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Idea Troll: A 'living' blacksmith?

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ATTN: This thread was inspired by TechnoGoth's "A man walking through the forest! A quest!" thread. The blacksmith is probably the most staple profession to the "role playing" games that we see everywhere, but they don't seem to do anything but stand there in an apron with a forge and anvil in the background, offering swords and axes to sell. Nobody seems to really know what a blacksmith would actually *do* (except heat and pound steel). A bit of background for the windup. A blacksmith fashioned every single piece of metal that was used "back in the day", including shovels and trowels, forks, knives for vegetables, skinning, or butchering, axes for felling wood, wedges for splitting logs, lumber, and stone, plowshares, horseshoes, nails (well, when people w/ fireplaces didn't pound them out), hinges, fireplace hangers, coat hangers, laddles, pots, pans, kettles, lantern frames and reflectors, candlebras ... all sorts of things. Not to mention forge-welding broken pieces back together; those broken weapons in Baldur's Gate would take an hour or two tops and a few silver to put back together. Also, smiths were rather common in all places, sometimes one for every fourty or fifty people, meaning about one to every wide spot with a dozen houses. The idea of making a more alive-feeling game world ("living world" or "living game"?) came up, but for that, you need to give characters a clear idea of what they feel that they need to do. So what does a blacksmith need to do his or her job and feed themselves and their family? At the very least, they need tools -- a LOT of tools. An easy sample would include four hammers, six tongs, an anvil on a good stump, likely a brick forge, bellows, punches, fullers, a die plate, chisels, a twisting bar, and a myriad of little hardies (you know that square hole in the back of an anvil?). Most of these are put together over time, hammered into a more refined shape (steel was always at a premium), and saw handles replaced repeatedly. A smith also needed a good supply of coal and water, some sand for welding, some wood for starting fires and leaving them to burn slowly overnight, and what spare steel they could afford for making new things. Coincidentally, they also need to eat. So a blacksmith has the following needs: * lots of tools in good shape * lots of coal to ply his trade * spare iron/steel to smith * food, water, shelter * some wood for handles and forgetending A smith also fulfills the following needs: * makes tools, household goods, and weapons * repairs *anything* metal * stitches leather or carves wood in a pinch Further thoughts?

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why is it that balck smiths in later towns are much more skilled than they are in earlier ones? looking from a linear RPG perspecitve of course.

Town A will have bronze daggers, while Town W will have Fiery Swords of Hurt and Lasers(tm).

I'm not entirely sure what you are asking in this post, but this is something i felt should be mentioned.

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The point of the other thread is to highlight how it's annoying to no end how NPCs are either painfully generic or there to offer a quest of some sort. Or get pasted against the nearest hard object.

This thread takes the blacksmith, a very common and very stereotyped role, and tries to figure out how to make them more interesting by giving them something to do, by giving them needs. Like an RPG needs quests, these presumes that NPCs need something to do or something done for them.

I'm asking how we can make one class of NPCs more interesting, so that we can take a template to other NPC classes.

The difference between a bronze knife and a steel knife is merely in materials, whereas 90% of the method remains the same. It's all just names to make the players believe that a given weapon with higher numbers deserves those higher numbers. Coincidentally, I have *no* clue as to how you're going to be needing a blacksmith to be forging a mineral (ruby/diamond swords, anyone?)...
Linear "RP"Gs don't involve any role playing either, IMO, so I don't want to count them. This isn't the thread to complain about the bastardization of the genre so much as how to extend it.

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You should take a look at World of Warcraft. Forging weapons requires that multiple items (minerals, etc) be taken to the blacksmith. Some of the materials used to forge weapons even need to be forged by combining other materials... etc, etc.


Ryan

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It's been the sort of week to make me terse, so my preemptive apologies.

Item generation systems have *what* to do with NPC behavior? Blizzard, if anything, has only lowered the standards of NPC behavior and originality. They make some wonderfully addictive games in the "navel gazer" and "action" departments, but nothing that ranks inquiry for design inspirations.

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Some general thoughts:


-May have to make house calls to deliver specific items to specific places by a specific time. This could find him travelling, using a courier for newly made goods or sending an apprentice

-May need to drum up new business, which could see him standing in the town square boasting or showing off wares on a slow day; or getting notices posted. Especially relevant if he's not the only one in town.

-Trips to the bank to store profits (so on some routes he's loaded with goods, some with gold, some he's empty)

-Arguing with and/or berating subordinates; training them; talking with them to get a job right


Once you've finished the career needs which give behaviors, there's personality, which could give unique behaviors like drunkeness or laziness; and history, which could give overlays on behavior like a fear of the forest after sundown.

I think these areas are going to be more challenging because they offer a wider variety of things to impel behavior.

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Some Smiths where highly specialized in their particular trade. Take the Japanize Sword smiths, some of their swords were of exquisite craftsmanship and detail, taking months to forge as well as some luck during some of the final steps since if the blade didn't cool just right, it might warp or break the blade. Some blades achieved a fame all their own, and their owners took great care in maintaining them, often drawing them only if they intended to shed blood.

But on a more relevant note, as a profession Smiths did indeed do just about all the metal work in their regions. But if there's say, only 1 smith in an entire town then it would stand to reason that he could get alot of favors done for him, accumulating alot of influence with other people. Smiths could also work in the same building with Craftsman, working on fine machinery like Clocks, Doorlocks, lockpicks, Compasses, and other devices.

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First, I think we should seperate some of the games that fall under 'rpg'.
There Fantasy RPGs and theres Realistic RPGs.
Fantasy RPGs are games like Final Fantasy, Warcraft, MarioRPG. They focus on telling you a story and creating a story-like world, and then spicing up the game with some action and sometimes a little character customization (like equipment or job classes).
Then theres more Realistic RPGs like Morrowind. Instead of giving you a story to follow, you're given the chance to create your own story based on what quests you do and how you act in the world.
Theres also some games like Fable and Baulders Gate that are sort of a mix between the two.

Since fantasy games lean towards fantasy, we dont NEED to know the details. A Blacksmith is only an equipment shop. A gyrocopter flies because of dwarvish mechanic skills, regardless that the design would fail in real life.
The game design doesnt really lean towards making a super interactive and 'complete' world. Alot of these games actually seem to have alot of elements that are intended to BREAK UP the story and interactivity with the world. They throw in battle segments, puzzles, interesting miniplots, and sometimes a some sort of customization to your party that you can play with.
They have more of an arcade feel to them.

They also have a more in depth and controlled story than Realistic RPGs. Having a free and open world means that its hard to catch the main plot. Instead, your story is pretty much a collection of the quests you've done while performing one main quest. The rest of the story is sort of made up in the player's head. They get the chance to fill in the blanks with thier own ideas.


I like the ideas about a blacksmith having a life, instead of just a purpose. To make a fully interactive and living world, every NPC in the game has to have a realistic story, reason, purpose, and conflict. That would take a while to do.
You'd would have to have a whole life story for every NPC and family unit. Lets say we have a house of 4 people living in it. You'd have to code in AI intelligent enough that each family member knows its role in the family, and does that role. For example, the Father knows who his children are, who his wife is, where he lives, where he works, how to perform that job, what to do while at home, etc. Then, when the player talks to that NPC, a more realistic conversation can take place.
It takes away from the realism when an NPC says the same thing twice. Also, its sort of unrealistic to run up to a complete stranger and they tell you some random tidbit of lore. Imagine going to the grocery store, and some lady looks over at you and says "You can only reach Hawaii by boat. Talk to the man at the dock if you want to go".
Also, when poeple are just milling around in town, What are they doing?! follow them, and they just walk along a path around the town. they never actually go anywhere.
You'd have to make sure every NPC knows where to buy goods, where its house is, when it needs goods, where its job is, when it goes to work, what it does there, etc etc. That way, when they are doing things, they have mini missions.
I dont think doing that would be too tough. Sort of give every NPC a schedule of events, and then give it enough AI to do random things like sit on a bench to watch birds, buy a snack from the store, go visit a friend, head to the bar, light a ciggarette, stand in one place looking around, wait for a friend to meet them, etc etc. I really dont think a database of these actions would be really that difficult to structure. I already have a sort of basic concept of how to do that.
Then, they would have to have social AI. They would have to be able to tell what is or isnt appropriate to say based on where they are at the time and some random stimulants such as fires, your fame, your appearance, their fame, their appearance, their current mission, etc.
When talking to a random NPC, conversation should be something like "Hey", "Whats up". Passing greets. To add to the realism, the player should be allowed to start a conversation based on some lore (There should be a list of things you've heard about in your questing that you can talk to people about), an item, or their current quest, and then an bar where you choose how nice or how mean you say it.
The player shoudl also be able to ask for things like directions to somewhere within town like an inn, or to somewhere out of town like a forest.

Now, the PLAYER needs a plot. Everything in the game is alive and breathing. A fully interactive world.

Now, creating a player plot is pretty much made up of creating NPC plots that randomly interact with the player.
Here's a short plot idea:
Your player is walking down the main street of town, and some guy runs up to you excitedly saying that you're his idol (this would be late in the game when you have alot of fame). Then he asks if you can train him. Then you find out that he needs training because some gang members in town are fuckin with him, and he wants to defend himself. You help him and in the mean time you find out that one of the 'bullies' is someone you went to school with.
Both people become characters in your life. When you interact with him later, he should be more friendly. Maybe you can ask him to go on a quest with you.
To create a player's story, there should be alot of interaction with NPCs that the player had an effect on. Depending on wether or not you do certain quests or how you do them, you get a different story. The world lives without the player. If the player had chosen not to help the guy, then the guy would have probably left town and moved somewhere else or ended up dead. If that random encounter plot didnt happen, then the game would have turned out differently.

Since NPC interaction is really important to creating a realistic game, NPCs MUST be unique. Thats really all there is to it.
To make unique NPCs, a Tony Hawk character customization could be used. Have X amoutn of hair styles. X colors. X face types. X facial hair. etc. Even, a certain amount of personality types.
Then, each blank NPC entered into the game editor would have a list of information and variables and data. This would include their physical make up, their personalities, their jobs, all that shit i mentioned ealier.
Now that NPCs are unique, the player should be able to tell the difference between them so that he can meet up with people from earlier quests and interact with them.
It should be possible to ask the guy you saved if he wants to join you on a quest. That sort of thing.

With the players personal story being made up as you go, and each NPC has a story, there needs to be a game story. A series of events that happen no matter what.
Events can be Time-based, or Event-based. Most of the events should be time based, and only the really important ones event based.
For example, the evil warlord (yes, a generic plot again) sends bad guys to burn down a town at 6pm on sunday. Your character may or may not have heard about the news. This event will happen at the same time regardless of the players interaction.
Other Events wont happen untill another event has happened, and should happen withing a set amount of time after that first event. For example, you walk into town, and the guy runs up to you. That guy wouldnt be there unless you entered the town.

Now, you have uber realism, three levels of plot, character customization (If the NPCs can be unique, so can the player), and a fully free RPG.

Hopefully we'll get to play a game like that within 10 years of development.

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Don't forget that just because you're a blacksmith, it doesn't mean you're also automagically a swordsmith and an armorer. Your local village "smith" probably won't be able to make swords and armor, and if he does he probably won't be able to do more than make knives and repair leather. It takes a lot of skill (and time) to make functional swords and/or metal armor, especially chain and plate armors.

What Garmichael said cracked me up: 'Imagine going to the grocery store, and some lady looks over at you and says "You can only reach Hawaii by boat. Talk to the man at the dock if you want to go".'

Heh.

Lot of good ideas here. I think some sort of behind the scenes system needs to be implemented to take care of what/where/how the NPCs exist when the player is not near them, like when he's in the next city or whatnot. I can't imagine trying to process every NPC to that level of detail all of the time. There needs to be a way to determine like, where the NPC is at a given time, or what he's doing. So when the player arrives in a town their relative positions and tasks can be generated on the fly.

Anyway, yeah. Lots of good ideas!

Take care.

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Im doing this in a limited sense for a NWN Mod Im working on. The problem is that your NPCs CANNOT have complete lives outside of when the Player characters are in a given area- sure, you can code it so the NPCs do stuff when the players are elsewhere .... and then watch as your server performance lags to the point where none of the players can even move.

The trick is not to give the NPCs a 'life' as such, but to make it appear so to those playing the game. Meaning that they only act a section of their lives when the players are around: and it must be a different section at different points in the game, otherwise its ceases to be convincing. Thats a little more tricky.

Im also aiming to make the plot as non-linear as possible. This is also tricky to do, and without good design runs the risk of leaving PCs meandering about with no direction, wondering what they are supposed to do next. One compromise is to give the player one or more long-term goals which have multiple paths for completion - but then thats more work for the developers because each and every path must be explicitly tested.

If anyone has any further comments on this subject Id love to hear their point of view.

EDIT:
Quote:
For example, the evil warlord (yes, a generic plot again) sends bad guys to burn down a town at 6pm on sunday. Your character may or may not have heard about the news. This event will happen at the same time regardless of the players interaction.
Other Events wont happen untill another event has happened, and should happen withing a set amount of time after that first event. For example, you walk into town, and the guy runs up to you. That guy wouldnt be there unless you entered the town.


Yes. This is exactly what I'm attempting to do. One of the main let downs of NWN (apart from the EXTREMELY linear plot) was that if you were offered an urgent quest, you could leave it until later, come back after a week or so, and the quest would STILL be there in exactly the same form. Events would not have moved on without you.

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Heh. The lady telling you about how to get to Hawaii in the grocery store gives you a lot of perspective on what conversations in RPGs really are! You should actually have a reason to talk to someone, otherwise it looks silly. We're just so used to it happening in RPGs that we don't care. A good thing would be having a list of contacts, with all the NPCs you know or have a reason to talk to. As the story progresses, some NPCs are added because of events or pointed to you by other contacts ("I have a friend who might be able to help you with that"). It has been mentioned in TechnoGoth's thread that talking to every NPC to find the one that progresses the story is irrealistic and boring. But this is caused by the "a man in the forest, must be a quest" syndrome, so if we solve that problem, populating the world with NPCs that are interesting yet meaningless to the story should not be a problem. The player knows that he should only talk to the ones with their names in different colors because they're in his contact list.

About whether the best solution is to run the NPC simulation only for a small amout of time (while doing some daily chore like doing the laundry) or a complete simulation, I've been thinking about this for a while and I still don't know what to do. Maybe a good compromise would be using cellular automata or similar rules to control the big picture of economics and politics, without a true connection to the small NPCs that ocasionally pop up to do their chores and look good for the player, while some of these NPCs could be promoted to permanent NPCs because they're now more important to the player (the random merchant NPC that the player saved is now permanent so he has lower prices and might give some quests to the player, gives him a pat in the back whenever he sees him, etc). These VIP NPCs :P could act as a bridge between the events at the low NPC level and the high nation-scale events - the daily actions of NPCs are emulated cheaply by the high level simulation, but when something different happens, that NPC is here to stay, making sure there are consequences, and possibly changing the high level simulation as well. Or maybe I'm just rambling. Anyways, I've been toying with these ideas in my head for a while so I thought I might as well contribute :)

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Morrowind successfully uses the reference system within their fairly large towns. Basically you can wander through and find a guild that you want to join, and they give you missions and directions of who to talk to, and where. I've done alot of quests where i have to find some joker (who previously just stood in the middle of nowhere and told me to piss off), and speak to him about the job i'm doing.

Morrowind has an arsenal of quests for a number of guilds that would probably take forever to complete, but once you seem to get the major ones done there's not much left to do (since the game technically has no real ending, gameplay is continuous and all pre-scripted, so eventually you run out of quests).

I suppose if i were going to try organizing or scripting a living world around the player, that it would heavily depend on timing and events. The trick is to script all the events (and potentially upto 3 outcomes), and then engage them over time. You see the same thing with NPC's disappearing at night, and then appearing during the day, the game doesn't actively track them when the player isn't around, it just checks the time to see which events should be active, and which ones have resolved in the players area.

So you can create detailed scripts and actions to give characters life (like merchants who make regular trips to another town), and then slap on a random number generator which can 'randomly' play one of a number of 'surprise' events that may disrupt that NPC's routine (like a merchant getting attacked, and possibly killed when the player isn't around). The same system can be used for critical plot elements, where certain events (like an invasion) happen at a specific time, and resolve (with it being random as to who wins based on several variables) by itself without the player even setting foot in the area, or the computer doing more than twitching to change the variable of the events outcome, and open up the next batch of events that are linked to it.

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Sounds like this extensive blacksmith AI belongs in a medieval simulation game. "The Sims: Siege & Conquest Edition"? For games like Neverwinter Nights, Dungeon Siege and Diablo II, kickass AI only makes the game fun if the player can observe the AI in action.

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Really the whole point of advanced AI for NPC's is a dynamic to make a gmae world seem more like a real world, and lets face it some of the online RPG's really do start to seem that way. I personally think that the key to making a realistic game world in an RPG, is to make the player feel like the world is there fopr its own sake and the sake of its inhabitants and not just there for you to play a game. This works on several different levels, firstly the world feels bigger and more awe inspiring because instead of the world revolving around you have to go out and earn you place in it. Secondly it promotes a feeling of community. When things and eople around you seem real then it really does promote a sense of loss when they are destroyed/killed/stolen. This helps the story too, when the dragon comes down from the mountain to destroy the village, instead of thinking 'yes, I get to try my new weapon out on the dragon', you think 'I hope this weapon is powerful enough to help me defeat the dragon and save my firends and family'. Note the fact that the motivation is no longer simple curiosity but a need to protect the surroundings that you love (ergh! that sounds a bit soppy sorry!).

Well actually maybe I should really get back to the point. Getting the blacksmith to be real is essentially one of the holy grails of game development, although it could theoretically be acheived within limitations. Here are a few suggestions

-Blacksmith has openning and closing hours (shows that the blacksmith has other commitments than standing waiting for you all day)
-Blacksmith can only make weapons he has the materials for, once he's run out he has to close shop and go and fetch some more.
-Blacksmith can run out of weapons already made, if you buy something after that you have to wait while he makes them (This could introduce a clever game dynamic for online RPG's wherby in busy periods the blacksmith has a backlog of weapons to make, may even need to try and hire someone to help)
-Blacksmith has a home where he goes when he's not working
-Blacksmith sometimes accepts other things than money for his weapons, e.g. it his kids birthday party and he wants to hire a clown.

There are many things such as these that can be used quite simply and inexpensively to make an NPC such as a blacksmith seem more real. There are more complex ideas such as giving him an action probability tree where any action he is about to perfom has a probability depending on what his current state is. However this is wehn things start to get much to complicated for what is usually one of many many NPC's

I am very sorry to everyone who put up with my awful writng skills and actually read through this. but if you did reply and let me know what you think.

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OK. There are two fundamentally different types of AI that are being discussed here. Please feel free to correct me if you think this is wrong:

1) Apparent intelligence. Which is what I have been talking about. This is presenting the illusion to the player(s) that the NPCs have lives outside of player actions. In fact the NPCs do nothing when the PCs are not about, but change state based upon a combination of what the PCs have done, the given time or date, and set plot events.

2) Genuine, if simple, AI. In which the NPCs really do interact with each other outside of player involvement, plot developments are occuring due to these interactions, and playability and believability is maintained for the players. Of course, what the PCs do also affects the game world.

In my opinion its harder to make a game using 2) playable and realistic. I prefer the illusion of 1), which gives the developer more control in guiding the player down certain paths.

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Quote:
Original post by malachantrio
Really the whole point of advanced AI for NPC's is a dynamic to make a gmae world seem more like a real world...
Realism and representing the real world are two different things: one is good for games and the other is bad until virtual reality technology is ready for real-world representation. I predict that with advanced virtual reality people will continue to favor playing realistic fantasy games in medieval, sci-fi and other fictional environments.

We play games to have fun. Let's keep that in mind.

How is a blacksmith going home in the evening going to benefit the game's fun factor if the player is not in viewable distance of the blacksmith? Action must take place in the player's immediate vicinity; otherwise, such an action is like an implementation of the philosophical question, "When a tree falls in a forest and there's nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound when it hits the ground?" If the player can't see the action, they don't know of the action and are thus unaffected by the action.

This type of AI is best used in a strategy or simulation game such as, respectively, Age of Empires or Dungeon Keeper. AI this extensive just doesn't fit in a MMORPG or a single-player RPG. Also, the average desktop computer wouldn't be capable of handling the infinite number of calculations required to produce Seed AI.

Relative to this topic...
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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Quote:
Original post by Adraeus
We play games to have fun. Let's keep that in mind.


That is a good point actually, when is realism so realistic to the point it becomes dull and uninteresting. I don't claim to know alot about the phycologies (sorry can't spell) inherent in this question, but it is obvious to any one who plays games that mostly they are fun because of the escapism. Which is most especially true for RPG's. Thinking about it, if the problem was analysed then it would probably be found that games are most fun within a narrow band of realism. Too unrealistic and the player cannot bond with the game. On the other hand, too realistic and who really wants to play real life, its specifically what we are trying to escape from.

Just a quick word on the subject of the tree in the woods. Its a good analogy, but in one sense incomplete. Quite often "Its not what is there, its whats not!" It would be more complete if you said there is a forest with a great huge oak unlike any other at its centre. If the oak falls and is removed when no body is around. Does that make no difference. Well actually it does. Because it is unique, its absence is noted. Its not the action thats important (producing the sound of falling over) its the consequences that the action have made (the tree is no longer there). Its the same with the blacksmith whether you see him go home or not the fact remains that he is at home and not at his shop, which in turn has implications (not being able to use the service he provides). But still whether a blacksmith with that behaviour pattern would make a game more or less interesting to play - to be honset I just don't know.

but it does make a very interesting research topic for any buding game physcologists out there.

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Quote:
Original post by Adraeus
You don't need to be an expert in psychology.

Do you watch your neighbors come home from work for entertainment?


No but then I wasn't saying that watching the blacksmith walking home was entertaining was I? If you actually take care to read what I wrote you might understand what I was getting at. The blacksmith walking home may be the action but its not the consequences is it!?

The real question is whether the player having to work around another entity's schedule is entertaining. The immediate effect this would have is to lower the players percieved status within the game world. You should try and look at things on as many levels and as many perspectives as you can.

Unfortunately evryone has opinions on this which is why it is not easy to say "Yes it makes a game better" or "No it makes a game boring"

Anyways most people's curiosity does stretch to whether their neighbours are in or not. That itself might not mean anything but its consequences might. These things are all based on personalities so there are no right and wrong answers. I'm not trying to make you think I am right, I'm just presenting ideas.

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No reason to get snippy. Twas a rhetorical question intended to demonstrate that watching people come home after work is not entertaining unless something else happens. For instance, let's say after work the blacksmith goes home, finds his wife in bed with a competing blacksmith, and then proceeds to hammer the hell out of both his wife and the other blacksmith. Then the royal guard arrive, sirens flashing, and kill the just-got-home-from-work-and-killed-my-wife blacksmith because the competitor was working on a project for the king.

Another way watching people come home from work can be entertaining is through boredom. Old women like to spy on their neighbors because they've nothing else to do! Let's hope that some game doesn't need to implement this coming-home-from-work idea to make up for a fun-deficiency.

The point is that if the feature does not make the game more fun, scrap it because the reason why people purchase games is to have fun! After participating in a focus group for Sony Online last night, I can say that with reasonable certainty now: people buy and play games that are fun.

You touch on the issue that what's fun is subjective; however, most people would not consider watching their neighbors come home fun. The tiny market segment that does is wholly irrelevant. Successful games appeal to the majority, not the minority.

Which you would you rather have:

a) pseudo-seed AI that enables blacksmiths and other NPCs to be obviously virtual representations of real-world people that don't affect the fun factor,

or

b) actionary AI that enables monsters to hunt the player instead of only reacting to the player when in sight?

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Quote:
Original post by Jotaf
Heh. The lady telling you about how to get to Hawaii in the grocery store gives you a lot of perspective on what conversations in RPGs really are! You should actually have a reason to talk to someone, otherwise it looks silly. We're just so used to it happening in RPGs that we don't care. A good thing would be having a list of contacts, with all the NPCs you know or have a reason to talk to. As the story progresses, some NPCs are added because of events or pointed to you by other contacts ("I have a friend who might be able to help you with that").


This reminds me of that old classic, The Magic Candle. The NPCs could be found in three places : Cities, villages, and roads (and castles). You could talk to anyone in cities, public places in castles, and on roads, but to get into houses in villages and private rooms in castles you had to know the name of the inhabitant. So a lot of the open-area interaction was stuff like "If you get to Lymeric, you should talk to my friend Hassan" and "Balear has a room on the second floor, he might have some advice for you."

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Quote:

How is a blacksmith going home in the evening going to benefit the game's fun factor if the player is not in viewable distance of the blacksmith?


Maybe you want to lay in wait in a dark alley the blacksmith uses as a shortcut and rob him.

Maybe you wait untill hes left at night to break into his store and steal something. Or break in to use his tools?

One thing I find facinating about games like D&D is that given even the most ordinary description of events some imaginative player will bend it to his will. Computer games spend too much time on "rails" to allow the player true creativity in finding a solution to whatever currently troubles them.

Alan

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Quote:
Original post by Adraeus
You touch on the issue that what's fun is subjective; however, most people would not consider watching their neighbors come home fun. The tiny market segment that does is wholly irrelevant. Successful games appeal to the majority, not the minority.

Ummm... not quite right... at all. There are a ton of highly succesful games that make you work around other peoples schedules/include the idea that NPCs have real lives. Here are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head:

All Zelda games since Ocarina of Time
Animal Crossing
The Harvest Moon Games
The Sims

I've spent the last 30 minutes looking for sale stats for these games, but can't find them anywhere >_<. Needless to say, the Sims at the minimum have large mainstream appeal, and the other games are all incredibly succesful too. Half the point of many of those games is knowing the NPC schedule, Ocarina of Time actually gave you a book to keep track of them in.

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Original post by intrest86
Ummm... not quite right... at all. There are a ton of highly succesful games that make you work around other peoples schedules/include the idea that NPCs have real lives.
There are no videogames in existence that have an implementation of seed AI. Some games use triggers and storyline events, such as quests, to provide an illusion of lifelike NPCs but that's not what this thread concerns.

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Original post by Adraeus
Quote:
Original post by intrest86
Ummm... not quite right... at all. There are a ton of highly succesful games that make you work around other peoples schedules/include the idea that NPCs have real lives.
There are no videogames in existence that have an implementation of seed AI. Some games use triggers and storyline events, such as quests, to provide an illusion of lifelike NPCs but that's not what this thread concerns.


The only person who has ever used the phrase "seed AI" in this thread is you. In fact, many of the posts have made xplicit that this need not be some kind of super intelligent AI project: It simply has to appear to be AI like.

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Original post by jonpolly99
1) Apparent intelligence. Which is what I have been talking about. This is presenting the illusion to the player(s) that the NPCs have lives outside of player actions. In fact the NPCs do nothing when the PCs are not about, but change state based upon a combination of what the PCs have done, the given time or date, and set plot events.

This is the thread I was working on. NPCs travers through a set of states, just like in the games I mentioned. The player is given the feeling that they are part of a living world, and enjoy watching characters do what you have characterized as mundane things. In fact, let me add some new games! The Creature series DID use full blown AI in which the player enterained themselves watching their Norns eat.

That is why I quote your objection to NPCs walking home having any value. There are many many examples of mainstream success of games where NPCs appear to have real lives. That seems to assert that for many people these interactions do produce a "fun" factor and add to gameplay.

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