Highest Rated Comments


jasonrohrer22 karma

Sexual reproduction WAS really important to the development of human society.

I wanted to represent sexual difference in the game. Leaving it out entirely would be weird.

But this is a 10,000-ft view of humanity. Every second that passes is six days. No night or day. No seasons. A abstract portrait.

From that distance, what's the most prominent difference between the sexes? The difference that has driven human society more than perhaps any other difference?

Women have babies, and men do not. I.e., they are the reproductive bottleneck.

So that's the way that I represented sexual difference in the game.

And sure enough, players behave according to the pressures that this one difference creates. In times of low population and desperation for growth, they will do anything to help the last girl in the village survive. In times of overpopulation, you will find the elders in the village scolding the young mothers, "Too many girls! We have too many girl babies!"

Paternity is totally glossed over here, which casts all men as uncles. There's nothing wrong with uncles. Selfish gene and all that.

Now, all that said, there are other, more pressing reasons why paternity is not represented in the game (because all the above stuff would still be true if it was represented). What about:

  • Negotiating consent
  • Harems
  • Rape

The idea of male characters chasing female characters around trying to impregnate them or pestering them for consent? It would turn the whole game into an annoying, over-sexualized joke.

And when there's only one man left alive in the village.... lucky guy!

You can see how including this stuff would have absolutely swamped the other aspects of the game. It would have become a game ABOUT sex, mating, and consent. Because humans are so fascinated with these things that they can't see anything else if these elements are present (try making an Oscar-quality film, but include one unsimulated sex act in there, and see what people end up talking about).

That's not what this game is about, at all.

jasonrohrer15 karma

Wait, who is doing this AMA, me, or my wife? :-)

Yes, it's true that I have absolutely nothing to do with the mobile version, and that I get no money from it.

Do I regret making the game public domain? No.

A few points:

  1. I was never going to put the game on mobile myself, nor translate it into Japanese. Thus, the game was never going to be seen by a Japanese market (they generally don't game on PC, so it's either mobile or console).

  2. There's not that much money in mobile. I'm charging people 4x more for the PC version than the mobile market could handle. Thus, it's going to be very hard for them to catch up to me, or overtake me, financially.

  3. The main problem that I have here is confusion. People think the mobile version was made by me. That's not good. But beyond that, there aren't really many down-sides. They are making money that I would never have made.

jasonrohrer10 karma

I spend quite a bit of time figuring out the types of games that have the least amount of market risk, while still leaving room for design and artistic innovation.

One Hour One Life is a good example: a crazy game that is unlike anything else, so that seems risky. But it's also scalably multiplayer (all the way down to single player, if necessary), weekly update-able, and infinitely youtube-able. If you look at Steam statistics, games that check at least one of these boxes are the ones that are most likely to be financially successful. OHOL checks all three boxes. This was on purpose.

But yeah, at this point in time, it would be insanely risky to make a story-driven single-player platformer. Like Braid. Probably don't go make Braid in 2019, okay?

After the moderate success of The Castle Doctrine (which didn't quite check those boxes), I let myself throw market caution to the wind, and I made Cordial Minuet, a 2-player, real-money gambling game.

Of course, if a gambling game takes off, it makes bazzillions, but there's no model for how that takes off. And for competitive gambling games, there's no model for how their 2-player mode takes off, let alone flies.

After accounting for the cost of a PAX South booth, Cordial Minuet LOST money. Oops.

That made me double down on my market research for the next one.

jasonrohrer10 karma

Kinrany, can you also list your top three favorite bits of Reddit formatting syntax?

jasonrohrer9 karma

The natural map is generated by a seeded 1/f-style noise system (Perlin noise). The seed predetermines the whole thing, all the way out to the limits of 32-bit integer coordinates. So the whole map is "set," and it can be looked up as needed, without saving any of it.

The only things that are saved are tiles that are modified by players. Build something. Move something. Chop down a tree. That kind of thing.

So we have a natural map, unstored, and then a sparse collection of modified tiles on top of that.

The storage requirements for those player-modifed tiles depends on what's in the tile. The key in the database is 16 bytes (four 32-bit ints, x, y, s, b). The data is a 32-bit int.

For a simple tile, with just a static object placed by a player, like a round stone, the storage requirement would thus be 20 bytes per tile.

But for a more complicated tile, with container storage slots, or even sub-container slots (basket in a box), the storage requirements grow. Roughly 20 bytes per object that is there. So a container with 5 objects would have 6 objects total in the tile, or 120 bytes.

This is what the "s" and "b" parts of the key are for (slot indices and sub-slot indices, at tile x and y).

And if the object there has a decay time that needs to be remembered, those are 8 bytes (double) stored under a 16-byte key. So that's 24 extra for that tile, again for each contained object or sub-contained object that has a decay time.

And the database is append-only, so this space usage builds up over time as objects move around.

Eve spawns in an infinite spiral that starts at 0, so there's no limit to how many Eve locations there can be (until they go off the map).

And the map is 4 billion tiles wide by 4 billion tall. Populating the entire thing would take five million centuries of real-life time, even if players placed a thousand tiles per second.