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January 24, 2021, 10:38:05 am
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News: Paul & Fred have reached a settlement with Stardock!

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 29, 2019, 11:10:01 pm
And as far as I could see, there aren't many "grey areas" in the outcome of this lawsuit,

We never got to see the actual settlement agreement.

The worst thing I can imagine happening is that when F&P start releasing promotional material for the UQM sequel, Stardock would start issuing DMCA takedowns against it and sue F&P for copyright infringement. If that does happen, well... I guess we'll just have to watch as Stardock gets crushed. And I'm sure we'll have plenty of ways to support F&P if that ever happens.

Whether a person is right or wrong, it takes an enormous stockpile of money to successfully sue or defend against a lawsuit.  If you run out of money, you essentially lose by default.  So no, Stardock would not automatically be crushed by lack of case merit.  They could "win" a second lawsuit simply by exhausting their victims' resources just as they might have the first time.

Every dollar you give Stardock is a dollar they could use to fund their legal war machine in the future.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: August 29, 2019, 06:38:14 pm
The only thing I want is a guarantee that nothing like this ever happens again, and the settlement agreement and the court order to dismiss all complaints and counterclaims with prejudice seem like a pretty solid guarantee to me. F&P's copyrights and the UQM trademark are safe in their hands, and there's nothing Stardock can do to change that anymore, even if they wanted to.

For us to feel certain of this, we have to put a lot of faith in either the pay-to-play/win american "justice" system or Stardock's self control not to launch ridiculous lawsuits in the future.  Anywhere there is a grey area inside or outside of the agreement, a new lawsuit could be formed.  If you give money to Stardock, you are risking them using these funds against Paul and Fred and/or this community project in the future.

I haven't seen any lingering hostility on Stardock's side of the fence.

They have zero reason to be.  They launched the lawsuit and Ghosts of the Precursors is the game that got pushed back an unknown number of years as a result of it, not Origins.
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 24, 2019, 07:39:41 pm
It would take ship buffs or some AI tuning with ship buffs to make VUX fit in nicely.

How many ships in total would need these AI and/or physical behavior changes? How many ships are already well balanced and played competently by the AI?
I do not want to discourage piecemeal hacking, but the broader and deeper the desired changes to ship combat, the more efficient it becomes to first modernize the software architecture of the ship combat code so that these modifications become quite a lot easier to make.

Are there already plans for refactoring ship physics and AI into an Entity-Component-System model and/or moving ship data and AI behavior scripts out of the C files?

Make the laser quickly raster back and forth in a narrow cone? That'd help with shooting down nukes.

Unless the nukes are slipping in "between" the ship facing directions or avoiding the hit-scan detection by crossing the laser beam between frames, the AI might better benefit from a simple improvement of the intruder's turning speed, combined with the AI making nukes a higher priority target and/or better anticipating their movement.  The nukes do accelerate and turn a bit, but they are predictable about where they want to go.

And that still assumes that the AI is smart enough to pull off the planet search strategy… but it doesn't need to be as good at it.

I do not know how the "wrapping" mechanic affects the planet position, but otherwise it should be fairly simple vector math to engage in a random gravity whip maneuver.  Where it gets complicated is trying to aim for the enemy ship using the gravity whip.  There's a ton of variables to getting that remotely right.

4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 21, 2019, 02:39:59 am
Writing AI is said to be one of the most difficult parts of programming. There hasn't been much work done in this area by the fan community.

Glancing at the code... it may be that some of the difficulty is actually coming from the software architecture and documentation rather than the inherent complexity of what a UQM AI must handle.  I mean for one thing, you cannot just throw all these bitwise operators at us simple, gentle millennials! Cheesy

IMHO, as much as possible, you want to treat ship AI scripts as content; as separate from the engine code. Ideally, it should be easy for your AI scripter to know what ship data exists that he can get access to (and easily access it) plus what "commands" the AI can give to its ship directly and to widely-useful subroutines like "turn the ship towards the direction where a shot from my own weapon #1 would intercept the enemy ship, given the former's speed and the latter's velocity".

I see there is a Lua branch of UQM on sourceforge, which presumably is intended for making the game more modder friendly.  Unfortunately it has no activity since 2013.

Anyone feeling motivated to write some AI is welcome to jump in and give it a try. A good place to start: Turn VUX into an actual threat for the campaign.

Is that possible when the player has cheap, perennial Cruiser production?  Against the Cruiser, is the Intruder good for more than just nuclear target practice in network play?
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 17, 2019, 04:50:41 pm
So then what about using an improved AI for mass testing?

Are there any community-developed improved "cyborg" players for UQM?
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: SCII balancing "cracked" on: August 16, 2019, 12:49:18 am
Has there ever been any attempt(s) to write more sophisticated AI player code?

I wonder if we could do a PVP version of this with enough dedicated netplay…

I think it might take a more multiplayer-active community.  It is not just the total hours needed to play every possible match up so many times for a decent sample size.  You would need to only consider the results of battles between top players. Further, you would need many dozens of consistent online players to know that your top players are experienced and well rounded in their play styles.
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Untitled UQM Sequel's new name discussion on: July 17, 2019, 02:45:21 am
The Ur-Quan Masters: What They Left Behind

I really like the subtitle.  And even though the Ur-Quan are presumably defeated, the title might work as well in two ways.  Ostensibly, it refers to a threat left intact and now unresisted after the collapse of the Ur-Quan Hierarchy.  But playing the game, we discover the "They" actually refers to the Precursors.  Mycon, Mmrnmhrm, perhaps another classic race and several previously unseen ones from farther out in space, have for the longest time now, slowly been working to complete a gargantuan project encoded into their deepest instincts and genetic memories by their Precursor makers. Now, over 25 years after the fall of the Hierarchy, their project is entering its final phase, and it will require the consumption of countless planets, stars and altogether much of our galaxy.  Stopping what has been set in motion means embracing an enemy you cannot forgive (the Ur-Quan) and a threat you cannot afford to forget (the Orz).

Ultimately, your interaction with the Orz, which is fully necessary to suceed, completes their manifestation in our reality.  A cliffhanger ending to set up the next (possibly final) sequel.

8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: New Mmrnmhrm theme extrapolated from their ditty (Now with 100% more Chenjesu!) on: July 06, 2019, 04:26:22 pm
That Chenjesu theme is excellent.

It really feels like a fit for them.  Mysterious and so weighed down by the seriousness of their central role in the conflict, yet balanced against this alien, perhaps super human resolve to see it through.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 18, 2019, 04:00:55 pm
But I am concerned about the possibility of the disclosed settlement terms having been sugar-coated to make them more palatable to P&F's fans than the actual settlement language would be.  Why keep the document itself secret when all of the terms are supposedly public?  If there were business-sensitive numbers in it, those could be redacted, but not releasing the document at all just creates an opening for suspicion that there's something material being left out or misrepresented.

This has been bugging me too... very much so, in fact.

Anyway, we'll see how it plays out, what are 7 years more after 26 years of waiting?

Damn, do we have reason to believe it would be 7 years?
I would hope that at the very least, the settlement would allow P&F to silently work pre-production on their game immediately.
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 17, 2019, 03:35:05 pm
But a new announcement would cause new consumer confusion, and therefore is a new case, with a new alleged harm, and therefore not covered by this "with prejudice"....
That's what I'm afraid of....

This is precisely my fear as well.

I wonder if this was a motivation for Stardock requiring a change of name away from GotP.  Now any future announcement for a "new product" can justify a new lawsuit that circumvents the "old" and unrelated settlement.  At least in the mind of a CEO so experienced in the nuances of the law.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Untitled UQM Sequel's new name discussion on: June 16, 2019, 03:34:37 am
Note that beyond the necessary legal reason, the artistic reason for not going with the title "Ghosts of the Precursors" was that it was "too generic", rather than a change of story direction.  So the old working title is still a clue as to at least part of what the game will be about.

Perhaps another vague clue comes from the fact both preceding games in the series took place during and heavily involved warfare between two powerful factions of allied species.  So we might assume the new game will be likewise.

A third clue is that the state of the universe implied by the closing events of The Ur-Quan Masters.  The Ur-Quan are defeated, quite possibly to the point they are no longer the major threat.

So... if the genre of the game requires a powerful opponent with numerous allies/subjugates, but this is likely no longer the Ur-Quan, could the former working title be a hint?  We have long assumed it would be the Orz and species they have absorbed replacing the Ur-Quan and their battle thralls.  But what if it is actually the threat of amok sentient-tool-relics left behind by the Precursors, such as (probably) the Mycon.

It may be that this threat was somewhat known to the Ur-Quan and partially suppressed by them.  If memory serves, the Kzer-Za did warn the player of threats too terrible for humanity to imagine, or something to that effect.  Were they referring to just their Kohr-Ah brothers, the Orz whose presence as player escorts goes unnoticed by them (unlike the genetically restored Dynarri onboard the Vindicator)  or something else we had not yet witnessed in our small corner of the galaxy?
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Stardock Litigation Discussion on: June 16, 2019, 02:46:38 am
I honestly feel better about F&P getting themselves personally-financially free of this shit than even the fact the sequel is no longer in jeopardy.  Knowing that they were put through this treatment after all the good work they have done is very saddening.

It's like if a toddler stole your keys, and you had to distract him by dangling a new toy in front of them to get them back. F&P got their damn keys back, and they did it before running out of time and money, so that's the most important thing.

I find this description large and equal parts accurate and hilarious.

The current state of things leaves me with a very uncomfortable question: Would I buy the next Star Control game that Stardock has in the pipe?

Amongst your pros and cons on this matter, also consider the threat that such a loose cannon as stardock represents in the future if it maintains its interest in this universe and intellectual property.  The better its star control sales, the longer it will be before moving on from the franchise for good.  The settlement is no guarantee future legal action will never be launched by stardock over matters as petty as we now know it to be overly concerned with.

I'm personally a little bit disappointed that SC1 and SC3 have gone commercial again rather than open-source.

The source code for those two don't exist anymore, well, at least for SC1.

Are we sure this information is current even after the massive archive searches P&F had to go through at the beginning of the case?

Also, would it be legally a good idea to do a complete recreation of the game from scratch as was done with OpenRA, Open Imperium Galactica and Remnants of the Precursors if given P&F's blessing or would stardock approval also be required?
13  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Purchasing Groombridge Log? on: April 06, 2019, 05:20:47 pm
4. Nitpicky, but gravitational waves are REALLY hard to detect. There's no way they'd have a gravitational wave detector active if there was anything they could shut down. Especially not if they had given up on powering the optical telescope.
8. The fight against the Ilwrath is weird. Stall it for ten minutes? The Vindicator would have been toast by then. Also, that Avenger had a damaged cloaking device; it wasn't simply overconfidence.

If you want realistic gravity, then the star control style of battles must be tremendously speed up from real time.  With the speed you travel relative to planets, the influence of gravity from said planets would have no noticeable effect on your ship's trajectory.

So 10 minutes of real time might equate to 10 seconds of melee time, no?
14  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Political Miscellany on: March 21, 2019, 06:17:38 pm
A reason to spend bilions on space programs and space military!

Let me just appropriately re-arrange my stock portfolio first...

If you want to install a global police state you are going to have to do a lot better than remarketing global terrorism and global warming.  Been there, feared that.

We want aliens this time!  And none of that anthropomorphic grey bobblehead-people shit. No, it must be starfish aliens, with full production values.
15  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / Starbase Café / Re: Political Miscellany on: March 20, 2019, 06:35:56 pm
My continued conclusion:
This might change once we meet aliens and the racism will be projected not across colour differences between us Humans, but between Alien life forms and Humans.

Which may also not be a good thing, as likely the Aliens will possess the ability to end our existence when we start with racism against "them".

So then why not fake such an encounter?

Unite humanity against the perceived threat of extraterrestrial civilization(s) that do not really exist. No threat of extinction if it is fake. And good practice for our species in case we meet the real thing someday.
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