Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The theatrics of space combat.

I was thinking about how physics plays a role (or absence of one) in science fiction spaceship movies and video games.
Some things I have noticed:
1. Spaceships seem to always have wings even though this would increase their chances of getting spotted in an environment where visibility is not an problems because there is no air to maneuver through.
2. When space "fighters" do combat, they seem to follow strict rules of "up" and "down" as well as staying perfectly level with their prey on attacking them.
3. Lasers cannot be seen and if they COULD somehow be seen (with a dye or something), the beam would move at the speed of light. So, unless your target is 50,000+ miles away, your lasers will never miss their target if you are just pulling the trigger on the crosshairs. At distances of under 50,000 miles, there is no deflection, unless your target is going so fast they could reach the moon from earth in a matter of seconds.
So, if you COULD see a laser fight, it would look like beams coming from your ship and appearing to instantly hit your target. You cannot "see" a laser bolt apart from another laser bolt. It looks cool but it's not possible.
4. Large starships would look like ships and would NOT have a front/back configuration. In space, no one can hear you scream because there is no medium to carry it. Ships and airplanes on earth have to design their ships to move through a medium, forcing the shape of the craft.
Starships have no medium to move through and so can be ANY shape. In fact, the shape would be dictated by the mission. The more specialized the mission, the uglier the ship would be.

Monday, May 4, 2015

DLC in one picture.

My understanding of Downloadable Content in one picture:

Friday, April 10, 2015

What makes a good First Person Vertical Team Based Shooter?

I am an avid player and admirer of Tribes 1 and 2. The only reason I liked Tribes Vengeance was the single player campaign. I loved it!

So, I came up with some principles, if followed, will make your game a winner to those that play it.

1. Give the choice of a wide variety of equipment to the player but limit the slots that equipment can occupy. This will force the player to choose wisely for the mission or how best to support the team.
2. Every piece of equipment, weapon, pack or base asset should have a counter. What do I mean? Well, if someone is bombarding your base from 500 meters with mortars, get out a sniper rifle and snipe that bomber from long range. Either that, or sneak up and take that bomber out with a special weapon that does one shot kills if done in a certain way (shocklance). Balance is the key to ANY game. Rule of thumb: If gamers are complaining too much about a certain weapon, chances are that weapon was improperly designed and probably needs to be omitted from the game. Weapons do NOT make the game. The way players use those weapons to accomplish a mission is. Always have a drawback for every strength a weapon possesses. If you have a gun that shoots a 1,000 damage in a straight line, have it go 10,000 kph, with infinite range, infinite magazine size with a 50m blast radius, it will ruin the game. You get the point.
3. Health of every player should always be a constant number. I like the number 100 because it represents a raw percentage of the player's health. Factors that prevent health decrease, limit health decreasing, increase health over time or immediately create interesting weapons, defenses and equipment. Even having heavy armor where either a certain amount of damage must be applied before the player inside it is effected. Those who choose a lighter suit of armor may choose a stealthy ninja-like setup where damage is increased if hit ... the key word is hit since that player can go visually invisible and that is his defense. Maybe your player wishes to be
4. Consumed, regenerative personal resource should also always be a constant number. The rate at which this amount is decreased or increased to the maximum may differ and thereby putting the balancing issues on the equipment and not on the player (which is easier to fix).
5. Weapons and equipment should have predictive qualities to them. Forethought and skill should be the key to any tactical application of force in a game. If you have players scoring victories with minimal effort, this punishes those who have applied themselves to learn the game and play it well. Automatic weapons should be used sparingly, if at all.
6. Make the playing area large and cut down on frivolous decorations that slow down framerate and do not support the tactics of gameplay. Put in elevators, turning platforms and even maybe trains or something that moves players around the map. These spots are good for ambushes too...
7. Vertical movement is a must! Give us the ability to fly, whether it be by jetpack, low gravity or even magic. As always, put limits on vertical movement but if flight is under 1000ms with full resources that allow flight, the game will still be a running game like Call of Duty or CS:GO.
8. When designing equipment, weapons and the like, be careful to give all weapons the same DPS. Why do I say this? You can tweak a weapon to do 300 damage, with 75-125 splash damage 3m away, but have it fire once every 500ms and have it stray from your aimed spot 10%-15% of the time. A flame gun could have a cone of low damaging fire of 10m and has a 75% of setting anything on fire with a damage over time of 5-10 damage per 1000ms. However, it overheats if not managed correctly and may even possibly explode if struck with enough damage (maybe use a shield pack with it to protect the weapon!).
Even the mighty Shocklance that scores an instant kill needs melee range and the opposing player will not simply turn their back for you to use it on them.
9. Constancy of equipmentWhen a player is defeated, the equipment they had on them should be the only items dropped. Maybe if you wanted to make the game a bit more difficult, make it so the dropped items are destroyable - with the possibility of blast damage!
Bottom line, go into making this game so it's playable but with a team. Supporting other people in completing a goal is enjoyable and satisfying to say the least.
I really do miss the days of Tribes 2 and the 64  person games on HUGE playing areas.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How memory may be connected to humor...

OK, so you saw that bit where a guy looks in a comically small bee hive and a swarm of a billion bees fly out  at the speed of sound and sting the cartoon character on the butt. In doing so, his butt enlarges to four times it size and burstsSubstitution (get it?).
If you could read that without cracking a smile (pun intended) then the laws of memory have worked in generating a humorous situation (even if it IS not performed in the realm of reality).
I have written a blog article about memory, so please read it here before continuing if you desire a background on what I will discuss next.
Mnemonics, mnemonics, mnemonics and how I rote how I hate rote.So, according to the story example above
Proliferation
Substitution
Action
Exaggeration

Read the story again with the above concepts in mind. Interesting, huh?

I tried to keep this short and sweet so people might make the connection between the laws of memory and the laws of humor since they both allow the brain to retain information that is both novel in it's presentation and thus important enough for your brain to recall it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New ultra intelligent OGRE brain tank.

Problem is, to make it smarter than any other military vehicle, they had to skimp on armor.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Transparent OGRE 3-D model attempt

OK, so I was trying to make that 3-D OGRE model that commercially made by Steve Jackson Games in heavy cardboard.
Here are some pictures to explain what I tried to do. I am sad to say that I would have to laminate the printed transparency more than 4 times. The thickness of laminating that many times would prove problematic due to bubbling and separation tendencies of the material.
Here is the sheet before I laminated it a second time.

As you can see, the printed transparency is pre-laminated.

More detail of the un-laminated transparency.

Here is the second lamination that thickened it by .35 mm.

The part is now a little bit thicker.

Finished piece that is not slotted.

A closer look of the side piece.

The "pile".

Mark 5's conning tower.

Here is where I found out that this was not a good idea.

It was flimsy and floppy.

I didn't bother slotting the tread units. I may come back to this 
but I got frustrated and now this resides in the trash...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Effect vs Affect Now you know...

Affect is a verb. It means to produce a change in or influence something. In psychology they use this word to describe someone's emotional state.
Effect is a noun that can also be used as a verb. It means a change that occurred. When an "s" is added, "effects" means personal belongings.
Here is the website I got this information from.
Thank you, YourDictionary.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

When re-installing your operating system ...

I had to install my operating system AGAIN. This is tiring. I wish Valve would get their act together and fix a few things on steam. Things like desktop icons actually matching the games they are connected to. The icons work well enough in the steam application but come on - this is just lazy.
When you re-install your operating system, I have found doing the following saves a lot of time:
1. Make a list on notepad that shows you what steps you take to put your stuff back on your hard drive.
2. Keep drivers and applications you like on an external hard drive or thumb drive and make backups of them. This saves the original CD / DVD wear and tear. Also keep older copies of the drivers and applications in case the company decides to not support you by giving you a download link anymore if you did not install from a CD / DVD.
3. Keep a hamster or cat handy to keep you company while you have to work with the hassles of an operating system company making your life more difficult where it should be as simple as copy and pasting an operating system to a hard drive. Frustration avoided by fluffiness!

Monday, January 26, 2015

New idea for defense in OGRE/GEV

I was reading Hammers Slammers and a thought occured to me. What if just ECCM and armor were not the only defenses a unit has at it's disposal against large bore weaponry and missiles? What if a unit could bring it's main armament to bear in defense of itself in order to prevent it being defeated while on the turn of it's owner?
I devised an alternate rule where the unit could forgo it's attack phase on it's turn if it used that attack phase during another's turn. The unit could still move on it's next move, just not attack anything since it already attacked in defense of itself. The main weapon or missiles could be used to try to shoot down incoming projectiles.
The defending "attack" equates to it's normal attack value minus one.
A missile tank therefore would have a 3 attack versus opponent's attacks could only move on it's next turn.
A heavy tank would have 2 attack versus opponent's attack but could only move on it's next turn.
A 3/1 powered infantry squad would have the same as a heavy tank's attack versus opponent's attack but could only move on it's next turn.
The minus one is applied to the attack number BEFORE it is combined with other weapon systems the unit may have. For example, an OGRE wants to prevent the combined attack of two missile tanks, an attack of 8, with 2 main batteries and 1 secondary battery, the odds would be (2+2+1) 5 versus 8 or 1:1 in favor of the defending unit.
First main battery = 3 attack = 3-1 = 2
Next main battery = 3 attack = 3-1 = 2
Secondary battery = 2 attack = 2-1 = 1
THEN you combine the figures. Counter fire defense is not that effective, but if you are desperate ...
By the way, you might have figured out that a unit with an attack of 1 or less cannot do counter fire for obvious reasons. Therefore, OGRE antipersonnel batteries cannot be used, it would make the tank untouchable.

I thought I would write my perceptions of love.

So, I decided to try to define certain things that are important in my life. After talking with my niece, I immediately missed being around her and her infectious laugh. :)
Here goes:

Love is someone using their free agency and sacrificing something significant in exchange for someone else's well being.
Love is not you do this for me and then I do this for you.
Love does not seek its own - love seeks what is good for others.
You cannot force or coerce love from others.
You cannot pay or buy love from others with material treasures.
The greatest treasure anyone can give is their life of their own free will, either in it's entirely or a portion of it, and hoping nothing in exchange.
Love is sacrificing yourself for others.

I try to sacrifice my time and my resources for these little ones. I love them completely as if they are my own. I am fortunant to have 13, soon to be 14, little niblings. I found recently that this is the term for nieces and nephews like 'siblings' or 'parents'.

Well, my little 6 year old niece loves to play 20 questions and is very knowledgeable for a child her age. Maybe this has something to do with her being home schooled with very dedicated parents, my brother and my sister-in-law. I am so proud of my niblings and I wish they ALL lived within 20 minutes of me. Being without a car and not being able to visit my nephews really has got me down as of late.

I know this is not game related but I thought I would break every once in a while to show that there is more to life than board games. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

About Santa Claus...

I gleaned this from another website so please don't sue me...

As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from that renowned scientific journal, SPY magazine (January, 1990) --- I am pleased to present a scientific inquiry into the existence of Santa Claus. 
No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.
There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. 
But since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. 
At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). 
This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to: 
park, 
hop out of the sleigh, 
jump down the chimney, 
fill the stockings, 
distribute the remaining presents under the tree, 
eat whatever snacks have been left, 
get back up the chimney, 
get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. 
Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.
This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.
The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. 
On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" could pull ten times the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. 
We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.
353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. 
The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake.
The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second.
Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.09 times greater than gravity.
A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
In conclusion - If Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thinking about Borderlands 2 ...

I have been playing the heck of out Borderlands 2 (with the gore turned off and language filter on). I love it! I probably love it too much.
However, if they make a Borderlands 3 (After the prequel), I have some serious suggestions:
1. Include the skins with the game and make them a free DLC. Instead of charging for skins, charge for different models - you know - things that take REAL effort to create! Different clothing models and different vehicle chassis designs, not just a different paint job.
2. Instead of discovering WHOLE guns that range from very common to legendary, place common to legendary PARTS of weapons so we can design our own weaponry. You could even task the Mechromancer (hint hint) to put them together with greater success than others. Maybe each class are better at making different types of weapons with greater success than other classes. The Psycho could have a better chance of making a cool grenade with greater radius and/or damage. Th Commando could be better suited in designing or modifying Assault Rifles - and maybe even have it so a gimped secondary weapon could be attached underneath the rifle barrel to fire in unison.
3. Make the world SEAMLESS like Azeroth. Only in specific instances have a portal to that region. It really takes me out of the game when I have to wait 8 seconds for the next "area" to load. Learn from Blizzard...
Anyways, that's all I have!