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the living game world

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I''m currently designing a game that takes place in a city. The city will be like Chicago in Midtown Madness, in that it is just the city and the roads loop around it and its enclosed. But the city will have individually rendered people, meaning they will each have their own properties (hair color, height, daily routines, etc.) and live out their daily lives like normal people. This is relevant to the gameplay, of course. Any other games that do this? I think Omikron tried to but the demo i played wasn''t that great and i heard the game itself kinda sucked. If not any ideas or constructive critiscm? ============================== "You don''t know the power of the Dark Side..." - Darth Vader, Episode VI ==============================

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Well Now,

I think most games do this. Most of your people will just be random sprites wondering across the screen. However some will need to be NPC style. This means interactivity when the player draws near. But without just stopping them all together, cos they need to rememeber what the player wants and needs next time they meet and waht to do in the mean time, but apart from this their daily lives will grind to a halt with the player toatlly oblivious to all this. Hope I''ve helped a bit there. E-mail me if you want.

STVOY

Mega Moh Mine!!

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OK, lemme exaggerate here The reason the city is "living" is cause the player has to steal things to finance him throughout the game. besides thwarting the anti-theft devices (motion sensors, lasers, audio, locks, etc) he will have to learn the daily routines of the target. Say he wants to hit a house since the wife has jewelry stored in a safe. He''d have to watch and learn what happens when, when they go to sleep, if anyone gets up after dark regulary, any animals?? (i''m not quite sure i want to go that far yet). But you get the idea now. Each person will, at the start of each new game, be assinged a list of things to do and places to go based on their chosen occupation. How they go about getting there or doing things will be based on a set of random decisions (take a cab or walk;spend the whole day at work or only a few hours) that will repeat itself every "day" with very little changes thrown in for variety. Is this better? I think I have a good idea and some feedback would be nice Let me know if there are things still keeping you in the dark.

==============================
"You don''t know the power of the Dark Side..."

- Darth Vader, Episode VI
==============================

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Oh, and by the way, by "living" I don''t also mean that they do everything. Like when they go to work they''ll most likely just sit at their desks, the same thing when they go home - just walk around till bedtime when they lay in bed. And upon approaching them they''ll only say a few irrevelant sentences. Just wanted to say that before anyone else tried pointing it out. i know you people

==============================
"You don''t know the power of the Dark Side..."

- Darth Vader, Episode VI
==============================

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Ahhhhh. Theivery in the modern age. I want all that cool gear Sean Connery and what''s her name had! And can I parachute from a building?! Please, can I? Please?!?!

What a fun design challenge!

I don''t know of other games beyond the Sims that try to simulate people''s lives. I think this is an excellent system you''re designing. If I understand it right, you have to case your mark before you try to make a move on them. This could be very cool for those players who are patient and observant (Quake fans need not apply ).

Technically speaking, grapical and simulation LOD will probably be tough, but I see this as doable. You''ll probably want various AI levels of detail as well, so that you can back off on processor load for those NPC folks that aren''t in the player''s field of concern.

One thing occurs to me off the bat, though. Have you considered any compression or time acceleration features? From reading the works of a real life private eye, I hear that the sit and wait phase of surveillance can be really boring. If there''s some way of automating this, so that the player really just has to choose to be in the right place at the right time, I think it could work really well. (BTW, detective trick for finding out when a person leaves in the morning: Place a cheap watch-- not digital!-- under the wheel of their tire and voila, instant "timestamp!")



--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Gaiiden, have you heard of Hitman? It''s an upcoming game (from edios I think). And it sounds almost as your idea.

In that game you play a himan (surprise, surprise) and have to explore the surroundings, learn the guard duty cycles, find disguises, select the right type of weapon and plan your escape route before going after and killing your target.

It sounds kind of cool.

Regards

nicba

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Wavinator:

Thanks for the input guys. And yes, Wavinator, I have thought about the proc load. But with the latest Intel processors debuting at 1.4 Gigs.... But that''s dumb thinking cause not everyone will be that up to date. But here''s the savior, since each person will have a daily routine, the game doesn''t have to activley track the person. When the player nears the person''s vincinity, the computer checks the time, and guesses where the person would normally be or what he would normally be doing at that time. Then when the user walks away, the person is dropped from memory until later. How''s that?

And yes, I definetly wanna include all the cool equipment Connery and Zeta-Jones used in the movie, and then some. And about the time thing, you are correct, the "day" in the city will only be a few hours in real-time, like maybe two or three.

nicba:

I read every gaming mag there is so yeah, I''ve heard of hitman but that''s not quite near what I''m doing. Go back and look at it again. It''s gem is that all object in the world can be used, and have physics properties. Like you can shoot a flag to tatters or bottles to shards. Imagine a gunfight in the street? Glass and stone splinters flying everywhere? Now that''s cool!! But not what I''m doing.

Keep the feedback coming guys!!

==============================
"You don''t know the power of the Dark Side..."

- Darth Vader, Episode VI
==============================

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hey come on, I thought I was on a roll..... isn''t there anything you think is wrong, or my design just perfect?

==============================
\\// live long and prosper; \||/ die short and rot.
==============================

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The game I''m designing, Enigma, is basically an enhanced, better version of what Omikron tried to pull off. People don''t really go through the motions in the same way that you''re talking about, but they have "brains" of sorts. Basically we plant a brain at random into all of the many, many NPC''s that are walking around the city at any given time. For instance:

TOURIST - This is a really simple one where the NPC visits lots of big, shiny buildings and stays there for a while, just staring at them.

BUSINESS MAN - Constantly travelling in and out of buildings and cabs, never goes into the "bad" neighborhoods.

MOTHER - Goes to her apartment, hits the supermarket, goes back home, etc, etc.

So you can see, it''s kind of what you''re talking about.

------------------------------
Changing the future of adventure gaming...
Atypical Interactive

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quote:
by Gaiiden
The reason the city is "living" is cause the player has to steal things to finance him throughout the game


So what happens when the player get caught. Is it game over or do they get a number of warning first. Does the player gain experience (points)? Are there missions you can go on? Can you fight?


I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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ACK!! Paul I''m so sorry I never even noticed I had anoither post here!! It was before I started using bookmarks, you see. Anyways, to answer your questions, yes, when you get caught the game is over. But it''s not that easy (or hard if you do it right) to get caught. Things you do (forget to wear gloves, call a tapped phone, not disguise your ID) will allow the police to better track you. All throughout the game the police will be trying to locate you. However, they start with nothing to go on themselves, because you just drop out of sight. It''s your job as part of the game to stay out of sight and not let the police get hot on your trail.

As for missions - no. The game is designed where you have to think. It provides clues along the way in the form of NPC interactions, recovered evidence, and so forth (think Dues Ex). You could, theoretically beat the game in few hours if you knew what to do. But you don''t and the game does randomize certain key features so you can never play the same way twice. I''m trying hard to fit in a dynamic storyline, but right now it''s static storyline with changing environment each new game.

Yes, you can fight, but nothing extensive like Oni or something. If you get into a fight, you aren''t doing a good enough job staying undercover.

Okay, I have to go now, hope this discussion can continue. And i hope Paladin takes a peek in to see what I''ve been up to - he kinda came up with sorta the same idea.

==============================
\\// live long and prosper; \||/ die short and rot.
==============================

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Well, I read all your posts and thought I could make some notes

To my mind game design does mainly consist of finding the correct mixture of the different game "ingredients" (like "graphics", "complexity", "AI", etc.).
Well, I can imagine that programming AI is quite lavish. I mean, at least in the extent you were talking about.
And that''s the point: How much complexity, how much "real life" should I put into my NPCs, and how much value do all the other things have to me? I don''t think that clever NPCs make a bad game good, as well as no game with rotten controls will experience an improvement by excellent acting NPCs.
I think it''s quite clear that it''s not possible to implement everything in a short time (and if you''re working on a game for quite a long time, its very likely to get outdated).

I know that didn''t really foster your discussion, but I wanted to tell you what I''m thinking of. Personally, I''d lay emphasis on AI (enemies and NPCs), the next item on my "importance layer" would be the control, last the graphics. I guess you have set up your background story and wrote the design doc...so I don''t need to talk about all the things you have to do before starting with the coding work...

Anyways, I wish you good luck with your project! I''d be very interested in the development! Would be very nice of you if you could upload a small demo somewhere...

Yours,

Indeterminatus

--si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses--

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"When the player nears the person''s vincinity, the computer checks the time, and guesses where the person would normally be or what he would normally be doing at that time. "

If it only guesses where the person would be (when you are near them), how does it know you are near them in the first place ie. they haven''t yet been placed?

Otherwise sounds like a cool idea.

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Personally, I think that what you are trying to accomplish is a bit overboard. But that depends on a few things. first, how many NPCs do you wish to have in your game? I like your idea, but I personally believe that it should be used in limited situations and not necessarily for every NPC in the game. Even though computers are gaining tremendous grounds in technology and speed, why waste that on NPC AI that players may not ever interact with in the first place, or they will interact with them sometime in the near future of the game. like the 50th play hour.

If there is a game critical need that you need specific NPCs to have this level of advanced AI, then by all means, this should be your solution.

Could you imagine the impact on the system, say if you tried to process 100+ advanced AI as you describe...

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Uh, just dropping my opinion:

Actually the best villain AI which I have ever seen, is in Outcast. Creators didn''t hype about nothing, but really created extremely nice villain AI, which makes villains to do their daily routines. When player comes close to them, they might look at player for a while, and then continue working. If player starts shooting, villains will take cover or runaway. If player kills villain, they will warn other villains about berserked player, and so everyone will be against player =)

nice

-Paladin

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I hope you have played Grand Theft Auto (GTA). It''s just like your idea, but only simpler. The city is full of cars and people and you can steal cars, sell them, do missions for mafia, kill individuals, run away from cops... In GTA2 even the army starts attacking you if you''re really evil.

GTA lacks the time of day though, which is quite poor. And the NPCs don''t have any brains. And you can''t enter the buildings. And the whole game is too limited in every way.

Well, play GTA if you haven''t played it yet. It''s a great game

-Hans {home page} {e-mail}

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