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TechnoGoth

NPCs Dependent or Independent?

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When it comes to NPC that the player control how do you react do the diffrent forms of control? Dependent NPC In which the player has complete control over the npc and the npc do exactly what they are told to do. Independent NPC The player merely guides the npc, the npcs operate as based on their own and make their own decisions. The player issue orders and the npcs states, equipment, and circumstance determine how they inteperate those orders and whether they follow them. Example: Aliens are chasing you some needs to guard the narrow bride till everyone else evacuates. Dependent NPC - player moves them to the bridge and issue firing commands every turn. Independent NPC - The player orders an npc to bride, the NPC check its equipment and then does a stat check, then decided whether to obey or not. In order to to guard the bridege the NPC would need a combination of loyalty and bravery above a certain threshold, modifed by equipment. So an npc with flamer thrower would guard the bridge with lower stat levels then one armed with only a knife. It should also be noted that npc may not need to be ordered your brave and loyal npc armed with a machine gun may guard the bridege without having to be ordered to by the player. What are your reactions to both methods? Is indepence more annoying then anything else or does it add to the game?

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It would be a really good idea to keep multiplayer and singleplayer in mind while making a decision like that, and your paragraphs somewhat don't make sense heh (no offense).

If your controlling the NPC, it's technically not an NPC but a playable character.

Basically, if you're making an online multiplayer game you will want the characters to do as they are told so that winning doesn't depend on their luck to get the characters to do something.

If you're making a single player game, then it would be much easier to do this (The Sims is a LOT like this because they will sometimes go off and do their own things or refuse to do things you command them to do).

The Independent Characters are probably something you would find in a God game.

The Dependent Characters you would find in any Strategy game.

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I liked the system in Majesty, where you could influence the characters by offering fabulous cash prizes. If there's a big minotaur giving you trouble, you can flag it with a bounty. The bigger the bounty, the more heroes respond to fight it. That way, You don't have to worry about controlling them all the time, but you can generally count on them to do the job.

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Independant NPCs are obviously heavily dependant on the quality of the AI in your game, which as we know, even in the best of games out there today, still leaves a lot of room for improvement.

When an enemy opponent does something stupid, oh well, no real harm to you, just a bit of an annoyance. When an assisting NPC does something stupid though... there's no limit to the annoyance this can cause.

The Diablo II henchmen were always giving me problems. Luckily their assistance was marginal even when they were doing what they were supposed to, so their impact on my ability to defeat the vast hordes of Hell was minimal.

The Neverwinter Nights Henchmen were even worse. This was a case of a blatant late development shoe-in feature. Implementation was poor, behavior was poor, interaction was poor.

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Independent have more problems and as you might guess are more difficult to impliment then dependent. For example, a 'mission critical' independent ally (i'm thinking along the lines of a RPG or action game) can sometimes get stuck, and usually you have no way to tell them "No come this way!" other then to back track enough so the AI follows you our of where they got stuck. For me, that can be on of the most fusterating things about playing with AI.

Some games get around this, by allowing you to call the AI closer to your side so you don't have to back track as far, others will make the AI 'teleport' if they lag too far behind.

Just something to keep in mind if you choose independant AI. And like it was said above, I find it depends on the type of game your creating (including single player/multiplayer)

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Quote:
Original post by SumDude
If your controlling the NPC, it's technically not an NPC but a playable character.


Not really, since the playable character is the character the player plays the npc are everyone else, you may as the player control a band of 5 marines only one of which is the player character the rest are just npc.

Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I liked the system in Majesty, where you could influence the characters by offering fabulous cash prizes. If there's a big minotaur giving you trouble, you can flag it with a bounty. The bigger the bounty, the more heroes respond to fight it. That way, You don't have to worry about controlling them all the time, but you can generally count on them to do the job.


I actually didn't like the majesty system simply because there was to little control.

Quote:
Original post by jRaskell
Independant NPCs are obviously heavily dependant on the quality of the AI in your game, which as we know, even in the best of games out there today, still leaves a lot of room for improvement.


Alot would depend on the both the AI and control mechanisim if all npc can do is follow you around then that is much use. But instead if there was complex order system through which you could order an NPC to do things it would be far better. Such as in the case of ordering an npc to guard a bridge until everyone has aboard the ship, but still allowing the npc the independence of action to decide how they want to defend the bridge and for how long, as well as allow other npc to provide them while waiting to board the ship with out having to tell each one indvidually.

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I think it would be very interesting if the NPC actually had a brain and wasn't stupid enough to follow an order to guard a bridge with a butter knife. XD
This kind of thing would be great in an adventure game where you can have a party.

I think i should mention Star Wars: Republic Commando, which seems to be the imbodiment of your independant NPC (though they're fearless and always follow orders). You can't directly control them perse, but you can issue generic commands (fire at will, form up, defend this area), or tell them to take up static possitions in the surrounding environment (the only thing to me that seemed to limited in terms of squad command). I found that game great with the squad, if i got killed, they'd surprise me by comming over and rez'ing me or another fallen teammate if the opportunity presented itself, and were quite capable of defending themselves without my help, not to mention not running off and dying stupidly (as friendly NPC's are well known for).

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Quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Quote:
Original post by SumDude
If your controlling the NPC, it's technically not an NPC but a playable character.


Not really, since the playable character is the character the player plays the npc are everyone else, you may as the player control a band of 5 marines only one of which is the player character the rest are just npc.

NPC is term from role-playing games which means Non-Playable Character, so any character you directly control cannot be classed as an NPC.

If you're playing a CRPG and control a party of 4 characters, they are all PCs (Player Characters). Only characters controlled by the computer (such as hirelings) would be known as NPCs.

If you're playing a strategy game, (usually) none of the "characters" represent the player, and are all referred to as "units", "tokens" or "pieces".

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Wysardry
Quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
Quote:
Original post by SumDude
If your controlling the NPC, it's technically not an NPC but a playable character.


Not really, since the playable character is the character the player plays the npc are everyone else, you may as the player control a band of 5 marines only one of which is the player character the rest are just npc.

NPC is term from role-playing games which means Non-Playable Character, so any character you directly control cannot be classed as an NPC.

If you're playing a CRPG and control a party of 4 characters, they are all PCs (Player Characters). Only characters controlled by the computer (such as hirelings) would be known as NPCs.

If you're playing a strategy game, (usually) none of the "characters" represent the player, and are all referred to as "units", "tokens" or "pieces".




it is Non-Player Character

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-player_character




If there is a non=perfect control involved to issue orders to the NPC (which are not as good as the non-perfect controls the player has for his own character) then its not considered direct control....

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
it is Non-Player Character

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-player_character

That article hardly supports your claim as it says "A non-player character or non-playable character is a fictional character in a role-playing game whose role is generally created and performed by the gamemaster."

Therefore "non-playable character" is an acceptable alternative, and as the computer performs the tasks of the gamesmaster, only AI controlled characters can be classed as NPCs.

Quote:
If there is a non=perfect control involved to issue orders to the NPC (which are not as good as the non-perfect controls the player has for his own character) then its not considered direct control....

It also goes on to say:-
Quote:
The term is also used in computer role-playing games to describe entities not under the direct control of players. Nearly always the connotation is that an NPC is allied with, or at least neutral toward, the player, rather than being an enemy. Other times the term NPC is used to denote a game character with relatively sophisticated AI code, no matter whether he or she is friendly or not.

No mention is made of "non-perfect" control, which is a rather vague term subject to interpretation.

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