Hull Patching, and Item Fetching

Hey Folks! Minor update today, as I'm sort of mid-feature right now. I'm working on making the hull-patching process use items from elsewhere on the ship.

Yesterday, we had the new ability to damage floor tiles, and to manually order AI to patch them. This always succeeded, and required no special equipment. And what I eventually want is for the AI to go get the materials for the job first, and then patch the hole. (Think of Rimworld, where the AI runs to the depot to get materials, then to the job site.) Today's image shows the floor, damaged floor, patched floor, and hull patch item in the lower right corner.

This, however, turns out to be a tricky bit of functionality to code. The first piece was to shore-up the item taking/giving code within interactions a bit. The old code allowed for taking/giving items, but it assumed those items were either on the person right now, or not. And it would succeed/fail right away based on that. I needed some interactions to work that way, while others to let the AI fetch the item first. Coding this wasn't too hard, but I took a bit more time on the data side, since there was some clean-up to do there.

Once that was setup, I needed the game to handle the new fetch/don't fetch flag when deciding if it could do an action. And if it was fetching, to keep track of what needed fetching for later. The AI then needed to check this fetch list whenever starting a new task, and if something was on that list, go fetch the item.

This is about where I am now. When the AI is ready for their next task, the code is checking that task for any related fetch items. If present, it's inserting a task to take the item. This task, however, needs to be preceded by a "walk" task in cases where the object is distant. And this task also needs to interact with the object's parent container, if present.

Basically, this is going to mean some specific handling for that type of task. Likely something done through bespoke code, instead of generic data. And some of the scheduling is turning out to be tricky.

Of course, it's also late on a Friday, and I often find my brain is more suited to this type of work earlier in the day. So I'm going to leave it at this for now, and hopefully pick it back up again with a fresh brain Monday. Have a good weekend, all!

Tags: Ostranauts


Josh_A_Culler's picture

Hi Dan, I saw your post about being discouraged with the game status and I wanted to comment on that because I understand the sentiment myself in other ways. Ive recently come to some conclusions myself about my artworks and had some realizations regarding that. It started with the completion of a video I had been working on: which was something that started out as a “vision of perfection” (so to speak) and was certainly a labor of love for me. I spent about 2 months working on it, at least 8 hours a day, often more, on into nights, disregarding sleep and so on. The music was a remix of an older track and didnt take much time to complete - however the various animations and comping them together and adding fx and so forth took a significant amount of time and work to accomplish. When it was completed I was happy to see I had completed it as I wanted it to be (even though the youtube encoder messed it up a bit in terms of colors/resolution/flow etc). And yet - it only got 105 views and hasnt got more in months since. The point is that I spent a significant amount of life on this, in terms of blood sweat and tears, and yet it resulted in basically nothing in terms of productivity or sharing and so forth. I did achieve my vision,more or less, and I was satisfied with the result - and yet it remains only a private victory, which came about at the expense of my life in the world... because I ended up neglecting many other “normal” things in the process.

I came to realize that my idea of “perfection” when it comes to my art has little to nothing to do with the actual productivity of being an “artist” when it comes to living in the world. In other words, it seems my perfectionism is actually an obstacle and a hindrance rather than something that helps me achieve “life goals” in terms of financial stability and gaining “posessions” such as the house with the picket fence and so forth. I realize it is a personal issue and not a generalized statement, but that doesnt really make the realization any less difficult.

In terms of musical output, there are times when the music flows without much effort (if any at all) and I am able to complete tracks within a day or two, and oddly enough these seem to be the best recieved by others (such as yourself) whereas when I spend lots of time obsessing over details and really pouring a lot of “control” and polish on it, it just ends up taking forever and often results in lackluster output. This is not always true, but more often than not it happens this way.

I just wanted to share these thoughts with you because I think you might understand where I am coming from, especially after reading your comments about not having a game yet, and especially not having a thing which is just “fun”. To wit, I submit the phenomena of the “Goat simulator” and anything in a similar vein. A lark where some guys were fucking around, and which was realeased as a joke, more or less - and which resulted in (IMHO unexplainably) MASSIVE success.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share as I make my way out west. Im in the process of moving closer to the coast out there (not sure where just yet) and I thought I would share some feelings about “new beginnings” with you. Anyways, take care and good luck with everything.

dcfedor's picture

Hey Josh!

Great to hear from you. And yeah, it helps to hear how another creative copes with doubt, productivity, accomplishment, and inspiration. They're all seemingly on separate wavelengths, and it can be hard to keep them in check and behaving so we can get things done.

Your point about only having 105 views strikes a chord, too. I don't know why, but simply creating art doesn't feel as fulfilling as sharing it with others. I don't want that to be necessary for my happiness, but it is. So it can be really tough if others don't get excited the way we do about an idea (or an execution of an idea).

It's a bummer you didn't draw the crowd you hoped for. But sometimes (or maybe often?), it's less about the merits of what we do, and more about timing. Wouldn't be so many "cult classics" if everything got the reception they deserved at release :)

As for inspiration, I think I remember reading somewhere about a writer or composer who said she thought of inspiration as a thing blowing across the surface of the Earth. And as an artist, you can't force it to come, bottle it up, or steer it. You just gotta be ready at any moment to translate as much of it onto "paper" as you can while it passes through you.

And I'm starting to discover that's true of negative feelings, as well. The emotional troughs take their turns, too, and some days you just have a funk (the bad kind) you can't get out of. You can't necessarily avoid them, and you can't really stop them, either. The best you can do is just divert their energy away from what matters. And give your brain a chance to recover.

Because when it recovers, it'll be ready to pump out the good stuff :)

Keep me posted on your arrival to the coast! If you're ever up near the Emerald City, we can grab a drink or something.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games