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Member Since 25 Nov 2005
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 07:33 AM

#5272962 How to call this government system

Posted by on 28 January 2016 - 02:51 AM

I think in the past they had some sort of republic but they found it flawed. Then they decided to got for an empire. But because there were many factions and no one trusted anyone they decided to go for a truly neutral Emperor. They cloned it from a wide selection of supreme genes (not some nobles genes, just genes of the whole race, further selected by some algorithm). This way they got a person at the top that had no prior obligations, no family, no old debts and favours to be repaid. Truly neutral ruler to who all the factions could agree.
As a bonus such person can be considered a superior human (enchancers, the best combination of genes to make the best intellect, aggressive prunning of inferior genes, boosted immunity system, resistance engineered at the very early stage). No mental illnes, idiots and the like which were plaguing monarchistic systems. A speciment truly designed to be an awesome ruler.
I agree with the infrastructure thing. They need an extensive royal cloning facilities.


But there is no "they", only specific powers and factions.

If the old republic is so corrupt and weak that an empire seems a better option, how can distrustful factions agree on a "truly neutral Emperor"?

In the best case, some factions agree and support the emperor but many planets/systems/colonies where other factions are prevalent revolt, proclaiming some combination of independence and rejection of what they can well consider a coup.

And the best case scenario is unlikely: factions do not automatically erase themselves from existence only because of a new institution like an empire, and they'll try to influence and corrupt the empire.


The traditional way to found an empire is by superior power, possibly through peaceful means. For example, a "superior human" can rise to power by being, well, superior (and benevolent enough to gain popular support), crushing dangerous factions in the process; the emperor, rather than someone with a conflict of interest, can worry about being succeeded by his or her clones.

All it takes to have a superhuman emperor without unrealistic political dynamics is a spark of disinterested effort of a plausibly small scale, e.g. a single visionary scientist and a cloning vat, or even pure coincidence (example: Red Son, a recent "alternate universe" version of Superman where Kal-El lands on Earth at a different longitude and succeeds Stalin as the head of USSR).

#5272820 How to call this government system

Posted by on 27 January 2016 - 05:10 AM


I have thought of a society which got disappointed by the other government forms and decided to engineer the Emperor. They selected the best genes of their race and they cloned an Emperor to rule them all.

Genetically engineering an emperor isn't something that can be done by "society" as a whole. There must be a powerful organization that has the technological refinement and source material to produce a candidate (e.g the Tleilaxu in Dune) and a position of power or supremacy to impose him/her/it as the legitimate emperor; different factions would be expected to support their own emperors, even if they all agree on the basic premise of building a good ruler, and there might be severe civil wars.


When the emperor dies or retires, the problem returns. Is the emperor-making group permanently at the helm, avoiding disruptions with an easily installed new emperor? Or every succession causes a renewed conflict between factions (example: USA presidential elections)? Or it never happened yet because the first emperor is still ruling (example: humanity in Warhammer 40000)?


You could have mortal but very long-lived emperors that stress the self-preservation of the emperor-building system to the breaking point: where are, after a few centuries, the cloning facilities, the genetic engineers, the political support (in elections or other procedures that have not taken place for generations), etc.? The game could be about the emperor successfully organizing his succession and retirement in hard times.


The Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey are an excellent example of this subject; a planet struggles to maintain astronomy, various races of domesticated dragons, an idle paramilitary corps of telepathic dragonriders, and other expensive things that are only useful against alien critters who fall from the sky at intervals of several generations and are just about as terrible as an empire without his head, with coverage of how it went the first time (heroic emergency mode), how traditions and institutions were established, abandoned, revived and applied, and how great people made the difference.


In general, this system of making emperors is compatible with different government systems, possibly at the same time; true democracy if different candidates are offered for election and produced disinterestedly as a matter of duty and prestige, aristocracy if candidates are derived from the gene pool of certain families, rather corrupt oligarchy if candidates are expected, or engineered, to further the interests of their makers; if the emperor controls succession it would be a true autocratic monarchy; if there isn't much of an election it would be some kind of oligarchy or technocracy.

A custom made emperor candidate would, in most cases, avoid the internal struggles within factions that are usually implied in a normal election: no place for ambitious people who want to be emperor, no need to kill off everyone above yourself in a succession line, etc.

#5272555 C++ exceptions

Posted by on 25 January 2016 - 02:59 AM

Just an illustration that while having error reporting for logic errors is theoretically nonsense, in practice it's common as a debugging tool.

It isn't only a debugging tool. The DirectX implementation cannot trust its callers: logically incorrect API usage (for example drawing commands involving vertex data, frame buffers, shaders,textures etc. that don't exist or are in a bad or uninitialized state) is possible, and the best way to deal with it is reporting the caller mistake and containing the corruption, not  silently drifting into dangerous and inconvenient undefined behaviour.

#5270553 Is this game idea possible?

Posted by on 11 January 2016 - 11:28 AM

Dude, honest question, where in the opening post do you read the word short? There are many superlatives in the opening post that inflate the complexity to insane values, but nowhere do I read short.

Same with the word simple. Seems in conflict with all the opening poster writes in the first post. AAA Quality, vast content, realistic graphics and extreme polish does NOT sound like a "simple game"

Ignoring unreasonable aspects is completely intentional. Making a short and simple FPS with some valid selling point and hoping to earn enough to carry on with episode after episode until it grows into a large game is simply my idea of how to convert, approximately but with some resemblance, the overly ambitious and optimistic vision of the OP into a difficult but realistic plan that a talented team could succeed at.


What 1800hotlinebling dreams of (an excellent AAA game, but in all likelihood, if attempted, a technical and/or commercial disaster with serious monetary losses) and what 1800hotlinebling should do if rational and motivated (starting small and testing/developing marketing and technical skills without unreasonable risks) are unfortunately two very different things.

#5270528 Is this game idea possible?

Posted by on 11 January 2016 - 08:11 AM

The obvious MVP hiding in the described idea is a very short FPS, maybe with a simple roleplaying layer of travel around various planets, missions, letters from NPCs etc. to put the FPS levels in context. The technology for a simple FPS with simple assets is relatively mature and approachable; inexpensive engines like Unity and Unreal should be more than good enough. A short, low-budget FPS/adventure could sell well due to a touching story and to interesting level design and mechanics (you mention accurate physics, which could enable something novel).

After succeeding with such a technical and commercial starting point, sales can (hopefully) finance more instalments and the production values of the individual FPS levels, cutscenes etc. can gradually improve.


Multiplayer doesn't fit an adventure game with a predetermined plot: a group of players starting the game together and playing it together is unlikely to form in the first place and either unlikely to find time to gather to play (if the whole team is required) or unlikely to remain together (if the game can progress with a subset of players), A multiplayer RPG should be designed for a single short sitting or for replacing players while the game is in progress.

#5269155 Criticism of C++

Posted by on 04 January 2016 - 03:05 AM

The constructive answer to complaints about language flaws is discussing how to mitigate or accept them. For example:

  • "Templates are ugly": a respectable opinion, but as a matter of fact duplicating code by hand with slight variations in a number of non-template classes is far more ugly.
  • "You cannot print enum values": by writing the enum with clever macros and templates you can (any particularly good example to recommend?)
  • "std::vector<bool> sucks": then don't use it. If you need a true std::vector, you can usually afford it to be of a normal numeric type; if you need to pack one boolean into one bit, you don't usually need your special container to be vector<bool>.

#5267621 Alternatives to zombie apocalyptic settings

Posted by on 23 December 2015 - 04:30 AM

  • In the future, Earth has been hastily abandoned, maybe because of some environmental collapse, and after a long time someone tries to return; it is a short trip from the space colonies, and many people do it for a variety of reasons. Cities and specific places contain abandoned treasures, but also dangerous autonomous robots and of course people. Wild animals are a much smaller threat, even if they are not the traditional ones.
  • In a fantasy world, there have been no news and no travellers from a large and prosperous island kingdom for the last few months; several expeditions have already failed to return. As your ship approaches their capital, you see a completely deserted port.

#5267147 trying to think up a new way to level up

Posted by on 20 December 2015 - 08:32 AM

In Dungeon World characters level up after getting a handful of experience points and experience points are earned when failing a roll. The trick is that failing a single roll is a very big deal: it means getting hurt, failing at an important task, often a strategic turn for the worse.

Players are therefore mildly encouraged to push the envelope: they can become more powerful only by doing something hazardous and difficult. Easy life is not for adventurers.

This kind of system can be good in a computer game if the player is in control: flexible schedule (to get into trouble when the characters are ready), risk mitigation opportunities (e.g. allowing easy retreat in most cases, instead of punishing the player too much), an obvious challenge to complete the game quickly and/or with limited resources because playing it safe is easy.

#5266636 Sailing game: should players consider the wind?

Posted by on 16 December 2015 - 05:40 AM

Sail boats have very limited acceleration, and when they lose speed, they drift downwind. Tacking (apart from roll-tacking a small racing dinghy) kills pretty much all your speed, so repeatedly 'zig-zagging' is rarely an efficient way to get anywhere, and would only be used when tacking up a narrow channel, or the like.

On the open ocean, it's not uncommon to hold the same tack for multiple *days*, before tacking back. Even sailing between closeby islands in the caribbean, we'd often take just two or theee tacks of several hours each.

Many people (including me) are used to seeing the excessive tacking of America's Cup and similar racing, where one needs to remain on course and close to the opponent and the boats are designed to lose little speed.


Your observation suggests that the best user interface for tacking might be the completely explicit one of changing course. AI assistance could still play a role in easy navigation to adjust the course depending on varying wind strength and direction.

#5265838 Sailing game: should players consider the wind?

Posted by on 11 December 2015 - 03:00 AM

You are already committed to a simplified but realistic physical model of the ship, with accurate accounting of weight, buoyancy and the vertical position of the center of gravity. Extending it to model wind forces (and keeling over if you make a tight turn) seems natural.


This doesn't necessarily mean tacking explicitly: an AI assistant can take care of easy sailing, letting the player specify goals (e.g. a nearby island) and sit back, with direct control only near obstacles (including entering a port) or in combat situations.

#5265011 Storyline in a 4X

Posted by on 05 December 2015 - 07:58 AM

In a game about the emperor, every "faithful" civil servant may lie to the emperor, lie about the emperor's will ,not obey orders, take initiatives, etc. There might be player incentives for letting characters cheat the emperor, for example not offering enough time to read everything he signs.

Shock the player with the realization that the Empire is not a machine that does exactly what they say; and that if it is a machine, the emperor is only a cog.

Procedurally instantiating plots of "conspiracy, treachery, usurpers to the throne, secret organization forming" seems unavoidable; with rich models of NPCs, choosing appropriate ones for each role (e.g. embezzler, foreign mole, blackmailer and blackmailed, etc.) should be straightforward.

#5264861 Alternatives to dynamic_cast

Posted by on 04 December 2015 - 06:32 AM

The performance penalty of RTTI is unavoidable, and unlikely to be lower than that of virtual function calls (which are a less general mechanism).

Virtual functions are also a much cleaner, safer and more principled way to "unmix" objects of different types that have been confused together (like your students and employees).

Of course, in many context the best solution for your example is maintaining separate lists of students and employees rather than a single list of people.

#5264211 How Is This Pixel Art So Detailed?

Posted by on 30 November 2015 - 05:29 AM

The pixel art in Hyper Light Drifter is NOT particularly detailed; on the contrary, it belongs to the contemporary "retro" style of low resolution for the sake of blockiness and flat colour without trying to shade well.

The coherent stylized look and the good animation timing demonstrate skill, but as pixel art it's very simple and cheap.

Technically, I think a lot of what you see is artfully shaded 3D scenery, with some hand-drawn sprites (the character, some cutscene elements, the flickering flames, etc.) on top.


Off the top of my head, I suggest Dodonpachi, Metal Slug (whole series) and Super Street Fighter 2 for a crash course in actually detailed pixel art.

#5264200 dealing with a multiplicity of AI states

Posted by on 30 November 2015 - 03:00 AM

The purpose of a planner is figuring out what to do when immediately executable actions don't achieve goals directly and therefore choosing an appropriate one isn't obvious.

For example, running directly away from the campfire ("flee from fire" goal) is an approximation of the best way to escape: it's optimal in completely open terrain, but it could lead the animal into a cul-de-sac with impassable obstacles; a planner that figures out an appropriate path to a good place far from the campfire and can issue a wider choice of orders (including going near the fire to reach an opening before going away) is a more robust controller.

#5263942 Preventing players leaving the play area where an obvious geographic obstacle...

Posted by on 28 November 2015 - 08:08 AM

I second the suggestion of hard and harmless fences (as opposed to venturing into the desert and dying). If players must explore the whole map, they expect it to be not only finite, but not diluted by large amount of useless empty space at the borders.

You just need appropriate warning messages; apart from the previous good suggestions, consider breaking the fourth wall with words (e.g. "Thank God, you have nothing to do in the Desert of Skulls. Maybe in a sequel.") or graphics (e.g. a thick red line on the ground, matching the position of an invisible wall).