Monthly Archives: February 2006

Strategy Jot

I’m pretty tired, but I thought I would jot down the ideas I created today while walking to school. This is for the relativistic, AI-based strategy game.

The tactical fighting style is playbook-based, like football. Each time you come across a unique situation, you grind it out, micromanagelike. Then you can watch a replay and encode your tactic into a play in your playbook if it was effective. At the beginning of the game, you have no plays at all in your playbook, and you don’t even have guidance about what a good play looks like. This encourages (even forces) users to come up with their own unique style without even realizing it.

Units have “wake units”. You can store up three wake units; that is, you can be awake for three “days” without sleeping. Then you must sleep, and you must have a good night’s sleep (you can’t sleep for ten minutes every hour and be rested). You get 3/2 of a day of wake for every day of sleep. This allows “fatigue battles”, where you just keep tormenting a defending army, keeping them from sleeping. Then when they are forced to sleep, you just roll over them (but you have to figure out how to get your own armies rested in the process).

Unit-to-unit battles are determined by a weighted random walk. When one unit engages another, the two units may not disengage until one of them is wounded. At the beginning of the fight, a counter is set to zero. Then every unit time it is incremented by 1 (say, with 70% probability), or decremented by 1 (with 30% probability). The first unit to reach an absolute value of 4 wins. This means that equally matched units take a long time to fight, so you can use them as a blockade. Say, for example, that you are fighting a line of swordsmen with a line of pikemen behind them. You don’t want to send in your cavalry, which will own the swordsmen, because your cavalry will just get owned by the pikemen. Instead, you should send in a line of swordsmen to stall the other swordsmen while you reposition to the back of the pikemen, or something.

Eliteness changes the value of 4 above. An elite swordsman versus a novice swordsman still has a 50% random walk, but the novice swordsman gets a higher threshold. It’s kind of like giving elite units more local-scale endurance. Here are some concequences of this battle system:

The probability that your unit will eventually win, assuming both units are level 1, and you have a p to (1-p) matchup against your opponent:

The expected time that the battle will take, assuming the same:

The probability that your unit, who has a 40% to 60% disadvantage, will win battle against a level 1 unit as a function of his level:

(Not very dramatic, but here’s the interesting one:) The expected time of the battle assuming the same:

The probability that your unit, who has a 60% to 40% advantage, will win the battle against a level 1 unit as a function of his level:

The expected time of the battle assuming the same:

Jam with Max

Max came back in town for the weekend, and we did another jam with Jude and Namaste. I’d say it went well (by far better than any other we’ve had so far). Here are the recordings. The last one was our best, but I don’t have the energy right now to find the good parts.

Max was on the electric guitar, Jude on the acoustic, Namaste on the drums (that’s right, no computer this time!), and I was on the piano/organ/synthesizers. My mom, Sue, played the maracas for a little while on the first one.


Namaste and I were talking about game ideas tonight. Here’s my priority list (which is different from his):

  1. Strategy game
  2. Music and Rhythm game
  3. Psychedelic action game
  4. Linguistic magic game

I’ve mentioned these all briefly before on this blog. I’ll run through them, then talk about no. 1 some more.

The main idea for the Music and Rhythm game is that you have a keyboard (computer or music) on which you make beats and riffs. The game would have a certain tempo, but the only thing that the tempo does is make what you’ve already played come around again at regular intervals. Each line would gradually fade out, but you’d get points for keeping lines you’ve already made going… for a certain amount of time, until the points you get for that line are insignificant. Plus support for solo sections, perhaps existing songs, multiplayer (hey, why not just get a jam club together?), etc.

I’m under an informal NDA about the psychedelic action game.

My main idea for the linguistic magic game (which must be attributed to a fellow named Chris who used to come to GameDev) is that it will be a ballistic shooter à la Scorched Earth or Warheads. But instead of aim-fire, you’d have to concoct sentences (in an artificial, completely foreign language) describing what you want your spell to do and who you want it to target. This mirrors what you see in fantasy stories; Harry Potter doesn’t have a list of commonly used spells that he hits numbers to use: he says words and waves his wand to cast a spell.

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