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increpare
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« on: May 03, 2008, 12:58:10 PM »



I always have wanted to program some sort of game using special relativity, but haven't quite figured out how best to do it yet.  However, I did think, just yesterday, 'gosh, I should be able to do something with lightcones' though.  So, in this simple concept game light has a finite speed, which basically means that when you see things far away from you, you're not seeing them as they are now, but rather as they were some time in the past. 

I decided on simple laser weapons (which travel at the speed of light), which means that you won't ever see the ones that hit you until it's too late  :D

Oh, I made it a split-screen two-player game so that you can see for yourself how the two players can see things totally differently.  (Edit: but, maybe the screens are on the wrong sides...I'll fix that in the next version  Lips Sealed )



I've not actually tried playing it with anyone yet; I assume that the gameplay potential in its current form is rather minimal, but I think it's still a little bit fun, and I might work more on it in the future.

And, I have two separate versions (both with sources: the mac ones should compile on linux machines as well...).

Lightcone for Windows (273KB)

Lightcone for Mac OS X 10.5 (443KB)


Controls:

Player 1: Cursor Keys and Spacebar
Player 2: W S A D and F
« Last Edit: October 04, 2008, 05:08:44 AM by increpare » Logged
increpare
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2008, 08:56:53 AM »

Just thought I'd bump this up here again now.  I always thought this idea was interesting and had some potential.  Anyone ever give it a spin?

(I added a working map executable as well)
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Rostiger
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2008, 11:19:55 AM »

From a theoretical point of view the idea is quite interesting, allthough it really boils down to making lags in mulitplayer games a gameplay mechanic. Wink
The gaming experience is indeed quite minimal, since I tried it alone. The split screen and the time delay can make things quite confusing.
Also when a shot or movement was 'echoed' on the other side it was jerking quite a bit - is that on purpose?
Maybe try to decrease the delay time of the echo a bit to make it more fast paced?

Just my 50 cents tho..

And yeah - flipping the screens would be a good idea. Wink
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Clemens Scott
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increpare
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2008, 11:32:12 AM »

Thanks for the comment dude.

allthough it really boils down to making lags in mulitplayer games a gameplay mechanic.
Heh.  Not quite though, because the lag depends on the relative distance of the players from eachother.  But sort of.  Wink

Quote
Also when a shot or movement was 'echoed' on the other side it was jerking quite a bit - is that on purpose?
Do you mean cases such as when you have two players on the same vertical line, say, and one fires directly at the other?  That is on purpose; it comes automatically the physics of the game.  That's to say: your bullets won't appear to move at a constant speed to the other player.

As for pacing issues, given that's it's such a prototypey-game anyway, I happy enough that it illustrates the basic effect.  It would be fun, I think, to have an actual multiplayer game where people could be playing in totally different parts of eachother's timelines.
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2008, 11:39:49 AM »

Its pretty cool.
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Gold Cray
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2008, 07:45:01 PM »

This has a lot of potential. I agree that having both players on the same screen doesn't work too well since you can see movement on the other screen before it happens on yours even if you're not trying, but that's difficult to fix without using multiple computers.

Of course, if you could find some sort of cheap color filter that the players could place over their eyes, you could simply color each side such that each player can only see details on his half of the screen. I'm not sure where you'd find something like that, though, and even if you did, how many people around here are likely to also find that?
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increpare
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2008, 05:14:39 AM »

This has a lot of potential. I agree that having both players on the same screen doesn't work too well since you can see movement on the other screen before it happens on yours even if you're not trying, but that's difficult to fix without using multiple computers.
maybe. 

For now this is my main idea: what sort of game could one engineer where the observed order of events might make a difference?    (this would actually be a single-screen game, so it would avoid a lot of the problems with the split-screen mode).

Maybe a puzzle game where you has a dude who needs to believe there is a balance between the good he observes in the world and the evil.  So say you could have him roaming about a city where various good/bad events happen, and you have to engineer it so that he witnesses events in a certain order.  If that makes sense?

(or maybe I should aim for the narrative to be more tied to the mechanic a la Braid.  hmm)
« Last Edit: September 13, 2008, 05:18:41 AM by increpare » Logged
agj
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2008, 10:22:47 PM »

Whoa, this is mind-bending! Sadly, I have no one to play it with for now.

I understand the principles behind this game, but could someone explain light cones succintly to me? I read the Wikipedia page and didn't fully get it.

Increpare, your idea of adding a narrative sounds intriguing. It could be something detectivesque, perhaps? You know, different points of view of what really happened, and maybe the player has to identify the correct order of events based on several reports.
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2008, 02:26:00 AM »

For now this is my main idea: what sort of game could one engineer where the observed order of events might make a difference?    (this would actually be a single-screen game, so it would avoid a lot of the problems with the split-screen mode).

Have various state-machine robots which change state when they observe an event.  And you have to try to manipulate them so they will enter a particular state and perform a certain action?  Or ensure that they never enter a state which sends them beserk?
Send signals to robots that hack them and deactivate them; it's best to do this before they see you and attack.
Send signals that hack them to ignore their next observed event.

Just throwing out what went through my head.
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increpare
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2008, 03:18:48 AM »

I understand the principles behind this game, but could someone explain light cones succintly to me?
The general idea is that because light has a finite speed when you 'see' far away  objects, you actually are seeing those objects as they were some time in the past.  The further away things are, the more out-of-sync they are.

For analogy, the speed of sound is finite (much slower than the speed of light), so when there's lightning you hear it after you see it; the further away it is, the greater the delay before you hear it.

Quote
Increpare, your idea of adding a narrative sounds intriguing. It could be something detectivesque, perhaps? You know, different points of view of what really happened, and maybe the player has to identify the correct order of events based on several reports.

That last idea might be mightily confusing.  It might work, but...I think I want something a little more intuitive.

Have various state-machine robots which change state when they observe an event.  And you have to try to manipulate them so they will enter a particular state and perform a certain action?  Or ensure that they never enter a state which sends them beserk?
Hmm.  That sounds like it might be quite complicated.  At the same time, there might possibly be something to extract form it.

Quote
Send signals to robots that hack them and deactivate them; it's best to do this before they see you and attack.
Send signals that hack them to ignore their next observed event.
The thing about sending signals as opposed to receiving them is that it wouldn't require much of a mechanism I think.  For instance, if you shoot lasers in lightcone, they behave in a very straightforward manner, versus trying to avoid other people's shots.

I've started programming this engine again from scratch in a slightly more robust way (and in Haskell  Wink ).  So far I have NPC unit support implemented, collision detection done.  I need to put in proper map support and figure out how to do a full-screen mode. 

I'm slightly torn between the idea of beefing up the engine straight away, and the idea of trying to develop the prototype into something fun and playable.  I should probably play it safe and go for the latter option I guess.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 03:21:56 AM by increpare » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2008, 05:52:51 PM »

I understand the principles behind this game, but could someone explain light cones succintly to me?
The general idea is that because light has a finite speed when you 'see' far away  objects, you actually are seeing those objects as they were some time in the past.  The further away things are, the more out-of-sync they are.

For analogy, the speed of sound is finite (much slower than the speed of light), so when there's lightning you hear it after you see it; the further away it is, the greater the delay before you hear it.

Oh, sorry, yeah, that's the part that I understand. What I didn't understand was how this is graphable into two cones and all that. I don't get the relation.


Maybe the best way of making your game intuitive is setting it over galaxies light years apart, so that relativity makes sense by the scale?
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increpare
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2008, 06:03:37 PM »

One screen gives the light-cone of one player, the other screen gives the light-cone of another.  Lightcone is a two-person game.  There isn't just one lightcone for a particular time (All this is Galilean physics, nothing fancy); each person sees different things.  It might have been a bit clearer had I, say, have the view centred around each person instead of having both players looking at what appears to be exactly the same view.

Maybe the best way of making your game intuitive is setting it over galaxies light years apart, so that relativity makes sense by the scale?
Your right, the scale of the game makes it really weird and unintuitive (not that most people have much of an intuition for galactic-scales either though).  There is another possibility as well.  But I don't know.  I'm still thinking.
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2008, 01:07:21 AM »

Maybe the best way of making your game intuitive is setting it over galaxies light years apart, so that relativity makes sense by the scale?

A vast empire-building strategy game, where you have to deal with the time delay for your distant units sending intel and receiving orders?  WANT.
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increpare
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2008, 06:53:11 AM »

A vast empire-building strategy game, where you have to deal with the time delay for your distant units sending intel and receiving orders?  WANT.
You could just as easily have a Napoleonic-era wargame with those sorts of issues.  Or something similar any time pre telecommunications....
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Zaphos
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2008, 03:26:26 PM »

I like the idea of this game occurring on a small scale, it's very Mr Tompkins which is always good.

Also I think it is fundamentally unintuitive regardless of scale.  Some additional visualization of the information propagation might help ... although I'm not really sure how to do that elegantly.
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2008, 03:47:11 PM »

A vast empire-building strategy game, where you have to deal with the time delay for your distant units sending intel and receiving orders?  WANT.
You could just as easily have a Napoleonic-era wargame with those sorts of issues.  Or something similar any time pre telecommunications....

Okay, but what if you then add in faster-than-light travel, and have a ridiculous time-travelling war in the manner of Stephen Baxter's Exultant?  Now there's a book that needs to be made into a game.  Also, black hole cannons and infinitely fast computation.
Small scale's good too though.  I like how beams of light heading towards you you see all all at once along their path.
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« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2008, 05:33:43 PM »

I've wanted, for some time, to play a space combat game that takes place over immense distances, light seconds and minutes apart, trying to fire your laser batteries and relativistic missiles at where you think the enemy will be.

as for why the propagation of light can be described as a cone; imagine a star exploding right now. someone observing a million light years away won't see it or be effected by it for a million years. someone two light minutes away will see and feel it in two minutes. the cone is the expanding sphere of influence of the event, over time.

a cone is a 3 dimensional representation of a 4 dimensional concept (i.e. the influence of a given event traveling at light-speed through space)
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« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2008, 08:15:08 AM »

A vast empire-building strategy game, where you have to deal with the time delay for your distant units sending intel and receiving orders?  WANT.
You could just as easily have a Napoleonic-era wargame with those sorts of issues.  Or something similar any time pre telecommunications....

blah blah ftl

Also, I still want the Napoleonic wargame with realistic communication delay and packet loss.  To my knowledge that hasn't been done either.
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agj
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2008, 05:16:25 PM »

as for why the propagation of light can be described as a cone; imagine a star exploding right now. someone observing a million light years away won't see it or be effected by it for a million years. someone two light minutes away will see and feel it in two minutes. the cone is the expanding sphere of influence of the event, over time.

Thanks, that makes sense!
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Graham Lexie
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2008, 08:12:38 PM »

Awesome concept. I picture it making a really interesting strategy game or puzzle game. Also, abstract = yes plz =)
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