Euloran Biology

Monday, 18 April, Year 8 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Let's do something we rarely even consider doing here in the vaunted halls of Minigame : discuss the scientific models behind the game mechanics!

I. Cellular Automata and Mineral Resource Deployment. You perhaps recall those maps. One particularly confounding aspect of game mechanics (among the very numerous diverse cogs and other moving bits and partsi that the players have not so far either documented or as much as fully enumerated) is the placement of mineral resources. Where exactly are specific items to be found ?ii

For the longest time the resource map was essentially static, or at least so it appeared to the playerbase - every coordinate has a resource associated and that's that pretty much. Recently however we dialed a certain knob from 0 to 1iii, and now it's not quite so certain what exactly you'll find where - and especially so the more valuable the find.

The next step is introducing cellular automata to handle resource projectionsiv, the obvious implication of which being that time will also become a factor. That is no idle consideration, because of the dozen-ish months/planets/attributes extant on the Euloran firmament ; and the confounding involvement of the seven-ish Gods in their respective interractions.v

II. Genetics and Individualised Items. You probably played Diablo. And you probably remember the exquisite Diablo item naming convention, all those Socketed Unspeakable Thing of Blind Rage, Black Blackhand, Titanium Thrusting Rusty Hammer of the Stars and so on and so forth that left an indelible mark permanently etched in the reptillian brain of any packrat that ever lived. Well then! How do you get such things meaningfully produced inside a game like Eulora, rather than simply random-rolled like in the clickslasher that was Diablo ?

Suppose, and I say this just for the sake of argument and discussion, suppose there was a hidden vector related to any stack of anything in a game, for convenience sake let's represent such as an unterminated string consisting of letters followed by two digits. Like so : A94 b02 B11 d21 D94 t15 W17. Or like so : h22 K03 l01 P78 W47. Now suppose these two items are used together to produce another item, and suppose that the digits reference genes, with the convention that leading 0 indicates a dominant gene whereas nonzero recessive, and the letters reference allele setsvi. So the two things are mixed together, and what you get is, perhaps, b02 D94 K03 P78 W33. Because for whatever complex reasons, who knows how exactly genes interact, right ? And suppose that if the item is the kind of item that can express genes, such as an Axe, then it just might so express them! So it'll be the Rusty Axe of Doom because in the context of Axes b02 encodes for Rusty and W33 encodes for Doom. Why the hell not ?

It's just crazy enough to work, I say!

  1. Incidentally, wouldn't it be great if the Eulora wiki had a page dedicated to such mysteries ? []
  2. Anywhere, including the moon, apparently! []
  3. Well technically we dialed it to 11 originally, but it caused chaos and so we brought it back down to sanity soon thereafter. []
  4. This is being modelled yet, not so far implemented. If you have a peculiarly clever CA you'd wish considered for the intermingling of many dozen different resource types on a one million cell map, feel free to discuss. []
  5. To form a broad idea of how this works : you're no doubt familiar with the endlessly reimplemented trope of MMORPGs called variously "elemental rock-paper-scissors". Well, Eulora doesn't use three elements, nor four, nor five. Twelve-ish.

    Just as important : the relationships aren't fixed! The way this ERPS thing works traditionally is you have three elements, say Fire, Water and Earth. Then Earth gets 50% more attack if attacking Water, and 50% less attack if attacking Fire ; whereas Water gets 50% more attack if attacking Fire but 50% less if atttacking Earth ; leaving Fire to enjoy 50% more attack against Earth while 50% less against Water. The scheme is fixed : next 1.5, previous 0.5. It's also unbalanced, because 1.5 * .5 doesn't come out to 1, but who are we to know math. The creative people who create creations didn't like math in school, which is how they ended up being "creative", amirite ?

    But maybe they did, suppose for the sake of argument they did go to school and are in the habit of giving more than a fleeting thought to whatever it is they happen to be making. We've just ruled out 99.x% of all games ever made (not counting the ones never released) but at least we're looking at a solid system with say five elements, correctly balanced and with granularity even. Say C does 115% to E and 87% to A, 125% to D and 80% to B. Well, even in this neatly crafted elemental wheel the relationships are still fixed! +1 is max debuff, -1 is max buff, +2 is min debuff, -2 is min buff, this doesn't change.

    No such thing in Eulora : each God introduces his own mask upon the same Planetary Wheel, creating different end results! Suppose for the sake of illustration that Bob the God makes +2 max buff +1 min buff -1 max debuff and that's it, while Rob the God makes -3 min buff -2 max buff -1 max debuff. "And how do you know which one is in play ?", you ask ? Well, that'd depend on which God controls the particular encounter, wouldn't it!

    If at this point you're thinking all this is starting to sound a heck of a lot like a rotor cipher a la Enigma you're exactly my kind of guy, you clever cookie you, because that's exactly what it is. You see, it's not true that computer games can't be made breathtakingly interesting, it's just that one has to actually try. No, not just any one. []

  6. Or if you prefer, the loci where genes go. []
Category: S.MG
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