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sunandshadow

What if the puzzles are social?

7 posts in this topic

What about a game where the puzzles primarily involve managing/manipulating the emotions and knowledge of the other (AI) characters (as opposed to manipulating objects)? Like the Sims played in first person, and you have to schmooze your way to being in charge. Would anyone other than me want to play this oddity? One could bill it as edutainment teaching people skills to geeks and gaming skills to extroverts... Is this a new genre, ''social''? Has anyone done such a thing? There are those games where you make dialogue choices that affect NPCs actions, but I don''t think those are quite the same. Anyone volunteer to write the AI?
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quote:
Original post by sunandshadow

Is this a new genre, ''social''? Has anyone done such a thing? There are those games where you make dialogue choices that affect NPCs actions, but I don''t think those are quite the same.

Anyone volunteer to write the AI?


Hmmm... If you decide to try out this idea then be carefull with the design. I would NOT like to play a game where you could only "win" by being a slick, manipulating idiot tweeking other people to do your bidding.

The game should punish such playing style by having the AI characters revolt and should instead reward ''good'' social behaviour in some way.

I think it would be almost impossible to make AI good enough for the game to be playable, and even harder to make it actually fun to play.

Regards

nicba
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I don''t think it would be all that new, unless you implemented it with some really complex AI. After all, many old RPGs and adventure games involve puzzles where you have to enlist the help of others. Mainly these were very simplistic quests ("get me the potion of XXX, and I help you") which doesn''t really count, but when you allow several different ways to achieve something, which some of them did, then you could class it as a ''social'' puzzle.

If you modelled moods and emotions really well, then maybe it would be quite different. But you''d need the player to be able to exhibit a wide variety of actions too. Not to mention that your game would probably be based on guesswork rather than science - modern psychology is still split on how we ''make'' people feel a certain way, and so you would have to either make an assumption which wouldn''t work for all people, or keep it fairly general.
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quote:
Original post by Kylotan

I don''t think it would be all that new, unless you implemented it with some really complex AI.

If you modelled moods and emotions really well, then maybe it would be quite different. But you''d need the player to be able to exhibit a wide variety of actions too. Not to mention that your game would probably be based on guesswork rather than science - modern psychology is still split on how we ''make'' people feel a certain way, and so you would have to either make an assumption which wouldn''t work for all people, or keep it fairly general.


I was thinking of a really complex AI - I could see doing something like the way Creatures 3 tracks each creature''s pain/boredom/hunger/etc. levels and these mathematically determine the creatures actions. This could be done for more complex emotions, maintaining a variable file for each character that gives them individual personality, and reflects what your actions have done to their emotional state. Each character''s emotional state, in turn, could easily be made visible in their facial expression/body positioning. The thing that puzzles me is how to get this state to affect their dialogue/actions in a reasonable way.
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quote:
Original post by nicba

Hmmm... If you decide to try out this idea then be carefull with the design. I would NOT like to play a game where you could only "win" by being a slick, manipulating idiot tweeking other people to do your bidding.

The game should punish such playing style by having the AI characters revolt and should instead reward ''good'' social behaviour in some way.



I agree. Do you think a tit-for-tat style algorythm seeded with a value from the character''s emotional state file would work?
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The game I''m working on right now is sort of a building block for what you''re talking about. It doesn''t have very complex AI at all, but it has the basic idea of what you mean.

Like, instead of doing a bunch of wierd inventory and key-based puzzles to find some info, you might have to sneak up on someone and plant a bug on them ... or bait them into an empty place hold them at gunpoint. Not as complex and cool as stuff with really great AI could be, but it''s a step in the right direction.

Alex
Atypical Interactive
www.atypical-interactive.com
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I''m working on a game that uses something like this. Non-player characters are governed by a multi-variable AI (Fear, friendship, temper, ect.) and the player is given 4 mood choices: Very Nice, Nice, Mean, and Very mean.

Of course, they aren''t actually called those, you really get 4 different script samples. Dozens of factors determine the results of the variables (a drawn weapon may raise fear, a bribe may raise friendliness, ect.) and you can only get the desired result by combining these factors to your advantage.

So in order to intimidate someone into doing something for you, you have to draw your sword, raise your voice, and blackmail them.

It''s important to note that both nice and mean directions can yield results, but only if done properly. However, the more neutral a position you take, the better a sense you get of what the right direction is the right one to take. Mean answers tend to backfire after a while, you get betrayed more often, but Nice answers tend to take longer and are tricky to maintain.

You would need a very advanced interface for this system to work. Good voice acting and motion capture so that players can tell the mood and tolerance of the people they interact with. However, this would be real "role playing" as opposed to the very entertaining narratives we call RPGs for some reason.
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