Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Question

Now, I am sure at least some of you guys that read this are programmers, and since it was asked of me in an interview I would like to hear what you guys would respond with. The question was, "What is the most innovative or creative idea you have ever programmed?" Now let me explain my answer and thought process.

In Fallout 3 I did a number of very interesting ideas, I implemented an Oblivion-esque magic system, however this was not terribly innovative since all it called for was a global value for the current mana levels, a slight rework of the wait/fast-travel system for that time to count towards mana regeneration, and spells were basically explosion effects with an invisible projectile.

So I did not use this, my second thought for an answer was my, not working terribly well, RTS system. Due to the limitations of the engine I never got it properly working as it crashed after a certain point due to memeory usage, usually when you had a sizable base. But it did offer the ability to build your own base from scratch, raise an army and use a squad based combat system for fighting larger battles.

The final idea, and the one I answered with was a single weapon I made for Fallout 3 with interesting physics effects, called the Railway Rifle X-treme, something anyone who has played my mod is familiar with. Now I presented this with the basis behind its working for its innovation, as it technically fired a projectile that moved 4 lightyears in distance every in game second. Since no engine could actually allow that and trying to make it function would make a physics engine programmer cry I used a work-around. I built a make-shift hitscan function, and when this function started the entire game froze at its time giving a temporal distortion effect for realism and allowing all processor usage in computing. Now this function created the projectile technically already inside whatever it hit, so before the gun had fired the projectile had already hit its target, and when the game restarted the projectile left the weapon and moved to the already in place hit. However, it also had its faults in that you had to hit something. If you missed everything (firing into the sky) then the hitscan function could never find where to place the projectile, so the game restarted and the firing scripts couldn't find the ending location causing the game to use the built-in bullet functions which could not handle the projectile speed causing the game to crash.

Now my question is two part, first is whether or not you think I made the right choice of the three and the second is to include what you would have answered with, I am curious.

~The Lurker


  1. Ah man, I wish I was that awesome that I could comment with something comment-worthy.

  2. Love your blog style! Keep up the great work!

  3. If I had a better opinion on game design I would give it to you but sadly I don't, sorry guy!

  4. a faction based pvp system for my private lineage 2 server
    felt good man, tough players rejected it as not true to the spirit :3

  5. It sounds like you made a good choice. You answered the question, identified a strength, a weakness, where it failed and how you could remedy it. All while showing you knew what you were talking about. I'm not programmer, so I cannot answer your second question.

  6. Wow, interesting read, haha.
    Man, I wish I could mod New Vegas like that, but I wouldn't even know where to start.
    Plus I'm not creative enough to come up with ideas like that...