Real-Time Synergy

One of the biggest appeals to real-time strategy (RTS) is controlling your own army, evaluating your chances of victory and reacting to your enemy's movements whilst managing your own. It is having this kind of vantage over the movements in the game that many RTS players thoroughly enjoy. Though the game wouldn't nearly be the same if the player could only control one unit at a time. The idea of battalions or squadrons in an armed force is heavily ingrained in contemporary minds, if a player weren't allowed to control such a large number of troops as they are, the games probably wouldn't be as popular.

This week, I looked over one of the fundamentals of the RTS, the mass unit selection system. This system is arguably essential to all RTS games. Age of Empires II, Starcraft and Warcraft, all arguable grandfathers of the contemporary RTS included the feature of mass selecting a chunk of units present on the player's screen.

Although the action of mass selecting units simply consists of clicking on an area on the map, dragging to encapsulate all units you would like to select in the selection area and letting go, there's much more going on behind the scenes. A manipulation of various elements of the object used to select the objects, such as it's onTriggerEnter and Exit events alongside the scale of the object dependent on the mouse's position on the screen is significantly more complicated than I had first imagined. Not to mention that this was only selecting units. The aforementioned RTS games included a feature wherein you could select specific units based on their class within the mass that you has selected. This was no doubt because any special abilities that the units had could be essential to changing the flow of the game, therefore the feature was essential. 

I would like to attempt to extend the script further. The selection box is already able to select buildings, and so I would like to change the UI depending on the unit selected. This would require a feature wherein the player would be able to cycle through each type of unit that they have selected, much like the referred to RTS games. The user interface would show to the player what they would be able to create with the unit that they currently have selected and allow them to build the unit or building as if the unit were selected on it's own. This is a very common feature in RTS games though as I've seen I have no doubt that it would be more difficult than it seems

Tylah Kapa

Side Scrolling

This week I had a small look at a minimal layout for a state-driven side scroller. I don't have much interest in creating a side scroller, yet when I look at games the like of Super Mario, Super Metroid, Castelvania and Limbo, I can't help but appreciate them. 

AI Finite State Machine Diagram (Bevilacqua, F. (2013).  Finite State Machines: Theory and Implementation.  envatotuts+ )

AI Finite State Machine Diagram (Bevilacqua, F. (2013). Finite State Machines: Theory and Implementation. envatotuts+)

A state-driven side scroller is a side scroller driven by just that, states. Entities within the world would hold various states, and would act according to the state that they are currently in. These states run on a finite state machine, a machine that changes it's state depending on conditions fed into it. For example, a player walking would switch the player's character to a walking animation, jumping to a jumping animation etc. Though finite state machines are often used for AI implementation, an AI enemy would prepare to attack if the player is within an attack range - idle if this isn't the case so on and so forth. It's a simple yet effective way of implementing artificial intelligence into a game. . 

Finite state machines aren't unique to side scrollers, and so it would be beneficial to me if I learned how to set them up properly. I could see it being used in all projects that require an artificial intelligence of any type.

Key Frame Animation  (Anon. N/A.  Multiresolution Mean Shift Clustering Algorithm for Shape Interpolation.  IEEE Xplore)

Key Frame Animation (Anon. N/A. Multiresolution Mean Shift Clustering Algorithm for Shape Interpolation. IEEE Xplore)

Specifically in this session, I looked over a helpful technique in the Unity engine called key frame animation. As a programmer, I could see myself likely using this a lot if I'm working on a project by myself, else I'd rather let someone more experienced take over that for me. However, because key frame animation is relatively simple to use, likely hard to master, I will try to invest some time into learning how to effectively key frame animate. Hopefully I will have something to show for it in my own projects. Perhaps even for this upcoming project.

I'm currently working on one of my assignment briefs, and so I would like to try to implement key-frame animation in this project, however because of assessment strain I likely won't be able to. 

Tylah Kapa

Twitter: @JadeKapa