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The Question

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Stephen R


Here's the deal, in my current game you are trying to escape from a prison. To do this you have to avoid guards, lay traps - all that jazz. One of the most important parts of this game is having the guards move correctly (well maybe not realistically, but definately in a way that doesn't destroy the suspension of disbelief). I had been planning on using a VERY simple system for making the guards move. The map would be covered in connected waypoints. A guard would be given a list of waypoints which it would patrol. If the guard saw you it would move towards the node that brings him closest to you. This would have meant that the guards would have just been jumping from node to node untill you came closs enough for them to catch you. Since one of the key elements in the fear of being caught by the guards, you would be about as scared of them as you are of those little robots that kids make that can follow a white line around a room.

So the question I'm currently asking myself whether plugging in a proper pathfinding system into the game would be worth it. It would certainly simplify several aspects of the game - from the editor (where the designer had to lay down waypoints which I really didn't like), to the actual behaviour of the guards (I wouldn't have to write anything to try to mask the fact that they're all following straight lines). I just have to now decide whether I want to implement and debug a propper A* pathfinding algo - which I have only ever read about, never implemented.

All this occured to me when I was writing the level editor and realised how horrible the logic for the guards could be if I continued with this method. The algo would be a fairly basic version because of the simple level format but its not something I was planning to have to deal with for this game. I know I'm going to have to learn to do it sometime (I really want to learn it), but I have to decide whether its worth adding the task to this game.
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