Author Topic: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist  (Read 179125 times)

FloatingFatMan

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #100 on: July 20, 2015, 08:35:20 AM »
Codewalker isn't working totally from scratch.  The problem he faces is he's trying to assemble an entire commercial building full of do it yourself furniture in which all the parts for all of the furniture have been put in a single pile, and all the instructions are in Navajo.

Which isn't quite as bad as it sounds.  After all... He COULD have gone to IKEA! :S

Rejolt

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #101 on: July 20, 2015, 10:02:25 AM »
I'm staring into the lines of thought in my brain of possible legal issues and trying to see the right question line and avoid the web: That said, Arcana, can you be held liable if you can recreate the Gameplay code too well.

If I drink cherry coke, think it's awesome and recreate it's exact formula without ever asking that company for a hint or clue and then give it free to thousands of my friends am I in trouble? What if I charged for it and called it Rejolt cola? Is the formula illegal?

And thank you for that explanation. It gives a much better idea of the time table ahead.
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Leandro

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #102 on: July 20, 2015, 03:00:25 PM »
I'm staring into the lines of thought in my brain of possible legal issues and trying to see the right question line and avoid the web: That said, Arcana, can you be held liable if you can recreate the Gameplay code too well.

The EFF is working on an exception to the digital millenium copyright act for "restoring access to single-player or multiplayer video gaming on consoles, personal computers or personal handheld gaming devices when the developer and its agents have ceased to support such gaming". They will know if it passes in October. The initial version explicitly excludes MMOs in an effort to get it passed more easily, and they'll focus on MMOs if/when this passes.

https://www.eff.org/files/2015/02/09/2014-07_eff_gaming_exemption_comment.pdf

Supporting the EFF is the best hope of ever getting centralized COH game servers running again.

FloatingFatMan

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #103 on: July 20, 2015, 03:06:19 PM »
TBH, it really does boggle the mind that publishers actively try to stop fans resurrecting dead products.  Sure, they have the legal right to do so, but as they've killed the property, rendering it worthless, all they do by trying to squash fans is hurt their own PR.

It's very short sighted of them.

Eoraptor

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #104 on: July 20, 2015, 03:46:24 PM »
TBH, it really does boggle the mind that publishers actively try to stop fans resurrecting dead products.  Sure, they have the legal right to do so, but as they've killed the property, rendering it worthless, all they do by trying to squash fans is hurt their own PR.

It's very short sighted of them.
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Arcana

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #105 on: July 20, 2015, 05:38:15 PM »
I'm staring into the lines of thought in my brain of possible legal issues and trying to see the right question line and avoid the web: That said, Arcana, can you be held liable if you can recreate the Gameplay code too well.

If I drink cherry coke, think it's awesome and recreate it's exact formula without ever asking that company for a hint or clue and then give it free to thousands of my friends am I in trouble? What if I charged for it and called it Rejolt cola? Is the formula illegal?

These are legal questions you shouldn't rely on my opinion for.  If we're speaking academically, then no, the direct answer to your question is almost certainly not, but your question lies on dangerous legal grounds.  For example, suppose you decide you like Cherry Coke so much you're going to experiment in your kitchen to make a drink you like just as much, with some kind of cherry flavor and some generic cola type flavor, and you find something that tastes an awful lot like Cherry Coke.  In the strict legal sense, you haven't broken any laws (that I'm aware of).  However if you like Cherry Coke so much you decide to analyze the formula for it and then try to come up with something that is not exactly the same but similar enough that it tastes the same, that's different.  Now you are using knowledge of their formula to recreate their formula, and you could be in trouble there.

Recreating something that behaves like a City of Heroes mapserver isn't strictly speaking illegal.  However, there are many ways to get there that *could* be illegal.  NCSoft would be within their legal rights to assert a belief that the effort required almost certainly involved illegal steps of some kind, and sue to try to prove it through legal discovery.

The question of legality comes down to three separate questions which can have different answers.  Does the act violate the law (is it in and of itself illegal).  Does at least one step involved in performing the act violate the law (is it technically legal, but involves a step that is illegal).  And would there be sufficient grounds for a property owner to sue for infringement, separate from whether they would succeed or not (does it look like infringement enough that a court would let someone sue you, regardless of whether or not you'd likely win).

There's also a question you're not asking.  Would recreating the gameplay code be enough to get the game back?  And the answer is no, the gameplay mechanics and technical infrastructure would not be enough.  We need three big components to recreate the game, and we only have one.  We need the game client, which we have.  We need the game servers, which we theoretically could recreate.  And we need the server-side content which is not in the game client, which someone would need to rewrite.  Things like a script for how Positron's task force worked.  Game content was mostly contained on the server side, and separate from creating software that replaced the server side functionality you'd need to rewrite the mission content (among other things).  *That* most definitely infringes on NCSoft's copyright to that content.

Arcana

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #106 on: July 20, 2015, 05:54:46 PM »
The EFF is working on an exception to the digital millenium copyright act for "restoring access to single-player or multiplayer video gaming on consoles, personal computers or personal handheld gaming devices when the developer and its agents have ceased to support such gaming". They will know if it passes in October. The initial version explicitly excludes MMOs in an effort to get it passed more easily, and they'll focus on MMOs if/when this passes.

https://www.eff.org/files/2015/02/09/2014-07_eff_gaming_exemption_comment.pdf

Supporting the EFF is the best hope of ever getting centralized COH game servers running again.

Even were they to prevail, and then shift focus to MMOs, and then prevail again, I don't believe that would  greatly improve the situation on its own to completely restore the game servers because the DMCA is not the only obstacle to getting CoH servers back.  There's hardly any protection to circumvent.  A DMCA exemption would not automatically grant people the right to recreate the server content, nor would it automatically grant blanket protection from reverse engineering complaints.  It would just eliminate the threat of being prosecuted for a crime (in the US) for breaking any copy protection City of Heroes might have.  NCSoft couldn't claim, for example, that cracking the authentication system for City of Heroes was violating an access control for copyright content under the DMCA (and therefore a crime).  But they could still claim people have no right to recreate game content server-side because the DMCA doesn't cover that, and an exemption to the DMCA would not affect that.  I suspect that is a major reason why the EFF chose explicitly to exclude MMOs from their exemption request.  There's a strange twisted legal judo they might want to play in the case of MMOs that is both absurd yet illustrates the absurdity of DMCA enforcement in the first place.

Rejolt

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #107 on: July 20, 2015, 07:30:51 PM »
These are legal questions you shouldn't rely on my opinion for.  If we're speaking academically, then no, the direct answer to your question is almost certainly not, but your question lies on dangerous legal grounds.  For example, suppose you decide you like Cherry Coke so much you're going to experiment in your kitchen to make a drink you like just as much, with some kind of cherry flavor and some generic cola type flavor, and you find something that tastes an awful lot like Cherry Coke.  In the strict legal sense, you haven't broken any laws (that I'm aware of).  However if you like Cherry Coke so much you decide to analyze the formula for it and then try to come up with something that is not exactly the same but similar enough that it tastes the same, that's different.  Now you are using knowledge of their formula to recreate their formula, and you could be in trouble there.

Recreating something that behaves like a City of Heroes mapserver isn't strictly speaking illegal.  However, there are many ways to get there that *could* be illegal.  NCSoft would be within their legal rights to assert a belief that the effort required almost certainly involved illegal steps of some kind, and sue to try to prove it through legal discovery.

The question of legality comes down to three separate questions which can have different answers.  Does the act violate the law (is it in and of itself illegal).  Does at least one step involved in performing the act violate the law (is it technically legal, but involves a step that is illegal).  And would there be sufficient grounds for a property owner to sue for infringement, separate from whether they would succeed or not (does it look like infringement enough that a court would let someone sue you, regardless of whether or not you'd likely win).

There's also a question you're not asking.  Would recreating the gameplay code be enough to get the game back?  And the answer is no, the gameplay mechanics and technical infrastructure would not be enough.  We need three big components to recreate the game, and we only have one.  We need the game client, which we have.  We need the game servers, which we theoretically could recreate.  And we need the server-side content which is not in the game client, which someone would need to rewrite.  Things like a script for how Positron's task force worked.  Game content was mostly contained on the server side, and separate from creating software that replaced the server side functionality you'd need to rewrite the mission content (among other things).  *That* most definitely infringes on NCSoft's copyright to that content.

I hate to say this, because the core of who is here did like the lore of Paragon City and it's universe, but I'm big on three things: Custom characters, superhero powered combat and socializing. The story meant little to me! If we just got "mobs" to fight while allowing those three things I'm aces.

CoH - AE Universe edition where we populate maps with custom NPCs is all I really want. Even if I had to live with existing, base power abilities and no slotted enhancements. The issue is all of the server side stuff you talked about that makes that a reality.

I don't want the entire Major League Baseball property and things. I want a batting cage where occasionally my friend the batting practice pitcher throws and brush back pitch and mocks me a little.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 07:43:36 PM by Rejolt »
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Zombie Hustler

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #108 on: July 20, 2015, 08:16:46 PM »
Just an FYI, if it comes about that we end up having to rewrite the missions based off of what has been preserved in the Paragon Wiki, I am happy to volunteer my efforts in editing.

(Some of the spelling and grammatical errors that persisted in the game through its many years- not to mention same that came through in new content- really bugged the grammar Nazi in me.  ;))

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #109 on: July 20, 2015, 08:52:49 PM »
Just an FYI, if it comes about that we end up having to rewrite the missions based off of what has been preserved in the Paragon Wiki, I am happy to volunteer my efforts in editing.

(Some of the spelling and grammatical errors that persisted in the game through its many years- not to mention same that came through in new content- really bugged the grammar Nazi in me.  ;))

Per the wiki guidelines, you can correct them: http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Paragon_Wiki:Article_Guidelines#In-Game_Text
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Zombie Hustler

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #110 on: July 20, 2015, 11:48:28 PM »
Per the wiki guidelines, you can correct them: http://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Paragon_Wiki:Article_Guidelines#In-Game_Text

Ah- did not even think about that! That would be a good way to get ahead of the game, possibly.

Thanks for pointing this out.  :D

Codewalker

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #111 on: July 21, 2015, 01:18:35 PM »
For reference, I play TSW and in that game you can simply click a name in chat and hit 'meet up' on the context menu. They get a popup asking if they want to let you meet up on them (with options in the settings menu for auto accept or deny) and if they let you you immediately teleport to their location - specifically, to the closest respawn point.

Something like this is tentatively planned for the cross-server support that's coming down the road. It's kind of necessary there, because if you have someone on another server (i.e. XMPP domain) on your global friends list, you can see that they're in Sharkhead, but if you go to Sharkhead you won't be able to find them since they're actually in a different zone on another server. A hypothetical 'meet up' function with your friends list would be able to have you automatically jump to Sharkhead@somewhere.else instead of Sharkhead@my.server so that you can see them.

Azrael

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #112 on: July 21, 2015, 08:23:17 PM »
I hate to say this, because the core of who is here did like the lore of Paragon City and it's universe, but I'm big on three things: Custom characters, superhero powered combat and socializing. The story meant little to me! If we just got "mobs" to fight while allowing those three things I'm aces.

CoH - AE Universe edition where we populate maps with custom NPCs is all I really want. Even if I had to live with existing, base power abilities and no slotted enhancements. The issue is all of the server side stuff you talked about that makes that a reality.

I don't want the entire Major League Baseball property and things. I want a batting cage where occasionally my friend the batting practice pitcher throws and brush back pitch and mocks me a little.

I have to agree with this to a degree.  I wasn't overly impressed with the Coh lore.  I found the IP somewhat 'weak' and derivative.  But the game itself hung really well on it.  It was written decently enough.  I liked the different mob types hero side.  It was the game.  The teaming.  The great combat.  The A.I, the mob variety.  The interface.  The chat window.  Great animation.  Great mix of powersets.  Sound design.  Very elegant.  Slotting enhancements.  I even came around to the IO system.  (Though the incarnate system was badly implemented with a weak interface and poorer grindfest design.)  The archetypes...12 different types?  And the different mix of them in teams could create vastly different mission runs.  Team with tank...no tank, healer, no healer, non healing defenders...PBs...Warshades...Brutes...scrappers...blasters....  You could have blapper, range or mix blasters...  The variety seemed endless...  You could AE make your own maps....powerlevel in P.I or in AE, get a mate to help you out...pimp out a several billion build.  Play the stock market...hang around missions chattings...costume contests...actually run missions or TFs...

My favourite things were the custom characters, superhero powered combat and the socialising on small teams.  (I preferred duo-ing and a team limit of '5'...generally...)  I liked the street sweeping and finding 'juicy' mobs in Steel or Bricks...

The combat was pure ballet.  Kinet 'oomph' and you could win or lose on a sixpence.  Very compelling and immersive experience.  The ambient sounds of the city.  The game felt very alive.

I got a bit lost there.  But the point I made...or was trying to make.  We don't even really NEED the original missions back if it's going to bring a lawsuit. 

The clue is in AE.  We can now play with that.  Create missions ourselves.  But not test them yet.  Get a couple of thousand people doing that and you'll have all the content you need.  Get the community to create Level 1-50 paths through the game by visiting the NPCs. 

Some people, given it took thousands of volunteers to create the Paragon Wiki..., will be crazy enough to try and recreate swathes of early, mid and later mission content...and give or take a micron...will it matter if it is...not perfectly the same.  Isn't that the point?  That we can have a community led revival.  Which leads me to...

The cryptic (!) clue is LUA scripting.  That's an intriguing possibility...

...there are some talented people in the CoH community.  With scripting, it opens the possibility of extending the game beyond the game's original design..?

In some ways...the game will never be the same again.  And?  What of it?

Perhaps...by the time Codewalker has recreated all the peripheral bits like persistence of interface, travel powers and bases...and people running all their own servers...

...as soon as he releases the PVP and NPC 'H Bomb' on the community...who will pick up the batton and run with it...

...what are NC Soft going to do about it?  Sue their fan base who are all running 'micro servers' running off 'Xmap'?  (That will look good with them trying to play legal 'whack a mole' as they try to crack the American market. :P

The micro server is just talking to the client.  No IP is being distributed? 

Is NC Soft going to sue people for chatting? :P

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #113 on: July 21, 2015, 08:31:17 PM »
Yes (well, HELL yes to all of that).

My worry after that is some tool takes this work, mucks with it with 1000 chimps in 1000 re-skinning set-ups and tries to crank out ios or PC games before they're caught and we're stuck in the aftermath.

I'm assuming there's a password/protocol to getting a client that's been thought of?
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Arcana

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #114 on: July 21, 2015, 09:42:22 PM »
My worry after that is some tool takes this work, mucks with it with 1000 chimps in 1000 re-skinning set-ups and tries to crank out ios or PC games before they're caught and we're stuck in the aftermath.

It'll be some time before we have to worry about that, I think.  But at some point, you have to deal with the fact that the very goal of making a distributed system everyone can use in any way they want, is that some people will use it in any way they want.  The very thing that makes it impossible for anyone to kill, makes it impossible for anyone to control.

Also, I should point out that City of Heroes had a LUA engine in it.  We never got to see it in action much, because it was added around the I23 time frame and was supposed to be really getting leveraged in the I24-I26 timeframe.  But the devs were thinking in that direction already.

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #115 on: July 21, 2015, 10:13:18 PM »
Can we suggest wishlist pieces? I was wondering if we could add some way to store the password and autoupdate/autolaunch Paragon Chat? I'd love to double-click PC and just launch into the game. I don't have to worry at all about security, since you have to figure out my computer password before you can get to anything on it, and I change that password regularly.
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MaidMercury

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #116 on: July 21, 2015, 11:02:32 PM »
would be nice to be able to collect Badges again, something to do while walking..lol 8)

This is the first time I've smiled in a long time about CoH.
Thank you code-duuudes for all the midnight oil' you've put into this Paragon Chat.
It is so much better than Icon, my character no longer floats, very stable here and meeting old friends again. ;D

Felderburg

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #117 on: July 21, 2015, 11:27:10 PM »
Something like this is tentatively planned for the cross-server support that's coming down the road. It's kind of necessary there, because if you have someone on another server (i.e. XMPP domain) on your global friends list, you can see that they're in Sharkhead, but if you go to Sharkhead you won't be able to find them since they're actually in a different zone on another server. A hypothetical 'meet up' function with your friends list would be able to have you automatically jump to Sharkhead@somewhere.else instead of Sharkhead@my.server so that you can see them.

I'm a liiittle bit confused by this. I thought that when I logged in to PC, my "identity" was "Felderburg@chat.cohtitan.com". So when I create global friends or what have you, they're tied to that identity. I also thought that in order to log in to a different XMPP server, I had to change my identity to "Felderburg@some.random.com". Which would be an entirely different identity, and therefore have an entirely different friends list.... or would it? Or is the global friends list tied in to the program itself on a computer, not the identity? Or would someone need to log in to a separate XMPP thing like pidgin to get this to work?
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Arcana

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #118 on: July 21, 2015, 11:57:17 PM »
I'm a liiittle bit confused by this. I thought that when I logged in to PC, my "identity" was "Felderburg@chat.cohtitan.com". So when I create global friends or what have you, they're tied to that identity. I also thought that in order to log in to a different XMPP server, I had to change my identity to "Felderburg@some.random.com". Which would be an entirely different identity, and therefore have an entirely different friends list.... or would it? Or is the global friends list tied in to the program itself on a computer, not the identity? Or would someone need to log in to a separate XMPP thing like pidgin to get this to work?

Codewalker could be thinking about implementing federation, where one XMPP server could be configured to "trust" another one, such that people who log into server A can send messages to people on server B without having to directly log into server B.  Instead, server A forwards those messages to server B for the user, and returns traffic similarly.  Server "jumping" is the easy way, but its a little clunky.  Federation might be cleaner in the long run, but does require some cooperation between the server ops (Federation also allows for things like a global Paragon Chat channel that actually works across servers, like the global chat system City of Heroes used).

Codewalker

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Re: Paragon Chat Development Roadmap and Wishlist
« Reply #119 on: July 22, 2015, 03:34:35 AM »
I'm a liiittle bit confused by this. I thought that when I logged in to PC, my "identity" was "Felderburg@chat.cohtitan.com". So when I create global friends or what have you, they're tied to that identity. I also thought that in order to log in to a different XMPP server, I had to change my identity to "Felderburg@some.random.com". Which would be an entirely different identity, and therefore have an entirely different friends list.... or would it? Or is the global friends list tied in to the program itself on a computer, not the identity? Or would someone need to log in to a separate XMPP thing like pidgin to get this to work?

The thing is that XMPP servers can talk to each other. That's how the protocol is designed and intended to be used. Your login of Felderburg@chat.cohtitan.com uniquely identifies you, much like an email address. If you send a message to Felderburg@some.random.com while logged in to your cohtitan account, the chat.cohtitan.com server will establish a connection (called an s2s connection, for server-to-server) with some.random.com and deliver your message.

The intended use for XMPP is what's called "open federation", where anyone can talk to anyone with only their JID, regardless of which home server they logged into. We have s2s turned off on the Titan server for now, both to control potential spam until we're sure we have means in place to deal with it, as well as waiting until Paragon Chat's support for multiple domains is more complete.

Paragon Chat can already sort of deal with it, as many parts of it were designed with cross-server communication in mind. If you use one of the extended /xmpp_* commands you can add a global friend by their full JID. Paragon Chat uses a slightly different syntax for global names that reside on a domain other than the one you've logged in to. They leave off the @ at the start and use a shortened domain abbreviation that is determined by an algorithm, most likely it would be "Felderburg@cohtitan" and "Felderburg@random", dropping letters as necessary to fit inside the 21 character global name limit that we can't exceed without crashing the client.

You can see online friend status, as well as send tells across domains just fine. You can even join a global channel by its full JID, even if it's hosted on a different server (again, using an extended slash command). But there's very limited support so far for actually seeing the avatar of someone who's on another domain, and it involves typing some arcane commands to manually set the multi-user-chat service to use and then zoning to get PC to establish a new connection to the remote server. That's where the jump to friend and/or team functions will come in, to automatically "hop" shards instead of having to deal with that.

You can also do what Arcana described. That is, allow federation only with a few specific domains that you trust. When the time comes, we'll likely start out by doing that so we can test it under more controlled circumstances before opening the floodgates.