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# Chain reaction storylines - rpg

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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. I''m guessing you would have to pull apart the concept of a story and work out what''s at the heart of them. From here you could create story hearts that linked in a (circular or structured) fashion to create continuatey. Although stories would end, the player would have the option in the game to see the consequences of there acts and participate in them. If a character died of old age then a new one would be brought up in the new world that was affected by the previous character. I love Game Design and it loves me back. Our Goal is "Fun"!

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what is a story ? That is a hard one!

What I had thought this far, was to have the NPCs deciding among a predefined set of goals, and then decide of a way to achieve this goal. I mean, that they would build a method to achieve it.

Still, this only makes part of a story, because in every story there is a global meaning, a backbone which gives the story its quality. This is what you call heart I think. It may differ from one story to another. It depends on what you want your story to be about. Is could be a criticism of facism, an hymn to the joys of life, or whatever you want. In my mind weaving the story is the artistic part of story writing. When a computer can do that, it can then be called a writer...

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One ideal that I have for this:
The game would be a series of mini-quest.
The results from the previous (or even all prior quest) would influence the way the next quest are presented.

Lets see if I can elaborate.

Quest 1:
Find the temple of knowledge and read the "Book of Truth".

Quest 2:
Using the book of truth, find the "Tree of Strength".

...

OK, so "Zondor" finds the temple reads the "Book of Truth" and then he destroys it. Leaving Quest 2 virtually useless. The book has been destroyed. But, "Zondor" did read it. The game would know that he read it. So... Quest 2 is rewritten to say:

Quest 2:

I''m not sure if this is "doable" but it would be fun trying

Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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Paul,

Are you basically suggesting that the game manufactures subsequent plots based on the player''s actions by itself without the game develoers plotting out each story by hand? Like the game would have certain rules that tell it how to react to certain situations?

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What if quests were nothing more than links (akin to web terminology)?

In Dak''s example of Quest #1 leading to Quest #2, etc...and his idea of Zondor now being the keeper of knowledge on the Book of Strength.

What if we simply changed the link from Quest #2 to Quest #3 so that Quest #2 now links to Zondor. To complete the chain, Zondor would now inherit what Quest #3 linked to next...if you get what I mean..

Now it becomes even MORE interesting when we can link to more than one quest at a time..

ie. in one instance of our game, Zondor becomes a raging psycopath and murders more than one KEY NPC character in the game..your quests change and now you are put on a simply search-and-locate mission for Zondor to find out what''s happening..

I think the idea of a continuous game would be PHENOMENAL. Imagine thinking the game is over, and realizing that it''s only JUST begun! I would LOVE the idea of playing say Ultima III, and playing it NONSTOP until I reach Ultima VI...playing not only
all the games in between and finishing them, but playing around
in the "in-between" Sosaria/Britannia..

I hope I''m making sense, as I''m not working on too much sleep..

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So what you''re all saying is that, based on the outcome of beginning quests, the PCs end up with nemises and overarching goals leading to future stories?

I like that idea. Random NPC, Mr. X, becomes involved in a simple, randomly generated quest. At the end of the quest, Mr. X is upset with the PCs, so he generates a new problem for them. As long as Mr. X survives, the AI continues to focus him on thwarting the PCs in whatever they go do.

So Quest ID 33284 (go to location A, do action B, retrieve object C) will be different for 2 different parties because one of them is being thwarted by Mr. X (who gets C before the party does, creating a new adventure), while the other does not have a nemesis yet.

Wow, the potential!

Pax

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An interesting idea to say the least.

I''ve only worked on a game divided in chapters at which ends some parameters are recorded that will change the next chapters.

If you''re planning to do something like what Nazrix said it''ll be an major evolution.

If you just plan to do something like what I''m working on...
I learn that Chrono Trigger already is doing something like that.

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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Hahaha! Man, this proves my philosophy about not bothering to hide your design ideas because a ton of people already have them... (as they say, great minds think alike )

Here''s what I''m trying to do since I don''t have an over-arching story in my CRPG: Mix a system of AI actions together with random events. So, if the random event generates Mr. X, he becomes an AI actor that can change and grow (within certain bounds), and has objectives and goals just like the player.

I think the less the player becomes involved with Mr. X, the more he should fade away as far as AI goes (maybe if you don''t kill/banish him he''s still causing problems, and you get wind of it from time to time... but it''s really all abstract.)

I think certain random events and quests should be saved for later. This will really help create the illusion of consistency. So, you thought you were finished with Zondor, only to find that he doesn''t make an appearance ''til much later in the game (like all those action comics you probably read as a kid )

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

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So how do we boil down a *story* to a series of parameters, that we could tweak, link, cut, etc.

Princess P was taken prisoner by the evil E. All knights of the realm come to the rescue, but one of them, Sir K decide to badly wound E, that was actually only acting to protect the princess P against K, now the story becomes to find K and recover P... and so on and so forth.
This is really interesting as the more I read about MMORPG the more I see the exact same problems than in Live Action RPG (where you walk around all dressed up and fight with massive late swords)...

All this makes me think about self modifying code. It''s definitely doable, but you''de have to think the way you define a plot in a quite nice manner.

Let''s take an example ? the Lord of the Rings ?

character F is given a ring and has to go to character E to wait for further instructions, but ...

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Doesn''t AI also play a very important role in all of this? Something has to motivate the NPCs to perform different actions. (NPC''s are people too!)

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I tryed somethign like that, (only got graphics working, my first prog anyway) But not quite compelling hehe,
it was of a small town made up of teens, and the teens were given random feelings based on values in 4 areas,
and actions could happen at different places, sort of a sim game, but where the teens had things to do, and reactions (charts based on social stereotype, and more importantly their opinion of the person), and then once a certain goal meter would be filled that would change the opinion of somebody, this would slowly make people hate each other/love each other and junk like that, and people gossiped based on what they 1. seen, and 2.heard (pass along gossip), people only kept relative gossip in thier list...as in people that they know.

I never even worked on the actual engine, but it seemed a good idea to me, no ending, I don''t know what bugs might of happened, as people all hating each other when they don''t do things (show up because their feelings got change, as in got mad or something better showed up). And is all cause and effect.

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quote:
Original post by wazoo69

What if quests were nothing more than links (akin to web terminology)?

Yes! and the links are changed based on the actions of PCs and NPCs.

quote:
Original post by Wavinator

Hahaha! Man, this proves my philosophy about not bothering to hide your design ideas because a ton of people already have them... (as they say, great minds think alike )

You know, I think I''m starting to agree with your philosophy on this point

quote:
Original post by Nazrix

Doesn''t AI also play a very important role in all of this? Something has to motivate the NPCs to perform different actions. (NPC''s are people too!)

Yes. The way I see it is you would have a List or Tree that would be updated at the completion of the quest (see wazoo96''s post) and every NPC and PC would be notified of the change in quest. For the NPCs it would be simple, just update them. But, for the PCs (MMORPG or CRPG) this would have to be handled differently. I do not like the way DiabloII issues quest... so, something a bit more personal is what I have in mind.

Hmmm, How?

Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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quote:
By Cody
Vacertain goal meter would be filled that would change the opinion of somebody, this would slowly make people hate each other/love each other and junk like that, and people gossiped based on what they 1. seen, and 2.heard (pass along gossip), people only kept relative gossip in thier list...as in people that they know.

Using this thought, what if you had some sort of governing bodies within the game. Each governing body have their own "control" goals. The player would never know what these goals where, they''d just be given orders to do so the governing body can accomplish these goals (don''t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing). All of the governing bodies within the game are trying to get there own goals achieved. So they make each other look bad in the players eyes. When you help one then other governing bodies will like it less. So the player has to learn and find a way to create their own goals and achieve them by using these governing bodies information. So the player eventually becomes a governing body. I think this would be interesting in a MMORPG constant world.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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I''m giving something like this a go. Greatly simplified :

A list of all objects, a list of all NPCs, a set of base rules which define what can and cannot be done with each object.

Choose an NPC to assign an object (the goal of the quest). If an object is destroyed, delete it from the list. If an NPC is killed, delete them from the list. If a quest is solved, mark the object as attained, and generate a new pointer to an object for the NPC.

Does this make (enough) sense?

To expand it further, allow the generation of new NPCs who can be assigned objects (which also include "Search for NPC2" BTW). Maybe implement a technology system, so that as the game progresses new object types are developed, and give them new names (random name generation anyone?) so you don''t run out of quests AND don''t start looping ...

-------------------------------------------------
Mindphuq Software : "Who do you want to do today?"

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quote:
Original post by morfe

I''m giving something like this a go. Greatly simplified :

A list of all objects, a list of all NPCs, a set of base rules which define what can and cannot be done with each object.

Choose an NPC to assign an object (the goal of the quest). If an object is destroyed, delete it from the list. If an NPC is killed, delete them from the list. If a quest is solved, mark the object as attained, and generate a new pointer to an object for the NPC.

Does this make (enough) sense?

To expand it further, allow the generation of new NPCs who can be assigned objects (which also include "Search for NPC2" BTW). Maybe implement a technology system, so that as the game progresses new object types are developed, and give them new names (random name generation anyone?) so you don''t run out of quests AND don''t start looping ...

-------------------------------------------------
Mindphuq Software : "Who do you want to do today?"

That''s sounds great, and very possible too. I hope i get to see it one day About that random generation of names, why not create a giant list of names for each race and mark them off as they get used. Unless at course you can make a really good random name generator. I''m just thinking that it would be a pity to ruin a excellent bit of work with something that be potentially be very asthetically unpleasing. Think of it as a tip

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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You would have to have a pretty specific scenario for this
to work, but heres an idea.

Say you were making a game where the player is the local law
enforcement (ie sherrif) in a town, and there are certain
protagonistic groups (and families) who are fueding. For each
npc you keep a table of friends,a table of family, and a table
of enemies. You also have a reference table of things that they
would do, ie: X does a driveby on Y, P kidnaps Q''s daughter.

You pre-define the FIRST event, ie: Joe throws a brick through
Mary''s window. Then when the player resolves this (ie: finds
out that joe did it and arrests him (npcs could go to jail for
set periods of time), A random friend/family of Mary [ie: her
son Matt] could perform a random act on a random friend/family
of joe ie: Matt kills Joe''s dog. For each event you would have
to have another table for clues and npc responses, so it would
be time consuming, but a large enough table set might keep you
going for ages.

well thats my (abnormal) thoughts anyway...

----------
"i think that all this talking and such is paining my head to astounding annoyance" - Erick
"Quoting people in your tag is cool. Quoting yourself is even cooler" - SpazBoy_the_Mitey

Disco Love For Everyone

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I might carry this thread over to the new "Game Writing" forum people. Maybe MadKeithV might do me the favour of moving this over there for me?

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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Moved
Anyway i won´t be very active for a while, i''ve temporarily lost the use of my right hand to tendinitis. it''s all your fault people, by making me type so much

Give me one more medicated peaceful moment.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
ERROR: Your beta-version of Life1.0 has expired. Please upgrade to the full version. All important social functions will be disabled from now on.

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quote:
Original post by morfe

I'm giving something like this a go. Greatly simplified :

A list of all objects, a list of all NPCs, a set of base rules which define what can and cannot be done with each object.

Choose an NPC to assign an object (the goal of the quest). If an object is destroyed, delete it from the list. If an NPC is killed, delete them from the list. If a quest is solved, mark the object as attained, and generate a new pointer to an object for the NPC.

Does this make (enough) sense?

To expand it further, allow the generation of new NPCs who can be assigned objects (which also include "Search for NPC2" BTW). Maybe implement a technology system, so that as the game progresses new object types are developed, and give them new names (random name generation anyone?) so you don't run out of quests AND don't start looping ...

-------------------------------------------------
Mindphuq Software : "Who do you want to do today?"

This is a cool idea, but wouldn't things get repetitious and forumlated? I realize that this explaination is probably over-simplified comapared to the actual implementation of it, but it seems like the quests could be a bit repetitous like they were in Daggerfall.

I don't mean any offense toward your idea, but it reminds me of how Daggerfall was. The quests were randomly generated.

There would be basic kinds of quests like take object A to Person A and return here for payment.

Then there was go to Dungeon A to retrieve object A and return here for payment. That was about 90% of the side-quests.

There were a couple alternative types of side-quests, but they were few and far between. It got repetitious pretty fast.

"NPC's are people too!" --dwarfsoft

"Nazrix is cool.' --Nazrix" --Darkmage

Edited by - Nazrix on September 9, 2000 1:07:11 PM

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Repetitive? No way ... But, it does depends on how the quests are assigned. I''m using a scripting engine which implements inheritance, so I might have a class Find_NPC which is a child of class Quest, and parent of class Rescue_NPC, and so on ...

I''m trying to be vague on purpose - I don''t want to give too much away just yet (so sue me ) - but I''ve made sure I can cross over sub-quests between classes. I guess I''m turning my quests into neurons, which can be dynamically linked and destroyed to one another.

It works a lot better than it sounds, and I''ve had some fun trying it out. One of my favourite memories is running all over the place after this girl who went missing, and turned out to have been kidnapped, and then sold to slavers, escaped, and joined a cult, and when I finally caught up with her, she killed herself rather than come with me.

So, it doesn''t get that boring

-------------------------------------------------
Mindphuq Software : "Who do you want to do today?"

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quote:
Original post by morfe

Repetitive? No way ... But, it does depends on how the quests are assigned. I'm using a scripting engine which implements inheritance, so I might have a class Find_NPC which is a child of class Quest, and parent of class Rescue_NPC, and so on ...

I'm trying to be vague on purpose - I don't want to give too much away just yet (so sue me ) - but I've made sure I can cross over sub-quests between classes. I guess I'm turning my quests into neurons, which can be dynamically linked and destroyed to one another.

It works a lot better than it sounds, and I've had some fun trying it out. One of my favourite memories is running all over the place after this girl who went missing, and turned out to have been kidnapped, and then sold to slavers, escaped, and joined a cult, and when I finally caught up with her, she killed herself rather than come with me.

So, it doesn't get that boring

-------------------------------------------------
Mindphuq Software : "Who do you want to do today?"

Okay, sorry, I thought that you were probably being vague on purpose, but I just wanted to be sure

'Cause in Daggerfall, what they did w/ quests IMO, really messed up what could have been an even cooler game. I just wanted to warn you of their mistake.

Thanks for clearing that up. That does sound like a very nice idea

"NPC's are people too!" --dwarfsoft

"Nazrix is cool.' --Nazrix" --Darkmage

Edited by - Nazrix on September 9, 2000 1:29:30 PM

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quote:

Moved
Anyway i won´t be very active for a while, i''ve temporarily lost the use of my right hand to tendinitis. it''s all your fault people, by making me type so much

Give me one more medicated peaceful moment.
~ (V)^|) |<Et|-| ~
ERROR: Your beta-version of Life1.0 has expired. Please upgrade to the full version. All important social functions will be disabled from now on.

Thankyou

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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(I like it when I am ignored)

I''d like to know, couldn''t we describe a plot in simple terms, so as to be able to modify it, mix two stories, make easy branching, etc ?
Then, once you have the skeleton/program, you add fluff and stuff, style, et voila ! a quest/plot generator ?
Yes I am being as vague as possible, because I am trying to do the above thinking, and haven''t come up with enough to show.
ut maybe some examples.

A story is composed of :
-Actors, they an be objects, people, creatures, whatever. They are the one that can modify the plot.
-Locations. The places where the action talkes place.
-Schedule. If the players don''t do *anything* there still should be something going on, IMHO. Each actor could have it''s own schedules. There could also be global schedules, to create new situation (winter is coming, a volcano erupting, etc)

Each actor would be have a personal agenda, things he has to do, places to go, goals to fulfill. And of course, the missions of some NPC might very well conflict with someone else.

I want to state that I am not trying to talk about literary things here, but rather crete a way to modelise plot in some simple, modifiable way.

As well, I am not being very specific to the context used. I am personally thinking about MMORPG, as in my opinion, it would probably be the hardest medium to work on to make an interesting story.

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ahw,
I may not be understanding this correctly...

Would this basically mix & match those components making different combinations of the elements that make the story/quest? The only thing I see is that the player would start recognizing those components from previous stories/quests.

That might be okay if it's an MMORPG type game. I just wanted to be sure I'm understanding it correctly.

Forgive me if I'm totally missing what you're saying though

"NPC's are people too!" --dwarfsoft

"`Nazrix is cool.' --Nazrix" --Darkmage

Edited by - Nazrix on September 9, 2000 3:44:39 PM

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Well, I''d like to know how we can "describe" a story in simple terms, so as to be able to code that in some way (script language ? anyone ?).

example of some plots to work on :
.Iznogoud complex (I wanna be khalif in place of the khalif)
.vengeance (this bastard, killed my brother/raped my sister/betrayed my friend, etc)
.rumors (I bet X is a werewolf/witch/traitor, etc)
.blackmail (discover him, deal with him, double cross him)
.lost mail (love letter, diplomatic secrets, battle plans, black list)
.debts and loans (honor debt, how to get rid of the loan, the loaner comes after you )
.rescue (the princess from a castle, the spy from a dungeon, the favorite courtesan of the king without the Queen knowing,...)

I have over 40 little plot items here ... and as you see, each describe a variety of situations.
now could we formalize that ?

you will note that I am not trying to go in the direction "story writing as an art form", but rather "analytical study of plot creation"