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# Chain reaction storylines - rpg

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### #41ahw  Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 11 September 2000 - 12:48 PM

Landfish : if you are thinking , writing a plot from components, and writing dialogs with the way I described Agents Locations and Schedules, I''ll yes you are right, for the moment

But I would bet that with a bit of work it could be possible to have a nice set of Agents with their goals, and from the simple conflicts of goals would emerge events that could then be evolved into quests. As well, generating a randome quests involving some Agents wouldn''t be too difficult neither, what would be more difficult woud be to chose the right Agents so that they have some sort of reason to be involved (why would the baker kidnapp the king"s daughter ?)
I''d like also, to take into account the influence/help that could be given by a human administrator (taking over the NPC when a critical situation is being created ?)

nazrix : agreed. Make random events/plots, and selecting NPC that have some sort of reason to be involved.

### #42Wavinator  Moderators   -  Reputation: 1882

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Posted 11 September 2000 - 09:09 PM

quote:
Original post by ahw

But I would bet that with a bit of work it could be possible to have a nice set of Agents with their goals, and from the simple conflicts of goals would emerge events that could then be evolved into quests. As well, generating a randome quests involving some Agents wouldn''t be too difficult neither, what would be more difficult woud be to chose the right Agents so that they have some sort of reason to be involved (why would the baker kidnapp the king"s daughter ?)

I really like the this concept, but I think the AI is going to be the most difficult aspect. It would be interesting to figuring out whether or not the philosophy of strategic AI would apply here. Rather than fighting a battle, could the character''s be seen as taking actions in pursuit of some goal? If so, I think the weighing and measuring of these actions would be extremely difficult to figure out. It''s one thing to decide whether to attack or build in a battle, quite another to figure out if the baker should kidnap the daughter, or kill her instead.

If you think about the sorry a state of most game AIs today, you can see how much more daunting the task is... (I think damn hard, but not impossible...)

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### #43Wavinator  Moderators   -  Reputation: 1882

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Posted 11 September 2000 - 09:14 PM

quote:
Original post by Langman

Assuming you have overcome most of the other problems with trying to generate a story line in the first place. One way to keep the world ticking over is that in addition to the people going about their daily lives, you also have complex AIs that essentially do the job of the player. A single player version of a MUD to clarify.

Now this is a cool idea. But I''m wondering how, if the player isn''t critical, he''s going to feel important in the game world? Could you instead have sub-optimal results if the player doesn''t handle business? This way the player''s actions really do matter, and if he screws around in the weapons shop when he should have been catching the plane or whatever the impact of this decision will be very visible.

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### #44ahw  Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 11 September 2000 - 11:39 PM

That''s what I was talking about when I said that the world should go on without the player.
If the player don''t show up when the king is calling to adventurers to rescue his daughter, some other adventurer *will* show up and take the job. And they''d do the job (if they are strong enough). After that, if the player wants to track them, backstab them, and come back with the princess to claim the prize, I wouldn''t see anything wrong with this (for ''evil'' characters, that is )

### #45girl in the box  Members   -  Reputation: 138

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Posted 13 September 2000 - 07:39 AM

I haven''t read any of the responses yet, but here is mine. You ask, "In a constant world where the time line never finishes how would it be possible to have stories that finish but always have a knock-on affect to create a new story? "A Constant world that always has a compelling story". I don''t want to hear "can''t be dones" please, i''m really not interested in that attitude here, thanks but no thanks."

That''s what they do in paper RPGs, really. An ongoing story, lasting as long as the group is interested in substaining it. You could be inspired by that and make a game that would continually have add-on story "levels" that can be downloaded from a website or purchased separately. These add-ons could be designed and put out every few months to continue a story where it leaves off. Of course, this already happens when game sequels are made.

If you didn''t want to require the player to buy additional supplements, you would need to make the game self-suffiencient -- i.e. able to create new storylines on its own. There is a rumor in the writing world that romance novels are now written by having a program radomly throw together a few predictable elements and then ask a writer to fill in the details. I''m not saying this is true, but I think it''s a useful example. A game could be programmed to take an endless list of random story elements and put them together to create a new situation after the old one has been finished. It''s rather like a character creator I made for my website where a series of character features are randomly put together to create a unique person for a writer to work with (fyi, it doesn''t work very well). It''s also like a writing exercise I have encountered in several books, where you start a story by forming a sentence using three groups of random words that give you something to write about: a person, a verb, and a place (example: A *gladiator* *dances* in a *cafe*). For creating a random story arc, you could break down the basic structure of stories into an outline:

1. Setup (The Problem)
2. Rising Action (How to Solve the Problem)
3. Climax (Success or Failure)
4. Falling Action (Denoument -- optional)

And then have a list of incidents for each point in the outline. These incidents would be randomly combined by the code. Then the player would be plopped down in the middle of the new situation and have to deal with it. Each point on the outline could be a level, or an event that has to happen before the story continues. The tricky part would be the actual gameplay that goes in between the major moments in the plot. It would have to be random, and maybe even a repeat of previous gameplay. Unless you can find a way for the computer to design its own puzzles and monsters on demand and also integrate them into the storyline.

Now I don''t recommend this, because I don''t think it would lead to good writing. In fact, I think it would make pretty bad stories. You notice how Madlibs only works half the time? But it is an option. It would have complications. For example, where would the dialogue for NPCs come from? It would either have to not be related to the story (all they talk about is the weather) or it would have to be created by the computer for each story situation (and how can a computer know what is appropriate for an NPC to say in a given situation).

And then there is the way that online games are doing it. They create new adventures online and let players find them (the same thing as providing add-ons for games). They also let players create their own adventures, which makes it more like paper games and will definitely encourage an ongoing storyline; just not one created by the game designers.

Probably most of this sounds familiar, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

### #46 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 15 September 2000 - 03:15 PM

I think what we''re dicussing here is the next stage of evolution for CRPGs. The role of GM to make up stories, plots, and NPC interactions do be accomplished by the computer.

I like ahw''s plan of breaking htings down into agents, objects, locations, but there''s one more important bit.

Having an overarching storyline. Some theme or general flow for the NPCs. If, during an adventuring session, all actions/desires are treated equally then you get bogged down with ones that the player would see as irrelevant. (The baker wants to make read. The dragon wants to roast the whole town.)

I think the larger storyline should also come from a random or semi-random selection. It should influence thiings in a direction and filter out the unnecessary crud.

And here''s where the writing comes in. I can craft half a dozen generic RPG storylines in as many minutes, but they''re of poor quality. A writer could craft trends, or themes, and the implications of those storylines, then the computer could tweak the routines that parse the NPC/objects together, and hte player gets to experience a new version of the game.

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