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About Davian_

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  1. Sounds like you want to be fairly combat focused, but if you want to try something more focused on stealth and tactics, I'd highly recommend taking a look at Invisible Inc. It's a cyberpunk setting, but I see no reason why the formula couldn't be modified for a fantasy setting.
  2. Another factor to consider is the level of automation on these ships. In today's world, there is already a lot of research going into self-driving vehicles, with an eye towards replacing truck drivers and the like. Is anything more than a bare bones crew required? Are there roles that need to be filled by humans that cannot be automated? Maybe a majority of the people on these ships are on a one way trip. The ones who choose to travel back and forth, watching the rest of the world move at 12x speed, could be seen as very odd by the rest of society. Each individual might have their own reasons for doing so. A person who is down on his luck may want to jump ahead a few decades to find a new start. Maybe a curious sociologist is researching the long-term development of culture on the colony, etc. I would not want to overcomplicate your original concept, but the idea of communication devices using quantum entanglement also popped into my head. That is, if access were extremely limited and jealously guarded due to low bandwidth and high monetary cost of the device itself. Possibly another interesting social factor.
  3. I'd say my personal favorite is the Void trilogy by Peter F Hamilton. The series includes many instances of Clarke's Law where extremely advanced technologies not fully understood by humans take on a sort of mystical quality. Examples include the Void itself and the Paths used by the Silfen race. Others such as the High Angel colony and the SI are inscrutable but less "magical". It's a very long read, especially if you also throw in Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, which take place earlier in the time line of the same universe Still, they're worth it in my opinion. In fact, now that I think about it, the cyberpunk story I'm working on now is influenced by them. I'll avoid spoilers for now, but could provide additional information.
  4. While working on the story for my game, I've been doing a lot of reading about what factors go into an effective story, and putting a lot of thought into the unique advantages and disadvantages that the video game medium offers. A number of questions have emerged from that contemplation. I realize that many of them have been asked before, so feel free to refer to relevant sources, but I'm just hoping to frame the conversation in a slightly different context, and would be curious to hear other people's thoughts on the matter. Over the past few years, there's been a big push for stories with branching plots that allow players to affect the path through their choices. In my opinion, this is largely a positive thing. It broadens possibilities by taking advantage of what makes the medium unique, player interaction. When executed effectively, it can lead the player to have a deeper buy-in and more carefully consider his/her options. However, depending on its implementation, the realities of developing such a story can mean that as the breadth of options increases, care must be taken to ensure that conflicts in choices don't arise, often at the cost of depth. Games like Mass Effect and Heavy Rain have taken different approaches in tackling these tradeoffs. While I unfortunately haven't had a chance to play the latter (don't own a PS3), from what I've seen of it, regardless of whether it completely succeeds in its goal, it's a step in a positive direction in the larger scheme of things. It aspires to create a deeper connection between the player and the character and place more emphasis on player decisions. Sometimes, though, it can feel as though choices are just slapped in there just for the sake of it. Another often-cited factor in video game storytelling is that the player's freedom of action can lead in-game characters to do things that go against their nature, and can hamper the use of timing to create dramatic tension. People often complain about how so many supposedly "good" characters end up as mass-murderers because of how the gameplay is set up and how many bad guys they have to blast their way through, or they point out how silly it is that an NPC will wait forever for a player, even in a supposedly time-sensitive situation. As a writer, I can understand the complaint, but at the same time, as a programmer and a player, I also see where the problem arises; I want to create a fun brawler-like battle system and play around with the physics engine. At the end, I'm likely going to have to make a sacrifice, perhaps setting aside some of the things I want to accomplish and incorporating them into another project instead. One big strength I find that games have is the very strong potential for creating a great sense of setting and atmosphere. Half Life 2 and Okami, in my opinion, both do a great job of pulling you into the world that they've created. However, I also don't find that either of them has a particularly strong plot. Personally, I feel that game narratives have progressed a great deal over the years, but there's still a long way to go. Many of the stories that I remember fondly from my childhood just don't hold up as well now, and even most of the ones these days are just "pretty good... for a game". Of course, I don't have the audacity to claim that I have the talent to surpass any of them; I've just been wondering... is the broad, multi-branched story the inevitable future of video games, if they wish to progress as a storytelling medium? Do we, as writers, just need to accept the tradeoffs inherent in the technology and embrace the advantages that come along with them? Or, is there still untapped potential in the realm of the single-line story? Are there techniques unique to video games that we can take advantage of to convey a deep and mature, character-driven plot, without sacrificing the enjoyment of the game itself? Once this discussion has run its course, I've got other thoughts I'd like to share on related topics, but this post is long enough as it is, I think.
  5. In coming up with the mechanics for my game (a semi-futuristic action RPG), I've found myself considering some similar problems. Hopefully, we can help each other out by bouncing some ideas back and forth. Due to the game's setting, many of the characters will be using various guns and other weapons which have limited ammunition. So, in addition to their relative power, rate of fire, etc, these objects can be balanced amongst each other by the cost and rarity of the ammo. Physical resources are another avenue that you can consider when differentiating types of skills (Some spells could even require physical components. Look at Secret Of Evermore). However, there are also the characters with innate magical abilities. Again, these abilities can be balanced through their comparative power, casting cost, and casting time. The theoretical problem that I've run into is how to balance the two groups between each other. On one hand, if I too heavily limit the player's access to money or capacity to carry items, they will gravitate toward the characters who don't put a heavy drain on their resources. On the other hand, if money is too plentiful, the player can just buy a truckload of ammo, to avoid the danger of running out of magical power in a critical area. Also, new spells can be acquired by simple level grinding, while a more powerful gun can't be bought until you get far enough in the game to find someone to sell it to you. Just for a bit of background, I intend to keep the quantity of items (with the possible exception of basic ammo) and the impact of "levelling up" relatively low, more along the lines of say... Paper Mario, as opposed to Final Fantasy. In that type of environment, items for recovering health or refilling magical energy would be fairly rare.
  6. Currently, my favorite band of the past few years is definitely Gov't Mule. They're a great southern rock band... sort of halfway between The Black Crowes (who have a great new album out now) and Lynyrd Skynyrd. If you want to check them out, I recommend their album High & Mighty When it comes to rock, I really enjoy Stevie Ray Vaughan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, and Neil Young. Or for pop rock, there's They Might Be Giants and Barenaked Ladies. I'm also a big blues fan; particularly B.B. King, Albert King, and John Lee Hooker. I'd also highly recommend Son Seals for some high-energy electric blues (Hot Sauce would make a great Guitar Hero song). EDIT: I second the recommendation of Pandora as well. It's how I discover almost all of my new music.
  7. Thanks a lot, everyone. I think I've finally devised a solution. Part of my original problem was that I was having trouble getting OpenGL's depth buffer to work the way I wanted it to, while still allowing for alpha transparency. Well, last night, I discovered alpha testing, and that solved all my problems. Now I just have to make sure everything has the correct z-coordinates, and OpenGL will take care of the rest. Each tile layer's z-coordinate will correspond to the layer number (1.0, 2.0, etc), then each sprite's z-coordinate will be the layer number, plus its bottom y-coordinate divided by 1000 (A sprite on layer 2, at (250, 250) on the screen would have a z-coordinate of 2.250). I've still got a little bit of that rush that comes from getting something to work, so I haven't yet thought hard enough about it to encounter any problems that can't be fixed by smart map design. So, I just wanted to pop back in and thank everyone.
  8. Hi. I'm having a similar problem, and was hoping someone could offer some help. I built PhysFS 1.1.1 in Visual Studio 2008 Express, after generating the project using the provided CMake files. I have been able to successfully read from ZIP files after adding them to the search path, but when I attempt to add the same file as the write directory, I get the same "Archive type unsupported" message. When I call PHYSFS_supportedArchiveTypes(), ZIP is included in the list along with a number of others, and when I check the properties of the PhysFS project which I used to build the library, PHYSFS_SUPPORTS_ZIP=1 is one of the entries in the preprocessor definitions section. I thought perhaps that the ZIP file I was using had some kind of error in it, which would prevent PhysFS from properly recognizing it, so I recreated it and tried again, with the same result. Then, I downloaded a few other archive programs and tried creating the file with those, but still no luck. So, would anyone happen to know what I'm doing wrong? Thanks a lot! EDIT: I've tried version 1.0.1 as well, and got the same results. [Edited by - Davian_ on March 28, 2008 4:53:54 PM]
  9. Quote:Original post by Iftah What I do is place all the sprites that are in screen in a list, then sort the list and then draw them by order. the order is actually the sprite floor pixel (usually bottom pixel, can be overridden, its virtual). I lately added layers of sprites which was a small change to the order calculation. something along: *** Source Snippet Removed *** for some sprites you may want the floor pixel to be somewhat higher in the image, for example for a flying bullet the floor pixel will be several pixels below the bullet. Yeah, that's pretty much what I've done in my program as well. For the "floor pixel", I plan to have a shadow on the ground associated with each sprite, and that will be the location which determines the sorting order of the sprites. Like you've said, that would allow for things like bullets, people who are jumping, etc. I haven't added that part yet, though. The problems arose when I started trying to think of more complicated scenes which might cause errors. Quote:Original post by Iftah Btw- for your tree example I would suggest having the tree as one large sprite. I think that is what I'm going to end up doing. I think I should be able to solve the other problems through smart map designing. Thank you.
  10. Thanks a lot, guys. You've given me some things to think about. I'm actually doing this with OpenGL in an SDL window. I draw each part of the scene with a vertex array that forms a grid the size of the screen with an extra tile on each side (for scrolling), translate and change the texture coordinates, then draw the next part. I did it out of trying to save memory, but really, I'm only working in 2D, so I could likely get away with just having vertices for each layer instead of doing the translation. I haven't had enough experience with OpenGL to know what would be the smartest way to do it on a memory vs processing time scale. One thing that occurs to me about treating things like trees as sprites, rather than as part of the map, is that it would make it easy to attach action and event scripts to them, so I could do things like hiding an item inside a hole in the trunk, or I could detect a collision if, say, there were a weapon powerful enough to blow up the tree (tempting, but probably excessive). The only thing that makes me hesitate is that I wonder if it would unnecessarily clog the sprite list in a place like a forest, even if my system is smart enough to only deal with the sprites that are currently onscreen (which it is). I'll have to think it over, along with considering the ideas you've given me. If anyone else has any advice, I'd be happy to hear it.
  11. Hi. I'm currently working on a 2D RPG, more specifically, the graphical part of it. Unfortunately, though, I've hit a roadblock when it comes to drawing the map layers and sprites in the proper order. I was hoping that someone with a bit more experience would be able to point me in the right direction. For reference, I intend for the sprites to move pixel-by-pixel, and they will be able to jump... up to higher places and down to lower places if I can manage that part of it. The first drawing method I tried was to draw each layer of a map, then the sprites on that layer from top to bottom, then repeat the process for each successive layer. However, this caused a problem when a map included things like fences. Here is what I mean. The picture on the left is what the scene should look like, and the animation on the right shows where the problem arises: So, to solve this problem, I reworked the process to draw each row of the map one my one, drawing any sprites whose bottom edge falls in that row at the appropriate layer. This seemed to work until I considered the situation of a bridge which sprites could walk across or walk under: Next, I tried giving each tile of the map two parts: one to be drawn under sprites on that tile, and the other to be drawn over it. Again, though, a problem came up: So now, I'm not sure what to try next. It occured to me that just about all these problems would be solved by treating all the trees, fences, handrails, etc, as objects, and drawing the whole thing at once, at the same time as the other sprites on that layer, but that seems like a bit of a kludge to me, though I could be wrong. I also wonder how I would handle something like a very long staircase, spanning multiple layers, which a sprite could walk up, or behind it. Maybe I'm missing something obvious after thinking about things too hard, or maybe there's already a generally-accepted solution to things like this and I'm just reinventing the wheel here. Anyway, I would greatly appreciate any advice. PS: My artistic skills are bad, but they're not as bad as the pictures above. I just slapped those together quickly to illustrate the problem.
  12. Thanks, everyone. I think I've got a working formula now. I just translate, rotate, and stretch the plane so that the ellipse becomes a unit circle, then test to see which points are 1 unit or less from the origin. Simple enough.
  13. Ah, thanks. That helps a lot. Now, that equation applies when the major axis is the x-axis... I need to be able to calculate what points are in an ellipse where that may not be the case. It seems to me that the easiest way to go about that would be to store a polar angle with each ellipse, indicating its rotation away from the x-axis. Then, instead of recalculating the ellipse itself, I'd "rotate" the points around it by that amount. The calculation to do that should be much simpler (translate the cartesian coordinates into polar coordinates, apply the rotation, the change them back to cartesian). Does that sound like a good way to go about it?
  14. Well, I'm working on a VRP project for class, and the algorithm we've been assigned to use to solve it requires finding whether or not a point falls inside the bounds of an ellipse. I'm familiar with collision detection for circles and quadrilaterals, but my research hasn't turned up anything which applies. Could someone possibly point me in the right direction, or direct me to an article which would help? Just to be a bit more specific on the circumstances, this is a two-dimensional problem which isn't currently tied to any graphical interface, and no code has been written yet, so I can design the data structure to represent the ellipse around the algorithm if necessary. I figure it will likely consist of a center point, a major radius, and a minor radius. Thanks a lot. I'll continue searching for the answer myself, too.
  15. Hi. Switching to SOIL_vc7.lib produces the following errors: error LNK2019: unresolved external symbol _convert_image_to_DXT1 referenced in function _SOIL_internal_create_OGL_texture error LNK2019: unresolved external symbol _convert_image_to_DXT5 referenced in function _SOIL_internal_create_OGL_texture error LNK2019: unresolved external symbol _save_image_as_DDS referenced in function _SOIL_save_image It doesn't seem that there is any difference in including math.h or not, and using a function like sqrt() does not cause an error.