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To make an RPG that you actually roleplay in

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Its my dream my fantasy to make an RPG game were you actually benefit from playing choosen role. Thats partly why i have major intrest in AI too. The problem: How do you make an game were you reward and evolv the player charcters by rolplaying. How do you keep them intrested and make them want more? i have 2 ideas to this problem but i manly want to start discussion on how you could make a system that would work. My idea 1: Have a very advanced NPC / AI system were the npc of the world rewards the player for his curage / bravory. My idea 2: Have GMs monotoring the world and reward players for what thay do(in an online mmo senario ) Anyone else have better ideas and willing to discuss? Is the old muds the only way you can actually get people to roleplay? Greetings Athos

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It'd be interesting to pose challenges to players, in the sense that their stats, alingment and such affect other gameplay elements than effectiveness in battle and "teams". For example, NPC interaction:

NPC: I'd like to sell you this amulet.

PLAYER: (choose a response)
A: I'll give you 200 gold for it.
B. I'll give you 20 gold for it.
C. Why don't I just kill you and take it?


If their character is an ugly, bloodthirsty troll warrior, it'd kind of cause the NPC to be "wary" if he chose the polite response of A, and the exchange would result in less of a benefit than if the person answered in character.

This system could be done by adding certain properties to available replies, and having them weighted against the player's character type.

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Quote:
Original post by I Like Bread
NPC: I'd like to sell you this amulet.

PLAYER: (choose a response)
A: I'll give you 200 gold for it.
B. I'll give you 20 gold for it.
C. Why don't I just kill you and take it?




They took this same sort of approach in Knights of the Old Republic. In that system, you were "rewarded" with "Dark Side" and "Light Side" points (esentially, a small alignment adjustment) depending on your decisions...besides simple diolouge and things like giving poor people money, your actions also influenced your alignment...For example, if you entered into an (illegal) deathmatch duel without first debating the morality of doing so, you'd gain Dark Side points, and releasing prisoners would gain you Light Side points. These points rewarded the player by making it easier to use force powers of his/her chosen alignment--for example, the "Cure" power (A Light Side power) cost, oh, let's say 10 force points to a completely neuteral character. If you were 50% Light Side, the cost would be reduced to 8 points, while if you were 100% Light Side, it would cost as low as 5 points. On the same token, "Death Field" (an obviously Dark SIde power) would cost a 100% Light Side user up to twice its original cost.

in any case, my idea would to be to give the character several ways to do something , and have him choose, then alter his abilities accordingly. For example, let's say the PC has to get into a locked room. He could either pick the lock, hack and slash orcs until he finds the key, or use a magic scroll to unlock the door. If he picked the lock, the PC would gain grater skill in lockpicking, while the hack-'n-slash method would give him grater strength, and the use of the scroll would increase MP and intelligence.

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just wondering are there any mmo games that use GMs to direct the most part of game play, and if so how well do they work

as for AI based system iv playd a few game with similar systems but iv never seen it implimented in a way i liked, it always just ends up as another numberic score i have to keep track of and not any where near what i would call role playing

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Guest Anonymous Poster
To my mind, "actual roleplaying" is improvisation -- taking on the role of a character and interacting with other people who are doing the same. I've never seen single-player RPGs as being comparable to tabletop/pen-and-paper roleplaying, in any way. I want to invent my character's dialog, not pick it from a list of responses -- and I want to talk to someone who will understand it, not AI that might be able to parse it and come up with a relevant response.

Theoretically, you could have real roleplaying in an online game. There are several problems to overcome, though.

First, you need to ensure that your players want to roleplay. The average game-player probably doesn't. If your game is still fun for people who don't roleplay, then non-roleplayers will outnumber roleplayers. No more roleplaying. And even the potential roleplayers are likely to be distracted by the non-roleplaying gameplay -- especially if that's what everyone else is doing. This is why roleplaying is more common on MUDs than on modern MMORPGs, and even more common on the statless MU*s that probably don't even qualify as games. If there's nothing else to do, people might actually roleplay -- the people who stick around, at least.

Even there, though, I've found that interesting roleplaying was rare -- or perhaps just hard to find. So I think that a good online roleplaying environment would need to do several things, above and beyond reducing the distractions offered by conventional MMORPGs.

First, it needs to provide players -- not all players, mind you, but a decent percentage of them -- with the power to do interesting things within the game world. This power would be granted temporarily, for the purpose of running "plots." They would basically be GMs, creating puzzles for the players to solve and villains for them to defeat. I think this is something that a lot of people would be interested in doing, and the amount of effort required scales nicely -- you could run a little plot that might involve three or four players, or come up with something epic. And from the player's perspective, this should be a lot more interesting than pre-scripted "quests." Of course, there's no guarantee that there's anything going on at any given moment -- but if they're bored, they can always work on a plot they'd like to run themselves.

The other things you need all relate to this idea. A system of submitting plots and requesting specific powers for them, so that the admin can maintain some degree of control over the game world. A system of monitoring plot-runners, including a way for players to lodge a complaint if they see an abuse of power. Effective ways for plot-runners and players to communicate OOCly, both pre-plot and during actual play. Some way for plot-runners to indicate which players are involved, so that those players can be prompted to rate the plot after its conclusion. Et cetera.

One thing you don't need: "Player rewards" equivalent to (MMO)RPG levelling / equipment upgrades / whatever. The potential for abuse and/or perceived abuse by plot-runners outweighs the benefits. Let the puzzle-solving and villain-smiting and whatever-else-the-plot-runners-think-up be its own reward.

The average player wouldn't like it. But I think the players who did would love it.

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Err, for the record, I'm the poster above... with the outlandish notions about "actual roleplaying" and the excessive use of m-dashes. :P

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Id have to agree with that,
I mean what’s the point in role-playing if the only things that have any effect on the world and plot are hitting things with swords and a few really obvious pre-scripted options like “join bad guy” vs “fight bad guy”

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
And even the potential roleplayers are likely to be distracted by the non-roleplaying gameplay -- especially if that's what everyone else is doing. This is why roleplaying is more common on MUDs than on modern MMORPGs


I think there's another important difference between the two as well. Because the MUD is text based, it inherrently allows the player to describe thier actions as they see fit, which is a capability largely lacking from graphic CRPG (and of course MMORPG) games. For example, consider the following situation:

It is a dark and stormy night, and the adventurers were huddled around the table in front of the fireplace, drinking thier ale and discussing what they would do the next day...

Now, in a MUD, the following could happen:

when suddenly, the door bursts open, and a man flippantly swaggers into the room, casting his stare at all those within.

In the MMORPG (or CRPG) on the other hand, the best you can normally handle displaying would be:

when the door opens, and a man walks into the room.

You generally don't really know what a character is looking at in a CRPG, and doors only have a single opening animation - there's no difference in cautiously opening it to peak through and bursting through it as quickly as possible. You certainly can't display the fact that the character is 'swaggering' - there's only a walk or a run animation, plus potentially some sort of combat movement animation.

In a CRPG, you can't lean up against a wall while casually discussing something in the street, you can't lean forward across the table to cautiously offer a piece of advice - you can't even draw back the string of your bow to threaten someone without actually firing. Having such options available to players would probably help, at least to a certain extent, as those willing to role play would at least be able to actually play the role reasonably.

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I'm not much in favor of Hardcore roleplaying, for various reasons. I think the best forms of experiences are those which are totally random and a result of coincidental circumstances, with characters/places/things merely being a pretext for the experience itself. These kind of experiences are more related to the Low Level Story Aspect of gameplay, most apparent in FPS or action oriented gameplay. Planetside is a good example of an environment thats promotes random and enjoyable situations/experiences, the players empire define's his "race" and any other personal history is gleamed from the players own real experiences ingame.

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Original post by Kaze
just wondering are there any mmo games that use GMs to direct the most part of game play, and if so how well do they work


I think Neverwinter Nights is ideal; and it's the only online game that I ever actually roleplay on. It's not really an MMO; you can set up your own server and have a max of around 64 or so people on it, and a few DMs. But having a bunch of separate servers with their own worlds and own people running them makes it easier for the GMs to have a stronger grasp of what's going on with each character and the plot in general. More importantly, the people who set up the server can be much more selective with who is allowed to play, ie, pk-ing, leet-speaking, snotty 12 year olds get permabanned instantly, or not even accepted because of an application process. You'll never see that in a fully commercial MMORPG because snotty l33t kiddies are the lifeblood of those companies, and are the ones who will usually spend the most of their (parents') money on monthly fees.

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Original post by Kaze
just wondering are there any mmo games that use GMs to direct the most part of game play, and if so how well do they work


Seconding what makeshiftwings says.

I've recently been playing on one of the NWN roleplay servers, and it works pretty well. The GMs reward good roleplaying, enforce anti-powermaxing rules, and as an added bonus, have the ability to start off original storylines to keep things a bit interesting.

Also, due to the open ended nature of the game, there's plenty of other servers that munchkin players can go to if they just want to powermax, so they can have fun without disrupting those who want to play a more roleplay oriented game.

(the other thing I like about it is that it costs less than £20 now for the game plus expansions, and there's no monthly fee [grin])

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I've been working with the same concept, actually. The problem with CRPG's is that it's hard to replicate all of the possible diversity that a verbal game or text based MUD can have on a computer, using current methods. If CRPG's were designed with more dynamic concepts (the entire use of random numbers to 'simulate' combat is an example of the fact that RPG game engines are often too limited to actually perform the operations it would take to account for the variations in battle), then RPG's could have the same level of detail, or at least an approximate level. In an online game, you have the same situation as a MUD. If the game allowed for actions other than presets (e.g, a player could toggle a characters emotions on a sliding scale), which wouldn't be that hard to implement if the game already accounted for detailed animation (Source engine does this, characters, although not player controled, can show facial expressions that vary on the fly. If you put a player at the helm, and extended these animation to a variety of dynamic, maleable full body animations, you'd have the kind of paradigm shift neccesary to implement detailed interaction in RPG's, thereby creating an RPG in which you can roleplay.

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I would like to restate what someone has said before, and elaborate - GM directed roleplaying.. In fact, you could even have a 'questing kit' distributed with your game (for a mmorpg type game) that allows you to place NPCs, enemies, and objects. A GM could OK the new quest, and make whatever modifications they see fit. (to prevent people from making an area with a billion of 1 enemy, just to train)

Finally, a 'magical portal' of some sort, with a sign bearing a description of the area appears, and groups of adventurers could go questing in any way they like. Plus, that will help with development. It's great when you can get players to spend hours working to improve your game with little benefit for themselves. *evil grin*

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I like the idea of a questing kit. I think for roleplaying fun the player should have alot of emotions that the charter acts out. If the player wants to stumble in a bar drunk then they could change their emotion to drunk or make it more realistic by being able to get drunk by drinking to much lager. But if you get to many emotions then it could become to cumbersom controlling them all.

I think the quest should effect the characters more, I always thought it was stupid when you get quest like bringing an npc two certain mushrooms and there are 50 other people on the same quest. How many damn mushrooms does the guy need? Maybe quest like there is a castle with a rumored vampire in it. The first group to complete the quest finds out there is no vampire but opening the empty coffin turned them all into vampires. These people then have vampire stats and they are higher when in the castle, they can also change others into vampires, and control the NPC enemies in the castle. They can then go around the towns at night changing people over the vampires.
Others either a vampire or not can go on a quest for the cure, or a bad of people could go on a quest that unlocks a seal that cures everyone in the world. Then eventually people would say things like remember when the vampire curse was running rampant, or hey lets unlock that vampire curse again I got some good made alot of levels with my altered stats.

Also I think the idea to build would add alot make it so characters can own not only houses but also land. They could then build things like castles gain followers build bars and such. Maybe his followers get tired of his high taxes and decide to kill him and steal his deed and split the land between each other.
Online RPGs are a difficult thing to control though, I think people are to afraid to take risk because they are afraid of lossing customers. But I think when people try things others are afraid of and give the player more freedom it works for the better.

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The idea of fooling players with a "dupe" quest and making THEM the vampires is a pretty good idea, both surprising and unexpected, but it won't fool them for long. After awhile the players will adjust and treat it like any other puzzle. If it were a one-time event then that would be more memorable, but that fits into the ever large problem of creating new content.

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I think the biggest problem with online RPGs is the creating new content. I also think that the worlds are too small. An online RPG world needs to have more mystery, with caverns or temples that are hard to find or hidden. There needs to be mystery. Maybe if the game only provided maps of the main cities, and the rest of the world was unmapped. Of course there could be a skill at map making and players could make small area maps and they could buy or exchange them. There would need to be a teleport ability for players who get lost so they can get to a familiar place easily.
With the world unmapped it leaves most everything hidden and gives the world a mystery.
I also hate the idea of enemies spawning I think that also keeps you from getting completely into the game. I think a good idea would be to give enemies the ability to breed, then have enemies that are young, middle aged, and old. There doesnt have to be male or female enemies just that all enemies evenutally create offspring. You could make it more complex like animals that migrate to different areas durring different seasons and such but I think thats taking it abit far.

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First - XenoG2 brought up a great idea of breeding and reproduction, which will be seen in will wright's Spore. I think a huge, living, breathing world is a great concept, but the amount of content required is incredibly hard to provide. Its a battle of graphics vs. content. If blizzard made a 2d rpg, I imagine it to be absolutly huge, and more than a enough content for any player to truly explore. However, first impressions matter, and many games are judged by their graphics. Fable is a great example of a huge world that needed to be cut down (to 1/15th the size) because creating all the content was impossible. However, as designers, we need to be thinking of new and innovative ways to create bigger, and richer worlds. One option is to use middleware like speedtree. Otherwise, your going to need a great programmer and a whole heap of time to design a full repoductive world.

Going to the first question, a true role play expirence is impossible in a single player rpg. The best one can do is give the player as many choices as possible, but it can never emulate true pnp roleplay. As I see it, the two ways of providing content and a roleplay expirence are:
1) Offer mod tools, such as seen in neverwinter nights, to allow usesr to create their own role-playing content. This answers what I said above more, but it does allow for more roleplaying, when more content is out there.
2) DM's are the only true way of doing it. Again neverwinter nights did this well. In the mmorpg environment, what might be a great idea is to allow instances where the DM controls the game. It isnt feasible for indie developers, but imagine going of on a guild wars romp designed by just for your clan.

Some fuel to feed the fire

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I think there are two main threads here..

First I think that GM interaction is definitely needed. For our project, our coders are working on a GM/actor interface where the user can either jump into a specific character...to walk and talk and fight as that NPC...

but also they are coding an RTS-like interface so that the GM can control a horde of mobs and attack players/a guild/a lone player more realistically. Target the medic or the explosives guy...make an end run...etc.

Second, I think what is highly lacking in the MMO world are NPCs with real GOALS. Now in MUDs, NPCs migrate all the time and arent necessarily static. What needs to happen (what Dragon Empires and DnL both promised) was that if you kill goblins in ShadyThicket, their offspring will move to Mad River Glen.

This needs to be taken to a further extreme. The goals and wishes of the NPCs need to be outlined...and multiple ways to get them should be created. Then there need to be variations based on death, relocation, weather..etc so that the goals change.

In my mind, this actually bleeds into another subject which is something people might see as the opposite of roleplaying...computer generated quests. A computer cant write something from scratch, right? Wrong. There's a link somewhere in my other computer where a guy has written an engine for such a thing.

If the NPCs continually respond in a real way to changing circumstances...I am SURE that roleplaying will deepen. Why? Because you arent doing a task...you are living the role of the person you are playing.

Just my 2 bottlecaps.

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Wrong! Computers are stupid, they only do what they are told to do. I think what you are describing about the computers "writing" quests is over exagerated. It's probably not as dynamic as you make it seem. Else the guy who wrote it, has something VERY revolutionary.
The guests a computer could "write" would be predictable and lack story content.

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Its possible to write a quest generator. Its not possible to write a good quest generator. The only type of quests being pumped out of a random generator are ones like kill 10 wolves or bring the package to location x. Boring.

However, what I do think is interresting is NPC motives. In many games, npcs are seen as static objects. At most they walk around, or as in the case of fable, load goods to stores from the ships. The only npc who ever did something different was the enemy to the player, who was constantly moving. It could really deepend a game to have the npcs do more. But again, the more npc driven actions, the more advanced the ai, and the harder to do.

I dont have much faith in realm crafter, it sounds fairly buggy from reports of people who own it.

As a final note, I am talking specifically about the indie developers. I know for a fact that TES 4 will have a very advanced AI. Dragon Empires did have this planned as well, and dragon empires was really going to rock with mmorpg world with some of its ideas, but it got canned, and thats life.

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Wrong. I'll find that thread about the quest generator. It can and is being done. Sorry to burst your bubble.

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Im still looking through the link you posted but I still don’t see how a computer based story/quest generator could compete with a handcrafted game world. The best you can do is a random joining of pre-made elements because Computer don’t have imagination

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First of all the quest creation engine would merely be a supplement..not a replacement for a hand-crafted world.

Second of all, the power and strength of such a device would be in PERMUTATIONS.
If you load up say 20 basic plot arcs, then you add a random # of key npcs with their own evolving list of needs and factions..then you add a random # of objectives based on the skills the player group possesses...then you have various elements that are randomized....

The point isnt random instanced missions....but a large set of plot devices and plot types that become a longer story.

Bah. the guy in the article describes it so much better. Read the article. Its all in there.

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is there any game on that site i can download, i read the link but any programmer can tell you theres quite a gap between a vauge description of how a programs going to work and actually making it

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