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About Luckless

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    Finder of Random Bugs

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  1. For our friends down under...

    Governments tend to be great at fumbling things like this. Dream to the century, plan for the decades, actually do stuff on a 2-4 year basis. I was denied a permanent part time position with a federal agency back in my university days. Due to the work they still required done, and the lack of people who had clearance and experience for the project, I kept getting brought back on with temporary super short term contracts as a consultant... I put in half the hours and got paid four to ten times what I would have as an employee depending on what was going on.
  2. Why A.I is impossible

    To apply some of the common 'logic' to other things: There is more to a car's complex engine than just the engine! Just look at it. There are tons of parts, and if you remove a few parts, like a spark plug or two, then it will still mostly run, but not great. Things can be added, and some bits can even be moved around, and there are lots and lots and lots of different engines out there, but lets be honest and admit that there is no way humanity could ever understand how an engine TRULY works, so therefore it must rely on some outside factor to operate that we haven't yet discovered... It is a bio-chemical-electrical machine, and it really doesn't make much logical sense to assume there is anything magical or other worldly needed for it to run or for it to be simulated in another system once we can precisely define the functionality of the originals.
  3. Depending on your game mechanics, "Jumping" may be a useful feature. For your terrain crossing ability with tracked and wheeled vehicles, you may want to include considerations towards the balance between load bearing/ground pressure/obstacle climbing: You can pack many small wheels next to each other to maximize your load capacity and minimize your ground pressure, but it comes at the cost of how large of an object you can naturally climb over. If you go with really BIG wheels, then you can climb over bigger things more easily, but you can't fit as many wheels down the side of a vehicle. Also a fun mechanic to play with for your repulser tech: If less weight you put on the craft for a given repulser engine size, the greater the vertical clearance it can still do. Another mechanic to possibly play with: Turret height. Legged units can crouch, or slightly adjust their stance more than other units. (Wheeled and tracked units could be fitted out with 'lift kits' and allow a bit of adjustment, but not much.) This means that you could huddle your legged unit behind a low hill to hide in one instance, and then have it stand on tip-toe basically to shoot over a tallish building in another. The player temporally gives up mobility to gain stealth/hull down positions, but retains the ability to remain flexible at other times. Third option I can think of: Side stepping Wheeled and tracked units move based on where the front of their hull is pointed, but nothing says repulser tech and legged units can't readily move side to side to pop in and out of cover. Potentially extremely useful if you include variable armour: While a tracked vehicle could carry loads of amour with ease, a legged unit could focus nearly all of its heavy armour in one direction, and have a better chance of keeping that pointed at the enemy and still move around. The tank would be more likely to have to show its softer side in order to reposition itself.
  4. Personally I don't have any problem with "Something coming out of a blackhole" in Sci-Fi, as long as it is done with some manner of consistency within the written universe. After all it is easily handwaved away with "Physics gets weird around blackholes", so who knows what could be done with them if given the right technology? Changing what something means, like how fast and loose different writers have played with Star Trek warp factors is far more jarring in my view. From the standpoint of a writer, I find private wikis to work wonderfully for it. Have an in world concept? Start a wiki page for it. Reference a new tech in your world? Update the wiki - Where was it used, how/why, and what constraints or limitations have been defined. Going to use a tech? Check the wiki - Is how you're planning to use it in the storyline fitting to established rules? If not, is there a logical exception to existing rules that could expand the tech in an interesting manner? If yes - Expand the lore, if not, backtrack and rework the concept.
  5. True, but I had meant as more of an active attack and purposed built weapon. The only instances I remember were more makeshift affairs, a 'no other option' last ditch kind of thing, or an accident. Imagine what Afghanistan or Iraq, or Ireland/UK a few decades back would have been like all it took to make 'a nuke' was the equivalent of little more than an M16 and a tactical vest...
  6. To spin off a more general discussion from another thread: Because apparently someone doesn't like crossing the streams when people get geeky, But mostly because it seems like a fairly decent lounge topic covering a wider scope, and holds a good chance of kicking out some ideas and conversations which also impact game development that don't really need to drown out talks on a specific movie. So, why not have a more general topic on the issue? A writer's failure to stay consistent within their own ruleset that they have developed for their world has always been one of the fastest ways for my enjoyment as a reader/viewer of it to be diminished. As a sometimes game developer and writer myself, dealing with the issue of "power creep vs power leap" and maintaining engagement has been a problem. If you have "Super powerful awesome technology", just how does it remain balanced and interesting, and not break everything within your setting. I figure people on a site like this can probably come up with a lot of examples of both good and bad ways these issues have been handled in various settings. I feel that the issue of consistency and of power jumps kind of go hand in hand in many ways, but they are also closely tied to what I, as a writer, think of as 'considering all of my options'. As an example, a point brought up in the other thread from Star Trek was their rules base around shields and transporters. I don't have every episode of all series memorized, but it did seem to me that they were fairly consistent on transporters not working safely, if at all, through the ships shields. They mostly remained consistent on that point, and the few counter points I can think of all had clearly defined 'gotchas' to them that made them fairly specific to a given situation when they made exception to that rule. But teleporters are the kind of technology which raises very serious questions about power and possibilities. "If I can teleport something from one point to nearly anywhere, then why not just teleport a warhead next to their reactor and be done with it?" is 'kind of an important question to answer' if you want your audience to see the world you're creating as something deeper than the paper it was written on. In that case the writers went with a fairly straightforward "Well, you can't..." by simply declaring that "Everyone has shields, and you can't transport through them" (Which is then given the caveat of 'except when we want to, because, reasons...' I guess.) So with a given power or technology, or even just a situation characters find themselves in, I strongly feel that we, as creators, must sit down and "Think through all our options". An example that was only kind of ever address in Star Trek with regards to its teleportation technology is "Why does anyone carry a phaser/disrupter?" Why not a tricorder like scanner with a "pocket teleporter" that can move a few millilitres of material from point to point within a few hundred meters. - That is, rather than jumping out from behind a rock to shoot at someone with your fancy space gun, why not continue to cower behind your nice safe rock, and teleport a few grams of brain matter out of the guy shooting at you? (As I was writing this I remembered a Deep Space Nine episodes where they had a "Bullet teleporting sniper rifle" which didn't really get beyond prototyping stage. But even that has its own issues and questions.) The Dune series takes an interesting, but also flawed approach, to countering the question of "What is stopping them from just using this tech and steam rolling everything" with their lasgun technology by adding in "Personal Shield" technology to the mix. However a very large flaw in this was how he explained why it stopped lasguns from being the end all and be all of combat, and went a little overboard by establishing that they're often "A very bad idea" because they have the tendency of causing random nuclear bomb like explosions and either end, or both. - Two questions then quickly come up when we step back and consider our options with Dune lasguns and shields: 1. If armies frequently employed both shields and lasguns in the field, then how exactly were random accidental nuclear explosions not a common thing from someone taking a shot with a lasgun at the same time someone panics and flips on their shield? Personally I'm kind of left with the thought of "Well maybe we shouldn't give these nuclear explosion prone rifles to our troops, and we'll give them something else to shoot with instead", but maybe that's just me. 2. If personal shields that fit comfortably on a belt are common, and people commonly move about with small lasguns, and firing a lasgun at an active shield almost always causes a nuclear like explosion to go off... Then why aren't people rigging a timer up with a lasgun pointed at a personal shield, and catching the next shuttle off the planet? Which makes me think of Dune as an excellent example of an over correction in power abuse. From a writing standpoint it could very easily have been that lasguns were perfect against unshielded targets, but then utterly ineffective against anything with a shield. A devastating machine gun against poorly equipped targets, but little more than a marshmallow pop gun against anyone who flicked a shield on. By going so far as to say "We'll have our heroes use knives and swords and looking cool because they risk Nuclear Explosions! if they didn't", it brings up its own set of other problems to deal with rather than just going "Well, they do that, because the other cool weapons get nullified in these instances". Even just failing to consider the situation and tools available has made for some nasty missteps in movies. A big example is in the early act of The Force Awakens (Which seems old enough to openly talk about, unlike The Last Jedi which many of us haven't seen yet) where they are escaping the ship in their stolen TIE fighter - They make a big deal about "having to take out the cannons before we escape" in one scene, then fly by a bunch while blowing up one before making their escape. Which looks epic and cool on screen, but then has the glaring hole that I found jarred me out of the moment as I was watching. "Well, why didn't they fire at them with the rest of the cannon thingies? Or launch a bunch more of those TIE fighters still sitting in the hangar to intercept them..." Even if we assume they were caught by surprise and it took longer than usual to scramble fighters to go after them, then why didn't the capital ship just watch where on the planet they crashed, and then spot them by sending swarms of flybys around the area before either of them could get to 'civilization'? A very simple change that could have been just as epic on screen, and waved away the problem of the very logical options would have been to say "Well, we have a group of heroes in a TIE fighter that is already inside the ship and past all the core defences... Blow something up inside, have a scene with the bridge crew cursing over how badly damaged and crippled they are, and how poorly damage control is handling things..." The heroes get to fly off safely, for a time, and buy themselves some breathing room, but no so much as to remove the threat entirely. - Damage control gets things squared away 'some time later', and the baddies start to game of catchup in a logical manner in a sensible time frame. From a more game related point, I think that many "Point and click" puzzle adventure games end up with at least one awkwardly done puzzle chain that leaves the player looking at things and saying "Well, why don't I just pick up that rock shown in the background art right there, and smash this window, and bypass a bunch of these puzzles?", but plenty of other games can still suffer from the issue of "Well if the technology allows X, why not use it to do Y and get around things/kill the baddies more easily?" - But as a total side note, I've often thought about making a Monkey Island like game where every puzzle has two options: Solve the 'real' puzzle and jump through the normal hoops, or just smash things with a rock/use your pocket knife to 'solve' the problem. With suitable in game commentary over your choice.
  7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    **Moving Star Trek related comments to a more general thread to avoid temptation of derailing.
  8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    I haven't gotten out to see the latest film yet, but I've never really understood where all the hate for the "copy-paste" in The Force Awakens comes from, but the same people don't hate on the "Copy-paste" of the original films, given how closely they follow the classic Hero's Journey cycle... There really isn't anything all that novel or ground breaking for a literary standpoint of the original films. That they're trodding back around the circle of the Hero's Journey and much of the film seems familiar is kind of a given, seeing as the entire story feels horribly familiar to anyone who is even remotely paying attention to literature over the last few hundred years.
  9. Rip internet 2017-12-14

    New Neutrality is, in short, "The internet" being neutral as to data transfer - Your connection from Computer A to Computer B is the same as if you were connecting from A to C. The ISP can't say "We don't like what is on Computer B, so we will block or throttle any connections through our network going to B" Without Neutrality, then your ISP is free to say "We just happen to own the services hosted on Computer B, and Computer C is owned by our competitor, so you can either just use our service, or pay extra for us to allow you to connect to C as you used to do." The largest flaw in the argument of "Dropping it will encourage competition" is that in places like the US, the ISPs are owned by what are now media companies, which sets them up for horrible exploitative practices, such as making Netflix nearly unusable (Unless the customer pays extra for a "Netflix Bundle", or unless Netflix themselves forks out more money directly) but making Their TV/Movie Streaming service not cost any extra... So the average consumer is going to look at this situation and say "Well, why would I pay more for Netflix when I could just use the service bundled with my existing connection?" This in turn makes the value of trying to start a competing ISP to break the regional monopolies a lot less feasible than Anti-Neutrality supporters make it out to be. - While there are lots of people being very vocal about the issue on tech sites, the vast majority of internet users are Not tech types, and aren't as likely to notice that their connection to "The internet" is being obstructed or that it is a bad thing. They'll turn their computer on, and "Go to the site to watch movies on"...
  10. Rip internet 2017-12-14

    "Just get a VPN" quickly translates into "Enjoy your 28.8k connection..." because, you know, throttling based on content/connection and all that. The kind of thing which Net Neutrality rules say you're not supposed to do to customers.
  11. I feel like barracks space on its own may counter the "Spam unlimited unarmed peasants" idea. Especially if combined with a time factor on raising troops - They take time to arrive at the barracks, and then take time before they are 'readied' to go out and join a fight that's in progress. Other factors that would counter it nicely could be things like general population mechanics - You only have so many people in the city, and they 'regrow' only so fast after a loss. Morale effects could also be a thing - Not only could soldiers fight better because they're more confident when better equipped, but they could serve as part of a feedback loop between the general city population: The civilians don't like being 'defended' by unarmed populations, and higher levels may refuse to stay and support a city that is not properly defending them in their views. Other extensions could include things like allocating fewer soldiers to a given barracks, which could improve their stats over time (space for training) - With a bit of balance you can make it a nice strategic choice: Do you field a strong professional standing army, or do you defend your city with a raised levy that is only called up in times of need? As for the general idea of having a stock of weapons/armour and applying them to a generic soldier, I have to say that I can't really see anything wrong with it in general. The UI for it would be an important thing to spend some time with as having that many options is at risk of quickly becoming cumbersome. However helmets might be a good options to throw into the mix as well, if for no other reason than the 'classic levy' for so many points in history was essentially handing out a spear and helmet to citizens and having them form into lines. Your actual combat mechanics would be good to talk about as well. How simple or complex do you want it? Do you want it as just "Soldier attacks soldier - outcome based on stats", or do you want more complex things like "Unit of spearmen support each other and give a bonus. Skilled soldiers with shields can create a shield wall, etc." that would have various impacts on combat?
  12. gdnet chat

    Interesting, but Discord itself may have glitched out. I added the gamedev.net channel through the site, but after it redirected me to my desktop client on my windows box, it is now showing just a dark charcoal window with the Discord branding, but not actually loading the rest of the client's interface. (And didn't impact my session logged in on my macbook. That one is still working, but it didn't add a new channel or anything.) Closing and restarting the app on both systems doesn't change anything. Windows install is still broke, and mac install didn't see a new channel. However I did seem to be able to load into the gamedev.net chat through the web interface, but Discord did not seem to want to acknowledge the existence of my account there and treated me as a totally new user. So Chrome and OSX appear to have worked as expected, while Chrome and Windows had 'some issues'.
  13. How to add tactical depth to rock paper scissor?

    Situational advantage's and combined arms effects can go a long way to adding depth and strategy to a game. IE: -Cavalry can rule open fields against everything, but require flanking advantage to win against pikes. Heavy lancers rule against light cavalry, but are more costly and not as effective at running down broken infantry or at scouting. -Pikes can hold a position effectively, but are less effective at advancing. -Heavy infantry are resistant to ranged weapons, but can't close on enemies as effectively as lighter troops. -etc. Things like these, rather than straight up Rock-Papers-Scissors win/loss mechanics, add up to more emergent game play. Pulling an enemy's heavy cavalry away with a unit of light cavalry, and drawing them into a wooded trap of pikes and archers, but they may be vulnerable to a push by enemy light infantry driving into the woods. (Where both pike and ranged units have negative debuffs to their effectiveness.)
  14. Always keep User Experience in mind when you're designing levels for a game. (Always keep it in mind when designing ANYTHING, even industrial control interfaces, but it is vitally important in games.) What is the purpose of where the player is at any given time? How often are they coming back there? How important is getting around to different parts of the location? One of the things that can really take me out of a game are needlessly sprawling and under populated 'towns' in RPGs. Morrowind and Oblivion seemed rather bad for this in my mind, as I honestly don't really have any memories of exploring the capital city or Vivec, but of slogging through this overly large half ghost towns with next to nothing in it. Plus, load screens... so many load screens trying to get anywhere. From a game design stand point, I like to approach towns as having distinct sections based on functionality. The first thing you should come to after getting into a town is the main market. A tightly clustered and busy place where as a user I can quickly look around, see the things I obviously am going to want, and quickly access them to buy the things I need to continue with my adventure and exploration. If you have lots of different kinds of shops, then ideally group them based on the probability of a user's desire to interact with them. - Don't place the "Heavy armourer" shop on the far side of the market from the "Heavy Shield" vendor if your generic warrior class is going to be the only kind of player who shops there. - Don't place your 'thieves guild' entrance somewhere that takes a fifteen minute hike through a maze of alley ways to get to, tuck a little trap door to it around a corner a few seconds from the rest of the shops. [Sure, the quest entrance for it can be hidden behind some long puzzle thing that takes the player's time to gain access to, but once there have an NPC point out how they can enter or leave through the quick access hatch close to the main market.] After you have your service section laid out, then you can move on to quest and flavour sections. Put main quests, like "The King's Throne Room" as a short and easy walk from the market if you are going to be back and forth between there a lot, while more 'one time' quest locations can be scattered deeper into the city from the main access/market place. You can still have additional shops and such in your flavour zones, but make them effective functional duplicates of those found in the main service market. If they are special in some way, then try to keep it to a limited mini-quest thing that the player will only occasionally desire to go to. - Bob The Generic Swordsmith might mention that Harold The Mystic Swordsmith was rumoured to have 'made something special', prompting the player to go check out the snazzy new sword for sale. But establish a design that makes it clear the player doesn't have to keep running around to all of the 'special' shops all the time, and should only need to go there for very specific instances. If you want a "Big Grand Cinematic Entrance" to the city, then lay your game out such that the player takes that route the first time they're going somewhere, but otherwise give handy time saving short cuts if all I'm doing is popping back to refill my mana potions. Remember, a large part of modern player bases are adults in their late 20s and 30s, with jobs and families and often limited play time. If half my play session is consistently running around to just restock my character with stuff, well... I can get all the fun and excitement of shopping by getting up and going to a real store to buy things I need in real life... so please don't force such design decisions down our throats in a game. I would rather find titles from another developer from that point forward.
  15. I just noticed that my forum name was showing as Talroth, which I hadn't been using here since one of the major site overhauls (Which ever update allowed us to change user names.) Honestly no idea how long that had been showing as such, but going in and manually setting it to Luckless in Account Settings appears to have taken hold. I've only been skimming the forums rather infrequently, so really can't say one way or the other if others may have been affected. Everything seems to be working fine currently, so hopefully no need for any action on it. Only posting this as a bit of a heads up in case it was a symptom of some larger glitch.
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