Artificial Stupidity

I’m finding designing a system straight up, and programming said system are very, very different beasts. My previous programming was progressive. There was no specific thing, just an idea of what I wanted, and little pieces were added and tweaked until I had more or less what I set out to put together. The new AI system though, that’s harder. The design calls for specific things with specific parameters. The work is even hard to start. “What do I do first?” I asked myself. It needs a dozen things, but what can I start with that will give me a base? The combat is the obvious answer, but that fails without the new pathfinding ability. I wouldn’t be able to test and play the combat with the old system. It would be impossible to debug correctly.
So instead I find myself nipple deep in the new AI Pathfinding/Collision functions, and honestly, it’s making me crazy. As it is now, parts trigger correctly, but I don’t have the walking around bit going yet. Even worse, I am finding parts of the design to be, um, vague in places. This is the part of the design that Designers do after they’ve written the Design Doc. In any event, I should at least get the walking around going today.
Ah right. Speaking of the design, when I drew it up, I was enamored with what could be done, and I had little thought of if it should be done. I totally ignored Ian Malcolm. So, on jumping, I don’t think I want enemies to do it. They shouldn’t jump across gaps to attack the player, that seems like that would suck in most aspects. The issue is that the player cannot just whip out a sword at will and get to combating, nor can they just throw it back and quickly run about. So, if entering a screen and literally getting jumped by an enemy and punished would be lame. I could make the sword pull out faster to compensate, but then I’m still dealing with the possibility of combat in areas not really designed for combat.
The solution I’ve got now is to make only the Fencer type enemies jump and design the levels with them in them to be combat oriented. The more acrobatic crap the Princess is going to be capable of (like wall running and a good number of her attacks) will be scripted since she will be the only thing in the game capable of them.
But, before that I need to get the enemies to realize they’re on the edge of a platform and not fall off and kill themselves. Baby steps.

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