A Freeciv N00b attempting in vain to make a custom nation...

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thelink225
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 7:37 pm

A Freeciv N00b attempting in vain to make a custom nation...

Postby thelink225 » Tue May 28, 2013 7:51 pm

Hi. I'm new here, and new to Freeciv. I have an awful habbit of spending more time modding on a game than I do playing it, but really all I'm trying to do is mod a simple, innocent custom nation for my own use. Should be simple, one would think.
I made myself a custom nation ruleset with custom flags, and of course just tossing them in the file folders didn't work. I read the tutorials on the Freeciv Wiki and the README.nations file found in the doc folder in the game files... and have still had no success. I even downloaded some mods and found one with its own set of nations (the Ancients mod) and studied it closely. And, after a day and a half of beating my head against this problem I still can't mod one lousy custom nation into the game.

So, I must be making some stupid beginners mistake. The tutorials mention some files that I cannot find either in the main game files or in the mod I downloaded, namely "data/nation/Makefile.am", "data/flags/Makefile.am", and "po/POTFILES.in". If these are files that need to be edited... I can't find them anywhere. Am I blind or just looking in the wrong place?

The primary reason I downloaded Freeciv is for modability, something I can fiddle with. It won't do me much good if I can't do something as basic as adding a custom nation. I would appreciate any help, suggestions, or constructive criticizms that anyone could provide which might lead to a solution. Thank you.

thelink225
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 7:37 pm

Re: A Freeciv N00b attempting in vain to make a custom natio

Postby thelink225 » Tue May 28, 2013 7:55 pm

Oh, I guess it might be helpful if I give a little information about the errors I'm getting.
Quite simply, my nation does not appear on the list of choices under any catagory that I assigned it to in its ruleset file. I have tried making a custom modpack and putting it in the folder with the other modpacks, and I have tried modifying the core game files directly, editing the existing files. Normally it simply doesn't change anything, but once it actually caused the game server to fail to load, which I was able to fix. Now it's simply back to showing no changes. Or additional options. I CAN make a modpack with rule changes and get it to load just fine, but anything to do with the nations doesn't want to load or show up.
Blah.

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JTN
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Posts: 462
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:15 am

Re: A Freeciv N00b attempting in vain to make a custom natio

Postby JTN » Tue May 28, 2013 10:09 pm

Well...

The instructions in doc/README.nations (and wiki/Nations whence it came) really describe the process for someone preparing a patch for submitting for inclusion in our releases. The Makefile.am and POTFILES.in files only exist in the source code tree, you won't find them in your installation.

How you go about adding a nation to your installation just for your own amusement isn't specifically documented anywhere that I know of. And it's a bit of an unsatisfactory process; to plumb in your nation, you have to take some system files from the standard installation, and either copy them to the modpacks directory and hack on them, or just hack on them in the installation (which can cause trouble on upgrades). You're not the first person who's struggled with all this.

I'm afraid I haven't time to describe and test a step-by-step guide for this right now, but here are some clues:
  • Ignore stuff about Makefile.am and POTFILES.in -- that's about plumbing it into the build / translation system for releases, you can ignore.
  • You need to add a line to a copy of default/nations.ruleset that Freeciv will read to load your rutland.ruleset nation file. You can either make a copy of the standard one from your installation in your user directory (e.g. ~/.freeciv/2.3/default/nations.ruleset on Unix, dunno where on Windows), or you can hack directly on the installation one if you're feeling dirty and don't mind the possibility of losing changes on upgrade.
  • If you've got a flag, you need to mention that in up to four files in misc/: flags.spec, flags-large.spec, shields.spec, shields-large.spec. You should be able to use the same technique. The files you mention here are PNG files; the wiki page talks about SVG (a vector format), but the game doesn't use that; if you were planning to send the nation to us eventually, you'd want to have started with an SVG file (we like to be able to rescale), but if it's just for you you needn't bother.
Oh, here's some notes from a discussion with another lost soul on the wiki. Maybe some help there?

(I've raised a ticket to see if we can do something about the clone-and-hack ugliness of this process, but if we did, the earliest it would appear would likely be 2.5, so don't hold your breath.)

thelink225
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 7:37 pm

Re: A Freeciv N00b attempting in vain to make a custom natio

Postby thelink225 » Wed May 29, 2013 6:20 pm

Thanks for responding. It's nice to know I'm not the only one having trouble with this.

Good thing is, however, last night I DID get the stupid thing working. I'm still not 100% certain what the whole of the problem was, but I managed to put it into a modpack, along with some rule changes, and found a line in .serv file that seemed to be at the heart of why the modpack wasn't working. See, I made the modpack directly from a copy of the civ2-3 ruleset modpack but borrowed some ideas from the ancients modpack for implimenting the custom nation.

For anyone who has the problem in the future, it was as simple as changing line "rulesetdir" so that the path name went a subfolder further in, so instead of "rulesetdir modname" it was "rulesetdir modname/data".

It would be awesome if some of the files could get cleaned up for modability. As long as Freeciv has been around, it kinda surprised me that the system wasn't a little more... efficient by now, and a little more developed. I was very dissapointed when I heared that the old Alpha Centauri Mod was scrapped, but I'm glad to hear that they at least have something resembling customizable social/government options set for an upcoming release. Hopefully that will be sooner than later...