Weekly Blog #5: "Just keep swimming" - Dory
Saturday, January 25th 2020
Ahhhh... another week in the books.... the internet books. So very pleased with the week. Saturday was another world procedural generation coding battle. I stepped into the ring with my foe again for another round. I lost but came away with knowledge. Tasty brain sustaining knowledge.
//warning... geeky code stuff ahead. Skip paragraph if that doesn't interest you.
I will re-iterate the challenge I am facing. Basically I am attempting to interpret a response to surrounding tiles in the tile grid that is my world. Evaluating multiple inputs at once in a lightweight manor so that I may easily iterate the method for things like the roads, highways, buildings and special places. After spending the entire day going down wrong path after wrong path part of the solution came to me in bed. I decided to make each tile have a signature that I could deconstruct into the three attributes for spawning it properly in the world. That signature would consolidate the neighbor comparison into one check instead of three. I wouldn't get a chance to test this new idea until Monday.
//End of geeky code stuff
On a side note. I discovered that when the floof shown below starts meowing at me for his dinner an hour and a half early that shooting ear buds do wonders to drown out the noise. It is still very difficult though... I mean.. sometimes dinner comes early
Sunday, January 26th 2020
We have debated over whether we should include religion in the game as it is a controversial topic. It seems incredibly logical that a people on the brink of annihilation would be looking towards faith. As the game is set in the Midwest USA, it makes sense that many would already subscribe to Christianity. I know using real religions in a game is risky. I actually posed the question in our weekly poll last week and I will share the results at the bottom. Strange Brother and I discussed the pros and cons of allowing the player to alter the culture of the faith. Below I painted a super quick sketch of what the interior of the church designated structure might look like during a ceremony that might be the result of a player altering the faith for the circumstance.
Monday, January 27th 2020
I was able to test out the idea I had while in bed Saturday night for the world generation. It was a day job workday but I was still able to get about six hours of hacking in. After completing the new idea I was still at odds with how it could be re-iterated efficiently for the rest of the worlds creation. I stopped fairly lost and unsure what to do next.
Unrelated to above - It is fairly important that I mention I have a rather difficult time focusing on coding with music on. However, coding in silence gets a little old and I often end up talking to myself and saying weird stuff that makes, even me, wonder what is wrong with me.... I found something that breaks the silence but doesn't distract me. It is instrumental covers of popular music. I can't believe it but I think I love it. Don't judge me music haters. The spotify playlist I have been listening to is pasted below.
Tuesday, January 28th 2020
I listen to a guy on youtube that gives good life advice. On Monday he said something that helped me figure out my problem. He is a retired navy seal and he said that when trying to solve any problem the answer is not always binary. Attacking the enemy, or not attacking are only two possibilities. You should also consider waiting to see if the situation improves for a better attack or even take a step back and re-evaluate the combat situation. I interpreted that for my problem in that I needed to look for more solutions that others might have used in the past. I could not find one that was attempting to do what I am doing but I did find something that inspired my new idea.
//Warning, more coding geeky, nerd stuff
In Unity, the developers have cleverly created a dependency of monobehaviours called a scriptable object. These are basically capsules of information that can be traded around unity engine behaviours. I currently use them for my state machine but had not considered until now that they could be used to represent the different types of tiles. The scriptable objects could then be set up once, and clones of each one could be housed on tiles. Then they could be set to transition to whatever tile it might need to be based on the adjacent tiles to it. I know that is super confusing and I may not be explaining it well so I will post a little video.
//Ok.. if you're still with me the nerdum has ceased.
Wednesday, January 29th 2020
Other Strange Brother came over and we reviewed progress for the week. We talked about the significance of religion on culture in the game and what kinds of input the player could make to effect that. He has been working on some general society world building with pen and paper. Pen and paper just isn't working folks. I decided to pull out some money from my piggy bank and bought him a chrome book. It is famously said that the chrome book is mightier than the pen. I look forward to showing off what he comes up with.
Thursday, January 30th 2020
I spent all of my day hammering out the new method for tile world gen. I have talked about that enough though. I will take a moment to mention that Alicia(Girlfriend AKA Girlface) posted a link to my blog and website on her facebook. I swore off facebook a couple years ago when I discovered what a time waste it was but her effort brought a lot of new eyes to the project. I think I will be making an effort to at least post on facebook when I update the blog.
This was one very interesting week. It was really a roller coaster for me. After a couple weeks of struggling with the world tile generation I finally feel like I will be moving on this week... Scratch that. I promise to have results involving road and highway generation next week. Lookout world! I just made a promise!! Wow, I need to sleep more. I heard some very inspiring quotes and advice this week and am feeling more optimistic than ever. I am blown away by the poll participation last week. You all are amazing. I feel the need to actually post the full results below. It was way too entertaining and useful not to share. I will refrain from posting the real name of anyone but most just used funny names anyway. In general it seems like people are totally cool with the idea of religion and manipulation of it within the game. That is awesome because that is what I wanted to do. Once again I want to thank participants. You are helping drive design decisions and inspire me. There is a new poll on the main page of the site as always, link below.
Take this week's poll (scroll to bottom of page)
Should the citizens of Last March follow the Christian Faith as it is set in the midwest of the USA?
Yes, and alter it for the culture
Yes, but do not mess with it
No, let them make their own religion
No, keep religion out of the game
Maybe, I would like to know more
Girlface: Yes, and alter it for the culture "Logic mixed with creative input"
Choat: No, let them make their own religion "Don't submit to the society.. make a new one!!!"
Zura(the dog): Yes, "MAKE IT A CULT" ---- (kind of contradictory, Zura the dog.)
Hans: No, keep religion out of the game "All hail the almighty duck!"
Captain Fish Fingers: Yes and alter it for the culture "Alter for their post apocalyptic world. Weird prayers, new saints, battle hyms."
What I did wrong:
I did not take enough breaks. I have been having cricks in my neck and pains in my mouse arm shoulder. I eat fairly healthy and exercise but it is apparently not enough to stave off the pains of eight to ten hours straight game development. I am committing to a two hour cycle with five minute stretch breaks. I also desperately need to get new glasses. I have been without glasses for a few years now and I think I may need special blue screen lenses.
What I did right.
I took the advice of a wise person and took a step back from my problem to solve it. I also woke up early this morning to do some concept work since I have had trouble getting it done during my coding binges.
Thanks for reading,
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If you would like to know more about Last March of the Red click on the link below.
if that is not enough for you please see our contact page and we would love to discuss any questions or feedback.