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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Delta College Book Swap

Hosted by the Writers' Guild of SJDC, at Danner Hall today.

Thought it was going to be a look-only as the flyer seemed like you need to trade in books in order to obtain others, but apparently this was not the case - all of the books were free, and they were hauling in more boxes of used books every few minutes. There weren't any ebooks around though at the time I visited.

I decided to grab a few books related to the CS area, especially those focusing on the (new obsolete) certification tests, as they might be useful later.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Returning to the Stateline... again

A year ago, I was doing film work for GSKA. However this year they did things a bit differently; my position to film is no longer required, so I was free to explore for the day. But I was prepared for that. Couldn't make it to either the beach or mountains, but I'll find another time for that.


  • If going in October, the gondolas (or the ski hills, for that matter) will not be available.
  • Restaurants in the Stateline area are quite expensive, but at least try them once. Recommended: Base Camp Pizza (they are $12 for 8", $17 for 12", and $25 for 16").
  • The Nestle Tollhouse Cafe's cookie prices are too high; you'd probably find something better at the nearby Raley's.
  • At Harvey's at the arcade you can trade 1 token = 20 tickets, this is actually better than any arcade game that dispenses tickets there on average. (It works vice versa, so if you can find a way to make more than 20 tickets per game, you can use that to your advantage)
  • The Heavenly Shop at Harvey's doesn't accept comp money. Neither does Cinnabon and the food court items at Harrah's (although it's more obvious).
  • There's a car show during this time at Heavenly Village.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review: McDonald's Mighty Wings

Short Review: They're by all means cripsy and good, however its small size leaves a lot to be desired. KFC would be a better choice in this case, since they offer larger wings for a slighly cheaper price.

Its price is quite high (at least in Stockton anyways) at $10.99 for ten of them (15.49 w/two drinks + medium fries), making this by far the most expensive item on the menu.

Had some trouble getting most of it dipped due to the bone in the middle and the size of the dipping sauce, which seemed more suited to dipping Chicken McNuggets.

(Updated the city where the pricing was, since the prices varied between cities. Still expensive however)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Handling Diagonal Movement in Tactical RPGs

Ignore the Battle GUI - it is a mockup and therefore has incorrect information.

Normally Tactical RPGs do not allow diagonal movement, however I propose a system that handles this while factoring in obstacles.

While designing the war system in Americana Dawn, there were previously a few issues about the move range on a character; because the shoot distance is calculated by absolute distance from the character (instead of grid squares) it would create a disadvantage for some units. Also, it creates movement range more like a circle.

If a melee attacker was hit from a diagonal, it would normally take two turns for it to reach the target. The extra turn is a huge difference - the attacker that could otherwise defeat the enemy may not survive the second turn.

I had a few choices, either restrict attack range, or include diagonal movement. Moving based on absolute distance was considered, but it was ruled out since it can get messy at times and might not find the optimal route when tiles are weighted. So a diagonal is calculated as 1.5 movement points. (It might be 1.4 movement points later if the game requires more precision.)

But this is not factoring in the weights of the various tiles, so this is achieved by taking the weight of the diagonal square that you move to, plus the two adjacent squares that you cross getting there, and dividing by two. Thus the formula is:

Movement Cost = (Tile Weight for upper right tile + upper tile + right tile) / 2, relative to the character.

There's situations where a diagonal move takes up more move points than moving two spaces instead, but the game automatically calculates the shortest distance to a tile anyways so it isn't a real problem.

The drawback is being able to get to normally inaccessible tiles via a diagonal move. Consider it as an advantage - the 'creative designing' process should ensure this happens only when it needs to.

I think more of the creative designing should be the AI script for these battles, which is mostly based on the enemy commander's personality, although it usually looks ahead at least a turn and makes decisions only based on what it can see, and will find cover and ambush if possible.