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Norman Barrows

Member Since 04 Apr 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 10:54 AM

#5307485 Scene graphs in an Entity-Component Framework

Posted by on 23 August 2016 - 02:40 PM

its not uncommon to have multiple representations of the same data in different formats for different uses. such as a list of renderables in a terrain chunk as well as a 2d collision map for the terrain chunk. the collision info could be calculated from the render info. but a 2d array lookup is much faster than iterating thru a list of renderables.

#5307386 Errors that effect a computer's system.

Posted by on 23 August 2016 - 07:09 AM

back in the DOS days, throwing the vidcard into an unsupported mode was a common trick for frying monitors. nowadays, you'd have to purpose write low level driver/kernel code to even try it. and the hardware would probably trap it, even if you bypassed the OS.


Latte on the laptop sounds like the most likely scenario you'll have to worry about.


of course there are all kinds of other low level stuff you can purpose code as well, like reformatting sectors and such. but none of these are things you'll be doing while writing games - while writing viruses maybe - but not games.  <g>.

#5296813 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by on 16 June 2016 - 08:07 AM

so, is there a way to make a RPG that can provide shortcuts for those that want to use them, without ruining immersion for those who don't?  that seems to be the real question. 


perhaps some sort of confirmation?


"warning! use of this feature is considered cheating. do you wish to continue?"


i was thinking about doing that in caveman, but then i decided they'd probably know they were cheating.

#5296811 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by on 16 June 2016 - 08:03 AM

>> If I consistently go diving deep into your dungeons, and then consistently spend twenty minutes walking back out of each one and nothing ever happens, then you have a design bug. 


this happens to me every time, unless i make it all the way to the door at the far end without being over-encumbered. which usually doesn't happen until the second or third trip back to finish cleaning out the dungeon.   that is exactly what made me think of this topic in the first place.

#5296653 Need some advice.

Posted by on 15 June 2016 - 08:32 AM

>> Any thoughts of wisdom that could help would be appreciated.


first, you need to decide why you're doing all all this in the first place....  


to explore a cool game idea you have? then you're doing just fine. you're learning things of interest. you're rapid prototyping. you're even developing and selling libraries. 


to make a full game?  doesn't sound like you're there yet. if this is your goal, you probably need to consider the whole project, not just the cool part, before you begin at all. games are approximately 10% "glory coding" and 90% "glorified word processing".  its easy to get bored once you've done all the cool stuff and all that's left is the dull stuff. if you like the cool stuff but can't  handle the dull stuff, then building full games probably isn't for you. once the cool stuff is done, its no different than boring biz app development - go down the todo list , implement feature - unit test  - integration test - check it off the list, ok, next feature - until its done.  right now i'm grinding through unit testing all features added to Caveman since 5-9-2016 (about two dozen features). if you're not into the dull stuff, maybe writing middleware glory code is more your style. stuff like your A* library.


to SELL a full game? its like making a full game, but you also have to take into account market considerations when choosing the title to work on. IE you must be best in category to win, or don't even waste your time trying.

#5296541 When you were starting out...

Posted by on 14 June 2016 - 05:45 PM

>> When you were starting out how do you absorb information on books, tutorials and stuffs?


i've always had instant comprehension. so then it basically comes down to the lucidity and eloquence of the explanation in the textbook or whatever. not everyone is a good teacher.  not everyone is good at explaining things.  but they say one measure of your knowledge of a subject is how easily you can explain it to others. if you're having trouble understanding someone's explanation of a subject, seek out someone else's explanation of it. it might be clearer.


>> on a clearer note, what do you do that helps you remember everything you read


use it repeatedly. i have great difficulty with rote memorization. i can't remember the syntax of a new command 5 minutes later. you just keep looking it up until you've done it so many times you remember it. even if you're looking up the syntax of the same command every 5 minutes. jotting stuff down on a piece of paper helps. i kill a lot of trees that way.


>> and understand how they really work?


i'm long on theory, but short on memorization. explain it clearly once, and i understand it forever. always been that way. but if i need more than 1 or 2 items at the store i need a shopping list.


>> But sometimes even if I reread the text several times, I just can understand and remember specific stuffs and takes me ages just to figure out what I am supposed to do and supposed to use on the thing that I'm working on.


some things are more complex than others.


i have a few sayings from "life in the engineering lane" that apply here:


1. "rome was not built in a day" -  IE big stuff takes a long time.


2. "sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make a real mayonnaise". - IE significant undertakings require significant effort.


3. "as goes the project, so goes the mood of the engineers".  - IE its natural to become discouraged or frustrated when things are difficult or not working as they should. we all do it. just soldier on, and you'll get through.


>> And to experienced programmers out there, do you still check the index,glossary and stuff often? (Documentations[F1] or whatever it may be for you) Because I find myself looking at it once, twice or more everytime I work with a project.


when adding a feature or making a change, i'll typically lookup any calls whose syntax i'm unsure of. this may be none or six or more for a screen or two of code. if i sort of guess, the compiler balks, and i have to look it up anyway. when writing Dx code, i have to look up almost every single call, except stuff i use all the time.

#5296517 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by on 14 June 2016 - 12:24 PM

>>  Offering extra fast travel to suit achievers in that situation can make explorers feel like they're being punished for playing the game their way. It's a tradeoff. 


ah. i see your point.   in that particular case, the feature that caters to one game play style detracts from or conflicts with another game play style - at least in your opinion. me personally, i'd just ignore the feature if i was exploring, but that's neither here nor there.


hmm... interesting concept. it would seem that explorer types have particular desires in an rpg. perhaps a somewhat more demanding type of player, or one with higher expectations? especially with respect to immersion. even extending as far as optional gameplay features such as fast travel even being available? often times i'll forego certain game play features in Skyrim for purposes of role playing (i always try to play in character with every character and play a wide variety of character types), immersion (no fast travel), challenge (switch to light armor), or to avoid a game breaking dominant strategy (such as smithing plus enchanting). ii'm really bummed i can't do an unarmed monk type character. there are no real skills or items for it. just one item, i think.


in my current rpg project i've decided to give the player choice. x-country travel, adjustable difficulty levels for different aspects of the game, plus all built in cheats and testing tools, like teleport, instant healing of all stats, game editor, you name it. use it if you want, if you don't, just ignore it. none of it is obtrusive. some settings accessed from the in-game menu, right click on the maps for teleport instead of left click for cross-country travel, built-in tools on the main menu, and ALT-F12 for in-game playtest menus that let you do almost anything, spawn critters, edit stats, used to be able to edit the current map square - watch the terrain change right before you eyes. might have to make it do that gain. that was kind of cool! <g>. cross country travel is more immersive than fast travel. its continuous move with auto-steer to destination, collisions ignored, and movement rate based on terrain type. you can then accelerate time until you reach your destination or something of interest happens. a 3rd person view camera tracks the player as they move along, almost like a canned animation camera angle. you can also do 3rd person view, continuous move, steer manually, and accelerate time to manually walk across the world more quickly. 

#5296464 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by on 14 June 2016 - 06:53 AM

>> That's not my experience. Dungeons that aren't entirely linear, or which have traps, or areas that can't be easily traversed in both directions, all make for interesting navigation, even with a map.


i wish Bethesda understood that.


>> Well, no. You're assigning your motivations onto me and other players, which doesn't apply in the general case. If I reach max encumbrance I often continue into the dungeon and drop things as necessary. I don't want to view dungeon exploration as 'mining for loot', I want to view it as 'dungeon exploration', and the choice between minimizing time and distance travelled vs maximizing loot sold at the shop is an interesting choice I enjoy making.


no, you're assigning your gameplay style to all players. some want to mine dungeons for loot. in such cases, no fast travel out of the dungeon is an inconvenience at best, and disrespectful at worst. different players like to play different ways. as designers we have to cater to them all - or exclude them from our target audience. i've often times noticed that the answers i get about rpg design questions are often tinted by the responder's personal gameplay style. most folks don't think in terms of "all players", just "me as player".  no problem with that as long as your sample is big enough. but i suspect that "folks who happen to respond to rpg questions on gamedev" is a skewed sample though. we seem to have a lot of bartle's "explorer" types here.



>> The problem with allowing the player to choose is that it's very easy to turn your game into a Skinner box where you're just clicking away and watching numbers go up. I find that if I'm able to streamline a game then I usually do so, and it's less fun than times when I can't do that. I need the game to provide some discipline for me. 


one thing i've noticed is that a lot of games, like SIMwhatever and city builders and rts's and such - if you speed up the game really fast, you realize the game really isn't that much fun or does not do a whole lot.  which you wouldn't normally notice for a long time, simply because the game runs so slow. so it would seem that a "slow game"  is a good way to hide "not much of a game". note that this does not mean that all slow games are not much of a game.  it also leads me to suspect that games should be able to pass the accelerated time test. its a good way to get far along in the game quickly for playtesting - to see if you really have enough game there or not.


the biggest problem i find with accelerated time is the players running the game so fast they die of starvation and such. 

#5296349 how would you do this w/ utility based AI + influence maps ?

Posted by on 13 June 2016 - 10:09 AM


- If the lowest nearby threat value is > some threshold, disqualify the decision to flee, and revert to combat (This can be done trivially with a suitable response curve - no need to enshrine the rule in code!)
- Optionally, sample the path from A's current location to the safe spot, and test the influence map at each point. If the threat gets too high or whatnot, you can also disqualify the fleeing decision
- For bonus points, integrate the influence map with the pathfinding search and increase the cost of pathing through high-threat areas. If the path cost becomes too high, assume that fleeing is impossible, and act cornered instead. 




ok, so the utility system would basically choose "fight" over "flight" in the first place - using a more in-depth and complex decision making process.  i get it.   thanks!

#5296137 A random card game ?

Posted by on 11 June 2016 - 04:22 PM

i've done card type games in the past.    rapid prototyping is really called for when inventing a new card game.    IE try it and find out.

#5296131 Need help on what to do with my idea

Posted by on 11 June 2016 - 03:56 PM

>> What engine to use?


depends on the game type.


>> 2D or 3D?


your choice.   how much do you know already?   text? 2D? 3D?    how much more do you want to have to learn?    how long do you want it all to take?


>> And should it be an RPG game?


text or graphical adventure would probably be the best choice for a story heavy game (IE where its primarily about the story).    a storyline based shooter would be the next step up, followed by a storyline based rpg, and then perhaps a storyline driven simulator / simulation, depending on game setting and game depth.   graphical adventures, shooters, RPGs, and sims could be 2D or 3D.    shooters, rpgs, and sims, (and maybe the others too!) could be real time or turn based combat.

#5296115 Component based architecture .... for game!

Posted by on 11 June 2016 - 01:07 PM

>> I have faced some difficulty when tried create some relation Ex. Bullet-Component rotating around Rocket-Component.


precisely, what are you trying to do?



>>  Component based architecture


ECS (as opposed to somewhat more straightforward composition) has a number of uses:


1. team members without the access and/or knowledge to modify the code base must be able to define new entity types from pre-defined components already existing in the game engine. test question: do team members who must define entity types not have code access and / or knowledge?


2. to reduce build times by making entity type definitions data driven, so you don't have to recompile when you define a new entity. test question: how often do you define a new entity type?


3. there's a method for optimizing update once you can squeeze no more clock cycles out of render and you're still too slow. the result is more or less an ECS. test question: have you already optimized render, and you're still too slow?


4. just for fun or as a learning exerience. test question: are you doing this just for fun, or just as a learning experience?


if you pass any of these test questions, ECS may be called for.


note that generic game engines like Unity et al have requirement #1. I suppose that's why some folks thinks an ECS is "de rigueur".

#5295991 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by on 10 June 2016 - 11:01 AM

>> Many of us don't want the sort of streamlined experience you're talking about. If I'm deep in the dungeon then being able to find my way out safely is part of gameplay.


most games have automap and a compass with the next quest waypoint always showing the exit, so no "finding your way out"


most games have hard coded spawn points that don't respawn for a while or at all, and do not have periodic random encounters, so "safely" is a given.


>>  I might have to make a difficult decision between pressing on or turning back


you've already decided to turn back, cause you're mining the dungeon for loot, and you've reached max encumbrance - time to go to the store and sell it all off.


>>  and maybe between ditching some loot in order to be able to continue


you've already passed that point. you dumped the junk and kept the good stuff. its time to leave. but you're half way through the second or third level. going forward, you just have to kill more stuff, loot the bodies, and immediately drop everything. you can't just smash and grab and go. one soul gem fragment and your over encumbered. so now you kill, loot, drop - paying attention to what will be easy to find later (big stuff like armor), and what won't fall thru the ground mesh due to whacked physics (hmm... maybe dropping armor in oblivion's not such a good idea...., or purified water in the lobby of the 38 casino in new vegas.  it respawns at the door, rolls, then falls thru, again an again).


while soldiering on, or dropping all loot then continuing is one strategy, you're still left having to come back later and walk to pick it up again. plus more time futzing with inventories.  time and motion studies:   the most time efficient way to get loot to the store is to kill, loot, then leave, do not drop at any time anywhere. you just waste more time in inventory menus. and extra travel. and more load screens!


>> Same with exploring - if I wanted discrete encounters I'd play a game with a world-map mode rather than a continuous world. I enjoy scanning the horizon to see where to go next, climbing the hillsides to get a better view, feeling more immersed because it takes time to get from one place to another.


i can get into that too. but i come from the flight simulator demographic. sometimes you just want to accelerate time and get to the action. games have this capability, but don't typically let the user use it, or limit how much you can accelerate the game to the point its little better than real time.


there are times i want to explore, and times i just want to finish some quest. when i want to finish a quest, i should be able to call up the game map, click on my destination, and it will move me towards it (via fast travel) until i encounter something (IE come within X of an un-triggered spawn point, or undiscovered landmark). at that point it should stop fast travel, and let me deal with the encounter. then i can click on the map again and continue my journey. that would be so easy to do, and then you would not have to manually a walk to undiscovered locations when you didn't want to. and when you felt like exploring, you could. Caveman does this.

#5295990 are vidgames disrespectful of player's time vs tabletop RPG's?

Posted by on 10 June 2016 - 10:32 AM

I am going to guess that you aren't a big fan of "walking simulators," either...


how did you know? <g>

#5295985 what was the first video game?

Posted by on 10 June 2016 - 10:13 AM

>> the cathode ray tube amusement device (patented in 1947) 




give that man a cigar! we have a winner!


never even heard of that one!