Codifying some facts about pulling things

I was travelling and wasn’t able to hack code as much as I would liked to (and on top of that, I wanted to play some computer games too). But I did manage to push next feature forward just a little bit and write some BDD specifications for it. It’s a bit odd to write BDD specs for a single person project, but I view doing that as a good training and a nice favour to my future self.

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Who can pull and what?

So, Water Guardians (among other creatures) are powerful beings that can grab and pull unsuspecting adventurers if they stray too close to water. They aren’t the only creature that can pull others, but they’re exceptionally strong at that and can pull being equal to their own size (and since they’re large creatures, there are very few things that can resist that).

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Thinking about a new creature

Recently I asked in twitter if I should add new creature,new artifact type or modify existing creatures and got told that I should add a new creature. So, here goes, I’m going to start working on adding a new creature and some new features along the way (as every creature should be distinctive from others, it often means that adding a new creature means adding some new features).

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Generating scrolls

Earlier I blogged about procedural lore generation. That in itself is very large and complex topic and I wouldn’t want to tackle that in one go. One major part of the system would be generating all kinds of artefacts, of which some could even apppear in the game. This is quite large part too and will require significant changes (I have very few item types implemented currently).

But, I can already get started on fleshing out my ideas and implement a tiny, fairly insignificant portion of the system and see how well it will work and what kind of new ideas I’ll unearth. For this I chose cosmetic (at least for now) scrolls that player can find laying around everywhere in the game. I won’t be touching that much how the scroll generating will actually be implemented as a part of item system. Instead, I’ll assume that there’s some sensible way of system to call the code (although, I do have some hazy ideas already) and trigger creation of a scroll.

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Legend generator

I love reading little snippets of background story in RPGs. These snippets can be in form of discussions with NPCs (or between NPCs), little notes, scrolls or even pages of books. But I generally don’t like reading long paragraphs that keep going and going. Information needs to be in tiny, bite-sized chuncks and it shouldn’t be mandatory to read all of them to proceed in game. I really liked for example how Dragon Age: Origins did this. There are tons and tons of stuff to discover, it’s delivered in varied means and it’s interesting.

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Back to complex actions and monads

This seems to be a very recurring theme recently: actions that possible have multiple subactions and how should I combine them. Whole action subsystem of the game is probably the one that has gone through most different kinds of revisions. In a sense it’s fun, but on the other hand, sometimes I wish it were already good enough and I could work on something else. Coding how to walk around the map gets boring after couple of iterations after all.

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AI, goals and subgoals

Building an AI (for a game or for some other purpose) which can look ahead, subdivide its goal to smaller goals and plan actions required for completing each of them doesn’t sound too hard. Just use some mechanism to break big goal into smaller steps, maybe starting from the very last on and then working backwards towards current situation and stuff those goals into a stack. AI can then take the topmost item from the stack and start working towards solving it. If it’s not achievable, just figure out what’s needed to be done first, return original item on top of the stack and start working on the new one. If situation changes drastically, say a huge fire breathing monster appears, return the current item on top of the stack and figure out what needs to be done in the short term in order to be able to return back to that task.

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Adjusting direction

I have blogged about miniKanren in general and specifically Adderall various times. While I still love the concept and idea behind the language, I have concluded that I’m not good enough with the language to actually write anything really productive. Thus, I’m going to set it aside and not use it for parts of the AI routines for pyherc. I still have the Reasoned Schemer on my desk and I plan to keep on learning the language, but I’m going to do it in separate projects and not as part of pyherc.

This of course means that now I have to come up with something that is:

  • small
  • interesting
  • fun

I don’t know yet what it’ll be, but I’m confident that I’ll find something. Might even be something funny like macros that build code and reason about output based on miniKanren code.