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Old 04-15-2013, 08:19 PM   #34
goofyspaceranger
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 78

Logical Puzzles
There were some early "reviews" of Disney Infinity wondering if Disney really could pull off a logic system for a 3D gaming environment that would actually be usable by a kid in elementary school. The YouTube previews now being released for the Toy Box reveal that yes, they could, and did . Since the last post took an odd tangent into the classic storytelling of text adventures, let's compare and contrast a few points (aside from the obviously amazing graphics). In an old text adventure, there was typically one and only one instance of any item. Often a requested action resulted in one or more of the following outputs:
- Find a new item (add)
- Transform one item into another (change)
- Lose an existing item (delete)
- Issue a message (describe)
Implementation was simple because all of the items were pre-initialized at the start of the game. An "add" could simply be an item taken out of some void location and placed into the player-character's spot. A "delete" could send an item to the void, and a "change" merely swapped one item in and the other out.

With Disney Infinity, in most cases, messages are completely unnecessary, since you can see & hear what has occurred (possible exception previously noted: NPC conversations). The item manipulation however is going to be really interesting. With Disney Infinity, there can be lots of instances of the same item (e.g. four ESPN goals for a 4-player soccer game). Mostly that's a great thing. Sometimes that's a tricky thing. Can the outcome of object interaction create a new instance of an item? Can multiple instances be dynamically created? Can a change be applicable to ANY or ALL instances of a given item, rather than a specific one? Can an instance of an item be dynamically removed? These aren't questions about the process of Toy Box editing, but rather the outputs of a Toy Box game that is subsequently played. Would everything reset when the game was done? One of the trickier outputs, ironically, may be the dynamic creation of an item. What if the game designer wanted to program all kinds of interactions on a given item instance, yet didn't want that instance to exist at the start of the game? You might have a magic portal that appears at the end of a puzzle or an NPC that appears in a puff of smoke. There are these pixie dust animations of objects appearing out of nowhere in some of the trailers - can they be programmed into a Toy Box game? It's somewhat of a Chicken & the Egg problem. Perhaps, like in old text adventures, there will be an option to "hide the egg", after all the interactions have been coded into it, then have it "appear" at the appropriate time?

Open Source Treasure Maps
Although this may be completely unnecessary regarding functionality, is anyone else wondering if all of these 3D GUI-driven Toy Box alterations could boil down into crisp programming scripts, where each type of item is its own object-oriented class, with its own corresponding set of methods? In the interest of education, it would be another way to show computer programming fundamentals. In the interest of sharing game design ideas, in some cases a concise script might be easier to explain concepts and possibilities. That wouldn't imply folks would opt for typing a bunch of script with a game controller but it could be useful for viewing, making minor adjustments, and be a viable alternative on the PC. Just wondering.
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Last edited by goofyspaceranger; 04-15-2013 at 08:25 PM.
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