Thursday, February 22, 2018

Considerations in Designing Side Scrolling/Platform Strategy Games

The hybrid of a side scrolling strategy or platform strategy game is rare, but not unheard of. Worms is probably the most popular turn-based example. Awesomenauts is a popular 2D sidescroller MOBA. Here are some considerations in designing a hybrid of both sidescrolling/platforming and strategy.

Sidescrolling Consideration:
Y-Axis: Movement and positioning in the Y-Axis. Top down and other games have an equal positioning advantage as the X-Axis, but in sidescrollers, the Y-Axis is special.

A game that does not or does little to utilize the Y-Axis most of the time eventually becomes boring unless by design that is prevented with other considerations such as spacing and formation.

Terrain: Related to the Y-Axis, however, has to do with if terrain affects the sidescrolling gameplay. terrain can be platforms or flat or destructible (like Worms) or a combination. Terrain also may offer gameplay advantages, especially with gravity enabled.
Gravity: Also related to the Y-Axis. If gravity has an effect, then it will affect movement in the Y-Axis.
Spacing: Spacing refers to the fact whether or not objects can overlap with each other or displace each other or a combination (allies can overlap but enemies can't, for example)

Platforming Considerations:
There's not much difference in considerations with sidescrollers, however, platformers have a more focused with physics, so things like gravity is a given with a platformer.

Platforms: The consideration is not about the actual platforms themselves, but the mechanics of the platforms. Platforms here are more in line with dynamic terrain, such as moving platforms, spikes, and the like.
Physics: Just simple or more complicated ragdoll physics? More complicated physics may lead to unpredictability.
Jumping and other Movement Mechanics: Platformers have mechanics such as jumping, dashing, walljumps, crouching, climbing, and other acrobatics.

Strategy Considerations:
Formation: Will a formation of units be more effective or will a doomstack of units be more effective? For example, having archers in the back while having spearmen in the front and has to do with Spacing.
Positioning and Cover: Y-Axis and Terrain placements (ie having archers on higher ground) and also has to do with Gravity and Spacing.Will terrain prevent weapons from hitting?
Timing: Will timing be necessary for any of the strategy?
Pathfinding: Since strategy is about sending units with orders usually, how to handle pathfinding over weird platforms or terrain.
Construction: Will structures be constructed and how to aid a strategic effort? Will they be on terrain or platforms?
Time: Will it be real time or turn based?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

True Bible Reasons Why Church Is On Sunday Not Saturday

We go to church on Sunday, but the Jews held Sabbath on the last day. Why?

Often, people will use verses on Jesus being resurrected on the first day, or that the observance of Sabbath and days must be fully convinced in his own mind, but a deeper study of those actually either is incomplete or misguided.

And that is not even to say that the Jews didn't use the solar Gregorian calendar, but the Hebrew calendar which is based on the lunar cycle. Which means the last day of the week in the Hebrew calendar is not always Saturday, but could be Wednesday then Thursday the next month. At least according to Google.

The Sabbath. Is it on Saturday or Sunday?

People miss the point. It isn't about the Sabbath. Going to church isn't the Sabbath. They are two totally different things.

Nowhere does the Bible say that Sunday or the first day of the week has replaced the Sabbath, but that doesn't mean people are wrong in gathering to worship on the first day

But where does it say we are to meet in church for the Sabbath? Nowhere, either. The Sabbath is to be holy, yes, but people make a logical leap and assumption that means "go to church".

In fact, the first day and last day are both important and holy in the Bible.  They are both important today, as well. Those days are when schools are off, and many, if not most, jobs are off.

So before I lose you with this reasoning seemingly without a point, I will make this assertion so you know where I stand: Saturday is still the Sabbath and a day of rest, however, Sunday is the day of assembly primarily for New Testament believers.

Notice I didn't say worship. We must worship God every day.

Let me substantiate this claim Biblically.

What is the Sabbath?

Exodus 20:8-11
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Where in these passages say that we are to gather together and worship on the Sabbath? Nowhere. To keep it holy, yes, but do not make the assumption and logic leap that "keeping it holy" is equal to "going to church". It may mean that, but not necessarily.

What it does say is that the Sabbath is mainly for rest, and it is in the seventh day.

Schools and many jobs have Saturdays off. It is already considered a day of rest.

Sabbath = last/seventh day of the week
Sabbath = rest
Saturday = off day from school and/or work
rest = off day from school and/or work
Saturday = last/seventh day of the week
Sabbath = Saturday

But what about keep holy, then, if it doesn't mean go to church? Keeping it holy means keeping it apart as its own day. The word holy means "sanctified, or set apart". The passages explain it, six days man shall labor, and on the seventh, man will rest, making it a special day apart. It doesn't mean go to church.

Now, we have established that the Sabbath is the last day and is about rest. What about the first day?

The First Days In The Bible

The first mention we have of the first day is in Genesis 1, like we do about the last day. God uses the Creation week as the reason why the last day is the Sabbath. Without getting too convoluted, I would surmise it is obvious why the first day is on the surface important in the Creation week, for it being the beginning. It is also important because Jesus rose again on the first day. But that is just the shallow end of reasoning if we want to prove why we assemble on the first day and hence why we will just pass over those reasons, no pun intended.

We know in Acts that the disciples gathered on the first day.

Acts 20:7
7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

Here we see clearly that the disciples came together on the first day.

Notice the phrase break bread. I believe this is referring to the communion (for obvious reasons). This will be important later on.

We also use this verse to justify all day meetings and also Sunday evening services, even if we don't always go till midnight.

Now, where does it say the first day replaced the Sabbath? Nowhere. Where does it say that the disciples gathering together means Sabbath? Nowhere. Where does it say preaching only happens in the Sabbath? Nowhere.

Now certain people would do some mental gymnastics and claim that since in Jewish time, days began in sunset or nightfall or whatever, and thus it was technically the last day, not the first day.

Which makes no sense because if they considered the first day as that time, it was the first day, and the day before the last day.

1 Corinthians 16:2
2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Here we see a command to the church to lay in store on the first day of the week. We understand this to be tithes and offerings. Where do we see it commanded that we are to collect offerings on the Sabbath?

Even in the Old Testament do we even find the first day holy for worship in some contexts.

Nehemiah 8:2
And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

Nehemiah 8:18
Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.

These passages show it isn't out of the ordinary to hold services on the first day or any other day of the week, even if it went from first to last day. Notice, too, on the eighth day, which is the first day repeating again, a solemn assembly was held.

Exodus 12:16-17

16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.

This is in the context of the Passover. So why is it relevant to the debate?

Jesus told us to observe the communion as oft as we will:

1 Corinthians 11:24-25
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Remember breaking bread when the disciples were gathered together in Acts? They were observing the communion.

The communion is our equivalent Passover as Christ fulfilled the Passover. We have unleavened bread to remember Christ our Lord, hence we need to observe it on the first day as does the feast of Unleavened Bread, not the last day.

Notice it doesn't say that the Passover observance on the first day replaces the Sabbath last day, doesn't it?

Lastly, we are to assemble as much as we see the day approaching:

Hebrews 10:25
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Now whether one chooses to assemble Saturday or Sunday or any other day of the week, we should assemble. And there's no Biblical law against assembling on Sunday. We should assemble more, in any day, not less. We have the liberty to.

First day = Passover
Passover = communion
First day = disciples gathered + preaching
Disciples gathered = communion/Passover
First day = store tithes and offerings
Disciples gathered = assembling
Assembling + preaching + store tithes and offerings = go to church
Sunday = first day
Sunday = go to church

In Conclusion

We assemble with the church to worship God on Sunday
NOT because it is the Sabbath
NOT because it replaced the Sabbath
BECAUSE the disciples did so
BECAUSE it is commanded to store our tithes and offerings on the first day
BECAUSE the first day is still important even though it isn't the Sabbath
BECAUSE we are to observe communion as oft as we will, which is connected to the Passover, which happens in the first day of the week
BECAUSE we are to assemble any time as the day comes
We may observe BOTH the last day of rest of Saturday and first day of assembly of Sunday.

Two weekend days sound nice, don't you think?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Counter-Intuition: Assumptions About Bible Translations That Are Just Isn't So

Assumption: Bibles are the same if they have the same meaning
Root assumption: Specific words are unimportant as long they get the meaning across
Counter: The Bible says God preserved the words, not meaning or ideas
Counter: Changing just one word in any text can drastically even completely reverse the meaning of said text. (Adding a "not" in Genesis 1:1 will completely destroy the meaning of the whole Bible)

Assumption: Only original languages are holy
Root assumption: God made the original languages only
Counter: God made all languages at the Tower of Babel

Assumption: Bible translations can never be inspired, inerrant, preserved, etc.
Root assumption: Bible translations are removed from the divine process
Counter: The Bible's original languages already has been translated en route. The Bible in Jesus' day was a translation of Aramaic, not the Hebrew. The New Testament uses Greek translated Old Testament references. All of these translations were inspired.

Assumption: There is no proper way to translate the Bible so scholars have to do so
Root assumption: Bible translations has never been done in Bible times.
Counter: Bible translation has been done in Bible times, and we can pattern the our Bible translation after them. For example, we know how the apostles translated the Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament references to Greek in the New Testament

Assumption: Bible translations can never be better than the original
Root assumption: Originals are always better
Root assumption: Translations are never mentioned in the Bible
Counter: Adam the original and Enoch the translated. The Bible uses the same words for inspiration of humanity as the same inspiration for the Word of God and hence we can make the leap that the translation of Enoch is in the same vein as inspiration and translation for text.

Assumption: Only the originals are perfect
Root assumption: The originals were perfect
Counter: The originals were not perfect, or rather, they were perfect for their time and time only.
Counter: God destroys the original writings in Jeremiah, and many like words were added.
Counter: The Bible says that patience has her perfect work. Nowhere do we see anything in the Bible instantly completely perfect (perfect as in both in form and maturity) without a time period of testing, trial, and purification. Jesus was born a baby, and had to grow in favor with God and man first, before going into ministry.

Assumption: No Bible translation can be the perfect Word of God because that means people before its translation didn't have the perfect Word of God
Root assumption: There can't be a progression because it is monolithic
Counter: There is a progression. God didn't give the whole original Bible at once, either. Revelation didn't come with Genesis. The Old Testament books were enough for the Jews for their time. The New Testament was added because it was enough for the Church for their time. It was collected all in one even long after he apostles' death in one place.
Root assumption: If there was no perfect Word of God back then, then the Bibles they had back then didn't do much
Counter: The Bibles they had were enough for them in their time period for what God wanted it to do
Counter: Jesus the perfect Word didn't come until many thousands of years later. Why didn't He come earlier to save?

Assumption: Bible translation beyond the original languages reduces the meaning of the originals
Root assumption: Reducing meaning is bad
Counter: Reducing meaning is good as it makes the language more specific.
Counter: (see below)

Assumption: Bible translations need to have word-for-word equivalency
Root assumption: Languages have only one word-to-word equivalency
Counter: They don't. However, translating always niches down to the correct specific word needed to be used. For example, we see the apostles translate Hebrew to Greek in more specific, specialized words or to more generic words but with less synonyms. For example, Hebrew Elohim can refer to God, gods, kings, angels, judges. Greek translates some to God, some to others, according to context. Hence translations should niche down to specific wording, instead of wider meaning. 

Assumption: Bible translations lose the force of the original languages
Root assumption: The force of the original languages is necessary (Contradicting the updated relevancy assumption)
Counter: Bible translations need the full force of the translated language, not the original language.

Assumption: Bible translations need to be relevant and updated to the modern speaker
Root assumption: Bible translations need to be updated for relevancy, not accuracy
Counter: The Bible in fact acknowledges archaic language even in light of modern words in I Samuel (seer versus prophet, where the book says prophet is the modern word, but continues to use archaic seer). There are times when archaic words are more accurate than modern words.
Counter: The main Bible versions have always been translated into the earliest, most basic form of languages. For example, early form Hebrew for OT, early form Aramaic for Daniel and translation, and koine Greek for New Testament, a Greek 400 years older from the apostles' time. And in that same vein, the English of 1611 is a language 400 years removed from us today, and even earlier.

Assumption: There can be more than one Bible version in any language and it still be the Word of God
Root assumption: There were multiple versions of other languages accepted as God's Word
Counter: There is only one version of Hebrew accepted. There is only one version of Aramaic translation of that Hebrew accepted. There is only one version of Greek translation of that Hebrew and Aramaic accepted. Hence it follows that there can only be one version for one language.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

InDev: Conveyor RTS

Conveyor RTS is an RTS based on Command and Conquer 4 Crawler system + Factorio style construction/crafting + Warrior Kings faction system + Warzone open world. Resources are limited and players must always be on the move.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Did Jesus Burn In Hell for 3 Days and 3 Nights?

Q: Did Jesus burn in Hell for 3 days and 3 nights?
A: Jesus descended into Paradise in Hell, but did not burn in Hell.

Psalms 16:10
Old Testament saints' souls went down after death, not up.
No contradiction to Ecclesiastes 3:21 as spirits, not soul, go up.
Acts 2:27 applies this to the death of Christ.

Luke 16:19-31
Story of rich man, and Lazarus
Abraham's bosom/Paradise of the Old Testament saints, fiery hell was across it in a gulf and thus separate, but both hell + paradise as one were considered hell.
Ephesians 4:8-10
Jesus descending, but never says He went to the part that was burning.
The captives here are the Old Testament saints.

Luke 23:43
Jesus says to the thief he will be with Him in Paradise.
This is not heaven because He did not ascend to the Father yet according to John 20:17, hence this means He descended to Paradise next to hell.

I Peter 3:18-20
What Jesus did underneath the Earth along with taking captivity captive is preaching to the spirits in prison who were disobedient before the Flood.

2 Corinthians 12:4 + Revelation 2:7 Paradise from below now transported to Heaven above then New Jerusalem of Heaven transported to the Earth

Friday, October 20, 2017

Problems With Video Game Sequels (The Dawn of War Trilemma)

So often, we play an original video game and expect a sequel. And we expect that sequel to live up to our expectations. Unfortunately, while sequels are often better on paper, with better graphics or technology or added gameplay mechanics or a storyline, our expectations are often shattered.

Gamers have a feeling of gameplay that is very unique for each game. A balancing, if you will. There's a rhythm to a game. A high then a low, a push and a pull.

Unfortunately, game feel, as vague as it is, is a very important, if not the most important thing to a player. Violate that with a sequel, you as a game designer will be the subject of ridicule. A player buys a game for more of the same thing.

If you violate a player's balancing and rhythm, you will pay.

He will not listen to your cries of innovation or your logical reasons for such-and-such addition. He will go to Steam, to the reviews, to the internet and attack.

Game feel is so important that many games market themselves as recapturing the game feel of a previous game. Many indie RTSes since Command and Conquer's downfall market themselves as having Comand and Conquer gameplay. Critics of the recent spate of "Dark Souls of..." game reviews are missing the point. A game feel of Dark Souls was subjectively captured by a reviewer who played... say.. Cuphead, for instance. Ignore the difference of genres and graphics and sound and whatnot. It's the feeling that's important, and Cuphead delivered on the boss pattern studying feeling of Dark Souls. At least to some people.

Speaking of Command and Conquer, its fourth installment greatly violated their audience's game feel expectations. Now it is dead. Even if justified by lore, even if it works as a standalone strategy game, it just doesn't work as a game in the series. It should have gone to the way of its Free-To-Play C&C online game Tiberium Alliances and should have been its own thing, rather than the 4th installment. It would be received better, or if not, as least it would have not tanked the franchise as much. (No pun intended)

Dawn of War is in a unique position where all titles in the series have very different gameplay from each other. The first one was the most traditional RTS of the three, having base building. The second one focused on more micromanaged units, squads, and tactics system that removed base building. The recent third is being accused of having too much MOBA elements. Each has a very distinct feeling to them.

A solution I propose is if a company wants to make games set in the same universe as the original game with whole new gameplay is not include the game in a numbering sequence and have the main series name as the subtitle. For example, Red Alert is technically part of the Command and Conquer series, but Red Alert is the main and standalone title. A more obvious example is The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Fans hated when the FPS was just called XCOM, but now it has a more positive welcome when the name was changed to The Bureau as shown by positive Steam reviews.

Sequels that are well received are often "remasters" and minor improvements of the same game. Not remasters in the traditional sense, but rather, having the same exact game, just with better graphics, audio, more story, and more maps. No gameplay features are subtracted or added. The Call of Duty series is a great example of this: the more futuristic its sequels were, the more it was derided. Gamers wanted a "boots on the ground" experience. The "boots on the ground" was a game feel that couldn't be violated. Infinite Warfare shattered that game feel, ultimately. World At War, Modern Warfare, and Black Ops didn't stray too far from the original game feel that they were well received as sequels.

The XCOM series in general usually has a great naming convention for its spinoffs, except for the aforementioned snafu with Bureau. Its FPS and flight simulator spinoffs were made clearly different from the other games in the series. Even XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a whole new different naming convention from the original XCOM.

The problem with game designers is that they often have new ideas for new game mechanics, especially from playing other games in the genre, or from studying the problems of previous games in the series and correcting those problems wrongly. Optimizing game mechanics for a sequel is fine. Adding new mechanics carefully to a sequel is fine. Adding new mechanics to a game set in the same universe but is marketed as its own things is fine. Adding new mechanics that change the game feel for a sequel is not fine.

In theory and on paper, the Dawn of War III developers had good reasons for doing what they wanted to do, from their experience with the previous Dawn of Wars and Company of Heroes, as evidenced by their interviews. but they ignored the game feel in adding and subtracting game mechanics. They removed cover and retreating systems, which was a big part of the gameplay. They added a whole new victory condition, which was a big part of the gameplay. The stuff about commanders and customizations were mostly fluff. Those could have been added as it doesn't affect game feel.

A better transition for game feel is the Dark Souls and Bloodborne differences. Bloodborne doesn't greatly change its mechanics. It simply removes shields from the game and adds parrying, making the player more aggressive. But even then, it is not technically part of Dark Souls, so that's a win for marketing as well. Dark Souls 3 apparently incorporates this new playstyle to great effect. However, at no time did Dark Souls nor Bloodborne game feel of a well-timed, boss pattern gameplay was ever violated.

So, just because a game sequel is better on paper, doesn't mean it should be a sequel. If it is drastically different, it should stand as its own thing and marketed as such.

Game designers, learn how to optimize game mechanics without changing the game feel drastically for a sequel. And if you do change the game feel drastically, consider marketing the new game as its standalone thing, not a sequel.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Age of Accountability

What is the "age of accountability"? Do babies go to heaven?

Points to consider:

1. Little ones have no knowledge of good or evil
Deuteronomy 1:39
Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

2, The law is the knowledge of sin
Romans 3:20
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

3. Where there is no law, there is no sin
Romans 4:15
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

4. There is a category of people whom God will not impute sin
Romans 4:8
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.