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forxl

NPC Friends and gossip in MMORPG's

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I used to play a lot of Ultima Online (i''m too busy these days )and my friends and I had great plans for setting up quests for other players to partake in, there was only one problem - it''s was damned near impossible unless you were online constantly and had enough people involved to dish out the necessary information. Anyway I was thinking about easier ways to organise user created quests in a MMORPG and I came up with this idea about creating a sort of grapevine in the game, here is how it would work... Your character interacts with certain NPC''s on a regular basis (shopkeepers mostly but it could be anyone), over time your character should become friends with these NPC''s and occasionally they might chat to you for a little while when you come to their shop or meet them in the street. Now what if you could tell this NPC some information (perhaps the seed for a quest) and they would remember it and maybe pass it on to other players they have frequent communication with. You could also set up a network of NPC relations where certain NPC''s will chat with others and exchange gossip. You may even want to have a couple NPC''s who are total gossip mongerers and are desparate to tell the whole town their news. You could take it a step further and have the NPC''s deliberately walk to somebody else''s house to tell them the latest gossip, PC''s may even be able to eavesdrop. A typical conversation may go... PC: "Hail shopkeeper, may I see your good for sale?" NPC: "A pleasure lad, I havent seen you in a while, still ?" PC: "yes I am" NPC: "I was talking to old the other day, he tells me " PC: "very interesting, I heard that " NPC: "Oooh,...." You could use certain key phrases to indicate you had some gossip to tell the NPC "I heard that..." or "A friend told me..." and you could track the last two steps of the gossip so you''d overhear people in the street saying "Bob told me that he heard from Fred that ..." Anyway, just wondered what everyone though of the idea? I know if could be open to abuse and might need some sort of moderator to check out the gossip as well as soon good language processing but it might work as a good way to pass on user quest information and news from around the world in an interesting way. -Forxl

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Hmmmm... Sounds like something we were discussing for NPCAI/IOL (*sob* why? WHY!!! *ahem*). Anyway... We figured that it was a good idea in theory, but there are all sorts of problems like sentence structuring, AI for the NPC and all sorts of fun fiddly bits like that... You may also like to limit the history thing to the last couple of people (or last one person).

We figured that the player could follow back the trail of people to the original source by going to each individual NPC. This way, they are kind of on the right track.

Also, one thing you have to watch out for is when somebody knows the answer to the puzzle and blurts it out to the gossip monger... Then, the quest is history . This was one of the major problems that we saw.

Nice idea though

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs
Thanks to all the goblins over in our little Game Design Corner niche

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Yeah, I thought that the biggest obstacle for such a thing would be sentence processing. If you were to simply repeat word for word what the NPC had been told it has the potential to turn out really messy.

Of course in an ideal world I''d love to see such a system where the rumours got a little bit warped each time they were re-told. You could end up with some quite humerous situations with a party of adventurers heading out to seek the fabulous lost treasure guarded by 100 dragons only to find a goblin and a small purse of gold coins

It''s a bit too complicated to actually work in practice though

-F

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In our descussion there was a forced Sentence Contruction. You picked occassional words and the rest of the sentence was constructed using something similar to a drop-down menu. It was fairly basic, but we allowed for things to be warped. I can''t remember where it was all discussed but I think I did a more thorough write up on the whole thing... The original thread was NPCAI in RPGs (Damn this is old! )

I have a list of other NPCAI messages regarding this type of thing that can be found here

I hope you enjoy your homework reading

-Chris Bennett of Dwarfsoft - The future of RPGs Thanks to all the goblins in the GDCorner niche

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