Idea for a circuit game

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A Random Player
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Idea for a circuit game

Post by A Random Player » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:51 pm

Remember this? It seems Andy has been busy with GSim and Shockopus lately.
I've been playing Creeper World again, and I had an idea for a circuit game as a tower defense game. At first I wanted energy to be collected by collectors, and sent to towers or storage. For example, a solar cell might make 10 energy per second, storing up to 100 energy and sending energy to close-by towers. However, this would just emphasize creating towers surrounded by collectors, and by then you should just package everything together; a normal TD game. Problem is, that's a bit boring.

So I thought of a system based on Magic or Mana, and is very similar to actual circuits.
Magic would be the voltage; the potential of a node. (Shh don't tell anyone)
There are various tiles:
Magic nodes (nodes in a circuit)
Magic pipes (resistors)
Weapons (like motors, lights, or other similar electric component)
Some sort of energy storage (inductors, capacitors?)
Possibly a detector (drastically lower resistance when an enemy is nearby)
Transistors of some sort

Magic nodes would be classified into two categories: Fixed (a fixed potential, such as a 5 volt or ground) and nonfixed (other nodes in a circuit).

Any currents would be computed by literally the difference in voltage, and Magic nodes would change voltage based on current leading toward or away.
I simulated this numerically in excel, and the results match the predictions given by the formulas for parallel and series circuits. However, the currents take a while to settle down at an equilibrium, and this is a problem for time-varying circuits. Maybe this is realistic, maybe not.
Circuit TD Sketch.png
Example
Circuit TD Sketch.png (4.95 KiB) Viewed 17566 times
This is an example sketch of a circuit. Notice each component has a resistance, and there's a gun thingy. However, right now the gun only has .833 amps of current, or 1.388 watts, so it can only damage 1.388 joules per second. This is bad, so one might upgrade the pipes (resistors) to reduce their resistance, since the voltages would be located far from the action.

Various goals could include killing enemies, powering a certain piece at a certain current, or converting AC to DC and vice versa.

Strategies would require connecting circuits parallel instead of series, connecting detectors to save energy, or calculating resistances.

Instead of fixed voltage blocks we could have batteries that give off a certain voltage, or solar cells. This means it would be good to have capacitors in case your light gets blocked by a tree for a second.
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robly18
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Re: Idea for a circuit game

Post by robly18 » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:24 pm

Interesting.

If I ever run out of ideas of stuff to code, I need to try making something like this. It sounds like it would be interesting to design, though electricity isn't my field of expertise.

Neat concept nonetheless.
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exfret
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Re: Idea for a circuit game

Post by exfret » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:47 pm

Not my field of expertise either (I guess I don't really have a field of expertise). I think it would be cool to make it so that enemies can destroy your stuff. That would be a good idea. Also, changing weather conditions (causing need for lights to see or umbrellas for protection from rain). The battery could be like your lifeline (or you could start out with a cell that you upgrade). You could continue without it, but once it's gone, the game's basically over (I'm imagining you're done for once all your blocks are destroyed, and you would be prevented from just placing down random blocks to significantly prolong your lifetime by the fact that you have to make blocks using the resources you get from killing enemies with weapons requiring power, which you won't have much of if you've lost your battery). I'm thinking the person playing could start off just detecting things and then turning a switch on and off accordingly, but then could advance to a level where they get electrically-powered switches triggered by the detectors you speak of. That's all I can think of for now, since I don't know of electrical engineering, so I can't think of how to implement it into the game.
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testtubegames
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Re: Idea for a circuit game

Post by testtubegames » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:56 pm

A Random Player wrote:Remember this?
Omg, I do remember that. And I think you have a really cool game concept there.

At one point, I was thinking along a similar tower-defense line for the circuits game... but it didn't quite come together. I had been thinking of making the electrons in the wire be the units that were attacking you, and you putting resistors and such in place to stop them. But I could never get it to work conceptually -- since there's not much interesting you can do to stop/slow down the electrons. You break the circuit, or add tons of resistors. Not much more you can do. So I hit a dead end, and we moved on from TD.

I quite like your take on it, though, having the circuit components be the *towers*. The gameplay is focused on resource management, and strategizing about where to place things. Huh. This may be my favorite idea I've heard about a circuits game... since, given the fact it's a tower defense game, it could actually be *fun*. And you wouldn't need that many separate levels, unlike a puzzle game, which is another bonus. There are only so many interesting and easily digestible circuits out there. With a tower defense game, you can get away with just a handful of well-crafted maps.

Add to that creative enemies and scenarios (A dastardly fleet of clouds! A creature that leaves solder in its wake, and threatens to short circuit what you've built. A monster who is always grounded, so affects your circuit temporarily when he touches it.)

I'll be interested to hear if you take the ideas further.

exfret
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Re: Idea for a circuit game

Post by exfret » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:38 am

Controlling a :Sh that uses your charge to move and electrify things? Electromagnets? Static electricity/charges?
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A Random Player
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Re: Idea for a circuit game

Post by A Random Player » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:45 am

testtubegames wrote:
A Random Player wrote:Remember this?
Omg, I do remember that. And I think you have a really cool game concept there.

At one point, I was thinking along a similar tower-defense line for the circuits game... but it didn't quite come together. I had been thinking of making the electrons in the wire be the units that were attacking you, and you putting resistors and such in place to stop them. But I could never get it to work conceptually -- since there's not much interesting you can do to stop/slow down the electrons. You break the circuit, or add tons of resistors. Not much more you can do. So I hit a dead end, and we moved on from TD.

I quite like your take on it, though, having the circuit components be the *towers*. The gameplay is focused on resource management, and strategizing about where to place things. Huh. This may be my favorite idea I've heard about a circuits game... since, given the fact it's a tower defense game, it could actually be *fun*. And you wouldn't need that many separate levels, unlike a puzzle game, which is another bonus. There are only so many interesting and easily digestible circuits out there. With a tower defense game, you can get away with just a handful of well-crafted maps.

Add to that creative enemies and scenarios (A dastardly fleet of clouds! A creature that leaves solder in its wake, and threatens to short circuit what you've built. A monster who is always grounded, so affects your circuit temporarily when he touches it.)

I'll be interested to hear if you take the ideas further.
Wait, I'm supposed to make the game? I thought you would! :P
I really like the idea of the enemies, causes you to protect key parts more (and more power consumption!) Maybe the enemies' AI would cause them to move toward certain more vulnerable parts instead of following fixed paths - clouds drift over your solar panels, solderers and grounders go for high current wires.

More ideas:
Power consumption causes heat, which affects resistors and may damage them. Resistors have a maximum (current or power?) tolerance to penalize short-circuiting. Also some heat-generating enemies. Though heat would make things get a bit complicated.

Mainly I'm not sure if a numerical simulation of the circuits would be physically realistic or accurate.
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testtubegames
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Re: Idea for a circuit game

Post by testtubegames » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:34 am

A Random Player wrote:Wait, I'm supposed to make the game? I thought you would! :P
Haha, gotcha. :) I think it could be really neat.
A Random Player wrote:Mainly I'm not sure if a numerical simulation of the circuits would be physically realistic or accurate.
Yeah, it would be very accurate. In fact, in that old half-made version of a game we did, the circuits part was working fine. Capacitors, inductors, resistors, switches, you name it. So the math there is straightforward. And you just set the values of all the components such that things happen in a game-appropriate time frame. (Circuits oscillate at 1 Hz, say, not 60Hz)

A Random Player
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Re: Idea for a circuit game

Post by A Random Player » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:45 pm

testtubegames wrote:
A Random Player wrote:Wait, I'm supposed to make the game? I thought you would! :P
Haha, gotcha. :) I think it could be really neat.
A Random Player wrote:Mainly I'm not sure if a numerical simulation of the circuits would be physically realistic or accurate.
Yeah, it would be very accurate. In fact, in that old half-made version of a game we did, the circuits part was working fine. Capacitors, inductors, resistors, switches, you name it. So the math there is straightforward. And you just set the values of all the components such that things happen in a game-appropriate time frame. (Circuits oscillate at 1 Hz, say, not 60Hz)
Ah, it just feels weird waiting for resistors/voltage nodes to "charge up" over about a second.
$1 = 100¢ = (10¢)^2 = ($0.10)^2 = $0.01 = 1¢ [1]
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testtubegames
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Re: Idea for a circuit game

Post by testtubegames » Fri Jul 18, 2014 2:58 pm

A Random Player wrote:Ah, it just feels weird waiting for resistors/voltage nodes to "charge up" over about a second.
Oh, sure. With ours, it's the same way. Took me a moment to realize that we were using multi-farad capacitors :) . Yup, those will take a while to charge!

It's kind of nice to have that flexibility when making your circuits. It's a really nice opportunity to *see* stuff you don't normally see, since it happens so fast.

On the other hand, you don't want to give players an overly counterintuitive experience. (Why doesn't the light turn on when I flip the switch?! This game is uberflawed!) So you'd have to do it gracefully.

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