SOC - Geoffrey Hart

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This page is related to Summer of Code 2012
See the list of Summer of Code 2012 Ideas

This is a Summer of Code 2012 student page



Geoffrey Hart - Maximizing Utility

A good offense is made by identifying an opponents vulnerabilities and exploiting them. As such, a good defense is made by reducing the number of weak spots. Since there is no perfect unit and all have their own imperfections, the idea is send them out in groups of units that compliment each others strengths and weaknesses. This will allow them to rearrange themselves in a way most suitable to handle nearby enemies. Since the number of predictive steps the AI can make is limited, it can become "surprised" rather easily. Therefore, it's a good choice to maximize utility and the ability to be flexible in order to handle these surprises. Then, within action-packed skirmishes, raw processing power can be brought to bear more effectively.



SoC Application

Submitted to google



Write a small introduction to yourself.

My name is Geoffrey Hart. I have interests based in math and computing, and history has shown I am very motivated when working with games, as they have problems which are naturally interesting. Also, I am very friendly, and love the friendly atmosphere of game development.

State your preferred email address. This is my student email.

If you have chosen a nick for IRC and Wesnoth forums, what is it?


Why do you want to participate in summer of code?

The experience mainly. Although I'd pursue my own projects during the summer, I find it all too easy to put those off. When the project is collaborative though, I'm much more productive, as a matter of pride.

What are you studying, subject, level and school?

I'm a sophomore attending Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science.

What country are you from, at what time are you most likely to be able to join IRC?

I'm from the US (GMT -4:00), and am most likely to be on later in the day, after 8 pm my time.

Do you have other commitments for the summer period ? Do you plan to take any vacations ? If yes, when.

I have no current commitments, and no plans for vacations. Therefore, I should be able to fully commit myself to the project, if chosen.


What programs/software have you worked on before?

The languages I've used most frequently are Java and C++. However, I have experience with several others (php, html, flash, haskell, to name a few) and can pick up new languages fairly well. The only "serious" program I've done work on to date was fixing some bugs in Notepad++; everything else I've done for fun, such as modding games.

Have you developed software in a team environment before? (As opposed to hacking on something on your own)

I'm currently part of a team working on fixing bugs in Notepad++. I am also part of another group trying to make our own game. It is early in the making, but I've already contributed to our sizable idea pool, coded our physics, made our art, and am planning out how to structure our data to best meet our needs.

Have you participated to the Google Summer of Code before? As a mentor or a student? In what project? Were you successful? If not, why?

This is my first time participating in the Google Summer of Code.

Are you already involved with any open source development projects? If yes, please describe the project and the scope of your involvement.

Again, the Notepad++ project. I am not terribly involved, and have been tasked with fixing a few bugs. Just last night I fixed a problem with replacement involving regular expressions, where Notepad++ would get stuck in a loop and freeze. This change has not been committed.

Gaming experience - Are you a gamer?

I am.

What type of gamer are you?

I'm a fairly casual gamer, enjoying several types of games. I try to have as much fun as possible, instead of focusing on winning. I will frequently go for 100% completion, though.

What type of games?

I've played lots of puzzle games, and games which are relatively short in length. With games that are longer, I prefer ones that allow me to express some creativity. The last games I got heavily involved with are Minecraft and Terraria.

What type of opponents do you prefer?

Assuming this means human opponents, I prefer ones that are friendly, and I gravitate towards games that have a higher concentration of these good-mannered types.

Are you more interested in story or gameplay?

Gameplay, simply because story is an exhaustible resource. I've definitely enjoyed games with rich story before, but always felt wanting when they end. A game with good gameplay has a mucher higher replay value for me.

Have you played Wesnoth? If so, tell us roughly for how long and whether you lean towards single player or multiplayer.

I've played Wesnoth before, which is why it stood out for me. I stayed within single player.

We do not plan to favor Wesnoth players as such, but some particular projects require a good feeling for the game which is hard to get without having played intensively.

If you have contributed any patches to Wesnoth, please list them below. You can also list patches that have been submitted but not committed yet and patches that have not been specifically written for GSoC. If you have gained commit access to our S­­V­­N (during the evaluation period or earlier) please state so.

I've not.

Communication skills

Though most of our developers are not native English speakers, English is the project's working language. Describe your fluency level in written English.

English is my native language.

What spoken languages are you fluent in?

English is the only language I speak.

Are you good at interacting with other players? Our developer community is friendly, but the player community can be a bit rough.

I certainly am. When around friendly people, I only respond in kind. When around anyone who seems less friendly, I tend to joke more, in a way I'm finding hard to explain. But it works.

Do you give constructive advice?

I only give constructive advice.

Do you receive advice well?

I certainly do. If I don't understand the other person's view though, I prefer discussing the problem until I do.

Are you good at sorting useful criticisms from useless ones?

Definitely. Useless criticisms seem pretty easy to spot.

How autonomous are you when developing ? Would you rather discuss intensively changes and not start coding until you know what you want to do or would you rather code a proof of concept to "see how it turn out", taking the risk of having it thrown away if it doesn't match what the project want

This really depends on the problem. I prefer discussion if I've yet to come up with any idea that satisfies me. I will still do several proof of concepts if it takes a short time to code them though, so as to emphasize any problems I couldn't think of during conception.


4.1) Did you select a project from our list? If that is the case, what project did you select? What do you want to especially concentrate on?

I selected the 'Total Defense' AI project.

If you have invented your own project, please describe the project and the scope.

Most projects I've worked on have been of my own invention. A majority of these are experiments though, and couldn't be considered a complete product on their own. I have heavily experimented with game concepts though, and am working on my own game now.

Why did you choose this project?

It seems the most interesting. I don't like problems that have a straight-forward, perfect solution.

Include an estimated timeline for your work on the project. Don't forget to mention special things like "I booked holidays between A and B" and "I got an exam at ABC and won't be doing much then".

I'll likely be working on this during the Summer, since classes are starting to get busy. Since the problem seems so interesting though, I can invest a lot of time during this period.

Include as much technical detail about your implementation as you can

I'm not sure implementation is too important for this kind of project. I tend to develop algorithms in my head with a sort of pseudocode, and translate it into whatever language I need to.

What do you expect to gain from this project?

Experience with AI. I'm not a complete stranger to it, but I certainly lean towards other areas of game design. Graphics, and gameplay, primarily.

What would make you stay in the Wesnoth community after the conclusion of SOC?

Since the the main idea of Wesnoth seems to be creating a interesting gameplay experience with the application of simple rules, I think coding for the AI will give me a greater appreciation of the strategy required to play. This will undoubtedly get me more interested.

Practical considerations

Are you familiar with any of the following tools or languages?

Sub­­version (used for all commits)

C++ (language used for all the normal source code)

STL, Boost, Sdl (C++ libraries used by Wesnoth)

Python (optional, mainly used for tools)

build environments (eg cmake/scons)

WML (the wesnoth specific scenario language)

Lua (used in combination with WML to create scenarios)

The order I know these best are C++, Python, and Lua. The rest I'd learn.

Which tools do you normally use for development? Why do you use them?

Really, anything that's available. I'm never afraid to learn how to use a new tool. If I have something I'm more comfortable with though, that's what I tend to default with. This is because I develop for myself. I'm currently most comfortable using Eclipse.

What programming languages are you fluent in?

Java, Haskell, Actionscript, C++, PHP, and HTML, and so forth.

Would you mind talking with your mentor on telephone / internet phone? We would like to have a backup way for communications for the case that somehow emails and IRC do fail.

(850) 417-9178 I don't mind talking at all, so long as it is closer to after 8 pm. (GMT -4:00)

This page was last edited on 21 March 2013, at 00:00.