Why will 2K not release previous versions of Civ source code?
I am specifically asking about Civ III source code. Clearly, 2K and Firaxis are done supporting the Civ III franchise. But there still are a large number of Civfanatics that have computers incapable of running Civ IV or simply prefer Civ III.
Does 2K still generate significant revenues from Civ III and feel that releasing even a portion of the code would impact the bottom line?
I would suggest letting fan coders fix known bugs and AI activity, beyond the 1.22 patch, could be useful to breath new life into the game and actually increase revenue from the Civ III franchise.
Yes this is a very good question considering the number of loyal Civilization fans out there I find it disturbing that the source code for Civ IV but not Civ III has been released. Why exactly is that?
I to would like to see the civilization 3 source code. I still see civ 3 complete in stores. Perhpas you could release the source code in the civilization 3 package. That way you could generate income at no economic loss to yourselves.
I already tried to send an email directly to a few persons, but I never got any answer. Not even a simple "no way". So I doubt this thread can have any effect either.
Anyway... Let's try again...
I can see 6 main reasons why the source is not released
1) Pure evilness.
2) Risk of competition between "old" civIII, and new games (CIV).
3) No financial interest into supporting CivIII
4) Cost/risk of supporting CivIII is to important
5) Some troubles with the code (to messy, innapropriate comments...)
6) It uses thired party part of codes which are under licence, and can't be released.
Let's rule this case out for the purpose of the debate.
Many people are still active with CivIII. Making mods. Playing the game. CIV has not been very popular among some of them. On the other hand, some people have moved to CIV and enjoy it, and would not go back to CivIII.
So we have in fact two different communities: people are playing CivIII, would like to see more of it, and will not make the step toward CIV. It could be because they don't like it, or because the hardware requirements are to high, or because they don't want to move to modding which are more powerfull, but also a lot more complicted, or because they don't like the new graphics... In other word, they are "lost customers" for CIV. But they still could be for CivIII. The demand exist. And it's not really a competition for CIV. Therefore, I don't think that supporting CivIII in some way reduced the income for CIV. It may in fact even be the opposite. By igoring the demandso of CivIII fans, it could create some resrnts, that could elad to a kind of "boycot" of 2k game. "They never listen to us, we'll stop buying their game". On the opposite, people who are happy with a game company because they think they were listen to and taken care off will be more inclined into buying new games from the same company.
Moreover, I have the feeling that CivIII is targeted more to "old gamers" and that CIV and Civ Revolution are target at a younger public.
As a conclusion, I think there is little risk for the CIV and Civ Revolution Franchise into continuing a kind of support for CivIII, on the opposite, it could give a better image of the company to the old gamers.
Lastly, there is the possibility for 2k to limit the change to something they approve first.
"We want to add a promotion system" --> No, we don't agree, we wan't to keep it specific to CIV, so people have more incentive to buy CIV.
"We want to add a building prerequesite before you are allowed to build a unit" --> OK, you can do that.
Sorry if I'll disappoint many people, but the goal of a game company is not to pleased the gamers. It's to make profit. Pleasing the gamers is a way to make profit: if they are happy, they will buy the game. If they are happy with it, they'll buy expansion, or our next game. So keeping people happy is important if it can generates more profit. If it doesn't, it's not worth it.
So I don't see why 2K would do anything if they don't see a financial advantage to it.
Therefore, we need to present them with financial reasons into supporting the game. I can see 3 reasons.
a) By making CivIII gamers happy, they create a "positive feedback loop" that could favour the buying of new 2k games by CivIII gamers.
b) By showing the game is still alive, they increase the chance to continue selling new copies of CivIII. Some people who have not bought it yet may say "Hey, this expansion looks cool, I want to play it, and I'll buy CivIII to do so". This requires that the expansion can work only if the player own a legal copy of the CD ROM (ie if he bought the game!).
c) By selling the expansions in a way or another, they could generate even more revenues. To me, this solution seems to be the most important one. However, it excludes a public release of the source code: if anyone could make his own game, then why woud we buy expansion??
The financial feedback needs to be positive, and the possible revenue needs to be greater than the cost. This leads us directly to
Creating on official expansion of the game is costly. It requires a team of coder/ artist / designer / testers...
It requires producing the manual, the media, packaging it, sending it to retailers...
So we need to find a way to reduce the cost as much as possible.
First, it is possible to distribute the expansion online only. This remove the cost of the packaging / distribution via retailers.
Second, if the expansions are made by a team outside of 2K personnels, then the cost of development is greatly reduced.
Only some support from the 2K team would be required, to help the outside team get started and answer question from time to time.
There could also be a small cost for setting up the online buying system, but I don't think it would be very expensive.
For the outside team, I think most of them would be ready to work for "free", or for a small percentage of the sells, to cover their own expenses for instance.
However, this requires minimal investment from 2K, as even if they give let say 10% of the sell to the team (random figures, I have no idea if it should be 1%, 10% or 50%), they would pay only after they got the money first by selling the game!
Another issue is the "technical risk". If the game is released with an "official 2k stamp" and the game doesn't work well (crashes, bugs, etc), then it could give a negative image to 2K.
This could be prevented in two ways:
- With more implication of 2K in the quality control of the expansion
- By putting the external team in front line. The expansion is not made by 2K, but by [InsertName] with the approval of 2k. [InsertName] takes all responsibility for the continous support of the game. This would means the expansions are sold by [InsertName] (even if they then give the larger part of the income to 2k backstage), but still requires the original CD-ROM.
This again goes against a public release.
As a programer myself, I know that sometimes you coded some part quickly, and are a bit reluctant to show it to someone else.
Also, the comments could be not politically correct, and so difficult to release.
This doesn't favour a public release of the code, at least without a lot of cleaning that would be to costly (issue 3).
A simple solution for that is to transfer the code to an external team with a good NDA in place.
The team is allowed to view the code and change it to produce new expansions, but they are not allowed to comment on the quality of the code or to speak about it outside of the team.
This again goes against a public release of the game. However, if the expansion are outsource to an external team, I see two ways to avoid the "third parti" issue.
1) The external team is provided with the necessary licences for development purpose. Once the compilation testing is done, the packaging of the expansion is done in such a way that the licences are not distributed with the expansion (ie they are with the original CD-ROM).
2) The external team works only on some part of the project, send it back to 2k who does the final integration part, including the licenced part. This solution would be a bit more difficult, as the external team would have more difficulty to test, and would require more invovlment from 2k.
I think a good course of action, for 2k and for the CivIII community, would be to use the following business model:
- A team of modders from the CivIII community is selected by 2k (it could be done as for a new job: send resume and letter, then selection). They need to send a NDA and a contract with 2k limiting what they are allowed to do, and how they would do that. The team needs to be small and motivated.
- The team is provided with the source code and necessary tools / external licences. The source code is NOT publicly released.
- The team compiles a list of change they porpose to add to the CivIII game, from the request of the community. 2k approves or not the change.
- The team programs and tests the list of approved changed. 2k provides a limited support (answering some questions when needed).
- When the expansion has been tested, the sources are sent back to 2k, that will add the necesary protection (the team doesn't need to know about it, but 2k could delegate this task to them if they want) and "package it".
- The expansion is released online.
- The revenues goes to 2k, with a small percentage for the team (at least to cover the expenses).
- The support (bug correction, etc) is done by the team.
I think that this method limits the risk and the costs for 2k as much as possible, would make the community happy, and has good chance to generate interesting revenues for 2k, either from extra sells for CivIII, or through the download of the expansion.
Lastly, I'm ready to be part of this team should it be created one day.
I second this 100%!
Originally Posted by I_Batman
The source code is crucial if Civ III shall survive.
I also throw my support into the bucket, 100%.
I think Steph made some great points... I support his ideas, and I_batman also deserves a medal
People are starting to post about this. Steph has detailed plan that I would suggest is possible. I too am a coder, and help with modding.
I have no plans on detailing a list of problems with the code, but there certainly are some that can be eliminated. Coding is never trivial, but I guarantee you that there is a dedicated group of people out there that would do their utmost to take this game to the next level.
Can we expect a response from you?
Let's give this a try
>>>I am, by no means whatsoever, a modder.<<<
But, I do occasionally touch the editor. And even I would like more advanced options for moddability of Civ III. I guess that would mean 2K could either release the code...... or they could just fix everything that's wrong themselves.
Steph made a great point under issue #2: most of the players have split up into two major factions. One of these groups plays Civ III, and really wishes the bugs could be fixed because Civ IV just isn't their thing, or they just don't want to shell out the money to buy a higher end computer. And the other group has basically moved on to bigger and (in their opinions) better things, namely, Civ IV.
However, I'm not a business major...I'm just a Civ lover ...and I'm sure there's something to do with finances in all of this mumbo jumbo.
May the source code please be released? CivIII is a great game and has plenty of mileage still in it. I'm not a programmer and probably wouldn't understand the source code without a great deal of practice and study but there are folks out there who can put it to work and hopefully make a better game for us all.
Thank you for your consideration.
2K, what are your intentions for the Civ 3 source code? We just want some minor problems fixed, some increased gameplay experience, and a better game.
Your devoted Civ III gamer,
I totally support the release of the Civ3 code. Whether it be released to a small group of people signing a non disclosure agreement or through sales via an internet download or through retailers. I would gladly pay money for the code, although I wouldn't be able to do anything with it myself, but have someone make game/editor changes for me.
Other previous posters have stated excellent reasons for releasing the code, so I really have no additional reasons to add.
I have Civ3, PTW and C3C. I have also purchased all three CivIV games/expansions. I am disappointed with the CivIV game series. Even though it has more modding ability, it isn't for the casual modder. I have learned to mod the xml files to tweak units (stats, attack bonuses, and defense bonuses). However, I do not know how to mod the AI behavior. My work with the xml files is ultimately futile, since the AI doesn't make proper use of my changes. So, I have gone back to Civ3 right now because it is easier to mod, yet less depth of modding.
The only reasons I can think of why the Civ3 code wouldn't be released is that Take Two doesn't have the full code, the code is a mess and a coding embarassment, or Take Two is afraid of losing gamers from CivIV series back to a less "flashy", older game.
Come on' Take Two, what have you really got to lose ?
I support this call for the release of the code.
I'm playing civ from it's first beginnings till the latest version and I truly think civ3 could be made much better if the last errors within it's code would be changed by modders who have given me so much fun with all their scenario's.
It would show common courtesy if someone from 2K would at least acknowledge this thread.
I noticed someone mentioned moving on to bigger and better things but the problem I have with Civ4 is how limited it is for modding when it comes to map size and adding additional units because of the graphics engine used those things add up exponentionally to more CPU / memory. That is why I would prefer to see something done for Civ 3 like as release of the source code if 2K does not wish to make a "patch".
I support this.
Cmon its just bone lazy not to realease it at this point.
i just talked to my producer and he said that once he discussed this with the person who i believe is the OP, but i'm not sure. however, i'll give you a quick run down on why we can't release the source code:
1. some of the source code of older editions you are speaking of is lost, and we don't have it to give away.
2. civ III is still being sold, and since we make money off that code, we cannot release it to the public.
3. we sell the source code to some people for some uses, and again, if we sell it, we cannot give it away for free.
I'm not sure you read what I proposed in my message.
We are not suggesting that you give it for free.
How much do you charge for this code for some uses cost?
Originally Posted by 2K Elizabeth
About the problems:
1- If you indeed lose all the source code of CivIII, CivIII play the world and CivIII Conquests, and this code is key to the possible expansion of the game, then we really have a problem. But someone from your configuration managemernt team should have some explanations to give to his boss .
2- In my analysis of the issue (post #4), I tried to propose a solution that is compatible with the game being still sold. It could even increase the sells. Did you read it?
3- Again, we are not asking to have it released publicly for free. See my post.
i don't deal with our money. i think you'd have to enter into negotiations with our money people if you wanted to buy it.
Originally Posted by Virote_Considon
I just got here, so Im playing catch up.
So then the engine cannot be recreated? Surely enough of the code is still present to reverse engineer/reconstruct the rest?
Originally Posted by 2K Elizabeth
Would we have to form a corporation to purchase/lease the use of the code?? Im not sure that is outside the boundaries of what we are willing to do here.
Originally Posted by 2K Elizabeth
Steph may have already said this, but I believe the base problem here is that you at 2KGames are "protecting" yourselves from "Competitors". We are the farthest thing from that. We are avid fans of a brilliantly done system. However, as with anything that you play with long enough, it gets old and you find flaws. All we are truely asking is that you allow us (and not waste any of your time on a game that wont boost your sales numbers) to improve it FOR you. A contract could be formed, requiring all results to be property of 2KGames or something, but at least concider a possibliity that instead of some people trying to invent a rival game, that a group of private contractors would like to volunteer (Even at personal expence) to improve your product (Hopefully creating a revival in the Civ community, and eventual higher sales for Civ 4)...
I know I am saying a mouthful, and Im not sure I speak for everyone.
This has been Spacer One's 2cents...
Civ3 was widely distributed with CIv4 in the Chronicles . New modding software that lets users creaye improved content or new games basicly makes the old civ3 more like a gaming console.
ITs 2d ease on technical requiments makes a unique product for Laptop and average pc owners owners that want a strategy thats up to todays par. Yet not slowdowns that come with todays ever increasing demands on hardware.
Many would buy the 'console' to play the improved civ3 through the newly indroduced software. THose who still play civ3 would instantly pay whatever to bring in to the next level.
Civ4 complaints sometimes reveal civ3 benifits by comparasin. Those who had never played civ3 liked civ4 but have heard of civ3 advatages now see that civ3 has been boosted even more and would think hey why not give it shot aswell>
2K Elizabeth, when I set up this original post, I was hoping that someone from 2K would respond.
Last year, about this time, I spoke through email with Jason Bergman of 2K. (I believe he is still there, but now works in product development). Upon his instructions, I mailed to the Manhattan offices of 2K a proposal. I won't rehash all the details of that proposal here, but I can make them available if 2K is interested. Jason kicked the proposal upstairs, but I never heard another word about it.
I should have made my initial post more clear: I completely understand 2K's reticence about open sourcing the code, and I realize that will never happen with a game that 2K is still actively profiting from. 2K is a business, and the only way your company will entertain any notion about allowing any type of fan access to code is if they see the potential for increased profits.
That being said, I am sure we can come to some sort of mutually beneficial agreement where 2K keeps complete control, but allows a select few fan coders the ability to alter specific ongoing issues with the code. I believe Steph's post on page 1 (#4 overall) of this thread shows a lot of creativity and some good points to negotiate from.
From the fan's perspective, I can assure you there is indeed still an intense urge to improve the game engine. Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. If the game was not already great, people would not still be so passionate about it. But there is room for improvement. And I am not the only one who believes there is still a viable market for an improved Civ III product.
Thanks for listening, and please forward this on to whomever you deem appropriate. Thank you.
I attempted to begin negotiations some time ago without any luck. I'll repeat one note I wrote:
Originally Posted by 2K Elizabeth
"I am writing in an attempt to find out if any source code information might be available and, if so, under what terms.
"Specifically, I am interested in the code for the C3C Editor as well as an API map for both the Editor and the game's main code (NB: This is NOT a request for access to the main gaming code itself!)
"I'm aware that there have been several inquiries on this front (there are still many ardent fans congregated at Civilization Fanatics Center) but I believe this specific request - simply to let fans of your product enhance their enjoyment of the game while perhaps expanding its player base - is the first of its sort.
"If there is another person I should be conveying this to, I would greatly appreciate contact information for that person."
The reply was simply that there were no plans at present to release the code in any way (although I'm certain many of us are curious about the Canadian project).
Eric a.k.a. "Oz"
i fully support this movement and would gladly contribute in any way i could
If 2K made some improvements to the Civ3 code as far as the AI and editor additions I think you would find enough people willing to buy a new Civ3 release. As stated earlier it is easier for people with laptops and older desktops to play because the graphic egine is 2d in nature also it allows for larger maps. If 2K is not willing to make changes to the Civ3 code / editor what would it take for the fans of Civ 3 to get the source code so that we could make the changes?
I'd like to post my support for the release of the Civ III source code. Several months ago, I did reach informal contact with a member of 2K to discuss the source code and it's possible release.
I don't speak for everyone, but I think people would be content with the same sort of source code you all released for Civ IV, one that could make it possible to modify more of the game, but one that didn't make it possible to pirate. I can see your concern with piracy and the possibility of losing money.
I also would be content with a release of the source code in a special edition of the game. I would be more than willing to purchase said game, no matter what the price. I think if you all are willing to sell the source code to a private company/person, that would be good too.
Anyways, just adding my support to the release of the source code.
2K Elizabeth, I am supporting (nearly) any solution to enhence civ III here. We don't want to make money with this! All we want is to delete some bugs and enter some new features. If 2K is still selling Civ III they won't be against an enhencing made by fans for very low costs (if at all). We're doing that not for money!
I know, you're only a connection to us fans and can only tell the officials about our request. But that's a suboptimal way (like the former Chancellor Schröder once said) as it is long and misunderstandings can endanger everything. So is it possible that we can choose one or two from us to contact your official, who is in charge of that, directly? Only these people get the email adress and no one else. Then we can negotiate a solution, which is good for all of us.
Also if someone lost the code or parts of it I don't think that it is impossible to redo that.
I also want to urge 2K to consider working on a plan for the source code for Civ 3 as well. I play both Civ 3 and Civ 4 and both are fine games in their own rights, but there are some things Civ 4 is simply not capable of that Civ 3 is and that is what makes Civ 3 still attractive to so many of us and why there is a passion to work on advancing the development of Civ 3.
I think sometimes companies are ready to prematurely turn the page on a game system and this is the case for Civ 3.
I realize that 2K probably feels they have better things to do than to worry about a legacy Civ 3 game, but in this case, I believe it worth the effort to explore the possibilities.
I support this 100%. I am a huge fan of Civilization III, and I like to think that I have a very good experience with modding too, maybe even somewhat of a good idea of programming.
I think that Civ3 is by far the best game of the Civilization series, and though I bought Civ4 from respect to Civ3, I abandoned it after trying for hundreds of times to enjoy it and always feeling the urge to get back to Civ3. It is a matter of opinion, but in my opinion, it is simply a better game. And it's a pity that we cannot improve it further than the current limitations of the editor.
I do think 2k could get a significant number of sales if a new Civ3 was coming up. And Steph's ideas show that the likely problems have solutions, that what we are requesting will probably not require a huge effort on 2K's part, and it's actually a great opportunity for the company to win money, not a possibility of losing them.
I'm afraid that is not possible unfortunately. The game should have been built from the beginning to make it possible to give SDK access.
Originally Posted by Red Door
I've registered here to let you know I'm in full support of this request. We are all dedicated gamers who love Civ III and want to be able to improve upon it. Allowing a chosen team out of those fans who are able to use the source code to improve the game as we've discussed over on civfanatics, but with the legal restriction of not being able to release it, allowing you guys to monitor and release it as and when appropriate could lead to a patch that allows greater longevity of a great game without any real outlay in terms of finance or labour from 2K.
I strongly support this request. Civ 3 Conquests was left unfinished with a broken "half-patch" in favour of Civ 4 (what I buyed but never could get happy with it, especially with its 3d engine). I´m now waiting for several years to get a complete working patch for C3C. This is no good service to the customers. And I remember all people in Civ 4 forums (and following Civ-games forums), what was done to C3C and that a company who does this once, can do this twice, too.
To allow the fans to do the job, that still should have been done by the company itself, would be a methode to give civers the working patch that is a moral debt of the company. Calming down people by giving them at least the opportunity to fix what others promised and left unfinished and broken can be an economic arguement, too.
Steph´s suggestion has a potential that should be considered and realized.
I'm in full support of this. I love Civ III and this would definately help to make the already awesome experience infinitly better. The modders are great, but limited, please help 'em out!
I support this idea at 100% !
I hope we can find an agreement with 2K
I am a french civ3 player (and modder). I know many french players who are still playing on that great game. Some have civ4 and play with the 2 versions but many don't like civ4.
I think 3D does not bring anything to a strategy game (except disadvantages)
It would be brilliant if something could be worked out, Civ 3 has been my favourite game since I first bought it in 2004 and I would love the kinks to be ironed out.
I support this 100%.
I have bought and played all the Civ's since Civ 1 on the Amiga.
Modification and extra functionality will enhance Civ 3 to be the greatest strategy game of all time. As it is now, its flawed, but no unfixible. Granting developers a license to work on the code under an NDA would be fantastic.
Please consider this for the sake of all the fans!
Surely Sid would be happy?
I'd rather not; but i would pay to see just a few bugs in civ III fixed, and some neat improvements to the game. Civ III represents a major modding platform which's limits have been reached fifty-fold. If it's moding posibilities were to be extended, we would all be content with it. The source code dosn't need to be released, as that has been said before.
Another person to post I support this 100%
I would love to see Civ 3 properly bandaged up finally. It is still a great game that my friends and I enjoy. There are some very annoying bugs still in it and being able to get them smoothed out could really make this game reach its potential.
It would be nice if it had a source code available for everyone, but its pretty clear that is an impossability. But a patch or even additional expansion would be great. Even more so if it included the ability to have more than 8 nation slots open in multiplayer. If this code gets open, will the people responsible please add more open nation slots in multiplayer? It would be nice if you did at least 20. But 31 oor whatever the cap is would be best. I ask to please take it up to 12 at least though. I know I am getting ahead of myself but please, please, please.
But bottom line, here's another signature to throw on the stack.