# "Line of sight" issues in a hockey-themed game

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jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008

I'm trying my hand at a sports-themed game, about ice hockey, but I'm having some difficulties with deciding how to handle some of the spatial aspects of the game. These run sort of similar to "ling of sight" concerns, but I think there are some differences.

First, some primitives. I believe that the underlying board will be a hex grid, but I'm not committed to this, if someone can suggest a better tiling. I believe that each skater will have a specific orientation relative to the hex he's sitting on, such that he faces one edge of the hex, and can interact with the two faces adjacent to that. So in the drawing below, the skater faces edge A, and can interact with action on sides B and F -- this could include catching a pass coming through one of those edges, or sending a pass through one of those edges, or disrupting a play, etc.

(BTW, anyone know how to make images smaller?)

Now, what I'm having problems with is evaluating the trajectory that passes should take, and who should be able to interact with them (I'll have similar concerns for shots, but we'll wait for that). The crucial caveat is no rulers, no strings. This is simulating a fast paced sport, and playing the game must be fast paced as well.

Here's a drawing that shows the dilemma:

Player R1 is making a pass to R2, and defenders B1-B4 are potentially involved. "L" shows the trajectory of the pass. The first question raised is, through what hexes does L pass? The answer to this depends on where L begins; does it start at the player's stick, or at the center of the hex he occupies? But even that is sort of water under the bridge, because the point is, without a string or ruler, I can't guarantee that you can ever determine exactly what L is. So, the real question is, how can you easily define a path that shows which hexes the puck will pass through, that most closely approximates L? A and B show two possible paths that the puck could take in connecting the pass. Is there a way to prefer a unique path (again, assuming that you don't "know" what L is, although you can eyeball it and immediately rule out some paths as clearly unreasonable)?

The next question is, which defenders can interfere with the pass, and how to define a set of universal, but simple, rules, to evaluate this? ("interfere" will probably involve a quick die roll against a "skill value", I suspect) Note that I haven't drawn any defenders in the actual path of the puck. Note also that I've drawn the players to be large relative to the hexes. It could be more appropriate to just say "a defender can only disrupt a pass if the puck passes through a hex edge that he can interact with based on his orientation".

I guess my dilemma is that looking at the drawing qualitatively, it seems reasonable to me that B2 definitely can't intercept the pass, B3 probably can't, B1 possibly can, and B4 probably could. So the question is whether there's a way to make a simple set of rules that codifies this qualitative analysis, or is it hopeless?

I welcome any input or suggestions on any aspects of how to handle puck movement or player interaction (hockey player interaction, not game player interaction!) with respect to this idea.

Thanks in advance to all you spatially minded folks!

-Jeff

Infernal
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Joined: 12/31/1969
"Line of sight" issues in a hockey-themed game

Quote:
it seems reasonable to me that B2 definitely can't intercept the pass, B3 probably can't, B1 possibly can, and B4 probably could.

You could have difrent target numbers for blocking based on the relitive position of the hex the puck passes through.
For example: The hex that the player is in could have the higest value, the hex in front (A on the first diagram) have a slightly lower than the player's hex, and the hexes 60 degrees from the front (B and F on the first diagram) at the lowest chance to block. The player would only get 1 chance to block for each teram member that the puck passes.

This just leaves determining wich hexes the puck passes through.

The main problem with hexes is the lines off the verticies of the hex (or nodes). In this case you could just rule that where it passes between the 2 hexes then it is countsd as passing through both, but treat it (for blocking purposes) as not passing the blockers hex.
for example: In the second diagram where you have A and B. If a blocker is in A then they block as if the puck passes through B, but a blocker at B would block as if it passes through A. (i.e. B4 would block as if the puck passed in the hex directly in front of him).

Other disputes about which hex it passes through would just use this same mechanic.

Nando
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Re: "Line of sight" issues in a hockey-themed game

jwarrend wrote:
... B2 definitely can't intercept the pass, B3 probably can't, B1 possibly can, and B4 probably could.

Beyond the obvious "adjacent space" solution, you might do a "crosses emanating edges" type of thing. (Or "stemming" edges.)

Along path A, the puck crosses 2 edges that emanate from B1's space and 2 edges that emanate from B4's space. It crosses zero edges with respect to B2 and B3, effectively taking them out of the play.

Along path B, the puck crosses 1 emanating edge from each of B1's and B3's spaces, and still crosses 2 edges with respect to B4. B2 is still out of it.

Also...
I think you have 3 basic choices about which path to take:
1. Let the passer choose.
2. Assume a path based on the defender under consideration (as Infernal suggests).
3. Assume the "least kinky" path (as I called it elswhere on BGDF), which in this scenario would be path B.

Also...
Consider whether it feels like B3 would have better chances if he were turned one facet to the left. I think he would, even though for path B the puck enters no more adjacent spaces nor crosses any more emanating edges. This seems to indicate the potential usefulness of some sort of modifier for "center-to-side" or "side-to-center" puck travel paths with respect to defenders. In general, being perpendicular to the travel path of the puck feels like it would be "better oriented".