Game dev

Creating worker NPCs using behavior trees

I’m a huge fan of RimWorld, a base building game where you manage a group of colonists. Rather than directly controlling the colonists, you place blueprints for buildings, mark trees for cutting, and animals for hunting. NPCs will then decide what to do automatically, based on their skills and priorities.

I’ve made two games recently with similar mechanics. The first was Ruben’s Virtual World Project (RVWP), a hybrid basebuilder/topdown shooter. The second was Tin Mining, a mining sim created as an entry to Ludum Dare 48. Both of these games allowed placing building plans that NPC workers would then build out.

In this article, I will explain how I implemented the NPC AIs, and the problems I faced.

Tin Mining - Ludum Dare 48 post-mortem

In April 2021, I participated in my first game jam, Ludum Dare 48. Ludum Dare is a popular online game jam; this event received over 3800 submissions. The theme was “Deeper and Deeper,” and I created a game where you manage a tin mine.

The year is 1790, and the Cornish tin industry is booming. You are a businessperson who has just secured investment to build a mine. The area is known to be rich in tin, which is in high demand.

Rather than controlling your workers directly, you drag out plans for tiles to be mined and built. The workers will mine tunnels and build where ordered. They will carry mined resources to the surface to be sold.

Extending sol3's implicit type conversion

Many APIs in my game push Vector3s to and from Lua. It’s such a common operation, that most of my functions used to look like this:

sol::table add(sol::table tPos) {
    Vector3f pos = TableToPos(tPos);

    // do something
    return PosToTable(pos);
}

One of the benefits of sol is that it is able to bind Lua arguments to C++ function arguments, converting types implicitly. Having to convert from a table to a vector ourselves is quite annoying. It would be much nicer to have sol do it for us. Luckily, sol allows you to customise how types are retrieved and pushed to Lua using Customisation Points.

When trying to convert a type from Lua to C++, sol will call certain templated functions. We will be customisating sol’s behaviour using a technique called template specialization, which allows us to specialise a specific instance of the templated functions and structs. By the end of this article, we’ll be able to use Vector3 directly when using sol, allowing the above code to be turned into this:

Vector3f add(Vector3f pos) {
    // do something

    return pos;
}
A Comparison of GUI Libraries for SFML: TGUI vs SFGUI vs IMGui and more

SFML is an excellent library that can be used to create 2D games in C++. It’s an abstraction over OpenGL and various system APIs, presenting a consistent and nice interface.

There are many different approaches and use-cases to creating GUIs which a standard approach embedded in SFML would not be able to cover, which is why SFML leaves it to other libraries. Additionally, whilst the S in SFML stands for Simple, GUI code rarely is.

There are many different options to choose from when attempting to implement GUIs, some of these will be detailed below.

Multiplayer Topdown Sandbox Game in C++

For the last two years, I have been working on a very ambitious game. The game is a top-down sandbox with multiplayer support. I’m aiming towards a city-based game, where players can wander around a procedurally generated city. One of the main reasons I started creating this game is to learn about multiplayer networking at a low level - client-side prediction, server-side reconcilliation, cheat preventation, and reducing the visual effect of latency.

3D Projection

Hello 2015! Recently I have created an implementation of the 3D projection algorithm. It is just wireframe models. It works pretty well, except it doesn’t do frustum culling. You still see things that are behind you, but upside down.

The source code of this implementation is available under the WTFPL or CC0 licenses - you can choose which one you want to use. Use WASD to move, arrow keys to rotate, space to ascend and shift to descend.