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Moddable content/data as external dll

#1
Hi Josh,

I just read your devlog of friday, June 6, 2014.
Since you're game is fully procedural, why not simply externalize data (mostly functions I think) through external dll(s)?
Since modding is generally not targeted at casual player, I think it would be easier for you to give hackers/modders some kind of API reference and let them compile their own modding dll.

Btw, I think the job you done on the game is awesome. I have deep regrets having missed the kickstarter campaign.
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Re: Moddable content/data as external dll

#4
Without trying to speak for Josh, I suspect that we're talking about things at different levels here.

DLLs/libraries are a method for packaging code and data. What Josh is looking at right now (if I understood him correctly) is not how to distribute information that changes how the game works, but how to actually encode that information.

A function is a sequence of commands. It would be nice to be able to let players change some of those. But right now what Josh has is a way to let players edit data, which is just a collection of letters and numbers that are taken as input by internal functions.

What's needed is a coding -- a table of equalities that says this group of data elements represents that functional command. That way players can use the existing editor to change data, but the data actually represent (and are treated as) a function, a collection of commands that tell the rest of the game how to behave. This (I think) is what Josh means by "externalizing" functionality.

The challenge Josh is considering now is: how do you define a coding that is both intuitive and powerful, but without actually inventing a programming language?

He likes the non-trivial things. :D
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Re: Moddable content/data as external dll

#6
Indeed, you can also store global variables (I know, they are evil) on dynamic libraries. Or put them in accessors.
If you think about modifying a few global parameters, text/config files are much more suited you're right!

I was more thinking about deeper modding capabilities (the russian way :D ). E.g. things like overriding the game procedural algorithm for ship/asteroid generation.

By the way, programmable computers would be an awesome addition, and I think that's something that can be added by the community through mods!
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Re: Moddable content/data as external dll

#7
RexCortex wrote:Indeed, you can also store global variables (I know, they are evil) on dynamic libraries. Or put them in accessors.
If you think about modifying a few global parameters, text/config files are much more suited you're right!

I was more thinking about deeper modding capabilities (the russian way :D ). E.g. things like overriding the game procedural algorithm for ship/asteroid generation.

By the way, programmable computers would be an awesome addition, and I think that's something that can be added by the community through mods!
Sorry man but moddability to that extend does not seem to be planned by Josh.
From the FAQ:
Modding / Cheat Codes

There is no 'official' mod support. There is the Node Editor which allows you to manipulate data and values in real time. The values in the node editor control just about everything in the game and through this, the user can modify the look and feel of their game and gameplay experience. However, external mods are not in the works. There are ideas by some members in the forum that have mentioned possible methods of making mods, but there is nothing concrete.

With the Node Editor, since you can manipulate the game data, it is also possible to use this as a cheat interface to provide, say, infinite credits, or strength of weapons and/or armor.
So the things you will be able to do are altering variables but you won't be able to add or alter mechanics, algorithms,...
Edit: correction
Last edited by Cha0zz on Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Moddable content/data as external dll

#8
Hey Rex, thanks for your thoughts! I've considered external lib as an option (and was even testing it at one point), but I just hate the idea of having to ship header files + ask people to get a whole compilation pipeline set up just to tweak things. I think it's not accessible enough :(

But I'm quite happy with what is coming together at the moment, so hang tight!! :)

Also, @Cha0zz - many of the procedural algorithms will indeed be moddable and will be specified externally :thumbup:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: Moddable content/data as external dll

#11
Well, PGC games are usually not moddable in the first place - or only superficially on the UI or gadget level.

Starbound is an odd duck. While it's planets / biomes / monsters are procedural in nature, the game allows you to add scripts which can implement entirely new features.

What and how you can mod in LT is still a bit vague. There has to be some structure which translates into limitations to modding. =)
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Moddable content/data as external dll

#12
My understanding always was that modding would be limited to things you could do with the data editor (and it seems, as for now, maybe also with the function editor). If players/modders are meant to have the same tools at their disposal or not... that's the question. As you say, traditional modding is not supported and because of the nature of the game would be extremely difficult to achieve. But modders are known to be a very, very insistent folk... :lol:
I have been - and always shall be - your friend.
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Re: Moddable content/data as external dll

#13
Lum wrote:As you say, traditional modding is not supported and because of the nature of the game would be extremely difficult to achieve. But modders are known to be a very, very insistent folk... :lol:
Prette creative fellas, too, so "hardcoded" does not necessarily mean what the developer thought it means. =P

We'll have to see.
There is no "I" in Tea. That would be gross.
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Re: Moddable content/data as external dll

#15
So um, Aquatheory and Aerotheory anyone? I can just imagine some modders giving us Jules Verne submarine, or HG Wells flying machine ship generation algorithms turning space into water or sky and letting us do battle among the clouds!
Foaming at the mouth indeed.
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