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www.gcvets.net - View topic - Reviving Ground Control


Reviving Ground Control

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby Crinckle » 28 Jul 2013 15:12


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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby Chumpit » 29 Jul 2013 13:38

Approximately what would the rights to GC cost?

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 30 Jul 2013 00:58

Some points...

Ground Control's STRENGTH is it's simplicity - when you compare it to popular games like Starcraft and DOTA2. Those games are games in which the players are more indirectly engaging each other, because the game throws up so much STUFF at them. The players there aren't really directly playing against each other so much as trying to out-compete each other in playing against the game faster. Those games are usually about APM... but at either rate they are NOT sophisticated at all in terms of 3D terrain.

By contrast, Ground Control has players directly engaging each other over 3D terrain. Because of that, there is more attention to things like nuances of movement, timing, pure strategic elements, the use of terrain. Ground Control is simple, in terms of interface, but it is beautiful because it does have depth. Its depth is in the 3D terrain and the direct player-on-player element. That gives it, in my opinion, even more of a sports potential than those other games. When you play GC, you zero in on other players. You can sense what they're doing directly. That forms the drama of sports coverage. And the audience will sense this as well.

Anyway, that is my opinion, and I'm acting on it.

I do concede that GC doesn't have the numbers. To my thinking, that puts it in the category of a possible "sleeper hit" strata. I don't understand why GC never took off, but I think there are a few reasons...

The foremost problem was that, when it came out it was marketed as an RTS. Which it clearly wasn't. This at a time when games like Starcraft and so on were big. Ground Control, we all said, is more of a 3D chess game... It just wasn't a popular idea and it should never have been marketed as an RTS to begin with. Crinckle points this out as well...

I think we need to call it a "Third Person Tank Shooter". Honestly, GC is it's own genre... we just need to name it. Andy said "a third person shooter with tanks"... I shortened it to third person tank shooter. It attracts the crowd that are into slow, heavy shooters... even if clearly it isn't a shooter. But whatever: those guys will get the emphasis on firing specials and that you have finite units.

I think sufficient time has passed, and a new generation of gamers have come in. This, to me, is the "Minecraft Generation". If they're willing to turn a game like Minecraft into a huge hit - completely out of left field - they're willing to try new things. They are open to new experiences.

You guys are saying you think it's crazy to talk about this as a new esport, because we have no numbers. I acknowledge that GC and my channel do not in any way have numbers now. But you see, I have not begun to promote it YET.

Also THAT is where the opportunity is. Please understand this about business... You don't lay your groundwork agreements AFTER something has numbers. That invites chaos. There is a reason why, if you are a prospector, you get the claim registered BEFORE you start to pour money and effort into drilling. If you wait until you've struck gold and then register the claim, your property will be torn apart by competing claimants. If you're a movie producer and you want to adapt a book - you have an idea that it *might* sell as a movie - you get the option to the rights BEFORE you start to sell the property. Why? If someone likes it, but yiou don't have the deal, they'll say "Thank you" and cut you out of the deal.

The main thing is this... If GC does take off and Rebellion notices one of their games is now drawing major attention... We are the community that carried GC forward and still play now. We have the experience in the game. Basically, Rebellion owns the game, but we own the sport.

So we need to speak as one voice to Rebellion, if this game takes off as a revived property. To speak as one voice, we need a dispute resolution process. That is the MOST important thing. To my mind, this is just voting. This ensures that, no matter what, we won't get entangled in some disagreement, after which Rebellion thinks it isn't worth it to talk with us, and just does whatever they want with GC... such as turn it into a freemium-model thing...

Chumpit, I don't know what the cost of GC would be. I can say that if we go ahead and drive up the numbers, the cost will go up with that. (That, by the way, was why I wanted to nail down an agreement NOW, rather than later... but whatever.) I think if we push up the numbers on GC, we just need to try to partner with Rebellion somehow. We might be able to get a controlling interest in GC itself... 51%. That would make us partners with Rebellion. That would be good, because I think we can drive it, and to do that we need to make changes directly to the game.

Which brings us to... Modding gameplay. I am extremely conservative on modding gameplay. Why? Simple evidence. The game we play now is GC Version 1011. That piece of software is why we are even debating this. It has garnered that much attention, passion and dedication from us. THAT is what I'm making The SandTable episodes in and about. I would only support very very minor changes, made very slowly. I know that DOTA2 is ever-changing, but that's because of Valve's fucking weird internal decision-making processes. (I am a hardcore Source mapper... I know Valve very well, from the perspective of inside their tools. They know me through industry stuff, and I them, though from a distance.) I might support possibly one change per quarter, and minor changes so far as gameplay goes. BUT WE MUST NOT GET DISTRACTED BY THAT SEPARATE CONVERSATION!

We need to come together in basic agreement that if the game comes back to life, we're acting as one and talking to Rebellion as one. Otherwise my fear is that Rebellion might just buy up parts of the GC community piecemeal and then dismantle GC - both the community AND the game.

By the way: the most urgent change we should make to GC, if we can somehow get the source code, is to improve the connectivity in order to get more players logging on.

You are right Andy, that this is all predicated on getting numbers. So that is what I am now beginning to do, via The Sand Table. I know it is a high risk venture, but I am not adverse to high risk ventures. Such is my risk tolerance. I want high risk, because the payoff can be huge and I think I can make it happen in large part.

Be reassured that nobody need get involved in this venture until they want to, IF they want to. We'll still keep playing GC on Friday nights, but if it becomes big, people can get involved anytime it meets their "risk threshold" or not even bother... If we need to, if it becomes some monster hit, we'll set up a password protected room and play there on Friday nights. (We'll probably want to.)

Crinck/Andy... Fair enough on the name calling. As for putting down disagreement.... I'm engaging in a high risk venture. Your job as devil's advocate is to question all my assumptions. My job, as the guy going out there, is to score victories to put to rest each of your bullet points. The thing is, I'm not just doing this as an academic exercise. I'm risking time and money to try to make this happen. So I need to believe in what I'm doing, and I need to speak that way to others. As if I'm a cheerleader or a ship's captain. I can't afford to linger over doubts: that would demolish the momentum. I have a LOT of work ahead of me, and I'm already rolling out here on an attack (if you want to think of this as a Ground Control match)...

In fact, I think the match that best parallels this is Ep6: Forgiven . We were beaten down, the other side had laid mines in front of us, and we had lost the score. I did an end-around by myself, then assaulted, and my forces began to burn out. Then the other team came in and we won it on the luck of the clock.

So you guys are totally welcome to do whatever initiatives you want. The more you do, the more likely we are to succeed, and the more we will remember you for doing that. Everything counts, and what everyone does counts.
Last edited by XFunc_CaRteR on 02 Aug 2013 18:38, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby Tabu » 02 Aug 2013 09:40

Hey Guys :)
Ninja_Prime contacted me about this thread, and I have tried my best to see what is currently possible, concerning source code.

I will avoid the discussion on whether Ground Control is suitable as an e-sport, as my relationship with the game is of such a character that I cannot make an objective statement about it.. Ground Control is the reason why I educated myself as a Game Developer, and it still stands as a shining beacon of good design. One of the core ideas, which many games tries to achieve today, "simple to learn hard to master" was WAY ahead of its time, and the complexity by unit control just makes it pretty near perfect.. however, Ill shut up about that :)

I have contacted a guy at Massive about the source code, and hope that he will get back to me about it, I will report back as soon as I know more about this, but don't get your hopes up :(

If it somehow happens that we manage to get hold of the source code, I will be happy to set up a permanent SVN server for source control.. but we will need a talented C coder (as I remember it, Ground Control was done in C). He have to be talented, because I remember talking to some of guys that did the actual code for Ground Control, and they told me that because of the time pressure, the code ended up being in quite a messy state.. and after Dark Conspiracy (done by a third party) it became even more messy.

Another route, but more difficult would be to try and recreate Ground Control using another engine, for example Unity3d wich is free for independent people.. I would be glad to help out with source control for such a project as well, as well as help out a bit with 3D, management and general coding.. but being a very busy person, there is limits to what time I could put aside for such a project. Also, taking on a project like this would be pretty big, but with the right people, I think it could be possible.. and with old time modders like NinjaPrime, it should be possible to extract sounds, heightmaps, images and such for use with a new engine.

Thats all for me
Thanks for listening ;)

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 02 Aug 2013 18:29

That sounds awesome, Tabu!

My only hesitation regarding building it in a new engine is that GC as it stands now contains many subtle qualities of pathfinding, unit movement, and so on that would be very very difficult to reverse engineer.

There was a different game called MULE that was a cult classic from the early 80s, and people tried to remake it from scratch. But the AI was so advanced in the old 8-bit version (and the designer had died) that no remakes ever came close to the original in terms of gameplay.

If we could only work on the netcode that would be great, but we'll see.

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby Ninja_Prime52 » 02 Aug 2013 18:32

Thanks for the help Tabu, we shall wait and see what happens, I know some people who know C, so I will ask them if we manage to get hold of the SC. BTW your idea of using another engine to redo GC?... what about using Cry engine 3?
It's free and I know how to use the sandbox editor for it, just an idea to throw in the mix :) ;)

BTW I came across this http://www.freemmogamer.com/2008/09/ground-control.html The "Real Time Tactics" tag is so much better.
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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 02 Aug 2013 21:55

To my thinking, RTT is just the bastard stepchild of RTS.

I think we need to break entirely with those genres. We need to get as far away from RTS as possible - as RTS players will not go for GC (they simply didn't in the past - let's give up on them).

I'm even thinking that "Third Person Strategy Shooter". A fresh, new name of genre to try to reboot the whole thing.

If we put in "tanks" - as in "Third Person Tank Shooter" we can attract some of that huge mob over at World of Tanks. Plus, remember, there is the World in Conflict community (small as that must be now), and there are some other wargames coming out that are more in-line with GC than any RTS.

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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby Destroy » 03 Aug 2013 00:12


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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby Ninja_Prime52 » 03 Aug 2013 06:24

Destroy, glad to have you back, owning the IP is foremost in this industry and as you've correctly pointed out Rebellion ultimately own it and nothing is going to happen without their approval. Its a real pity that Massive sold this on rather than keep hold of it so it could be developed further by budding modders. If the code is messed up like Tabu said, then talented programmers who use and know C are going to be vital when the source code is eventually obtained. Its important that when that happens we don't go mad and mod the game out of recognition and lose the essence of Ground Control. If bringing the graphics up to date, allowing more players in game, moving away from GR and Ventrilo, then these should be our primary goals, everything else can follow on from that.

For this community to grow we need more members recruiting new players, and encouraging them to stay, not frightening them off or insulting them. I know back in the day's that this was done by one or two people and it contributed to the demise of the game. We should really try to be helpful and as vets be guiding and supporting them. One of the things that really piss me off about MP games, any game, is when you get people start bad mouthing etc. We are all here to enjoy ourselves and have fun doing so, the main reason we are here is to play the game, it's a case of putting yourself in their shoes, would you like it if you joined a new community and all you got was flamed and prevented from playing the game?

Which brings me to an idea I have. If a new player turns up we should have some sort of rule where more experienced vets join their team and coach/mentor them for a few games, helping them, along to develop, until they get a feel for the game and actually start getting some points on the scoreboard. The whole concept is to try and get them to enjoy their experience with us and not feel that they don't have a chance of winning any games or even gaining any real gaming experience.

Regarding the naming genre for GC, what about "Tactical Tank Shooter" or TTS for short? it should attract certain types of players to the community and we are at the same time getting away from the RTS community, we need a hook and then some way of keeping them. And IMHO having a community that is friendly and helpful could be a selling point. Plus the fact that we also have a growing catalogue of maps and game styles they can sample. Your thoughts and comments are appreciated...
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Re: Reviving Ground Control

Postby XFunc_CaRteR » 03 Aug 2013 16:12

My beef about "tactical" is that it works inside that assumption that strategy equals building units. Again: it's a genre that "partners" with RTS, so everyone will frame GC inside the world of RTS games.

Strategy does NOT equal building units. I really want to beat the hell out of whoever it was who decided that was what strategy was about.

GC has lots of strategy in it. When you decide to take your formation around to flank, while the other guy holds here, that's strategy. Tactics is used more when you're doing something like bringing in a medium-beam combo in on an attack.

We've already been down this road where GC was marketed toward RTS players. It resulted in total failure.

We've got to give it a new genre name, in my opinion, to get new people involved.

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