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I have an idea for a game like theme park but don't know how simulation games are made.

I am not on my first game so I would appreciate constructive answers instead of "its hard, don't do it".

What I want is to know how simulation game mechanics are put together. I figure it would be heaver on the AI than normal games and not knowing much about AI would like to know some programming techniques I should look into for this style game.

Specific techniques please not just a book on AI.

What sort of architecture would be used? I guess it would have some sort of probability engine with pre designed events that are triggered based on the AI state.

Would it use a Finite State Machine (FSM) or be purely event driven?

Any information on how a sims game functions would be cool.

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2 Answers

The source code to the original Sim City was released a little while ago. It may provide some limited insight (be wary that source code, in general, isn't the best educational tool, especially when used alone).

There's also these lecture slides on The Sims, as well as this article on a few "tricks" used in the Sims AI.

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This is really, really wide-open. There are tons of ways to do it, including the ones you mentioned.

Personally, I would go with an FSM where each actor makes a decision, and then works towards that decision until it's done, impossible, or they are forced to change their mind for some reason. (Emergencies, etc.)

To add some more dynamic occurances, I'd give the actors needs and wants, and have them pick their next action based on those needs and wants, nearly sources to fulfill them, and a tiny bit of randomness.

Wants can even include peer pressure, which would have friends and families flock in a group instead of separating, and possibly make them consider the needs of others in the flock.

Some decisions (pathing) need to be handled constantly, but most can be handled when the scenario changes.

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