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About Dauntless

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  1. Dauntless

    linked lists

    Fruny is right. Data structures are what you need to think about when you're actually trying to implement the game design. Game Design is a much higher (more abstract) plan for what the game is all about. I actually think that the title of the forum should be changed to "Game Ideas" or even "Game Analysis", because in software engineering lingo, the term design has a more rigid definition. Game Ideas is actually what this forum is really about....discussing the ideas of gameplay. Now, data structures and algorithms combined ARE your program. And data structures and algorithms mutually affect each other. What data structure you use determines what algorithms you can use, and vice versa. Linked Lists (whether you're talking about singly linked lists, doubly linked lists, sentinel lists, or even directed graphs....acyclic or otherwise) are good for when you have to do a lot of inserting or deleting. Just assign the pointers on all the affected nodes to the new node you want, or if you want to delete a node, just point them to null or the next->next node in the link (and don't forget to destroy the deleted node). In a sorted array or vector, whenever you insert or delete a new node, you will have to shift on average n/2 nodes to account for the new or lost node but with a linked list, you need only worry about the adjacent nodes to which you insert and delete. However, searching for a certain node is a linear search, and thus not very good. Though really, that depends on how you implement your list. Another way to think of a linked list is simply as a way of connecting node objects, the node objects holding pointers or references to other nodes. A tree is really a type linked list. A binary tree for example starts with a root node which has two pointers. These pointers point to two other "leaf" node objects. These two leaf node objects in turn point to their own 2 leaf (or child) node objects. Now searching is much more convenient if we can order the nodes (now we can search in log 2 N time). Directed graphs are also a kind of linked list, where you can think of a node object as a vertex, and every edge on the vertex is a pointer to the next vertex. We tend to think of linked lists as "chains", but that's not how they need be implemented if you roll your own. It's just that most people automatically assume the STL linked list when you say "linked list". So understanding more than just the STL linked list will greatly help you in understanding how to roll your own data structures, as well as conceptualize how the data is organized.
  2. One of these days I'm going to do my own Linux from scratch. Gentoo helped me learn some of the ins and outs of the Unix world, as did my class in Unix Systems Programming, but I think rolling your own linux is probably the best way to really learn the nuts and bolts. The task looks daunting....but hey, I didn't choose my handle for nothing.
  3. Dauntless

    Is Only Dating Your Race Racism?

    I don't consider making distinctions to be racist. Consider the word discriminate. It's actual definition means to discern differences. Do not confuse discerning differences with racism. Indeed, I'd argue that if you assume ALL things are equal and have no distinctions, then you are committing a sort of inverse all-inclusiveness, denying any differences exist at all. In other words, equality and distinctions are not mutually exclusive. Moreover, value judgments need not necessarily be bigoted (though they can be). Preferences do not necessarily imply superiority anymore than dislikes imply inferiority. A preference just means that something suits you more personally. I do think one should examine their preferences for why they have the preference. If it's because they think the other choices are worse in some respects...then that's a call for concern. If it's because they like a look or feel more culturally connected, then that's a matter of taste. It's not saying that other races are inferior, or even that the chosen race is's just what suits you better. I do think racism and close-mindedness go hand in hand however. And that's where being single-minded about prefering a single race can be in danger of being prejudiced and where I think confusion over this issue mainly lies. I think people should always keep their options open. I dislike absolutes of any kind, so anyone who says they will ONLY date within their race (or outside their race for that matter) is close-minded. That goes beyond having a preference into being exclusive. In my example about the cat and dog thing, how do you know there isn't a dog out there that's potty trained and doesn't need lots of walks? So you never know, and should always keep your options open. But I'm not going to fault someone for having preferences.
  4. Sort of an off topic question, but what exactly is the difference between *nix's shared objects and windows DLL's? It's kind of pathetic that I'm finally about to get a degree in CS, and I still don't really understand runtime linking of objects.
  5. Dauntless

    what data structure to use?

    Wouldn't it be easier to have the bullet object contain a pointer or reference to the object it collided with rather than the other way around? This would eliminate the possibility of several different bullets hitting the same object. Otherwise, you might need to use some sort of hash table, since one Object might contain references to several bullets. So instead of querying the object as to what bullet hit it, you could ask the bullet itself which object it hit. I guess it depends on your game logic though.
  6. Dauntless

    Is Only Dating Your Race Racism?

    First of all ask yourself why you should demand your point of view on someone else. Secondly, racism connotes the idea that a race is somehow inferior to your own. How is it implied that if you don't date outside your race you therefore find other ethnicities inferior? There's a big difference between personal taste and racism. Is it color-racist for me to say that I like the color blue better than red? The implication is that somehow because I only buy blue colored clothes, that somehow I feel red is inferior, and only idiots would like red. The simple matter is that I like the color blue better, so why wear red clothes when I can buy blue? It's not a judgment against red, it's just my own proclivity for blue. It's also like saying that if you own a cat, you should also get a dog as a pet. Maybe a dog just doesn't suit you. Maybe you live in a cramped apartment. Maybe you don't have time to take a dog out for constant walks. That's not a judgment call against dogs that they are inferior to cats, it's just that a cat might suit you better. But would it be fair to say that if you have a cat, you MUST therefore also be willing to take in a dog? Now, as to the asian girl's argument that you don't get minority issues, I think she herself doesn't really understand. Trust me, I know where she's coming from. In fact, I think I understand better than she does. See, I'm eurasian dad's white, my mom's asian. I know what it feels like to feel like an outsider...perhaps even more than she does. At the very least, no one is going to look at her funny if she dates an asian guy. Me, no matter who I go out with, someone is going to give me the strange eye no matter what race I date. Does that make me feel the need to date only other eurasians otherwise I'm "abandoning" my race? Hardly. So in a nutshell, I think both of you should reconsider your views. It's not racist to date only within your's just a matter of preference...nor does a minority have to feel that the "majority" race can't understand them (one need not be Caesar in order to understand Caesar).
  7. Dauntless

    Reductionism and intelligence

    Timkin- On the topic of monistic idealism, it's a philosophical viewpoint that really runs totally against our grain of common everyday understanding. It just seems to make so much sense that objects exist whether or not there is a mind to create them. Objectivity seems so much more powerful than subjectivity. I used to fear the idea that I didn't have free will, but now I understand that it doesn't really matter. All I can do is be who I am. Is freewill necessary for artificial intelligence? I doubt it. Is it necessary for sapience? Hmmm, that's a little more tricky. Because I'm an idealistic monist, I think "I" don't exist in the sense that we normally think. I'm just an observer, but an observer that can tap into consciousness. Can we design machines to do the same? I think we will, though only until Quantum Computation comes of age. And even then, current research on quantum computation seems to be focusing solely on how qubits work mathematically. Trying to figure out how quantum mechanics and consciousness are related may be left to some other field (probably when the cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, AI, philosophers and theoretical physicists all bump heads together) == WARNING: TOTALLY OT== Have you heard of the Peony flower that Muneyoshi cut and had a messenger deliver to Musashi? As the story goes, Musashi had become an accomplished duellist, though as you mentioned not yet at his peak, and he wished to challenge the legendary Muneyoshi. However, Muneyoshi had retired so he wrote a letter to Musashi suggesting he have a duel with his son Munenori (who was with the Shogun in the Bakufu at this time IIRC). Before giving the letter to the messenger however, he cut a peony flower with his wakizashi to be delivered with the message. When Musashi recieved the letter with the flower in it he was puzzled. He carefully examined the peony flower and noticed the perfect cut on the stem. Going to some nearby peony flowers, he attempted to cut them as well, but he could never get them as perfectly cut as the peony that Muneyoshi had cut. He thereby called off the duel with Muneyoshi and declined the offer of duelling Munenori as well. Perhaps Musashi returned the favor of Muneyoshi's katsujinken "the sword that saves lives" (the flower was basically a warning) by allowing Muso Gonnosuke to beat Musashi with a Jo staff in a duel. Musashi's legendary reply was that he could have won, but only if he had killed Gonnosuke. Instead, Musashi wanted Gonnosuke's skill to flower so Musashi suffered the defeat to let Gonnosuke's skill flourish. If you read The Book of Five Rings (Musashi's) and The Life Giving Sword (Munenori's), it's interesting how different they are. Munenori definitely takes the spiritual approach to things, through a disciplined and formal training. Winning was subservient to doing your duty, which was to be the best you could possibly be to serve your lord. Musashi's book on the other hand is sort of a treatise on how to win. Thoroughly understanding something to its core is the means to an end...winning. Understanding is not the end. BTW, I'd also recommend to anyone Soho Takuan's The Unfettered Mind to read. ==END OT==
  8. Dauntless

    Reductionism and intelligence

    Quote:Original post by walkingcarcass Assuming in this argument that free will and conciousness actually exist, at what point do they begin to control our bodies? The way I see it, there are three possibilities. 1) There is an as-yet unidentified ingredient of matter which is responsible for free will This is definitely an assumption of materialist objectivism. However, if we subscribe to this ontological viewpoint, then we must live with Cartesian duality. However, if mind is an epiphenomenon of matter (the brain), then we are deterministic machines and hence can not have free will. To assume that something is made up of matter and yet can have freewill, imagine for a second a particle, subatomic or not, being able to influence itself. Quote: 2) Free will is a fundamental property of matter This is a viewpoint more espoused by noumenonalists or other ontologies which hold that matter does not hold primacy. Reductionism does not hold well in non- materialist metaphysical viewpoints because you can not simply observe the parts, and then sum them up to deduce the whole. Quote: 3) All the constituents of matter are "dead", but are collectively granted a mind by virtue of their organisation This is a belief that holds that mind or consciousness is nothing more than an emergent epiphenomenon of the interactions going on in the brain. What we perceive as qualia (subjective mental states) are nothing more than various electric and chemical responses in the brain. These processes are still deterministic, yet because of the untold number of variables, chaos theory will hold and our actions will be unpredictable (though still determined). Again, this would mean that we have no free will, only the appearance or illusion of it. Quote: One way of approaching this is to ask "at what point does a baby begin to think?". Piaget and others have done some interesting child psych development, but unfortunately, babies can't talk to us :) I've often always imagined what it must have been like for that first proto homo-sapiens to have exhibited his sapience...his self-awareness and ability to understand. Was it something gradual or was it like a light bulb going off? Think about our own childhood...we don't have this wham sensation where we realize that we are independent. In fact, in most child studies, babies up to the first few months of age don't have a sense of self yet. This is why a baby cries when it is taken away from its mother. Quote: 2) will be lept on my advocates of superposition of quantum states etc., the result of an observation appears to be essentially random (as do the digits of pi, although we know they are anything but), but one could believe a particle settles to a given state because it "wants" to, and that minds result from the constituant parts forming a consensus. While I've been studying Buddhist and Hindu thought, what has leapt out at me is the notion that there is no self, and therefore there is no freewill. Or rather, there is choice, however, that choice doesn't belong to an "I". Rather, there is only one thing, consciousness (God, Brahman, void, or what have you) that has freewill. Quantum mechanics breaks down at the interppretation level into various camps. We don't really know what or if consciousness plays in decision making, nor for that matter do we know what role the unconscious plays on quantum objects. Quote: 3) is a very similar line of thought to 2), except it applies to the intangible organisation of matter, even though all the parts may be "dead". Here, Platonism plays a big role. This idea belies the idea of reductionism, that all things are seperate or at the very least can be taken apart or can be independent of one another. These seperate things can then be put together in a fashion that provides new functionality. This functionality can then become (as is argued) freewill, consciousness and intelligence. However, there are alternative viewpoints to this. I for one am a monistic idealist. Instead of perceiving that the mind stems from the brain, idealists see it as the other way around. From the mind comes matter. In other words, consciousness is the basic "stuff" of reality, and matter is a secondary creation of consciousness. That explains the idealist part, the monistic part means that there is only one thing. The idea that there are seperate objects is something of an illusion. This idea is not the same as everything being causally linked and therefore everything is in effect affected by everything else. But rather, there is only one thing...again, consciousness, God, Brahman or whatever you want to call it. If you can, think of Plato's cave allegory. Reality wasn't the shadow's dancing on the cave walls. Nor were they the objects that cast the shadows. Reality was the light itself, and the shadows were merely manifestations cast by concepts within the light. Similar ideas are expressed in Buddhism's "form is void, void is form" dharma. Quote: 3) seems to be the stance of followers of strong AI, but always seemed suspicious to me. They say if you could build a mechanical replica of the functions of the human brain, it too would think. Also that this replica could be written down and would aquire thought by virtue of being read, presumably by anyone, although a Turing machine is typical. This seems silly to me, it suggests the encoding is essentially irrelevant (e.g. a variety of Turing-complete machines with totally different instruction sets), by this argument one could devise a bijection between any two systems of the same complexity e.g. neurons in the brain with a subset of stars in the sky. Thus, everyones mind exists everywhere. And if the computer program was stored, but not executed, could the way the wind blows be considered an encoding of some mind, which was reading the program? Reality subject to point-of-view I can cope with, reality subject to definition seems silly. Why does that seem silly? Another way to look at this is what Protagoras said, "Man is the measure of all things". In effect, our measurement, our definition of things is what makes them. Solipsism often seems to be something of a pariah or a ridiculed superstitious belief, and yet one can't prove it wrong. Our scientific method has enchanted us with the idea of reductionism, causality, and objectivity. The idea of pure subjectivity seems arrogant (I'm God here), incorrect (why can't I just wish myself rich?), and against our common everyday experiences (why can't I read your mind if you're just really a part of my mind?). And yet, this is a selfish view of Solipsism which says that you are the center of subjectivity. But what if "you" aren't? I've analogized what might be a possibility for mind as something like this: Mind, consciousness and freewill (all one thing) is a great big mainframe. All we sentient and sapient beings are terminals connecting to the mainframe. All the processing and all the decisionmaking is done by the mainframe. Only the mainframe has freewill. We're really just dumb terminals that have a small amount of data access. What's worse, we don't realize we're dumb terminals, and we think we're doing all the processing and choosing ourselves. The analogy isn't perfect, but it gets across the main idea. Quote: 2) is philosophically appealing to me. It allows one a great degree of freedom in speculation and belief. It may be that the couciousness and free will are liquidlike, flowing between systems, favouring complex ones because that is where the essence of mind is most needed, and presumably being a part of a more important system is somehow nicer. In this case we don't permanently own our minds. It also doesn't exclude ESP etc. It also means that even the simplest systems like lightswitches possess a trivial amount of intelligence, only capable of manifesting itself in negligible ways. I find it quite amusing that people are trying to make computers think, when they may be already thinking: "Help! I'm stuck in a computer!". The humane thing to do would be smash the microchip, and release the free will to spread into other things. Maybe turning it off would be just as good. Maybe simple things such as microchips are home to lazy minds. This is only one interpretation, of course. I agree. Takuan, a famous Zen philosopher once advised Yagyu Munenore (whom some consider to have been a better swordsman that Miyamoto Musashi since the latter turned down an invitation to duel by the former's father), "the mind should be nowhere in particular". And not only should it not, perhaps it is not anywhere in particular. We attach our minds to our physical bodies, but is it really? Who knows, but I think that in many ways, we've let the material objectivist ontology of the scientific methodology reign for far too long. I really think that at least one semester of philosophy should be mandatory for all science majors in order to expose them to different metaphysical viewpoints that could underpin reality.
  9. I've currently been doing a lot of reading on early Christianity. From the apochryphal books, to the books that the councils of Nicea and Trent decided not to include, to early Gnostic Christian sects like the Essenes and Nazoreans, to the "heretical" movements like Manicheanism or Cathars, I've been fascinated by what I'm learning. So fascinated in fact, that I wish I could do a game solely based on religious development in a "what-if" sort of vein. I find it interesting how few people know about the history and development of Christianity, or other religion's influence upon it. I think it could be educational and interesting if done right. The problem is that it would have to showcase alternative interpretations of Christian (and gnostic) theology (or logos). And this would in itself be controversial. That's why I've been thinking of an alternative psuedo-Earth setting for a pan-asian setting that deals with Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Shinto and other eastern type philosophies as a core feature of the game. I don't think many people here would mind seeing a non-Abrahamic religion being played around with, but even if you remain very truthful, some people won't want to see their ingrained image of their belief system challenged or altered in any way. As a real quick example, what if the game answered the missing years of Jesus(Yeshu) life by saying that he had traveled to India and picked up some Buddhist or Hindu ideas? This is not just merely a hypothetical what if, but a speculation based on some Tibetan manuscripts that were found that talked about a traveler from the area of Palestine during the right period of time. What makes it more intriguing is that though this manuscript was found by a Russian in the late 1800's, it was later discovered that the Vatican had several of these copies themselves for at least a hundred years prior. Why would the Vatican be interested in such a thing unless it was somehow relevant to them?
  10. Dauntless

    Does your design have a moral context?

    Maybe it's because I'm older now, but I only think of game designs that do include some kind of moralistic theme to it. Anything else is just escapism. And to me, escapism is like moderation it can be healthy, in too great a quantity it becomes harmful. As I've mentioned a few times before, I'm Buddhist, and I'd like to create a game background that has Buddhist morality and understanding as a backdrop. There are plenty of games out there with a Judeo-Christian foundation to them, so I'd like to see some different points of view on the matter of ethics and morality. I think that everyone has their own interpretation of right and wrong, and the danger is that everyone wants their interpretation of right and wrong to be followed. When this happens, righteousness becomes self-righteousness. Generally speaking, most Americans following the judeo-christian precepts of morality feel that morality is a strictly defined covenant between themselves and their creator that they must follow in order to be rewarded (by a nice afterlife). And yet there are so many other parents of morality that I think it very wise to expose these other perspectives to players. For example, most of the founding fathers of this country were Deists and believed that morality (and God) was revealed through nature. The danger about introducing morality in games is the notion of standing on a soapbox and telling people how to think, feel, and behave. That personally is why I'm a Buddhist, because Buddhism doesn't enforce any external code or thinking upon you, rather it forces you to think and question for yourself. There is no dogma in Buddhism; no "Shall nots" but rather "should nots". Therefore the only people who will appreciate games that explore moral concepts are people who have open minds and are willing to question their own beliefs. Beliefs are really just interpretations in disguise, but unless you realize this, a person will never examine his own beliefs, and hence his own interpretations. So I think a game should introduce morality in a way that makes the player ask questions and think, rather than delivering moral imperatives like a Saturday morning cartoon. The alternative is to create a moral context similar to Christian precepts which the majority of people can follow and agree with. But I believe there is a danger in this. Firstly, there's the problem of "preaching to the coir". Secondly, there's an old Japanese saying, "If you know only one religion, you know none". Diversity is the key to helping us understand the things around us, so if we limit ourselves to only one viewpoint, it makes it much more difficult (though not impossible) to do anything more than just scratch the surface of understanding. Even in my strategy game design, there is a strong undercurrent of morality and even epistemology running through it believe it or not (mostly in the game background, but there's also quite a bit of it in the gameplay itself). For example, simply using your troops as cannon fodder (not valuing their lives) will make your forces nowhere near as effective as they could be. History has shown that countries that rely on human wave strategies rarely win. Russia using it several times in its history being a key exception. Vietnam also used this strategy effectively, and is illustrated by Ho Chi Minh's comment to a French delegate during some peace talks, "Even if you kill 10 of us for every one we kill of you....we will still win". But by and large, such strategies are usually fruitless. But would a player try to limit casualties because it's not a viable strategy or because he loathes the indiscriminate loss of life?
  11. Dauntless

    Game Design Philosophy 101

    I've seen Universalis mentioned several times on, but for some reason, the concept doesn't appeal to me. I think that communal storytelling usually isn't as powerful as having one voice provide direction for the story flow. Now, communal storytelling can be very interesting (and funny) in some regards, but to me, it's like the old saying, "too many cooks in the kitchen....". While too many GM's get the notion of "Godhood" get to their head, at least this form of abuse is easy to spot. Getting to balance issues, the main thrust of my point here was in RTS game balancing issues. While you are correct that there is definitely a playability issue at stake, the big design consideration in strategy games is how to provide play balance through deciding how powerful certain elements can and should be. Then there's the matter of victory conditions that I went into. But you bring up a valid point. Deciding on how playable a game is will firmly impress on the player what kind of experience he will receive. Too difficult, and the player will feel the game is either cheating or is a waste of time. Too easy, and the game won't evoke the proper level of emotional or mental stimulus. About the medieval literate comment, I was thinking about a serf when I wrote that. Obviously if one belonged to the clergy or nobility, then one's chances of being literate go up. But that just reinforces my point that you have to put everything into context. In "design your own character/unit" type of games, they almost never take into consideration the background of the world in deciding how to create the objects. So you wind up with things that don't make sense when you relate to the rest of the world. How many times have you read or watched something and at some point something happens and you think in your head, "yeah...riiight". To me, nothing kills a sense of immersion and hence the experience more quickly than this realization. Now every person will have different levels at which their suspension of disbelief dies, and hence, you have to cater your game world to the kind of audience that you want to grab. Many people lament the fact that there are few mature oriented games out there, and the reason is simple. Cater to the lowest common denominator. By doing so, a designer can bank on appealing to more visceral elements, but in so doing, often also kills the suspension of disbelief in the process. So I think it's crucuial for a game designer to think about what audience he is appealing to. This in turn will set most of the informational context of the game world. From this context, the development team can actually go about creating the actual game.
  12. Okay, I've had this written up as an intro and forward to my game page (if and when I ever get it up). It talks a little about my personal game design philosophy, mostly in regards to Strategy and Roleplaying games. School has been absolutely killing me the last few weeks, but I figured I may as well put this up since it was already written up. What's it all about? I thought I should start off on what may seem to be a tangent. My game design philosophy. I want to create a game experience which focuses on one or more aspects of human experience that are created from or reinforced within a framework of a proscribed set of rules in a fictional background. Read that again if you have's important. For me, what makes games fun is being able to experience something, not necessarily winning per se. Winning to me is having the player come away with a vivid and or educational experience which he can reflect on even while not playing. In other words, the game is just a means to end, the end being an experience, inspiration or insight which allows the player himself to take into his own personal life. But this experience is shaped and confined by the rules-system of the world. In other words, while a Deus Ex Machina is not disallowed, what happens must be be reasonable within the confines and definitions of the game world's rules (and background). At times, it may seem like I'm coming off a soapbox, or trying to railroad certain game design paradigms down your throat. My intention is more to make the readers of this page understand why I've chosen certain gameplay elements that I have, not necessarily to say, "This is how gaming should be done!". To each their own. Reality blows. Doesn't it? Here I'd like to point to my own proclivity in game design. When faced with a choice between realism or dramatic flair, I've chosen realism. Why? Because to me, realism in its own way provides a distinct drama. The trick is in culling those things which tend to bog down gameplay that have too little to offer to the end result compared to the time required to do them. So on one hand, some may find trying to sort out supply routes as boring and tedious and dull. But this is because they think that the time invested in detailing these issues is not concordant with the impact these details have on the outcome. And this is where I disagree and believe that realism becomes its own reward. There's a saying that has always intrigued, "God is in the details". I believe it is precisely because too many elements have been abstracted out for fear of the realistic details being too tedious that players now have a misconception of what the principles of warfare or other complex events are all about. The other misconception is that how something happens isn't as important as what happents. This leads to the notion that causality isn't as important as effect. I've seen a new style of gaming in which the details of conflict is abstracted to this degree. I think this is a dangerous path to tread, for it is only when we understand why events have occurred that we truly begin to understand the world around us. In other words, the journey is just as important if not more so than the destination. But realism to me doesn't mean that one can't play in make-believe worlds. The ability to transcend today's capability with the fantastic allows for experiences which otherwise would be difficult if not impossible to achieve. The trick in handling the fantastic realistically is in its consistency. Consistency should be striven for both in its own internal workings, and in how these fantastic elements shape the world they belong to. My favorite example is teleportation. For example, if your world has teleportation as a relatively common means (say as common as people today flying commercial airlines...something they may do once a year on average) think of the ramifications this will have on society. How will a country defend its borders with such capabilities? If questions like these are not answered, then the hobgoblins of inconsistency will wreak havoc on your gameworld, destroying the illusion that this is could be a real world. Then our emotive and experiential link with this world is slowly destroyed meaning that while we may like its superficial elements, the depth of it will be lost. What price victory? or "We had to kill 'em to save 'em" Perhaps my greatest divergence lay in my beliefs about what constitues victory. In strategy or wargaming, often it's very simple; he who wins the war wins. In roleplaying, it can be a bit more cloudy. But when designing a game, the concept of victory should be foremost on the designer's list, afterall, without defining what victory is, how can one introduce any semblance of balance or know what is required to achieve victory? And within this lay a second, shadowy problem. The notion of "play balance". Without play balance, conditions for victory are rather meaningless aren't they? At least this seems to be the reasoning for many designers thinking. But I've challenged this idea by considering why we need balance in the first place. For some, the obvious answer is to make things fair. But why do we make things fair? In order to make the possibilities of victory even for everyone. Perhaps it's just me, but I see a bit of circular reasoning here. We need victory conditions. In order to have fair victory conditions, we have to introduce play balance. When we have play balance, victory conditions can be set, or so the logic goes. For me, balance exists for a competitive mindset. A mindset in which the ultimate purpose to play a game is to win. As I noted in the first section in GamePhilosophy, this is not my intent. My intent is to get across an experience to the player, including perhaps the experience of loss and sacrifice which can not be achieved through physical victory. In other words, the game designer can not come up with the victory conditions...instead the player himself must. By the actions he chooses, and how the player internally responds to the events, the player creates his own victory conditions. In my mind, there is only one good way to allow the player to create his own victory conditions. Some designers feel that interactivity and its sidekick freedom of choice allow this. I think however that the genesis of player choice comes not from game designer given control of a protagonist, but rather information. This information provides the nucleus from which the player, if he carefully considers this information, is allowed to make up his own mind. This is why fixed linear storytelling has fixated humanity for eons. By allowing the player enough information to absorb himself into the happenings of the fictional world, he is (subconsciously) able to decide on his own value system. As an interesting aside, the careful selection of information is how manipulation of choice and thinking begins (think propaganda or zealotry). While freedom of choice and interactivity go hand in hand, information and questioning are constant partners. If players are unwilling to question and to think for themselves, then such open-endedness in game balancing will be lost on them, for you could toss all the pertinent information you wanted and they would never see between the lines. While this idea is already prevalent in paper and pen based roleplaying games, the idea has not spread to other genres of games. Some may see this alternative victory condition in roleplaying to be inherently subjective, but not in something like a wargame which is inherently objective (either you win the war or you don't). But think of it this way...what if the means do not justify the end? What if in order to win you had to burn down towns full of innocent civillians? In other words, victory conditions must always be embedded within a context, and this context can only be presented by proper information. Leave out too much info, and the player must simplify his decisions which can create a very one-dimensional feeling. Razor's Edge So balancing itself can influence victory conditions but this in turn can lead us to a very objective mentality in which victory is determined like a scoreboard. This same thinking can apply from the macro level to the micro level as well. In strategy games it is often very convenient to make units cost a certain amount of points. The trouble lay in how one arrives at the value of a unit. Is the value based on how powerful the unit is? Or is the value determined by how difficult it is to manufacture or produce? My personal belief is that valuing items based on their perceived worth in battle is asking for problems. The problem lay in the fact that a unit's effectiveness is usually very environmentally dependant. For example, a unit with powerful longed range weapons that can target both land and air based enemies will be very powerful in wide open spaces...but next to useless in thick dense vegetation terrain. So what price is this unit worth now? Moreover, some units individually may be worthless, but when combined be very powerful. The point is that the combined effectiveness of an armed force is more than the sum of its parts. In roleplaying games, it is very common to see points-based character creation systems. Back in the dark ages of roleplaying, most games required the player to roll their attributes. Of course, the experienced GM was never too surprised to see an 18 (out of a possible 3d6) roll, on at least one of the 5 or 6 attributes, and usually no attribute lower than a 9....unless the GM made the player roll in front of him("Damn George, I've never seen anyone roll 7 one's out of 10 dice before....that sucks for you"). Not only was chance seen as something usually unfavorable because you never knew what you were going to get, it also meant that the player didn't get to play a character that his vision of what the player could do. So RPG's slowly started going the "Design your character" route. Unfortunately, this too has the same problem as the valuing of units in strategy games. The purpose of Character design was to create a fairness for all starting players as well as to give a rough estimate as to the power levels between characters. A 200 point character should be roughly twice as powerful as a 100 point character right? Well, it never really works out this way...again due to the contextual "worth" of a given system. So how does one reconcile being fair with also trying to come up with some sort of valuation system? The simple answer is....don't worry about it. But this requires a level of maturity and understanding on behalf of all the players, which usually isn't possible. So my game philosophy is very concerned with creating things which have a logical consistency to them which makes sense both in the value of a thing, as well as the very design of a thing. Can I get fries with that? In the real world, all things are created based upon certain laws or rules. This is true whether you talk of people, or of material things. In inanimate or material goods, the laws of physics and economy usually dictate what an object is capable of doing, and how hard it is to produce. For example, no matter how much money you put into research and development, a gun can have only so much power for a given weight. Unfortunately, many game systems allow no such restrictions...they simply allow the designer to create the intended effect, and then base both the subjective value of a thing, as well as its objective cost (in game terms) on very abstract sets of rules. Moreover, this applies not just to inanimate things like weapons or vehicles, but also to people themselves. Would it make sense to have a character in a medieval setting be allowed to be literate or own a sword? Would it make sense for a character created in today's setting be allowed the skill of using military anti-tank weapons, and yet never have served in the military (or been a terrorist)? And yet, these sort of loopholes can only be plugged up by the common mantra of gaming, "use your common sense". While no game system can account for every possibility, I firmly believe that the more a game system requires the GM to weed out inconsistencies and implausibilities, the weaker the design is. Therefore, my game philosophy is geared for the creation of things which are constraint-based. As I discussed earlier, causality is important in my game modeling. Understanding how an effect is achieved and accounting for it creates more consistent and believable results. Using a heavier dose of physics to create material goods along with some simple economic rules creates designs which require forethought and strong concept design. Using the principles of psychology, sociology, history and cultural study, it is easier to create fully fleshed out characters that feel real, both in terms of their capabilities, background, skills, knowledge and posessions. Pass that by me again? In the end, I am concerned mostly about creating the attention to detail that creates a sense of immersion and connection with the setting. The rules exist as a constraint system that does most of the job of adjudication and arbitration for the GM. The rules system should also provide insight into the causality of events so that the players can try to manipulate to the best of their ability, the events that they can control to maximize their effectiveness. This includes behavior from large scale battles with thousands or troops, to the individual level where even one's principles and personality are subject to scrutiny. And lastly, there must be a bounty of well defined, purposeful information to provide the backdrop for the game environment. Everything exists within a context and without the context it's very difficult to get the full picture about anything.
  13. Dauntless

    Simple alternatives to KDevelop?

    Just thought I'd post a nice link on the GNU autotools that I found helpful.
  14. Dauntless

    help printing to the same pos with c++

    ARe you talking about simple text file processing, where you want to overwrite what you've previously placed? The easiest way would probably be to reset your filestream pointer with seekg(). If you are going back one place, then you are moving backwards by one byte (one char...assuming non-unicode). So you can do something like this: #include <fstream> int main() { ofstream outfile;"Sample.txt") long pis; //position in stream. Used to indicate where you are //write the first character outfile << "2"; pis = outfile.tellp(); //where you currently are in the stream; //move backwards one character outfile << "1"; //should overwrite the 2 outfile.close(); return 0; } When you open the Sample.txt file, all you should see is "1".
  15. Quote:Original post by Raghar Raghar's designer abilities quiz //It's unfinished and currently it's rather simple. (and was // writen in haste. It could however give a some estimates //about a game designer abilities. I question what some of these questions have to do with design ability. How many books have you read? (1000+ , nice points+) I can't count them exactly. Can you? I've read Chaucer, Voltaire, Milton, Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Twain, Hemingway, Doyle, Christie, Poe, Lovecraft, Niven, Herbert, Asimov and others. I've read some of the works of Hegel and Kant. I've read eastern philosophies like the Life Giving Sword and The Unfettered Mind. I've read several history books spanning from the periods of Phillip of Macedonia all the way to the Vietnam Conflict (haven't read too much past the 60's). How many of them were about programing? (3+, point+ on you know where) Ohhh, off the top of my head, about 8. From cover to cover, probably only one of them though. Several of those were textbooks though. How many of them were about 3D graphic? (4+, point+) Two, Norman Lin's book on 3d Linux Programming. I've only read about halfway through the first volume though, and scanned a few sections of the second. How many of them were about SF? (15+, point+) (156+ Shackley, Zelazny, (Herbert) Clarke, (Asimov), Dick, (Pohl), Vonnegut,(Banks), Dickson, (Heinlein), nice points+) (270+, demand a few sentences long honest answer on status of his writing talent) I read the Princes of Amber series from Zelazny. An interesting concept, but the whole chaos vs. princes of order thing seemed a bit unimaginative to me. I've read the first four books of the Dune series by Frank Herbert (only the first 2 were good). Herbert's books and setting are probably my favorite of the sci-fi settings. From Asimov, I read the first three of the Foundations trilogy, which had an excellent premise, but I think the whole "Mule" thing kinda made it veer in the wrong direction. From Clarke, I read the third book (2060?) where one of the gas giants was supposed to have a diamond core, but found that much more boring and less inspirational than the first two. Only read Read Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein. How many of them were about fantasy? (12+, point+) (80+ Wurst , Zelazny, Tolkien, (Lovecraft), Faist, (McCaffrey), nice points+) (250+ demand a few sentences long honest answer on status of his writing talent) Only read the Fellowship of the Ring trilogy, though I started on the Silmarillion but never had a chance to finish. Tolkein's legendary status is due I think to the attention of detail and consistency he placed on hiw world creation. But I'm surprised you didn't include choices like Saberhagen, Ursula K Leguin, Howard Carter, or Michael Moorcock. Or what about Beowulf, Gilgamesh, or other mythic (fantasy)? How many of them were about main stream (normal literature)? (25+, point+) What do you mean by normal literature? You mean like plain old fiction? A lot of the classics....all back either in high school or early college. Many of the Victorian and Edwardian english writers for example. I detested most American authors however, save Hemingway, Twain, Steinbeck and Melville. Oh, and Jack London. Do you have any writer talent? (honest answer, 1 point+) Don't know for sure, but the little small fiction pieces I wrote in high school and freshman college were very well received by my teachers. How many books have you published, or in what game / artist related activities (not playing, not already described) have you been engaged? (Making movies matters less because its famous operation) (mostly point-, but sometimes for long pursued difficult goal point+) Nothing yet, but hopefully that will change soon How many games have you played? Lately very few. I just don't have the time. On average, I'd say maybe 4 a year. Are you addicted on games? If not then why not, or why have you been stopped to be addicted on games? Nope. Far more interesting things in life than escaping with games. I don't even like the word game, I prefer "iteractive experience". Have you been ever kicked from the school because you were non polite? (yes 1 point+) Nope, I was a goody two shoes....though I wonder how being anti-social has anything to do with creativity. Have you ever been kicked from the school because you were polite? (yes 1 point+) Again, no. Why should this matter? Have you done any work (mean what have you on your computer it's not necessary about your previous employer)? (any beginned work that you could look point+, any reasonably stable and working work 3 points+, any finished work that is somewhat complex 17 points+, any finished work that demanded his own research on Internet 15 points+, any reasonably complex work that demanded his own research done just by him 50 points+, finished work that demanded his own research done purely by him thats mean algorithms not copied and he done things that wasn't described anywhere and was able use his own brain to make it somewhat usable even if his original concept didn't turn as nice as he expected, 295 points+ aka very nice points+) I started designing a few classes here and there. Made a few simple diagrams and developed the backdrop of a story. I started building an algorithm for my vehicle and infantry building system, but realized it wasn't how I wanted to do it.Unfortunately time constraints hamper my ability to do much. Sometimes it'll be a month before I can do any work on my game idea, and it's almost like I have to start from scratch because I lost hold of some of my ideas. If you'd have hamburger, or chocolate bar what would you choose? ohh, tough one. I'd go for the hamburger. It'll fill you up more. Do you smoke? And if yes are you able to stop? Do you drink alcohol? And if yes are you able to stop completely? No to both. Have never smoked and never will. And much to the chagrin of my Irish ancestors, I've never even had a buzz in my life. I'm a control freak of my sobriety. After my experience I would also add these questions. Are you able to repair your own computer? Yup, and build them. Worked as a techie for years. Are you able to diagnose HW failures? Usually. Sometimes though software conflicts can be the problem. last 6 years are home built Are you able to install OS? Yup, including several Linux distros. Are you able to disk part in a way that would allow you to use your HD for several years, even if you don't know your future tasks? My general rule of thumb is to allocate a few gigs to your OS partition, and then at least one more as a data partition. For linux, it's a bit trickier, because you have to worry about user accesible partitions I agree with you in that actually getting work done is the most important step. But as the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Now a few questions for you. Why only concern yourself with fiction? What about history, philosophy, anthropology and current events? I think one of the worst aspects of the game industry is its incestuous inbreeding of concepts only from within its own selected "idea pool" (as opposed to a gene pool). What made Dune so great was its look at social engineering and human engineering. The Foundation series was amazing because of its look at the possibility of mathematics and sociology blending together (which is being somewhat mirrored by Memetics today). If we only draw our inspiration and creativity from other fictional and game sources, then we'll ultimately wind up with no creativity at all. So I urge game designers to look to outside non-fiction. Let them study philosophy and history and the humanities.
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