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Thread: Money Tree elaborations

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2000
    Location: Paris, France

    Money Tree elaborations

    * this has been copy+pasted from discord*

    Hello everyone.

    I'd like to present my advancements to my "Money Tree" problem. And like to know what you think. I've been working on ways to "surpass" the object limit for T1 old dark for some time now. I got into the idea of developing a "Money Tree" after encountering the hard object limit and deciding not to accept it. I've read a bit here and there, namely the following post which got me started:



    I haven't found significant documentation about this elsewhere, so I attempted to create my own methods. While the pages linked to above imply that a Money Tree can be used to generate loot, I'd like to extend the concept to other items as well, AND be able to spawn, despawn and respawn these items as well. I've been working on two different methods since the beginning of July, and have to some extent successfully developed different methods to spawn, despawn, and respawn stationary objects upon command.

    The idea is to have objects spawn and despawn at will when the player passes a certain mandatory checkpoint or within a certain radius. The objects which work best here are those which are stationary, which the player cannot interact with, and which do not leave shadows (ex: not only loot, but banners, pile o bones, paintings, plaques, un-frobbable bones, sfx, and other such elements). I had a bit of help, namely from Vfig and Vegetables, especially for some of the initial ideas.

    I'll try to provide a simple tutorial in the next few days, but until then feel free to poke around in my demo files.

    The first method I found is simple enough: additional tables spawn in and out according to which table the player touches. ex. if the player touches the "Fancy Table", the objects spawn clockwise, and if the player touches the simple "Table", the objects spawn counter-clockwise. This method could be implemented in a level to generate certain objects as the player progresses through the map. "Satelite" objects could then appear and disappear according to which areas are activated in this way.

    This method is simple, with just a few S&Rs and extra objects, and one can notice there is only one object initially required to set off the whole chain of spawns, so lowering object count is definitely possible here.

    a COW file containing this first method can be downloaded here

    There are two drawbacks to this first method however:

    The first drawback: shadows can't be cast (naturally), and also, things potentially mess up if one of the objects can be frobbed. So like I've said above, this works best with objects that don't leave shadows and which cannot be frobbed.

    The second drawback: if one decides to play a mission with such a Money Tree in multiplayer, the mission would almost instantly break as soon as two different players touch two different tables. In other words, only one area can be activated, or have its objects spawned in, at a time. This second drawback led me to work on another method, which would be multiplayer compatible

    The second method is more complicated, and I have not as of yet succeeded in implementing it without the use of a Rube Goldberg setup.

    My objective was to have a timer detecting whether a player avatar is in a set radius or not, and to spawn or de-spawn specific objects accordingly. I attempted to do this with S&R to manipulate TweqDelete states. But Vfig and I realised that one cannot reset the counter of a Delete tweq with ActReact. This brought me to setup a RubeGoldberg setup with inclined pressure plates.

    Now, as long as an avatar object is within radius, the objects in the area remain spawned. They will only despawn once all avatars leave the area. Making a mission using this more complicated method potentially multiplayer friendly. About 6 objects are required per area, which can potentially spawn and despawn any amount of additional objects as required. Two players can be in two different areas at the same time and have the relevant objects appear simultaneously.

    a COW file containing the second method can be downloaded here

    There are still two drawback for the second method:

    The first drawback: The method still can't be used if one wants objects to cast shadows. Also, frobbable object will probably misbehave as well. In this regard, the second method does not present an advantage over the first.

    The second drawback: its complexity, as a Rube Goldberg setup is required. As it is more complex, it is also potentially less stable. I found that once in a while, the objects don't always spawn immediately, so a fail-safe system should be implemented. But I'd like to know what you think.

    However, on the plus side: the second method does not present the second drawback of the first method. As such, it is now possible to have many players in different areas and still have the relevant objects spawn and despawn properly. In other words, more than one area can be activated and spawned-in simultaneously.

    I hope this made at least a modicum of sense. What do you think?

    The two systems described above are compatible with T1 old dark (but should work fine in new dark as well, and in T2), and I don't believe they use custom scripts.

    If you have any feedback that could help, or think of a way of simplifying/optimizing the system, please let me know!
    Last edited by Sperry; 1st Sep 2020 at 11:44.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: May 2017
    Location: USA
    This is all very cool, but I cant help but wonder (for the zillionth time): why bother with Old Dark? Are there features or compatibility issues you're worried about? Chance are, if you articulate the technical reasons you'd like to stick with Old Dark, there will be people on this forum who know who to address them.

    Otherwise, if it's just a form of artistic masochism, well... god speed and good luck!

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2000
    Location: Paris, France
    I'd like to point out that this could easily be used in new dark.

    As for the old dark choice, I've addressed my reasons elsewhere:
    https://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthre...=1#post2437048

    I wouldn't say it's masochism, rather laziness... I don't see the interest of using NewDark without learning its new features. There do appear to be significant changes. I'd rather stick with a system I know and develop it.
    Last edited by Sperry; 12th Aug 2020 at 20:57.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Erm... you can literally do anything in NewDark that you can do in OldDark. You don't have to use any of the new features if you don't want. There's not really any learning curve at all.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Not using NewDark is like intentionally using the original release of Thief without any patches.

    You're making extra work for yourself, are likely to run into bugs that have long been fixed, and have the potential for your mission to not work properly (e.g. relying on a bug that has since been fixed) because you're not testing with the version of the game that people will actually play the mission with.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: May 2017
    Location: USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Sperry View Post
    As for the old dark choice, I've addressed my reasons elsewhere:
    https://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthre...=1#post2437048

    I wouldn't say it's masochism, rather laziness... I don't see the interest of using NewDark without learning its new features. There do appear to be significant changes. I'd rather stick with a system I know and develop it.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Pushing my luck with Dromed
    Quote Originally Posted by Sperry View Post
    I don't see the interest of using NewDark without learning its new features. There do appear to be significant changes. I'd rather stick with a system I know and develop it.
    The only thing you'll be forced to adapt to is that light_bright doesn't work, so you need to use the new toggle_lighting command, which does terrain and objects together, instead.

    I'm pretty sure everything else can be the way you've always done things.

  8. #8
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: ZylonBane
    Quote Originally Posted by Sperry View Post
    I wouldn't say it's masochism, rather laziness... I don't see the interest of using NewDark without learning its new features. There do appear to be significant changes. I'd rather stick with a system I know and develop it.
    You've already invested ten times more effort in your weird "money tree" thing than it would have taken you to install NewDark and familiarize yourself with it. Laziness is not an excuse. You're just being a stubborn arse.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2018
    I think it is interesting
    We all make extra work for ourselves by dealing with DromEd at all, so what's some extra tinkering?
    The mission may be short on object IDs but it clearly will not be short on SOUL.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2017
    Location: France
    jesus christ

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2000
    Location: Paris, France
    Let's forget for a minute that I chose to work in Old Dark. What do you think of the system I'm presenting here? I remember hearing in various IAL podcasts about authors running out of objects, even in New Dark. I'm curious to see if what I'm proposing here even works on New Dark. Also, if any of you can think of ways to optimize the process, or have alternate methods to achieve the same spawn, respawn, despawn effects.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: May 2002
    Location: Texas
    If authors are running out of objects in new dark then they are using more objects than its worth.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2006
    Location: On the tip of your tongue.
    Quote Originally Posted by john9818a View Post
    If authors are running out of objects in new dark then they are using more objects than its worth.
    Yeah you're unlikely to run out in NewDark unless you do something stupid like a randomised murder mystery set in an incredibly large manor...

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2000
    Location: Paris, France
    Quote Originally Posted by nicked View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by john9818a View Post
    If authors are running out of objects in new dark then they are using more objects than its worth.
    Yeah you're unlikely to run out in NewDark unless you do something stupid like a randomised murder mystery set in an incredibly large manor...
    That depends, doesn't it? I seem to recall that both Random_Taffer and Marbleman have had to renounce to making the streets in "Feast of Pilgrims" accessible to the player because of object limit. Likewise, didn't Firemage and his all-star team have to simplify Karras' quarters because of object limit in "Builder's Paradise"? I know time is a factor here as well. But if I'm ultimately wrong about this, please let me know. As far as I can see, such a system could potentially one to expand the size of such FMs... Just an idea, and I will be using it in my new version of Broadsword of Sheol.
    Last edited by Sperry; 31st Aug 2020 at 09:35.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2018
    You're correct about those two missions (they both pushed past the limit, by finalizing the terrain and then only adding objects from that point forth, so they never had to re-optimize). Nicked is referencing his own mission, The Violent End of Duncan Malveine, which is a randomised murder mystery set in an incredibly large manor... which apparently had issues with the object limit as well. And I know another in-development mission that's likely to face these limits. I think the authors will choose to simplify areas of the map rather than resort to money trees, but it goes to show this method could be relevant in Newdark.

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