Sunday, December 6, 2009

Exciting news and a new thought

First, the exciting news: I have been programming a genetic algorithm to test the relative strengths of each ability. Basically, a genetic algorithm is a computer simulation based on natural selection. In this, we start out with a population of 1000 random characters. Each one battles everyone else. If someone dies, they are replaced with a clone of the winner. After every 500 battles, we shuffle things up and do it again. I've been doing this sort of piece-wise, adding one or two abilities into the simulation each day. Anyways, the problem I was having was that almost always, I'd run the simulation, and a single pair of abilities would pop up as the best (such as "Power of the Fist" combined with "Greatweapon"). Then, after adding my 19th ability, I ran the simulation, and got major oscillations. Basically, there were about 8 or 10 abilities which would in pairs begin to skyrocket, until they had almost become the only ability, and then would suddenly decline, and a different set of 2 or 3 abilities would start to skyrocket, and so on. The basic meaning of this is that there is no best combination of abilities, and that even if a few appear to be good, they can often be beaten by the right pair. Some abilities didn't really get used much. I might try to tweak things, although to be honest, I worry about this less for two reasons. First, most of the weaker abilities are not well modeled in this simulation (such as archery weapons, or healing powers), and have non-combat uses. Second, if you have 10 abilities that are strong and 2 that are weak, effectively that means you have 10 abilities that you would choose from. If you have 2 that are strong and 10 that are weak, you really only have 2 to chose from.

Second, the new thought on my game: My game takes place in two world. The paradigm has always gone like this: in the real world, people are slow and tough; in the spirit world, people are fast and frail. This often leads to games where people really charge in in the spirit world, and sometimes nothing happens in the real world. What if I mixed the paradigms, and made spirit world people both faster and more robust. My thought is this: now, you can rush in and fight in the spirit world, but often before you have finished, things are already happening in the real world. I don't know, it's a thought. I'll test it out and see what people think.


“Looking back, I think it was more difficult to see what the problems were than to solve them.” – Darwin

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