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The Making of Freeciv WebGL 3D (freeciv.org)
182 points by roschdal on May 20, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments

I've gone through my Freeciv spurts over the years, and I must say the developers of this project deserve serious credit for continuing development and innovating. The art has been a bit lacking, but the new 3D version is looking pretty good and getting better. The real success with the game is the immersive detailed game play, the devs. have been smart to add a wide range of features and detailed management while not going over board.

I agree 100%, although I've always been surprised that a game like Freeciv wasn't vector-graphics based, because it seems to fit so well. Maybe not Freeciv per se, but something similar. I haven't checked in awhile, though, so maybe they introduced something.

The initial release was in 1996; the vector graphics situation wasn't really the same back then.

I think it was, and could have been a part of the game.

For instance, add one more vector-graphic guru to the team and they could kludge or slice new features in.

Kudos to open software devs! Lots of work.

>I've gone through my Freeciv spurts over the years

Is it still really, really hard unless you use the "one true strategy"?

I used to love playing Freeciv, but whenever I touched it in the last few years, I found that it has become ridiculously hard. It feels like after a few rounds the other civilizations are already building King Richard's Crusade or whatever about 1000 BC, and a few rounds after that they get upset for no diplomatic reason, declare war, and wipe you off the map.

I'm sure some people like the challenge, but when I play games I do like to get a chance at winning :-)

So yes, it's really hard, which would be OK if there were settings that make it easier, but I for one can't find them.

I haven't played Freeciv in a while, but the AI only respects strength. Build lots of ranged units and a few mele units and a lot of mounted units to capture cities. AI is not smart enough to compete with a human player so they give it a lot of bonuses like more science points, etc. AI therefore cheats with rigged bonus points on dice rolls.

Not really as you can't play longer than like 100 turns because your browser will be so overloaded thanks to WebGL...

I want to like WebGL, but then I start comparing what I can do with it and the native languages I have on the same systems....

It doesn't even work properly on some OpenGL ES 3.x devices I own, while they work perfectly fine with the native games.

What exactly do you mean by the "one true strategy"?

Possibly infinite city sprawl (Smallpox): http://freeciv.wikia.com/wiki/City_smallpox

Not really. You'll also want to tweak the ruleset so that it plays more like one prefers.

I am not sure if it's a browser issue or something else, but the WebGL game just feels sluggish to me. I'm on a MBP retina with Chrome and when moving the units on the board, the sound actually happens before I see the actual unit moving.

Also - chrome has a pretty significant energy impact when playing this game, causing the fans to start up.

Trying to play Freeciv I have this "what am I suppose to do in this game" feeling. Not everyone has grown up with this kind of game and there´s no real onboarding. It's a bit sad because I'm sure I might enjoy it

To be honest, that is how the original civilization games feel like. Very sparse and unfriendly onboarding.

Civ2 at least had a tutorial game (explained in the paper manual!) and auto "help" ("this looks like a good place to build a city"). The game is pretty hard until you get the hang of it, especially in the version where the AI hates humans.

My cousins always want to play Civ III, and after several ~10hr games, I still don't really know what I am doing.

It's a game of decision-making. Each decision leads you on another branch of the tree. To make it more unpredictable, your decision-tree is mutated by each other player's decision-tree.

Like any traversal-oriented game (RPG, etc.), it just takes a lot to understand the effects of your choices, and what goals to make.

After a few games you kind of get the hang of the initial phase, and some techs are always decent to aim for at first, but the really tricky part is quickly assessing your starting conditions and​ adapting your goals from that.

I suggest watching some tutorials on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6xBi2JWyZU

I don't know about Freeciv, but all other civ games have extensive guidance systems. Game tells you "build your city here", press B to build city, build defensive unit, fortify unit, go explore the terrain, pick this research, build this building". Sure, if you're an advanced player, you can ignore that and go your own way, but as a novice player you can just follow the AI advice and play on a somewhat comfortable level.

Civ1 was the same, you gotta know the basic hot keys A, S, X if you got them down things get a bit easier.

That reminds me of when I got Civilization I for my birthday.

Its almost like the game has become watching the devs keep making the game, and to be honest that part seems much more interesting and fun then trying the learn and play the thing.

Long ago I lost the ability to find mindless enjoyment, what I look for in games, in management-type sims such as this. They stress me out too much with the endless options and tweakings.

I played through all civ's. This is probably a game that ate most of my gaming time. And i think it's because of the same thing as for you, that you are building a most efficient system for your goal. Recently i discovered "Factorio" and i think it will take over the civ for me. And steel even more of my time :(

Edit: be warned, it's really addictive...

Hey it looks pretty awesome...thanks for the heads up I'll give it a try.

The invariant of Civ games is that they need to create an immersive experience related to the historic period you are in and around each civilization.

Commercial Civ games achieve this using a combination of graphics, music and sound effects. So I think the challenge for FreeCiv is that, is to become more immersive in this way.

e.g: In commercial games you have accompanying music, you have sound effects and unit sounds for each language, each period looks very distinctive from each other.

But don't get me wrong though, I think it is a fantastic project, and have had fun playing it over the years. Same with FreeCol.

Wow, I thought it didn't look that impressive and judged by late 2016 but it's already looking far better/mature and suited for actual gaming. Some traction there! :)

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