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Bossy NPCs

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In CRPG-like games we always have NPCs sending us on quests telling us to do this or do that. Isn''t that just an excuse to get the player to explore the world? Why do we need NPCs telling us what to do? What if instead the world was out there, and the player explores things as they come along? This would go well w/ dwarfsoft''s idea about events & triggers I think. The basic point is that do we need NPCs ordering us around?
http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html "All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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Ok players can explore all by themselves without being given some specific tasks to explains their wanderings, but NPCs are there to give the player a feeling of involvment in the events around. How can the player feel involved if not by interacting with the NPCs ?The NPC quest system is quite limited, but so is the concept of quest. What we need is more detailled social interaction so that we do not have to resort to quest based system.

This is a good point of the Grysp system, they do not prepare quests, instead it''s the needs of the NPCs which may be fulfilled by the player or by other NPCs.

Dwarfsoft ideas allows to still have specificaly designed quests wich can take place in such a dynamic world. I think it is one of the few ways we can design stories in this kind of world.

Associate this with Madkeith''s ideas (I think) of a virtual GM wich would be able to choose the right NPC to hint the player in the direction of the story we are unfolding for him and you have a very flexible system which can adapt to the player.
So ordering is no longer needed, it is replaced by a natural interaction with the elements of the world...

Is this what you were thinking of Nazrix ?

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Dungeon, yes, I think that's what I was thinking. I read about Gryps and it does sound good. Wav was talking about something similar before too.

Basically, I was envisioning NPCs being a source of information about the world and the goings-on. So, NPCs could tell you that there have been rumors for many years of a great treasure in a dark cavern rather than instructing you to go get it.






http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on February 13, 2001 7:11:57 PM

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Naz! Come say Hi to Dwarfsoft in Tiberia

As to your post, some NPCs are bossy due to their status. For example, the King isn''t going to ask you nicely/beg you to do something, he''ll tell you to do it and expect you to listen.

On the other hand, most NPCs will request that you do something, usually in exchange for money or some other object, and you can ignore them if you like.

Bossy NPCs shouldn''t be the norm, but they can be an exception.



"NPCs will be inherited from the basic Entity class. They will be fully independent, and carry out their own lives oblivious to the world around them ... that is, until you set them on fire ..." -- Merrick

"It is far easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it first passes through a blender" -- Damocles

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morfe, damn...I'm at work so I can't come to Tiberia...damn firewall!

anyway, I wasn't really saying that NPCs should ask nicely (the subject about them being bossy was more a joke). I was asking what it would be like if NPCs didn't ask at all. Alternatively, like you said, if it were the exception and not the norm.

NPCs could just inform about the world most of the time then the player can explore that information at his/her leisure. I do realize that many games allow you to ignore the NPCs request, but still I just wonder if we need them telling us how to explore the world.

I realize also that NPCs are usually asking you to do something in exchange for something, but I think that's just a lame excuse to tell our players how to explore the world. I guess I am talking more of the lesser "side quests" particularly though.






http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on February 13, 2001 7:40:24 PM

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Hey naz.. thought I would drop in on your topic and request you come to tiberia in about 5 mins

as for the topic -

NPC''s should be a little less pushy I agree. They should just give you useful information as to what you COULD do, but you should always have the oportunity to choose to do something else. As soon as I get back onto my computer I will be able to send you the code naz, but I will be working on getting it bugfree... It should solve the problem, and also it will give way for NPC''s to decide that you are not working fast enough for their wishes, so they refuse to give you any information at all .



-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche

          

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So you''re saying that instead of:

"Go here and kill this dragon and you''ll get a magic sword" (Sorry about the cliches)

You''d hear something like:

"I heard that the village of Ermeyer has been suffering from attacks by dragons again ..."

"Yes, it seems one of the young men stole his father''s sword and tried to kill it to impress one of the girls ..."

"Well, I heard it was an enchanted sword and there''s a big reward for it''s recovery ... if only I were twenty years younger ..."

All from three different people in different places...



"NPCs will be inherited from the basic Entity class. They will be fully independent, and carry out their own lives oblivious to the world around them ... that is, until you set them on fire ..." -- Merrick

"It is far easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it first passes through a blender" -- Damocles

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quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

Hey naz.. thought I would drop in on your topic and request you come to tiberia in about 5 mins



Sorry, man...I''m at work and I don''t think the firewall will let me access Tiberia


quote:

NPC''s should be a little less pushy I agree. They should just give you useful information as to what you COULD do, but you should always have the oportunity to choose to do something else.


I am proposing that they wouldn''t even say what you could DO so much as just give you info about the world in general (they wouldn''t even have to give out info if they don''t like you) then the player could explore that info if they want.

quote:

As soon as I get back onto my computer I will be able to send you the code naz, but I will be working on getting it bugfree... It should solve the problem, and also it will give way for NPC''s to decide that you are not working fast enough for their wishes, so they refuse to give you any information at all .



sounds great!

I am looking forward to seeing how you did it.






http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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quote:
Original post by morfe

So you're saying that instead of:

"Go here and kill this dragon and you'll get a magic sword" (Sorry about the cliches)

You'd hear something like:

"I heard that the village of Ermeyer has been suffering from attacks by dragons again ..."

"Yes, it seems one of the young men stole his father's sword and tried to kill it to impress one of the girls ..."

"Well, I heard it was an enchanted sword and there's a big reward for it's recovery ... if only I were twenty years younger ..."

All from three different people in different places...




Yes, something like that. It just seems to me that the player will feel more in control that way...and IMO actually would be in a bit more control.

Of course, w/ that approach we'd be relying on curiousity more than reward (the sword). But I think rewarding curiousity and rewarding the player for taking the initiative to explore things the player hears about is good.









http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

Edited by - Nazrix on February 13, 2001 7:55:22 PM

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I''m discussing it with merrick at the moment in Tiberia

But anyway, morfe- It could be things like that, but there should also be a choice about how the player can actually get the things they require (not just combat) and also from different sources . The dragon wouldn''t be the vital component, because an NPC might know that the prince had already defeated a dragon and got one of the swords... then you could just quest for the prince

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche

          

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quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft
But anyway, morfe- It could be things like that, but there should also be a choice about how the player can actually get the things they require (not just combat) and also from different sources . The dragon wouldn''t be the vital component, because an NPC might know that the prince had already defeated a dragon and got one of the swords... then you could just quest for the prince



Yes, I agree w/ that philosophy 200%

Although that''s another topic or 2 all to itself






http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

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Notice in the second set there was no mention of combat. You could just as easily steal it when the dragon was out torching villagers.

You could also choose to recover the sword and retrieve the reward, or keep it for yourself, and generate a quest around YOURSELF, where others try to recover the sword from you.

You _might_ want to kill the dragon and impress one of the young maidens from the village ...



"NPCs will be inherited from the basic Entity class. They will be fully independent, and carry out their own lives oblivious to the world around them ... that is, until you set them on fire ..." -- Merrick

"It is far easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it first passes through a blender" -- Damocles

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It''s all about maximum option. Maybe you could even feed a small amount of false information into it, just to keep things interesting

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche

          

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quote:
Original post by dwarfsoft

It's all about maximum option. Maybe you could even feed a small amount of false information into it, just to keep things interesting



Yes, assuming there's a reputation or some such system, NPCs could lie and give false info. if they don't like you or want to hide something from you.


So, about the topic, do you all agree that when NPCs tell you to do this or that it can be intrusive and make the player feel limited (whether the player is actually limited by the game or not)? I'm beginning to feel that way anyway.









http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.


Edited by - Nazrix on February 13, 2001 8:16:01 PM

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It always feels like the story is dragging me along, rather than me figuring out the story. That is a very bad thing, because then you don''t get the immersion that is needed to keep you playing.

Serious problem

(BTW... I''m goin offline now, so the dwarf-naz conversation is coming to a close *sob*).. later

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - Site:"The Philosophers'' Stone of Programming Alchemy" - IOL
The future of RPGs - Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche

          

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I think it depends on the player''s character/class. Some might be more suiting to receiving orders (Knights, etc.) while others may be more free-form (Thieves, Rogues, etc.)

It varies, and I think you have to account for both.



"NPCs will be inherited from the basic Entity class. They will be fully independent, and carry out their own lives oblivious to the world around them ... that is, until you set them on fire ..." -- Merrick

"It is far easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it first passes through a blender" -- Damocles

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morfe,
yes that''s a good point, but perhaps only you''re a knight or part of an army of some kind, then you''d expect to take orders from your superiors not just any NPC walking along the street...unless you''re seen as a police officer type of character...

I guess it does depend upon the character you''re role-playing




http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

What a plight we who try to make a story-based game have...writers of conventional media have words, we have but binary numbers

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I like this twist on quest presentation. But we need to remmeber that NPC generated quests can give the starting player some structure and guidance. I think almost subconsciously that when the game characters tell the newbie player to go do something, the player can take comfort in knowing that that is the right thing to go do (errr... did I just argue for more linearity!?! Must be something in the water... )

I think a perfect mix would be: For independent characters, a mix of optional quests and dropped hints (love that suggestion); and for the indentured / obligated character, your typical directed quests with some optional bonus activity thrown in, and quests that are optional but personal favors to the issuer. And maybe even the obligated can take leave from time to time.

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Arguably (now don''t flame my ass for saying this), the common RPG player, used to drivel like FF7 (and other console RPG''s), will just aimlessly wander if they don''t have a set goal.

There must be some linearity if you want 90% of the RPG audience to enjoy your game. Otherwise, you get an audience that believes that your game is kinda cool to explore, but doesn''t seem to have any set goals. Many people need to know they won something to truly enjoy a game.

I would personally like to have an RPG with 100% total freedom, where you can do anything you want and not be forced down a path by scripted events. Unfortunately, that''s beyond modern design calibre of even the biggest teams.

It would be somewhat like 90% of all online RPGs - aimless wandering from place to place, camping animals and killing stuff for items.

Just my thoughts on RPG linearity...

Formerly carwars
(hylix on #gamedev)

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Wav,
Well, firstly I should note that the whole game would have to be designed for a freeform feel. So, by no means should every single game go this far.

But assuming we want the game to be very freeform where things happen in different order (which I want to do personally), I don''t see why NPCs need to tell us when to investigate this or that.

Thief may have had missions, but it didn''t tell you how to accomplish those missions. I, like many, headed straight at the guards the first time I played and realized I couldn''t do that w/out getting my ass kicked.

There really must be something in the water




http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

What a plight we who try to make a story-based game have...writers of conventional media have words, we have but binary numbers

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quote:
Original post by Ravuya

Arguably (now don''t flame my ass for saying this), the common RPG player, used to drivel like FF7 (and other console RPG''s), will just aimlessly wander if they don''t have a set goal.



Yes, I do realize this. Let''s assume for a second we''re not afraid to cut out what players are used to. Even better, like Thief, it''s possible to lead your players into playing a certain way. That''s another topic entirely though.

quote:

It would be somewhat like 90% of all online RPGs - aimless wandering from place to place, camping animals and killing stuff for items.



It wouldn''t have to be that way. You could have whatever gameplay you want. That''s seperate from whether NPCs tell you where to go or not.








http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

What a plight we who try to make a story-based game have...writers of conventional media have words, we have but binary numbers

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I think a very good combination of forced/non-linear is the obligation to serve. If someone wants to get a good reputation in town he can go on the usual quests or he can sign up with the town guard.
A place to stay, time off, sign-up bonus, lower prices for stuff but still with all the action that comes from having to fulfill his duties. Hunting thieves, patrol, sewer detail, various escort jobs for the tax-collectors, and other civic officials. Plus what ever he can fit in during his spare time.


ZoomBoy
Developing a iso-tile 2D RPG with skills, weapons, and adventure.
See my old Hex-Tile RPG GAME, character editor, diary, 3D Art resources at
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quote:
Original post by ZoomBoy

I think a very good combination of forced/non-linear is the obligation to serve. If someone wants to get a good reputation in town he can go on the usual quests or he can sign up with the town guard.



The signing up conecpt is interesting because then the player is choosing to be intructed where to go.

So, the player is still in more control.

The player could still be a vagabond freely traveling the area.
Good idea.

Actually, when I think about it more realisitcally, we all have responsibilities...things we must do. People that roam freely in life are rare. Perhaps that's why I want that aspect in a game, to experience the freedom of doing what you want.




http://www15.brinkster.com/nazrix/main.html

"All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be --Pink Floyd
Need help? Well, go FAQ yourself.

What a plight we who try to make a story-based game have...writers of conventional media have words, we have but binary numbers


Edited by - Nazrix on February 13, 2001 9:39:08 PM

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