Every couple of years question about default ruleset overhaul comes
up. It has been always rather static, not really taking much advantage
of new capabilities we add to the engine. Your average user who is
only using what gets started by default (default ruleset) sees freeciv
to evolve really slowly.

Latest idea/attempt to change this was addition of experimental
ruleset. It was meant to later become new default ruleset. I don't
think it has been, or is likely to be, very successful on that goal.
It's just compilation of features not available in default ruleset.
True to its name, it gets new experimental features instead of
existing features stabilizing to something that could be used as
default. I'm yet to run single experimental ruleset autogame in S2_4
without errors. Having experimental ruleset as playground for new
features is nice, but thta's not something that will turn in to
default ruleset in itself.
I also suspect that just taking some individual features from
experimental to default would not work too well. Rules balance each
other, so they are not really independent. This is especially true
with default ruleset that should be best balanced one.

I'd rather have (new) ruleset that is designed with all the
requirements of good default ruleset in mind. Those of us who want to
use wall the whistles of freeciv engine can have their own ruleset (or
use experimental ruleset). Default ruleset should be designed for
balanced and fun gameplay. One techical side of that is simply not to
use excessively "experimental" freeciv features, but only those which
already work well (including AI's ability to cope with those rules).

Drastic change in default ruleset is certain to cause uproar on some
users who prefer current rules. Abandoning current rules simply isn't
an option (at least not before we get some feedback from users). While
default ruleset may change, current rules should still be available as
separate ruleset.

1) Rename current default ruleset. While it's current role is to work
as default ruleset, it should have distinct name. Just like our
default tileset is nowadays named "Amplio2", and default ai module
"classic". Name "classic" is actually what I'm going to propose for
ruleset name too. That's the name we've always used when storing
"original" default under name that should indicate that it's what we
used to have.
I'm for doing this soon. In freeciv codebase it's minor change, and
doing it this early in 2.5 cycle would leave as more time to adjust
everything (documentation at least) to match.

2) Add new ruleset. This can happen only when we have such an ruleset.
Of the existing rulesets I'm looking through and testing tirolalira's
civ2-3 ruleset to decide if it's something I could propose as
something to add as new default ruleset. Anyway, we take this step
when we have sucah an ruleset selected (but as ruleset doesn't need to
be completely ready in this step, I think we can have something
relativey soon)

3) Playtest new ruleset a lot.

4) Make new ruleset default one. This happens when new ruleset is
ready for this.

I'm uncertain if we should have one release cycle between 2 & 4 in any
case, so that we would get feedback about new ruleset from more casual
users before making it default one. This depends a bit on how
drastically different rules from current ones we actually end up with.

 - ML

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