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News from January, 2001

January 29th, 2001

Spent some time fixing a graphics bug today -- anybody who has had a really small view window (or an ugly gray view window) can probably expect it to be wholesome in the next version.  I worked a little on city construction as well -- there are no more overlapping buildings, and they now come in three sizes, including palaces that take up entire sites.  I also gave the larger buildings multiple floors.  It's in the log, so it must be true!

There's now a link to Direct X on the the download page in case you need it.

January 28th, 2001

I have critters running around the cities now!  It's very rudimentary, and there are a boatload of bugs, but it works.  Here's what I've been doing.  As soon as I stabilize the current code to the point where it's playable, I'll put out a new version so the curious can see what I'm up to.  I'm almost there now -- I just need a little structure on top of the towns so that there is something to do (quests or some such thing), maybe a character generator, and some bug fixes.

January 26th, 2001

Slowly easing back into things after that run-in with mathematics (although that's not over by any means).  The cities now have abstract populations, but they need to be realized within the buildings.

January 22nd, 2001

I added the travel interface today.  Currently, there are three modes:  area travel, regional travel, and world travel.  Area travel covers moving between city buildings and perhaps between nearby cities.  Regional travel is for moving between more distant cities.  World travel covers roughly 500 miles per step -- I'm not sure if this will even be in the final game, but it helps the testing.  World travel will probably not be in the standard walk-around-a-grid-format in the end (i.e. the player might actually need to prepare an expedition, get passage on a ship, etc.).  Regional travel is just under 5 miles per step -- this is more tolerable.  Area travel is 250 feet per step -- that is no problem at all, unless you're wounded!  I'm using 5 ft x 5 ft map squares in these calculations by the way.  As usual, The Plan has been altered to fit the changes.  Assuming math doesn't gobble me up, I'll have a version change out shortly -- probably not tomorrow or the next day (complex analysis and algebra are calling, respectively).

Anybody gone on a bender and read the whole future section?  I know it might be premature, but what do you think?  Suggestions?  Omissions?  Problems?  Something sound outright stupid or impossible?  I ranted a little on the contact page there.  I'm ashamed insofar as I care:)

I'd set up a message board if I had the slightest idea how to do it.  Maybe I should look into that, if anyone's interested...

January 20th, 2001

Busy today. The (Immediate) Plan has been updated as well.  In short, cities are up, at least as far as buildings go.  To test it, I had the game make from 200 to 500 cities within a region.  Each of the cities had 300 to 700 buildings.  Then I walked from one city to another (or at least halfway), so that it would offload one and construct another.  It all worked, and there wasn't much of a decrease in speed that I noticed.  This means that I can go ahead and put critters in the cities.  Then I'll finally be back to the old plan (with the overall entity structure in place).

January 18th, 2001

Slight bit of work -- I'm running a temperature, so things haven't been added so quickly:(  There are some issues regarding exactly when cities should be realized that I'm thinking through (if a civilization entity claims a number of regions as territory, the cities in a particular region don't actually need to be generated until that region is visited, but the game might still want to have an abstract accounting of the cities to facilitate trade, etc.).  Altered The Plan slightly to account for progress.

January 17th, 2001

A little more work.

January 16th, 2001

Log entry.  The cleaning is done.  I added abstract species that are realized when needed -- that is, it stores some basic parameters (size, color, niche, etc.) and a random number seed.  When a creature is running around the map, the full species structure is generated by a function call.  This saves lots of space (so there can be many thousands of fully specified creatures that are compressed until needed), and you lose only a split-second to generate the species definition.

There will be additional compression when I utilize my clade structure (it's in, just not used yet) -- then I can have a larger grouping like "Beetles".  A clade structure contains species parameters, but some of the elements, say, size, are set to "variable".  Then a species within a given clade can be created as needed (so there can be a few beetles running around, ten beetle species that are abstracted, and an undetermined number waiting to be generated by the clade).  The clades are arranged in a "cladeogram" (this may correspond to evolution, or to some nature deity's creation scheme, whatever).  "Beetles" might be contained in "Insects", "Insects" in "Arthropods", and so on.  The cladeogram can be used by medical skills, genocide spells, and so on -- it reflects natural groupings.  The general implementation of clades is very quick and easy to do with what I have in already.

Basic civilizations coming soon -- here is The Plan.  It might take a little while for these things to become complicated enough so as to supplant the old version, but it shouldn't take THAT long.

January 15th, 2001

Clean up commences.

January 14th, 2001

Still plugging away at the entities -- here is what I've completed.  All of the basic structures are in.  Now I just need to make them matter!

January 13th, 2001

The Iggy website reappeared, so that link is back up.  Here's what I managed to do today.

January 12th, 2001

Work.  I'm doing entities and map features now.  The basic structural programming is underway, and I should have all of that sorted out soon.  Afterward I'll add in some basic civilizations and ecosystems.  It isn't so hard to overlay simple cultural attributes (items used, living arrangements, etc.) on to a general population of intelligent creatures, so hopefully the worlds will get interesting quickly.  Of course, many basic elements are missing, thus things can't get too complicated yet, but I will be able to upgrade the culture generator as I add in these missing pieces.  For example, when I add in clothing items, cultures will adopt different styles of dress, and so on.  I'll also be able to start adding some supernatural facets to the game once the universe is more structured.

January 11th, 2001

Well, Iggy might not have ODed yet, but the website's gone, so I removed the link.  I probably won't do any programming tonight, because I want to make sure my abstract entity plans are fairly sound before I begin.  If mathematics permits, I'll get abstract entities in this weekend.  Once they're programmed, the base structure for much of the game will be in place, although I still have years worth of grunt work to do.  Aside from the near-term goals I've outlined, I should be able to start a character creation screen soon (now that there will be civilizations for the character generator to interact with).  I'm not sure what the new maps mean for the scenarios I've been using.  I might scrap the scenario system earlier than expected if the new maps and entities are interesting enough.

January 10th, 2001

Looking over my obligations during the first half of this quarter, it's reasonable to assume that progress might slow somewhat.  The Plan has been updated to reflect today's changes.  The new maps are nearly stable, and edge data is working -- the maps flow together fairly well, although they still look slightly blocky.  I need to add one more piece of edge data regarding slopes, then I'm on to abstract entities.  Here is a temporary version where you can run around the new maps.

January 9th, 2001

Though I was too math-addled to notice, this miraculously appeared in the work log.  There is an addition to the play-testing credits.

January 8th, 2001

Here's what I did today aside from studying algebra.  The map programming has been fairly trying, but I think I'll be able to do everything in The Plan, including the abstract entities.  There are also some additions to The Future, mostly having to do with the interface.

I'm not sure exactly when I'll put up a new version.  I disabled the scenarios in preparation for map generation, so the universe is lifeless right now.  I'm almost ready to program the abstract entities.  Then I'll either need a travel interface or a pre-game teleporter that sends you to someplace interesting.  Then it's just a matter of making the entities detailed enough to make the game play-worthy again.

January 7th, 2001

I've decided to do some basic work with the map and entities before I continue detailing combat, creatures, and items.  These changes are reflected in The Plan.  I also made some additions to the Civilization portion of The Future.  School is starting up again on Tuesday, and I'm not sure what effect this will have on my programming.

January 6th, 2001

Still here!  I went through all of the prior planning notes for the game and distilled them into The Future.  Let me know what you think!  Although there are already some sections in the manual that have not been coded, I'm going to restrict myself from adding more of them.  New sections in the manual will henceforth refer to things that are actually in the game!  I did add a section to the manual regarding skill advancement.  I'll get to some actual interface instructions soon:)  The Future and The Plan contain all of the long-term and short-term goals, respectively.  I don't have a new version up yet, but I should be able to knock off a few items from The Plan in the near future.  I will also expand on the technical aspects of each item on The Future page as I find time and receive inquiries.