Loki Software, Inc.

Loki Hack 1999 | FAQ

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Why is Loki sponsoring this event?
With Loki Hack, we want to give our customers a chance to see the source code for a commercial game -- modify it, change the rules the way they like, and/or add something they think is missing. We know that many games these days come with sophisticated editing tools, but nothing says "hack" quite like source code...

This is the closest we can get to open source with our products. The world won't see the source, but the contestants will. And all the hacks, mods, changes will be posted in binary form for free download. This is our chance to show the gaming world what the open source community can accomplish.

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When will you select the group of 30 hackers?
We will begin to notify contestants on October 1. We will continue reviewing new entries until all 30 slots are filled, but no entries should be posted after October 4.

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How will you select the hackers?
We will heavily favor people with strong C++ backgrounds. We also prefer applicants who are already familiar with the game.

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Will you accept international contestants?
Yes! This contest is not limited to U.S. citizens. In fact, we hope to have a strong international contingent.

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Will there be any registration discount to the Linux Showcase for the hackers?
We will provide, free of charge, a Three Day Technical Pass to the ALS (a $300 value).

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What are the hours/dates of the Hack?
It will begin at 3pm on Monday, October 11, and will end on Wednesday, October 13, at 3pm.

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Will you provide any help to the hackers?
We will kick off the event with an "Introduction to the Code" session led by our two Civilization: Call to Power programmers, Sam Lantinga and Matt Carlson. These programmers will also be on site to answer questions for the duration of the Hack.

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How can a hacker make any sweeping changes to Civilization: Call to Power in just 48 hours?
They can't. Contestants should focus on a particular aspect of the game. The better the contestant is able to define the proposed change, the more likely they are to complete it in time. And Loki's developers will be on site during the entire Hack to help avoid lots of time spent looking for stuff in the source. If you know what you want to do, we'll give you the tools to do it.

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Can you describe the technical innards of the game?
The game is approximately half a million lines of C++ code. It is split into several sections: UI, networking, sound, and AI. Templates and classes are heavily used in the AI, user interface, and networking. There is no documentation other than source comments (and Sam and Matt themselves).

The game makes use of the following libraries:

Simple DirectMedia Layer
SMPEG
Zlib
Pthreads
A subset of the Miles sound API

The game also uses Anet (Activision's networking library). The networking drivers and map generators are dynamically loaded using the C dlopen() interface.

We would like to point out that we are also accepting changes that can be accomplished only with datafiles -- i.e. adding a new civilization or a new unit. This is not a "fix Civ:CTP bugs" session, but a chance for Linux users to express their creativity with the source code. You've played the game. Now show us what you would have done differently!

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Will you lock the hackers away?
They will be in a secure room, but will be free to come and go as they please.

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Will you require the hackers to sign legal agreements?
Yes, there will be non-disclosure forms. We are, however, working with Activision to make the forms as palatable as possible.

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Do you permit group collaboration?
Yes, but it will be up to the winning group to divide any prize.

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Who are the judges?
Sam Lantinga, Lead Programmer, Loki
Greg Hankins, Atlanta Linux Showcase
Jeff "Hemos" Bates, Slashdot

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How will you judge the hacks?
Judges will take into account many criteria -- usefulness, novelty, originality, the degree to which game play is enhanced or modified, etc. Other factors may be more subjective. For example, we may not understand or appreciate the addition of a web-browser to the game.

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When is the award ceremony?
There will be an open bar reception once the Hack concludes on Wednesday, October 13. Place and time to be provided to the contestants.

The award ceremony is tentatively scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, October 15. Winners need not be present to win. Stay tuned.

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First Prize: VA StartX DP Workstation
Runner-up: Creative Sound Cards
Runner-Up: Adaptec SCSI Cards
Runner-up: Matrox G400 Video Cards

What are the prizes?
All contestants will receive a complimentary copy of Civilization: Call to Power for Linux (can be traded for another Loki game if you have this one), a Three Day Technical Pass to the Atlanta Linux Showcase (a $300 value), a collector's t-shirt, and complimentary food/drinks during the Hack.

First Prize is a VA Linux Systems StartX MP Workstation

Runners up will received Adaptec SCSI cards, Matrox G400 video cards and Creative Labs Gamer-X sound cards.

Will you hire the winners?
We're not sure it's legal to promise to hire a contest winner -- but we're obviously interested in hiring just that sort of talented individual.

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Will Civilization: Call to Power customers have access to the hacks?
Yes! As soon as we return from the Atlanta Linux Showcase (the week of October 17), we will post on our website all functional hacks in binary form for free download.

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