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Member Since 02 Dec 2004
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 07:10 PM

#5312925 ideas for stone-age mini-games

Posted by on 27 September 2016 - 04:37 PM

"Pull My Finger"  (crude jokes) ....




Throwing rocks at things was an early (pre technology) skill that probably was ENDLESSLY practiced by children.

#5311824 Slavery, Include Or Not?

Posted by on 21 September 2016 - 05:21 PM

if you want some real historic content, you also need to include things like :


- the carribean was known as the 'white mans graveyard' (same more than a few other colonial areas) because of the death rate from tropical diseases killing like half the europeans who went to live there.


- because of the value of the economy there were more than a few wars to try to grab others territory


- Pirate/privateer activity


- political machinations to maintain the sugar monopolies by the rich families involved there


- the constant threat of slave uprisings


- trade monopolies for secondary goods maintained by the mother country


-natural disasters (including things liek an earthquake that destroyed much of a major town)


- the religion factor


- indenturing of white 'slaves'


- mixed race populations

#5311132 Leveling up through mini-quests?

Posted by on 16 September 2016 - 03:50 PM

Ultima Online (like 20 years ago now) had like 30 different skill ratings (0.0-100.0 ratings points in 1/10th increments) which you got upped when you did various activities (and even if someone else did them near you ... a 'learning' mechanism).  For some like 'sword fighting' you had to face a 100 level sword skill monster to get to 100.0 skill  and at that high (top end) a level you had to do it alot of repeating just to get the + 0.1 (decreasing returns was part of the system).  Actions affected one or more relevant skills.


You also had a overall cap total where when reaching it, a random other skills rating  would have to go down when the new one went up (which led to a funny things where  people could (and did) build campfires (camping skill) next to people at the bank and within the randomness that (desired) 100.0 sword skill they had slaved to get to 100.0 would tick down as their camping skill ticked up (easy as they had minimized THAT skill in upping skills they wanted (like weapon related ones) and below 20 it ticked upo very fast.


Only several years into the game did they allow players to set a mode on each of those ~30 skill for it only to decrease or be locked or set be for advancement  (they also eventually raised the total cap above 700)


Thus players had to balance within their cap to specialize in skills (like magery versus weapon fighting), and kept longtime players from simply maxing out everything.


The game had no basic experience points and you got 'better' by doing all the game activities/actions'


grinding ? yes you would grind alot still .


there also werent what we have as quests (until much later in the games history)

#5309443 the dreaded "escort" quest

Posted by on 04 September 2016 - 04:48 PM

Escort quest/mission :


Make sure it doesnt appear like the things being 'escorted' seem to try to walk through every single hazard on purpose.


Random encounters (on a detailed sandbox world) should be most of it (and make it a bit different for each player).


One main 'opposition' to the mission is sufficient (particularly if the 'Fail' ratio is high and will make repeats tedious).


#5306186 A sandbox RPG for tweens Part 1: basic gameplay and world outlines

Posted by on 16 August 2016 - 11:04 AM

Sand box ... 


If you can, investigate Procedurally Generated Content to try to 'fill your sandbox'


It doesnt have to be for every aspect of the game, but you need sufficient (regional)randomness to make for differences across yoiur world.


Understand that most of the PGC scripting involved will be constraints to limit things to logiical/cohesive options.


Consider this will also involve 'Hierarchical Templates' being used to minimize work (as much as is PRACTICAL)


Part of the 'game' would be observing and recognizing the elements in the current situation to knw how to handle them...



Having some distinctive visual features (even if just overall color themes) to differential one area (with its own flavors) from another might help to get rrid of the 'everything the same everywhere' feeling players have about many 'sandbox' enviroments.  And with the 'template method, having the Hierarchy Templates have 'variables' for substitutions of many (local) detailing bits (props, color schemes, etc...) you can have the system create significant visual variances without having to Hand Craft it all)

#5299933 How do you deal with shared data and work load balancing?

Posted by on 09 July 2016 - 08:47 PM

See if you can handle some of the operations as seperate staged/phased  data waves(?) within the server with seperate core-threads working each 'phase' in a pipeline fashion. 


Thats to allow use of coarse locks on large chunks of data, which get handed off to the next phase en masse (With minimal lock manipulations)


That is independant groupings of processings like network processing(client sessions)  and decoding inbound commands, actioning and arbitrating game mechanics events, outbound data to clients, etc...   With the 'turns' pipelining (internet delays mean the game probably can be processed in steps without affecting perceived timing).   When each thread finishes wuth its turn data (and is waiting for its next turn to start)  it might do some secondary less time dependant tasks as filler...


Note that this frequently does require some data replication and buffering between the pipelined phases to keep them independant (the data that phases processing is taken in,  integrated, and then what its producing marshalled to be passed on to the next phase).   Some heavy phase processing might be run on more than one core  with the inbound data read-locked and outbound data designed to be inedpendant (just gets queued up for the next step down the pipeline. 




This kind of thing is more used in Clients which may be doing prep work 2/3 rendering frames ahead (with seperate core-threads working in parallel) and the handoffs of phase completion and with tasks broken up to try to keep all the cores as busy doing useful work as much as possible.

#5298302 Space Simulation Game Design (Finding The Fun)

Posted by on 27 June 2016 - 04:54 PM

Look up StarFlight on wikipedia.  It has a article describing that oldie PC game which had alot of interesting aspects (exploring to have the randomness for the suprise element and problem solving).   

#5296548 forcing negative plot twists on the player

Posted by on 14 June 2016 - 06:59 PM

Just a thought : that instead of specific vignettes of these plot twist 'negatives' that you systematically have 'shit happens' situations across the whole game where the 'dangerous world' is a constant factor.


Things you HAVE to run away from (or die)

Things that are hazardous which if you dont respect them, will kill you.

Unfortunate circumstances that happen randomly despite vigilance


Probably being a game where killing the player off alot is not condusive to fun, then partial disasters which the player then can compensate for (and learn to do this)  and react-to to make right (or make the best of) all the unfortunate perils of living.


Thus the player also has to be offered a sufficient plutrality of options and ways to react and compensate for specific 'negatives'.


Perhaps it depends how much your game is "sandboxy" or a closer controlled story arc.





Edit  - anything that deals with human interactions adds immense complexity of proper reactions to interactions (and of indirect actions) if its to be a plausible simulation of that kind of thing.    Human behavior goes beyond Fight or Flight simplicity.

#5296547 AI for an active time based combat system

Posted by on 14 June 2016 - 06:48 PM

These evaluation functions (fuzzy or otherwise) are still just lower level tools to be employed by a higher level decision making (and action guiding) framework.   Solution sets are modal  as regards to the situational factors and can be severely different and even inverted for the particular problem being solved.   The process goes : Classifying the situation, then looking for solutions to multiple potential strategies (which then make use of specific analysis specific to each goal type) and then carrying out the execution of the strategy (tactical steps which adjust along their progress).   


So lots of evaluatiion functions are needed for the different specific solution proposals.  Flexibility to use dfferent approaches - some may have many factors requiring a fuzzylogic like approach, while others have very few relevant factors and simpler logic can be employed.  Those would be used themselves  within option Searches (like a targeting scan) which have their own parameters relevant to the goal its being carried out for (like distance or terrain considerations).


Priorities (part of the decision metrics) shift in non-linear ways depending on the condition  (ie- you are  unhurt, hurt a little, hurt alot, critically hurt -- which drasticly shifts the importance of certain goals and abilities to attain goals.  Yes fuzzy type logic handles that but decisions controlling whole goal sets are best controlled at a high level, and that logic sits ABOVE at the goal selection level (which controls all the lower level processes).


Point of all this is that for something more complicated than a oldschool game object, with its flat instant decision making, it requires a great deal more layering and complexity (and all the human work to tune it all into a cohesive system).



#5294713 implementation of neural network

Posted by on 02 June 2016 - 04:16 PM

Chokepoint for GPUs often usually are complex functions which arent easily done by the simplified instruction sets used by the highly  paralleled processors.    How well do the usual NN sigmoid activation functions work within the GPU instruction sets (and might some table lookup possibly be substituted to get around that) ?

#5294040 What is the top factor for MMO engines limiting world size?

Posted by on 29 May 2016 - 07:43 AM

I would love to see you succeed in that vision, I really do!



Me?  I'll let you know when I somehow get about $100 million.  Its not exactly something you could crowdfund.


Probably will take one of the big game producers teaming with one of the game engine companies to have the resources needed to break into that model.


The basic templating design scheme might first grow out of improved  game engine architecture/toolset used for a couple of AAA games.

#5293334 What is the top factor for MMO engines limiting world size?

Posted by on 25 May 2016 - 06:18 AM

I might suggest that the 90% Crap Idea™  is pretty much what we already get from the MMORPG companies.


Players are constantly starved for content and wake up their accounts for a month or two and then stop playing and paying (til 6+ months for the next 'drop').  The big games can continue as they have, but have only in those limited genres.


The description Ive given here (above) lacks alot of the details of what the full system I propose  would have to be.


Again the things produced by some small percentage of the playerbase (who want to be creators) get selected for use (stringent functional testing at minimum).    REUSE is a key element shortcutting further additions.


The collaboration model (only mentioned above ) allows people to build on what other people have already done, thus improving them incrementally.  Hardly anyone is good at everything required, so it would take multiple people to produce each of the complete 'Assets' finally used in the game.  Someone does good ideas or planning, another basic shapes/structures, another refines that (and possibly others do later), another is good at textures and applying them, another is good at realistic weathering/usifying, another can adapt behavior attributes (tweaking or just installing existing templates) and animations/sound effects , some other can do any needed specialized behaviors.   A whole lot can combine objects into scene assemblages (which become someone elses building block for mission scenarios (which have add in creativity for dialogs/story plot/pacing/theater style scripted interplay -- the real aim of this production.


Obviously the Player Creation Community's Vetting and Collaboration is the key to this system, but dedication CAN be found for such.     Advice and commenting for revision  and testing and inspection would all to be done through a well define process.


Those who have skills and know the tools have much higher efficiency (so its not so tedious for them to do alot in their speciality)  BTW SOME people are good at creating tutorials to TEACH others how to be proficient...


The publishing model is to share everything and asset projects are forked and resubmitted (and ANYONE can come along and mod it if they want to try)

A WHOLE lot of the low level fiddley bits would be done by the company (game mechanics, object atrributes systems for standard interactions, etc..)


I didn't mention that the detail level of objects is more along  the 'deformable' world type definition and play use (much more genericly interactive and reactive).  Thus more you can use things for IN-GAME (and ALOT of creation ALSO can potentially be done by any Player In-Game).   There are LOTS of small things to create for a rich world - not everyone has to create A Mech-Tiger-Tank.   Many aren't that hard. with so much basic stuff already predone and inherant tweakability and (much more) Idiot Proof Tools and integration of processes.


The GOOD tools (fundamental to this system) comprehensively cover producing all of these things -- thats why they will be as big a project as a AAA game by itself to build (and some players can be better at Tool Making/Improving than most in the companies, and THAT is part of this whole thing TOO)


Creators get credit for the part they do, and add to, and those things they add are structured for reusability and modification.


The company would try to set standards and the community would have to maintain those strong standards (and the company would have the Final Word to enforce adherence).   Obviously there are legal issues like copyright infringement which have to be enforced strictly, and the vetting system would be defined to prevent publishing anything with such issues.


I never said it would be easy (and DID say this is Next-Next generation stuff), but the way costs are going up and playtimes going down for these games,  the Wodinoneeye Law says that within some number of years with games progressing as they are, they will each cost as much as the US Yearly Economy and playtime will Last a fraction of a second.   Well before that, most players will stop buying them.



Consider IF players could create using already defined 'objects' and use them to create higher-order things for the game.  Guns already work, chairs already work, NPC already have improved AI.  The TEMPLATES are designed for mod'ing  with the least needed work.   Now large numbers of Player Creators DONT have to fumble around trying to build everything they envision up from scratch (and no longer fail when they couldnt do  EVERYTHING so complex and tedious).   Now you (many more players) can build the more interesting aspects of the actual game instead of get stuck reinventing all the building blocks.




I suppose I could say that Open Source never could work because of this Sturgeons Law,  but what is the reality there ???


Yep, all all a miserable failure ... right ?      Nobody in their right mind will do anything quality for free ... right ?


      (now do that in a more organized fashion....)




This would be a largely new paradigm for game production, employed in a more complex/thorough  way.  It really has to be done with consistency or wont work (and its a daunting project that only a visionary (with sufficient cash) could attempt and will probably take some such pioneer to eventually do it)




"Second Life had almost exactly the vision that you lay out."


Vision is one thing, carrying it out is another.  This system I speak of is far larger and would need to be much better designed as to expandibility ('Templates',  as the fundamental design for EVERYTHING involved  - parameterized hierarchical )


Second Life had(has)  this fundamental element of people $ELLING their in-game productions/creation which NIXED most/alot of collaboration.





Result - a constant flow of new APPROVED content,  improvement of the assets already deployed.  Heavy use of procedurally generated game terrain/scenarios are possible (again via that comprehensive TEMPLATE system the whole thing is based on).   Creation On-The-Fly (alot of it)   instead of  'static' level worlds.


An interesting aspect in such a system is that Micro Genre games can be built upon generic items already produced (and working),  being tweaking instead of a complete rebuilding and then you can so much sooner get to doing  the 'good part' of creating the game.

#5293207 What is the top factor for MMO engines limiting world size?

Posted by on 24 May 2016 - 08:12 AM

This Content limitation  (as in DETAILED content and INTERESTING content)  to fill any bigger world?


I say that as big as they currently are,  they are ALREADY still largely pretty deserts  -- mostly devoid of uniqueness and interesting detail and interactions.



Some day (maybe in our lifetime) we might have games where Players produce alot of the MMORPGs Assets


(Ive talked about this before  -- Tap into the Players abilities/imagination/creativity to build the game worlds)



Advantages :


Major cost of MMORPG - the Assets is cut out of the company expense


1000X as much imagination and labor available in the players, than from the game company (note all player production would be done for free)

With a broad spectrum of abilities (from simple assets and assemblies of assets, all the way to behavior AI, and even game mechanics improvements/additions)  Players to be able to  create upto their abilities.


What one player creates, 1000 players will play with in the game


Assets can be incrementally improved  by expertise in different areas of production (hierarchically template everything to maximize reuse and minimize reinventing the wheel...)


Assets can be shared across genres (one system + many games) to maximize whats available from the Players efforts


New content being added constantly  (and for some 'players' the creation will be THEIR game)


Leverage of more than a little Open Source  Tools which exist



Problems :


Need ALOT of easy to use tools which rival these games in their cost (though can be reused across many games) -- idiot proofing for general player use is a monumental task (and integrating all the tools into an online production  system)


Need a really thorough vetting system BEFORE anything published to the running game worlds (and that too largely would be the work of Players)


The game would need alot of definitions (to be kept to) to the genre/canon/quality levels of acceptance


A major community effort is needed (has to be managed -- and largely NOT by the company)  to facilitate cooperation and collaboration (and especially to NOT waste anyones time, where possible)     Comprehensive planning/testing/review/advice/collaboration/publishing  processes.


To get started, certain popular genres will have to be used, to get their interested player groups having a critical mass (after that, reuse can make many smaller genres workable building upon the basics)


Broad well done generic design (not just the bits and mechansism used for a particular game)  The company would have to build sufficient basic assest to get the games going  (possibly reusing/converting assets they already possess from previous games)


All kinds of Legal Crap.




Why it wont happen soon :


The cost of creating the whole system... TOOLS  (even with one of the game engine companies being the organizers of it)


The game companies losing the profits they make for content   (fire all the artists ....)


Risk adverse companies who know the model they use NOW can work and want nothing to do with an unproven system (will wait for SOMEONE ELSE to prove it works)


The 'sharing' parts (like asset standards)  might be blocked by company rivalries



This is Next Next generation type of stuff (the extent of the thing I would have it be), but its  Development Utility also could be used for Media production and Advertisements (and even facilitation and lowered costs of creation of Solo games by inhouse talent)    THINK of it as something of the magnitude of what  Computer Publishing  was.


An no this isnt Second Life Plus Plus ...   that thing is a shadow of a shadow of what I would envision this possibility .

#5292758 how can neural network can be used in videogames

Posted by on 21 May 2016 - 08:17 AM

Unfortunately game situations are magnitudes more complex than the single problem of  telling one handily pictured husky from another  (which if ever needed as a 'tool' takes up a good sized NN by itself, and then we will need the 10000 other 'tools' (and their training sets) for all the other classification/differentiator/deobfuscator tasks, and then the processing resources to run them ALL in a timely manner.


Maybe if you were using NN to spot 20 year old game pixel patterns for game objects in a clutter of on-screen scenery this would be relevant. Unfortunately that IS still just a basic sensor filtering task and does little for the rest of the problem of playing the game.




"They can translate sentences between any two languages, with very little additional machinery."


I'd like to see the project that claims THAT.   Particularly with your use of the word 'any' -  when there are so many world  languages to map between and more than a few that dont have exact translations of certain words/idiom-contexts with other languages.   (English:"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" --> Russian:"The wine is good but the meat is rotten"...)


Text to text  NN input ???  or again you are claiming some subtool NN of a much more complex program and data set (dictionaries/grammar rule  translators) where the NN component actually turns out to be a trivial part of the whole thing.  ???




Temporal cause and effect  pattern spotting has major difficulties with noise from nonrelevant situational factors and a further combinatoric explosion of endcases, some coming now from irregular event timings.   Again in more complex simulation environments this forces greater human intervention being required in the training (hand training the logic which otherwise could simply further just be built as conventional logic) which is the most significant  chokepoint  of complex NN solutions.




For Go I could see use of convolutional neural networks to convert the simple Go grid into higher and higher level features and trying to spot the needed decision patterns .  How well can the future-assessment be evaluated - training the NN effectively for that generalizing, without it having terrible gaps?      But again that is for an example of a game with  'situation' that is utterly flattened out/narrowed in detail complexity, compared to just about all other 'games'.

#5292547 can c++ be used as a scripting language

Posted by on 19 May 2016 - 06:23 PM

Ive done this employing C's macro mechanism to simplify what 'Script'  has to be written (used for behavioral control of simple intelligent objects) .


It is also useful for  structured scripts  (like the start/end/else state constructs of Finite State machines)  ... not just individual function calls  (several of the AI Game Programming Wisdom books had several articles about  macros  doing that including, hierarchical finite state machines)


Advantage is that a routine/repetitive pattern of code (which sometimes are rather bulky) can be reduced to much simpler 'script form'   and an assumption of the script features being used in a systematic way (eliminating nesting/spaghetti code  hell).    The macro Script restricts what variables and calls can be accessed through the 'Script'


Another is that specialize code can be created/customized by just adding another 'macro' to your 'language'  (and if when needed you can still insert actual NATIVE code in (hopefully few) trouble spots to get done exactly what you want/need)


The C preprocessor then converts your simpler macro Script into native code now subject to the compilers optimizing abilities and can run directly without interpretor overhead (including eliminating subroutine calls)



Disadvantage : is some extra difficulty debugging where the 'script' produced code is mutated 




Some people may say 'why bother optimize' , but when you are running thousands of active/reactive objects of this level of complexity EVERY Turn,  the optimization can spell a great difference in the size of the players game environment





One thing that added a little difficulty was   : that my  'nice' grouping of  Script Code   created for each different object typewere (in my usage) run in different sections of the program, even though the 'Script' has their chunks defined  right next to each other (instead of breaking them up onto separate files, and the bother/confusion/disorganization that entails, and you seek to eliminate).


So its good  learning how to use   #define  #ifdef  etc...   to modalized the script text  so that by using multiple #include of the same file (each employing a different  #define  'mode' for a different place in the program)  




example  (a LOCKSTEP behavior processing for active/reactive object on a grid map which use finite state machines)


Situation detection  phase - all objects Scan and detect a number of stimulus to potentially react to (from their current local situation) and filter/prioritize them according to the objects mode  (with  potential interrupts for 'tactics' already in progress)


Solution Classification phase - all objects digest their 'stimulus'  set,  decided ONE best  action/tactic initiation (avoiding conflicting actions with other objects already busy interacting - which could change since previous phase)


Action Processing - carry out all decided actions (including animations) and generate results (resolve conflicts),  and adjust the game situation 




The above runs a simulation in a lockstep manner, so the separate phase  chunks of code for each object type (even though grouped together in the script file)   get placed in the corresponding 'phase' section of the program whose basic organization was 'the Big Switch'  (nested)    (My program used three phases, but the chunk split-up still happens if there are only two phases required by a lockstep simulation)