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Norman Barrows

Member Since 04 Apr 2012
Offline Last Active Oct 22 2016 10:51 AM

#5315816 Caveman 3.0: favorite foods

Posted by on 19 October 2016 - 07:01 AM

Well, if there was an inventory penalty for staple foods to counterbalance their easy access, you might rebalance it with basic food taking much space and giving few bonus.


There are both weight and container rules in the game, but all weights are realistic. The game has an emphasis on realism, its really a simulator - like a flight sim - except you control a human during the Paleolithic era, instead of an F-22 Raptor or whatever.


So i can't jing the weights or space required by foods.   Fact is you can live a long time on a backpack full of nuts.  Just one jar of peanut butter is close to 2000 calories - more than 3/4ths of a days worth of food. And a backpack full of rice - you have a couple weeks, if not a month's worth of food.


When it comes to balancing, games where you make up the rules and sims where you don't are a bit different. With sims, its all about accuracy, and let the chips fall where they may.


So all I have to work with are the incentives and disincentives you would have in the real world for not eating the same food all the time.  Things like you get sick and tired of it, and it may not be a balanced diet, leading to malnutrition.

#5315704 Caveman 3.0: favorite foods

Posted by on 18 October 2016 - 10:04 AM

favorite food isn't sounding that bad.


Should it be random, or they pick it?     Random?   And if they get nuts - lucky for them?  And if they get spiced meat and veggie stew (meat, veggies, grains, water, spices, fire, boiling bag, cooking skills) - tough luck?


I let them pick their interests...   (exploration, encounters, combat, money, crafting, etc).

#5315701 Caveman 3.0: favorite foods

Posted by on 18 October 2016 - 09:42 AM

How important is mood in the game and how many factors can effect it


mood < 20 (on a a scale of 0-100) means you can only gather and eat food - nothing else.  You are not motivated enough to do anything more.  


everything affects mood, and i do mean _everything_. the weather, illness, injury, events, social interactions, successes, failures, pursuing interests, combat results, actions - you name it.


In general everything in the game affects everything else (where it makes sense).  So almost everything in the game can have an effect on variable stats, skills, inventory, relations, etc.   




If it's a important stat then I would like a few meals that can have a lasting positive effect on it to counter any negative  effects that could happen with out me noticing. These food can have a high difficulty and still work.


More complex meals generally boost both food and mood more.  So a nice meat and veggie soup will make up for a couple meals in a row of the same old same old eaten previously.  The game already does that.




This should work, maybe it should also give a small boost, I always feel better after eating my favorite food.


All foods give both a food and mood boost.  And some boost water slightly as well - things like fresh fruit.    The game already does that.


An extra mood boost if its your favorite vs the mood boost everyone gets makes sense.


If you are going to have that many then it helps to have some incentive for players to try new ones


Tell me about it!   <g>   I started with 31 types or so, and all anyone ever ate was nuts and berries - including me!   It was just easier, and it didn't bother my character that they ate the same thing all the time, so there was no reason not to, other than for role-playing sake.  So I added "mood nuke from same food all the time".


The penalty for eating the same thing will help, although I find that if each food has it's own stat boosts it also helps as a incentive.


Well, the game already does both, so I think I have that covered!  :)


In your game if trading is possible, random selecting what items will be sold at a higher profit would mean that if players stored different food types, there is a better chance of having one that sells for a high price.


The game has trading, but not really variable "prices" per say. Its more like you put out one or more items, and indicate which of their items you which to exchange for  yours, and they say yes or no, based on the general value of the items - never making an unfavorable trade.  


So they will accept pretty much any items in trade, as long as the total value equals what you want from them.   And like everything else in the game, needless to say, variable stats, skills, relations, the price of rutabagas in Outer Mongolia, the kitchen sink, etc. all affect whether they accept a trade offer. <g>

#5315692 3D games: character is small compared to the size of objects in the world

Posted by on 18 October 2016 - 08:53 AM

A picture of what you mean would be helpful.


Skyrim is the first thing that comes to mind. 


If you mean what I think, one reason is to make the art readable.



I'm not really talking about signs and stuff.   Things like trees, and such.    I'm aware the power-ups in shooters are often over-sized to make them mode noticeable.


But come to think of it, weapons and armor too quite often. Although this is more about taking artistic license and increasing coolness factor. But that often goes a bit overboard, with characters wielding weapons that are bigger than they are.


As for 1pv vs 3pv, i've noticed it even in my own game Caveman. and you damn well know i'm doing all of that to scale. And I don't change the view mat at all, just the camera  location.


Maybe its an optical illusion caused by the fact that view mats are an approximation of human vision - and only an approximation.

#5315577 Caveman 3.0: favorite foods

Posted by on 17 October 2016 - 12:50 PM

Food mechanics can really help improve a game, one of the largest complaints of Harvest moon 64 was that you couldn't cook the food.


I have about 7 basic types of food in the game:  nuts, fruit, veggies, meats, spices, grains, and water - as i recall offhand.


Those can be combined to make 30+ (50+? 60+?) foods in the game. Both raw and cooked, and plain and spiced versions - including juices and teas.


And I just thought of two more!  dried fruit + roasted nuts = plain trail mix. dried fruit + roasted nuts + spices = trail mix (or spiced trail mix).


Eating increases food and mood, and water too in some cases.  But eating the same thing too often nukes mood instead of increasing it.


Favorite food would basically negate the penalty for eating the same thing all the time.  


or should it just reduce it, or not kick in until they eat a whole bunch (such as: last 8 out of 10 meals vs last 4 out of 10), or both (kick in later, and reduce mood less) ?

#5315560 Team makeup

Posted by on 17 October 2016 - 11:23 AM

I recently came across a team of about 1-2 dozen in size, with the following approximate breakdown of positions / members:


artists: 50% of the team.

managers: 28%

coders: 11%

audio: 5.5%

writing: 5.5%


seems a little high on the management end, and kind of light on coders. How does this compare with the make up of most teams?








#5315557 What resolutions and aspect ratios to support

Posted by on 17 October 2016 - 10:49 AM

Picking a resolution based on performance made sense back in the 90s, but today you rarely want to run a game at anything other than your native resolution or the LCD screen will make it look awful.


I'd agree about the native resolution part, but don't most current titles that support such features still choose some graphics setting level (low, medium, high, ultra), as well as the resolution, before running for the first time? perhaps as part of the launcher app?  Things like texture resolution, water quality, reflections, AA sample count, shadow type (volume-metric / drop / none), etc.


Note to OP: a launcher app precludes the need for command line or data driven (IE .ini file) over-ride of auto-detect results.


As for UI's and low rez's:

i coded Caveman to 1600x900, then modified the UI to scale to current rez.  tested it from 800x600 on up. looks ok (still legible) at all resolutions. But you can tell its scaled when the scale amounts (up or down) are large. multiple resolutions for the custom font bitmaps would help here. font textures are just 32x32 in size.


Long ago (when 1024x768 came along) I decide the best solution was to code UIs to a virtual 10000x10000 coord system and make them scale automatically to the current rez.  I should have done that for Caveman. That way no matter what app you're writing or what resolution you're at, 0,0 is the UL corner, 10K,10K is the LR corner, and 5K,5K is the center of the screen. Scaling down (within reason) tends to not look as bad as scaling up. so a very large virtual coord system where you always scale down and there's room for future tech like 4K displays is preferable.


of course, writing a program back in the early days of 1024x768x256 whose UI could scale to 10K graphics would be of little use if the app didn't include code to actually use higher resolutions than 1024x768x256.


But it also means that any generic UI library you write that uses 10K x 10K coords will not become obsolete until resolutions get up to about 12K x 12K or 15K x 15K.


Unfortunately, games tend to use custom UI's.  So you're usually stuck writing a scaleable custom UI for each game you do. something where you code using one coord size (1600x900, 10Kx10K, whatever), then convert it to screen coords based on current rez.


My solution for this has been to use just two basic ui components: getstring, and a popup menu. messages can be done with a menu whose last option is "ok". for each new game, i copy and paste those two routines into the code for the new game, and make them use the new game's graphics. The back end code never changes, just the code to draw text and bitmaps. its easier than trying to separate the back end from the graphics completely.  anything more complex than getstring, menu or message, and i code up a custom dialog box/ screen of some sort. 

#5315539 Systems of gears (Car simulation)

Posted by on 17 October 2016 - 08:06 AM

My goal is to learn how to get the flywheel torque though the clutch, through the gearbox, through the diff and onto the road, and then to get the resultant resistance back through the entire system and into the flywheel.


i would think that at each stage you would calculate the resistance  and apply it there. 


the front-solve then back-solve approach seems common when faking it, but makes no sense to me based on my one year of jr high school physics, one year of high school physics, three semesters of college physics, one semester of college physics lab, and 37 years as a hot rodder.



off the top of my head...


induction system will determine volumetric efficiency at any given rpm. which determines how many molecules you have and thus how much pressure on the piston after combustion. the force is actually not constant, but varies as the charge burns and the piston moves. F=PA gives you the force on the piston based on cyl pressure, and the force along the rod is F cos(theta) where theta is the angle from the vertical of the rod at that moment. this gives you F at the crank journal, times stoke = torque! <g> so right there you have your torque at the flywheel. now you add a clutch or torque converter, which will add some amount of resistance, based on parasitic driveline drag, and the weight of the vehicle and speed too, as i recall. in the end you end up with some net torque at the drive axle, times tire rad = shear force on the road. F=MA, and away you go!


I've heard good things about "swept volume" methods for modeling engine output. desktop dyno and other high quality engine design software uses it.


chevrolet makes a book called the chevy power manual. Its  available at your local chevy dealer's parts counter. the last chaper is "vehicle dynamics" and is very useful for car simulations.  lots of good theory and formulas in there.

#5315519 Building game architecture

Posted by on 17 October 2016 - 04:45 AM

Try to think only about what will make your game easier to write, and not what is considered good practice by the OOP methodology. Those two often conflict.


at last, folks are getting a clue!  big +1 on that! 

#5315517 What resolutions and aspect ratios to support

Posted by on 17 October 2016 - 04:40 AM

What resolutions and aspect ratios should I support?


all appropriate modes the graphics card is capable of. 


if you can detect monitor aspect ratio, you should default to the highest resolution mode at that aspect ratio- knocked back based on automatic performance analysis.


So you figure out what they have, and pick the best mode they can run (that is also fast enough) and go with that. and you need a way to override that with a command line switch in case your autodetect doesn't work on some weirdo whacked out "woo card from hell" as we used to call them, back when i fixed PCs for the OSU college of medicine.


and as mentioned above, all graphics will have to be device independent.

#5315516 Systems of gears (Car simulation)

Posted by on 17 October 2016 - 04:29 AM

1. -Can anyone point me at resources for realistically modelling the drive line? or, failing that

2. -Can anyone explain to me the math I should be learning to simulate a system of gears including mass, friction and inefficiency? and alse -

3. Can anyone speak to their own experiences on driveline simulation? I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts.


there are two possible approaches:


1. learn how cars work, and learn physics, and do it right. there are many sources out there on how cars work. Physics by Tippler is the industry standard for university physics texts. I learned cars on my own, and spent my time in physics lecture deriving the formulas to simulate stuff like con rod force on the crank journal. Hint: the secret is the delta N before and after combustion in the PV=NRT gas law from chemistry. for perfect combustion of oxygen and octane, delta n is 32/27 or 32/24, something like that. ie 27 octane and oxygen molecules in, 34 CO2 and H2O molecules out. from this you get a P for F=PA on the piston.


2. something less than correct. IE fake it, kludge it etc.  as you already know, there are TONs of resources on how to fake it.


If you want to make a real mayonaisse, you're going to have to break a few eggs. or in other words if you want a decent simulation you'll have to do some work.


Bottom line, if you don't know how to build a real racecar, how can you hope to simulate one? and FYI, i have a 1971 malibu convertible with a tall deck 454 big block, 30 over pistons, 1/4 inch stoke crank, long rods, 10.28 :1 compression ratio. 489 Cubic inches (IE 8.0 liters)  offenhauser individual runner intake, twin holley 1150's. 688 horsepower on pump gas with no turbo, no nitrous, no blower, no nothing! so yeah i know how to build racecars, and yeah i took all the physics required in college. PS i also have a 71 GMC stepside pickup with a small bock version of the same engine rated at 511 horsepower, a 1999 Z28 camaro, and 1986 porsche 944. can you tell i'm a hot rodder? <g>.

#5315418 What would you say is required for a good survival horror game?

Posted by on 16 October 2016 - 08:19 AM

non hard-coded spawn points.


if, like your typical shooter, nothing happens until the player triggers the next spawn point, then there is no real danger in just standing around, only when you move further into the level. Thus there is not real threat, and thus no real fear.


If a badguy can spawn anytime anywhere, then nowhere in the game world is safe, and you always have that threat hanging over you. then things like low health or low ammo start to make you nervous - all the time - no matter where you are.


While working on Caveman 3.0, i've discovered the scariest thing is you know something is out there, but you don't know what - perhaps until its too late.  Emergent jump scare AI here works great - tension, startle, frantic combat or escape. 


A high difficulty is necessary, so threats are real, not a joke. probably less than 50% of combats should be winnable.


the best way to evoke fear is place a weak PC in a tough game world.  Never kill them in one blow, but have no qualms about killing them in 3 or 4.

#5315299 Stronger versions of enemies?

Posted by on 15 October 2016 - 04:32 AM

recycled art from previous monsters in the game....  reusing existing code in different ways. That's the ideal case



Boy! You're easy to please! <g>.


How about unique artwork, abilities, and AI for each monster type?    (Yeah - I'm a 1 percenter).


I put it to you that recycling stuff, while sometimes necessary, is technically being lazy.  especially in a game where you have the freedom to do what you want - so nothing is preventing you from making everything unique - except lack of time, funding, or the will to do it.


Much has to do with the concept of "games as art" vs "games as product".


As art, everything should be unique, and dev costs are irrelevant. All design decisions should be made to improve the player experience, not reduce the developer workload.


As product, quality only matters insofar as it impacts profitability. So reuse of assets and code is good. It makes the dev team more productive, and thus hopefully more profitable. But it doesn't make for a better game, just richer publishers. So they can then go out and fund another less-than-everything-it-could-be game for maximal-profit.


In hollywood they have the concept of "one for them and one for me".


"One for them" is mass market crap that makes money.   Actors and directors do these to make a living.


"One for me" are those pet projects where its about the art , not the money - sometimes referred to as "Art films".  The film they always wanted to do, even though it may never make a lot of money - or may even lose money. 

#5315297 Stronger versions of enemies?

Posted by on 15 October 2016 - 04:12 AM

I don't expect game developers to make a unique monster for every stage of progression. Especially not unique art. That's a lot to ask.


And therein lies the inherent weakness of video vs table top games.   tabletop games don't require massive artwork.   so you don't have to compromise on the design because you don't have the artwork manpower to execute it.


By holding video games to a lower standard you encourage mediocrity.


"Its too much artwork" is not a legitimate excuse for lack of requisite variety in enemy types.

#5315182 What would be the best game engine for this type of a game?

Posted by on 14 October 2016 - 08:24 AM

but they dont have the ability to add graphical stuff, like the linux terminal here, or custom pictures and such


Then its not text based (IE text mode only), its 2D graphics.


You'd need an "engine" or a collection of libraries and code that would let you display text, click on stuff, maybe enter text, and display 2d graphics (bitmaps).


I'm sure somebody here can make some recommendations on a 3rd party engine with those capabilities.  I use Dx9 and in-house code for such things, so i can't recommend any particular 3rd party 2D engine.