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King of Men

Member Since 16 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Apr 20 2015 02:05 PM

#5116299 Game Design Theory

Posted by on 11 December 2013 - 03:01 PM

why are physics engines convincingly fake when we have all the equations and the real physics data that we could input to create a real-life physics engine?

Because nobody has the computer power to simulate even an atom using the actual, real laws of physics. There are people using months of running time on supercomputers to approximately simulate single protons. Yes, we know the physics, but it's just insanely frackin' intractable.

Ok, so maybe you don't want to do things down to the level of quantum chromodynamics. You never got all that quantum stuff, anyway. Plain Newton and Maxwell is good enough for a game! Very good. We'll put in Newton and Maxwell, and arbitrarily designate atoms as the, um, atomic minimal objects of our physics sim. How many do we need? Well, in a gram of hydrogen there are Avogadro's number of hydrogen atoms; 6.02 x 10^23. The number of interactions per time-tick is, of course, O(n^2) in the number of atoms. So, if we optimistically assume that an interaction can be calculated in one floating-point operation, a computer would need to run at (*)... 181 GGGGGHz to do one frame per second. For one gram of hydrogen.

* Footnote: A GGHz is a billion GHz; a GGGHz is a billion GGHz... Yes, I'm aware I'm somewhat simplifying the conversion between FLOPS and clock speed; bear with me, it doesn't affect the argument.

#5116004 In what ways can a text adventure have combat?

Posted by on 10 December 2013 - 03:25 PM

Skill in games is largely about resource management. Randomisation does not change this, it only means you have to integrate over a probability distribution. So, allow the player to say (for example) "I hit the monster with 10 mana". This does a deterministic, not stochastic, amount of damage, ranging from blowing a goblin to Jupiter up to scratching the hide of a dragon. The challenge is to maintain your limited mana (and other resources) until you get a chance to stock up; so skill consists of not using 10 mana on a goblin, because that's a waste, but recognising that the dragon must be hit with 100 mana, or it will hit you back and that will not be nice. Add other resources to make the management more multidimensional (also, maybe mana is scarce and even one point is overkill on a goblin - hit it with your sword, instead, thus only expending rapidly-replenishable stamina points). This also allows monsters to have different vulnerabilities, thus allowing the player to acquire "lore skill", that is, skill that consists of knowing water elementals are vulnerable to fire mana, but not to edged-weapon attacks, and deploying their resources optimally accordingly. Of course, all this is basically just bog-standard RPG combat; the only difference is that it doesn't have to be stochastic. Make the damage algorithm deterministic and be done. 

#5114672 Senate mechanic (strategy)

Posted by on 05 December 2013 - 01:43 PM

You may want to think in terms of a cabinet rather than a Senate. So you appoint the Minister of Trade from the Yellow faction, but you give Internal Security to the Blues. (Or else!) That way there are more constraints on the skill matchup. With 20 "senators-without-portfolio" to appoint, you can probably find some combination of them who have the skills you need even with the 5-from-each faction problem. But if you need specifically to have someone good at math in the Trade department, well, better hope there's someone like that in the Yellow faction. Especially if the factions care about different things; maybe the Yellow faction really likes trade and finance, and won't be anywhere near as happy to be given Internal Security - even if the Green guy who got Trade is actually really good at it. (Maybe especially then: Those dang Greens believe in subsidising nano-manufactures and taxing hydroponic farmers!) Also, you can have Cabinet positions of different weight; if you give the Treasury to the Yellows, and Internal Security to Blue, then Green has to get Education, Agriculture, and Propaganda to get the same satisfaction level. In Britain, for example, the Treasury was the position with most prestige - for two centuries or so, the "Prime Minister" would usually take the Treasury as his actual departmental responsibility; being "Prime" wasn't a separate title - followed by the Foreign Minister. Then the list goes on down through Admiralty, Board of Trade, "Air Minister" for a while in the thirties... until you get down to the likes of the "Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard", which nobody has ever heard of; but you could give it to the Yellows as a sort of consolation prize for not getting anything important. Sort of like the Admiral position in Junta, if you ever played that. 

#5107225 Mechanic for internal struggle of an empire (strategy)

Posted by on 05 November 2013 - 01:22 PM

where is crushing the rebellion of your ungrateful subjects? Where is the coup of your treacherous admirals? And where is the posion in your food put in by your supposed to be loyal courtiers?


The game could be about gaining wealth and power for your family, the imperial family grows over time

(well, if you piss off the population assasinations and/or riots might change that)


So, you realise you are basically describing Crusader Kings 2, right? (Ok, it doesn't have admirals per se, but it does have disloyal generals.) I feel like I must be missing something everyone else saw, because it seems like "CK2" should have been the first post in the thread.