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Flash of Steel Interview with Jim & Norb

Last night Jim & I sat down with Troy, Julian, & Rob from Flash of Steel.  We discussed Scourge of War and how it came to be.  Luckily Jim had my back as most of it was focused on the history of Gettysburg :)  I think that I get so deep in the code and the analysis of the programming challenges, that I fail to connect what I've written with the personalities that drive it.  I know how the game behaves and why technically it behaves that way, but I don't get deep into why the request was made.  Designers, testers, explain to me the battle or an issue with how the AI behaves and I translate that into a problem for the code, something that fits into the engine logic and get it in there.  Taking that high level explanation and bringing down into something that can be programmed is how most of my work is accomplished.  I take that description and interrogate them until I have an answer that I can use.  Usually this would seem to be a challenge to overcome, but I think it actually adds to the process.  I don't get involved in the debate over how things should act, I just quiz the victor on the results and make them happen.  Not all that different from any of the other industries I've programmed for.  But much more fun :)


I'm very proud of the AI, because there is a huge gap between what I'm told and how I make that happen. But the teams that I've worked with, the guys that play the game over and over until it's a chore, they're the ones that really make sure that my translation is accurate. We all approach the game from a slightly different perspective, programmer, producer, gamer, historian, designer, modder, all the pieces that come together and produce a great product. The real fun for me is when people feel that the AI is acting in a historical manner, just like it's a shot when it's doing something stupid. I constantly tweak it, rewrite parts, try to streamline how it reacts. In the end we're just glad that people are really enjoying the game.