For week W34-2016 Unity Project, the broadcaster AngryAlbino is working on EconomySim.
AngryAlbino has 8 years experience in game development using Unity. He is from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada; working on Economy Simulator, a consequence-based realistic economy programmed in Unity. AngryAlbino is an active user of Livecoding, where he streams at 11 a.m. local time, every day. His recent project is interesting, and that’s why we reached out to him to learn more about it. Let’s learn about the project from AngryAlbino himself.
What is the Realistic Economy Builder all about? Give us a brief.
Realistic Economy Builder. A unique, finite, consequence based economy. Both players and NPCs compete for resources to meet predefined needs. It’s fascinating what some actors prioritize and sometimes hoard.
What is the motivation behind the project?
It’s being built as part of a player and NPC “needs” framework designed to create more realistic environmental and NPC behavioural patterns. It’s being built for a couple of upcoming game projects my company is developing – Roguesque and Unforgotten Legends. We want to go beyond the RPG traditions of single response NPCs “he has nothing to say to you” to make our NPCs feel like richer characters with their own lives that don’t totally revolve around the player. They are trying to meet their own needs, which will impact the player. At the same time, we want the player’s actions to have consequences in the environment that affect the NPCs, hence the economy system. For example, if the player finds a way to “break” a town’s economy, he or she should feel the repercussions.
Which language/framework/API you used in your project? What are the reasons for choosing them? Any specific reason?
I chose Unity for the graphics of this project because of the 16 colour limit in the Windows Console and because Unity supports compiling to more platforms, and we’re considering using the simulator in two different projects (which will be released on different platforms). I’m also exploring what can be done with Unity – I think it’s exciting that they’ve made this platform readily available for every project no matter how big or small.
What challenges did you encounter during the project?
Originally, I tried to program the project in plain C#, but as mentioned, the Windows Console is limited to exactly 16 colors, which quickly became a problem, especially considering that the Foreground and Background colors are included in that 16. So, I had to go to Unity; even though I was originally hoping it would be a simple C# project. I’ve also been surprised by some of the “irrational” behaviour of actors in the simulation, which I’ve had to make adjustments for. These weren’t necessarily problems but were more like unexpected surprises.
Which feature of the project stands out?
This is driven by chaos and uncertainty. As a player, you have to compete against yourself and your friends to create stability out of that chaos… or break the world even further. You can’t control Citizens directly, so you must try to keep Citizens happy by meeting their needs to avoid catastrophe.
Did you start the project as a side project or a serious commercial project?
I started Economy Sim as a side project to start developing an early framework for a far future release and to learn C# outside of the Unity framework.
What is the current state of the project?
I’m now well into creating an Economy System in C# and have taken it into Unity. We’re going to add a lot of A.I functionality in the near future and then work on player driven elements.
If not complete, how much time do you think when the first version hits the market?
Based on my progress so far, I should have a playable simulator in about a month. The final game it’s intended to be a part of, Unforgotten Realms, won’t be done for awhile.
What’s your future plan? Or how you see yourself in next 5 years?
I see myself as continuing to code for games and software projects. I am actively working with my team to have one title released this year, and we have several more ambitious projects that we hope to produce (with a bigger team and more funding). I love the idea of being a code mentor and would like to continue to do Live coding.
Lastly, what you think about Livecoding.tv and its future?
I’m very happy with the way LiveCoding has allowed people like me to find an audience; other streaming platforms do not have a built-in audience for Educational or Tutorial / Game Development content. I am very keen on their future bitrate increase for broadcasters.
**** I really don’t know what to say here since I’m not sure what you can talk about. I might also say something similar to your YouTube things.
“Some people aren’t aware, but I’m a legally blind (over 90% blind) albino; I’m allergic to the sun and I have a lot of health challenges due to my vision and Albinism. A lot of people ask how I can code without vision – well, imagine you’re looking through a pair of binoculars; now flip them around backwards so you’re looking the wrong way. Everything’s super tiny and really hard to distinguish? That’s what my vision is like. Luckily, there are a lot of accessible devices that allow me to code. I’ve been coding since I was about 8 years old because it was one of the few activities I could do. In the future, I hope to develop more accessible games and tools that make games more accessible and level the playing field for gamers like me. One of my goals is to raise awareness about disabled gamers – there are more of us out there than you think.
Follow his channel and stream schedule to watch him next time he streams.