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The Psidonia RPG

I'm letting you all in on a little secret. I've given up on implementing the gaming features. Instead, I'm focusing my efforts on a massive RPG function that will enable all of you to interact in new ways.

Although it is limited to simple movement for now, the Psidonia RPG features will be a turn-based multi-user environment where Citizens will be able to interact with each other or with NPCs in interesting ways. For now, the game is based somewhat loosely on fondly remembered text-adventure games. Where I can, I will adapt the format to the point-and-click environment of the Web, but to keep things simple and fast moving, graphics will remain at a minimum.

Click on the Location: or Stats... links in the reorganized sidebar. You'll be presented with an overhead view of your location. Currently, it only displays the terrain type of the surrounding spaces, but in time it will also give you clues about threats and treasures. Movement is accomplished by simply clicking in one of the spaces surrounding the center. You then move into that cell. I'm afraid there is no other way to do anything else with this environment yet, but I'm working on the Interaction Engine and I thought it would be fun to give you a sneak preview of what I'm working on here.

Let me know what you think. I'm deliberately holding back on any further explanation...I want to see if things are intuitive so far.

Psion on 2002-06-29 04:27:39


Hey!
 

Gas Stations...

...put 'em in will ya. As a guy, I refuse to admit I'm lost, but I wouldn't exactly say that I know where I'm at either. I may have discovered a new world though...crossed a bunch of deep ocean anyway.

Ichiban on 2002-07-08 22:44:29


I Have a Question
 

LOS Anomalies

I've encountered a few. For one thing, the symmetrical visual range means that I can see several squares into a dense forest while standing in a shallow river, but my range immediately drops to 1 square once I step into it.

Secondly, logic would dictate that if I can see over several squares of forest while standing atop a rocky crag, I ought to be able to see back to that rocky crag from the forest squares it can see. Alas, I cannot.

Otherwise I remain impressed. Sure is big. I wish I'd been making a map. Will you be pulling us back to a start point once we have stats?

P.S., I'm using Netscape 6.2 now. No problems with the site.

umbriel on 2002-07-09 23:19:08


I Have a Question
 

Los Angeles

Umbriel has identified a limitation to the mapping algorithm that may not ever go away. Visibility range is limited by the cell you're currently in, not by those that surround you. This was a concession made necessary for speed: calculating lines of sight and obstruction for each cell in a 9x9 matrix takes more out of the server than simply saying that you can see a certain distance from each cell that you're in.

Once other features are in place, I will revisit this decision and improve on it a bit, but don't expect ray-tracing algorithms any time soon. I might need to upgrade the server hardware before I can do more. In either event, the current visibility rules are at least consistent for all players, so they work for purposes of hiding and surprises.

This seems like a good place to explain the map a bit. Each cell is currently depicted with two lines of text. The first two characters on the top line indicate what terrain type the cell is. The second two give an idea of the height of the cell relative to the one you're in. Postive numbers are higher than your cell, and negative numbers are lower. "++" and "--" cells are much higher or lower than your current position. Altitude difference also plays a role in determining cell color, with lighter cells being higher and darker cells being lower.

The second line is currently just four dashes. It will eventually show The number of people, the number of objects, the number of events, and the number of animals. In all cases, a plus sign will indicate more than nine.

All of the above will eventually be included as a link on the RPG page for reference.

Maps

Psidonia is, if you haven't guessed by now, huge. I started everyone off on one of two minor islands in the hope that some would never venture into the water and "discover" the mainland a few steps away. Ichiban had a taste of what I was shooting for when he crossed the ocean. A sense of awe as the full enormity of the landscape is realized. This isn't Scott Adams, baby! There are currently fourteen terrain types, each with unique properties that will become more apparent once the Interaction Engine is in place and you have limits to your movement. It will be harder to move uphill, than down, for example, and some terrains are harder to move into or climb than others. Deep waters are dangerous, and yes, there are places inhabited by Groos.

I am the only person with accurate maps at this point, basically because I had to create the maps to build the terrain. I've considered breaking the maps into several smaller pieces and scattering them as objects that can be found in the ruins. Obviously, this implies that the maps will be damaged and somewhat inaccurate...like one you might find in the trunk of your car under old Turtle Wax and broken Frisbees. As objects, you will be able to trade maps with other players or try to steal them.

Resettlement

For now, you may wander around as much as you like until you get bored. Meanwhile, I'm working on two new features that will turn this into a genuine RPG. First, is the Interaction Engine that combines stats and a player messaging system so that Citizens will be able to interact, have limits on their movement and actions, and be able to pick up and drop objects.

Second is the Construction Engine that will allow the terrain to be modified. Forest spaces can be cut down to make roads, buildings can be added, crops can be planted, etc. The Construction Engine has rules for entropy, so every once in a while, it checks the amount of time since something was last maintained and degrades it if enough time has passed. For example, if one cuts down a forest to make a road, that road will eventually weather away to grassland and then back into a forest.

This might seem like a frivolous use of my time, but it's actually necessary. With the current map having over one million cells, maintaining a database of construction for every location would place prohibitive demands on my home server. Rather, the entropy effect in the Construction Engine will help to prune the size of the structures database and keep it from becoming too large. Only the most permanent of buildings will last forever -- and those will be in the Capital.

Once both of those features are in place, I'll then drop people in random locations around the Capital. Interesting things will be placed on the map and at that point, the game will be a genuine multi-player RPG. Everything after that will be refinement.

Psion on 2002-07-10 10:48:27


I Have a Question
 

Sea Level

I noticed some odd variations in the relative elevation of adjoining ocean squares while strolling between a small island and major continent. Standing on the island beach, an adjacent shallow ocean square was +1, and another was +2, while at least one other further out to sea seemed to be +3.

Is there a global sea level, or does the ocean undulate freely (swells?). Was it intentional for coastal land to be below sea level, or is that some other sort of glitch (or maybe frozen tidal waves, like at the end of the director's cut of The Abyss).


"Had I been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe."

King Alphonso X (the Wise) of Castile and Leon. 1221-1284

umbriel on 2002-07-11 14:14:40


Hey!
 

Virtual Vacation

Wow! Here I was just enjoying my sandy beach. I think I've been constrained by my own inability to swim. It never even occured to me that the deep water was traversable. I've been stuck on a little island and I didn't even know it!

I will say, however, that sometimes a quiet little island with sandy beaches and a great ocean view is a very nice place to visit during the work day.

Thanks Psion

TammyP on 2002-08-30 09:33:37


Is there anything in the above that is wrong? Do some of the statements make your blood boil? Do you want to give someone a piece of your mind? After all, you know more about these issues than almost anyone, and people should be listening to you!

Alas, you have yet to take the time to log in or register yourself.

Go on, join up! Become a citizen of Psidonia and let these nimrods know what's really going on!

(If you're having trouble figuring it out, there are log in and registration controls over there on the left side of the page...no, your other left. That's it, click the pretty buttons...)