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Gaia Project» Forums » General

Subject: online play rss

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Ola Caster
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So, it’s been a long while since I posted here or even logged in to bgg. I haven’t read up on what’s been posted either, so there might be redundant information here. I just wanted to share some of my experiences from the last six months or so.

As you know, I made a public announcement that I intended to develop an online platform for Gaia. Even though I suspected it would be a lot of work, I had no real sense of the scale of the task. It didn’t take too long to get it to a point where I had half of the factions implemented in a single-player version, but to take it from there and implement the trickier factions and finally to adapt it to multi-player was really heavy. I had continuous support from a few people who played a lot of games with that pretty boring single-player version, tracing bugs and suggesting improvements.

The multi-player version was ready around the beginning of September. Over the last six weeks or so, a small group of players have completed around 25 games. Since maybe three weeks back, no bugs have been reported, suggesting that it works. Having said that, it’s very far from perfect. There is a lot of room for improvement. But I feel some kind of satisfaction that I was able to do what I said I was going to do.

What’s not so satisfying is that I’m not able to open this site. I’m prevented from doing so for reasons that are out of my control. That’s basically all that I can say, and it feels pretty terrible to leave you with that. I might be able to make the site public in the future, but it’s far from certain. And if so, in all likelihood we’re looking at a distant future.

I’m sincerely sorry about this state of affairs, but at least it feels good to be able to share my story. I have done my best and I have dedicated a lot of time and effort to this project. I wish to thank everyone who has supported me in various ways.
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Jan Kahánek
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whats the problem? be more specific ... maybe someone of us can help. Because I cant see any major problems in your interface...
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Steinar Nerhus
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My guess is that there are copyright issues or something. Just a guess, but it seems reasonsble that it could be such a thing.
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Kester J
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Thanks for the update on this, and I'm glad you found some satisfaction in the process - I can't imagine how difficult it is to write the algorithm for forming a federation alone!

I can't say I'm too surprised to hear about the outcome, but sorry it had to go that way. If I were feeling optimistic I might hope that it means that we see something officially sanctioned at some point, but who can say.
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jay wong
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http://totoman.online/
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Dave Edwards
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Is it only in Chinese? Has anyone tried this yet?
 
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James Ataei
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jay629 wrote:


This Chinese site starts every faction with 30 coins, 15 ore, 15 knowledge, 15 QIC, and all factions start with L3 and L4 of Navigation.
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Pedro Sequeira
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Does the rest work?

That seems like an easy fix
 
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aestrivex trinipitl
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I have started work on an implementation in python. No guarantees that I will finish it with a playable product; I have a full time job and it is not this.

This is what the board looks like right now (my implementation has virtually nothing in the way of game logic yet).



My code is at https://github.com/aestrivex/gaia-project

I will keep this forum updated at least occasionally if I can get a playable game working.
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James Ataei
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I would recommend to anyone to not spend time making an online implementation of Gaia Project unless you plan to have it entirely for personal/limited use only.

If someone is interested in the challenge of making a game online, I suggest taking the Snellman implementation of Terra Mystica (it's in PERL, but if you can do C or javascript or Python you can do PERL) and adjusting it or restarting a similar one in your preferred language. The new expansions for Terra Mystica need some playtesting and Juho Snellman is not interested in doing those adjustments. If interested in that project then send me a geekmail, and I can connect you with the proper people.
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aestrivex trinipitl
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Are the game designers planning to come out with their own version?
 
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Chris Nash
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I think it more likely that they are NOT planning to, and are not planning on allowing anyone else to.
 
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James Ataei
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aestrivex wrote:
Are the game designers planning to come out with their own version?


If you look at the top 10 rated board games...

1 Gloomhaven
2 Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
3 Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilization
4 Terraforming Mars
5 Twilight Struggle
6 Star Wars: Rebellion
7 Scythe
8 Gaia Project
9 Great Western Trail
10 Terra Mystica

All of these have some type of digital version that is either released or announced to be coming except for

2 Pandemic Legacy BUT the regular game has an app
8 Gaia Project
9 Great Western Trail

I would not be surprised if these 3 already have the digital rights assigned.
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Jan Kahánek
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GAIA PROJECT online play
The only reason why I am still playing Terra Mystica is that I can play online. It is excellent game but many of my friends wanted to try something else after some time so I lost my table partners. If I hadn't the option to play online, I would have forgotten TM a long time ago. Thanks to snellman and online play with the ladder and many players worldwide to compete with I was looking forward to Gaia Project online and hoped for something like snellmans online interface. I am quite dissapointed that people cannot test their skills against others because GP is almost "no luck game" and you can be really proud if you reach some level. I am not gonna to purchase a new TM when I cannot play online version of the game. I believe it will be a great game as TM and GP were, but with no online version the game has no future for me ...
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Ryan Feathers
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I very much agree with James' analysis, particularly since he has expertise/experience in the digital board game area. I would be very surprised if Gaia Project won't some day have an online option, heck I'd be pretty surprised if it isn't already in development somewhere.

To be honest I've also always been rather surprised how available Terra Mystica has been allowed to be in the digital space. Allowing snellman to remain open even once the app released was a bit surprising to me--I am sure the developers financially would have preferred that be shut down as they probably would sell a lot more copies to players still looking for a way to play Terra Mystica online. I was equally surprised then to find that both BoardGameArena and Yucata were allowed to develop implementations for Terra Mystica--I cannot imagine any of that is good for the app sales and the developers that put time in to making that app.

I would imagine most developers would be seeking deals so they are the sole providers of the digital rights for a game (or at least for a certain period of time they would be). While this is just pure speculation on my part, I suspect that's what is happening to Gaia Project--some company wanted to develop a digital adaptation for it but also wanted to make sure another site didn't pop up and reduce their customer base.

Frankly it's about the only thing that makes sense from reading through this thread--given that Feurland has allowed Terra Mystica to continue to exist on snellman it doesn't seem like the publisher or designers in this case have issues with digital adaptations like that. So to me the only conclusion is that someone has probably bought the digital rights to Gaia Project and are working on making it happen.
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Chris Nash
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Here's hoping!
 
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Bokken B
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This is a bit odd to me. You see, It only took someone about 2 months to make a fully functional online site. And while it's on a platform that might not be able to handle a ton of users, the infastructure upgrade would probably not be all that daunting.

This digital version of gaia project has been up and running since November, and it's been working great. My only complaint is that most of the play testers on it have pretty much stopped playing for one reason or another.

Dont get me wrong. the play by forum version is neat, but the digital version created by one solo programmer is pristine, and everything is very simple and easy to use. (it's far nicer than snellman for example. although it doesn't have all the analytics set up.. because.. not enough users anticipated)

Unfortunately, He cant open it to the public because of the digital rights.



Why am I bringing this up? Because it seems pretty shocking to me that someone would have the digital rights to GP.. Not allow any other sites to open up.. and yet STILL hasn't released a version.. If a solo programmer could complete the project in less than 2 months.. why wouldn't a big namer like that be able to do so?

More to the point, If they went so far out of their way to secure the digital rights, it would make sense for them to want a return on whatever investment they made there?

Honestly i'm just flabbergasted and annoyed that

1. we cant use this awesome version already in existence (no new play testers, and it's almost dead at this point)
2. The people whom have the exclusive rights are so slow at the implementation.


Another point to mention is that if this group does make a version, and it's pay to play, I worry that will stop alot of people from playing. One of the reasons Snellman was so good, was that it was free..

If it's a small one-time app fee. even 10 dollars, I could see it being ok. But if it's a monthly fee, it's going to have quite the poor representation (better than there is now of course.. but still)

Either way, I'm not keen on this whole situation.

I will say that Tabletop simulator has GP on it. But it's not a digital version perse.. it's just the board, and all the pieces, and you can move them, like in a simulation. So you can play the game as if you were sitting at a table, moving pieces.. etc. Not exactly the same thing (plus I cant use steam at work )

Anyway, I don't get it, but I'm still hopeful a playable version will be released soon.
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Ryan Feathers
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While I already strongly suspected this given James' earlier post (plus Tysen liking my post), Helge just posted this in another thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2135022/factions-stats-toto...

Horologiom wrote:
I talked to the publisher and he told me digidiced got the digital rights for GP.


Creating and publishing an app takes a lot of work, and digidiced isn't that large of a team. I'm sure they'll do a good job and it'll be here before we all know it. And while I personally will miss the absence of a site like snellman for the competitive crowd to gather and do many other things an app doesn't easily allow, I also totally understand from a developer's point of view of not wanting free versions floating around cutting into app sales. Again it frankly stuns me that Terra Mystica has been allowed to go up in so many places online when a developer put in the work to make and support an app they are trying to make money off of.

Also given Digidiced hasn't actually announced this yet, I'm not quite sure Helge was supposed to either...so James/Tysen if you see this and want it down let me know and I'll edit/delete this post.
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Bokken B
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Ranior wrote:
While I already strongly suspected this given James' earlier post (plus Tysen liking my post), Helge just posted this in another thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2135022/factions-stats-toto...

Horologiom wrote:
I talked to the publisher and he told me digidiced got the digital rights for GP.


Creating and publishing an app takes a lot of work, and digidiced isn't that large of a team. I'm sure they'll do a good job and it'll be here before we all know it. And while I personally will miss the absence of a site like snellman for the competitive crowd to gather and do many other things an app doesn't easily allow, I also totally understand from a developer's point of view of not wanting free versions floating around cutting into app sales. Again it frankly stuns me that Terra Mystica has been allowed to go up in so many places online when a developer put in the work to make and support an app they are trying to make money off of.

Also given Digidiced hasn't actually announced this yet, I'm not quite sure Helge was supposed to either...so James/Tysen if you see this and want it down let me know and I'll edit/delete this post.


Ya, I read that thread too, and I assumed the same things you did, but still, something doesn't quite track here.

Like I said. A solo programmer managed to do it in about 1.5 months. Shorter considering he did it on his free time. They might not be big, but it seems likely they've had the rights since GP launched, I know they've had them since Nov as that's when It became obvious the online site wouldn't be able to be live.

Even one person, working a job, should have had it out by now, However small their team is, something isn't tracking, and i'm annoyed/disappointed.

In my oh-so-humble opinion, they should allow any free sites to exist until they get a working copy on the market.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Bokken wrote:
However small their team is, something isn't tracking, and i'm annoyed/disappointed.
I suspect that their product won't have the minimalist look and feel (which will be a disappointment for me). So they'll have to spend more time making a "pretty version". Additionally, they are going to have to make versions that work for iOS and Android rather than a web version, which I suspect will be harder. And probably the largest time-suck... they're going to have to make an AI.

If all they wanted to do was make a platform where people could play other people, I suspect they'd already have a version out. But people expect AI play in apps. And if the app was released without that, it'd get slammed for it. Which is not a good thing because most apps make the majority of their money during the initial release. If lots of people started badmouthing the project for not including AI play then they'd probably lose a bunch of sales... ones they wouldn't get back even if they released an AI update down the line. So I suspect they're spending a lot of time trying to make a half-way decent AI and that that's holdup.
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Ryan Feathers
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Agreed with Thunkd--they undoubtedly are working on making an app version similar to what ever other app version does. That means they need to do so much more than the bare bones browser version a single person was able to do in their free time.

They're going to be adding animations, sound, ai, tutorials, rules, achievements, etc. They have to get all this figured out for both iPhone and android markets which means they need all sorts of additional issues regarding screen sizes and hardware power, and who knows all what else. I've always been fascinated what goes into making these digital adaptations of board games, and you can find a decent bit throughout the forums on bgg but the summary is this--it's way more work and expertise than you'd expect.

Plus on top of all of this digidiced already has a library of apps that I'm sure requires constant support for bug fixes and all that, plus they also likely have more than one game in development. Again they tend to do a good job in my opinion, so I'm sure we'll have a nice product once it gets here.

While I agree it would be nice to have a version up until they launch theirs, do you really think they'd have a better reaction if a site got a ton of users and shut it down versus just never allowing it in the first place? Ultimately while I don't love the end results here, once I put myself in the shoes of a developer I'd probably be making the same decisions they are. (Not to mention I'm sure they know their market and business far better than I anyhow)
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Chris Nash
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It sounds like people are talking a lot of sense.

Hopefully when they have done some development on the AI, some of the community here may get a chance to be involved in the testing; I can’t think of a better community to test the strength of an AI!

I also wonder how an AI in the app would work in comparison to automa play?
 
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Ryan Feathers
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Making a good AI for a game as complex as Gaia Project has got to be a nightmare. Tysen, the dev for the Terra Mystica AI, posted an excellent designer diary to BGG detailing the difficulties in making a better AI for Terra Mystica: https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/75798/designer-diary-sear...

For those that have tried, you know the Terra Mystica AI that is in the app today isn't that good. This is no knock to the developers, again as that linked article shows, it's absurdly tough to make a good one for some of these complex games. Fortunately it is good enough to at least challenge beginners and it can take a handful to few dozen games for a player to completely outclass it.

I strongly suspect that's about all we can hope for out of a Gaia Project AI. Having expert level players show up to test it is rather pointless--I have zero doubt they'll be able to crush it repeatedly. At best Digidiced will need a bunch of players who actually know Gaia Project well enough to run through dozens to hundreds of games to find any bugs or rules errors, that will be a lot more important to them I am sure than testing the AI.

I do wonder how they'll handle that automa--it would be nice to include it, but since they're making an AI anyhow, will that be a feature they cut? I don't know. You could easily just play again some bots, but playing against the automa may be more fun for many (and more challenging).

 
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Bokken B
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I mean, maybe. Although I still feel it would take less than the amount of time it's currently taken. Even with all the bells and whistles, apps tend to take no more than 6 months to release. The TM app that shipped was 4 months in development I think (dont count on that, I remember it from a thread but I cant find it now)

I am aware that the AI took longer, but GP has been out since Nov 2017. Still stand by my idea that it's been long enough. At least an announcement of it's development, and potential release date..

Either way, I stand by what I said. I'd rather have something get shut down than not have anything at all. And just because they may "know their business" doesn't make for a good argument by itself. That's an argument from authority, either there is a reason, or there isn't, but if it's not presented, you have to go by the information you have, not by the phantom possibility of it being a better business decision because they know what they're doing.

Also, there's the possibility of royalties, double dipping in the market.

If the app has all the bells and whistles you suspect, it should out-market any base website anyway, and if they were to get some sort of royalties, or something, all the better.

In any case, I stand by what I said, I'm disappointed and annoyed that it's taking so long. And while I'll probably be one of the first in line to get the app, that doesn't help alleviate the sour taste in my mouth.
 
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Jack Spirio
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Sadly they don’t care what’s best for you, but what’s best for them
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