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Numsgil

Uber-Universe or New Map Capability

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Numsgil    501
PROBLEM STATED I'm at a cross-roads in my space-exploration game design. I can either create a realistic (200 Billion + stars) galaxy where every time the player starts a new game, it's in the same universe, or I can make smaller globular clusters (~ 1 Million stars) of roughly 1000*1000*1000 LY, and have up to 2^16 different maps for the player to explore. I can see advantages and disadvantages to both. REALISTIC SPIRAL GALAXY One huge, realistic galaxy sounds attractive as a feature. I wouldn't have to worry much about dimensions and shapes, since I could base it off of our own galaxy. Also, there's plenty of room to have large uber-empires that stretch for thousands of light years and still have room to have nowhere land that doesn't belong to anyone. (Which Sol is in). Also, a player community could (hopefully) develop where players can share stories about planets and empires they found, and other players can explore the same empires in their own game. That's another attractive feature. Also, there's a nice psychological knowledge that this galaxy is the same for every game you'll play. Making the galaxy seem much more like it actually exists, and that it is old, and not just mushed together by teh processor 5 minutes ago. On the downside, I would probably have to have a 64 bit random number generator (takes 64 bit seeds. Actually I'd only need 38 bits, but that's beside the point) in order to allow for all the stars to be unique, which could slow down random number generation, which is a real bottleneck for some functions in game. And if the players got bored with the galaxy (or rather the stars you can access near Sol, since it takes alot of tech to reach the other side of the galaxy) they can't get a new galaxy, they're stuck with it. GLOBULAR CLUSTERS Globular clusters on the other hand allow for 32 bit seeded random number generators, which I already have several I've been working on. If the player got bored, there'd always be a new one to load. On the downside, the clusters would have to be realatively small. Meaning that there couldn't be any uber-empires. Alien empires probably couldn't get much larger than several hundred stars before they would begin crowding each other geographically, making the galaxy a land grab, which is not what I'm going for. Although there are a finite number of galaxy seeds, player's can't swap stories as easily, since most of them won't be on the same universe. And the psychological idea that the universe exists is gone, since you can just make a new one whenever you feel like. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS 1. I could have Sol's location in the huge galaxy be player defined. So you could start a game in a different part of the galaxy each game if you wanted, which solves the problem of novelty. 2. I could make both. But until I finish one version, I won't know how much work this involves. It could be nothing short of impossible. There are other solutions, I'm sure, but I can't think of them. CONCLUSION Which would you prefer as a player. The problem in either case isn't running out of stars to explore (or even overhead for the computer), but about novelty at the start of each new game.

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Sandman    2210
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
1. I could have Sol's location in the huge galaxy be player defined. So you could start a game in a different part of the galaxy each game if you wanted, which solves the problem of novelty.


This would provide more than enough novelty for starting positions, so if this fits in better with your overall concept I'd go with this.

Of course, if space travel is relatively easy, then even if you always start at the same point, your path of exploration will have many opportunities for divergence. So I'm not even sure that that novelty is even needed.

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RolandofGilead    100
I think I'd have to know more about what you do in this game to answer.

Sounds interesting, especially since I'd like to do something similar. For mine, I need the large universe because I'd want people to share stories, but I think you can do the same thing for the smaller maps, provided each 'story' also provides what seeds are used, but then people would have to quit playing their map. Although why can't you link the smaller maps together?

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Wavinator    2017
I honestly don't think the payoff will come from varying the stars, and there are many ways to make the universe feel large and alive without killing yourself. Refering to the galaxy visually (using powerful imagery that locates them in the galaxy) and contextually (names like Alpha Centauri or Procyon that they've probably heard of) I believe can allow you to create a galaxy that is meaningfully large.

It won't be too interesting if the galaxy has large pockets of undifferentiated mass. It will be like flying over a forest and seeing tree after tree until you get sick of the sameness. With a huge galaxy you run into the challenge of making areas special and memorable. There are an awful lot of red dwarfs out there, for instance, which are just there, with nothing special about them.

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Gyrthok    412
Size can be illustrated with different approaches, you don't neccessarily need 10~billion stars to show you how huge the galaxy is. Some examples of this:

The ElderScrolls 2: Daggerfall, had probably a couple hundred thousand towns, villages, and cities all over the map, god they had lots. But were they different? Not in any meaningful way anyone could see, they were all pretty much cookie cutter's, which is the problem you may inevitably run into without alot of diverse content to fill that void of space. I suppose they wanted to illustrate how huge the world actually was, but ended up boring the crap out of the player since there was no difference between going to the far off reaches of the island, as opposed to staying right where you were.

On the otherhand, Morrowind managed to create a very large and diverse world over the same equivalent land-mass size that Daggerfall used. The size of the villages and content was considerably larger and much more detailed. It takes quite some time to run from one end to the other, with many memorable hardships and sights along the way, dispite having a fraction of the number of villages Daggerfall had. Alot of detailed content can help make a world look and feel alot bigger than its scale would suggest, and is probably more memorable and enjoyable than exploring a billion look-alike towns.

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hplus0603    11356
Here's a data point: Does the user have to click on a star and do something specific to explore each star, or can he set autonomous bots to find new stars? If there's clicking involved per star, then exploring even one percent of a million stars would require 10,000 mouse clicks.

One million stars is a HUGE number. You could have 100 players play in a single million-star galaxy and have most of them never run into each other, unless you allow very rapid, semi-automatic expansion, and provide incentives for players to actually meet each other.

1,000,000 stars divided by 100 players means 10,000 stars per player. What is the management interface in the game that allows the player to manage that many stars in a reasonable way?

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Arkantis    145
I think you need to combine game types like freelancer/x2-the thread with the idea of millions of stars.... Having very defined sectors of the galaxy(and of course always leave alot of unknowns) which have certain control/styles/etc(and only appear on the map as one dot instead of 2 million)

but leave the space open for the player to see... just make alot of random generated differences... like most star systems should have atleast a station or an asteroid belt, said station should have services maybe even some odd mission

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Telastyn    3777
I'm not sure about your actual game, but in any sort of 4x style game, a random map generator is the #1 priority for me. MOO3 even kept me playing for about a month with a passable RMG.

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Numsgil    501
I'll try to address all the concerns posted here, so bear with me if this is a long post.

Quote:

This would provide more than enough novelty for starting positions, so if this fits in better with your overall concept I'd go with this.

Of course, if space travel is relatively easy, then even if you always start at the same point, your path of exploration will have many opportunities for divergence. So I'm not even sure that that novelty is even needed.


I actually really like the idea of defined start positions the best, so I think I'll go with it. You can start at different spots, which will change the evolution of your game considerably.

Space travel is difficult at the start of the game, and becomes infintely easy near the end. So it becomes very important to have starting stars that are of interest to the player. I think having a new start location every game solves this problem nicely.

Quote:

I think I'd have to know more about what you do in this game to answer.

Sounds interesting, especially since I'd like to do something similar. For mine, I need the large universe because I'd want people to share stories, but I think you can do the same thing for the smaller maps, provided each 'story' also provides what seeds are used, but then people would have to quit playing their map. Although why can't you link the smaller maps together?


I apologize for not telling you what kind of game this is. I've posted alot of threads since about July onward, and they've all been dealing with this game, so if anyone is interested, you can look them up.

In a nutshell, it's a 4x empire building game with no empire and no rivals. You play until your character dies of combat or old age, and the emphasis is on exploration.

As for linking smaller maps together, that's really how the larger galaxy works anyway, a bunch of sectors linked together.

Quote:

It won't be too interesting if the galaxy has large pockets of undifferentiated mass. It will be like flying over a forest and seeing tree after tree until you get sick of the sameness. With a huge galaxy you run into the challenge of making areas special and memorable. There are an awful lot of red dwarfs out there, for instance, which are just there, with nothing special about them.


Yes, there is a problem in making each place more or less unique. Other than having different land masses, etc. planets of similar types are, well, similar. I think this is probably how the real galaxy works too.

After all, I'm using fractal techniques for generating most of the planets, and the idea behind fractals is that they're self-similar.

The way the generation of planets works, it is just as easy for me (and the computer) to have 200Billion as it is to have 100. Meaningful interaction with the expansive world will come (I hope) from the interaction with the player.

It sounds fun in my mind, and I don't know that I can translate it well. If the game turns out to be boring, well, I guess this will be a laernign experience.

Another example of an expansive universe is in Noctis. His game runs in DOS and has 70 Billion stars. There is still an active player community, even after several years. And his game is more of a toy than a game, since all you can do is go to planets and explore.

Quote:

Here's a data point: Does the user have to click on a star and do something specific to explore each star, or can he set autonomous bots to find new stars? If there's clicking involved per star, then exploring even one percent of a million stars would require 10,000 mouse clicks.

One million stars is a HUGE number. You could have 100 players play in a single million-star galaxy and have most of them never run into each other, unless you allow very rapid, semi-automatic expansion, and provide incentives for players to actually meet each other.

1,000,000 stars divided by 100 players means 10,000 stars per player. What is the management interface in the game that allows the player to manage that many stars in a reasonable way?


Everytime the player reaches a new star, he can map any new stars that are around him. The vast majority probably are of no interest, so the player will ignore them. But maybe he finds 10 new stars worth exploring.

Basically, there are alot of stars that are little more than pretty.

What I really like is the size of the galaxy, more than the number of stars. I want the player to travel thousands of light years, and meet empires that are ten thousand light years across.

There is a semi-automatic colinization mode, but its use is more for filling in the gaps than active exploration.

Quote:

but leave the space open for the player to see... just make alot of random generated differences... like most star systems should have atleast a station or an asteroid belt, said station should have services maybe even some odd mission


The beauty of the random generated galaxy is that each of teh 200 BIllion stars can have up to 10 planets, and each of those planets can have up to 30 moons, and each of these bodies can be landed on and can (hopefully, if I can master OpenGL or Direct3D) be explored first person.

I know enough to know it's possible. The diversity is more of an issue of how much time I have.

Not all systems have anything in them, as far as intelligence. The player should probably spend his time exploring intelligently. Alot of information on each system is available before teh player explores it, including any man-made radio signals, etc.

Quote:

I'm not sure about your actual game, but in any sort of 4x style game, a random map generator is the #1 priority for me. MOO3 even kept me playing for about a month with a passable RMG.


It's a 4x empire game where the player doesn't deal with the logistics of running an empire. But even more so than in 4x games, the map generator is important.

To give you an idea of how the game works:

Master seed->Sector Seed->Star Seed->Planet Seed->Moon Seed

So when a player arrives in a new area, all the elements of the area are constructed from the seed, which is itself easily obtainable from the master seed.

Say a player arrives around a planet. From the planet seed, a terrain heightmap and biome map are created. If teh planet is inhabited by aliens, a map of cities are made to. If the player arrives inside a city, the location of the buildings etc. are decided by the city's seed.

Many cities will look similar, since it's hard to generate new graphics, but they all are different in layout, and different alien races have different personalities which affect the contruction of their cities, etc.

So having 100 or 200Billion stars doesn't increase my complexity in programming at all. I imagine most of us would prefer 200 Billion to 100 if there are no increases in overhead, both as players and programmers.

However, having a galaxy which spans 100 000 lightyears from end to end allows for some 'epic' elements that a smaller galaxy doesn't allow.

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EdR    117
Oy. And I thought MOO3 was bad.

More than a million stars is what I personally would call crazy. No player will ever be able to explore them all. Even so, I think that's probably the maximum you could get away with for a high-level 4X game.

What you suggest would be really, really more suitable to a single sector of space or something. I'd put a max of maybe 10,000 to keep it playable (unless this is something designed for, like, 100+ players).

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Numsgil    501
Quote:
Original post by Edward Ropple
Oy. And I thought MOO3 was bad.

More than a million stars is what I personally would call crazy. No player will ever be able to explore them all. Even so, I think that's probably the maximum you could get away with for a high-level 4X game.

What you suggest would be really, really more suitable to a single sector of space or something. I'd put a max of maybe 10,000 to keep it playable (unless this is something designed for, like, 100+ players).


No one expects you to. And the game isn't 4X, just somewhat similar, probably more so than any other genre. (It's more 4X tahn say RPG or FPS or racing)

4X is about taking over other countries, and expanding your borders, and becoming the most powerful. This is more about expanding your borders and exploring for the sake of exploration, leaving the day to day decisions to the computer.

The size of the universe is not really open for discussion. I want to make it big, and I can make it big, so I see no reason not to. What is open for discussion is wether you should have one really really big one, or several somewhat smaller but still really big ones.

Anyway, I've never heard of a player complain that the game world is too big except in RPG's, where you are expected to go from A to B. If you have free reign to go wherever the heck you want, wouldn't you prefer more room to explore? Unless you're a perfectionist, who cares that you only explored .00000000001%?

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Telastyn    3777
Oh, moo3 was largely terrible [though the map was nice, and the empire management ai was above average...], but when there's so few 4x games; you take what you can get.

Back on topic. Why not make your game flexible enough to allow either? Some people might like the smaller maps, and some might like the large "standard" map.

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EdR    117
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil
Quote:
Original post by Edward Ropple
Oy. And I thought MOO3 was bad.

More than a million stars is what I personally would call crazy. No player will ever be able to explore them all. Even so, I think that's probably the maximum you could get away with for a high-level 4X game.

What you suggest would be really, really more suitable to a single sector of space or something. I'd put a max of maybe 10,000 to keep it playable (unless this is something designed for, like, 100+ players).


No one expects you to. And the game isn't 4X, just somewhat similar, probably more so than any other genre. (It's more 4X tahn say RPG or FPS or racing)

4X is about taking over other countries, and expanding your borders, and becoming the most powerful. This is more about expanding your borders and exploring for the sake of exploration, leaving the day to day decisions to the computer.

The size of the universe is not really open for discussion. I want to make it big, and I can make it big, so I see no reason not to. What is open for discussion is wether you should have one really really big one, or several somewhat smaller but still really big ones.

Anyway, I've never heard of a player complain that the game world is too big except in RPG's, where you are expected to go from A to B. If you have free reign to go wherever the heck you want, wouldn't you prefer more room to explore? Unless you're a perfectionist, who cares that you only explored .00000000001%?


I know many people who complained that MOO3 was too big. A simple enough reason not to is that there is a large segment of players who WANT to be able to explore everything.

You seem to be one of the people who does things because they can. Setting aside the system constraints (and save files of truly obscene proportions), the playability comes into question. What is the point of such a huge playing field if you will never see most of it?

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Heaven    600
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil
PROBLEM STATED
I'm at a cross-roads in my space-exploration game design. I can either create a realistic (200 Billion + stars) galaxy where every time the player starts a new game, it's in the same universe, or I can make smaller globular clusters (~ 1 Million stars) of roughly 1000*1000*1000 LY, and have up to 2^16 different maps for the player to explore.

Uhh, if everything is randomized based on a seed, then in the first scenario, won't I still get a new universe of 200 billion+ stars each time I play if I change the seed?

Personally, the larger the better is my opinion. Why not? And your solution of allowing a randomized starting system as your "Sol" system is pure elegance and simplicity combined. Perfect! You've solved your own problem.

The only thing I'd suggest is making verson 1.0 be one system only. That's right. Sol, 9 planets, and their moons. Make everything you want in your final version WORK, and then for version 2.0 expand your scope to include the Milky Way. I don't know. You mention something to the effect that there are no greater challenges to programming for 1000 stars or 1 billion, but it just seems like you'd have a more realistic goal to reach if you were setting your sights on something more seemingly "accomplishable", for lack of any effort on my part to go to www.dictionary.com. Heh.

I've been interested in something like this for a long time and I can't wait until you have something playable. Keep us posted!

Take care, and good luck.

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Quote:

I know many people who complained that MOO3 was too big. A simple enough reason not to is that there is a large segment of players who WANT to be able to explore everything.


I hadn't even realized some people felt MOO3 was too big. I always play 4x (Civ3 especially) on the maximum possible map size. I suppose perhaps I should have a way to limit the size of the player's universe.

So I guess some people would feel inundated by size no matter what.

Perhaps I can limit the player's ability to explore in a uber-universe? Have an option such as "confine ship to the 125 sectors around Sol" (about 125LY*125LY*125LY). So the player has the illusion that he's in a dinky galaxy of, say, 7000 stars. The player could set his limits however he wants.

I'm following the actual star frequencies, so only like 15% of stars are habitable by organic life. (I may have more bizarre forms later.) so 7000 stars equates to something like 1000 stars that might have life. Then you add the capability for the player to know ahead of time if there are any planets with oceans and O2 atmospheres (a nearly dead give away for life).

Would something like this be a suitable compromise? So the player can explore a little pocket and still be exploring the same galaxy as those playing the uber version.

Quote:

You seem to be one of the people who does things because they can. Setting aside the system constraints (and save files of truly obscene proportions), the playability comes into question. What is the point of such a huge playing field if you will never see most of it?


What is God's point of having a huge galaxy if humanity will probably never see most of it? I'm just following a real life example. Any qualms should be taken up with the man upstairs.

Tongue-in-cheek aside, I am in love with the physical dimensions of the galaxy. The idea of 50000 LY radius allows me to place in some huge alien empires that possess borders 10000 LY across, and still have them never touch another empire.

However, I don't want to have fewer stars than in real life, because then it would make the galaxy sparser than I want.

I might take out the central core, which makes up something like 90% of my model, which would make the galaxy 20Billion stars. I'm still debating.

As for save files, since the universe is constructed from sector seeds each game, I get the same universe for each game. So I only have to save what the player has done to the galaxy. Basically, where his colonies are, what tech he has, etc. That's par to what most other games save to file.

And system constraints, you only have to have the current system in memory at any one time. That's going to take maybe 5Kilobytes. That's why you'd use pseudo-random generation in the first place.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:

Uhh, if everything is randomized based on a seed, then in the first scenario, won't I still get a new universe of 200 billion+ stars each time I play if I change the seed?


For 200 Billion stars, I need to have all the bytes of the sector seed for position data. So the seed is made from z*(# of y sectors *# of x sectors) +y*(# of x sectors)+x and there really aren't any leftover bits I can use for something of a random seed.

And anyway, even I have limits to how many stars I think are too many. If I could increase the bit-age of my random number generator, so that I have multiple possible 200Billion star galaxies... woah, my brain hurts. Maybe for a later version.

Quote:

Personally, the larger the better is my opinion. Why not?


Amen.

Quote:

And your solution of allowing a randomized starting system as your "Sol" system is pure elegance and simplicity combined. Perfect! You've solved your own problem.


Why thank you. I came up with the solution while I was writing the problem into the forums, (alot of good ideas come that way.) I think it solves all problems nicely.

Quote:

The only thing I'd suggest is making verson 1.0 be one system only. That's right. Sol, 9 planets, and their moons. Make everything you want in your final version WORK, and then for version 2.0 expand your scope to include the Milky Way. I don't know. You mention something to the effect that there are no greater challenges to programming for 1000 stars or 1 billion, but it just seems like you'd have a more realistic goal to reach if you were setting your sights on something more seemingly "accomplishable", for lack of any effort on my part to go to www.dictionary.com. Heh.


Yeah, I'll definately work on a smaller version first, to get my feet wet. After all, all my programming comes out perfect the first time, right? :P

Quote:

I've been interested in something like this for a long time and I can't wait until you have something playable. Keep us posted!


I'm motivated again! Yes, pull out the compiler, hack that code!

Anyway, that's how I've felt. This game should have been made already. I spent 6 months looking for it before I decided to make it.

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Sandman    2210
I can see a potential problem with exploring lots of star systems - keeping track of what's going on in them. You'll need to revise the model by which non-player empires evolve, again using something maths based rather than an AI following fundamental rules.

Otherwise every time you find a new civilization you'll need to spawn a new AI to manage it, and the demand on the CPU will just skyrocket as both you and they grow. With a mathematical system you can find an empire, leave it, come back again later and calculate what state it's in without having to do thousands of AI routines in the interim.

There's also the problem of the player's own empire, although given realistic limits on how much a player is likely to be able to explore in a given time frame this might not be a huge problem, but it is conceivable that a player might spend ages expanding his empire to something like a million stars - and even if he ignores them, the computer still has to keep track of what's going on in them.

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Numsgil    501
Quote:
Original post by Sandman
I can see a potential problem with exploring lots of star systems - keeping track of what's going on in them. You'll need to revise the model by which non-player empires evolve, again using something maths based rather than an AI following fundamental rules.

Otherwise every time you find a new civilization you'll need to spawn a new AI to manage it, and the demand on the CPU will just skyrocket as both you and they grow. With a mathematical system you can find an empire, leave it, come back again later and calculate what state it's in without having to do thousands of AI routines in the interim.

There's also the problem of the player's own empire, although given realistic limits on how much a player is likely to be able to explore in a given time frame this might not be a huge problem, but it is conceivable that a player might spend ages expanding his empire to something like a million stars - and even if he ignores them, the computer still has to keep track of what's going on in them.


Yes, this is the one main disadvantage to my game. I think, at least for now, the NPC empires will largely be stagnant. The only interaction they'll have with the player is when the player interacts with them, and things like war etc. will be handled using math instead of simulation.

In my mind, it's a worthwhile tradeoff, since the game is about exploration and not management, I can have the computer deal with upkeep with relatively simple mathematical models, keeping the player none-the-wiser (hopefully anyway.)

As for the player expanding too large, I'm hoping to find a way to keep the simulation of colonies as straightforward as possible. Since the colonies' only affect on the player is money (so far atleast), it shouldn't be too hard to just make a model for it to follow. However, I can definately see a possible problem of having a human empire that's just too large to cope with. I'll have to play around when I get to alpha testing to see how large the player's empire has to get before that happens.

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EdR    117
First: Just make a cap a player can choose for number of stars. Have it go as high as you please. Don't make the player choose how "big" it should be in spatial directions; do that behind the scenes.

Second: Not only will the CPU demand be insane, have you considered how big a memory hog this would be--and, for the love of God, disk space? I'm thinking "gigantic," here. Assume each star has a ten-character name; that alone, for a galaxy of 200 billion stars, is TWO TERABYTES. Compress that and you save some space, but still, that's just a *wee* bit over the top. Add in the numerous values necessary to accurately represent each star, and you'll rapidly go insane and get some serious out-of-memory errors.

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Numsgil    501
Quote:
Original post by Edward Ropple
First: Just make a cap a player can choose for number of stars. Have it go as high as you please. Don't make the player choose how "big" it should be in spatial directions; do that behind the scenes.


Okay... but why not? I imagine most of us think in terms of spatial coordinates.

Quote:

Second: Not only will the CPU demand be insane, have you considered how big a memory hog this would be--and, for the love of God, disk space? I'm thinking "gigantic," here. Assume each star has a ten-character name; that alone, for a galaxy of 200 billion stars, is TWO TERABYTES. Compress that and you save some space, but still, that's just a *wee* bit over the top. Add in the numerous values necessary to accurately represent each star, and you'll rapidly go insane and get some serious out-of-memory errors.


Yes, that would be true if I actually stored everything on disk, and kept track of each star, however I don't. I'll put this in caps so that people who are reading impaired can understand it.

MY GAME USES PROCEDURAL GENERATION!!! -or- if you don't know what that means:

MY GAME MAKES STUFF FROM A RANDOM FUNCTION SEEDED WITH THE SAME NUMBER EVERYTIME INSTEAD OF SEEDING IT WITH THE CLOCK!

Sorry, I didn't mean to shout. Just wanted to make sure everyone understood. [wink]

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EdR    117
I read what you wrote--I still think you're wrong.

Find a way how not to keep the majority of stars (every one an alien empire has control of, every one a player has control of) in memory at any time. You'll shortly find that you'll be running low on available memory really quickly, even on fairly buff machines.

Also, somehow I doubt your uber-l33t procedural generation routines will be able to come up with the alterations the player and AI empires/players have put onto planets they control, etc. If the game is on such a scale as you're talking about, this alone could run to tens of megabytes. Even with procedural generation, there's a hell of a lot of stuff you need to put on disk.

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Numsgil    501
Quote:
Original post by Edward Ropple
Find a way how not to keep the majority of stars (every one an alien empire has control of, every one a player has control of) in memory at any time. You'll shortly find that you'll be running low on available memory really quickly, even on fairly buff machines.


Let's say that, oh... NPC empires are not run. They're stagnant. Meaning that you don't need to update the worlds they control. You just need to have a list of planets (or maybe even stars, or maybe even sectors) they own. They don't compete with you, so you don't have to worry about balancing it. They just exist.

Let's say each sector/star/planet is given a number representing how advanced and productive it is. That's it, a simple 32 bit number. The strength of the empire is the sum of all it's parts. The player interacts with said empire, forming trade agreements, etc. and finds that NEVER does he have to deal with how advanced each of the individual parts are.

As far as keeping every colony the player owns in memory... That really isn't any more difficult than what a 4x game deals with. And I don't think I really need to. I just have to update them when it will affect something.

Let's say that after a player forms a colony, it's easy to calculate what will happen in the colony even 500 years down the road (game time of course). Then you just have to calculate a new state for the colony every few years, and replace the old colony database entry with the new one.

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Also, somehow I doubt your uber-l33t procedural generation routines will be able to come up with the alterations the player and AI empires/players have put onto planets they control, etc. If the game is on such a scale as you're talking about, this alone could run to tens of megabytes. Even with procedural generation, there's a hell of a lot of stuff you need to put on disk.


Okay, 1st: Hardly uber-elite. It's just pasted together using simple calculus and fudge factors. Check out this article and this one. I just combined the two ideas.

As for the actual algorithm for generation of stars, etc. I'm using this article as a launching point, modifying it slightly for my uses.

If that makes me uber-elite... WOOT! I finally made it. Was easier than I thought.

2nd: No, you can't store all the alterations for NPC empires. You just have to simulate them. That's the tradeoff for procedural generation. I think it's acceptable, since you're not competing with NPC empires anyway. In a 4x game it wouldn't be, but as I said, mine is not a 4x game.

3rd: Storing the alterations the player has formed is very possible. Colony control isn't as in-depth as in other games. Probably only have to store ~100 bytes a colony, which isn't monstrous at all. The game isn't real time, so I can spend 10 seconds updating all the colonies if I want, I imagine most people wouldn't mind too much.

4th: 10's of megabytes is nothing. Most modern computers have 256-500MB RAM, and then you don't even count virtual memory which windows handles automatically.

If you show me a computer where a 35 MB game is a problem, I'll show you a paperweight.

Anyway, I doubt that my game will use more than 2-3MB, excluding 3D models and textures of course. The point of the game is procedural generation, not storage. If that means there is some small fudging here and there, so be it.

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EdR    117
Y'know, with all the limitations you're putting on it, I really don't see the "game" aspect of it...this strikes me as a simulation more than a game.

There doesn't seem to be all that much in the way of competition or drive to keep playing, from what you've written.

So, in that case, it doesn't matter which way you do it.

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Numsgil    501
Quote:
Original post by Edward Ropple
Y'know, with all the limitations you're putting on it, I really don't see the "game" aspect of it...this strikes me as a simulation more than a game.

There doesn't seem to be all that much in the way of competition or drive to keep playing, from what you've written.



My gameplay is based alot off of 7 Cities of Gold. I remember playing it when I was a little kid, and I had alot of fun with it. You weren't competing against anybody in it either. You just ran around exploring and making colonies and trading. That pretty much desribes my game.

That's a misconception with modern gaming, that you need someone to compete against. Sometimes it is fun to just be alone in a game. Myst, 7 Cities of Gold, and a few others just left you alone with a world, and let you do what you want to it.

If that's not your cup of tea, so be it. But please do not attempt to criticisize an idea in gaming which has already been well established and well recieved.

Quote:
So, in that case, it doesn't matter which way you do it.


That sounds suspiciously like what a little kid would say if he doesn't get his way. I've been kind enough to respond to your posts, which have been combative from the start. If you're going to criticisize my idea, however, please have the curtesy to flush them out.

Specifically:
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil
Quote:
Original post by Edward Ropple
First: Just make a cap a player can choose for number of stars. Have it go as high as you please. Don't make the player choose how "big" it should be in spatial directions; do that behind the scenes.

Okay... but why not? I imagine most of us think in terms of spatial coordinates.


Never recieved a reply. Please post respectfully and don't turn this into a flame war over something relatively stupid.

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EdR    117
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil
Quote:
Original post by Edward Ropple
Y'know, with all the limitations you're putting on it, I really don't see the "game" aspect of it...this strikes me as a simulation more than a game.

There doesn't seem to be all that much in the way of competition or drive to keep playing, from what you've written.



My gameplay is based alot off of 7 Cities of Gold. I remember playing it when I was a little kid, and I had alot of fun with it. You weren't competing against anybody in it either. You just ran around exploring and making colonies and trading. That pretty much desribes my game.

That's a misconception with modern gaming, that you need someone to compete against. Sometimes it is fun to just be alone in a game. Myst, 7 Cities of Gold, and a few others just left you alone with a world, and let you do what you want to it.

If that's not your cup of tea, so be it. But please do not attempt to criticisize an idea in gaming which has already been well established and well recieved.


Seven Cities of Gold was good, no doubt about that. However, I've always thought the setting/milieu is the reason it worked, myself.

Quote:

Quote:
So, in that case, it doesn't matter which way you do it.


That sounds suspiciously like what a little kid would say if he doesn't get his way. I've been kind enough to respond to your posts, which have been combative from the start. If you're going to criticisize my idea, however, please have the curtesy to flush them out.


My apologies if I sound combative. I'm generally just blunt. If I see no fun factor, I'm not going to call it a game, and, for both technical and design-related reasons, this seems to have a few very large holes in it. I still don't see the fun factor in it. Seven Cities of Gold had a more limited scope and amount of power/resources you could use; this doesn't seem to have the same.

Quote:

Specifically:
Quote:
Original post by Numsgil
Quote:
Original post by Edward Ropple
First: Just make a cap a player can choose for number of stars. Have it go as high as you please. Don't make the player choose how "big" it should be in spatial directions; do that behind the scenes.

Okay... but why not? I imagine most of us think in terms of spatial coordinates.


Never recieved a reply. Please post respectfully and don't turn this into a flame war over something relatively stupid.


Well, for one, programmers may thing spatially--but making it easier on the user seems to me to be a more simply defined number.

A new player doesn't know how long or how much it'll take to traverse 10000 LY. They've got a better idea when you say "about ten million stars."

I don't know why I didn't respond to this--I probably didn't notice it.

EDIT: One very simple technical question. If you're using procedural generation, what happens when the player starts bumping into these NPC empires? Procedural generation fails completely once you introduce independent variables into the equation.

[Edited by - Edward Ropple on November 28, 2004 4:56:42 PM]

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