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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

GDD Calculator

This weekend I made a neat little widget to help me calculate how many growing degree days different plants have.  (The downside of having a devblog is that you can see when you're doing *exactly* the same thing you were doing this time last year.)  It's not tuned, but it's not bad, either. Basically, you can enter a planting date, and a number of days from the planting date; it gives you the estimated GDD for that number of days for the particular game location.

It has some shortcomings - notably, the weather system remains stable, so April 1 has the same weather average as April 30.  The total GDD for the location is a bit higher than it "ought" to be, largely because there's only an average of 11 degrees Fahrenheit between day temperature and night temperature.  Again, this is one of those seasonal things - there's much less swing in temperature during winter, whereas summer evenings have a swing of closer to 20 degrees.  Also, because GDD is never negative - you don't lose growth if a day is cold - the average GDD is misleadingly low.  So it's not perfect.  It is, however, a far sight better than using strict day counts to harvest, and it's a good starting point.  It got the few crops that I have GDD numbers for in the right ballpark, so that's heartening.  I plugged about 30 of the major crops into the table.

The part that might be helpful for testing/release would be the estimates of harvest dates given a planting date and a crop.  It could be useful internally (the game shouldn't suggest planting corn in August, when it's too late in the season to get a harvest), but it's not hooked up to the current system because I needed something quick and dirty.

For the game proper, I made another stab at a crude crop model - it grabs the GDD and applies it across the growing crops, and declares them mature once they hit a threshold.  It doesn't do anything else - you can't actually harvest them or anything - but it's a start. 

Yes, I'm still working on fishing, too.  Can't find a good way to streamline the process.  Am seriously considering reducing descriptions to modifiers of the noun proper instead of descriptions of the noun - so instead of talking about a large silver fish with a hooked chin, I'm thinking about more of a "The salmon is fat and fresh." type thing.  Because, you know, pretty much all fish are vaguely shaped the same, with similar fins and things, and it's hard to differentiate them, and not particularly helpful.  If players want to know what an alewife looks like, maybe they could Google Image it?  I dunno. 


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