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Member Since 04 Oct 2012
Offline Last Active Feb 12 2016 10:31 AM

#5212756 Searching for life simulation communities

Posted by on 24 February 2015 - 01:08 PM

AI and biological simulation seem to be pretty orthogonal fields to me. I'm not clear on why one would expect to find life simulation in an AI community or vice versa?

Because part of life simulations, at least with more complex organisms, is simulating realistic behaviour and some sort of semblance of intelligence (I'm mostly interested in learning and decision-making). For example, this articleon the brain in Creatures 3 is the kind of thing I'd love to find more of, especially in a discussion forum. Topics covered more in traditional game AI forums seem to be locomotion, path finding, crowds, etc - all interesting subjects that can of course be relevant to life simulation as well, but seemingly more about how the AI expresses itself externally as opposed to internal evolution and state. I'm looking for something with more of a focus on the latter.


But maybe I'm wrong and they have nothing to do with each other at all! I don't work with AI (directly) in my day job :)

#5212640 Searching for life simulation communities

Posted by on 24 February 2015 - 01:24 AM


I've been on the hunt for an online community/forum that focuses on AI from a life simulation perspective as opposed to a game development perspective (eg OpenWorm but with a broader project scope, Daisy World, or, if you want to meet in the middle, something focusing on Creatures-3-esque organism simulation).

I thought maybe someone here could recommend something. I had a look at the recommended sites thread and didn't really find anything like this - does it even exist? I've found the OpenWorm site and Google Group and some chat bot specific websites, but nothing about the general development of life simulations. AI seems like a popular subject even outside of games, so when I first started looking around I didn't think it would be such an elusive goal.

Thanks for any recommendations.

#5181037 how to manage project for multi platforms on engine based or graoundup project

Posted by on 17 September 2014 - 09:57 AM

While being vigilant and making sure all platforms are functional at once from the very beginning sounds great, this is often an unrealistic goal. Often for deadlines/deliverables/shows you will end up picking a target platform to present on. That platform will then end up being more developed than others. 
Imo it is good to get into the habit of making sure all platforms are at least buildable at all times, to avoid nasty surprises down the line when you find out that "Holy crap, the PS4/whatever code/data has been broken for months and now there's this giant mess of compile errors to detangle!". That, I think, is doable. But in terms of functionality and maintaining playability and stability of the game - unless you have QA resources (or personal time) to both test and fix each platform on a daily basis and build features at the same time you're likely to end up leaving some platforms by the wayside and coming back to them later.
One potential option to consider to mitigate this is automated testing. However, that's a whole other can of worms and requires plenty of initial work and ongoing maintenance in itself.

#5180806 Optimization philosophy and what to do when performance doesn't cut it?

Posted by on 16 September 2014 - 02:21 PM

Personally, I tend to prototype a feature first until it's functional and then spend a bit of time to clean up the code and optimize it straight after (hopefully without breaking it -.-). Then once a week or so I spend a day reviewing all the things I did that week and refactoring. There's no set schedule for this, I just do it when the mess starts bugging me (which is at pretty regular intervals). I don't go overboard with optimization though - just enough to keep things from getting too ridiculous.

#5058605 Starting out with HTML5

Posted by on 02 May 2013 - 07:14 AM

1) I don't want to reinvent the wheel like I've kind of had to do with my main project, I'm almost just interested in some rapid prototyping to get a couple ideas out while the creative urge is still in me. What's a good engine, framework, or tool you would suggest to forgo a lot of tedium associated with writing a game from scratch in HTML5?


I would usually highly recommend ImpactJS, but this is not free. There are free engines like CraftyJS which seem to get good feedback. You can find a list here: https://github.com/bebraw/jswiki/wiki/Game-Engines



2) Once I've managed to make something, is there any online community that allows HTML5 game submissions, kind of like Newgrounds and Kongregate for Flash games? Or would I most likely have to invest in some cheap hosting to get them out there?


You can host for free on GitHub, but there are also plenty of other communities where you can host your game. Look into Chrome Web Store, for example. With a bit of googling around it shouldn't be difficult to find one you'd like to host with as they are quite common.


3) Any other advice you may have to pass on after experimenting with HTML5 yourself.

  1. Browser compatibility is a pain in the butt. Test early (as I'm only working on HTML5 games for fun in my spare time I'm kind of half-assed about this and only really focus on Chrome and Firefox)
  2. I recommend Chrome Canary to use as a primary browser during development. 
  3. Chrome Dev Tools are extremely useful

#5040439 Game Development Scene

Posted by on 07 March 2013 - 10:43 AM

Don't wait! I, for one, would love to follow the progress of someone who's just starting to get into game development. I started my blog very early on in my journey also and it's now very humbling for me to look back on my own archives every now and then and see how much I've learned. I also got so much feedback and assistance from random readers and friends, it's been extremely helpful.

#5040360 Experience without a degree

Posted by on 07 March 2013 - 06:59 AM

My opinion: I doubt you would benefit from a computer science degree. You have been programming for 10 years - a degree would be a waste of time aside from having a scrap of paper. A scrap of paper that you don't even need if you have solid experience and a portfolio behind you. You have the experience and you might even already have the portfolio - a degree would be useful if you were more entry level. If I can get a job without a degree with nothing but the benefit of having started to gain experience in peripheral IT industries early, making my own games/posting code to GitHub in my spare time, and having some not-sucky interpersonal skills for the interview, you definitely can.

#4992674 Picking My Game's Name

Posted by on 21 October 2012 - 10:55 PM

Sorry, just saw this Yup, mine is here

Broke your bandwidth limit ;)

Gahh, first time ever! Increased :)

#4990504 Picking My Game's Name

Posted by on 15 October 2012 - 02:35 PM

Name picking (for anything, not just games) is one of my favorite things to do and also one of the most challenging. I quite like Tribal Lands also - it's straightforward and utterly unpretentious.

Also thanks for the link to your blog, I've been looking for dev blogs to follow!

#4989412 IOS development, first step?

Posted by on 12 October 2012 - 03:40 AM

Personally I write in JavaScript and compile in Xcode for deployment on iOS using the Ejecta framework. There are more options to code in your preferred language and deploy to iOS now than before (and deploy without too much hassle or fiddling around). While I'd still like to go on to learn Obj C down the line, the ability to start out with a language you're comfortable with is beneficial. So perhaps starting out with a language that you'll be able to pick up easily (for me that was JS) to learn basic programming concepts might be a better option rather than diving headfirst into a complicated language like Objective C or C++. I know what I've learned from JS has been helpful in navigating other languages thus far.

#4989395 Opinions on resetting difficulty+experiencing the same series of overarching...

Posted by on 12 October 2012 - 02:50 AM

Thanks, Orymus, that was the idea here as well - you are in the same time, but you are not necessarily always in the same space as the other characters. Eg one character's mission could be to explore a location while another character's simultaneous mission could be to retrieve something from a different nearby location.

In terms of giving confidence to the player - I can see what you mean, but it's also very easy to screw this kind of thing up if I don't structure each story properly, which would have the opposite effect.

thePyro, this is going to be one of the biggest challenges - making each playthrough satisfying while still making the player curious about what they could find out in other playthroughs and tying them all together. Should be interesting to try to write!

#4989103 Opinions on resetting difficulty+experiencing the same series of overarching...

Posted by on 11 October 2012 - 08:08 AM

I plan to do something similar in my game. There will be two sides of a single story - girl and boy viewpoints. The first playthrough will always be as a girl and the second character will only be unlocked after finishing with the first one. The main story will remain the same - and does not require second playthrough to be understood. But there will be many new details in story, game mechanics and environment to be explored.

One thing that has to be thought out is how to "force" player to be at the right place at right time if story requires so. I.e. if during the first playthrough character B was covering character A in certain quest then what to do, if player decides to ignore character A completely while playing with B?

In your example - what to do if something has to happen according to scenario A logic but not according to scenario B logic? Say computer-controlled player B defended the ship of A and destroyed enemy mothership (with big explosion). Now when playing as B player will not attack mothership, but simply keeps it away from A while mostly dodging missiles. So according to game logic mothership should not explode, but according to story logic it should.

My current plan is to be flexible with timings - i.e. all important events from the first playthrough will become "checkpoints" in second. The story will not advance until player has gone through them. But I have no idea whether it works.
Such things have to be solved in game logic level. But if done right they can make story much more engaging - at least for those players, who like familiarity.

I think to get around the kind of issue you describe I'll need to not have too much involvement between characters in any one character's playthrough, which I think may not be how you were envisioning your version of this kind of scenario in your game :). My characters will be operating in the same timeline, but with their own missions and paths that are not necessarily intertwined in each level. Eg when playing A, you won't often be directly involved with B and C in the same level at all. A is flying to some position to recover Blue Widget while B would be staying behind to defend their main ship. Because each character as I envision it now has their own "job" (eg A is a Scout, B is a Defender/Fighter), they will have different kinds of missions and objectives that are designed for their role and while they'll be going through the same journey from Day 1 to Day X, they will (mostly) be doing so in different locations, scenarios, and kinds of objectives.

I did plan on having the kind of scenario you describe - having Playable Character B defend NPC version of A in a particular mission. In this case PC B will only need to follow the path that NPC A takes and keep it alive. If NPC A dies, the player (as B) fails. However, I don't think much disruption would be possible here because:
  • Any such interactions between characters would not involve a computer ever killing a mothership (and then when played as that character being able to do something different). A mothership would be a boss, so I see no reason to have an NPC as opposed to the player fight a boss.
  • In addition the defence mission PC B gets (where they are defending NPC A) would likely not appear as a playable level when playing through with as A at all. It would simply be an "event" that happened as part of their narrative, not necessarily something they directly play through.
So the two characters, when played, would not be able to create different scenarios on different playthroughs and NPC characters do not perform elaborate or extremely significant actions (like killing a mothership).

I plan on allowing the player to play characters in any order, so it will be interesting to try and tie in the pieces of information they get in their missions in a way that makes sense regardless of which playthrough comes first.

This is an ambitious project (for me) because of these kinds of challenges and the amount of content involved. I have built a large portion of the core mechanics already so it definitely feels doable, but I'll need to be careful to keep my scope in check.

The idea you described sounds very interesting also, would love to keep up with your progress if you keep something like a dev blog.

#4989015 Opinions on resetting difficulty+experiencing the same series of overarching...

Posted by on 11 October 2012 - 02:12 AM

I like the basic idea and it has been used in movies (Run Lola Run) or even games (resident evil, kind of in SC I).

The trick is,that even when using the same timeline you should deliver only a part of the story per playthrough with overlapping events, which will start as random event the player will not really recognize as story plot at first , but will resolve as clever story plot later. But avoid redundant story playthrough, the story telling should show really unique views of the same story which construct to an unique experience once you see the whole picture (after playing all game sessions).

Thanks, Ashaman, that helps. I think I need to figure out a good way to balance just how much you can resolve as one character. That is, should playing through all three characters be considered a requirement to reaching some sort of satisfying conclusion or should the player be able to finish one playthrough with Character A, B, or C and be satisfied with the ending, then play the others if they want to gain more interesting but not necessarily required insights into the overall events of the timeline? This is all in terms of revealing the overall story of this journey - each character will of course have their own missions that are relevant to their individual narrative and progression through this timeline.

#4989006 Opinions on resetting difficulty+experiencing the same series of overarching...

Posted by on 11 October 2012 - 01:48 AM

I'm curious about people's views on having the player (optionally) experience the same story from three different perspectives in different playthroughs. I was originally going to post this in the Writing forum, but realized the question is more about the overall player experience in terms of progression rather than the story itself. Apologies if I was wrong and placed this in the wrong forum.

The idea: The core mechanics basically involve an Asteroids-like multi-directional shooter and build on that. The player selects a character they want to play out of three at the beginning (female, male, AI) based on a brief description and an overview of strengths/weaknesses. Player completes playthrough with that character, then optionally chooses another character to use and starts from the beginning of the overall story timeline. I'm guessing each character's playthrough may take 45 minutes to an hour (but this estimate is still very flexible).

Progress: Most of the core mechanics are complete (with much refinement to go), but in terms of content right now I am building levels for the first character, allowing me plenty of opportunity to vary up what I'm going to do with the other two based on feedback I receive here.

Question: As a player, would you prefer to experience the same series of events through another character's eyes/personal perspective or would you prefer to just have each character progress you further in the main story of the game without overlap? Do you see the former working? As an example:

Character A: Starts at Level 1, Day 1.
Level 1: Recover Blue Widget from planet.
Level 2, 3, etc
Finish playthrough

Character B: Starts back at Level 1, Day 1.
Level 1: Defend main ship from attack for X time while Blue Widget is being recovered from planet.
Leve 2, 3, etc.
Finish Playthrough


Character A: Starts at Level 1, Day 1, finish at Level 10, Day 10
Character B: Starts at Level 11, Day 11, continuing where A left off.

The first case would be a matter of optionally restarting from the lowest difficulty after you are done with whatever character you chose to play first.

The second case would be a matter of continuing the difficulty progression with each character. You would have no choice in what character you use - you'd start with A, go on to B, finish with C. I guess technically here you don't even have to have multiple characters with this option, so the main question is - do you see the first case working to deliver a positive player experience?

Original Rationale: I had hoped that if I can do this right, I can potentially have the player glean new pieces of understanding or information as they experience what's happening from varying points of view. Seeing things from different perspectives is interesting to me personally, and trying to intertwine three paths in that way successfully is even more so. However, I'm not sure if this is actually as potentially fun and interesting as I'm hoping it could be, or if this would give the player the most enjoyable experience even if I manage to do it right in terms of writing this thing. Which is why I'm here, looking for opinions Posted Image