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DrZuckerbrot

Character traits in CRPGs

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Hola! I''m going to write my degree dissertation for my study (in computer science and media) about character design in CRPGs and possible advancements in comparison to pen & paper RPGs. The main topic would be about the simulation of character traits (like "arrogant", "brave", "judicious", "honest" etc.) in CRPGs to intensify the immersion of the player and to provide a larger area of role-playing possibilities instead of common quest-seeking and monster-bashing. It''s going to be a bit like The Sims goes RPG... Now I''m looking for work already done by others regarding this topic. Is there a book/paper/website discussing such ideas? Or is there maybe even a game I don''t know about, that incorporates any kind of complex character trait system? Any help is welcome! To be a bit more specific: I don''t want to examine common alignment systems like in D&D or other good-bad indicators, but methods to monitor the way someone plays his/her ingame-character, what sort of actions he/she performs and how this describes the played model related to its character traits. And how could these characteristics influence the further game experience (providing specific dialog options, improving special skills, gaining new quests, increasing a character''s status in the game world, whatever)... Thanks a lot for your help! Hasta lügo DrZuckerbrot P.S.: I''m already aware of http://www.erasmatazz.com

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Well i use to play a japan game which can help you in some way (as a starting point)

It''s princess maker (1, 2, 3)

i have only play the 2nd (which have a englih release on pc and many console like the saturn)

It simulate one character traits and the way it affect his evolution.
Well it will be kinda weird but the main topic of the game, which is in medieval setting, is to raise a girl (evolution of a character)
I know that the third version goes is the one which goes deeper in the simulation but it is in jap (but you can find faq at gamefaq)

The scenari tooks place after the player defeat the king of evil (which is treats in an interesting way, beyond common good and evil scheme), then god offer to the hero a girl to raise...

you were given responsability on the way she will end (74 ending in three shape -awfully bad-normal-awfully good)
the girl is simulated with a large number of variable (and hiden variable) and there is also a litle rpg-like adventure

well if the game seems at first sight as a dulling graphic text excel game, it is not.
There is many event which happen on the way you make decision and the way stat goes
for example having a good sensibility through art skill when adventuring in the elves forest you will be able to see elves at some our or specific place and if you have also a good combat skill your character will be ask for some quest, sensibility helps charming monster and having information from them which u cannot have without, well, i was very surprise to be involve that deeper in the game than i thought the first time and even bloody player have falling for the game after i convince them to play (because they raise knight girl were a lot of rival come to challenge her and challenging her combat reputation), well the game is really deep and can be deeper if was made with actual standard (still in dos mode).

i use this game as a model to design my own character model with a bit of the sims added

well i think it fit well a what you want if you keep broad spirit and if u can abstract some details that piss some player (manga style, graphic immobility much time etc...) since the deeper of the experiance and the possibility depend on what way you explore the game...

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Another good one that's a bit more animated and hands-on than princess maker (great game), is Wonder Project J(SNES). I haven't played the second one, but you basically have made a robot boy who you have to train to be able to complete the games challenges. What's nice about it is that you control a fairy that gives the boy orders, and you can watch him carry out things in real time and see the consequences of them. If you are mean to him, he wont listen to you anymore. For instance, you can tell him to stick his hand in the fire, and if you keep telling him to he eventually gets smart and wont listen to you any more, which might affect when you tell him to do other things. There are quite a few traits that have to do with both his physical attributes as well as his personality you need to work on, and he has to learn skills like farming, and throwing things. It should be a good game to look at for your dissertation, it was only released in japan but I have an english translated rom. Not sure where to find it now.

[edited by - saluk on August 13, 2003 9:25:07 PM]

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We here at Max''d Gaming have a game thats Sims goes real-life where you actually goto work wander around town goto school etc and have to take real tests i cant release any details cause its confidential but eh...it was a good idea I think

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my advice would be to check out a simple introductory psychology textbook.

i am working on something similar in regards to character personalities. as of now it amounts only to pages and pages of scattered notes, relationships between character traits and the like. at this point i''m working with a system that takes into account the character''s permanent personality, current mood, the target or intention of an action, and the severity and basic type of the action itself. unfortunately for you people, this is just rambling, as my thoughts on this subject are still scattered, like my notes.

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quote:
my advice would be to check out a simple introductory psychology textbook


i''ve start here to but for this being helpful you must already have an idea of a game or you will get lost, i''ve start with a dating sims like game for training, that is a specific and limited work on character traits, but it''s help having simple base that''s will lead to a more complete systeme after (because the setting of the game have not get a complete model of character and you can emulate the game in your mind while coding the game, it''s good because practice help a lot)

quote:
at this point i''m working with a system that takes into account the character''s permanent personality, current mood, the target or intention of an action, and the severity and basic type of the action itself


well myself have a very simple settings
by a symbolic system in which the game process a description of the scene with objective data then they are process by an emotion engine wich define an ouput according to desire/need, standard, and prefence ofthe npc then it comme to the personality system, the emotion is melt up with the mood and ouput another mood state, mood affect behaviour which is affect but input constrain like social activities or physic condition, the system use a branch tree system for decision which weighted by mood and the emotion preference (desire/need, standard, preference), i have a also a relation engine which learn the player or another npc profile, which use an intemcy stat (how well s/he know the another character which affect the intensity of response) and frienliness stat (more like an appraisal system, that have according to the perception, trust, social godd or evil etc...)
go figure what? my system have emergent learning skill!!!
well i just pick the princess maker sys, and made a more autonomous agent...
it work very well on text base adventure (i just put a graphic interface that translate word to image, and left the dialogue only in text format)

sorry for my english since i''m a native french speaker

le fulgurant neoshaman tamago

ether_n_aile@hotmail.com

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
be good
be evil
but do it WELL
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Ultima Online (A MMORPG by Origin Systems) does this to a certain extent, and although I dont really like the game, I feel its relevant to what your looking for.

The game has an alignment score "Karma" which goes up when you do good things, such as recuing good people, helping good NPC''s, killing monsters, etc, and goes down when you do bad things, such as killing other players, stealing, helping bad NPCs, etc.

You also have fame. Fame goes up when you kill things (even good things - its independant of karma), or succeed at using skills, etc, and goes down when you fail at stuff, get killed, or flee from combat etc.

A player with high fame, and high karma may get discounts when buying goods from NPCs, and may get additional help from NPC healers, etc.

A player with high fame, and low karma with get the opposite - raised prices, healers may even refuse to help them at all, etc.

In general if you have low fame your karma doesnt matter much - you may be damned evil, but they dont really know about it. You are still effected, but prices may change by such pitiful values as 1GP, etc.

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quote:
Original post by Neoshaman
i have a also a relation engine which learn the player or another npc profile, which use an intemcy stat (how well s/he know the another character which affect the intensity of response) and frienliness stat (more like an appraisal system, that have according to the perception, trust, social godd or evil etc...)


im not yet in the engine stage (so far this idea is comprised of scattered notes), but my relationship matrix is fairly simple. there are four categories of NPC: strangers, acquaintences, allies and enemies.

at the beginning of the game all NPCs are strangers. some of them are friendly, and some of them are hostile. their demeanors depend solely on their attributes and not their relationship with the player. strangers are loaded continously, as needed, and their data is discarded when the player leaves the area. their attributes are determined randomly, within a common group, so that, for example, you will always find arabs in arabia, or chinese in china. a stranger can then become a member of any of the other NPC groups, and their data profiles will be saved as part of the game file.

acquaintences are defined simply as those NPCs that recognize the player from previous experience, be it having a conversation, or witnessing a murder. some acquaintences may help you, and some may hurt you, but as with strangers, that is coincidental, depending on their attributes. either way, the more acquaintences that a player has, the less privacy is afforded to that player.

allies and enemies are the easiest to define. allies are those who are actively trying to speed your progress. enemies are those who are actively trying to impede your progress. both allies and enemies form groups based on friendship and common interests.

anyways, this is just a rant, because ive got nothing better to do.

dont worry about yer english...its better than my french.

ill find me a soapbox where i can shout it

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well my game has permanent character in the design and your relation progress thru times, i have around 20 character then it has to be more complexe and complete than other''s (it''s for story generation, you set each character and let them interact, their role are define by how well you design your character''s stat)

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
be good
be evil
but do it WELL
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Here''s a site that delves only into paper and pen roleplaying games....but I highly highly recommend it, and indeed, I''ll put a post up about this website just because I think it''s that important.

As for games that involve the actual usage of personality traits, I don''t know of any CRPG''s that do so (since I play so few), but I can name a few paper and pen RPG''s for ya.

The Riddle of Steel: A new game which stresses something called Spiritual Attributes. They help the player "get into character" and more importantly define the character''s purpose and motivation in life. Perhaps uniquely to RPG''s, these Spiritual Attributes aren''t just there for dramatic roleplaying, but actually provide in-game benefits if the player uses them in the proper context.

Pendragon: An oldie, but a goodie. This game had things called Passions and Personality Traits which were diametrically opposed traits (such as bravery and cowardice) that defined how the character behaves. While I don''t recall them providing in game bonuses, the experience gained was dependant on how well you played the virtues, and also sometimes the GM could manually force players to behave in character if they did something which went against a passion or virtue (for example, if a Character had a high Honor virtue yet he wanted to kill an unarmed foe, the GM could override this action and only allow the player to commit the action if he rolled against his trait).

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