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 Post subject: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:50 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:22 pm
Posts: 118
The development work of NB and M&P are essentially being handled by a single person. That person should have access and editing privileges to their game's source code material. Companies pretend that coding is difficult (and it is all around labor intensive) but, simple programming like name and value strings are easily edited. For instance Bill should be able to reduce the HCV-LCV multipliers if he believes that combat is too deadly. McClellan should be allowed to edit out the square/block button. These are the most simple of operations that a layman could perform if they had source code access.

The code could either be securely transferred to the designer and returned for compilation, put on a github site and secured against intrusion, or the designer could carry out all the development and compilement tasks after a cursory lesson on MS Visual Studio. Then send it to the team leader for publishing (after quality control of course). There is no good excuse for flaws and bugs being assumed unfixable when games are being developed and all the infrastructure in place for software portfolio growth. Put individual make files on a github that the designer wants to edit, give me a passcode, and I'll do it without compensation (or contract agreement).

My only disclaimer is that you may talk about anything and derail this thread as much as you wish. Including calling me names and or banning me. ;]

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Lieutenant Geoff McCarty
45ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne,
2éme Brigade,
2ème Division,
1er Corps d'Armée,
La Grande Armée


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2001 12:13 am
Posts: 564
Location: USA
A few notes from my perspective. First of all, the M&P engine does give some rights to the programmer to adjust things "under the hood" though not entirely. (Melee calcs is one of the ones I don't have much access to).

But, what I was going to say is this. I actually am not the only person working on M&P. Aside from Rich White who did REN years back, there are other M&P projects that are proceeding without my exalted presence :) I can't really say who/what, but it's certainly the case.

Which actually does create some headaches, and I still have some lingering fear that when the next REN patch comes out, something there will be broken by updates from SYW. Whatever comes out next will have its own issues and perspectives. (For instance, this game engine also covers the era of caracole and mixed pike/shot units.)

I'm happy when John puts more things in areas I can work in directly like the pdt file, but I have little interest in actually coding the game. More importantly, I have little ability to do so. I've got a BA in History and a Masters of Divinity in my pocket, but my only programming classes were back in the 80's in BASIC and UCSD Pascal.

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Feldmarschall Freiherr Gary McClellan
IR44
Portner Grenadier Battalion
Austrian Army

Scenario Designer:
JTS Midway
JTS Seven Years War


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:33 pm 
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Posts: 564
Location: USA
A bit more, and this is M&P specific. The NAP setup is somewhat different.

John's always been extremely good about keeping his games up to date. After a new NAP game comes out with engine enhancements, Eckmuhl (the very first game) gets patched with those enhancements. The plan is to do the same with M&P.

That said, that creates a bit of a headache. Where Bill Peters, Charlie Cutshall, Rich White and Rich Hamilton all had a bit different views on what's important and what needs to be focused on in the NAP series, the situation is far more complex with M&P. The NAP engine is ultimately focusing on one style of warfare. A style that evolved from 1796-1815 to be sure, but still a fairly discrete thing.

M&P is looking at a 200 year period from REN to SYW, and the evolution is extremely deep. In the REN era, many troops are armed with melee weapons, gunpowder weapons are slow and an absolute liability in melee, and you've got varieties of archers running around to boot. By the time of SYW, you've got the musket based units of linear warfare. Yet, the same engine covers both.

One way we've worked with that is to shift more and more into the pdt file. For instance, the hardcoded column melee bonus from NAP is now user defined. If Rich W needs a fairly stout bonus, he can do that. I needed a crippling penalty, and I have that. To do that, we've made requests of John on specific points, with a rationale of what we want and why.

You might argue that it might be better to "fracture" the series, so I can focus on linear issues while Rich focuses on swords and bows, but that would get rid of the long term updates. There's a fine line in there, and Rich has been around from the beginning of the SYW process with his input.

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Feldmarschall Freiherr Gary McClellan
IR44
Portner Grenadier Battalion
Austrian Army

Scenario Designer:
JTS Midway
JTS Seven Years War


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:22 pm
Posts: 118
What's with you guys being theologians? It would probably take you a week to familiarise yourself with the source code before you can confidently even 'comment out' a button class. Dunno how compacted the executables are but, they're only like 600k unicode characters to search through (only 400 pages!). I know you look at the interface and that block button is teasing you. It's laughing at you Gary. Kill it!

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Lieutenant Geoff McCarty
45ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne,
2éme Brigade,
2ème Division,
1er Corps d'Armée,
La Grande Armée


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:35 pm 
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Actually, that button is the least of my worries. I'd tuned it out in testing so thoroughly that I was surprised when the Wargamer.com reviewer griped about it.

If I were to make a priority list, it would be pretty much at the bottom of that list.

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Feldmarschall Freiherr Gary McClellan
IR44
Portner Grenadier Battalion
Austrian Army

Scenario Designer:
JTS Midway
JTS Seven Years War


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:54 pm 
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Posts: 118
Just to derail my own thread... You want money? Chinese Wars of the Three Kingdoms in Han script ;] Guaranteed million dollars if JTS sets up a paypal retail account. They love turn based tactics and have a massive software market that we hardly touch.

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Lieutenant Geoff McCarty
45ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne,
2éme Brigade,
2ème Division,
1er Corps d'Armée,
La Grande Armée


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 5:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:18 am
Posts: 5468
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Sorry - that was not the agreement I signed when I started working with John Tiller. And I had a minor stroke back in 1998. The last time I did any "semi" programming was with Slitherine Ltd. on the Battle Academy: Fortress Metz game and I had to HIRE a guy to help me finish the project. Now that was a good experience - I met a nice fellow from Spain. We plan on doing future work together should the opportunity arise but ...

I can pass out if I think too hard on this work. Period. I almost passed out standing in my mom's doorway back in 2012 when I was talking about something technical with her about the games. Had to sit down and relax and let the moment pass.

But honestly, Geoff ... you really are way out in left field.

Go out ... get your own software company ... publish some games ... show us all how its all done.

<<<<sage old officer heads out of Helga's and back to Hohenlinden where Col. Andrews and I have decided to do battle>>>>>>>

<<<<puts on the "Eagles" "New Kid in Town" tune ... enjoys rest of the afternoon>>>>>>>>>>

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General der Kavallerie Wilhelm Prinz Peters von Dennewitz
Husaren-Regiment Hessen-Kassel
Infanterie-Brigade Hessen-Kassel
Königlich-Preußisches Armee-Korps
Scenario Designer for Napoleonic Battles series - John Tiller Software
http://friendsofwargaming.com/support-bill-peters.html


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:41 am 
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Founding a software company and developing my own engine might be a little more difficult than somebody/anybody working at JTS changing the LCV-HCV range values in the NB series. They will hypothetically be in a source directory called /combat/ within files called melee.cpp and fire.cpp. Just search for the values 5 and 25 for firing ranges. 40 and 160 for for attacker melee casualties. 20 and 100 for defender melee casualties. Basline value would be 1000 for all equations I think. There will be no health complications from doing simple value changes in a source directory.

One complication I can think of though is that the optional rules might be setup to compile into the the main program on execution. So you'd have to make sure the optional firing and melee rule source files aren't going to write in the original LCV-HCV data. Shouldn't be designed that way but, maybe possible.

Don't sell yourselves too short. Software is intellectual property in common with all personnel involved in it's development. Your ability to tweak the source files would make these games better fit your design aspirations and potentially sell more higher quality titles.

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Lieutenant Geoff McCarty
45ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne,
2éme Brigade,
2ème Division,
1er Corps d'Armée,
La Grande Armée


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:15 am 
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Posts: 2257
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Geoff McCarty wrote:
Founding a software company and developing my own engine might be a little more difficult than somebody/anybody working at JTS changing the LCV-HCV range values in the NB series. They will hypothetically be in a source directory called /combat/ within files called melee.cpp and fire.cpp. Just search for the values 5 and 25 for firing ranges. 40 and 160 for for attacker melee casualties. 20 and 100 for defender melee casualties. Basline value would be 1000 for all equations I think. There will be no health complications from doing simple value changes in a source directory.

One complication I can think of though is that the optional rules might be setup to compile into the the main program on execution. So you'd have to make sure the optional firing and melee rule source files aren't going to write in the original LCV-HCV data. Shouldn't be designed that way but, maybe possible.

Don't sell yourselves too short. Software is intellectual property in common with all personnel involved in it's development. Your ability to tweak the source files would make these games better fit your design aspirations and potentially sell more higher quality titles.


You are sharing this point of view with JTS directly?

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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:17 am 
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I posted to Hamilton's forum but, haven't received a response. Bill and Gary are the only guys actually involved in 'community management' so thought I'd bend their ears directly. The point of the message is also directly geared towards them involving themselves in simple software development in order to fix flaws as the designers.

My memory is fuzzy but, didn't David Guegan write the France '40 density multipliers himself and have John compile them into the series? That was probably one of the most exceptional code changes and yet everyone (succeeding title designers and modders like Volcanoman) just ignores it. Much more realistic to generally attack a hex full of different units and divide the casualties than make pointed strikes within a 1km area.
According to the changelogs he did not. I guess I assumed someone else did write the optional indirect and direct resolution rules for France '40 specifically because thats the only title where they're defaulted.

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Lieutenant Geoff McCarty
45ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne,
2éme Brigade,
2ème Division,
1er Corps d'Armée,
La Grande Armée


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 Post subject: Re: Designers Should Have Source Code Rights
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:33 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2001 12:13 am
Posts: 564
Location: USA
I'm not a lawyer, and won't comment on the "shared property thing".

That said, the system is the system, John wouldn't agree to this, neither Bill nor I want it.

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Feldmarschall Freiherr Gary McClellan
IR44
Portner Grenadier Battalion
Austrian Army

Scenario Designer:
JTS Midway
JTS Seven Years War


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