[MUD-Dev] Continuous versus Discrete Functions

Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com
Thu Dec 20 15:52:16 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


From: Dave Rickey [mailto:daver at mythicentertainment.com]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Buehler <johnbue at msn.com>
 
>> This pattern is fairly common and I'm stumped as to why the
>> discrete function (apparently implemented as tables or cascading
>> conditionals) is the function of choice for system designers.  My
>> time on flight simulators showed me the power of continuous
>> functions - especially when multiple continuous functions are
>> contributing to the outcome of any activity.

> Two reasons:
 
>   1) Players seem to hate discontinuous feedback from the system.
>   To them, something either works, or it does not.  This tends to
>   reflect itself as extreme criticism of any portion of the game
>   system that provides a spectrum of outputs.

Can you give some examples I can't think what makes you say this? I
can perhaps see people being upset if a trade skill can produce a
wep which is inferior and then has no value to vendors or players.

>   2) Linear functions require less CPU.  A discrete function can
>   use Boolean or integer math, a continuous function almost
>   demands the use of floating point math.  When handling hundreds
>   of players and thousands of NPC's on a single box, fast is good.

Not strictly true, FPUs are so fast now, they can beat integer calcs
in a lot of situations. Also you could always used fixed point hacks
to get around this (as everyone used to have to do before FP got so
good). Anyway, I imagine the way to implement this stuff is through
linear interpolation on a line graph drawn by a designer rather than
working out polynomial curves.  Or the alternative where you just
ratio attack skills vs defense skills etc (This was mentioned 3
months ago on this list as a nice approach).

I think Raph had it right. It's mostly a case of not thinking out
the box, combined with legacy D&D mechanics (Sorry I forgot who
mentioned this).

Dan

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