Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Titanomachia: What a Twist! [Part 3]

There can never be surprises in logic.
-Ludwig Wittenstein

Having pointed out what I want to do with Titanomachia, which is have a wholly combinatorial game, one might imagine that games would either be dull exercises in calculation, or that they would, as I frequently critique Battletech, applied book-keeping. However, just because I feel the need to look beneath the skin of what I'm making so I can understand what it might do, and hence how the end-users, or players, might do with it, does not then follow that I'm looking to make a toy-game used to illustrate a concept in analyzing interactive and strategic decision-making.  

Hence, contra the esteemed Philosopher, we're working with logics in which there may be surprises. As any game-player is aware, despite knowing the parameters available to our opponents, they can still take us unawares if they make risky moves, and either bet on long-shots, or pull out complex, dependency-loaded strategies. So long as the information load on the players exceeds their ability to handle it, then they can be taken by surprise. As Turing mentioned long ago in his bait-and-switch article on whether machines could think, computers do unexpected things all the time despite the a priori notion, without any reference to available resources, we should have expected those results. Mind you, logic has gone to some weird and wonderful places since Wittgenstein's time, although Non-well-found Set Theory had been worked on since before his time. Which brings me to an interesting concept:

Imagine a game where each player has two moves, the same two buttons if you will, and they alternate pressing them. Now, each button will do something slightly different, in degree if not in kind, with each press. So, for example, imagine if by pressing button A you doubled the result obtained the next time you press A, and by pressing button B you halved the result your opponent obtains by pressing A.  Not exactly where I want to go, but I think it gives some idea of how, if the game-tree can be made iterative, then how I can achieve that 'explosiveness' that works so badly in logic but so well in games. Of course I want Titanomachia players to have a good idea of what's going just, just not a perfect idea. 

Several posts ago I mentioned Soul Caliber as an interesting example of contextual controls, in that the four basic movies change their effect (and effectiveness) depending both on movement, and the previous move executed. It's something that I would kill to see in a 3rd person hack-and-slash like Space Marine, particularly if the library of moves could be expanded. 

Currently I have the following notions for actions in Titanomachia:

  • Move (Propulsion)
  • Attack (Weapons)
  • Defend (Shields)
  • Damage Control (Crew)
  • Fire Control (Sensors)

In the next installment of this riveting series, I'll be constructing a somewhat complex framework for how the sequences of these actions might change their values. 

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