RE: SOFTWARE: Do you play computer games?

From: Dickey, Michael F (
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 13:24:21 MST

-----Original Message-----
From: Anders Sandberg []
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 1:42 PM
Subject: Re: SOFTWARE: Do you play computer games?

On Tue, Feb 26, 2002 at 10:09:25AM -0500, Dickey, Michael F wrote:

> My idea, in case there are any programmers
> out there with a lot of free time would be an RTS, like star craft / alpha
> centauri. It starts in a similiar way that some other games out there
> start, at the beginning of technological evolution, say early in the
> agricultural age. The whole game is logorithmically based, at first you
> control individual units (your village people) the game progresses through
> the ages and technological changes. Not a whole lot different then what
> some other games do. But here is the difference, the game progresses far
> into the future from Type I to Type II onto Type III galactic
> Your map starts out as, say, a 1km x 1km grid, a town or village. You
> control individual units, they are all to scale and 3D models. But, as
> technology and scale progresses, your map gets bigger and you can scale in
> and out.

Yes. This is exactly what I have been thinking of. It requires a
somewhat trustworthy AI to run your units, but could really get away
from the problem in SMAC that when you have a planet-spanning empire,
you are still micromanaging formers planting forest.


Definately, I cant imagine doing all that micromanaging. Adding some random
fluctuations into the AI's managing might make things interesting as well,
to represent those occasional bad leaders that can really muck things up.

> The flow of time would not be linear as well, as you progress further,
> passes more rapidly (just as kurzweil speaks of the diminishing time
> salient events) At the basic level, time passes 1 sec for every second
> played, then moves to a 10:1, 100:1, etc. etc.

This is good, but it also introduces a limitation in multiplayer games.
Everybody needs to run at roughly the same speed, otherwise things will
not work. If player A is running at 100:1 and player B at 1:1, then we
have problems. For a single player game this is no problem.


Yeah, I hadnt really worked this out all that much yet, its basically in the
'thinking about this' stage. Multiplayer would definately require identical
flows of time, but a system similiar to the 'levels' in Everquest may be a
good one to follow. For every 10^X increase in energy control /
consumption, etc, time flow may increase by a factor, and progress to the
next 'level' that way civilizations in multiplayer arenas would have to
compete only with civilizations on similiar scales. You can still have
different civilizations at different times playing in the same universe, the
advanced ones would only see quick glimpses of the slow moving planets,
while the less advanced civ may see the advanced civ as snapshots taken of
the advanced civ status when they view it. (does that make sense?) Id have
to think about that some more.

> The main measurement in the game will be energy, how much energy is your
> society producing how much can it control / harness (for transporation,
> weapons, etc)

I would use energy, information and control over matter as main
measurements. Information deals with how much information can be stored,
transmitted and controlled, matter control deals with the scale of
control (macrotech, microtech, nanotech, femtotech, plancktech...).


Thats a good idea, I would definatel add those as measurements of progress.
What do you think should be in for resources as well, Id like to follow the
technological progress curve, stone, wood, iron, metals, etc for material
resources, food and water for support, and fuels, wood, coal, oil, nuclear,
etc for energy sources. These all require managing at some level (which AI
can take over at different points of course) and infrastructures of their
own. I can see this as getting really complex really fast...

> I would like to model algorithms that make up the names for the
> technological breakthroughs, so they will not be limited or predifined,
> different civiliazations may have different means of accomplishing these
> things (different size devices, different levels of effeciency, etc)

And advances should not always have predictable or wholly good effects -
inventing AI should open a huge can of worms, as would methods of
motivation control.


Hmm, good idea as well. Would be difficult to implement, various past
technologies could have taken similiar turns, The more dynamic the game is
(the more it makes itself unique) as it goes along the better the
playability, and hopefully the more value in continued play.

So, know any good programmers with a lot of time on their hands =)


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