November 2018 Update Oct 28, 2018

It is November. The Holiday season is upon us! And, most important, I am back after a 6-month hiatus. What happened in this months? Why it took so long? Let’s go over this step by step in this kind of “release notes” for myself.

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Quick Look at F# in Unity Apr 26, 2018

I am a functional-oriented developer. I have a bit of expertise in game development, especially in Unity 3D. It comes naturally that I am interested in the obvious link between the two: F#.

F# is a functional language of the ML family born in the Microsoft Research and now developed by the F# Software Foundation. Of course, F# run on the .NET framework, the same as C#, the language used by Unity3D. It is clear, then, that we could use F# in Unity. And, in fact, we can with moderate easiness.

Should we? How easy is that? answering these questions is the goal of this article.

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My take on the reproducibility of academic papers Apr 22, 2018

In these days I am reviewing CIG papers. At the moment, I am not active in academia, but I enjoy being around in the community. Even if only with this “simple” tasks.

This, however, makes me think about the state of scientific work in academia. At least in the computer science field. Something bothered me during my Ph.D. and I am sure it is related to that. (Note: I am talking about what I know, that is, the computer science and AI community) In general, researchers are evaluated on the number of publications. The number of publications is a proxy variable for measuring “quality”. Unfortunately, researchers know that and started to game the system. They try to publish more and to do that they need to lower the “quality” of their work. Because the medium used to communicate your work is a plain PFD file, the obvious way to cut work is to cut the implementation part.

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[Link] Go: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Apr 13, 2018 My opinion is that talking about languages is usually a very unproductive use of time. If these discussions are just cat fights, then it is even worse. Unless you are a language designer, you are writing a language or study a language, you should just use a language and nobody should care. But good articles on language pro and cons are always nice. They may be helpful to choose the right tool for the problem. ...
Game Design: Taxonomy of Fishing Mini-games Mar 24, 2018

Fishing is probably the most common mini-game in gaming history. Before I started working on this article,  I never realized how many games include a fishing as mini-game. The list is huge. Fishing is everywhere. It seems that it is not possible to have a game without the possibility for character to have a relaxing time fishing in a pond.

Everybody loves fishing! At least in games. We can imagine a deep reason for that. There must be something that attract designers, gamers and human in general to the ancient art of fishing. However, for the time being, we are not interested in this question. Instead, we want to explore the huge design space of “fishing games”.

In fact, the action of fishing has been dissected for decades by game designer. It is fascinating to see how many implementations exist for the same real-life action. So, it is time to see what they produced, what are the possibilities and how we can do something new in this domain.

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The State of Game Development in Rust Feb 26, 2018

Game Development is one of the fields in which Rust can gain a lot of traction. As a modern compiled language with performances comparable to C++, Rust can finally free us from the tyranny of C++ bloated feature set, hard-to-link dependencies, and header/implementation file double-madness (I am obviously exaggerating, btw).

However, if this freedom arrive, it will be a very slow process. To make it slower, the feature of memory safety in videogames is not a huge priority compared to the ability to quickly prototype. The borrow-checker and the strict compiler are an obstacle in this regard. On the other hand, memory safety also means easier multi-threading. And this is sweet!

Fortunately, the annoyances of borrow-checker will get less in the way while people becomes more confident with the language, and while tooling gets better and better. I am confident we may see Rust carve out its space in this domain.

But this is the future. What about now?

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MovingAI pathfinding benchmark parser in Rust Feb 16, 2018 You know I worked a lot with pathfinding. In academia, the MovingAI benchmark created by the MovingAI Lab of the University of Denver is a must for benchmarking pathfinding algorithms. It includes synthetic maps and maps from commercial videogames. Parsing the benchmark data, the maps, creating the map data structure and more, is one of the most boring thing I needed to do for testing my algorithms. For this reason, I think a common library for working with the maps specifications it is a must. ...
Choosing between Behavior Tree and GOAP (Planning) Feb 13, 2018 I would like to expand the answer I gave on /r/gamedesign some days ago. The main point of the question was: how can I decide if it “better” to implement the decision-making layer of our game AI with Behavior Trees (BTs) or with more advanced plan-based techniques such as the Goal Oriented Action Planning (GOAP) or SHOP. First consideration: this is not a technical problem The first thing to know is that writing game AI is not a race for best technology, instead, it is just about chosing the right tool for serving the gameplay as good as possible. ...
GameDesign Math: RPG Level-based Progression Feb 3, 2018 Level-based progression is an extremely popular way of providing the player with the feeling of “getting stronger”. The system is born with Role-Playing Games (RPG), but it is nowadays embedded in practically every game; some more, some less. Even if it is perfectly possible to provide progression feeling without levels and experience points, level-based progression is easy, direct, linear and fits well in many (too many?) game genres. But designing a good experience-level progression is important. ...
Small rant about "blockchain" overuse Jan 26, 2018 A lot of startups are using “blockchain” as a replacement hyped word for “distributed database”. Well, a blockchain is the most inefficient and slow “distributed database” ever created. Blockchain strength is not in being a database! Stop doing that! The blockchain power is in avoiding divergent transactions, and guarantee a not falsifiable and immutable history. That is, no node in the system can alter the past of the chain. That’s it. ...