The Exigent Duality
Inside Tracks - 10:05 CDT, 9/14/20 (Sniper)
Annoying plinking music and his frequent use of the non-word "performant" aside, this is a very interesting interview with Dan Greenawalt. The last game I played in the series was Forza Motorsport 5, and his explanation of their AI system really puts into perspective the strange phenomena I routinely saw in that release.

The most controversial topic he discusses is undoubtedly "rubber banding". My personal take is that while it is integral to a title like "Road Rash", it has zero place in a simulation-leaning video game: if you make a big mistake, deal with it or restart the race; heck, these games have even had rewind features for many years-- "rubber banding" is pointless.

And so, it was disappointing for me to hear that cars in front get weight added to them, or torque reduced. That said, he knows his market much better than I do, and it also sounds like their are technical reasons-- which I didn't quite follow-- that make it necessary for the time being.

I once wrote an overhead racing engine in STOS on my Atari ST-- and even when compiled, trying to get the AI to follow the road without my game dragging the 68000 into the abyss performance-wise was quite the task. I wound up coloring different sections of the track subtly different shades of gray-- then every few frames the AI cars look at the color: "This is gray shade three? Turn left", and so forth.

But back to the videos: I also watched this one, with Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford discussing my third favorite game of all time. In "The Need for Speed" on the 3DO, the driver is sitting unrealistically high, to make the game more fun-- but not so high that it destroys the illusion of realism; that's part of the art of making games, and the "Star Control II" planet excerpt is another illustration of the same principle.

Speaking of making games, I showed my son how to make his own texture pack in Minecraft-- he's been hard at work re-drawing all of the game's tile art, then testing in-game. I installed 7-Zip for him, and we worked together on some experiments with saving images in different formats, so I could teach him what "compression" is, and how it works.