September 23rd

Well, I went and did it: I eliminated all 32 squires. That reduces my actor count to 57, I believe. I know this is ridiculous, but I feel better that the system will run faster with 32 fewer Actors. Yes, it will — it might take 30 microseconds to execute a big script rather than 40 microseconds.

The next task is filling in all the Combat verbs. The current design calls for a custom verb for each Actor. I had no problem filling in each of the Duke Combat____ verbs — there are only eight. But now I face the task of filling in 32 Knight Combat_____ verbs, and I am balking at the size of this list. Isn’t there ANY way to handle it procedurally? 

I could cut down on the execution time with a binary search, but that would take more complicated scripts, and I’d probably make a mistake somewhere and screw it up, creating an error that would not be easily detectable. Perhaps I should go with a generica KnightCombat verb that is equipped with a zillion texts. This would permit repeatability but it would destroy customization of the texts to each Knight. But to do this I must give each Knight a clear personality that I can use. 

But what is the point of having a Knight if he doesn’t have a personality? If I’m going to include an Actor, then that Actor must have a personality. But the Knights operate only in battle, right? 

Wrong. Knights could serve a valuable function as conveyors of gossip. A Subking might do something secretly, but a Knight might witness it and then tell others. This could be of enormous value. 

OK, so Knights stay in and get personalities. But this means that, with 50+ Actors, I have to enter 2500+ relationship values for each and every variable. That is just plain impossible. Now what? It’s mulling time…

So out go the knights. I asked myself, what do the knights do for the story? and came up with the answer “not much”. They are little more than sword fodder. Out they go.

Now I am down to just 17 actors — Merlin doesn’t count as a lord or a duke. There are eight lords and eight dukes, one duke for each lord. For each duke, I already have a custom text set, but I shall also provide a large set of generic text sets for the duke’s individual fighters. These will use the following text set:

one of <DukeName>’s men
a fighter in <DukeName>’s group
Over in <DukeName>’s sector, somebody
A squire attached to <DukeName>
A fellow under <DukeName>

All I must do now is set up the proper tree structure to make this happen. It’s a little complicated, but I think that I can make it work.