Design and documentation journal for my interactive fiction (text games); also reviews and other miscellaneous stuff.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Precipitation, Gen. Update

I suspect one of my analyzing functions is broken, because I keep getting reasonable results when I test the amount of snow that might fall in a month, and really odd results when I test the amount of rain. (It's 0 far too often, and then occasionally it's something like 4m. WTF?)

Regardless, I know that I'll have to play with rain - I have to do some calculating, but I'm pretty sure that it rains too often, especially since I have rates of fall in there now. Snow fall is currently a flat 7mm per hour; rain varies from what Wikipedia tells me is light to what Wikipedia tells me is heavy.

Since rain's more important than snow, because of the crops, this needs to be looked at. Still, though - good snow numbers. That's something to be grateful for.

For now, I'll assume that everything gets the right amount of water, and try to remember to extrude areas where detailed calculations will need to be added after I've fixed the weather.

Did a lot of fiddly work yesterday - Inform did something weird when I defined trees in a table, and made their printed plurals all "trees". So a room description looked something like:

Cobblestone Path
You see six trees, five trees, three trees, and seven trees here.

Dear Inform: Fuck you, too. Since the manual simply assured me that it had a very complex and accurate plurality detecting mechanism (which apparently it doesn't always like using), I implemented the hackiest hack ever ("The printed plural name of a tree is usually [item described]s" and then spent a big part of the day fixing trees that didn't fit that mold, and then making sure that Inform understood "maples" as the plural of red, striped, black, mountain, sugar, and silver maples.

Looked at Disambiguation Control. The documentation is sort of confusing. I'm not having difficulty now with the parser's disambiguation, but surely it's only a matter of time. I'm not sure how much I prefer having the parser ask lots of questions vs. just doing something. There's no puzzles to solve or anything. Still. (Shelved until I start seeing problems and have energy to deal with lots of fiddly bits.)

Looked at library message replacement. The extension looks straight-forward, although coming up with umpteen thousand innocuous messages certainly won't be. (Shelved.)

Not enough stuff is easily accessible in the Index. I still do a lot of trawling through code, looking for variable names. I should really do my own database for that. Damn.

I have an overall layout I like for the map overall. Farm layout is still kind of subpar, though. Distances are a little odd, but I think I've got it worked out.

Beginning farm size is about 25 acres, although a good portion of that is overgrown and rocky. I'm guessing I'll give the average difficulty one section of the kitchen garden, the orchard, a field, and one fenced pasture for somewhere around 10 acres (mostly pasture, in case Kendra brought lots of animals). Five might be even better -this is one of those things I'll have to play to really know, and difficulty might alter this some. Expansion is possible to around 100 acres - almost certainly more than one person can handle, but this would allow for ample pasturing of breeding flocks, letting Kendra specialize if desired. (I suspect 10 will actually cut it for the vast majority of players, but who knows?) Potential farm area is mostly forested.

At the scale I'm doing, that means it's about three-four miles to the edge of the map - a reasonable walking distance for going to town or a major landmark, and that gives an overall area of around 50 square miles, which sounds okay. Certainly there's more packed into the game's 50 sq mi than most places, but that's all right, too.

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