ACKs Computer Game

Nope. Not yet.

I’m just thinking how awesome it would be to play a PC (or tablet, whatever) game where you start as a mook and work your way up to being in charge of a domain.

It’d be a little different. Single player, of course (of course?) and the sandbox wouldn’t be as sandboxy as it could be, but that’s computers for you.

And you’d have to have a “player skill” system to handle parleys and traps and such. Probably something metagamey, like a “puzzle” for a trap, or some kind of pattern optimization for parley. Preferably something you could get “better” at and that would reflect the setting and “common sense” as well.

Remember the old Birthright PC game?

Ah well, just dreaming a bit.

Actually, it’s weird that you mention that, as a old school sandbox game is the project I’m considering for Experimental Game Lab. It won’t use the ACKS system, or any existing system for that matter, as theses things need to be tailor designed for their environment, but I have a game design doc in progress with quite a few ideas on how to create as open ended a design as you can get with a computer game.

The Open Game License is designed not to play nice with computer games. It will be interesting to see how the Pathfinder MMO deals with this.

That said, the ACKS economic framework could be the basis for a fun game. I recently picked up the old Runequest sin King of Dragon Pass for iOS and it offers a lot of choices about how many thanes you send on exploration missions, how many cows you gift to neighboring ttribes, etc.

It’s not a perfect analog of the way ACKs does things, but Mount & Blade: Warband (better than the original M&B) does a good job of capturing the excitement of being a noble knight cutting down lesser infantry and eventually become a vassal of a lord or even founding your own nation. It’s fairly cheap on steam, but it’s best played with several fan-made mods.

I went around and around on this once before: as far as I can tell, there are three ways to do an OGL software:

  1. Produce the entire thing in HTML and JavaScript. The user can view the Open Content for the program by viewing the source, and since the code runs from source (it is not compiled to binary), that fulfills the requirements. Any server-side code must restrict itself to non-rules issues, unless the portion of the server-side code that handles a rule is viewable by the browser.

  2. A standalone program (NOT a server side script) in a scripting language such as Python, Perl, PHP, or the like. This is a program that the user downloads and which is specifically not compiled (these scripting languages all “run from source” just like JavaScript). Note that Python has a binary intermediary format that you can use, but this would violate the license.

  3. Make sure that every rule used, every magic item, every stat, are described in plain text, human-readable files (or in a browsable database, which generally amounts to the same thing), and then write a monstrous program in any desired language that parses those rules into a usable game. Hahahahaha.

What mods would you recommend? I tried to get into the original M&B but found it daunting. Still, I would love me some chopping heads from horseback.

Wow, you've moved right past the wonky technical details of what the OGL issues are into wonky technical workarounds! I am impressed. Does Knights of the Chalice use one of these or is it just in violation?

I’m pretty sure they are in violation - they used C++ (a compiled-only) language, and their FAQ does not imply a real strong grasp of the OGL, or even of WotC’s FAQ about the OGL and software. And I think if they had written a parser that took plain-text rules and turned them into game rules … they would be whooping like maniacs from the rooftops about how awesome it was.

The Floris mod pack (had to look it up!) for Mount & Blade: Warband makes it into a substantially less daunting game from a user-interface standpoint. It adds a lot of great functions that make it easy to manage a lot of inventory and a lot of followers quickly, as well as lots of new quests/things to do. Besides that, there are major graphical updates (though this increases the load times) to make it look just a little bit less rough around the edges.

It also greatly increases the detail of the upgrade trees for units, including lots of pathetically weak units at the bottom, so it makes it a bit more difficult to initially get off the ground. I remember in the very beginning it took me 2 or 3 times of getting my entire army wiped out before I got to a point where I would have something left after a particularly bad beating. It was worth it though because battles were always lot’s of fun. As odd as it sounds, I found the Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack to be good music to cut people down with before using my loot to fund a vast mercantile network (the mod allows you to purchase businesses).

Yes! I’m currently trying to stop getting wiped out in M&B:Warbands, but it’s not easy. At least I’m leveling and whatnot.

Annoyingly, the current target of my woo is on a peninsula that is cut off by enemy territory, and they keep killing all of my guys. A lot of work for a bit of hand-holding. :wink:

I often found that I bit off more than I could chew with unrealistic goals in M&B Warband. The best thing to do wsa to go with the flow, help out your lord where you could and rise the ranks slowly.


Diplomacy mod is the only one I’ve needed.

One additional note: KotC being in violation or not in violation is the sort of thing that would have to actually be tested in a court of law, which WotC has fortunately not been rabid about. And the reason I suspect they are in violation is because they have chosen to accept and use the terms of the license (i.e., they call it an OGL product) rather than the more historically tried-and-true method of filing serial numbers off, like so many other (non-OGL) games have done.

And for all I know, they have lawyers who have pored over every inch and made sure they are in strict compliance with the contract they’re claiming. It just looks, from their website, like they haven’t actually read much of the information they provide direct links to.