NOBLE APE MAILOUT - MAY 2004

NOBLE WARFARE
NEW LICENSE
IMPROVED DOCUMENTATION

NOBLE WARFARE

This month has been pretty solely devoted to Noble Warfare. Approaching the development from both sides, the first part of the month was spent updating the Ocelot interface. There is now a clear division between the Noble Ape Simulation version and the Noble Warfare version, currently codenamed Warscape.

The second part of the month was spent working through the two troop type combat issues. In particular an effect I have referred to as 'the pub brawl' - where combatants assume a cloud formation and circle rapidly around the opposing combatants causing numerous smaller battles to spiral out in closed formations.

In terms of stability, Noble Warfare has received roughly a day of solid testing over the month. The development still exists in two halves. On one side the game engine is tested through the GPI;

http://www.nobleape.com/docs/gpi_intro.html

This allowed development on Mac and Windows transparently. On the other side is Warscape and the interface development. The integration of these two parts is ongoing. I outlined a set of dot points for this integration of the Noble Warfare development through the Source Log;

http://www.nobleape.com/log.html

There is quite a bit of development work to go but it is amazing to see the evolution of the AI and the resilience of the combatants with implicit AI.

At the end of the month, the development returned to interface issues. This time looking at the mouse interacting with the combatants. The initial unit ordering and movement through mouse interaction borrows heavily from a number of game interfaces.

NEW LICENSE

The history of the Noble Ape development changed in 2001;

http://www.nobleape.com/docs/acts.html

As part of the Stockholm Re-Write, the complete source base of the Noble Ape development went under a BSD-style Open Source License. Commercially, the BSD-style license is known for its ease of exploitation. In fact the legacy of both Open Source license families, both BSD-style and GNU's GPL, is commercial exploitation through diverging methods. In the case of the GPL (as recent press indicates), through the wholesale purchase of IP rights through closed contracts with the FSF and the relevant corporations.

The popular rationale is the exploitation that occurs with Open Source is outweighed by the collaborative effects of Open Source and the benefit gained from a broader Open Source community. I have written extensively about how the latter point is relatively minimal in the day-to-day development of Open Source. The commercial exploitation element is something which has been particularly noticeable in the past year.

The solution is to include a full open source clause similar in principle to the GPL license. If the user of the source is using the source for a development where all the source code is made publicly available. If the source is being used in a development where the full source won't be made publicly accessible, then the potential user needs a new agreement and can not use the source code presented.

All this discussion is relatively idealistically focused. Obviously if someone wants to exploit the source, they have every opportunity. In fact, in the recent commercial use of the source code, the acknowledgment clauses of the previous license was totally ignored. The ethical enforcement of Open Source is an independent issue.

IMPROVED DOCUMENTATION

Every six months, I delve into the Simulation's documentation and find it even more out of date. Whilst I was writing the mailout this month, I referenced the documentation for the Simulation history and found it was more than eighteen months out of date.

Whilst Noble Warfare and the Noble Ape Simulation continue in development, the documentation requires a similar level of maintenance. The priorities with the development has always been with software. The development doesn't release documentation, nor could it expect documentation downloads like the software development.

Where does this leave the documentation now? I would like to put some effort into the documentation once the beta of Noble Warfare is completed. This would allow both new documentation for Noble Warfare to be written but also the remaining documentation could be integrated and updated where needed.

Hope all is well with you all,

Tom Barbalet, 30 May 2004.


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