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Jul. 24th, 2017 02:44 pm
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so i've been playing a lottttt of minecraft recently (but sadly will have to forego images since dw doesn't have native hosting and i'm too lazy to upload them on my server) and i think i've finally put my finger onto what i don't really like about botania.

so botania went into the realm of minecraft tech/science mods going "no more inert blocks w/ huge uis that do things; this is plant-based magic and you have to do gardening and arrange flowers and stuff". and that seemed like a great concept, but i was always vaguely let down by how it worked in practice and unable to really articulate why.

and the thing is: nothing is actually growing. when i think "plant magic" i think like, trellises w/ magic ivy growing on them to funnel mana through them in the correct fashion, except you have to prune and sculpt the ivy sometimes so it doesn't make your mana shoot off in the wrong direction. casting spells on a full moon b/c that's when your moonflowers blossom and that means they can contribute to your spell. having magic plants that grow based on ambient mana levels, so you have to tune the environment in other ways to actually get them to fruit sometimes. like, change. things actually changing and growing and dying and spreading.

and the reason it was so hard to articulate that that was what i wanted was because precisely nothing in minecraft actually grows and spreads and dies. i mean, mushrooms, i guess, kind of. and botania is all about making inert blocks that do something and then plonking them down in the world, and those blocks tend to look like flowers but it's not like "oh yeah my mana factory only works every third day b/c that's when the blooming periods of all the plants sync up". really, the unique thing that botania is doing is having a minimal ui, which i mean, i like. but. it's not really all that specific to plants.

thoughts to file away in some plant magic video game folder i guess, in the event i ever do anything with it. (i mean or try to implement that into my minecraft mod, but, ehhhh)

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Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:19 pm
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so wrt hell game i'm trying to... basically as i make more variants for encounters i'm realizing that it's actually pretty important that i have a guarantee that all of them will be selected in the game. which means random rolling is out, and even random selection from a deck isn't sufficient. what i actually want is an ordered list where each item is least like every prior item as possible.

basically to use the sobek encounter as an example, the sobeks come with a few variations: a Muscular | Fat one, and a Wet | Gloaming | Mutated one. (also a dick size one but two is all we need for example purposes.) so technically a Muscular Mutated sobek is distinct from a Muscular Wet sobek, but they're not as distinct as they could be. those are both small, not-really-relevant body differences, but some of the flags are like, plot relevant, and it's kind of important that at least one having each one is generated.

i've been looking at my code for enumerating items (see prior post) and i think there's like, two lines of math that i'd have to change to make it output maximally-distinct values by default. but ugh today i have just not in a math brain kinda state.

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Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:21 pm
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this is the more recent and streamlined version of the Enumerable code i mentioned back here.

Read more... )

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Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:07 pm
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my dream daddies hot take is that it kinda sucks that it's getting played by straight gamer bros on their youtube channels as "wow check out this wacky game; lets play it for laughs". but idk, as much as i dislike the game grumps it is kind of weird seeing what is basically a standard/mediocre dating sim (if what i've heard about it has been accurate) get debated about a bunch in peak "i don't like this so it's problematic" discourse.

i definitely don't like it tho.

(or like this and that arthur chu thing have been across my various dashes and timelines at roughly the same time and the whole "let's take stuff entirely out of context to vilify this thing" is really worrying, b/c like, somebody made those original posts knowing they were definitely not accurate and it worries me that a lot of discourse is just about, like, playing into the hands of whoever can construct a slightly robust problematic facade.)

(uh w/ the context of: the 'satanic cult' ending is like some fragmentary half-finished thing only visible via datamining; arthur chu's "fuck off you alt-leftists care care about single payer the same way pizzagaters cared about saving children" comment was while he was in the middle of being bombarded by ostensible leftists telling him to kill himself b/c he doesn't support single-payer (which he does). so like. out of context snapshots circling as widely and as loudly as possible to tar a thing entirely irrespective of its actual qualities)

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Jul. 21st, 2017 12:57 am
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oh boy making another post. i am out of practice at this. or i guess like: dreamwidth gives each post a presence that you don't really get on tumblr. tumblr posts are ephemeral. they slide off the dash in minutes and it's impossible to find them afterwards and parts of them actually stop working after a year just b/c tumblr decided it wasn't important to keep the notes readily accessible. the new post thing is right on top of the dash in big bubbly buttons. dreamwidth meanwhile expects each post to stick around for a while and even accumulate attention and comments for like, months/years afterwards.

all the dreamwidth layouts by default have a big "(no subject)" subject line, if you don't put one in. like it's an email. tumblr is entirely happy to entirely ignore the subject line if you don't put one in; with dreamwidth i had to specifically hack the hidden subject line into my layout.

(also uh my layout isn't entirely finished, so things like comments and the archive page range from "slightly rough" to "completely illegible". i'll get around to it someday.)

ANYWAY that's not what i wanted to post about. what i wanted to post about was FRUSTRATION.

or uh, i've been working on hell game for a year now (okay, that's a lie, i've been working on hell game for like five years just in bits and pieces and generally in private) and it's reallyyyyy been sucking up my creative energy. which i guess is, uh, good, since i have been steadily (albeit kinda slowly) plowing through updates. but i haven't really been working on anything else, even though there are a bunch of fics i could be finishing. also adding to the problem is that i've been wanting to write something big and with a more involved plot than the pwps i usually write, and the process of sketching out an involved plot (a series of rejected involved plots, etc) has been using up what little extra energy i got. so that's not great.

but that's how it's going! nope i don't have a conclusion here; end of post.

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Jul. 20th, 2017 08:51 pm
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i keep forgetting how complicated dreamwidth's style engine is. it's real complicated.

uh layout mostly stable and officially switched over. hopefully i'll have some stuff to post at some point.

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Jul. 19th, 2017 07:09 pm
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also i really need to tweak this layout again. i was trying for something more sedate and, uh, dreamwidth-y, but what i REALLY want is some absurd tumblr-style layout. so i guess at some point i'll start hacking away at the code again.

i should probably finish the comment css at some point though; it's really embarrassing to look at now

e: i started messing around with layout options and immediately permanently obliterated my old color data. yikes dreamwidth layouts are not messing around.

e2: well four hours of layout-wrangling have got me this, which isn't perfect but is a lot better than this layout, so i'll probably tweak that more tomorrow and then switch over.

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Jul. 19th, 2017 06:35 pm
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workingggggg on hell game

so uh one of the things i'm digging into now is changing the encounter generation from ad-hoc scattering randomly-rolled encounters across the map at map generation time to making a population list of randomly-selected encounters, which are then populated into the map randomly. which. maybe doesn't sound like a big change but it involves a lot of stuff getting moved around.

like for example: something i'd like is to show off all variants of a given encounter. right now i roll a random encounter, so it's quite possible to end up with five identical versions of the same encounter. (this would get extra awkward once i add names, since duplicate names would be superrrr confusing.) what i'd like to do is get something like a card deck -- each card having a different permutation of the encounter -- and then pulling however many cards i need from the deck. this would guarantee that each encounter would, at the very least, not be IDENTICAL to any others. but right now all i have is "generate a random encounter" code; i have to tweak it slightly to have it make decks and draw from them.

in general, there are three major concerns w/ encounter generation:

  1. duplicate names / bodies: if we combine name and body decks, then it would consider "name A and body 1" and "name A and body 2" to be different cards, even though they have the same name. ditto with "name A and body 1" / "name B and body 1". so i should have different decks for each of name, body, and mental state (talk trees, quest triggers, etc). this complicates the encounter data and generation a little
  2. locational variants: sons of hamar-tabal appear both in the factory and at farms (and in the new maps, they'll show up in a bunch of different factory locations). but they should both use the same basic data structure, with only minor differences. so this means i should have different decks for them, with 'suits' that vary by location.
  3. moving encounters: in the sense of appearing and disappearing, and maybe that will mean being in a new map zone. so, if a son of hamar-tabal moves from the factory processing plant to the mining tunnels, the game should have a framework to be like "oh okay that means this bit of data should be changed since it's location-dependent", so that e.g., the sex scene can say if you push him up against the tunnel walls or up against the side of a building. this means the backend needs to explain to the map generator which of the encounter's data is location-based, and how to tweak it.

any one of those things isn't really a big issue, but the work to satisfy all three of them without any super awkward kludges is a little bit of work.

also i'm still kinda struggling to write quests. i've been trying to do this legend of mana-style, by which i mean, each quest should actually have a goal and accomplish something for the plot and characters, not just be "kill 10 rats" "fetch 20 wolf pelts" filler. basically: quests should be the things that both answer and ask questions about the setting, and they should do that via introducing characters that interact w/ the setting.

so the design process is like "how do i explain what's going on w/ cerberus and the feral hellhounds?" "well, what's a situation that would lead to somebody engaging w/ cerberus and the feral hellhounds?" and then trying turn some abstract setting consideration into, you know, a plot. (in this case it's that you run into a hellhound knight who's considering defecting to the feral hellhound side, and you end up having to get him to some location and then around a blockade and then back to the gates of hell, and performing this process explains things like "what is the difference between a feral hellhound and a non-feral hellhound" and "what is cerberus' actual goal".)

so i've been coming up with stuff like that, but uh slowly, since plotting has never really been my strong suit -- there's lots of CONCEPTS floating around here, but i haven't figured out ways to make them all concrete yet.

one of the weird things with hell game so far is that i don't have the clearest picture of how the game will actually PLAY. right now it's just like, "make your body" "read a sex scene" "tweak your body" "read another sex scene", until you get bored or run out of sex scenes. and that's fine, but as i add more stuff to the game it's not solely going to add more ways to tweak your body and more sex scenes to read. there will be whole new sections of gameplay. and so much of that depends, not just on how the engine works (combat, skills, events, etc) but on what specific content i put into it -- how frequent are fights? how rare are the items you need to make new bodyparts? are there bottleneck points where you have to do certain things in order to progress? how in-depth are npc interactions? -- and it's super weird to me to basically just be building in the dark, only rarely getting these vague flashes of insight as to how this might play when it's more complete.

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Jul. 18th, 2017 11:37 pm
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i think this makes twice now where some random post in the hell game tfgamessite thread has been silently reported and deleted around when i was planning on responding to it.

i really do not understand what the moderation standards of tfgamessite are.

(also this is a test of making a small, low-content post for dreamwidth, instead of holding it to higher standards. since both tumblr and twitter are trending downhill and they weren't all that great to begin with.)


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