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Back to work!

4: Adsense

My vacation is over. It's useful to remind myself every so often why I don't travel and hate people. I did take some time and think about what I wanted to use my spare time for. In the end, I decided to use it for whatever the hell I want. So I'm going to try to do a quickie rewrite of Tangent with lessons learned and a renewed attempt at Moe. Ideally, two projects will keep me busy coding and provide enough varied problems that I don't get stuck on one problem where I don't have enough time/intelligence/skill to get through it.

First, a rehash of Moe. Moe is a placeholder name for a game I've had in mind for a little while now. It is a fantasy, turn based, 4x game. The closest game to it is probably Master of Magic. The main differentiator in the game idea is a de-emphesis on warfare.

The idea is to keep warfare viable, but not the hands down best way to win. Push it towards the desperate player or the player who needs might to make up for other failings. The two sides of that goal are fairly straightforward; make war expensive, and make peace an alternative means of conquer.

The key way war is being made expensive is by making units finite. Your population will be born, grow old, and die (and occasionally be raised as zombie labour). Losing population in even a successful war (or the lack of births due to wartime) is a non-trivial cost.

Making peace a means to conquer is more tricky. Civilization tried to push culture as an option, but it was always trumped by war. Too slow, too narrow. Moe aims to push the general concept to a bit more wide-ranging scope. Technologies will flow naturally towards more successful trading empires. Heavy trade increases happiness and desirability of your cities. Technological superiority breeds dissention in your neighbors. Desirability will allow you to siphon off immigrants from neighboring empires. Expansive trade routes allow armies to range farther and fight longer.

Unfortunately, it seems that XNA/SlimDx UI libraries are few and far between. reimplementing a UI isn't something I'm looking forward to. So at least for now, most of my energies are focused on Tangent again.

Mostly, this Tangent rewrite is going to take lessons learned and help make it more solid from the get-go; slim it down. Properties are out. Indexers are out. (just use phrases to implement them). Tuples are out; generics are de-emphasized. Must get users! Error reporting must be there from the start.

The biggest change though is probably going to be actually compiling into something. The last implementation was just way too slow. I spent a bit too much time futzing about reinventing the VM wheel. I've not decided what I'm going to compile into yet. Maybe C# and then recompile that. The DLR seems an interesting option but the docs are poorly written and/or over my head. Straight to MSIL seems to be the least pleasant option.

Multiple dispatch and the funky type system are the biggest things that are out of the ordinary for other VMs. Something I'm going to need to think about before I set to work on that. For now though, the parser(s) have been slimmed down and better (but still terrible) error reporting run through them. A basic compiler shell is there with better (and actually not bad) error reporting. The in-memory type representations are mostly back, with a few decisions yet to be made.

More to come as it gets done.

Aug 06 2009 06:50 AM
I love TBS games! Really looking forward to the first progress report regarding it ^^

I'd love to make one myself some day, so reading about how you approach and solve various problems arising while making TBS game should definitely give me some insights.

*Hits subscribe button*

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