Issues from the digests and Wout's list

Shawn Halpenny rsh at
Fri Apr 18 11:32:59 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Apr 17, 11:07am, Nathan Yospe wrote:
> Subject: Re: Issues from the digests and Wout's list
> On Thu, 17 Apr 1997, Shawn Halpenny wrote:
> :> :Hurm.  A combat script needs to be able to express the following:
> :> :
> :> :--  Attacks, where blows are any of magic, physical, mental, or
> :> :aggressive defenses.
> :>
> :> How about: an attack is any action which deliberately harms you, from your
> :> POV. If it was unintentional, but the attacker is of a sort unfamiliar
> :> enough to you that you didn't realize his electric buzz was a joke and not
> :> an attempt to fry you, then to you, that was an attack. No matter what the
> :> attacker intended it as. I can't see these scripts going inactive when not
> :> "in combat", mainly because combat is an arbitrary description of a state
> :> in which you and another entity are mutually attempting to cause each
> :> other damage, in my system.
> :
> :The attack doesn't even have to be one such that it deliberately harms you.
> :Intention isn't a factor, since the decision to retaliate will always rest
> :with the victim (who can code his scripts appropriately:  that is, if he's
> :the jumpy sort, almost everything will cause him to retaliate, whereas
> :someone more calm would perhaps let an "attacker" get away with more).  For
> :example, if I'm sitting in a tavern, someone across the room chucks an
> :ale at me and it hits me in the head, I think whether or not I'd consider
> :it an attack would depend on my personal mood at the moment.  In any case,
> :it's my choice to get up and kill him, or just let it pass.  To a point,
> :though, I suppose that sort of decision cannot truly be automated, since
> :the number of factors seems (to me) to be substantial.  This implies that
> :the victim has to actively begin his retaliation combat script, rather than
> :having it kick in automatically (note that the jumpy sort has it easy,
> :since everything can kick in automatically).
> Yes, this has been bothering me a little. In an earlier post, I described
> a character who had an instinctive level of agression, and _not_ attacking
> on a slight offense required deliberate action on the player/controller's
> part. The scene went something like this:
> (from the POV of Arghu*ath the Ghladrakh - a large, mamalian warrior race)
> (Note: my pet mud is science fiction, and this is reflected here.)

[ sample battle in which instinct is an inherent factor in determining
combat behavior ]

> This is a good demonstration of what combat is about in Singularity 2. The
> long term consequences of killing that troublemaker would have been
> greater than the satisfaction of letting the instinctive reaction take
> control would be worth. It also demonstrates how much of the combat is
> instinctive and computer controlled. Combatants nudge and guide their
> instincts, but the instincts carry a great deal of weight.

Ah...therein lies the difference.  In my system, there is no concept of
instinct unless you yourself bring it to your character (I have no races
and no classes).  Given that instinct plays a part in your model, I can see
that it's different when determining what combat actions are automatic and
which are not.  For me, all attacks will have to be initiated by the
controller of the attacking body (in the case of mobiles, it will be some
random determination of attack based on a number of facts about the victim,
and for characters, it will ultimately depend on whether or not they feel
like either starting or retaliating):  there is no automatic attack, so
it doesn't matter what context the combatants are in, just whether or not one
or the other wishes to fight.

JCL's TC that eats UggUgg's inventory when thrown into the battle is not a
context-driven issue for me.  When that happens, the TC would evaluate a
set of variables and determine whether or not it would eat the inv or not,
even though it was a charmed TC and is assumed to be under your control.
Now, that may not be completely realistic, but I'm creating my model with a
great deal of artistic license.  For me, there is an awfully lot of random
determination, as opposed to definitive cause and effect (i.e. the TC is
charmed, therefore it will assist me in my battle).  I guess the question
to ask is "What would the TC do if you had charmed it and thrown it at
someone you weren't fighting with?"  I would think it depends on the TC's
nature (which, for me, seems to be to eat things and that's what it would
do, regardless of whether you liked the person you were throwing it at or

> :> :The oproblem here is to define a simple user-friendly scripting
> :> :language which is capable of expressing the sequences and reactions
> :> :constituting a script.
> :>
> :> That is extremely difficult. I'm still trying to create one of these
> :> myself. (My reflex system)
> :
> :Well, is it plausible to simply use the commands that a character already
> :has available, with the addition of a conditional that would allow checking
> :to determine what a char's reaction will be?  This will definitely become
> :more involved (and possibly quite messy) with multi-character combat...
> The problem is the vast number of input messages... output is no problem.

Instead of making it message-based, can it be based on the type (and
location and whatever other variables) of attack generating the message?
For example, if UggUgg swings at my lower body, then I should jump and
swing down at his upper body.  I think some of the problem with combat
scripting is making it general enough in order to make it usable enough.
Given that, I have misgivings about it (ironically) being specific enough
once it's done.  If it were general, I suppose you could have a set of
"combat forms", where you would essentially chain a bunch together, and
they would make up the combat "dance" a character would follow.  This is
all fairly embryonic in my model, but its priority is increasing (stab into
the dark enough times and you should eventually hit something).

> :> :I'm beginning to think that fights should be handled like any other
> :> :player interaction.  Let each player enter individual commands for
> :> :each blow which are then handled as if they were exactly the same as
> :> :every other command.  Allow automation of this process via scripts
> :> :etc, but forget the whole deal of combat objects, rounds, etc.  Let
> :> :the guy pick his nose one command, shoot his neighbor the next, and
> :> :water his garden the third.
> :>
> :> Yup. Now your talking sense. *grin*
> :
> :I have an affinity for this scheme, but I agonize over it being too slow
> :to give the "feel" of combat.  However, perhaps continuous speed from the
> :start of the battle to the end isn't a factor:	Have any of you seen
> :duel at the end of "Rob Roy"?  It wasn't a particularly speedy thing (and
> :that makes sense, I suppose...a claymore is probably a bitch to whirl
> :around), so perhaps some speed can be sacrificed in the interests of
> :combat "feel".  <shrug>
> See the above. I think it had the feel of combat, but if you don't agree,
> I can supply a few more. BTW, the stuff after the '>' was typed in a
> seperate window, and there was no break in text in most of those
> sequences. Text only breaks when I get a paragraph tag. There would be one
> of those after the calm down, and one at the end.

I agree, it had the feel of combat and I like how it flowed--much like I
was interacting in a novel as opposed to just reading some pulp from the

Shawn Halpenny

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