Date: 1994-07-13
From: Paul
Subject: Tape Leftovers

On turn-taking:

I agree that a free-for-all approach, where action is in "real time," is not desirable for Alexander.

My concept is to continue to break up the game into units of time, but eliminate the "I go - you go" turn taking. So far as I know, this has not been done before. I don't see how this *could* be done without a powerful PC, and of course it remains to be seen whether or not it's do-able or beneficial even with the best of automation.

How would this work? My first-pass try goes something like this: each player would "sketch out" intended moves for each piece, at his leisure. Then, after all players complete all their plans for the turn (arbitrary unit of time), all pieces move simultaneously. Some form of arbitration would have to occur for collisions/impossible situations/exceptions. And it seems highly probable that one way or another, a higher level of time granularity would be required to make it fly.

What would be the benefits of such a system? It would be hard to say without trying. To me, this would be (OK, *could* be) more realistic than traditional turn-taking. Would it be worth the hassle? I think that last question, though natural, is poorly stated. Rephrased, it becomes something like, "Could a natural user interface for this style of game-playing be devised?" If so, I'd like to try it out and see what happens.

At this point I'm more interested in this issue as a background discussion than as a high-priority Alexander topic. The idea intrigues me, and at some point I want to pursue it further. But it's fuzzy enough that I acknowledge the time is not right to invest a lot of effort into it.


Alexander's thumb-scrolling is now back to the state it was in a bunch of months ago; that is, it mostly works, but has some quirks. The good news is that much more of the code is now mine, and I understand it a lot better.

The next problem to tackle: UpdateEvents don't work, except when the two thumbs are in their home position (I *think* this is the correct technical description). One manifestation: scroll down a screen or two, then get rid of the World Thumbnail. The area on the BattleMap that was underneath it just stays white. You may remember this problem from distant months gone by. The difference is that now I think I have the skills to fix it. If so, I may have an update for you in under a week!