The problem with current plots, is that most of the time, if the player doesn''t decide to go on with the plot, the plot jsut stays in hold. you get things like "Hurry Sir Knight! The boat is waiting for ye", and you go in town fill your bags of equipment, then decide to wait a little bit in the town to get more HP, and then finally go to the boat, who, luckily for you, has been waiting here for 48 hours that you would show up, otherwise the fate of the world would be gone don the drains...
One thing I''d like to point out is that most of the time, the fate of the world is at stake, which create the need for this rigid structures. Or the "world at stake" is just a stupid excuse like in Diablo where the villagers know of a great evil, but knowing that will make plenty of money on brave adventurers somehow make them overcome their fear and stay there, just at the entrance of the gates of Hell ...
morfe : I was saying that no no no I don''t want of a "random message" being generated; "oh yeah, so the moral of this story is that, uh, wait, what does ''best laid plans of orks and trolls always need someone smalle than yourself ?''".
I am trying to distinguish the difference between the artistic part of writing/plot and the technical part.
Locations seem pretty self explanatory. The areas where we can mess is the Agents, who so far seem to be simple triggers, that stay there and wait until you show up.
As for schedule, they are not really dynamic, it''s more like finite state machines (well, it is actually, isn''t it?) where the plot changes state *only* if the player do something.
I think if you want to give a real impression of life, you have to start makingthe player feel like if they don''t do anything, the story is jsut gonna go on without them. ("I heard some party of brave adventurers took upon themselves to free the princess after you refused to do that quest, Sir Knight...").
Now how cool would that be ?
We would end up with situations that would be much more like in RPG where the DM have to give some real good reasons to a player to go on and follow the actual story they have planned (the *hook* is decisive). And jsut like in RPG, if the players don''t want to do anything, so be it, let''s see what happen (generally, in this case, either you let it go, or something real big happens and kick the player team on their head with a big flashy arrow showing *that way*)
Other thing, we should deal with NPC as if they were information nodes. informations should be spread, distorted, forgotten, acquired, rather than being prewritten dialog items that are enabled/disabled depending on the state of the machine.
This would create reputation, rumors, possibilites to hide info, torture, bribe, and other form of dynamic communication, rather than a simple "we forgot to get the item B, that''s why he won''t stop saying the same thing over and over".
To do that, we have to analyse dialog a bit better ... what is dialoging sp?), what are the components of it, what do we do when we talk ?
We transmit emotions ? We exchange information ? (I don''t want to worry about actual text, just like I don''t want to worry about actual story... it''s all fluff
I think what I am coming down to, is that if you try to decompose a story, you get a bare bone structures that include Agents (they could be beings, or objects), Locations (the places where the action occurs) and Schedule (basically, a way to describe what *should* happen if the players don''t do *anything*).