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TechnoGoth

LOOK!!! Its a man walking in the woods! It must be a quest!!!

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I'm sure Wavinator in his/her many posts has covered this subject but I'd thought I'd bring it up again. Must every encounter, and event mean something? Or would you rather have the world populated by npcs performing actions? These actions would be abstracted too some degree depending on the game but the actions would cause events. For instance the man standing in the woods could be waiting just taking a rest on his way home and not even know who the player is let alone have something he needs them to do.

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He may not have a quest, but there can at least be the opportunity for some interaction with him. Perhaps you can rob him, or ask directions.

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First, I think Wavinator is a he, since is name is Aaron, sounds male to me :p

About encounters, I think that ideally all things in the world have a game experience enhacing reason, otherwise it's just a waste. It might not be as meaning full as a quest, but it might just be to set the mood of the game.

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I'd like to see NPCs performing actions that have a reason, whether it be a reason for them or a reason for the game a whole. It'd be nice to come across someone cutting wood and think "perhaps he needs to light a fire to cook dinner for his family" rather than think "ah-hah! he's cutting wood for his quest!".

The thought of NPCs living normal lives, doing trivial actions for their own purpose could add a level of reality to a game that wouldn't normally be there. For example, if you decide to kill the guy cutting wood his family wouldn't eat that evening, nor any other. He could also have been a carpenter, so his death would result in a short supply of furniture in the village. His action, however trivial, would then be important to the game as a whole. If you or something else affected the ability to perform them the ripple would be felt elsewhere in the game. The player would be able to perhaps cut/carry more wood for the man in the forest - the after-effect would be that he was able to spend more time making his furniture, leading to higher quality products and perhaps a rise in price or just that you can buy more chairs in the shops :)

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Love the ideas, evolutional. :) I'd sooo love to see that in a game.

One thing I've been semi-annoyed with during my entire RPG playing experience: why is there ALWAYS room in the inn for your party to stay and rest up? Why can't people (NPC's) be going about their lives, and one day there just happen to be so many of them staying in the inn that there's no room for you? Maybe you'd have to do dishes in the inn in order to get a temporary spot on the floor or in some servant's room, or you'd have to haggle to be able to sleep in the stables or something. Or maybe you just have to wander around occupying yourself until tomorrow night.

And with all these dragons attacking villages, why do the villagers all sit there waiting to die? Why don't some of them become refugees? Maybe that's why the inn is full - refugees from a dragon-ravaged town are occupying it. :P (Which would give you a reason to kill a dragon NOT involving getting large amounts of treasure or some specific reward from a king or whatever.)

In general, I think things should have *some* meaning though...even if as another poster said, it's just atmosphere. But atmosphere should be interspersed with genuinely useful stuff. For instance, the NPC's that wander around in the first NES Ultima game. Some of them say nothing more important than "it's a good day to do laundry". Which is nifty in moderation, but when you have to hunt to find an NPC who says something not involving laundry, it gets annoying. So, as with everything else, you have to strike a balance.

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Love the ideas, evolutional. :) I'd sooo love to see that in a game.


I have a problem with it. While it's not a quest, it's still requiring there to be something the player can do that'll affect the big picture. Basically, just a quest on a smaller scale.

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One thing I've been semi-annoyed with during my entire RPG playing experience: why is there ALWAYS room in the inn for your party to stay and rest up?


Well, in Final Fantasy 6, there is a point where the inn keeper refuses you a room (or was it that he charged you so much you refused? I forget).

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Why can't people (NPC's) be going about their lives, and one day there just happen to be so many of them staying in the inn that there's no room for you? Maybe you'd have to do dishes in the inn in order to get a temporary spot on the floor or in some servant's room, or you'd have to haggle to be able to sleep in the stables or something. Or maybe you just have to wander around occupying yourself until tomorrow night.


Because that's boring. In the distant past, I remember playing games with a day/night cycle where I couldn't do much at night. It was just boring down time. "So put some interesting game play at night." Well, then it just becomes "To get this quest/play this mini game/have this encounter/whatever, you have to stay up past your bed time", which makes it less atmosphere and more a hook into a quest/whatever, where we were looking for atmosphere.

Also, if the inn functions like in an FF game, it'd be extremely annoying if the inn were full. A better option would be to have more than enough beds/rooms for your party, and have some of the others filled with random people.

Quote:

In general, I think things should have *some* meaning though...even if as another poster said, it's just atmosphere. But atmosphere should be interspersed with genuinely useful stuff. For instance, the NPC's that wander around in the first NES Ultima game. Some of them say nothing more important than "it's a good day to do laundry". Which is nifty in moderation, but when you have to hunt to find an NPC who says something not involving laundry, it gets annoying. So, as with everything else, you have to strike a balance.


Yeah, I think Fallout did a good job of this. You would get a full dialog screen if you could have a meaningful interaction with someone. Otherwise, they just spouted something (possibly amusing). Sure, there were repeats, but it always seemed there was something I hadn't seen them say before. Basically, make it obvious to the player if there's something meaningful or if it's just atmosphere.

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I liken this analogy to Dungeons and Dragons (come on, own up, some of you must have played it).

I was there near the beginnings of the game, and in those days it used to be:

You enter the room. There's a half-dozen evil lizards. Kill the lizards!!!

Yup, they just sat there waiting for people to come along and put them in their place (usually a very short and bloody process).

As the game, and gamers, matured, we all learnt a new word.

Ecosystem.

Wow - what a difference - suddenly things existed for a purpose. No more would you find completely obscure situations sitting back and waiting for things to happen to them.

The limit on computer games has obviously been computing power - I think most people would love to have a living, breathing system to run around in - somewhere where you can just hang out for a bit. From what I read Fable takes some steps towards this, and has been genuinely well received.

One area that, IMO, is ripe for exploration, is the MMOG. Once you've bought your basic package, why not have the option of being 'just an ordinary person' - but for no fee (as opposed to playing the hero for your normal monthly fee). When you want to kick back you can log on as 'Jack the Baker' - no level advancement, but you can interact with other players (someone asks for directions - you decide whether to give him the wrong or right ones; someone wants some bread (or more interestingly, something from the normal MMOG crafting functions), you set the price, or tell him you need half-a-dozen dragons eggs - you get the idea). Given the popularity of The Sims, it seems some folks don't mind just living ordinary lives on the PC.

Or maybe I'm just reallllllly sad.

Jim.

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You would get a full dialog screen if you could have a meaningful interaction with someone. Otherwise, they just spouted something (possibly amusing). Sure, there were repeats, but it always seemed there was something I hadn't seen them say before. Basically, make it obvious to the player if there's something meaningful or if it's just atmosphere.


The possible problem I've seen with this is that the player (or at least me) ends up skipping past the atmosphere NPCs and as a result missing a lot of the atmosphere. In addition the important bits of quest information end up being signposted (ah a dialogue - important info coming up) and the player ends up playing the game on rails - no real information filtering needed.

I'm busy adding NPCs to a RPG game I'm working on and I'm trying as much as possible to make dialogue with each NPC interesting in some way (some NPCs are important to the main quest, others offer up side quests, others give useful background information/atmosphere, others mislead the player and lead him/her off on a red herring and so on).

In doing this the secret seems to be to keep the number of NPCs down to avoid too much work as a designer and too much dialogue as a player.

Jon.

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i remember the first elder scrolls : ARENA. in that game you could only break into houses at night, therfore the night was less boring. the innkeepers refused to give you rooms if you lowered the price too much, and eventually gave up bartering if you were too stubborn. the shopkeepers did the same. there were npc's that did unique things, and there were very few quests. it was a primitive game to be true, but it and it's sequal: DAGGERFALL had something that games nowadays seemto have lost.

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Not sure if it's been done before, but instead of you having to go up to every NPC in the entire game to interact with them, why don't some of them come to you? Take the man chopping wood in the forest for example. Say you were walking by, maybe he calls to you, explains his problem and asks for your help. Now you know about his plight, and can still choose to ignore the problem if you wish, or walk away in mid sentence.

It's a classic example from a lot of games. There are NPCs in need of aid, direly, and they just stand there and twiddle their thumbs as you parade around them in your shiniest armor and elitest +5 weapon. Maybe they have an exclamation mark above their head, fine, but they still don't actually seek out help.

If NPCs played more actively than passively I think it would eliminate some of the confusion about everything being necessary, cuz you don't have to take initiative all the time.

As ever,
**Cosmic**

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