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[Freeciv] Re: play by email version

[Freeciv] Re: play by email version

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To: John Allman <allmanj@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Raimar Falke <rf13@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <freeciv@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [Freeciv] Re: play by email version
From: Marco Colombo <marco@xxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 15:45:53 +0100 (CET)

On Wed, 26 Mar 2003, John Allman wrote:

> >
> >As you point out it will change the game a lot (both gameplay and also
> >the code). IMHO will this create another game.
> >
> >     Raimar
> >
> This is exactly what i'd like to avoid if at all possible:( If a pbem 
> module couldn't be integrated into the game then it would be nice if a 
> pbem version could build on top of the code in such a manner that after 
> each freeciv release the pbem version could be rebuilt without 
> alteration and keep the new features. Something like the way phoenix 
> builds on top of mozilla? (excuse my ignorance if i am mistaken, but 
> that is the way i understand phoenix to work).
> Thanks
> John

The point isn't technical. The point is that the game is based on
the fact you see the *effects* of your actions (and of the ones of
your opponents) in the *same* turn. Game internals do take into
account this fact, and this implies that the order of the actions
*in the same turn* is important, too. So you can't just collect
all players actions (without any inter-action) and "play" them
at the end of the turn.

What I mean is that the game is designed around the idea of
(close to) real-time interaction between players. I think there's
much more other than defining a "fair" order in executing commands.
Think of 2 units (of 2 different players) moving to the same tile.
Who is defending and who is attacking? There can't be a "fair" order
here, unless you change or drop some basic game mechanisms.
In (hard) turn based games, the idea is different (e.g. just a
"battle" occurs in the tile and the outcome is shown - in order to
get defence bonus of the tile (if any), maybe an unit needs be idle
there for some amount of turns).
I can also think of gameplay issues: usually you don't just say
to 5 units of yours "go there and conquer that city". You send one
a time, and depending on the outcome, you send another one there
again or elsewhere. You may choose to go on attacking to your last
unit, or save some of them. All this is lost in a play-by-mail,
since you have no realtime feedback.

You need a different game, with different rules. Just cutting the
connection between the client and the server, and sending commands
all at once won't do.

That said, plenty of the game rules/mechanisms do suit well the
hard turn based game style, so maybe you don't need to rewrite
a new game entirely from scratch.

      ____/  ____/   /
     /      /       /                   Marco Colombo
    ___/  ___  /   /                  Technical Manager
   /          /   /                      ESI s.r.l.
 _____/ _____/  _/                     Colombo@xxxxxx

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