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The Future of Zones

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Pepsi Ranger
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Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 493
Location: South Florida

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2011 6:24 pm    Post subject: The Future of Zones Reply with quote

Well, I was waiting to post this until after the Zones article in HamsterSpeak #49 got its pictures, but it's getting late, and I don't want to hold this discussion back any longer, so I'm gonna go ahead and get this going.

If you read through the article, you'll see that there's a segment at the end called "The Future of Zones." In that section I discuss two confirmed plans for zones and a wish list of other features that I would personally like to see zones accomplish.

But we're a community, and the community should have a chance to voice its input so that the developers have more ideas to work with in the future. So here's how this thread works. Tell them what you want to see zones do. Do you want them to have a roulette button? Say so. Should NPCs have several possible zone restrictions? How would you like to see that handled? You have games. You want to maximize your games' potential. Speak up. What should the future of zones entail?

As a bonus, since the article discusses NPC movement in zones, we can also use this thread to discuss our desires for NPC movement features (in zones and out).

Here's a working list to get this thread started (copy/pasted from an old discussion over e-mail about six months ago). Add, debunk, and discuss.

General Uses for Zones:

Most of these would probably need plotscripts, or general bitsets that can support plotscripts.

“While in Zone”
A list of functions that can happen while the player is in the given zone. May include a general list of bitsets similar to those that run when the player is on a specific map:

Force Animate Tile (May toggle animation styles: for example, a water tile may change animation if the player walks through it / can turn animations on, off, or switch starting tile and animation sequence)
Play Sound in Zone (Yes, No) (If Yes: One-time, Continuous)
Show Slice/Sprite (This may not be practical unless slices become a built-in engine feature, but it may prove helpful for showing atmospheric effects while player is in a zone)
Run Script / Check Script (First runs script upon entrance, second runs continuously)

“Swap Zones”
Switches the behaviors of two zones.

“Neutral Zone”
If turned on, this may change the behavior of preset bits on a specific map:

Stop Foemap (if “Neutral Zone” is turned on, all foemap data within the zone turns to zero)
Stop NPCs (if turned on, NPCs in zone stop walking)
Stop Animation (if turned on, animation tiles in zone stop animating)
Stop Sound / Music (if turned on, sound effects and/or ambient music stops)

“Active Zone,” or, “Normal Zone”
Returns zone affected by “neutral zone” back to normal.

“Discontinue Zone”
Turns off default zone behavior.

“Continue Zone”
Turns on default zone behavior.”

To reiterate the things that NPCs could do to make zones better:

“Search Zone Edges”
NPCs set to make turns can search for turns in zones (in my example, this type of NPC could stick to the sidewalks, and turn whenever he or she reaches a crosswalk for example).

“Search Random Zone Edge”
Works exactly like the first, but has the option to skip the turn in situations where an NPC may enter an intersection and decide to keep walking forward.

“Switch to Zone”
In cases where zones may overlap and/or form alternate paths for NPCs, the designer may want to allow the NPC to cross over to the new zone. This may be better suited for plotscripting, but it may not hurt to have a few built-in arguments for simple cases. If zones are not overlapping, then the NPC will treat the zones like “doors.” May need alternative bitsets “only use if overlapping,” “use anywhere.”

“Avoid Zone”
NPC may wander freely around the map, but treats the specified zone as a wall.

“Advanced Wander”
Set an approximate range of forward motion to allow NPCs to cover more ground in faster time. Set a minimum and maximum tile distance the NPC has to wander in any given direction before making a random turn and starting over again. Ensures more ground is covered for sentry types, for example.

“NPC Zone Trigger”
If the NPC enters a specified zone, a plotscript could run. This could have general and NPC-specific bitsets.

“NPC Follows Who”
Forces a specific NPC to follow or “chase” another specific NPC. Alternate bitset may allow NPC to chase closest NPC.

“NPC Avoids Who”
Forces a specific NPC to avoid another specific NPC. Alternate bitset allows NPC to avoid all other NPCs.

What else would you guys want to see zones and NPC movement types accomplish?
Progress Report:

The Adventures of Powerstick Man: Extended Edition

Currently Updating: General sweep of the game world and dialogue boxes. Adding extended maps.

Tightfloss Maiden

Currently Updating: Chapter 2
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Joined: 02 Apr 2005
Posts: 94
Location: Blythewood

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

more pokemon games

safari zone

danger zone

time zone (advanced day/night or time travel system)

tmc zone so he will be trapped to work on the ohr forever
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On the Verge of Insanity

Joined: 05 Apr 2003
Posts: 3240
Location: Matakana

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Charbile wrote:
tmc zone

Welcome to my domain.

 FF     IRED

"It is so great it is insanely great."
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