Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 69 total)
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  • #6745
    AvatarPhil’s Dad
    Member

    Pocket Plasma

    #6749
    AvatarIvy Matt
    Participant

    Nuclear Meltdown!

    How’s that for eye-catching? 😉

    Looks good. The parts that interest me most are the input parameters and the bill of materials. With four or five wildly different reactor types, I’m wondering about comparisons between the approaches, and the game’s balance in particular. Clearly an even balance is not desirable. If the game’s purpose is partly educational, I suppose the bill of materials for a realistic design for, say, a commercial laser-induced fusion power plant should be, well, educational. But perhaps the balance can be fair without being even. Is there some advantage to the large conventional approaches which the smaller fusion alternatives have trouble matching? (Political clout, of course. Anything else?) I’m thinking designing this game may require temporarily becoming a tokamak advocate, a fission advocate, etc. just to understand the benefits of each approach. That said, I think the game should err on the side of realism more often than not, even if it means that nobody wants to build an inertial confinement reactor, for instance. If an approach has almost no benefits, perhaps it should be scratched off the list. The only exception I would leave to this rule is the tokamak, just because it seems widely assumed to be the future of fusion energy, and pretty much every alternative approach to fusion compares itself against it.

    The other part that interests me is the math, if only because it seems to me to be the great unknown factor. Given that most, if not all, of the reactor types in the game are still experimental in the real world, to some extent the terms “modeling” or “conjecture” may be more apt than “simulation”. From Talk Polywell I get the impression that there are still a lot of questions about what exactly goes on inside the plasma in a Polywell device. If those questions have been answered, the answers are apparently not public. Of course, secrecy is going to be a problem with many commercial and military technologies. With what is “known” about the math behind the various approaches, I think it will be necessary to strike some compromise between realism and simplicity. The more realistic it is, the more effort it will take to design, and the more likely you’ll just be duplicating the work of the people in the labs who are actually modeling these devices. However, I think it would be nice if this game turns out to be a very simple, yet functional plasma simulator. Of course, I don’t know what kind of effort that would require. It would probably be easier just to make a basic mathematical model of each device that avoids dealing directly with plasma dynamics.

    My apologies if, as is likely, I’m simply restating what other people are thinking or have already thought.

    Oh, and, since I’m going on as if some unspecified person (or perhaps epimenide) is going to be doing all the work, here is a list of things I can probably handle:

    1. Editing
    2. Writing
    3. Research (But somebody else will have to comprehend the large formulae with numerous variables.)
    4. [del]Programming[/del] (I can try it, but I guarantee I will spend at least half the time learning to use my tools.)

    #6751
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Good points, Matt. I can help with the research, editing, and writing. Looks like most of it would be the “more information” series of flash cards. Any plan for cheap power can be assessed by asking only 3 questions:

    1. Is a steam cycle required?
    2. Is the nuclear reaction aneutronic?
    3. Are external electromagnets required?

    #1 knocks out fission, D-D, and D-T along with the single most expensive set of parts.
    #2 knocks out radioactive fuel, waste proliferation and disposal issues.
    #3 trades scalability against very expensive cryogenic magnets.

    Thus not much writing needs to be done that I can see at the moment. While the obvious choice is the elegant design, it will be adopted along with competing fission and fusion designs. Let’s see how many billionaires these $1M investments can make, and Twitter the current Power Baron’s high score.

    #6755
    Avatarepimenide
    Member

    Pocket Plasma

    Nuclear Meltdown

    OK, we have three now! I’m thinking to set up a poll on my site, let’s get one or two more and I’ll run it for a couple of weeks right after…

    #6756
    Avatarepimenide
    Member

    Ivy Matt wrote: The parts that interest me most are the input parameters and the bill of materials.

    Agreed for all you write in that paragraph.

    Ivy Matt wrote: The only exception I would leave to this rule is the tokamak, just because it seems widely assumed to be the future of fusion energy, and pretty much every alternative approach to fusion compares itself against it.

    Again, I agree: tokamak is also the only one that’s likely to be heard about by the public, and I expect most people will try that before anything else, and would probably ditch the game altogether if it wasn’t there…

    Ivy Matt wrote: It would probably be easier just to make a basic mathematical model of each device that avoids dealing directly with plasma dynamics.

    Yes, that’s probably the way to start: as I’ve stated multiple times, if general public is the target, and awareness the reward we look after, entertainment should have priority over realism (I know, pushing this here sounds heretic!)
    After all, no one expects real world spaceships (whenever they’ll come) will look and work even remotely like the ones we enjoy in our videogames…
    Basic math will probably be unsatisfactory for scientists, but I’m sure even they would enjoy showing something “almost real” like that to kids to experiment with the concepts (I know I would!)

    Ivy Matt wrote: Oh, and, since I’m going on as if some unspecified person (or perhaps epimenide) is going to be doing all the work

    Well, not all of it, but I’m certainly available as a programmer for the platforms I work on for a living (namely iPhone / iPod and obviously iPad for the future)

    An unfilled requirement is still the graphics: does anyone know a good illustrator that would work for the beauty of it (or perhaps a share, if we decide to go for anything that can generate revenue of a sort)?

    #6758
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    epimenide wrote:

    An unfilled requirement is still the graphics: does anyone know a good illustrator that would work for the beauty of it (or perhaps a share, if we decide to go for anything that can generate revenue of a sort)?

    Professional graphics can come later, and perhaps should. I can rough out moderately detailed flow chart style graphics in CS2. Perhaps the “piece of the action” would be a credit/ live, followed link to the contributors’ sites on the splash page?

    Another catchy name could be Power Play so it could grab attention as a robber baron game built over power plant assets.

    #6763
    Avatarepimenide
    Member

    Aeronaut wrote: Professional graphics can come later, and perhaps should. I can rough out moderately detailed flow chart style graphics in CS2.

    Later, could be, but assume that good graphics is a given if you want to catch any attention… Unless it’s a deliberate choice (an example is the “stick wars” genre), nice and detailed graphics and animation will be the first impact, and most of the time will determine if the user is captured enough to come back and explore further.
    I’m also able to do some drafts, but would never pretend to publish a game on that basis…

    Perhaps the “piece of the action” would be a credit/ live, followed link to the contributors’ sites on the splash page?

    Possible, yes, but not easy to find… Wouldn’t be possible to check with the illustrator(s) that already have material over the site (Torulf)? At least, it wouldn’t be a big issue to explain him/them what we’re talking about…

    Another catchy name could be Power Play so it could grab attention as a robber baron game built over power plant assets.

    That brings the total to 4: I’ll wait for another, or perhaps think out one myself, and then launch the poll…

    #6764
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    I agree that top-notch (lots of shiny, reflecting stuff that exudes energy) graphics and animations will be absolutely required for the public release version, and that Torulf is more than up to the task if he should decide to get involved. But I wouldn’t necessarily begin with polished graphics. Too easy to have a change in art direction in mid-development. The point in my mind is to proceed using what we have in hand right now, which is good enough graphics to test game design and play.

    #6765
    AvatarIvy Matt
    Participant

    Heh, I didn’t intend for my name suggestion to be taken all that seriously, but if other people like it…

    Another idea I had for a name was “Plasmania”. However, a quick Google search shows it has already been used as the name of an Apple II game supposedly having something to do with blood plasma…and space ships. Or something like that. The company that developed the game is long gone, so I think there wouldn’t be any trademark conflicts. However, I am not a lawyer.

    I’ll throw out a third idea: “Energy Quest”. Not surprisingly, this phrase also turns up on a Google search, but I’m not aware of any games or other software under that title.

    And, not to speak for other members, but Breakable was referring to this idea, informally at least, as “Fusion Wars” on the first page.

    epimenide wrote: entertainment should have priority over realism (I know, pushing this here sounds heretic!)

    Not at all. This is the “Social Marketing” forum. 😉

    epimenide wrote: Basic math will probably be unsatisfactory for scientists, but I’m sure even they would enjoy showing something “almost real” like that to kids to experiment with the concepts (I know I would!)

    Right. “Almost real” is a good way of putting it. The essential idea is that the devices in the game shouldn’t behave much differently from the real devices, or from the simulations the physicists use. Which is why the game will eventually need the input of actual physicists. Of course, an actual physicist may see this as a step down from a more realistic simulation, which is a step down from an actual experiment. The Talk Polywell forum seems to have a number of physicists who have plenty of time on their hands, but I must say I haven’t seen the same around here, so I’m guessing what physicists we have are pretty busy.

    Aeronaut wrote: I agree that top-notch (lots of shiny, reflecting stuff that exudes energy) graphics and animations will be absolutely required for the public release version, and that Torulf is more than up to the task if he should decide to get involved. But I wouldn’t necessarily begin with polished graphics. Too easy to have a change in art direction in mid-development. The point in my mind is to proceed using what we have in hand right now, which is good enough graphics to test game design and play.

    Keep the interface separate from the functionality is the programming philosophy I’ve learned. Then you can improve the one without impacting the other too much.

    I used to draw quite a bit, but I never really made the leap to computer art, so I’ll give the same caveat about graphics as I have about programming: I can try it, but I guarantee I will spend at least half the time learning to use my tools.

    Incidentally, does anyone know what sorts of programming and graphic design tools are used to design Facebook games? I haven’t paid much attention to FarmVille and the like. I think the only Facebook game I’ve played is “Jedi vs. Sith”, which doesn’t really have graphics—or didn’t the last time I actually played it.

    #6767
    Avatarepimenide
    Member

    Aeronaut wrote: But I wouldn’t necessarily begin with polished graphics. Too easy to have a change in art direction in mid-development. The point in my mind is to proceed using what we have in hand right now, which is good enough graphics to test game design and play.

    Of course: pages 1 & 3 of my sketch are easily constructed with approximate graphics, the bulk of it will be in page 2…

    On a side note, you should consider that many casual games (i.e. mobile or FB/web) nowadays are born in ad agencies, as part of ad campaigns or specifically directed by the customer to promote the brand: things change when there’s an actual company behind, of course, that wants to sell the game and can afford the funding, but that’s not our case right now.
    With such a workflow, all the graphics is defined well before any line of code is written, because it has to be approved in mock-ups, and the developer is called late in the process, so the “change in art direction” just doesn’t happen as often! Subsequently, many of the possible tools (see my next post) require the actual graphics to be there, or suffer later to reorganize all…

    The best bet would probably be to proceed in parallel, if at all possible…

    #6768
    Avatarepimenide
    Member

    Ivy Matt wrote: Heh, I didn’t intend for my name suggestion to be taken all that seriously, but if other people like it…

    Eye-catching, remember? 😉

    Another idea I had for a name was “Plasmania”. … The company that developed the game is long gone, so I think there wouldn’t be any trademark conflicts.

    Apparently, there aren’t, at least TESS says so.

    I’ll throw out a third idea: “Energy Quest”.

    Noted.

    And, not to speak for other members, but Breakable was referring to this idea, informally at least, as “Fusion Wars” on the first page.

    Yes, however that was referred more to a FarmVille-like game than the pseudo-simulation we’re talking now… No problem in including that too, but it wouldn’t be my choice.

    This is the “Social Marketing” forum.

    That takes me to another consideration: the discussion is already getting too complex for a single thread, maybe we should ask for a special argument in the forum?

    Keep the interface separate from the functionality is the programming philosophy I’ve learned.

    Absolutely: and I’d add, keep the data separated from the other two…

    Incidentally, does anyone know what sorts of programming and graphic design tools are used to design Facebook games?

    For programming, Flash is the usual choice: it’s an Adobe technology, so their graphics tools are likely to be used too. MS Silverlight could be an alternative, but doesn’t have the same support and ubiquity.

    As for myself and the iThings, my choice would be cocos2d, as it’s free, well maintained and with a great community. Another possibility is Gamesalad, simpler on the programming side, but probably not enough customizable for our needs.

    If 3D is a requirement, Unity3D is a good choice: however, it requires a paid license, and it would be an overkill for our needs…

    Anyway, what I’ll do now is noting down all the next steps, including the ones that we haven’t touched yet but IMHO will come up soon, so we’ll have another draft to look at shortly…

    #6770
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Thanx for the insights, epimenide. I’m in the same boat as Ivy Matt when it comes to graphics- I do a lot better with pencil and or pen than with mouse.

    #6802
    Avatarepimenide
    Member

    As promised, I’ve posted two new documents:
    First, a draft analysis over the several issues that the project has to face, with some thoughts.

    Second, a related Excel sheet that, in theory, should help in configuring the simulation: the data contained there is described in the first document, there are no formulas yet, it was just a convenient way to build up the form.

    Last but not least, I’ve activated the poll on my site (you’ll find it in the sidebar): I’ve also posted an entry in the blog about it.

    Waiting for comments and suggestions!

    #6803
    Avatarvansig
    Member

    epimenide wrote:
    Waiting for comments and suggestions!

    the poll-taking script on http://www.paolomanna.com/ appears to be broken (on both chrome 5.0 browser, and IE 6.0).

    #6804
    AvatarPhil’s Dad
    Member

    vansig wrote:

    Waiting for comments and suggestions!

    the poll-taking script on http://www.paolomanna.com/ appears to be broken (on both chrome 5.0 browser, and IE 6.0).

    I get the error on IE 8.0 as well :down:

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 69 total)
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