a similar library which last i checked is less restricted and almost as capable.

network code is, as we have all seen, ok with much room for improvement.

the biggest hurdle i see is the content - it is in a proprietary format, and knowing software companies, they tend not to just give the keys to those away without good reason to... i figure they will be re-using it since it stores the model, texture and collision data.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by longshot on Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:59 am

Belshirash wrote:They main problem with making MB open source would probably be the graphics engine.

Actually if the code is open source, the main problem would be people hacking their own client builds to include auto-aiming cheats. A select group of devs working on it voluntarily & releasing builds for free, but keeping the source under wraps, would be a much better idea.

All of this is of course academic until IMBA communicate with us (preferably with a "sorry we didn't tell you we were on holidays, here's a lovely new update to make amends" message), or alternately the servers stop working in which case I'll be playing Planetside 2. Hopefully whatever happens, we keep some semblance of the MB community alive - I've made many friends through this game, would be a shame to lose touch with everyone.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Loki on Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:15 am

Planetside 2 does look interesting...

I, too, am interested in maintaining contact with people I met here.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by science on Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:40 pm

Opening the code has two main drawbacks, as you mentioned, it would be easier to write
hacks with access to the code. You also risk people forking the code which could dilute the community.

However, the lack of source code never stopped the hackers before and the methods used
to mitigate the problem of hacking can be applied to the same degree with (limited) success
in either case. If nothing else, private servers would go some way to hindering hackers
and people could run/use public servers for recruiting purposes.

A fork isn't necessarily a negative outcome either since people could take the code in any
direction they like and run their own servers. People would play on the ones they wanted
to play on and poorly implemented or under subscribed forks would wither and die. Forks
can be and often are subsequently merged too. The addition of a modding system could
resolve a lot of problems without requiring the project to be forked.

With a free but closed approach, you are asking the community to buy code that they won't then own so it can be given to an arbitrary group of interested parties to do with as they like.. I'm not seeing value for money there. Who would own the code? Who would lead the project? How would disputes be resolved if they turn out to be a witless maniac? We'd be at the mercy of the development team with no guarantees and no recourse if it goes wrong.

It's not something I'd be interested in so you'd lose my donation and my contributions. /shrug

You are right that we won't be able to have a frank discussion with them until they officially
announce what they plan to do with the game. But while the shop is making money over and
above the costs of running the servers, we are unlikely to get any confirmation ahead of time
as that would jeopardize that revenue.

Even then the answer is probably "no". Smile
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Thuufir on Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:05 am

Yeah a clear NO would be much better than TimeOuts for some months ...

no communication = no negotiation .... Neutral

do we have blender artists and unity3D programmer here ???
i would join a fanmade-project !
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Loki on Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:48 am

This topic has been moved to Moon Breakers Outlook. The shadow topic will be deleted in a few days.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Xron on Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:24 am

I'm a bit of a 3D artist, big fan of the making the kind of stuff in moon breakers. Problem is they use 3Dmax which is a hyper expensive autodesk application. I wish it was as simple as "convert the models to blender" but it never is.
If Wj snuck us some software licenses I'd be all for it.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by longshot on Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:47 am

Psst, you can download a free copy of 3DS Max from autodesk.com by saying you're a student.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Xron on Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:58 am

Nah, it forces a watermark and bung file outputs if you do that.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by longshot on Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:30 am

Not in my experience.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Xron on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:46 pm

Hmm... have to look into it then.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Xron on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:47 pm

I presumed because that's what maya does, their in the same company afterall.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by science on Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:01 am

I've lost interest in the game as it stands. The premium ships just facilitate cowardly veterans
to the general detriment of both the new players and the overall quality of the gameplay.
(I played a game yesterday against I think it was five A-80s and two FH-250s. I'm not sure what
you'd call it but skill wasn't a factor and fun didn't get a look in either)

I'll keep an eye on the forums though, and I'd be interested in helping out with a community project (code, graphics or sound).

/tiphat
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Lord Static on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:26 pm

I would venture to suggest UDK as a possible substitute for developing a Moon Breakers replacement, if you will. Where the community would have to then look to solve is of course server space, and writing the backend server software to manage the network calls. Part of why MB had so many issues with that, is they licences that from their parent company, so they didn't even have control to be able to adjust a simple SQL Database structure without putting in a troublecall back to HQ. Using premade support systems, take for example Kinvey for mobile apps, has an advantage of quick adaptability and can get you up and running, but not fine tuned exactly to your needs in comparison to if you did it yourself. Its been a few years since (12) since I wrote a server but it isn't an easy task however. Lot of pros and cons to weigh out. Maybe tweek an existing open source one, though I don't keep up much with whats available in that realm.

That being said, I would outline the following as goals needing to met by the community if there was serious desire to make/remake/or continue the MB game, and IMBA is not willing to release the source to the community. (which is doubtful, since I am betting the engine is owned by the parent company, and they were merely licencing it, and will have to give it back up.)

* A group of people who will handle 3D Design
This will require 3D Design software. I won't tell you how to get this, be creative, or rich. You could build things in UDK, but it is clunky and lengthy to craft objects from scratch that way. Plus design and programming should be separate to facilitate rapid development.

* Artists
This is fairly similar to above, community pitches in for the graphics of the work, and models, and website, etc.

* A mutually agreed on premade engine. I suggest UDK.
Anyone can download it, play with it, submit ideas to the community, etc. Building new levels, code, features, would be very easy that way also. Additionally, as long as it doesn't generate revenue, it is free to use.

* Writers
Story. Story, Story, Background, Story. Everyone get nuts with it.

* Server Box
This is the actual physical server the would house the software and SQL Database that would backend the entire thing. Commercially, this can be about 150$/month, usually prepay a year up front on average. There is of course great variety in this regards, such as someone willing to donate their machine and own connection, sliding scale services like Kinvey, and cheaper or more expensive options, or some specialized for game servers already. I'm just speaking off the cuff here with that rough number.

* Server software
This is tricky part that I talked about above. We would need a solution for this before moving forward I feel. Either writing one or finding one that syncs with whatever engine we use.

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re:Hacks and Forks.

Post by Lord Static on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:35 pm

science wrote:Opening the code has two main drawbacks, as you mentioned, it would be easier to write
hacks with access to the code. You also risk people forking the code which could dilute the community.

Hacks: There is an old axiom in Cryptography that security through obscurity is merely the illusion of security. Code should be written well enough that someone could have all of your notes, schematics, source material, etc, and still not be able to crack the code. It is a good rule of thumb for programming in general.

Forking: I don't see this is a major issue because it takes quite a bit of overhead to run and MMO unless it is a splinter group large enough to pool money together to generate the resources to setup shop for it, or have access to them. I think this is a statistical unlikelihood. There are plenty of game development engines already people could be using to make a million MB knockoffs, but don't. People prefer to spend time playing games they enjoy, rather then developing them. Even those who do develop games, when they aren't developing their game, they aren't exactly interesting in going out and developing someone else's. Possible, but unlikely.

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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Lord Static on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:40 pm

http://www.unrealengine.com/en/

I encourage everyone to take a look at that, and give that due consideration, and possibly considering downloading and messing around it. I've done some work with it before as a hobbyist, but have yet to put it through the ringer. Obviously plenty of others have. It would more then easily handle a MB Remake/MB2.

I think the main thing then would be to develop a system of uploading content for review by the community, where peoplecould download and test your content, then have it tested on a test server for a while, before voted into the Canon.

Going back to what I wrote previously about Hacks and Forks, another key thing here is going to be more then merely code and models, it is going to be the theme and feel of things that keeps it alive, and unique. Preserving that Canon is going to be vital to see any longevity of the game. Story, History, consistent design, style, and theme would be vital.

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Server

Post by Lord Static on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:57 pm

Checking into it, UDK comes with stock server software. I can only assume that quality for it is good or it wouldn't be released for such mass commercial use. I do have an old 1U Rack here collecting dust, its not very powerful, but you dont always need something with heavy processing power for server software, as much as you do good quality (ECC) Ram. In this case, low profile as well. Anyways, Ill check the requirements of the UDK server, and see if it would meet those, and if not, I have a couple hex core Opterons that just need a dual-processor mb, and could maybe get something going.

This is great pie in the sky ideas, because I don't know to what extent I would be able to run that off of my private internet connection before having to shift over to more expensive options, vice just starting with a commercial low cost server. Anyways, might be an option though for an initial test platform however.

That being said, while there is some vague appeal to dabbling in the code for it, under no circumstances would I have a design to be involved in the art/design/or modelling or anything for it. I have enough on my table already with so many other projects, and I would be squeezing this one if I did, so it would definitely take substantial show of strength of community effort to make happen. Additionally, anyone else willing to jump in the code would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Loki on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:51 pm

If you're volunteering a test server, we'll add it to the list of resources.
the-anger has a server located in Europe. We could use another one in the Americas if you think it's up to the task.

Did you want me to add you to the MoonFix group?
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Xron on Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:41 am

I'm in, I can do some 3D stuff and artistry. If we could get hold of the old models that would be boss.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by longshot on Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:46 am

They can be gotten hold of Xron - but I seriously doubt there's any way they could be used legally.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Xron on Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:48 am

I have a hard time believing anyone would ever give a shite about them but I see your point none the less.
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by Loki on Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:41 am

Xron, I've added you to the Moonfix group and marked you down for "3D stuff and artistry."
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Re: The future of the game.

Post by alr on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:16 am

so i join up a few months ago. maybe more, and come back to this. So much potential wasted. :/ was fun to jump on and have a few skirmishes, but i have always though the content was lacking so much, and all i see now is that MB has been abandoned.
This makes me a sad panda.

- [S̸K̶]͏͜ ͠a͘͜ ̴́ĺ͘͢ ͞r
^ lol

If only the X series had have opened that game up to MP. I might have seen you all there.
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Re: The future of the game.

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