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Wavinator

Politics in your gameplay

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Have you ever been able to express / live up to your politics in a game, or would you even want to? Please note: Since this isn't The Lounge, I know people will behave themselves, but to help encourage this I'm going to be intentionally abstract and refrain from real people or events. Please do so as well.
In Morrowind I always freed slaves, killed slavers and found myself donating to any of the poor who asked for help. I thought this was cool because I could, at least in my mind, help shape world the way that I thought it should be. Have you ever felt you've been able to do the same in a game, or have you wanted to? If so, by what means did you do so and was it satisfying? In Morrowind, being an abolitionist was a bit hollow because I couldn't alter alliances as a result. What would have been really nice would have been to have the whole world broken up into factions and have deeds which spread throughout the world. Every time I helped a slave, that slave might have reported it to the underground, and I would have then become more known as an abolitionist. It would have been nice if this, in turn, would have caused the nobles to dislike me more and more until I became enough of a thorn that they had to act against me. If there would have been some way of tipping the balance (enough quests, maybe) it would have then been nice to be able to get the game to mention that slavery, as a result, was ended. Do you have or have you wanted to have a similar story?

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Original post by Wavinator
Do you have or have you wanted to have a similar story?


While I've definitely wanted to, I find that most games restrict your progress based on how the designer feels you should play the game.

For example, in Black and White you meet a group of horribly annoying singing sailors early in the game. You can either be benevolent and help them repair their boat (thus forcing you to listen to more singing), or you can act out your sadistic side and throw them into the sea/crush them with boulders. While this gives you an illusion of freedom, you are actually penalized later in the game if you kill them by being denied access to a special avatar. Or, if you prefer, you are granted a special avatar for helping them. It doesn't just apply to this scenario either. Throughout the game you are consistently rewarded for playing based on a "good" moral standpoint.

The same is true for just about another "RPG" on the computer (excluding Fallout, of course). Hell, this is even prevalent in console games, where if you don't want to help some floundering retard NPC get his warm milk so he can sleep you don't get the Uber Sword of End Boss Slaying.

While I don't mind (actually, I prefer) repercussions for your in-game behavior, purposefully limiting the player's success in the game due to decisions made in a supposedly open-ended system is contradictory.

I really like the idea in your other thread in this forum about making the player face consequences for their actions. If I'm playing a thief type character, I should be concerned with the reaction of local authorities. It adds a tremendous amount of tension to the game.

The key here is adding to the game, no matter how the player chooses to play it. Rather than limiting the player's actions to some pre-conceived path, you should reward them for acting in meaningful ways within the game world you have created.

Meh, my rant has run out of steam. Do with it what you will.

G'Night.

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Again something I'm working on in my own design :)

First off, just like your Crime & Punishment thread, this is another area of RPG's which is both underdeveloped, and yet offers a great opportunity for open gameplay.

Their are a couple different systems at play with something like this, the first system is the definition of actions which have a political (or moral) consequence, and the implimentation of that in game.

I think this could ultimately be defined as a sort of general code of conduct system. Every "Faction" or "Group" of people in game would have their own code of conduct. These factions can be of many types:

A Race of People
The Government of a Location (city, country, etc.)
The People of a Location (city, country, etc.)
Groups with a Common Interest (example guilds) These may or may not span multiple races and/or locations
A Family (each family tends to have their own individual code of conduct)

Now each of these sets of people may have overall code's of conduct, with subsets of them further refining the code of conduct.

For example, a country may have a Code of Conduct which the people generally agree upon. Slavery Is Bad, is a general "Code" they may uphold. But a subset of the country (a faction, a region, etc), may override that code if they agree in Slavery.

So the first steps to impliment this would be to allow the definition of groups, by some/all of the above definitions.

The second step, would be to allow the definition of a "Code of Conduct", for example "Murder is Wrong", "Thievery is wrong", "Slavery is Wrong", etc. The more of these defined the more open the gameplay becomes.

Next you would allow the attachment of codes to a group, with the ability for groups to be a subset of another group, and inherit/override a code. You could even allow an individual to define their own overriding code for specific things.

Now this would form the basis of what is "Right" and "Wrong" within a group of people. These steps should all be fairly straightforward to impliment, its the next area that becomes a little challenging.

The next step is to define actions to match the code's of conduct. For example, how do you define what murder is? It's not just the action of killing someone, self defence for example is not considered murder.

The next system is how you define the response of a particular group to an action with either goes against a code of conduct, or follows it.

Both should have consequences, good and bad, with different people.

For example, if you steal something in a town, that would normally go against the code of conduct of both the government of that town, and it's people, you should as a consequence lose standing with both those groups (will define standing in a minute). But, the thief guild (who believes in stealing) would (depending upon who you stole from), be more willing to accept you as one of their own.

So, once a player does an action which is tied to a code of conduct, how do you figure out who's code of conduct that action should be compared against?

If I steal something in town X, I shouldn't really gain/lose standing in town Y (200 miles away). Of course, you could get into the concept of news travelling, gossip, etc. but that's a whole other discussion.

The simple way would be to have each area contain a list of its groups, when you do something that has a code of conduct attached to it, find all the groups in the area where the action was performed. Then you can check it against the code of conducts for those groups, traversing up the parents of those groups if no matching code was found for a specific group.

Once you find matches for any groups in the area, you could adjust your standing depending upon which side of the code you were on (with the code or against it).

Now, just what is standing? You could define this as a single variable, personally for my design I'm planning on expanding on it.

As an example, every action you take may adjust variables such as trustworthyness, fear, hate, etc. of the person committing the action.

If a player commits a murder in a town, the people could start to fear the player, which could then adjust how they respond to them (run and flee).

If you are caught stealing though, the people may have an entirely different response, perhaps not letting them near their belongings, or in their house.

All said, this is a great concept, and something I hope myself to impliment in my design, and it ties in perfectly with the Crime & Punishment concept.

How far you want to push it though is the thing, I believe the more options you give the player, the further they will be able to define their character, which should ultimately lead to a better game. The problem is, how to create a system which allows for the easy definition/implimentation of a specific code?

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I have always wanted to be able influence the game world and its factions through my actions and it has always been disappointed when I have been unable to do that.

The ideal way to deal with this in my opinion would be through power bases, I may have posted a topic on this a while back I can't remember. The idea is that a faction and characters power and influence is determinded by their powerbase. The powerbase is made up assets, allies, followers, contact and contracts. By performing actions that alter a powerbase you affect the charcter or faction who controls that powerbase and provoke a response.

For instance take Bob the slaver caraven owner. Is powerbase is made up of 30,000 credits(PB +30), 20 slaves (PB +20), five bodyguards (PB +10), a entry permit to Cedar city (PB +5) and contract with Baron Samuel to deliver slaves(PB +50) and an inital powerbase of 100 for a total powerbase 215

Then comes Wavinator the abolitionist passing by Lower Slum town who attacks the caraven and frees the slaves and kills two of the guards. Reducing Bob's powerbase by 24 to 191. Now bob has a problem he ows Baron Samuel 20 slaves which he doesn't have so now he must decided to either inform the baron of what happened and request more time or try and find twenty new slaves from the current area. If he can't the Baron gets upset and suffers a powerbase lose because he was expecting those slaves. But since he's a baron he may have a powerbase of 10,000 so a loss of 50 is not a great deal but it may be enough for him to take an interest in the player.

Meanwhile the twenty freed slaves may from their own faction called Lower Slum Town Freemen. With the rather sad powerbase of 20. However Wavinator could help them out by giving the money or weapons increasing their powerbase. Those ex-salves my join up with other ex-slaves to attack slavers and liberate more followers. Until eventually Wavinators aboloitionist ways throughout the land have caused a Sparticus like rebellion turning the ex-slaves in a major force to be reackoned with. Which the other major factions must now deal with.

Like wise Wavintor who has been free slaves for a while now may have been unknowingly attacking Baron Samuel's powerbase and has become such a thorn in his side that he posts a 100,000 credit reward on Wavinators head. It could also be possible for Wavintor to contiune attacking the Baron's powerbase through a varity of means until the Baron has rendered poor and powerless.

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Original post by Shi-no-Mitsukai
The key here is adding to the game, no matter how the player chooses to play it. Rather than limiting the player's actions to some pre-conceived path, you should reward them for acting in meaningful ways within the game world you have created.


Something you've reminded me of: This system of rewards is actually a kind of conditioning mechanism. If there aren't rewards, players won't do it because the results will be boring or pointless. So one way to reinforce the idea of making politics matter is to be certain that choices are reflected in small ways within the game, not just in the rewards. Thx!

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The level of detail matters, too. In your original example I didn't really glom onto the slave/slavers idea, but it would have a huge effect on me if a game let me handhold one NPC from abject poverty into a productive and even modestly successful lifestyle. Of course, they'd have to be able to respond to my overtures, which is itself a worth puzzle for a designer to solve. Nonetheless, while I'm sure many people would appreciate the ability to make sweeping changes to the world in this manner, I thought it would be useful to point out that an open channel for affecting individuals would also be a major improvement in gameplay, and to my mind it would be superior for narrative styles of play.

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Original post by Thesolitas
Again something I'm working on in my own design :)


Haha! Well, welcome, fellow explorer in this perilous and nebulous realm... :P

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Now each of these sets of people may have overall code's of conduct, with subsets of them further refining the code of conduct.


Yes, and supergroups actually may leave certain areas morally ambiguous, expecting subgroups to fill them in. Meaning maybe there's not a law for every little thing, but there certainly are customs which are almost as comprehensive.

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The second step, would be to allow the definition of a "Code of Conduct", for example "Murder is Wrong", "Thievery is wrong", "Slavery is Wrong", etc. The more of these defined the more open the gameplay becomes.


Agreed, I see this as being an amalgam of states and stats that have to be detected.

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Next you would allow the attachment of codes to a group, with the ability for groups to be a subset of another group, and inherit/override a code. You could even allow an individual to define their own overriding code for specific things.


Practically, what you might have to do is have the game system testing out cases of player behavior then testing individuals within a radius to see if whatever the player did violated their code. IOW, the morality exists outside of the NPC.

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Now this would form the basis of what is "Right" and "Wrong" within a group of people. These steps should all be fairly straightforward to impliment, its the next area that becomes a little challenging.

The next step is to define actions to match the code's of conduct. For example, how do you define what murder is? It's not just the action of killing someone, self defence for example is not considered murder.


Actually, I think the inclusion of context makes these steps potentially VERY complex. Let's say you detect a "take" action and in this case it happens to be a sword. In one context this is theft, in another (grabbed to defend someone from wild animals) heroism. If you grab the sword and give it back within a short time frame, it's borrowing; if you grab the sword and keep it for days (even to rescue someone) its theft.

Another case: A bunch of people are being chased by a monster and are coming to a bridge. If you blow up the bridge after the people have crossed, you've acted heroically. If you blow it up while they're on it (even accidently) or before they cross (especially maliciously) it's a crime.

The ability to determine some level of intent becomes crucial when an action is morally evaulated. I don't have much faith in game AI doing that all that well, so at best the standards will have to be somewhat loose and clearly defined. (Can you imagine having to specify the logic? You can take the sword IF there is danger and IF that danger is local and IF you use it only on the enemy representing the threat and IF you give it back within X timeframe...)

What probably will work better is weighing these virtual sins and virtues based on past relationships and perceived intent. If Robin Hood swings through my shop and grabs one of my swords--even just to keep, I'm more inclined to think, "Oh, well, that was Robin Hood. If he took my sword he probably has a darned good reason." Whereas, if the foul Sherrif of Nottingham grabs my sword for any reason-- even to save some hapless child-- I'm more inclined to think ill of his deed. Emotion and relationship color perception.


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For example, if you steal something in a town, that would normally go against the code of conduct of both the government of that town, and it's people, you should as a consequence lose standing with both those groups (will define standing in a minute). But, the thief guild (who believes in stealing) would (depending upon who you stole from), be more willing to accept you as one of their own.


Games like Freelancer and Escape Velocity do this using an "enemy of my enemy is my friend" logic. In your example, the thieves would be enemies of the town, so each act against the town will help raise your reputation with the town's enemies. A more sophistocated layer on top of this might be to also factor in specific deeds as being important to specific factions. You could have, for instance, a list of actions the player has taken and counts (kills / steals / trespasses / etc.) against each faction; but kills and trespasses would weigh in lightly with thieves, whereas steals would weigh in at full value.



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So, once a player does an action which is tied to a code of conduct, how do you figure out who's code of conduct that action should be compared against?

If I steal something in town X, I shouldn't really gain/lose standing in town Y (200 miles away). Of course, you could get into the concept of news travelling, gossip, etc. but that's a whole other discussion.

The simple way would be to have each area contain a list of its groups, when you do something that has a code of conduct attached to it, find all the groups in the area where the action was performed. Then you can check it against the code of conducts for those groups, traversing up the parents of those groups if no matching code was found for a specific group.


Since the code of conduct rests with the group, I would have a separate assessment for each group that reasonably knows about it and skip it if there's no matching group. Consider poaching deer: Codes of conduct will need to be based on observers, anyway, so if I shoot a deer in the king's forest with only fellow starving villagers around, the action is maybe considered ignored. If I do it while the evil sherriff is watching, its treason. This can help make the structure and personages of a location very important, as committing certain crimes becomes a matter of distraction or timing (when one party is present or not).

Quote:

As an example, every action you take may adjust variables such as trustworthyness, fear, hate, etc. of the person committing the action.

If a player commits a murder in a town, the people could start to fear the player, which could then adjust how they respond to them (run and flee).

If you are caught stealing though, the people may have an entirely different response, perhaps not letting them near their belongings, or in their house.


Good point on subtlety here. I think, however, that whatever you do, change MUST be clearly communicated. I had an experience recently of building up my standing with a faction in Freelancer only to have them attacking me out of the blue. I don't know what I did to cause this and that's not a good experience for the player to have (seems too much like betrayal).

Quote:

How far you want to push it though is the thing, I believe the more options you give the player, the further they will be able to define their character, which should ultimately lead to a better game. The problem is, how to create a system which allows for the easy definition/implimentation of a specific code?


I'm going to put out something from a sociology class called the Labeling Theory of Deviancy (sorry, can't remember the author). The basic idea is that we're only considered bad because our action is labeled as so: If one boy, say from the upper class, trespasses in a neighbor's backyard, it is claimed that he is only being precocious; another, say from the lower class, who does the same exact thing, is considered to be a troublemaker.

Labeling Theory (which has many flaws, btw) claims that only those with power do the labeling. This might translate to the codes of conduct of the dominant social group.

What might help is to attach an identity label to the player (and NPCs if they can act independently). This label is fine grained and sensitive to context. Thievery of food when hungry, for instance, would be distinct from thievery of luxury goods.

Each group might maintain a kind of "what do you think of this label?" list. What do you think of thieves who steal when hungry? What do you think of thieves who steal luxury goods? Or maybe target of the crime, rather than type of object, is what's important. What do you think of thieves who steal from the rich versus from the poor?

The point would then perhaps be to use this to adjust the standing / reputation of the player when interacting with others. In fact, it might even be nifty to have NPCs comment on some of this detail, as in "nice theft of that applecart from the Sherriff, but I don't too much cotton to you killing his men."

By no means a complete system, but maybe a start?

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Original post by TechnoGoth
I have always wanted to be able influence the game world and its factions through my actions and it has always been disappointed when I have been unable to do that.


Here's hoping that a broad majority of players feel the same way...

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The ideal way to deal with this in my opinion would be through power bases, I may have posted a topic on this a while back I can't remember. The idea is that a faction and characters power and influence is determinded by their powerbase. The powerbase is made up assets, allies, followers, contact and contracts. By performing actions that alter a powerbase you affect the charcter or faction who controls that powerbase and provoke a response.


The interesting thing about this is that empire games touch on this alot, making them a very promising source to draw from.

Quote:

Then comes Wavinator the abolitionist passing by Lower Slum town who attacks the caraven and frees the slaves and kills two of the guards. Reducing Bob's powerbase by 24 to 191. Now bob has a problem he ows Baron Samuel 20 slaves which he doesn't have so now he must decided to either inform the baron of what happened and request more time or try and find twenty new slaves from the current area. If he can't the Baron gets upset and suffers a powerbase lose because he was expecting those slaves. But since he's a baron he may have a powerbase of 10,000 so a loss of 50 is not a great deal but it may be enough for him to take an interest in the player.


The more the game can expose these kinds of details to the player, the more the player can make such a decision strategically. What I think is tricky is to not expose so many details that you reveal the underlying strategies that are driving the game world, thus making predictable NPCs even more so.


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Meanwhile the twenty freed slaves may from their own faction called Lower Slum Town Freemen. With the rather sad powerbase of 20. However Wavinator could help them out by giving the money or weapons increasing their powerbase. Those ex-salves my join up with other ex-slaves to attack slavers and liberate more followers. Until eventually Wavinators aboloitionist ways throughout the land have caused a Sparticus like rebellion turning the ex-slaves in a major force to be reackoned with. Which the other major factions must now deal with.


Groups that come to being on their own in a non-scripted, non-predetermined way is a big draw for me. Especially being able to help them. This needs several layers of abstraction to work, though, as you don't want to be simulating them in great detail constantly throughout the entire game world.

Quote:

Like wise Wavintor who has been free slaves for a while now may have been unknowingly attacking Baron Samuel's powerbase and has become such a thorn in his side that he posts a 100,000 credit reward on Wavinators head. It could also be possible for Wavintor to contiune attacking the Baron's powerbase through a varity of means until the Baron has rendered poor and powerless.


I wonder if people would appreciate the possibility of experiencing this instead of a preset story?

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Original post by liquiddark
The level of detail matters, too. In your original example I didn't really glom onto the slave/slavers idea, but it would have a huge effect on me if a game let me handhold one NPC from abject poverty into a productive and even modestly successful lifestyle. Of course, they'd have to be able to respond to my overtures, which is itself a worth puzzle for a designer to solve. Nonetheless, while I'm sure many people would appreciate the ability to make sweeping changes to the world in this manner, I thought it would be useful to point out that an open channel for affecting individuals would also be a major improvement in gameplay, and to my mind it would be superior for narrative styles of play.


Good point. Isn't narrative largely made up of the personal experience, which is why it's so interesting. A sequence of events about the evolution of a nation is a history, while the same sequence about a person is a story.

I can imagine getting intensely involved in one NPC's struggle through setbacks and triumphs would form a very personal and visceral story provided that the NPC could acknowledge certain things: Good and bad deeds by the player, citing what has come before and revealing plans for the future.

(I can already see that that tiny bit is a lot of work).

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Original post by Wavinator
Yes, and supergroups actually may leave certain areas morally ambiguous, expecting subgroups to fill them in. Meaning maybe there's not a law for every little thing, but there certainly are customs which are almost as comprehensive.


Deffinately, I think supergroups (a country) would be responsible for the overall code's, with subgroups further refining and differentiating (sp?) them. Another thing I would add is the ability for a subgroup to purely remove a code. For example, you may define a country code of "Slavery is bad", since generally that's what the country believes, and either replace that with "Slavery is good" where approriate in subgroups, leave it blank in a subgroup (which would then get inherited from the supergroup), or REMOVE the code, this would mean the subgroup doesn't have a position with that code.

This way, you don't have to define a code for every level/group, you can define generalities, and override or remove as neccessary.

The question is, do you use a straight "For/Against", or varying levels of?

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Original post by Wavinator
Actually, I think the inclusion of context makes these steps potentially VERY complex. Let's say you detect a "take" action and in this case it happens to be a sword. In one context this is theft, in another (grabbed to defend someone from wild animals) heroism. If you grab the sword and give it back within a short time frame, it's borrowing; if you grab the sword and keep it for days (even to rescue someone) its theft.


Yup, context is where things become tricky. Personally in my design I'm taking into account context (using systems like OpenSense, etc.), though my project is years down the road, when hopefully that tech is more refined.

One way I think you can somewhat fudge the results is through basic random chance. I would use rules to some exact, then just randomize it, sometimes they think you stole the sword, sometimes they don't, it may or may not work, would really have to think about it some more.

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Original post by Wavinator
Another case: A bunch of people are being chased by a monster and are coming to a bridge. If you blow up the bridge after the people have crossed, you've acted heroically. If you blow it up while they're on it (even accidently) or before they cross (especially maliciously) it's a crime.


Well, I think in cases like these, you could just take into account the end result, not intent or motive. This would work well for me, since in medieval times, people tended to not care so much about intent, only in the final outcome ;)

Overall though, if you could get a basic intent and motives system working, it would deffinately add alot.

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
The ability to determine some level of intent becomes crucial when an action is morally evaulated. I don't have much faith in game AI doing that all that well, so at best the standards will have to be somewhat loose and clearly defined. (Can you imagine having to specify the logic? You can take the sword IF there is danger and IF that danger is local and IF you use it only on the enemy representing the threat and IF you give it back within X timeframe...)


Intent is deffinately the problem, and though I think it would be great to have it in there, I'm sure you could get by without it.

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
What probably will work better is weighing these virtual sins and virtues based on past relationships and perceived intent. If Robin Hood swings through my shop and grabs one of my swords--even just to keep, I'm more inclined to think, "Oh, well, that was Robin Hood. If he took my sword he probably has a darned good reason." Whereas, if the foul Sherrif of Nottingham grabs my sword for any reason-- even to save some hapless child-- I'm more inclined to think ill of his deed. Emotion and relationship color perception.


Great ideas, and deffinately agree with them. Would also take into account the damage done to the affected NPC. If Robin Hood steals a sword from me, and I'm going broke and can't feed my children, I really don't care what his reason's are, I'm ticked.

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Games like Freelancer and Escape Velocity do this using an "enemy of my enemy is my friend" logic. In your example, the thieves would be enemies of the town, so each act against the town will help raise your reputation with the town's enemies. A more sophistocated layer on top of this might be to also factor in specific deeds as being important to specific factions. You could have, for instance, a list of actions the player has taken and counts (kills / steals / trespasses / etc.) against each faction; but kills and trespasses would weigh in lightly with thieves, whereas steals would weigh in at full value.


Exactly! :)

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Since the code of conduct rests with the group, I would have a separate assessment for each group that reasonably knows about it and skip it if there's no matching group. Consider poaching deer: Codes of conduct will need to be based on observers, anyway, so if I shoot a deer in the king's forest with only fellow starving villagers around, the action is maybe considered ignored. If I do it while the evil sherriff is watching, its treason. This can help make the structure and personages of a location very important, as committing certain crimes becomes a matter of distraction or timing (when one party is present or not).


Hrmm you're example gave me an idea. If you poach deer on the king's land in front of starving villagers, the villagers may think it's okay, and king may not. The concept of subgroups relaying code breakage up the tree could come into affect. If the villagers don't know you and you just run off, they may tell the king, but if you give them some food from the deer (they are starving), they won't.

One way you could do this, is weight the relationship of you to the NPC(s) VS the NPC(s) to the parent group. Certain stats withen the relationship would make subgroups relay information up the tree regardless of whether they have the same code, things like fear, loyalty, etc.

In this case, you would have to overcome the NPC(s) fear of the parent group (the king) through feeding them, since they are starving, giving them food would heavily increase (temporarily), your relationship with them. One thing I would do here is have temporary VS long term relatioship's, and have actions temporarily boost relationships quite high, with those relationships decaying over time. That way a single action of great signifigance can override a longterm relationship.

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Good point on subtlety here. I think, however, that whatever you do, change MUST be clearly communicated. I had an experience recently of building up my standing with a faction in Freelancer only to have them attacking me out of the blue. I don't know what I did to cause this and that's not a good experience for the player to have (seems too much like betrayal).


Deffinately. You could communicate this in a number of different way's. For an easy approach you could just have a "Relationships" screen that the player could check, this screen would show all people/groups that the player has a relationship with. A more advanced approach would be to represent relationship's through NPC reactions (fleeing from fear, stuttering when talking to, etc.), you could also represent it by having the NPC's make random comments to the PC.

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
I'm going to put out something from a sociology class called the Labeling Theory of Deviancy (sorry, can't remember the author). The basic idea is that we're only considered bad because our action is labeled as so: If one boy, say from the upper class, trespasses in a neighbor's backyard, it is claimed that he is only being precocious; another, say from the lower class, who does the same exact thing, is considered to be a troublemaker.


This could be represented by further defining the codes as "Action by MY group is okay, by anyone else is not".

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
What might help is to attach an identity label to the player (and NPCs if they can act independently). This label is fine grained and sensitive to context. Thievery of food when hungry, for instance, would be distinct from thievery of luxury goods.


This could be representing by motives, but again this relying on context like intent.

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Each group might maintain a kind of "what do you think of this label?" list. What do you think of thieves who steal when hungry? What do you think of thieves who steal luxury goods? Or maybe target of the crime, rather than type of object, is what's important. What do you think of thieves who steal from the rich versus from the poor?


Like Labeling Theory this could be represented as "Action against group is okay, against anyone else is not"

A more complex example could be:

"Murder by Knights of my town (group) against People of other town (group) is okay"

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
The point would then perhaps be to use this to adjust the standing / reputation of the player when interacting with others. In fact, it might even be nifty to have NPCs comment on some of this detail, as in "nice theft of that applecart from the Sherriff, but I don't too much cotton to you killing his men."


Your examples reinforces my thought that standing/reputation should not just be a general variable, but a number of them.

In your example, with a single variable it could mean "Steal +5 standing, then Murder -5 standing", ending up with no change. This wouldn't be good, since both actions SHOULD leave the NPC feeling different about the player in specific ways (Murder = Fear +5 for example).

As for the comments from the NPC to the player, one way to do this is would be to maintain a list of the past actions which had an affect on the NPC (only a small number, weighted between time since action, and the ammount of change in relationship/standing). The NPC could then comment on specific actions the PC took recently, and communicate what they thought of those actions.

This would be interesting, since it would allow you to figure out what makes an NPC tick, how to make them happy, or not, and could be a "Quest" of itself.

"You've been asked to keep the Queen happy!". You would have to figure out what makes her happy, and then do it (making sure she finds out).

Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
By no means a complete system, but maybe a start?


Deffinately a start. Hope this has helped you so far, I know it's helped me alot!


Just for some final thoughts, let me know what you think about this rough outline for the first part of the concept (definition of groups/codes/actions and basic first person NPC responses)

- Groups are defined in the gameworld, Groups can be a child of one or more groups.

- PC's/NPC's may belong to one or more groups.

- The relationship to a group by a PC/NPC is measured

- Code's are defined which relate to an act

- Code's have specific actions or series of actions attached to them

- Code's have intents and motives which affect how the action is weighted

- Each code may be attached to one or more groups, with a value indicating how they feel about that code, this can be a positive or negative value or zero for uncertainty. An undefined code withen a group means the group uses's it's parent code when available.

- Each code can have a By and Against group attached to it

- Multiple version's of the same code can be attached to a group as long as they have different By and Against variables

- The reaction of an NPC to an action is determined by a number of factors including: any groups/parents of the NPC which have that code defined weighted by the relationship of the NPC to that group, the relationship of the player to the NPC, intent, motive, and the effect the act has on the NPC

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