Future Traffic Programmer

Here’s an idea for a game I’ve been working on for a while now.

It’s the distant future of highway traffic control. Your job as a traffic programmer is to make sure that all of the autodriver cars make it to their correct destinations without crashing. Orders are sent to cars from transmitters placed beneath the pavement in individual lanes, and the transmitters can query a car to get its current speed and destination.

Your task is to design the placement of different types of transmitters so that all of the cars can make it through safely, and as quickly, as possible.

Here are the basic commands at your disposal to affect how the cars travel:

  • Brake
  • Accelerate
  • Lane change left
  • Lane change right
  • Take left fork
  • Take right fork

Additionally, each transmitter can be fitted with a conditional to make it only work for certain cars on the road.

  • Speed (Fast, Medium, Slow)
  • Destination (Any number of futuristic destinations relevant to the area)

There is also a special type of transmitter that sends signals to other transmitters, instead of to cars. They trigger whenever a car runs over them, but can be set up with a conditional so that they only trigger when certain cars go by. Whenever it triggers, it can either turn off, turn on, or toggle another transmitter.

The trigger transmitter can be used in combination with a lane change transmitter to create a “safe merge” – set up the trigger in the destination lane, so that whenever it has a car over it, the lane change transmitter shuts off. This will prevent cars from accidentally merging into other cars.

Another thing you can do with a trigger is to split one lane into several. Place a trigger in front of a lane changer in the same lane, with the trigger set to toggle the lane changer each time a car hits it. This way every other car will change lanes. It could come in handy!

One final wrinkle is that certain types of vehicles supercede the automated highway system entirely – you won’t be able to issue commands to them, but they will still set off triggers so that the automated cars will be able to avoid them if you are a clever programmer. These autonomous vehicles will usually follow a set path or even remain in a single lane at a constant speed, so they will generally be easy to plan around.

Have fun at your new job as a future traffic programmer!

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