NOBLE APE MAILOUT - JUNE 2004
The original hypothesis for Noble Warfare was that a large part of the Noble Ape Simulation codebase could be used. This has proved not to be the case. In fact, only about ten to fifteen percent of the original Noble Ape Simulation codebase has been used. The remaining code has come through substantial planning and reworking.
This month has been spent tuning elements of Noble Warfare - the colours the combatants are displayed on screen, how long does it take to create a Noble Warfare army from scratch and what are the memory constraints in creating armies.
The first screenshots of the map window is up on the Noble Warfare site;
Within a week of posting the shots, the colour scheme has changed once again. But I'm hoping to add more screenshots in the near future.
Unlike other Noble Ape developments, Noble Warfare has a large requirement for third party content creation. This doesn't mean external studios creating games with Noble Warfare. The end user should be the primary content creator. Both the landscapes, but more importantly the armies can and should be created by end users. Through my analysis of the development in previous mailouts, the dichotomy plays a strong role in this analysis too. I imagine users spending time creating the perfect army and modifying their army on the fly. This is as important as the battle itself. The time creating the army should be just as pleasurable as the battling.
The network playability requires an agreement between players about the landscape and the points value of the army. Whilst it is perfectly feasible that one player may play another with a double point rated army (in particular conditions), the make-up of this army could be kept secret. The points value need not betray the army.
A user should be able to tune their armies quickly and easily. A large part of this month has been spent using Noble Warfare, and the file format with which the armies are created, to answer questions like;
How long will it take to create a well-rounded force?
It took roughly twenty minutes to create a twelve unit simple force containing about six unit types. Most of this time was organising the formations and getting them to fit together. Some of this was done on paper. By keeping the file format open and easy to edit, I also want to encourage the development of third party content creation tools.
Noble Warfare has been developed in a different direction to the Noble Ape Simulation. Through my personal log, I have written about my investigations of wargame players - both software and tabletop. Content creation is central. This includes a mechanism for content creators to protect their content.
I left the US before the DMCA debate began. Content protection in Noble Warfare will be less about DMCA-style rights and more about European moral rights. Protected content through Noble Warfare will allow content creators to allow or disallow Noble Warfare users from running or getting access to their content.
My interest in developing Noble Warfare is getting the software out to as many users as possible. The content protection component will be either implemented with the universally released version or available for specific download. It is still early days in the specification and design of the protected content mechanism. I just wanted to put the news in the ether for a response.
My discussion on licenses last month merited a number of responses. I look forward to a similar discussion this month.
Hope all is well with you all,
Tom Barbalet, 30 June 2004.