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How to contact Rob Elam? (regarding OMF:2097 on GOG.com)
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raptor
Ancient One


Joined: 02 Sep 1999
Posts: 4510
Location: Sandefjord, Norway

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I'll just throw my vote for waiting until OpenOMF runs well enough, and then put that on GOG. They're currently working with the first basic AI, and it is in some ways actually harder than the old one, because it blocks so much better :p
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dvereb



Joined: 21 Jul 2001
Posts: 405
Location: Erie, PA

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just waiting for some day where there is a new post by Rob titled "WHAAAT?" and the only text is a link to github with full source for at least one game.

...I can dream, right?
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General_Dingo



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dvereb wrote:
I'm just waiting for some day where there is a new post by Rob titled "WHAAAT?" and the only text is a link to github with full source for at least one game.

...I can dream, right?


Or at least the mod tools for OMF: BG. Would put a big stupid grin on my face.
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dvereb



Joined: 21 Jul 2001
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

General_Dingo wrote:
Or at least the mod tools for OMF: BG. Would put a big stupid grin on my face.


I used them for a short while...and technically never signed an NDA. I'd be the guy to leak it, but unfortunately I'm too nice of a guy and will honor the request not to. Sad

...then again that was YEARS ago, but I doubt the links are still up to download the tools. Smile
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General_Dingo



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dvereb wrote:
General_Dingo wrote:
Or at least the mod tools for OMF: BG. Would put a big stupid grin on my face.


I used them for a short while...and technically never signed an NDA. I'd be the guy to leak it, but unfortunately I'm too nice of a guy and will honor the request not to. Sad

...then again that was YEARS ago, but I doubt the links are still up to download the tools. Smile


Personally I think Rob Elam has had quite enough time to finish and release the mod tools himself. From what I've gathered he's long since abandoned OMF entirely so I can't imagine him being too miffed if the incomplete tools found their way in the hands of the general public.

I'll just sit around and play with the tournament compiler for 2097 until some good samaritan "accidentally" releases working links to BG's mod tools.

Just gotta hope I don't croak before then. Razz
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dvereb



Joined: 21 Jul 2001
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Location: Erie, PA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the links do seem to work, but the account credentials have changed. Looks like I couldn't do it even if I wanted to. Also, Rob still owns omf, right? If so, I would say it wouldn't be right to give the tools out until given permission.
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General_Dingo



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dvereb wrote:
So the links do seem to work, but the account credentials have changed. Looks like I couldn't do it even if I wanted to. Also, Rob still owns omf, right? If so, I would say it wouldn't be right to give the tools out until given permission.


Eh, considering OMF as a franchise is dead, Battlegrounds especially so, the fact that it's been over a decade since the game came out, and the fact that Rob Elam is apparently very difficult to talk to on matters about OMF, I don't think it'd be morally reprehensible to release the tools.

I guess we can only hope that Rob Elam eventually decides to release it since it seems nobody actually has the tools anymore. If he wants compensation for the tools then sure, he can put a price tag on them. At this point in time it seems to be a hopeless dream that those tools will ever see the light of day, which is quite a pity.

Even if the tools can't be used to do anything advanced and crazy, it would be nice to at the very least use them to unlock Throck, Ape-Tech, Flipper 8000, Mizuno-4 and MizunoMX. Also bringing Lucas back to the patched version would be neat.

Or we could all try our hands at hex editing and unlock those characters that way. But I'd be lying if I said I was any good at that sort of thing.
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dvereb



Joined: 21 Jul 2001
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Location: Erie, PA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

General_Dingo wrote:
dvereb wrote:
So the links do seem to work, but the account credentials have changed. Looks like I couldn't do it even if I wanted to. Also, Rob still owns omf, right? If so, I would say it wouldn't be right to give the tools out until given permission.


Eh, considering OMF as a franchise is dead, Battlegrounds especially so, the fact that it's been over a decade since the game came out, and the fact that Rob Elam is apparently very difficult to talk to on matters about OMF, I don't think it'd be morally reprehensible to release the tools.

I guess we can only hope that Rob Elam eventually decides to release it since it seems nobody actually has the tools anymore. If he wants compensation for the tools then sure, he can put a price tag on them. At this point in time it seems to be a hopeless dream that those tools will ever see the light of day, which is quite a pity.

Even if the tools can't be used to do anything advanced and crazy, it would be nice to at the very least use them to unlock Throck, Ape-Tech, Flipper 8000, Mizuno-4 and MizunoMX. Also bringing Lucas back to the patched version would be neat.

Or we could all try our hands at hex editing and unlock those characters that way. But I'd be lying if I said I was any good at that sort of thing.


Well 2097 was released June 15, 1994. BG in December 2003. That's 9 years there, so 12 isn't too long. If he ever decided to come back to OMF, don't you think it would be his right to not have had people releasing some of his older, unreleased tools? Also, since they were never released it should come as no surprise that they weren't polished. Then he's (theoretically) coming back to reboot a franchise, and as soon as people find out, the most recent update they'll find is not-ready-for-the-average-user mod tools.

...or ... an awesome, modded version of OMF:BG. Wink

I'm just trying to imagine it from his perspective and ask myself how I would feel if people who used to help me test my game that we all cared so much about went behind my back and gave away something I wasn't done with / wasn't happy enough with to release yet. If he really doesnt have any interest in BG, someone should ask him to let us leak the tools (no effort on his part, assuming someone has the new username and password). If he says no, then obviously he still cares about it enough to consider revisiting it in the future.
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raptor
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Joined: 02 Sep 1999
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow life.

It really is as simple as Rob Elam sits with all rights and powers, and he can decide to do with it as he pleases. And it obviously does not please him to release it. Until the IP gets aged or something, nothing we can do about it.

He seemed to be happy programing for Sony last time we heard anything from him, so he doesn't seem very interested. Ah well, his choice and I can respect that, doesn't mean I agree.

Dingo: If you like messing around with the Tournament Compiler for 2097, drop by on the irc chatroom, we got a few projects going there, and I think Kat and Vag got a bit more of the tournament system figured out, so you can start looking into how tournaments work, nag on Kat/Vag to work harder on implementing it in OpenOMF, and even make the first custom Tournament for OpenOMF ;) Link in my signature!
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Malfrex
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Joined: 27 Jul 2000
Posts: 2090
Location: Vancouver, BC/Canada

PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Dingo: I have the tools. I have them in their original released form, the passworded RAR file and decompressed. They are "usable" in the barest definition of the term. They are alpha like and lrone to crashing. The only documentation I have for them is stuff myself and I believe Spockmeat and/or Killer Roach drafted to a) create a new pilot and b) create a new tournament. I tried but could not find a way to export models of textures. You can view the source for some objects... kind of but there is no Logic and you have no way of knowing what classes/object are since it is kind of shoved into an awkward GUI. If it was further fleshed out I'm sure they would have been useful.

I also have a fair bit of other relevant documentation from development... I invested a fair bit of time freelance beta testing the game and even did online support at release for a few months. If you recall Battlecast, the fanfic stuff in there was started as a fleshed out storyline I had made (and we started to try to implement with the tools) as a fleshed out branching storyline for the actual game given the weakness of the "storyline" of the tournaments but Rob decided against it. Unfortunately I had lost that work and can't provide the DEobject file that would just be the first 2 matches of the "story" tournament. I had intended for it to allow a branching path, based on winning/losonga match but the editor didn't support it.

Unless Kevin or someone who was actually employed at DE has extra stuff, I probably have the most dev stuff from the game... by complete fluke of fate. However, I did sign the NDA and I will uphold it, regardless of feeling like holding onto it still is a disservice to the few dedicated fans remaining. My job in the VFX industry (been doing this for ~8 years now...) has even more insane NDAs than the one I signed for DE.
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General_Dingo



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malfrex wrote:
@Dingo: I have the tools. I have them in their original released form, the passworded RAR file and decompressed. They are "usable" in the barest definition of the term. They are alpha like and lrone to crashing. The only documentation I have for them is stuff myself and I believe Spockmeat and/or Killer Roach drafted to a) create a new pilot and b) create a new tournament. I tried but could not find a way to export models of textures. You can view the source for some objects... kind of but there is no Logic and you have no way of knowing what classes/object are since it is kind of shoved into an awkward GUI. If it was further fleshed out I'm sure they would have been useful.

I also have a fair bit of other relevant documentation from development... I invested a fair bit of time freelance beta testing the game and even did online support at release for a few months. If you recall Battlecast, the fanfic stuff in there was started as a fleshed out storyline I had made (and we started to try to implement with the tools) as a fleshed out branching storyline for the actual game given the weakness of the "storyline" of the tournaments but Rob decided against it. Unfortunately I had lost that work and can't provide the DEobject file that would just be the first 2 matches of the "story" tournament. I had intended for it to allow a branching path, based on winning/losonga match but the editor didn't support it.

Unless Kevin or someone who was actually employed at DE has extra stuff, I probably have the most dev stuff from the game... by complete fluke of fate. However, I did sign the NDA and I will uphold it, regardless of feeling like holding onto it still is a disservice to the few dedicated fans remaining. My job in the VFX industry (been doing this for ~8 years now...) has even more insane NDAs than the one I signed for DE.


I'm relieved to hear that the tools still exist in their entirety. Still hope for a release one day then.

If you signed an NDA that's fair. Can't ask people to break an NDA just for me. Also don't even want to think about what these VFX industry NDA's are like.

I do find it curious that there's pretty much no mods for Battlegrounds at all, despite some people having the tools. Only one I know of is Wraiyth's "MultiplayerMod". Are the tools really that challenging to use, or was there just little interest in making mods?

raptor wrote:
Wow life.

It really is as simple as Rob Elam sits with all rights and powers, and he can decide to do with it as he pleases. And it obviously does not please him to release it. Until the IP gets aged or something, nothing we can do about it.

He seemed to be happy programing for Sony last time we heard anything from him, so he doesn't seem very interested. Ah well, his choice and I can respect that, doesn't mean I agree.

Dingo: If you like messing around with the Tournament Compiler for 2097, drop by on the irc chatroom, we got a few projects going there, and I think Kat and Vag got a bit more of the tournament system figured out, so you can start looking into how tournaments work, nag on Kat/Vag to work harder on implementing it in OpenOMF, and even make the first custom Tournament for OpenOMF Wink Link in my signature!


I don't want to stir up trouble over the tools, it just seemed like there was no official NDA (clearly not though) and that the whole thing had been abandoned. I hope Rob realizes that there are people who do really Battlegrounds and want to add content to it. It's a solid game when you get past the buginess and lack of content (which can be mitigated with mods).

As for 2097, I just like making new pilots with neat colour palettes and use the tournaments to be able to fight said pilots. When they get tournament mode working I'll probably set some stuff up, don't know if any of it would be good enough to release though.
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Malfrex
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Joined: 27 Jul 2000
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Location: Vancouver, BC/Canada

PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

General_Dingo wrote:
I'm relieved to hear that the tools still exist in their entirety. Still hope for a release one day then.


I went through my files and couldn't find a copy of the NDA I signed and the wayback machine doesn't have it archived at all. Given the fact I was in the first round of testers and my application was submitted back in Dec. 2001 (by fax!) I'm not surprised. I did find in my ancient e-mails a list of ~70 keys for the full beta (not LT) for reviewers and testers by that point. Yes, have Wayne's, Firebird's, and Y2K_Master's beta keys. All completely pointless now as the site isn't accessible although it might work if someone still has the installer for the beta. I have *a* beta build but I'm at work and can't look up the number on it. The first build released for testing was build 17... to give you an idea of how rough it was at the start.

The multiplayer mod was definitely done using the tools. It is relatively easy to create a new pilot as you effectively just add a portrait, define their color palette, and define their 4 attribute values. From there they have sliders for how their AI will react, ie. you can have them repeat the same basic moves all the time or be completely random. Seek revenge against being killed, be aggressive/defensive, etc. I believe there are 8 sliders for AI logic - its been a while since I've loaded the tools.

The tournaments as well are logical in their configuration, but they are a bit more work. If you ignore dialogue its easier to do, but you have to factor in the outcomes etc for the dialogue logic. Think how if you lose round 1 the player responses are different. The big issue with the tools are that they are VERY unstable. They are the tools the devs used to configure the game so they do work, but weird stuff will happen like random freezing, you'll open a menu and not be able to back out, or sliders/options just don't appear at all. So you have to save (if you can), exit, restart.

Everything was written in Visual Studio 6 (I believe), which is why the game has issues running on anything newer than XP - M$ changed the code to access the keyboard logic so the game never receives your input.

With regards to speaking to Rob, I tried. I really did. I tracked down Ryan Elam, who he works with at Sony via LinkedIn and said "Hi". When I asked him to follow up with Rob about allowing the release of the mod tools or even (possibly) the source code, all I got was silence. Rob isn't even on LinkedIn so I can't try to message him directly. Much like the source for 2097, I doubt it will ever be released, which is disappointing. I'm not flashing this in people's faces to go "na na, you can't have it!" I just want to make sure people are aware I still have this stuff and if, in the slim chance, Rob decides to allow its release I have *some* of it readily available.

*EDIT*
Since I've been getting PMs about this and I don't see how it would harm anyone at this point, here's a screenshot of the editor that proves a) it does really exist and b) it does still run, in all its janky-ness and all. Yes, Flipper 8000 was both an animal (shocker!!!) and a girl (!!!!!!!!!).


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General_Dingo



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Malfrex wrote:

...
Since I've been getting PMs about this and I don't see how it would harm anyone at this point, here's a screenshot of the editor that proves a) it does really exist and b) it does still run, in all its janky-ness and all. Yes, Flipper 8000 was both an animal (shocker!!!) and a girl (!!!!!!!!!).


Heh. Those tools sure do look unpolished, but they're still a wonderful sight to behold. I don't see anything there that seems to show if and where a character is unlockable. Wondering if that second tab for Flipper with the "+" next has anything to do with that. Also wondering if there's any pilots there that aren't in the game at all for whatever reason.

Also in relation to the topic, it'd be nice to see BG updated so the keys and multiplayer actually work properly and then put the thing on GOG. I was lucky enough to find my copy on ebay, box, jewel case and manual included. But yeah... bugs that would turn off any new-comers.
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Malfrex
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Joined: 27 Jul 2000
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

General_Dingo wrote:
Wondering if that second tab for Flipper with the "+" next has anything to do with that. Also wondering if there's any pilots there that aren't in the game at all for whatever reason.


I chose, randomly, to do the screenshot looking at the pilots info (Data/Pilots.DEObjects). The '+' beside the name just expands out the info, hence me actually loading the info and the screenshot in 2 different windows so you can see the pilot image etc and *some* of the attributes.

I believe the save status is within the PhoenixRegistry.DEObjects file but I haven't been able to decrypt it. Like I said, I still have the guides we wrote a long time ago for how to actually create new pilots/tournaments but as I can't get it to run on Win 7 x64 without crashing before entering a match (I tried the Dxwnd tool) I can't really get into things further.
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Vagab0nd
OpenOMFdev


Joined: 30 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2015 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just remember guys, distribution of the mod tools falls under copyright, not any NDAs that were (or were not) signed. DE or whoever still holds the copyright on the mod tools so they can't legally be redistributed without a license from the rights holder.

Also, it is likely any NDA signed with DE has expired at this point (typical duration of NDAs are 7-10 years), but NDAs (usually) only cover sharing knowledge of internal details (technological secrets, customer lists, etc).

Now, there *is* an OMF game with an explicit copyright grant for free redistribution, a decent set of mod tools AND and engine that should run pretty much anywhere... Wink

http://www.openomf.org/
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