Monday, October 27, 2008

Guard Turfs

I've hacked together the beginnings of guard turf. The idea of turf is to have some areas of the map in which the player can move unmolested so long as he doesn't do anything suspicious. Here's a quick visualization of the turfs (click to enlarge):

Different guards have different turfs: the bank guards care about the cyan building in the upper right, for instance. This is likely overkill; I will probably be able to cut it down to a guarded/unguarded designation, or break it down by a handful of factions.

As an initial test I just made it so that guards can't see you if they are patrolling and you're not in their turf. This is not a terribly satisfactory solution, though.

I also did a quick experiment in loiter detection. I thought it might be interesting if the street guards would harass you if they thought you were hanging around somewhere you ought to be moving along. When I mentioned this to my wife she laughed and said that the Supreme Court has had its hands full slapping down anti-loitering legislation. Loiter detection in real life is tricky at best, often amounting to an excuse for police to arrest black men driving with white women and that sort of thing. Apparently Mayor Daley of Chicago has tried several times to pass laws prohibiting gang members from loitering on the streets.

Fortunately I don't care if my guards are just or not, so long as they act believably. I have tried summing the player's movements over a window of a few turns and if the resulting vector falls below a threshold he's considered to be loitering. I think this might work out OK.

I'm still pondering whether the addition of turfs is a good design decision. One goal is to add relatively safe areas from which to reconnoiter the guarded areas, looking for good ways in. Another goal is to have accessible public areas. I plan to do some experiments with overheard speech soon, and would like to have safe areas in which to listen. Also I'd like to have non-guard people walking the streets. These goals could also be met to some extent by providing appropriate cover or darkness within guarded territory, but I think the turfs will provide an additional layer of control and believability.

1 comment:

Edwin said...

Hi, just discovered your blog through Amit's links. Your RL is shaping up quite nice. Keep at it :)