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Kest

RPG NPC bastards

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I don't think this has been brought up much. Maybe for good reasons. It seems like every NPC I meet in recent role playing games is either a complete bastard, depressed, or paranoid. How often have you walked up to an NPC to get a greeting such as .."Hey man, what's up? Cool sword." I know we need people with problems to have something to roleplay for. But people with problems are not always ready to jump off of buildings because of them. And it's not that I don't enjoy interacting with NPCs that have bad attitudes, it's just that it's becoming boring and excessive. Why not throw in a few normal people for every ten assholes? So what's the deal? Why are NPCs designed to be so negative? Is there an actual design reason for it?

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How would you feel if a police officer in SWAT gear walked up to you and said hello? Now consider that your average RPG hero can beat your average RPG town guard in a fight...

Granted, that's no kind of excuse for the NPCs to be aggressive, but it would explain the paranoiac ones.

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what you want is some humour and npc interaction

something like
NPC1 "dude...that sword is awesome"
NPC1 "Hey NPC2 come check out this guys sword, its immense"
NPC2 "Whoa...thats awesome..bet you could kill some big-ass monsters with that"

lol

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I think it is because the designers are trying to create a sympathy for the NPC in the player. But I think it is starting to backfire. Too many NPC with too many problems will just overwhelm the player and they will start to loose any emotional connection to the specific NPC.

I think a better line of development should be to encourage "Empathy" with the NPC. I think designers are trying to do, it's just that by only using negative emotions, they have only accesses the Sympathetic response and not fully engaged the Empathic response.

Engaging Empathy rather than Sympathy is harder as people have different personalities and they will empathise with different personality types.

However, I think it is possible to do. In an RPG we can have several NPCs of the different personality types so that a player can form the empathic bond between them (ie like hanging around with them). Now we can then measure the time that a player spends with a particular NPC and then use that to determine which NPC becomes the source of the quest.

As an example, the game has 4 potential NPC for the player to interact with. The game monitors which ones the player spends the most time with (and we can therefore assume that this is the one the player has the most empathy for). Next the game triggers a dialogue event during an interaction with the NPC where the NPC's sister is captured by Goblins (or some other event).

Now, as the player has developed an relationship with this NPC (and by relationship I mean that they recognise the NPC and have invested time with the NPC), this event will be more meaningful to the player. If the player had shown more interest in one of the other NPCs then that one would have been the one how's sister was captured by the Goblins.

This give the player more apparent choice in the game as they chose which NPC to hang around with (although really, there was no choice as in the end the exact same situation occurs - the sister is captured).

This technique will increase the amount of dialogue that has to be created, but I think that it is worth it as it will engage the players on a more meaningful emotional level.

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Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
I think it is because the designers are trying to create a sympathy for the NPC in the player. But I think it is starting to backfire. Too many NPC with too many problems will just overwhelm the player and they will start to loose any emotional connection to the specific NPC.

I remember encountering something interesting in a Gameboy Advance RPG once. Here's something that might be different:

NPC: Well, I'm screwed. There are about ten trolls ransacking my home. There's no way I can fight all of them alone. Oh well, we're all gonna die some day, right?

Player: Maybe I can help.

NPC: What? Why would you want to help me?

Player: I'm just bored. And I like puting trolls in their place. Passes time.

NPC: I appreciate the gesture of support, but I think I'll just try to handle it myself.

Player: Alright. Guess I'll just go battle some random trolls that aren't bothering anyone instead.

NPC: Hmmm. Well... what type of weapon do you have?

Player: Check this out. I can KO two or three at once with a jumping spin move.

NPC: Well.. alright. Maybe this can actually work. Let's do it.

I like these types of encounters. An NPC with a problem, that doesn't want help, but still appreciates it. And a player that actually has a valid reason to want to get envolved, other than just being way too nice to people with problems.

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I dont know if its just me or not, but I hate NPCs who tell their own long stories while I'm waiting there thinking, "Can you please get to the point?" *mad*

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Quote:
Original post by Wardyahh

what you want is some humour and npc interaction

something like
NPC1 "dude...that sword is awesome"
NPC1 "Hey NPC2 come check out this guys sword, its immense"
NPC2 "Whoa...thats awesome..bet you could kill some big-ass monsters with that"

lol


I'd actually like NPC's like that. Makes the player immerse into the world more. More than the boring "hello, how are you." anyway.

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