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Virtual Village : Information to the player

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One thing when you have NPCs doing things based on AI that isn't completely pre-scripted, is getting information to the player. I'm thinking about situations where theif NPCs may go rob a store together. If this happens far away from the player he can't really interact with it. So, I'm thinking of the best ways to get intormation to the player so he can interact with it. One idea is rumors could fly around the town if it leaks out that certain NPCs have evil plans. Another is if NPCs use written notes the player may find them or intercept them (if say a messanger is taking a note from one NPC to another) Maybe it would be useful for other NPCs to have ways to detect suspicious activity and sound a town alarm or something when soemthing strange is going on. Any other ideas?

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Good question, one of the issues when you throw the scripting out the window.

In enough cases, I think the PC is just sorta SOL. A lot of things can happen in a big town, and, well, you can't be there for everything. Say what you will, but the characters are ultimately only human(oid).

In another case, you could rig it so that events happen within the player's perceptions. Shadowy figures in the alleys, an open or loose door, odd lights, or odd noises. Or, if you go by the traditional "stealth action" techniques for BEing, the player can follow the trail of bodies.

(BEing => breaking and entering)

This mostly covers the active events, though. Passive events I think have come up in the sister thread, in short poking enough random people who know little things to get a decent story. Or hitting the bar.

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Yeah.. I like the idea of passive events. Since there would have to be different methods of giving a player 'quests' to keep the them fully imersed, passive events is an awesome idea.

Sort of like if you see two people fighting in a bar, you could interact with them.. depending on who's side you take, you make a friend and an enemy. The type of people that fight in bars alot would probably know more about whats going on in the underside of the villiage. If your character was a rouge or something like that, thats what you would do.

That was also a cool idea of intercepting a message carrier. If you were playing a ninja type character, thats what you would do first.

So the passive events that give information to the player should be varied up intensely. In any villiage, there has to be at least 20 different 'methods' to use.

Also, using passive events would mean that they follow a story thats almost custom built for the character, but doesnt seem like it.
When you have a whole villiage of people, one person isnt going to draw alot of attention. Also, not a whole lot of interesting things would be going on.

If you used an AI set up that each NPC had a schedule of events, and inbetween these events there would be random 'sidequests'(sit on a bench, stop and look at the fountain). On top of that, have it in some NPCs that a scheduled event would be to go get into a fight at the bar once every 3 nights. With events like that happening of all different types all throughout the villiage, all throughout the day, the smart player will start to check out whats going on thats different.

Suppose this scenario: Theres a parade of sorts or a festival going on in town suddenly. If your character explores and finds a way to get information, he can be lead to find out that some crimelord generic figure is planning on robbing a bank while most of the law enforcement is tending the venue.
If you find out about it, then you can try to stop it. Or you just dont pay attention to it, the bank has been robbed and the guards leave the venue to chase this guy down. The festival erupts in chaos as the guards leave. People start looting the stands. The guards are forced to the robber go and tame the anarchy. If you happened to be in the right spot at the right time, you could have run into the burgler to stop him and gain a reward. Days after that, your character hears about it from NPCs for a while, and possibly the paper has some information about it. Then as time goes on, you hear less and less about it untill its just something that happened a long time ago.

To stop that event tho, the player has to have had information. Thats why theres got to be a bunch of different ways to get info based on the character the player is trying to role play.

Think about it, this is exactly how you play D&D. You have your character seek out information using his own style, you buy equipment etcs, and then go on this quest thats pretty open. Recreating that ope-world D&D feel in a game, I think, is what would come closest to reality while staying enjoyable.

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