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### 3.7 Core algorithm

#### 3.7.1 Introduction

Since Liquid War 3 the algorithm to power Liquid War is pretty much unchanged, at least, there has been no revolution, the basic principles remain the same. This has been explained in Liquid War 5 doc, but is repeated here, along with the specific Liquid War 6 stuff.

The very important things to remember are:

• The algorithm is 100.00% predictable. This means given the same input, it will give exactly the same output. This is very important for the network games to work correctly, therefore, the algorithm does not ever use any call to `rand` / `random` functions, it also does not use any float value either, since different type of processors/contexts might give slightly different results because of rounding problems.
• It’s a two-pass algorithm, the first step is to calculate the distance from any point of the map to the closest cursor. This step is always imperfect, the shortest path is never really found, the naive approach is to consider that if a place on the map is at distance `N` of the cursor, then in the worst case, all adjacent places are at distance `N+1`. As of Liquid War 6, the corresponding code is in `src/lib/ker/ker-spread.c`. The second step is to move the fighters, make them act. In Liquid War 6, the corresponding code is in `src/lib/ker/ker-move.c`. One can have a look at the code source for the function `lw6ker_game_state_do_round` in `src/lib/ker/ker-gamestate.c` to see how these are called.

#### 3.7.2 Level, game struct, game state and pilot

Most of the algorithm code has something to do with the following types (which are structs):

• `lw6map_level_t` defined in which is used to store the level data.
• `lw6ker_game_struct_t` defined in `src/lib/map/map.h` which is used to store the memory data required by the algorithm, but which are immutable. There’s a difference between those data and the ones stored in the level struct. For instance, those data are “private” since `lw6ker_game_struct_t` is opaque, while everything is `lw6map_level_t` is “public”. Also, data in `lw6ker_game_struct_t` might be highly redundant for performance issues and is optimized for speed while data in `lw6map_level_t` is just plain data and won’t change if the algorithm is updated.
• `lw6ker_game_state_t` defined in `src/lib/ker/ker.h` which is used to store the level data required by the algorithm, and which changes during the game. This is typically where an information such as “there’s a red fighter in slot (3,23,1)” will be stored.
• `lw6pil_pilot_t` defined in `src/lib/pil/pil.h` which is used to handle all the threading issues. It keeps a track of 3 game states. A “reference” state which is the state of the game considering all input has been received from the network, and is validated. A “draft” state which might be anticipated and updated “as if the players we did not get input from did not move there cursors”. This can give the illusion that the game is running smoothly while in reality input from other players on the network is choppy. In a local game, “draft” and “reference” are equivalent, since there’s no doubt about what’s on the network. And finally, a “backup” state which can be pulled in case of a serious flaw and is a good way to solve the “hey, someone untrusted is throwing garbage on the net”. One can always pull a backup.

Most of the time, hacking on the algorithm, changing the gameplay, does not require to touch anything but the code in `src/lib/ker`.

See See libmap. See See libker. See See libpil.

#### 3.7.3 Getting informations about where fighters are

One of the key functions is `lw6ker_game_state_get_fighter_id`, which will return the id of a fighter at a given position. Then its companion function `lw6ker_game_state_get_fighter_by_id` can be called, it will return a `lw6ker_fighter_t`, which contains the real data.

The type `lw6ker_fighter_t` is not opaque and can be freely accessed by the caller, which, typically, is a graphics backend trying to display informations. Try and grep for the string “lw6ker_game_state_get_fighter_id” withing the `src/lib/gfx` source tree for examples.

One thing that is very important when hacking on `libker`: you should always leave the `lw6ker_game_state_t` struct in a state that is compatible with a correct usage of public “getters” in `src/lib/ker/ker.h`. The reason is that this code can be executed by separate threads, more precisely, in “dirty read” mode, the rendering thread will try and display a “game state” while this very “game state” is being updated by another thread.

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