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Author Topic: Update (improve) UFOPEDIA entries  (Read 3286 times)

Offline xracer

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Update (improve) UFOPEDIA entries
« on: April 01, 2013, 03:35:54 am »
Hello everyone,

As this team is doing great coding i thought that some of the fluff language is a bit antiquated, and sometimes a little off. So I was thinking how about we start improving that.

I don't mean rewrite the whole thing, but just either expand and/or improve the current, I know as an XCOM purist i am a little afraid of the backlash, but you know, this doesn't change the game it simply creates a better immersion feeling. With that i thought the first.

So before we even attempt this, I wanted to know if the community in general would accept it.


Offline Warboy1982

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Re: Update (improve) UFOPEDIA entries
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2013, 07:14:54 am »
i'll be interested regardless of how people feel about it, i'm always on the lookout for new stuff to steal and chuck into the mod.

p.s if you feel like including some ufopedia entries for disruptor and gauss weaponry, that'd be awesome.

Offline moriarty

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Re: Update (improve) UFOPEDIA entries
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2013, 10:39:09 am »
it will definitely be difficult to improve everything while at the same time keeping it consistent both with the original game and across the updated stuff.

someone would probably have to draw up some kind of design document stating the general tech level we are talking about, how much we want to stay within the limits of actual physics and how much fiction is allowed... I remember the Project Xenocide text department was really complicated, because everybody would write about "his" technology the way he would want it and things started to contradict each other eventually :)

I'd love to see some updated, improved and even additional fluff for the game, though :)

Offline Hythlodaeus

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Re: Update (improve) UFOPEDIA entries
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2013, 12:48:09 pm »
I take it this thread is a result from our previous conversation on IRC about the topic.

There are some major factors that could influence a decision like this. First of all, like you pointed out, there's the purist's point of view. X-COM is indeed a poorly written game, but some people appreciate its pulpiness from the grounds that it awards the game with a charming pulp value, added to the very heavy of late 20th century UFO folk elements, as recently stated by Gollop himself in the X-COM Post Mortem.

Secondly, a moderate rewrite of certain bits would imply a great deal of frustration for translators, as they would be force to re-adapt a lot of their work to the new text. Besides there will already be enough translation-related frustrations in the future, related with the probable implementation of certain bitmap fonts that will take more space than the current ones in certain instances, and the ever-coming addition of new text strings and menu restructuring attempts that might radically alter the spacing and placement of some lines, albeit being necessary to improve playability.

Finally there's the whole point that rewriting entire parts of the game's fluff would imply a great deal of effort and planning. You can't just expect to rewrite some things without having them clash with others. There has to be a consistent tone and a set of defined syntax rules right from the start in order to pull something like this properly, and currently I don't feel we have the means to do something like that.

If however, there is something that could be done is, much like the same way the programmers are applying small tweaks to many of the game's features, the same could be made to some of the text strings to help make the game more coherent and translation friendly. Things like changing STR_ITEMS_ARRIVING to STR_TRANSPORT_ARRIVING, because soldiers, scientists and engineers also the same transfer window/menu and yet people are not items from a semantics point of view. There's also the things like "The production of building X is complete" which doesn't sound that good in english either, and should be changed to "The construction" leaving original string to manufacturing completion notices only.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 12:52:26 pm by Hythlodaeus »

Offline xracer

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Re: Update (improve) UFOPEDIA entries
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 03:46:07 pm »
i'll be interested regardless of how people feel about it, i'm always on the lookout for new stuff to steal and chuck into the mod.

p.s if you feel like including some ufopedia entries for disruptor and gauss weaponry, that'd be awesome.
of course you would, who wouldn't :)
it will definitely be difficult to improve everything while at the same time keeping it consistent both with the original game and across the updated stuff.
...
I'd love to see some updated, improved and even additional fluff for the game, though :)
Yes, i can understand this and hence the reason to try to keep the original idea and just expand, only things that do not currently lineup well will receive a "heavier" update.

I take it this thread is a result from our previous conversation on IRC about the topic.
Yes it stems directly from that conversation as well as from a very good argument with Warboy and conversation with Sup.
There are some major factors that could influence a decision like this. First of all, like you pointed out, there's the purist's point of view. X-COM is indeed a poorly written game, but some people appreciate its pulpiness from the grounds that it awards the game with a charming pulp value, added to the very heavy of late 20th century UFO folk elements, as recently stated by Gollop himself in the X-COM Post Mortem.
Correct this is one of the biggest issues, and the reason why I started this thread i also love the original game, with all its bugs and issues i glued myself to my keyboard, mouse and monitor for hours. while having the tv running the X-files :) everything X was just cool :D.   
Secondly, a moderate rewrite of certain bits would imply a great deal of frustration for translators, as they would be force to re-adapt a lot of their work to the new text. Besides there will already be enough translation-related frustrations in the future, related with the probable implementation of certain bitmap fonts that will take more space than the current ones in certain instances, and the ever-coming addition of new text strings and menu restructuring attempts that might radically alter the spacing and placement of some lines, albeit being necessary to improve playability.
Man... i guess our conversation was much deeper than i realized or we think similarly, translation will be an arduous task but then again imagine all the people that already do the translation, the bigger problem i think will be fitting larger amount of text walls, actually I would not want it to become a text wall. sometimes it is too much fluff. But it think that can be corrected if the resolution of the game as a whole is improved. Also i have seen the coders being very lenient regarding text strings and the sort. This would be some of the bigger challenges as some of the fields are already small coders will need to either implement fonts or we move away from the current bit art, or create new art. It would be a matter of making the decision and limiting the amount of text to fit.
Finally there's the whole point that rewriting entire parts of the game's fluff would imply a great deal of effort and planning. You can't just expect to rewrite some things without having them clash with others. There has to be a consistent tone and a set of defined syntax rules right from the start in order to pull something like this properly, and currently I don't feel we have the means to do something like that.
I do agree that a rewritte will be a huge endeavor, I am not implying I would do it alone :) (well maybe if i quit my job). About the means to do it, I think the contrary actually if you start with a small team with very clear rules then as the team grows those rules will simply be enforced. Like I said maybe we do not need to change the whole thing simply adjust some of the areas that need it the most, as we progress we can look where the development is leading and as such adjust our vision.

If however, there is something that could be done is, much like the same way the programmers are applying small tweaks to many of the game's features, the same could be made to some of the text strings to help make the game more coherent and translation friendly. Things like changing STR_ITEMS_ARRIVING to STR_TRANSPORT_ARRIVING, because soldiers, scientists and engineers also the same transfer window/menu and yet people are not items from a semantics point of view. There's also the things like "The production of building X is complete" which doesn't sound that good in english either, and should be changed to "The construction" leaving original string to manufacturing completion notices only.
Yes and that is why i say that the coders are extremely flexible, it gives a good feeling about the foundation of the team, everyone is here to have fun and enjoy their time, and imagine, play a game they love, now with that in mind the rules need to be created early on even before any rewrite, I mean we could even ask Xeno for some of its text :) although if i remember correctly they did run rather lengthy, which could be implemented by simply adding a scroll bar, and some of them were rather dry.

In conclusion I think a light rewrite will create a little extra depth, a larger rewrite will be something that could be use as a mod for when the game evolves in its next iteration. Maybe we can start coordinating something before spending too much effort in a futile task.
   

Offline SeanEBlog

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Re: Update (improve) UFOPEDIA entries
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2013, 02:36:27 am »
I for one would like to see actual flavor text for personal armor entries instead of just stats. Like how aircraft armaments have actual flavor text now.

Speaking of aircraft armament, was that added in or was always there in the game's code and not displayed because of a bug? Because the flavor text states that Avalanche missiles have nuclear warhead, and quite frankly, I don't like the idea that I've been using nuclear weapons over the skies of funding nations all these years.

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: Update (improve) UFOPEDIA entries
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2013, 08:35:48 pm »
the strings were there, but unused in the original, i doubt it was a bug that prevented them being displayed, but rather that the text was... "in need of review" and omission was less work.

adding text entries for armour should be easy enough, the problem is... we'd need some fitting text, and that requires creativity. designers, writers and artists to do the creative stuff, we're coders.