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Member Since 25 Nov 2005
Offline Last Active Today, 03:47 AM

#5174944 You're a witch/demon hunter/slayer. You're likely to carry...

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 20 August 2014 - 01:51 AM

Wai gives a good list of equipment functional categories, but most of them should be further broken down into specialist gear for monster hunters and generic adventuring gear everybody uses, because monster hunting is an additional occupation layered on standard adventuring hazards and concerns. For example, in a typical wilderness region everybody's "assault gear" should include a reliable way to hurt (but preferably not kill) a wolf or a bear, while in the appropriate environments basic camping equipment includes locust-proof tents, leech removal tools or air purification systems regardless of what you are doing there.

You might find out that sensible equipment for monster hunters are variants of regular equipment rather than overspecialized gear: for example, a sword with a silvered blade (as general purpose as it gets, and very effective against certain monsters) instead of a clumsy pistol with silver bullets (equally large and expensive, but usually ineffective).

I wouldn't worry about unexciting or unoriginal gear; hunting and meeting monsters should provide all the excitement, and players care about facing such activities with sufficiently effective and complete equipment.

#5170819 Publish - An open source pipeline tool

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 01 August 2014 - 01:49 AM

The normal way to perform these checks is a tool plugin, e.g. hooked to asset export. Such scripts are going to be very specific to certain asset categories, limited to one project (but possibly easy to recycle and adapt), continually evolving, and integrated with databases and asset pipelines on their own terms: only basic building blocks (e.g. verifying that an alleged manifold mesh has consistent normals) and reporting infrastructure are plausibly useful products.

#5170812 Any interest in reverse engineering .unitypackage files?

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 01 August 2014 - 01:25 AM

Not much article potential, what can you say about these Unity archives beyond the information in Frob's answer?

#5170271 Exploration in space 4X (boring & tedious)

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 30 July 2014 - 04:47 AM

Why "scout" ships? Hundreds of Star Trek episodes have proved that even a very powerful flagship like the USS Enterprise can be seriously challenged by "routine" exploration and search missions: a state of the art expensive and very strong ship should be the bare minimum for venturing in unexplored or dangerous space, with powerful groups of ships preferable and cheap small ships completely out of the question except as the numerous payload of an aircraft carrier.


Reasonable (and fun) exploration should consist of going there and kicking ass, conquering new territories and clearing them of threats; probes and instruments are a small addition to a primarily military activity. The difference with a military campaign is that exploration happens in "wild" places rather than in well known places that belong to the enemy.

Long range sensors can give a good indication of where to send the exploration duty fleets (or what important planets are going to be fought over when the enemy reaches them too) without yielding anything concretely useful.

#5170257 How to invent names (theory)?

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 30 July 2014 - 02:34 AM

Actually what you want is to choose some restrictions for yourself.

Naming is peculiar because restrictions are, more importantly than starting points for creativity as usual, systems that provide important information directly. Spelling and family names tell the ethnic and geographical origin of people, while first names hint at the age of persons and the culture of their parents. For example, the lists of names in film credits are usually sufficient to guess where every special effects firm is located.


Names reflect important social, historical and cultural structures: invent them, and appropriate names will be easy to deduce. For example, using more or less reference languages for the names in a fantasy world depends on the presence of different nations or merely different lords and tribes sharing a common culture, while religious references correspond to the diffusion of different religions (and are absent, or too common to be significant, if nobody cares to make a religious statement).

A distinction should be made between choosing consistent but often arbitrary naming rules (e.g. kingdom A has French names, kingdom B has Dutch names, kingdom C has Swedish names; religion X has personal names from animals and plants and objects, religion Y has a small set of peculiar personal names in a very exotic language) and modulating them according to standard realistic patterns (e.g. in the contested regions around kingdom borders there are substantial numbers of personal names from both languages, while places have one name in each language and the official one is switched according to current ownership).

#5169677 Adding some variation to AI

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 28 July 2014 - 01:21 AM

What behavioural similarities are considered bad isn't completely clear.


Shooting simultaneously is a consequence of starting synchronized and being able to shoot at any time. Random delays break up the synchronization, but you can experiment with obstacles, concealment and lack of targets to make every unit shoot only when it can hit: when the enemy walks into the line of fire (and simultaneous fire makes sense), when they turn a corner (one at a time), when they randomly decide to pop out of their cover (according to the stochastic criteria suggested in previous posts), etc.


Generally "doing the same thing", on the other hand, should be addressed with multiple-unit coordination. For example, an infantry platoon or the like could, among many other things that can be modeled and executed in relatively simple ways, split into two halves that cover each other's advance or spread into a very long line to minimize the effect of enemy grenades: you would have two clearly different groups even if the constituting soldiers simply walk and shoot like any other soldier.

#5167952 Need help with a fuzzy Scoring algorithm.

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 20 July 2014 - 07:41 AM

If you want fuzzy sets, you can choose some representative ranks and "blend" between them, respecting the rules for fuzzy membership functions (correct range and adding up to 1).


For example, assuming normalized score s increase from 0 for the worst player to 1 for the best player, 0 is necessarily fully "bad", and 1 is fully "very good"; you can decide arbitrarily that 0.2 is "mediocre" and 0.7 is "good". Then, if 0.2<=s<=0.7 the player is (0.7-s)/(0.7-0.2) "mediocre", (s-0.2)/(0.7-0.2) "good", and not "bad" or "very good" at all.

Of course, these triangle shaped functions can be replaced by other shapes, possibly with more than two sets for each score.


I'm still unsure about the purpose of fuzzy sets and "opinions". Comparing performance between players is a valid indicator of what the player is good at without further elaboration; it would be enough, for example, to suggest training exercises or inform "adaptive difficulty" AI. 

#5167834 Need help with a fuzzy Scoring algorithm.

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 19 July 2014 - 01:04 PM

You should probably use rank statistics rather than averages. Assuming raw scores are positive and better if higher:

  • normalized score= weight*(number of lower scores than the player)/(total number of scores-1).
    0 if the player is the worst of them all, maximum if he is the best, half maximum for a median (not average) performance. Suitable for distributions that are known to be skewed and clustered, e.g. batting average in a season of baseball.
  • normalized score= weight*(player score-minimum score)/(maximum score-minimum score)
    0 if the player is the worst of them all, maximum if he is the best, half maximum at the midpoint between minimum and maximum raw scores. Suitable if raw scores are quite linear but their range is unpredictable, e.g. number of goals in a season of football or number of yards gained in a season of American football.

#5167569 Speed of fleets

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 18 July 2014 - 04:57 AM

If you had a game where you just built up a fleet (active choices of content of fleet), then send it to attack somewhere (active choice of target), but you had no further input into the system, how long would it be fun?


Combat,                 automatic.

Fleet movement     automatic.

Battlefield strategy automatic.


It would get very boring, very quickly.

Not really. For example, GalCiv has automatic and abstract combat (number vs number),with no battlefield "strategy" and automatic fleet movement, and on top of that automatic ship building and no ship choice. It is still interesting because you need to direct fleet movements and attacks to the right places depending on enemy actions.

#5166945 How to avoid "stacks of doom" in 4X?

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 15 July 2014 - 03:41 AM

Most good 4x games I've played used economy as a deterrent to large forces.

If you place 'all of your units' to defeat the enemy's strongest base, you leave yourself opened for them to overtake all of your economic settlements. You do capture one planet, but end up losing 10-20. After a few turns, your opponent has managed to use these planets in such a way that their fleet is now larger than yours.

That's the best way to do it imo.

I'm perfectly fine with concentration of forces to force a victory, because, most times, this is a bad strategy in a good 4X game...

This penetration scenario could, unfortunately, be symmetrical: a very powerful "strongest base" that can challenge a great fleet means that the opponent is already open to large-scale invasion because other places are inadequately defended, exactly like the player. Enemy large fleets could be simultaneously ravaging the undefended interior of the other empire without necessarily meeting, possibly ending the game by randomly conquering the enemy capital.


Boring penetration and raiding with a single powerful force needs to be a worse strategy than more fun and challenging small battles of attrition and large-scale offensives of distributed small forces:the game should reward allocating the vast majority of ships to defense, so that "hunting parties" capable of conquering a planet are going to

  • start small and grow slowly, as surplus ships are produced and places in the safe interior of the empire are demilitarized. Only an overwhelming economic lead (i.e. endgame cleanup) should allow building fleets from scratch instead of slowly reinforcing a large number of planetary defense forces and drafting ships from them when the risk is acceptable.
  • struggle to keep pace with the growth of enemy forces. Too much defense is conservative and safe; too much offense should be a danger.
  • meet their enemy counterparts, which should have a comparable strength, and be thinned out (even if they win) before they become stupidly strong.

This can be obtained through a combination of different means.

  • Making ships slow enough, as the OP dislikes. What's important is avoiding fast long distance travel for strong fleets, so that they cannot defend the whole empire effectively; maybe short travels could be fast enough to not be annoying.
  • Encouraging minor deep space battles in random contact locations along front lines, with planetary assaults as the result of a small (and not too quick) military campaign rather than as the standard type of battle. There is a fundamental difference between ships that are constantly located in some interesting place with a chance of being detected and intercepted and ships that effectively disappear when they start a trip and reappear at their destination thanks to the vast emptiness of space.
  • Rewarding possession of planets etc. only after some time has passed, encouraging players to hold and defend locations rather than advancing and attempting to conquer objectives faster than they lose them elsewhere.
  • Combat rules that reward slight superiority proportionally more than overwhelming superiority, e.g. guaranteed significant losses for the winner. For instance, splitting a fleet to fight two battles with a 2:1 ratio could be better than fighting one battle with a 4:1 ratio and the other with the survivors of the first (maybe because there is a necessary delay allowing the enemy to send reinforcements).

#5165631 Speed of fleets

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 08 July 2014 - 02:13 PM

One of the points of slow ships could be giving them important and exclusive abilities, turning them from part of a fleet to strategic weapons or strategic resources. For example, colony ships that can terraform planets and should often have a fleet as an escort, or Death Star-like planet scale weapons. But it is not necessary, and other types of strategic problems could be better

#5164541 Speed of fleets

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 03 July 2014 - 05:36 AM

Many observations made so far point in the same direction: speed differences make little sense and can be eliminated as a source of pointless annoyance.

  • FTL propulsion can have the same pseudo-speed for every ship because it's based on the same technology: for example, a succession of "jumps" involves a maximum or fixed distance and a constant preparation time for each jump, with the only difference between ships being energy cost and device size.
  • Realistic propulsion can be designed to give the same "standard" acceleration, and therefore the same travel time on any route, to any ship.
    If both engines and robust materials are very good and relatively cheap, the limiting constraint for acceleration is not squashing passengers to death (rather than affording powerful engines or not breaking the ship apart) and it doesn't vary by ship type. Improved engines are going to be smaller, cheaper, more efficient, but not "faster".

If FTL speed differences (like in Star Trek) are needed, they can be simplified to a few tiers and used to forbid ships with different speeds to belong to the same fleet. Serious speed differences are going to imply different strategic movements in any case.


If limiting thrust of realistic engines according to available fuel is a normal occurrence, it can be assumed that the fleet automatically allocates available fuel to maintain the same travel time for every ship, rather than slowing down specific fuel-challenged ships. Computations are easy: fuel is proportional to ship mass.

#5163680 Alpha Zone on Targa Texture just won't show alpha

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 29 June 2014 - 01:40 PM

What about the creation of the OpenGL texture? The alpha channel could be lost after loading the file correctly.

#5162732 Idea for samurai/ninja game

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 25 June 2014 - 02:30 AM

So question: Would this again be a good idea for a single player game with some multi-player aspects? Something like a Halo or Call of Duty or something like that?

Multiplayer modes add a large amount of extra work because they add significant technical challenges, such as running servers and finding them, designing communication protocols, synchronizing clients while minimizing lag, handling player identities and maybe accounts, etc.
All these problems can be solved, usually in effective and efficient ways, but not for free.
I regret mentioning that in a strategy wargame player vs player battles are particularly appropriate; it's a standard feature but, in your case, probably a luxury that should be left out even under ideal circumstances.

Or would it just be best to make something like a single player that is like Tenchu and Way of the Samurai combined?  Both of those games have a mission based part role playing aspect to them.

Both these game series appear to have relatively complex fighting, complex character models and large 3D environments, putting them in the horribly expensive.tier of development budgets.
If you survive the initial setup effort of being ready to make 3D assets (which might be a worthwhile learning/recruiting experience) and getting a 3D engine running (which might be relatively easy and inexpensive with ready-made ones) you are left with the choice between a small and short game, a simplified and ugly game, or both.
Instead, as already touched by others, you should focus on cheap technology and development tools.
For example, if you choose a RPG angle rather than a wargame angle, tile-based 2D map editors should be suitable for churning out large amounts of Japanese-style scenery (after drawing some highly reusable tiles), and something like RPG Maker could serve as a tile map editor and allow cheap implementation of large amounts of characters, dialogues and fights, sacrificing the sort of action found in games like Tenchu.

Or it could also take on a Fable type life.  The only thing would be, based on what character the player decides to play, the missions and quests would be slightly different.  Am I hitting on something a bit more viable now?


No. Something like Fable is even more horribly expensive to make than a "standard" action-adventure game, and more difficult because it's more sophisticated. More mechanisms can go wrong, requiring more testing and more iterations, and it's very likely that more assets would be wasted on optional and mutually exclusive levels instead of used once in mandatory levels.


Please, give me as much advice as you can.  For me some of it is hard to hear, but it is helpful in understanding the scope of what I can do.


Your scope should be the smallest that leaves you with an acceptable game, and your expectations for a minimum viable product should be proportional to your skill and experience. What's the simplest and cheapest entertaining thing that a samurai or ninja could do?


So please, anything, any thoughts at all.  Now that I think about it, it would make an awesome single player game in the console arena.


Development for consoles is another difficult and expensive luxury. Choose one easy platform (most likely, Windows PC leveraging game-making tools).


Please let me know if I am now headed in the right direction.  You have my thanks!!


You are still headed in a tragically ambitious and confused direction, but at least you seem open to suggestions.

#5162271 Idea for samurai/ninja game

Posted by LorenzoGatti on 23 June 2014 - 01:53 AM

Combining large-scale battles, personal combat and adventuring is overly ambitious and incoherent: some of these aspects can be reduced to a collateral minigame (e.g. send spies between battles), reduced to a well-integrated part of the main game (e.g. exploration and stealth with specific units and limited purposes within a RTS), or implemented as variants of normal gameplay (e.g. a RTS turning into micromanaged melee combat with a handful of complex hero units and/or into RPG-like exploration with large maps and no reinforcements).


Your character types appear a bit irrelevant, because the only real one is the samurai, able to face all challenges and take any initiative. A ninja is, by definition, insignificant cannon fodder, while a ronin can be either hired by a noble house and effectively "promoted" to be the same as a regular samurai or independent and uninvolved in the plot (except perhaps as a minor enemy, not unlike bandits or savage animals).

Since your story is about noble houses struggling for power, ninja clans, monasteries, town leaders, various kinds of powerful free agents etc. cannot be important factions; they should appear as someone's allies.


Making a "learning tool" of your game is going to lead to ugly conflicts and compromises between fun and historical accuracy. For example, you might discover that rifles are a dominant strategy in battle and need to be limited or nerfed in unrealistic ways.


Regarding making a MMO, see the first item in the forum guidelines. Moreover, you are describing an eminently single-player game (your character vs. the rest of Japan: death or glory) which could be extended to small multiplayer battles without a plot. In a MMO design, not all players could be able to be the samurai general, and being a lowly soldier or ninja would suck.