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Open source?

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  • waferthinninja
    Hi, long time KoDP player, new to the list. Will the source code for KoDP ever be opened up to the public? I suspect not, since I expect a game like this still
    Message 1 of 18 , Jun 8, 2009
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      Hi, long time KoDP player, new to the list.

      Will the source code for KoDP ever be opened up to the public? I suspect not, since I expect a game like this still sees a trickle of sales; for one, I showed the game to a friend who rushed off to get his own copy.

      It would be fantastic thing for the world though:

      Having the code for the engine/OSL might provide the leg up for people to create new stories and/or similar games.

      Seeing the Opal scripts would answer a multitude of questions I'm sure a lot of us here have about the game. I'd be fascinated to see the things which were taken into account when deciding the results. What always amazed me about the game was that you could have the same event, but it would play out differently based on different factors. Made the 800(?) events seem like thousands.
    • outis02
      For my part, I d love nothing more than to have a look at the KoDP source code. I hope A# seriously consider this possibility. They have little to lose on
      Message 2 of 18 , Jun 9, 2009
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        For my part, I'd love nothing more than to have a look at the KoDP source code. I hope A# seriously consider this possibility. They have little to lose on this, really. The opal engine itself is largely obsolete, and it is pretty difficult as is to get your hands on the mTropolis compilers. As such, I don't think making KoDP open source would have any negative impact on the sales at all. Anyone who won't pay for KoDP is extremely unlikely to go through the trouble of compiling the code, if they are even able to. If they're really worried, they could simply make it a no-compile license.

        Quite on the contrary, publishing the source code would be a very generous contribution to those interested in game design and Glorantha in general. The buzz it generates will probably score KoDP some resurgent sales. Plus, I seriously doubt that anyone interested in the source code hasn't already bought a copy and played it to death.
      • waferthinninja
        ... I couldn t agree more, I think only good could come of it. Lets hope they are listening...
        Message 3 of 18 , Jun 9, 2009
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          --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, "outis02" <ulyssez@...> wrote:
          >
          > For my part, I'd love nothing more than to have a look at the KoDP source code. I hope A# seriously consider this possibility. They have little to lose on this, really. The opal engine itself is largely obsolete, and it is pretty difficult as is to get your hands on the mTropolis compilers. As such, I don't think making KoDP open source would have any negative impact on the sales at all. Anyone who won't pay for KoDP is extremely unlikely to go through the trouble of compiling the code, if they are even able to. If they're really worried, they could simply make it a no-compile license.
          >
          > Quite on the contrary, publishing the source code would be a very generous contribution to those interested in game design and Glorantha in general. The buzz it generates will probably score KoDP some resurgent sales. Plus, I seriously doubt that anyone interested in the source code hasn't already bought a copy and played it to death.
          >

          I couldn't agree more, I think only good could come of it. Lets hope they are listening...
        • David Dunham
          ... You can t compile KoDP without mTropolis header files. So there s not a lot of point to it. (Ignoring all the other issues, like the fact that it uses IDEs
          Message 4 of 18 , Jun 9, 2009
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            >Will the source code for KoDP ever be opened up to the public? I
            >suspect not, since I expect a game like this still sees a trickle of
            >sales; for one, I showed the game to a friend who rushed off to get
            >his own copy.

            You can't compile KoDP without mTropolis header files. So there's not
            a lot of point to it.

            (Ignoring all the other issues, like the fact that it uses IDEs from
            the late 90s, so you probably couldn't compile it anyway.)

            >Seeing the Opal scripts would answer a multitude of questions I'm
            >sure a lot of us here have about the game. I'd be fascinated to see
            >the things which were taken into account when deciding the results.
            >What always amazed me about the game was that you could have the
            >same event, but it would play out differently based on different
            >factors. Made the 800(?) events seem like thousands.

            You saw the sample scene?
            --

            David Dunham A Sharp, LLC
            Voice/Fax: 206 783 7404 http://a-sharp.com
            Efficiency is intelligent laziness.
          • outis02
            ... Exactly. It really cannot hurt the KoDP sales in anyway. It would just be a fascinating look into the workings of the game for us fans. I am of the
            Message 5 of 18 , Jun 10, 2009
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              > You can't compile KoDP without mTropolis header files. So there's not
              > a lot of point to it.
              Exactly. It really cannot hurt the KoDP sales in anyway. It would just be a fascinating look into the workings of the game for us fans.

              I am of the philosophy that all source code, be it games or application or operating systems, should be open to the public sooner or later. Most source code become practically useless in 8 years or so. The value of a piece of programming shifts from what they can do, when compiled, to the knowledge they contained. And this value is not realized until shared.

              I hope the Asharpians would consider this seriously.
            • waferthinninja
              ... I wouldn t actually want to compile it, I d just like to look inside to see how it ticks. ... Yes, it left me hungry for more! I totally understand if you
              Message 6 of 18 , Jun 10, 2009
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                > You can't compile KoDP without mTropolis header files. So there's not
                > a lot of point to it.

                I wouldn't actually want to compile it, I'd just like to look inside to see how it ticks.

                > You saw the sample scene?

                Yes, it left me hungry for more!

                I totally understand if you would rather keep things secret - you could argue that the game might lose a little of its magic if you could see "the man behind the curtain", but it would satisfy a lot of curiosities.

                Regards

                James
              • Alexander G. M. Smith
                ... For those of you who are new members and are interested in seeing what the code looks like, have a peek at: http://a-sharp.com/kodp/osl.html I wonder if
                Message 7 of 18 , Jun 11, 2009
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                  David Dunham wrote on Tue, 09 Jun 2009 11:21:51 -0700:
                  > You saw the sample scene?

                  For those of you who are new members and are interested in seeing
                  what the code looks like, have a peek at:

                  http://a-sharp.com/kodp/osl.html

                  I wonder if you could just do a rebuild, with higher resolution
                  scans of the artwork and sound (though I suspect they don't exist).
                  Would be nice to have a high definition PC/Mac version!

                  Come to think of it, KoDP could even work on Blu-ray discs, if a
                  Java version was created (Blu-ray players have a Java interpreter
                  built in). Would be a lot of work - repainting the artwork,
                  recoding the logic, rerecording the music, but not as much work
                  as the original. The user interface would work with Blu-ray
                  player remote controls and doesn't need real-time speed so even
                  the slower players could run it.

                  - Alex
                • Alexander G. M. Smith
                  Thinking of doing a Java high definition version for Blu-ray discs leads me to think of a business plan. The missing link is a web based version of King of
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jun 11, 2009
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                    Thinking of doing a Java high definition version for Blu-ray discs
                    leads me to think of a business plan.

                    The missing link is a web based version of King of Dragon Pass.

                    When writing the Java code for the game logic, write it in a way that
                    can also be used server-side on a web server. Start with the current
                    graphics and sound. The user interface would be slightly different
                    for web access. The graphics and sound can be streamed to players'
                    web browsers easily enough with modern day connections, even dial-up
                    is doable with reduced quality sound. Also include a bit of advertising
                    and/or subscriptions to support the cost of running the server and a
                    bit of profit, as well as royalties to the artists depending on how the
                    original artwork was licensed. Also accept cash donations in general
                    or specifically cash or artwork for fixing up a particular painting or
                    piece of music.

                    As time goes on, the Java code and plot data gets improved by people
                    finding bugs. The artwork gets improved by hiring artists and volunteer
                    contributions to make new high definition pictures and better sound.
                    The plotlines can even be enlarged by doing some writing and adding
                    more events.

                    Going along the open source route, people could contribute artwork and
                    plotlines, as well as debug the code. Though this means loss of
                    control over the project as everyone would have a copy.

                    Going along the commercial route, besides advertising, people could
                    request custom versions of the game with their likeness used in the
                    game as a clan ring member's portrait. Same with their story ideas,
                    for example a cameo plotline involving their family dog driving off
                    chaos.

                    Once the game is stable and there's enough demand, a Blu-ray version
                    can be made using the web site as a base.

                    Finally, a few loose ends. Some other things to consider are:
                    Internationalisation - change the text for different languages.
                    Narration - have actors read the menu text aloud, much more dramatic!
                    Sound quality - besides low/high quality, also mix for 5.1 surround sound.
                    Graphic quality - generate screens dynamically in different sizes so you can play it on your mobile phone or on a PS3 web browser using a high definition TV. This also affects the user interface code design a bit.

                    - Alex
                  • David Dunham
                    Alex ... IIRC, there are something like 450000 words in KoDP -- more than most novels. Everyone who approached us to sell a localized version decided it was
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jun 13, 2009
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                      Alex

                      >Internationalisation - change the text for different languages.

                      IIRC, there are something like 450000 words in KoDP -- more than most
                      novels. Everyone who approached us to sell a localized version
                      decided it was too great an effort.

                      >Narration - have actors read the menu text aloud, much more dramatic!

                      Keep in mind that not only are there 450000 words, but almost
                      everything you see is composed using placeholders. As in the example

                      text: "<d3:things have gone from bad to worse/this clan has headed
                      downhill/our reputation has suffered>. Our friends the
                      <otherclan.plural> <d4:ridicule our ancestors/tell jokes about us as
                      part of their holy day ceremonies/compare us unfavorably with their
                      livestock/mock us at every chance they get>.

                      or worse,

                      text: <c> patiently addressed each of their complaints. <he/she>
                      exposed each one as an exaggeration or misunderstanding, until even
                      <complainer> reaffirmed

                      Note that the last one is not even the complete text, it keeps going.
                      Is it really going to sound good when recorded in bits and glued back
                      together?
                      --

                      David Dunham A Sharp, LLC
                      Voice/Fax: 206 783 7404 http://a-sharp.com
                      Efficiency is intelligent laziness.
                    • Alexander G. M. Smith
                      ... Sounds like something only dedicated volunteers could do. Really dedicated. ... Right, I d forgotten that. At best it would then be as good as a generic
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jun 14, 2009
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                        David Dunham wrote on Sat, 13 Jun 2009 17:42:31 -0700:
                        > >Internationalisation - change the text for different languages.
                        >
                        > IIRC, there are something like 450000 words in KoDP -- more than most
                        > novels. Everyone who approached us to sell a localized version
                        > decided it was too great an effort.

                        Sounds like something only dedicated volunteers could do.
                        Really dedicated.

                        > Keep in mind that not only are there 450000 words, but almost
                        > everything you see is composed using placeholders. As in the example

                        Right, I'd forgotten that. At best it would then be as good as
                        a generic text to speech converter. Ideally text to speech with
                        emotional tags, if such a thing exists. In other words,
                        not so good, yet.

                        Pity.

                        - Akex
                      • David Dunham
                        [I m posting this reply to a private message here, because it s probably of general interest, and because the direct reply bounced] ... I have yet to see any
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jun 14, 2009
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                          [I'm posting this reply to a private message here, because it's
                          probably of general interest, and because the direct reply bounced]

                          >All technical details aside, I'd love to hear from the developers:
                          >is opening up the source code something that A# has already planned,
                          >is considering, may consider in the future, or already ruled out?

                          I have yet to see any compelling reason for it to be open source.

                          The technical details are pretty serious, because they prevent one
                          possible goal: more people playing the game.
                          --

                          David Dunham A Sharp, LLC
                          Voice/Fax: 206 783 7404 http://a-sharp.com
                          Efficiency is intelligent laziness.
                        • Robert McArthur
                          ... Not trying to be personal, but I m afraid developers rarely do. And this is from someone who has been programming since the early 1980 s. When we have our
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jun 15, 2009
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                            David Dunham wrote:
                            > I have yet to see any compelling reason for it to be open source.

                            Not trying to be personal, but I'm afraid developers rarely do. And this
                            is from someone who has been programming since the early 1980's. When we
                            have our pet project (even if it's an older pet), we generally hang onto
                            it much longer than we "should". In one of my previous lives of doing
                            and getting research from the lab to real-life, a key understanding,
                            after 10 years, was that a) if you're thinking about it then it's time
                            NOW (probably yesterday), b) if anyone is asking about it then it's time
                            NOW, and c) if you're working on the next thing then it's time NOW (but
                            employ someone else to do it). Oh, and this in an organisation which
                            created commercial closed-source, commercial and free open-source, and
                            free software.

                            > The technical details are pretty serious, because they prevent one
                            > possible goal: more people playing the game.

                            I don't understand - could you make it clearer how opening the source
                            stops a) people playing the game, and b) MORE people playing the game?
                            The recording industry seems to be finding that making things available
                            for free, like single tracks and downloads, increases their sales. Given
                            the dearth of a sizable community around KoDP - citing the few mesgs in
                            list over the years as an example - I would think that creating more of
                            a community could only help the game. There's been no new edition for
                            ages, and no new marketting that I have heard, so one of the ways to
                            assist a community forming would be to open-source it. I'm not
                            suggesting free software of course, just open-source.

                            I fully admit I know no details and would totally concede that the sales
                            figures may show a continual and increasing number of buyers, and users
                            on other lists than this one, and that A-sharp is happy with the
                            continual and increasing sales that have already paid the development,
                            marketing and distribution costs long ago.

                            Robert
                          • Kaj Sotala
                            ... I m pretty sure David meant the technical details are pretty serious, because they prevent the game from being recompiled and run from the source. Thus
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jun 15, 2009
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                              On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 11:13 AM, Robert McArthur<rjmcarthur@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > David Dunham wrote:
                              >> The technical details are pretty serious, because they prevent one
                              >> possible goal: more people playing the game.
                              >
                              > I don't understand - could you make it clearer how opening the source
                              > stops a) people playing the game, and b) MORE people playing the game?
                              > The recording industry seems to be finding that making things available

                              I'm pretty sure David meant "the technical details are pretty serious,
                              because they prevent the game from being recompiled and run from the
                              source. Thus they prevent one possible goal of making the game open
                              source: having more people play the game".

                              That being said, I'm not entirely sure if that's a valid reason. The
                              original scripting language used to write the game may be dead, but
                              that doesn't mean people couldn't port at least part of the code to a
                              more recent language. You could, say, take all the commands used in
                              the scripts, write equivalent functions in a programming language of
                              your choice, and then do a search/replace on the original files.
                              Whether or not this is feasible depends on how many different commands
                              were used, how easily their functions can be dechipered, and how much
                              time people are interested in devoting to this project.
                            • waferthinninja
                              ... The compelling reason is the same compelling reason any software is made open source - you open the code up to a huge pool of talent who will improve your
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jun 15, 2009
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                                --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, David Dunham <david@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > [I'm posting this reply to a private message here, because it's
                                > probably of general interest, and because the direct reply bounced]
                                >
                                > >All technical details aside, I'd love to hear from the developers:
                                > >is opening up the source code something that A# has already planned,
                                > >is considering, may consider in the future, or already ruled out?
                                >
                                > I have yet to see any compelling reason for it to be open source.
                                >
                                > The technical details are pretty serious, because they prevent one
                                > possible goal: more people playing the game.
                                > --

                                The compelling reason is the same compelling reason any software is made open source - you open the code up to a huge pool of talent who will improve your product for you, for free. They will fix bugs, port the game to different platforms etc, just for the sheer love of it. You just have to let them. Your concerns over the technical difficulties underestimates the skill and determination of the coding world at large.

                                The sales you are still getting for this 10 year old game are down to word of mouth - fans like us talking the game up and showing it to people. Opening the source would revive the interest of lot of fans, lead to more word of mouth and more sales.
                              • Robert McArthur
                                ... Without knowing the code, at least more than has already been shown, I would be remarkably surprised (read: astounded) that there couldn t a) be an
                                Message 15 of 18 , Jun 15, 2009
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                                  Kaj Sotala wrote:
                                  > I'm pretty sure David meant "the technical details are pretty serious,
                                  > because they prevent the game from being recompiled and run from the
                                  > source. Thus they prevent one possible goal of making the game open
                                  > source: having more people play the game".

                                  Without knowing the code, at least more than has already been shown, I
                                  would be remarkably surprised (read: astounded) that there couldn't a)
                                  be an interpreter written for the code, and/or b) a converter written to
                                  a current language.

                                  I agree with you this technical issue doesn't matter for at least one
                                  reason for going OS - that is for the community and fan-base to see what
                                  they've been playing, and possibly have an *option* of assisting
                                  development, or doing something more with, the absolutely wonderful
                                  ideas and amazing system that A-sharp created. As I say, I don't have a
                                  problem with A-sharp keeping copyright (though I presume they licensed
                                  much of the content from Greg?): OS != free.

                                  Robert
                                • Michael Akinde
                                  ... I agree with most of the above. Though I m not sure that opening the source would lead to more sales. Open source = anyone who wants to bad enough can
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Jun 15, 2009
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                                    waferthinninja skrev:
                                    > --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, David Dunham <david@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    >> [I'm posting this reply to a private message here, because it's
                                    >> probably of general interest, and because the direct reply bounced]
                                    >>
                                    >>
                                    >>> All technical details aside, I'd love to hear from the developers:
                                    >>> is opening up the source code something that A# has already planned,
                                    >>> is considering, may consider in the future, or already ruled out?
                                    >>>
                                    >> I have yet to see any compelling reason for it to be open source.
                                    >>
                                    >> The technical details are pretty serious, because they prevent one
                                    >> possible goal: more people playing the game.
                                    >> --
                                    >>
                                    >
                                    > The compelling reason is the same compelling reason any software is made open source - you open the code up to a huge pool of talent who will improve your product for you, for free. They will fix bugs, port the game to different platforms etc, just for the sheer love of it. You just have to let them. Your concerns over the technical difficulties underestimates the skill and determination of the coding world at large.
                                    >
                                    > The sales you are still getting for this 10 year old game are down to word of mouth - fans like us talking the game up and showing it to people. Opening the source would revive the interest of lot of fans, lead to more word of mouth and more sales.
                                    >
                                    I agree with most of the above. Though I'm not sure that opening the
                                    source would lead to more sales. Open source = anyone who wants to bad
                                    enough can compile it = essentially free.

                                    IMO, open-sourcing the game would be purely a gift from the developers
                                    to the game community that has enjoyed the game over the years. If
                                    A-Sharp is still earning enough money of the product to make it more
                                    than just a footnote, I agree with David that it is hard to find a
                                    compelling reason to go open source.

                                    Regards,

                                    Michael A.


                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • David Dunham
                                    Robert ... Given you cannot build the game from source, and have no way to run it on a current Macintosh anyway, how can more people play it if you have the
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Jun 16, 2009
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                                      Robert

                                      >I don't understand - could you make it clearer how opening the source
                                      >stops a) people playing the game, and b) MORE people playing the game?

                                      Given you cannot build the game from source, and have no way to run
                                      it on a current Macintosh anyway, how can more people play it if you
                                      have the source? Convince me that you WILL complete the project, not
                                      that someone else MIGHT.


                                      "Wafer"

                                      >you open the code up to a huge pool of talent who will improve your
                                      >product for you, for free

                                      Keep in mind that most successful open source projects (e.g. Apache
                                      or WebKit) are actually written by paid coders.
                                      --

                                      David Dunham A Sharp, LLC
                                      Voice/Fax: 206 783 7404 http://a-sharp.com
                                      Efficiency is intelligent laziness.
                                    • waferthinninja
                                      ... I think a port to a more modern language is a more likely outcome than getting the code to compile as it is. Besides, even if the game is never compiled or
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Jun 17, 2009
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                                        --- In KingOfDragonPass@yahoogroups.com, David Dunham <david@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Robert
                                        >
                                        > >I don't understand - could you make it clearer how opening the source
                                        > >stops a) people playing the game, and b) MORE people playing the game?
                                        >
                                        > Given you cannot build the game from source, and have no way to run
                                        > it on a current Macintosh anyway, how can more people play it if you
                                        > have the source?

                                        I think a port to a more modern language is a more likely outcome than getting the code to compile as it is.

                                        Besides, even if the game is never compiled or ported, being able to see the inner workings will be of huge interest to a lot of fans, will likely get a lot of them playing it again, which in turn will draw more new people into playing it.

                                        > Convince me that you WILL complete the project, not
                                        > that someone else MIGHT.
                                        >

                                        This I just find a bit puzzling - why does it matter even if nothing (i.e. no rewrite or port or whatever) comes of it? And it sounds like a bit of a Catch 22 situation. Nobody is planning to port it because it isn't open source, and you won't make it open source because you don't think anyone will port it? Its kind of down to you to make the first move.

                                        >
                                        > "Wafer"
                                        >
                                        > >you open the code up to a huge pool of talent who will improve your
                                        > >product for you, for free
                                        >
                                        > Keep in mind that most successful open source projects (e.g. Apache
                                        > or WebKit) are actually written by paid coders.
                                        > --
                                        >
                                        > David Dunham A Sharp, LLC
                                        > Voice/Fax: 206 783 7404 http://a-sharp.com
                                        > Efficiency is intelligent laziness.
                                        >

                                        I don't think Apache or WebKit are really analogous to the situation here - they are not even games, so the reason people develop them is starkly different. MegaMek (http://megamek.sourceforge.net/idx.php?pg=main) is a much better comparison, and that exists purely through the love of Battletech, no paid coders there. Or The Urquan Masters (http://sc2.sourceforge.net/) might be an even better example, as it is a once commercial, now open source game.

                                        I can see that you might be dubious about the upsides, I just really don't see any downside at all. In a cost benefit analysis surely the benefit outweighs the cost, even if you take a pessimistic view on the benefit?

                                        As an aside, I hope you don't feel we are badgering you. It is only because we love your game so much that we trying, and we would love to see it have a new lease of life.

                                        James Casey
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