I'm sure that many of you are aware of the "MoO II Curse", but for those that don't, let me explain. Many people loved MoO II, and started on their game project in an attempt to create the next MoO II. However, they usually fail for a reason or other.
Why am I bringing this up? I think I've reached the point where I need outside help in completing this game. My newborn baby is still in NICU (she's doing well, just need to learn how to suck milk then she can go home!), our washer just broke down, and my free time is dwindling. It's getting harder and harder for me to devote time to this project, and I DO NOT want to see this fail like countless other projects.
So I'm planning on making Beyond Beyaan to be open-source, where people can download the game's code and compile it themselves. They just need a couple of free downloads, the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express and SlimDX June 2010 Development SDK, and be familiar with C# and HLSL (shader) languages. However, the art assets won't be included, so you'll need to buy the game to get the assets. And the general population will have read-only access, if they want to help, they must make a "svn patch" that contains the code changes, and send it to me. I will then review the changes, and if it passes review, I will then apply it. I will include appropriate credit to contributors in the code. Over time, the policy may change, such as giving write access to trusted contributors.
The reasons why I'm doing this are:
First, I don't have as much time as I used to, so if you have time and talents to help out, it makes the development time shorter!
Second, my friend's server on which my code control has been residing has failed, and he's not going to set it up again. So now I have no source control, all the changes are now on my one machine. So I will set it up on google's source control (their requirements are that it be open source)
Third, in order to obtain outside help, they will need to be able to look at the game's code and add their contributions. It would be hard to restrict access to source code if I have anonymous internet people helping me out, it just takes one to pass around login credentials.
Fourth, there are so many MoO 2 clones that failed, and I don't want this to be another one of those. By providing this source code, they can contribute to this, and finally make one that's finished.
Fifth, there's another open source 4X project, the FreeOrion. However, the problem is that the combat is not turn based, it's not very similar to MoO 1/2. Beyond Beyaan is the closest clone that I can see. If you think I'm wrong, feel free to show me the game that's closer. I would be ecstatic if there's another game that's like MoO 1/2, but so far I'm disappointed. So I'm opening up the possibility of having a MoO 1/2 remakes/expansions using Beyond Beyaan as the base.
I plan on making a list of tasks that need to be done to make this game feature-complete, then those who want to contribute can pick one of those tasks and complete it. When a person contributes sufficiently that I can trust him/her, I can give him/her write access so he/she can contribute to the game directly. I will continue to work on the game, but I'm now at the point where I want it done so I can move on with other parts of my life.
My plea is now this: If you're working on your own MoO 1/2 clone, please consider putting it on hold and contribute to this project so that we all can finally get that MoO 2 game we want. The goal for Beyond Beyaan is to be able to support different features, so people can turn on/off features, so they can re-create any of the old classic 4X games. Maybe you can even re-create your game with Beyond Beyaan!
For those who may be upset about this, please consider the advantages:
1. The code is now accessible to everybody, so they can create their own 4X game, using this as a starting base (with the limitation that the game be not commercially used meaning the game is free for everyone)
2. People may think of new features, and contribute to Beyond Beyaan, making it more capable and flexible. Such as multiplayer and AI, both of which I'm not experienced in. Also, I'm incapable of programming or debugging sounds since I'm deaf.
3. Beyond Beyaan may be completed in a shorter time frame than if I'm to work on it alone. I've started work on this on Dec 2009, so it's almost 3 years since then, and I estimate that if everything goes smoothly, about a year before I finish the basics (UI, combat, etc), then another couple of years of polishing and balancing. With the new baby, I cannot promise even that.
If you feel ripped off for financially supporting the game, I hope that this may make you feel better:
I've received $256 in donations before Desura was set up, and $213.48 from Desura sales, totalling $469.48. This is before Paypal's deductions on both of those (Desura pays through Paypal). However, Desura will not pay me until I've reached at least $500 for each payment. So the amount in Desura is in limbo for now. While that may sound like a decent amount of money, it is nowhere near the amount I have spent on the art. I added up all the art payments, and the total was $1,436. I don't regret the payments, I wanted to show you that I've invested a lot into this game, and I want to see it succeed.
Again, the art and data assets won't be available unless you buy the game, you can't run the game without those. And if I actually start turning a profit, I will add more races and artwork to the game. So all the money earned from this game will go back into it (unless a fluke happens where it becomes the next minecraft and I make insane profits :) )
If people contribute artwork to be used freely, it will be included in the open source. I plan on adding the current assets once I recoup all the investments made, as a way to help expand the 4X userbase, and make the game available to everyone.
The plan is that when I'm done with regions implementation (economy system up and running, the sliders working in planet UI, etc) I will upload the new version to Desura. Then I will upload the source code to Google's source control. I will then create a list of tasks that needs to be done to make the game feature complete, both as a reference for myself, and for others who wish to contribute. Then I will resume work on the game as usual, but hopefully with contributions to speed the development up. I will post the instructions on setting the development environment up, complete with links to all downloads you may need.
I know this is a drastic change in how things are done, but I believe that this will benefit many more people than if I remained with the status quo.