What an Idiot I Am!

I won’t even bother presenting the “You snivelling fool!” audio clip — this is even worse than that. Get a load of the idiotic Java code I used to declare who the human player is:

human = (tLabel.equals(“Nynub"));

This is right in the code! So when I changed the name of that Actor from Nynub to Caronycoorck, the engine failed. It took me half an hour to find that screwup. The funny thing is, after examining the original source code, I can’t figure out how it was done when it was done properly. Moreoever, for Siboot, I’ll want the player to be able to play as any of the Actors, so I need a capability to choose the Actor at the outset of the game. There’s no obvious way to do that just now. Nor can I figure out a good correction for the above line, other than to change the name of the humanized Actor.

But I have a more important problem to solve: how are my Actors going to interact during conversation? Yesterday I ruled out all the verbs that relate information about Actors’ assessment of each other, on the grounds that these values should have long since been figured out, and by the fact that I want the player to start the game with a good idea of the relationships among the Actors. But if they can’t talk about their feelings, what can they talk about?

The obvious answer is “Events”. They should be able to talk about who did what to whom. But this is complicated by my restriction that only two Actors can occupy a Stage at any given time. That means that there will be no witnesses to any Event, other than the two participants. Why would either one want to talk about what they did together? 

I suppose that DirObject could talk about threats or deals, or broken deals or lies. But threats or deals are only interesting to a third party if information about that third party is revealed. Here’s the problem: if X tells Y about Z’s aura count, it can only be because Y asked for that aura count. X wouldn’t gain anything by revealing that Event, and neither would Y. So people would never want to reveal such deals. 

Perhaps I should rely on spying to handle this. People could spy on each other, occasionally get caught, and then relate all sorts of information to others. However, I’m not sure that I want to try to engage the spying facilities — they’ve never been tested. Still, I like the idea of adding spying as a dramatically interesting option. And it would certainly provide lots of grist for the grapevine. 

What if spying is accomplished by hiding? When somebody leaves, you have two options: meditate or hide. If you take the latter option, then others can enter and you can spy on their conversations. This would be more believable than the current spying scheme, in which you somehow secretly follow people around. We could even set up a Stage attribute for how many good hiding places there are. This could make some Stages more secure than others. 

So let’s talk this through. Players A and B are conversing. Player B departs; player A hides. Some time later player C enters; later, player D enters. They converse, with player A witnessing it. Now player A has learned some Events. Player A can seek out other players who were affected by the conversation between C and D. Player A reveals the Events and this causes that third party to feel bad things about either C or D. 

But can I structure the verb so that it works? I suppose if I provide a set of verbs, each appropriate the Event being revealed, it could be done. Removing the Verbs that involve feelings, I’m left with the following reportable Verbs:

suggest deal
goal aura count
goal promise
goal relic
accept deal
reject deal

But these are not equally important. I suppose that it would be useful to know about goals that were not achieved, but much more interesting would be deals accepted or rejected. This would be expressed as follows:

Subject tells deal accepted DirObject that 4Actor 5Verb 6Actor in return for 7Verb

But we could also just report the final results:

Subject tells observation DirObject that 4Actor 5Verb 6Actor

The flaw in this is that, when 5Verb is tell aura count, DirObject would want to know what exactly was told, so we’d have different WordSockets, requiring us to have independent verbs for tell observation deal and tell promise no attack and tell observation give relic.

This could work. It could also blow up in my face. Oh, one other thing: I should allow each Actor to learn better about other Actors’ aura counts during their time in the Dream World. Perhaps the quality of this information is enhanced by that Actor’s “strength”, which is derived from meditation and possession of Siboot artifacts.