Saturday, November 26, 2011

More on ASCII symbols

Yesterday I asked for suggestions for ASCII symbols for armies and boats. Today I would like to refine the request as I have made a decision for armies and JADE now already contains different craft types.
I love the idea of using either '#' or the actual symbol of the dominant race for armies (this will depend on your perception). With low perception you just will see "an army" (red #), with decent perception you will see "an army of orcs" (green o, predominant race), with excellent perception you will see "an army of many orcs, a couple of ogres and a hill giant" (still green o), with superb perception you will see "an army of hundreds of orces, less than a score of ogres and one hill giant" (still the green o) and finally with godlike perception (something like 50+ or so) you will see "an army of 356 orcs, 9 ogres and one hill giant" (still green o). The predominant race will be determined by the number of beings of one type multiplied with their size factor (so an unlikely army of four tooth fairies and one hill giant would use the symbol of the hill giant due to its dominant size). All this suits me very well and I like the gradual increase in information.

For crafts (or vessels?) I'm torn. Now that monster symbols for armies seem to be a very good idea there could be some confusing when also using letters for crafts. On the other hand the variety of imaginable crafts (raft, small boat, large boat, ship, cart, balloon, whatever else comes to mind) also makes it unlikely to find enough other symbols. Or does it?

So my request for support for today is to think about a scheme for crafts. What do you like?

BTW, as the army idea seems to have been spawned by Lyle and notasquirrel: Please send me your real world names with a short reference to this to creator(at) so that I can secure a decent place for you in the game credits.


  1. "the variety of imaginable crafts (raft, small boat, large boat, ship, cart, balloon, whatever else comes to mind) also makes it unlikely to find enough other symbols. Or does it?"

    I have already said this at some point, but let me remind you of the possibility to use Unicode instead of just ASCII :)

  2. Extended ASCII!

    Crafts should use a similar system to armies.
    A base symbol for crafts/vessels, maybe ¤, and with better perception it changes from a vessel to a large ship, to a large, three masted ship, and so on a so forth.

  3. Hmm ... is a specific army/group/horde/bunch of creatures is just a subset of "an army", and a balloon is a subset of craft/vessels, what about buildings/dungeons/towns? Should perception influence the ability to recognize those as well?
    Beginning with "You see man-made* structures" -> "You see a collection of buildings" -> "You see several smaller structures around a large, but partly destroyed temple building" -> etc.

    * Man/elf/toothfaries/etc.

  4. If you pick a colour to use on the world map for crafts and only for crafts, then you'd be able to use all possible symbols.


  5. The problem with the alphabet, of course, is that eventually we're going to run out of letters :P (speaking of which, are you using 1234567890 for anything?) That said, we do have a bit of room with v V.

    green v = tugboat/shipping boat
    yellow v = raft/improvised boat
    brown v = ship/merchant ship/lightly armed ship
    dark brown v = warship/galleon
    grey (silver) v = elven galley
    black v = evil races ship/pirate ship

    white v = flying ship/hot air balloon
    orange v = caravan

    anycolour V = vortex D:
    (for vortexes, we should just go through completely every colour that JADE has, and assign a vortex to it!)

    Or you could go the other way and have v = vortex and V = ships.

    But if we're sticking to the world map, you could have brown/dark brown 'V' as larger ships too, and then not have any brown/dark brown vortex enemies. We probably will have vortexes on the world map, because they make good scenarios (a hurricane of vortexes, an out-of-control volcano spawns an army of fire vortexes...)

  6. Oh, oops. Where I said shipping boat, I meant FISHING boat...

  7. v for Vessel sounds like a good plan to me - keeps with the roguelike traditions of picking letters based on words. Surely colours of v will be enough? After all, transport is transport - context will be enough most of the time, brown v on water is pretty likely to be a boat.
    If vessels are not included in dungeons/towns etc, then there shouldn't be any conflict with vortexes. Unless someone pulls together an army of them....!
    (please can this never happen).

  8. Is it possible to deliver italics to ASCII code? If yes i would see them as great representants of these crafts. Italic is very thin and I associate with some kind of structures which the crafts are made of (wood,light iron etc). For "heavier" vehicles maybe bold characters?

    The second idea would tell if the vessels are flying,swimming or riding.

    I dont seem to be very original but i like DCSS idea for flying-glowing purple.

    For swimmin state - some shades of blue(depends if you can recognize type of craft(perception/navigation tests?)

    Ground moving vessels?Maybe brown,with some restrictions (shades),to (if you are goin to deliver this idea) to track,wheel or large implant legs types. If it not runs all possibilites.

    Black shades could work for phantom ships,undead,ghost and etheral 'things'.

    This can easy separate and run possibilites to different crafts beggining with same letters for example:

    glowing purple ittalic B - light balloon in fly state
    light brown bold T - tank kind vessel with tracks
    very deep blue bold B - underwater heavy submarine(

    Furthermore imo i dont think we should see races of every vessel(unless they are very close-then,from lets say B,change letter to O for orcs-when they are close;undead orcs could be black).For some they could simply unload themselves and we would see what we are goin to face in the battle.

  9. Of course all of these ideas work fine until you run into a boat full of vortexes

  10. Speaking of ASCII symbols...
    Is there any chance that JADE will support the use of tiles, thus replacing ASCII symbols and letting creative people use their custom tilesets?

    If no, what is the reason?
    Is it too difficult to implement, is it just that you want JADE to only have ASCII symbols or something else?

  11. Have you considered branching a little bit beyond ASCII and into Unicode? While I'm a huge fan of text-based symbols, there's a lot more variety in Unicode to choose from, even if you stay inside letters and symbols and shy away from pictographs. As a random example, you could use a psi (U+03A8 Ψ) to represent a masted ship, perhaps. A small raft could be negation (U+00AC ¬). You could go deeper; a fountain could be a hooked upsilon (U+03D2 ϒ), or a sign could be an integral (U+222B ∫)

    I can't comment too much on specific symbols since I haven't been able to get JADE to work, but I will add one comment, which is that you could also experiment with background highlights; perhaps armies could be background highlighted to indicate at a glance that they are unusual. If you already use these, ignore me!