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Pathfinding Related Question

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Okay guys I am completely clueless on this because I really haven''t done any pathfinding / AI stuff before. My game is turn based, and a character can move a given distance during any turn. This is simple enough on flat / consistant terrain, because it is just a circle with radius equal to the max distance. But what if I have an small hill or a patch of tough terrain. Walking up and down a hill is more distance than just walking straight on flat ground. But it would be possible to walk around the hill as well. So basically my question is, how do I calculate the reachable area taking into account discrepencies in terrain slope and objects that may be blocking a path.

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Is your terrain split into tiles? If so, then each tile has a ''cost'' to walk across it. This cost is then used in a pathfinding algorithm (such as A*) to determine the shortest path. Obstacles which completely block a tile preventing you walking through it either have a huge ''cost'' or are given a value for ''not walkable''.
Tilemaps are, very generally, used for 2D. 3D games usually use a waypoint system where the level designer adds ''points'' to the terrain. The cost of moving from one point to another is again used in an algorithm.
Check the Articles&Resources for A* but remember there are other algorithms which cost less (in CPU) to use but can still do the job.

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Cast several ''path rays'' out from your agent... say at 16 discrete angles. Use each ray as a path along which you integrate the directional derivative of the surface the agent is moving along (where the direction is given by the ray). If your surface is defined by a height map, then you can use a simple linear interpolation, or bilinear interpolation to get the tangent plane between any set of heights. Make sense?

Cheers,

Timkin

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