Robots , SQuAT plugin for robots in SQuAT - Alternity Character Tool
Redjack Mar 25 2006, 21:33 Group: Heroes, Master of SQuAT Quote Post
I have been spending my spare time working on adding support for robots into SQuAT.. At first I thought that simply meant taking the robots section of Dataware and pluging it in.
BZZZZZZZZTT!!! Wrong!

So we had a thread where we were discussing Dataware and robots. Seems like most everybody else gave up on dataware as well.

So here's where I am:
1) I've started outlining robot rules here
2) Attached is a current screen shot of the plugin to SQuAT that I am working on the manage robots (reduced in size to 75%)

Attached Image
Attached Image
Redjack Mar 25 2006, 21:42 Group: Heroes, Master of SQuAT Quote Post
Here is an HTML export of the screen referenced above.
I am still working out the details for weight (75% done), cost (2/3 done) and power (10% done).
All the inputs, forms, fields in the above screen shot work and all calculations for attributes and scores are completed. As you can see in the URL referenced above the descriptions for all the components and explainations for calculations are lacking, but everything in time.

My priorties for supporting robots are the following:
1) Quickly generate robots for use in gaming. Robots being defined as non-sentient.
2) Provide a set of standardized rules for robots across PL5-9.
3) Support as much flexibility as possible, with goal #1 be rapid development.
4) Everything else.


Attached File ( Number of downloads: 77 )
Attached File  robot.html
bri_aitsya Mar 26 2006, 04:37 Group: Heroes, Master of the Dread Tome Quote Post
wub.gif Yay!

Now only if I had this available during EV2503...

I have to commend you on this task of SQuAT... I await it latest build with eager anticipation. Keep up the good work, and fighting the good fight.
Redjack Apr 2 2006, 19:16 Group: Heroes, Master of SQuAT Quote Post
Ok, I believe that getting the first build out and in use might begin to stroke the embers a little bit in regards to robots. So I will be releasing v0.8.0

Here's what is enabled:
        Selection of the Base PL which will remove all options from a higher PL.
        Processor selection (Marginal, Ordinary, Good Amazing by PL retained)
        Size and Materials of chasis. (Size determines base CON)
        Casing material (provided armor benefits)
        Actuators (Determine base STR & DEX)
        Propulsion & Aux Propulsion (Will provide base movement rates)
        Primary & Backup Power (No effects yet..)
        Manipulators
        Ports
        Sensors
        Upgrades Systemic and core OS upgrades

So here are the things that need to be worked on:
        1) Determine base movement rates for various propulsion options and effects of size on that.
        2) Determine power limitations and effects
        3) Finalize cost calculations
        4) Finalize weight algorithm (effects of size/tech level/materials/etc)
        5) Memory for loaded program/available programs.
        6) Determine effects of OS and systemic upgrades on memory for programs
        7) Additional upgrade options....
therion Jun 5 2006, 12:03 Group: Heroes, Level 20 Quote Post
Hi there! First of all I'd like to thank you for making the SQuAT and even more for bringing sense into robot creation rules. I have some issues I'd like to ask you:

1. I see you've taken the Dataware table for robot processor int/action check/etc. In that case there's a bug concerning actions/round. Robots using (for example) PL8 amazing proc would have 4 actions/round (with avg dex). If you changed how it works please can you write somewhere the new mechanics?

2. What happened to robot perks/flaws? As bad as dataware was, it had some real good perks and flaws that added much to the flavour. Will those be added in the future?

3. Not a single actuator allows dex to go above 8. This is kinda bizzare, especially in PL8. An ultra-amazing processor that is capable ot calculating movement of the bullets themselves shot at the robot, but there isn't a way to dodge it due to the lackness of actuator dexterity? Whatever happened to T'sa electromotors? (or their equivalent?) Also, some of the original dataware actuators made a lot of sense like muscle wire - good dex and poor str, there aren't any of those currently. Yes I know that this issue could be solved by customizing the XML database but I hope that due keeping to the original idea you'd update this issue in the future.

4. A question about the upgrades. There are the dex/will/etc ones. Are these planned to be the same as perks? Is there a limit? Is there a cost? I think that these should be available for purchase in droid shops with exponentially rising prices, be as free to buy as any other robot system, and have nothing to do with perks/flaws.

5. Dataware never mentioned a NIJack on the data port list, but the wireless was default and mandatory. IMHO a robot wishing to go online would use wireless to connect to the gridcaster, no need for a separate data jack.

6. How recent is http://www.warrensburgweb.net/alternity/robots.html? I noticed it doesn't cover all the issues supported in SQuAT currently.

7. In the Jim Butler chat log there is a mention of the "System Check". Is your project that thing or is it a separate project? If separate, can it be found anywhere?

Having spent literally weeks designing robots (by dataware rules) for alternity games, I'd also like to offer my assitance on the math part of the problem - the costs, weights, and ironing the problems with your system, which to be honest i consider superior to dataware and potentially much better for the sanity checks i have to make any time i open dataware.

Thanx in advance for the answers!
Redjack Jun 5 2006, 12:47 Group: Heroes, Master of SQuAT Quote Post
Hey! Your welcome. Thanks for the feedback!

Wow! I had kinda moved this to the back burner due to a perceived lack of interest from anyone other than myself.

1. I made all attributes (str, dex, etc) and all super-attributes (action check, etc) work the same as for the various races.

2. I was focused on non-AI robots so things like perks/flaws were pretty far down my priority. I wanted to be able to whip up a robot pretty much on the fly for gaming sessions and have a *standard* set of rules to work with that don't contradict themselves. That said, I would see them in the future.

3. Yes. The base DEX for the adv. actuators (formerly Tsa electromotors - I didn't like having race specific naming since some campaigns don't even have Tsa) is 8. Under upgrades you will see that an PL8 there is a DEX + 5 upgrade available. My thinking here was that the cheapest PL8 robot with adv actuators would have an 8 (reasonable almost avg human level) and that upraded models would have much greater. Perhaps I need to make even better upgrades available earlier so that a PL8 robot could have a higher DEX than 13?

4. To date I have not given much thought to either the economics (costs), nor the limitations. I beleive that both should exist but were not in my initial priorities. Plus I was hoping to get some community involvement and feedback regarding how/what they should be.

5. I can see some people creating robots that are effectively firewalled by the lack of wireless connectivity. I could also see robots designed with redundant and backup systems.

6. It has been a few months since I've worked on this. I think my copy of the file at home may be a little more update to date. I will have to compare.

7. My project is seperate. These pages, the above mentioned URL and the support found in SQuAT are the sum total of the project.... So there is plenty of places to dive in and contribute!!

I look forward to working with you in the coming weeks on this. I am alway more motivated when others take an active interest. biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Redjack on Jun 5 2006, 12:52
therion Jun 5 2006, 13:44 Group: Heroes, Level 20 Quote Post
Well then, into the breach.

1. This is a good effort to standardize the rules, but there is a reason robots had a higher action check score. It's the processor, and no further explanation is required. Brain is slow, and robot that has -d6 action check modifier should of course gain those 4 actions per round. I say leave the dataware numbers, they do (in this instance) make sense.

As for gameplay, some might argue 4 actions per round (or 3, or 2, depending on PL and dex of course) is overpowering. I strongly dissagree. For example a human with the equivalent int (PL8 amazing proc) would gain (by variant rules of course) 83 skill points to distribute, while in any normal case (if you're building a robot hero, i' not talking of general usage droids here) a robot after he buys legs, hands, processor, and other peripheralia would have 40ish points to spend, and is still highly handicapped by the memory space etc. But this would be better left for another topic.

2.I was speaking of the non-AI robot perks/flaws. From fuzzy logic to aasimov's circuitry, those perks and flaws are the very flavour of the robot hero.

SQuAT advice: Put in all the standard dataware ones, and leave space for customization (as always, XML files are there). Also have in mind to recalculate available memory slots: -1 for OS (always), -1 extra for redundant circuitry (for example) etc.

There are some major mistakes in the dataware which concern some flaws and perks but those can be addressed later. For example, the emancipated is woefully underexplained, and contradicts previous text (4 vs 5 SP), photographic memory (listed as available for robots) makes no sense and should be removed (especially when the robot has life recorder), etc etc.

3. This way of thinking has one major flaw. By specifically distributing attributes, like that dex 8 for example, you make a major problem when creating a robot hero. True, you ease much on designing standard battle droids etc, but it has no connection any more to the 50 attribute points to be distributed across 5 areas. Now, why is this bad you may ask. It's bad because when a player designs a robot he's either underpowered or overpowered compared to non-robot partymembers.

Dataware addressed this problem with a dual self-control system: 1. there were defaults a robot had and 2. each upgrade cost either SP or money. This system has merit, and should not be rejected, only modified.

First I need to further elaborate on the *reasons* behind dataware system:
By spending SP (or money) a player picks ranges for the attributes, not the attribute itself. Even chasis should have a range since not all frames are as hardy as other. Leave it up to the player distribute attribute points, otherwise all robots (heroes, i stress again) of same height (for instance) and PL would be essentially identical, as all would have the best proc for the PL and thus have same con, int, and most probbably would choose same actuators and thus have same str and dex. This is very very bad.

To fix the problem I suggest that dataware's system be left, perhaps not with the same ranges but most certainly with the same idea. To sum it up - leave dataware, and fix the ranges. A player will be able to upgrade the droid through standard upgrades, which you already envisioned, but those upgrades should be very costly .

Or, alternativly, make defaults for certain progress level which sum at 50 attribute points as before. At character creation have a player pick upgrades (up to the max allowed for a certain robot part), but if he chooses to upgrade a stat it should be as costly as before - at perk value, 10SP or more per atribute point.

4. There are a few methods available to determine what should be done with these.

a) Have the proccessor upgrades be logical, rather than physical. They would be available for per and will only. They would eat lots of memory space (2per=4mem slots). They would essentially be programs, which money can buy. Don't sell them for SP. This is a method I'd use if you stick to dataware creation system, which I do recommend. This way you also solved the limit problem, since a player with +3 per and +3 will, using a PL8 amazing proc has mere 5 available slots for skills. (18 available -1 OS, -12 upgrades = 5)

aliensmarmy.gif Have the chasis upgrades be physical, as additional actuators to increase strength or dex. These should also cost a lot of money. The limit problem could be solved that they count against action check and action check modifier (if talking of heavy strength increasing actuators) , or they can count against maximum carry weight and frame studriness (if talking of dex increasers which eat up frame space, making it ligher and less hardy). For example +2dex = -1con + carry weight modifier is reduced by 2.

c) don't make them eat memory space and other things mentioned above, rather count them against perk/flaw count. This is basically a robot version of heightened ability perk non-robots have.

4. A person who wants to firewall a robot certainly won't install a nijack. He'll simply remove the wireless connector and that's it. Or, more simpy, install a manual on/off switch on it. When he wants to connect to a gridcaster he turns it on, and goes online, and problem solved. Or alternatively, uses a socket connector. It's there for a reason.

I'll let you think about these issues for a while. smile.gif
therion Jun 5 2006, 14:12 Group: Heroes, Level 20 Quote Post
I went to re-read the chat log and here's the quote:

<Spicer> System Check is about halfway finished. It was meant to take a Warships
approach to robot design. I substituted Frame Points for Hull Points...so that
a robot's chassis becomes much like a warship
<Spicer> 's hull.
<Starbrat> Ahhh, like Airships.
<Spicer> And all of the onboard systems for robots become very similar to the
onboard systems for a warship.
<Spicer> The only part that diverges from Warships is the fact that the end
product is a character and not simply a ship. A robot still has to define its
attributes and skills like a character...but there are limitations to them
based on which systems were used to build the machien.

I have to point out the very last sentence - the robot has to define attributes. They're not set by default, and that's what makes the robots so unique especially as heros. I wonder, Redjack, could you comehow contact Spicer? I wonder what's he been up to and that might give us some new insight how to solve these issues.

Edit: I sent him an email asking for a copy of his work, so hopefully he'll reply. I'm most interested how he solved the attribute issue.

This post has been edited by therion on Jun 5 2006, 14:22
Spicer Jun 6 2006, 22:16 Group: Grid Cop, Researcher for the College of Justice Ethics Quote Post
I'll review my notes and see what I can provide in a separate forum/thread discussion for you guys. I've been meaning to start one since discussing it with Starbrat awhile back anyway.

--Neil
therion Jun 7 2006, 06:58 Group: Heroes, Level 20 Quote Post
Hey Redjack, I was thinking. What if you said during hero creation that a robot has 50 points and he should choose any combination of equipment that gives that amount?

For example:
1.5m height = 10con
adv. electromotors: 8 dex, 14 str
pl8 amazing proc= 7 wil, 7per
that amounts to: 10+8+14+7+7=46.

meaning the hero has 4 points unspent. He can buy a logical or a physical upgrade(s) that would give those 4 points for free. Any point extra would go into the cost and should not be available at character creation, except if we're talking perks here.

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