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About tim_shea

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  1. tim_shea

    Quantifying insanity.

    I think we're sort of talking past each other at this point. In any case, I love survival games and psychology so I look forward to playing whatever you come up with. Best of luck!
  2. tim_shea

    Quantifying insanity.

      So, this is not strictly true. In fact, there are entire genres built around accounting for exactly that. To be sure, game design based on player immersion is much more artistic and subjective than game design based on systems, but it is definitely not out of reach.     Player immersion is not something that the player chooses to engage in. They have to set the conditions for it, but you as the developer have to actually create it, if that's the route you want to take. And keep in mind, it may not be the best option. Immersion and entertainment are orthogonal attributes of game design. Particularly in a sandbox or procedural game, it could be incredibly difficult to construct an immersive experience, and even if you did it might not be as entertaining as a more rule-driven experience.
  3. You should definitely give some thought to dependency inversion. Circular dependencies can very easily become problematic in the future. Unless there is some reason not to abstract out an interface, it would benefit you to do so.
  4. tim_shea

    Quantifying insanity.

    It's fairly clear to me that you've put a lot more thought and [research? personal experience?] into the fine points of this mechanic than the average forum reader, so I'm not sure if you're going to gain much defending your ideas against the superficial criticisms we can provide.   Nevertheless, here is my superficial criticism: it seems like you haven't made a clear distinction between the "real" mental health of the avatar and the perceived mental health of the player.   If I have a lot of concrete statistics to manage and specific rules and interactions to consider, along the lines of a pen and paper rpg, then I expect to be loosely bound to my avatar. I get plenty of information (more than he would reasonably have access to, e.g. his precise level of healthiness) but my means of acting on that information are mediated by the rules of the game and his current state. A crazy avatar, in this sort of game, might do things I don't expect.   On the other hand, if I am forced to perceive things exactly as the avatar does, then I would expect to be more tightly bound to my avatar (there should be relatively few cases where I don't have control) but at the cost of my unrealistic introspection with respect to statistics. In this sort of game, I would not expect my avatar to go crazy, so much as the game to try to convince me that I was crazy.   Both could be enjoyable games. In the past, I've played survival games that hewed towards either side (not with respect to mental health, just in general), and enjoyed them. But a sort of middle ground option might easily get confusing.
  5. tim_shea

    My world driven game idea

    In my game engine architecture course last year, about 3/4 of the teams were unable to get even two-player networked games to work, whereas almost everybody was able to implement the full scene graph structure, physics, spatial sound, animations, etc.   Networking makes every aspect of your game more complicated.   Minecraft was not multiplayer in the early alpha. It was only later (as the game became a sensation and raised many millions of dollars) that a lot of the features you see today were implemented. It's also just generally not a great model for game dev, because it was such an unusual case. Is it possible you will pull off what Notch did? Yes. Is it likely? Definitely not. Much better to set your sights on something firmly achievable and then branch out.   Edit: On a different note, I like the concept. I would say prototype it and see which elements are fun and which aren't.
  6.   Leadwerks 3 supports mobile platforms, but the latest update does not. I don't have much experience with mobile games, so I wouldn't want to make a bad recommendation.   Personally, I would probably go for a more traditional app framework for augmented reality, rather than a game engine. There is a whole lot going on in most engines that you may not have any need for.   Actually, earlier on Saturday I spent a while discussing some geo-gaming ideas with a group of devs, and one of them mentioned that Adobe Air could do a native app camera overlay kind of thing pretty easily, but I don't have any experience with it.
  7.   Thanks for your input. I didn't actually use the words hidden or hiding anywhere. I don't feel like Unity is hiding things, to the contrary, they actually have fantastic docs that do a good job of exposing things.   What I would say is that for me, when a tool recommends and most strongly supports a particular paradigm, impressions are going to be shaped by that paradigm, and I don't think it is unfair of users to do that. For example, it is possible to write procedural server-side scripts in Ruby on Rails, but that doesn't make it unreasonable to say "I'm not going to use Rails because I don't like MVC".   That being said, I appreciate your perspective. Implementing an object-oriented game structure may have been exactly what I needed to get my prototype working, it didn't occur to me try and completely bypass the game management components.
  8. Regarding the issue of player attrition, I think it makes sense to have mechanics that encourage loyalty and discourage disloyalty, but only to an extent. Keep in mind, some of the most disastrous losses and most spectacular victories in human history have been due to political rather than tactical maneuvering. Also, desertion in battle and uncoordinated retreats are primary factors in reducing the total number of casualties. Very rarely has a real battle resulted in 100% casualties, because people will naturally leave when they realize they have no hope for victory. This also introduces very important strategic options. Managing your own troops morale and the enemy's morale can be as important as managing their rations or ammunition. Rather than introduce an artificial mechanic for this, you could let human player's real emotions dictate the morale of their army.
  9. Josh, thanks for the input. CryENGINE is one I haven't tried yet. I keep meaning to, and then forgetting.
  10. No, Leadwerks does not offer a free version, and I am somewhat conflicted about that.   On the one hand, I think the actual cost of the software is incredibly reasonable. If you plan to actually produce any content (games, demos, whatever) $200 is almost negligible.   On the other hand, I got my start with games and programming by downloading free versions, and I enjoyed it so much that I'm now finishing my CS degree, so I think there are peripheral benefits when companies offer those options.
  11. Wings by Daedalus What is it? An artificial intelligence library for use in games. A set of tools to help you incorporate high quality intelligent behavior into your games without the headaches. Who are we? A team of five Computer Science majors at CSU Sacramento sponsored by Josh Klint of Leadwerks Software and advised by Dr. Ahmed Salem, Associate Professor at CSUS. What do we want? Game developers (that's you!) to share your experiences and priorities with respect to gameplay and artificial intelligence. Your feedback will help us shape the Wings library. Please take our six question survey: For more information about the team and the project: If you have any questions or concerns prior to taking the survey, please feel free to post them here.
  12. tim_shea

    Monster thinking in an action rpg

    I don't think I agree with these sentiments, but the advice is good. Neural networks and genetic algorithms are among the most promising subjects in AI research. They are the only techniques with a good likelihood of producing real emergent behavior or machine learning. However, most implementations *are* unpredictable, training intensive, and unlikely to provide a whole lot of benefit in a typical rpg. I would say if you want to look at something more advanced than finite state machines or scripts, the most fertile ground would be production systems. These are kind of (not really) like a large collection of interrelated if-then-else statements. The idea is to build up a collection of productions (sometimes called rules) that represent all of the 'mental' considerations of the AI. In my opinion, this type of representation is much more authentic than a real-time plastic method like a GA or NN. Consider, during the course of a battle, it is pretty unlikely that a monster will be learning and incorporating a whole lot. It seems a bit more realistic to say that a monster or enemy has a lot of knowledge and experience (in the form of productions) that it brings into the battle, but that set of knowledge doesn't necessarily change a whole lot.
  13. One thing to keep in mind is that everything doesn't have to be an object. If some collection of functions and data is related, then it's often useful to group them together, but you should really consider whether it makes sense to create one. If clients of the gui management code will likely only use one or two methods (register, unregister?) then you don't have to wrap that functionality into an object to be instantiated, especially if doing so would require you to provide static functions anyway. On the other hand, if you really do think there are enough operations and data to justify defining an object, and it does in fact make sense to instantiate one, then by avoiding singletons you actually gain a lot of flexibility (one lightweight gui manager handles the hud, another for the pause screen menus). I think if you embrace the fact that a single program can incorporate multiple paradigms, you should see the need for singletons decline.
  14. tim_shea

    Monster thinking in an action rpg

    I think all the advice you've received so far is great, but just to give an alternative idea. What if you approached the problem not as a perfectly rational actor weighing the costs and benefits of perfectly measured variables, but instead as a monster trying to decide what the hell to do with this crazy hero. Putting myself in the place of said monster, I can think of a couple of likely cognitive strategies: a) I am an instinctual sort of creature, like an alligator or maybe an ogre, and in the clutch I tend to rely upon particular strategies. These strategies will most likely be widely applicable and crudely effective (having gotten me this far in life) but due to their generality may be exploitable. So as an alligator if I smell a hero crossing my swamp I likely try and take a bite out of him. As an Ogre, I put my club to use. There is probably not going to be much decision-making involved for an instinctual sort of creature. b) I am a sneaky, crafty, or cunning sort of monster like a goblin shaman or a street urchin. I am not very intelligent, but I may come up with some unexpected way to approach a confrontation. In my view, as the cunning monster I'm not so much comparing a bunch of options and deciding on the cleverest one, rather I'm just more likely to try something unorthodox rather than always rely on a standard approach. So, again I don't need complex decision making, what I really need is some mechanism for simulating creativity (a simple solution might be a lot of prescripted behaviors, that are randomly selected from so as to appear emergent). The key to my cleverness as a goblin shaman isn't that I pick the best possible move, rather, that I tend to try unexpected things, potentially gaining an advantage. c) I am a normal, competent, human-equivalent intelligent being. This one is pretty complex, because there is such a range of cognitive behavior in humans, let alone fantasy races. However, I would say some good approximations are certainly possible. For one thing, depending on how your system works and whether it can handle this, you might consider the fact that the most important (and often the only) decision that a typical soldier makes in a brief conflict is whether to fight, and a lot of the time only one side makes even that decision. So, an orc hunter might put some effort into sizing up his opponent and deciding whether he feels lucky, but once he's charged in, he probably isn't spending a lot of time deciding who to swing his axe at. I would say, there are a few decisions (whether to fight, whether to run, maybe others?) that could benefit from a weighted statistical model *or* a fuzzy approach, but honestly for these kinds of monsters the choice of which action to take should probably be really simple. d) I am a highly intelligent being, such as a wizard, a battlefield commander, an elder dragon, or whatever. For this category, I am somewhat divided. Traditionally, games tend to assign the least flexible, and least intelligent cognitive simulations (almost always a simple, scripted pattern) to ostensibly the most intelligent type of enemy. I understand why, as games have to maintain a certain level of fun, and often have to follow certain conventions to do so, but I still dislike it. If I am a seasoned, veteran troop commander, I am not entering a battle without a plan that stands a high chance of success (unless I'm in a desert badum-bum-tsh!). So, for these kinds of monsters, I could see employing a fairly elaborate cognitive model, perhaps even a perfectly rational algorithmic model. But, if you plan on keeping with RPG tradition, then actually you don't even need that for these guys, just some state machines and scripts will do it. I hope this helps. I'm not disagreeing with anything else said, just offering my take on how certain monsters could think in battle. I probably over-simplified the human-types, because there is really a whole lot that you could do there. Good luck.
  15. tim_shea

    So what's your RPG story?

    Yes. I was like 13 and not much into theme or interpretive meaning at the time. Since you mention it, I guess the whole sin catastrophe could be allegorical. I think I was distracted by the personal stories (fatalism, duty, etc.) and didn't really even consider the story of the world as anything but backdrop. I suppose that could be a lesson, that if you want to include potentially divisive or advanced ideas into a game, perhaps its best to cover them with just enough gloss that they can be ignored by the uninterested. Then again, perhaps if the story had been just a bit plainer, it would have really challenged me to consider its meaning. :S
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