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Overman

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  1. Great article, and an important feature for AI in my opinion.   For another good reference of this feature I recommend looking into Splinter Cell: Blacklist. They use this as an in-game feature in which you can actually see while playing where the enemy has last spotted you. It definitely makes for more interesting gameplay, especially in a game like Splinter Cell where you can set traps and lure enemies into an ambush. It definitely gives the AI a more intelligent appearance in the game as well.   One of my biggest annoyances when playing games is when the AI can somehow follow you to your exact location despite you being multiple turns ahead of them and them having no sight of you for minutes. This is a perfect way to avoid that problem. I wish more people would incorporate this into their AI.
  2. First, just a note on time travel in general. There are several theories to this, but it seems to me that you are subscribing to the idea that you can change the past. Based on that every time you jump to the past, you essentially create another time-stream that runs parallel to the previous time stream, and then jumping back to the present time would only allow you to move along the current and newly created time-stream. So essentially jumping back and forth could change everything as you are essentially in a new timeline.   Another theory is that you can not change the past, and that any actions taken upon jumping back in time will have in fact already occurred (almost like fate). With this there would not be any scripting or logic change required, but the story would essentially be predetermined, which I think you do not want. This method however, would be much easier to achieve in a game.   With the scenario you are imagining, every jump from the past to the present would require a massive amount of calculation and processing in order to determine what actions the player took and what their final consequence would be. Like you said, this would probably be best achieved with some sort of advanced AI. But no matter what, there will be limits, because AI is not in fact intelligence, but merely the illusion of such. Each scenario must be understood by the AI in order for him to take the appropriate action.   So in short, it is possible, but it is massively complicated and the user may be confused when some of his actions cause changes and others do not. It may be important to allow the player to understand what types of actions in the past will affect the present, and set obvious parameters within which the player can operate.
  3. Since you are looking for first and last names, I think it makes sense to have two lists (one for each). With two lists you could randomly select a first name from one list and randomly select a last name from the other, which would greatly increase the number of distinct names that can be created.   So to clarify, when you asked for 500 names, did you mean 500 first names and 500 last names, or 500 total name combinations?
  4. My roommate pulled off somethings similar one night. After working all day on a project, we were both stuck at the same point and could not get any further. We gave up for the day and went out drinking with friends. That night, my roommate decided to do a little coding on the project. When he woke up the project was working and he couldn't remember what he had done to fix it. That was the only time when drunk coding ever paid off. All the other times I've seen it the results were less than spectacular.
  5. The Floor is Tumbleweeds   Premise:   The backstory to the game is simple. The city has become somehow flooded with deadly tumbleweeds that reach as high as the second story of your office building. Upon witnessing the chaos below from your office on the 13th floor, you see people fall in and somehow drown to death underneath the current of shifting tumbleweeds. The goal of the game is to get out of the city, and escape the deadly tumbleweeds. You must build bridges out of cupboards, swing from makeshift ropes, create ladders, and utilize all of your creativity to MacGyver your way out of the city.   Gameplay:   A 3D, third person, puzzle/escape/survival game in which you control a solo hero trying to escape from a city overrun with tumbleweeds.   The player can walk, run, jump, crouch, and crawl through the brave new world. The player can interact with almost every item in the environment, pick up items for later user, and combine items together to create new items. The player is not given weapons, as fighting the tumbleweeds is not an option.   Every level is a simple A to B objective, but it is never as simple as just walking. You must use the objects around you to traverse the level and avoid falling into the ocean of tumbleweeds below. The game takes a twist at the end of the first level when it becomes apparent that the tumbleweeds are sentient, and are trying to kill you. Now you must not only find a way out of the city, but also board up windows and doors, and use the object around you to keep the vicious tumbleweeds at bay. You may need to set a small car fire to prevent the weeds from entering a parking garage, or use food as bait to facilitate a nerve-wrecking run past a small wave of tumbleweeds.   The game ends when you escape the city just in time to see the army dropping napalm on the skyline.     Example Level 1:   The elevator is out of service, so you descend the stairs to the third floor of the office building to see a group of people getting swarmed on the stairs leading to the second floor. Slamming the door closed behind you, you are now trapped alone on the third floor with a sea of tumbleweeds below you. The nearest building is a parking garage, so you decide that you must somehow break the window and cross the gap over the alley below.    At this point the player is given control and must interact with the environment to find the proper tool to break the window and the proper tools to bridge the gap. Perhaps the potted plant can not break the window because it is plastic, and a fire-extinguisher should be used instead. To bridge the gap, maybe you need to break the legs off a few tables using that hammer you found in the toolbox and duck tape the wood together. But, what if the wood is not strong enough on its own to hold your weight? The player must solve the riddle to escape. In addition to using items in the environment, some items can be collected and carried in your shoulder bag for use in later levels. You will have a limited amount of storage space though, so you can not collect everything. All levels can be beaten with the items found in the level itself, but certain items may make it easier, or faster. The levels increase in complexity and difficulty as the tumbleweeds continually try harder and harder to outwit you and pull you down.   Summary: What the game amounts to is a large scale 3D escape game with the key functionality revolving around how you interact with the environment. The tumbleweeds becoming sentient and attacking you adds an aspect of survival to the game, creating scenarios of immediate and time urgent danger. Realistic physics on objects would be a key component to properly implementing the game. 
  6. My suggestion would be to do the math.   Say you go up a rather steep hill that impedes your normal speed by 50%. Then you should add 50% to the cost of that node vs the normal unimpeded terrain cost. Same for grass, sand, snow, or whatever other terrains or factors you have in the game. Make the cost relative to the speed. As long as you are consistent in your math, it should work out just fine.   Also, if different unit types move at different speeds across different terrains, then the cost of each node should be different based on the AI unit that is performing the navigation. For example, say vehicle A moves faster through grass, but slower through sand, while vehicle B moves faster through sand, and slower through grass. These units should have different cost values for these terrains since the effect is different.   In the end it all comes down to math. Calculate the change in speed across a terrain for a particular unit, and apply the same percentage of change to the cost value.
  7. I never played Diablo 1 on Playstation, so I can't speak to that, but it wouldn't surprise me. Diablo II for PC was a well built game. Blizzard knows what they are doing.
  8. Thank you so much for the responses. I had heard that the previous version of this book was not super helpful and was mostly a slight adjustment to the prior edition. Here's hoping this edition is better.   Also, regarding the specification document. I have looked into it, but it is less a guide of how to use OpenGL and really more of a description of what the new version does. What I'm really looking for is a complete beginners guide of OpenGL with the most modern version. With regards to the version, my thought process is that by the time I ever get something worthwhile accomplished with OpenGL, version 4.3 will be a lot more common than it is now.
  9. I am still learning OpenGL and I have been looking around the web for various resources. The online resources I have encountered seem few and far between, as well as out of date. A lot of so called tutorials provide code without explanation, which is not much help in the learning process.   Therefore, I decided recently that purchasing a book would probably be the most thorough way to learn OpenGL. I would prefer to learn the most recent version, so I was considering the book: OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Version 4.3 (8th Edition).   This book does not come out until April 1st, but I was wondering, aside from the reviews on Amazon (not very helpful), if someone could give me some insight into the previous editions, and whether or not they think this will be a good purchase for a beginner.   In a sense, is this worth the money? If not, are there any alternatives that still cover the latest version of OpenGL from the ground up?
  10. Just to add to what Plethora has said, grouping also makes things much faster. Maybe you don't have a tree structure, but still allow players to group things or mark things in their inventory. For example press square to mark an item. That way when you want to sell, trade, or transfer a lot of items. you don't have to click through all of them. You just apply an action to an already existing group of items that the user has specified and the action is take for all of the marked items.   Just a thought.
  11. I have to agree. Eclipse is by far my IDE of choice. Not just for C++ but a plethora of other languages as well. Works on Windows, Linux, and Mac. It's super easy to use. It's open source (which is super cool). It has a ton of excellent plugins, a lot of support, and they are constantly rolling out new versions.   Eclipse is definitely the safe bet. Also, it's free.
  12. Wow, thank you all so much for your help. That gives me a lot to look into. I should be busy for a while.   Thanks again!