Friday, 4 November 2011

SBH-SOLO [Project update #2]

Okay, time to talk about the inner concepts of SBH-SOLO - my solitaire project for Song of Blades and Heroes.

Note: The models controlled by the SBH-SOLO rules, i.e. the player's opponent/enemy, are hereafter referred to as the ENEMY.

The central part of SBH-SOLO is something I call MicroAIs (where AI = Artificial Intelligence). Each of the ENEMY models are given a MicroAI at start of a game. There are a number of MicroAIs to choose from, and it is easy to create new, unique ones. One could say that a MicroAI is a super-tiny little mini-brain, that brings an ENEMY model into life, although a very limited life.

A MicroAI consists of Conditions and Routines, and those together form a flow of logic. A Routine is an action that the ENEMY model performs if a certain Condition is fulfilled. The MicroAIs should be kept simple and not too long, just a few Conditions and Routines, so that game play is not slowed down too much.

MicroAIs can be of general nature, that suites many models. But there can also be MicroAIs that are more specialized, having prerequisites. For example, special rule 'Mounted' is required by the model, otherwise that specific MicroAI cannot be used.

At game start, each enemy model is assigned to one MicroAI each. The player chooses, paying attention to prerequisites and the nature of the MicroAIs. Same MicroAI may be used by several of the ENEMY models. Obviously, models using the same MicroAI will behave according to the same pattern, but since they will not start in the exact same spot on the board, they will start with different Conditions fulfilled, and therefore (probably) act different.

Besides the individual MicroAIs assigned to one and each of the ENEMY models, there are also MicroAIs called Pre-Default and Post-Default. They are used to catch obvious actions, that is, actions that a player most likely always want to do with a model if it's activated, e.g. raise a model if it is fallen.

Each ENEMY turn, there will be mechanics to nominate the next model, and then determine how many D6 to roll. I have not worked out those details yet, just been using random while play testing. Then, when an ENEMY model has rolled the dice and got more than one successful activation, these MicroAIs are processed:

Pre-Default --> Model's own --> Post-Default

Click the picture to the left, to see an example of what those MicroAIs could look like. Note: These are just examples. The exact phrasings are not set. 

In the LOGIC part, you'll see Conditions marked with "IF" or "ELSE", and Routines marked with a star ("*"). If ambiguity ever arises, the rules of SBH always have precedence. In second place, player's best judgement.

I have so far created seven different MicroAIs. A few regular, a few for models with special rule 'Shooter', some for 'Mounted' etc.

Next steps: (1) More play testing of the entire basic concept. Identify the big flaws. (2) Fine-tuning of the MicroAIs written to date. (3) Write a few new MicroAIs. (4) Create mechanics for nominating ENEMY models, and determine how many dice to roll. (5) etc