DISCLAIMER: Ok, so you’ve most likely read this before but whatever. I’m insane so this will read like it’s insane. Also, nothing here is final and is subject to change. And please don’t get excited yet.
Ok, so no doubt the market is filled with Space Sims at the moment… so many that I cannot even count. Some aren’t finished but have already earnt enough money, others have had rocky launches. Why? Because of the openness of a space game, they are the impossible. That’s possible. Such a wide-open genre that seems to have no end, also it keeps me up at night until now-ish. If what I’m about to present to you works.
So, I was talking with our Lead Developer Adam and I presented to him an idea.. the Meta-Game. An AI that never sleeps, an ai capable of anything… and you’ll never see all of it 75% of the time. So, what is it? Good question, it’s the huge factor of our AI allowing it to think by itself based off a list of behavior templates set to whatever profession/personality traits the AI entity has.
Ok, I’ll explain it with more depth.
So, first off now this is still being designed so it may change. We have Visible Entities, Meta Entities, Faction Entities and Universe Entities.
Visible Entities are the ones you see and interact, technically every entity has a Visible part to it but that part is only turned on if you are within range of that Entity’s point. Visible Entities are a captured shot of a meta entity acting in real-time, so it could be a Person, it could be a Ship or a monster. Each of them are “entities”.
Meta entities are generated will be generated when you first load the game, now these are one level above Visible Entities they have no physical appearance however the entity is still interacting with the game world and still affecting it while you’re away. Now, for the sake of saving your CPU Adam came up with an idea of Faction Entities.
Faction Entities are grouped Meta Entities, it will be eventually based on Friendship, faction and other variables. But that’s not quite figured out yet, these Faction Entities have trees that contain Meta entities simulating within those trees. Now this will only be running if you’re VERY far away from the Meta Entity location, I haven’t quite figured out how they are working yet but we do have quite a lot of time before it needs to be figured out.
Universe Entities, keep track of every change made to the Universe once a change is made it stores it in with the location and the general situation and keeps it like that. Unless a Meta or Universe Entity changes it then the other file is overwritten (not save files) and the same process is applied. However it also can provide for “moving” objects, such as a destroyed ship husk the Universe Entity will keep track of the movement pattern and also it’s position and store it. Again, not all of this is figured out we’re not sure if we can do all of it yet on the Technical side.
So, how will it work design wise?
Good question, design wise each entity will have a generated score of multiple personality factors and also a “career” and assigned personality traits, then it assigns them a “major” goal such as Faction Leader or Hobo King. Which the AI then starts off from the bottom and moves successfully or unsuccessfully achieves that goal. Or is killed, or has a mid-life crisis and changes aspirations. There are countless possibilities here.
What if the entity is being bossed around by another leader, they thought they could arise through the ranks and get to the top through this boss. However this boss is making the entity’s life very hard, well the entity has the Leadership Trait however they also have a randomly generated trait that makes them cowardly under pressure. (Not the best leader) So, after that the entity themselves decide what to do and how to do it.
Entities also have hunger, thirst and other possible needs. (Including romance and reproduction.)
So, how far will we take it? I said I feared not being unique, other games have a meta-game. Have you ever heard of the bear story in DnD from 4chan? Well, Adam and I were talking and this is an example of how far the meta-game can go.
A rat is born from two rats mating, this rat somehow is captured by a research vessel, the rat is then taught English and other human ideals as an experiment.
Somehow the rat is very intelligent and somehow learns how to disguise itself and causes a mutiny putting the ship into the Rat’s control. (Remember that no one knows that the rat is… a rat.) The Rat begins the long journey of leadership, faking English and being human and eventually becomes a Faction leader that the rat founded. Then that faction takes over the universe, that Rat is not only a master tactician, genius rat and disguise master. That rat is now the emperor of the universe, of course someone could just see through the disguise and end the rat’s life there and then. And what happens if the rat wants to reproduce with humans? Boom. New race right there, rat-people everywhere and you the player see it all happen before your own eyes. It’s all possible with our ultimate vision.
Now, I’m not saying ALL of it could be done, we’d like all of it to be done however and we WILL try. It’s going to take a long time but we’re going to start work on this after Milestone 5. And the best part? It’s going to be written in Lua so you can always change it or mod it to your own extent. If you think you know enough you can help us out in building this ultimate challenge.
Oh well, that’s enough ranting of infinite promise today. I hope you enjoyed this! And please note, nothing here is final.