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NPC interaction - need help with Game Design

4 posts in this topic

Hey Everybody,

First post, love the site/forum so far.

I've been working on a RPG / Interactive Fiction game for a few years now - mostly to teach myself programming.
I've got it working in VB.NET, and now I am porting it to C# (So I can learn C#).

The problem is - though it works in VB.NET - I'm sure I was not doing it right. It's a complex thing to try to explain,
as I'm trying to build what seems like 'AI' in to the NPC's, something like you would see in Skyrim.... but here goes...

My game is basically a 2D first person, simply RPG. The problem I am having getting my head around, is the NPC's.
In the VB.NET version, I was able to make it work, by creating a single NPC class, assigning it variables and methods,
and then - when a situation was too much to be put in the class method, I was linking to a Method which would handle anything
else an NPC could do.

ie: If an NPC was named "batman", for example, I could easily have batman.eat() , batman.sleep(), batman.die(), etc.

Where is got complicated - was when I need batman specifically do something no other NPC could do. (And my game has 50+ NPC's).

ie: I want Batman to ask The_Joker "What do you know about the Riddler?". The reason this is complicated is, I want to give many options of dialog based on the state of the game... so... for example.... (I handled all the conditions based on hardcoded IF statements, in the game - which, is probably the wrong way to do it).

'Batman Method
If command = "What do you know about the Riddler?" then

[color=#008000]'The joker won't talk about this at all, if you haven't previously completed Quest#002[/color]
If quest002.completed = false then Messagebox.Show("I don't know what you are talking about") : Exit Sub
[color=#008000]'The Riddler object had actually died earlier in the game / Joker heals a point, as time has passed[/color]

If Riddler.dead = true then Messagebox.Show("What? Didn't you hear? He died!") : Joker.Health += 1 : Exit Sub
[color=#008000]'He has already told you that / your actually making him angry for having asked again[/color]
If Riddler.locationKnown = true then Messagebox.Show("I already told you that - why are you asking me again?") : Joker.Mood -= 5 : Exit Sub
[color=#008000]'The joker is too healthy, he won't talk / and actually heals a point now that time has passed[/color]
If Joker.Health >= 80 then Messagebox.Show("I don't have to answer that") : Joker.Health += 1 : Exit Sub
[color=#008000]'The Joker is hurt enough, that he will talk / and the Riddler object set's it locationknown bool to true[/color]
If Joker.Health <= 30 then Messagebox.Show("Ok, don't hurt me anymore, I'll tell you where he is!") : Riddler.locationKnown = true : Exit Sub
[color=#008000]'This is what would happen if no other conditions above worked[/color]
Messagebox.Show("This isn't a good time to do that") : Exit Sub

End If

So basically... (I hope that's not too confusing)... the way I've done it... a result of a command, has 3 parts:
A condition
A Message (Or dialog)
And things that get changed at the end..... Joker.Health += 1 , etc.

I have a feeling I am doing this wrong, and maybe I'm asking too much, to be trying to create a system in which any object
in the game (a location, an NPC, the player, a quest, etc) can affect any other object in the game by referencing it.

Would anyone care to give this some thought, and tell me if I am doing this wrong? Or tell me how I can do this better?
This stuff is all currently hardcoded into methods. (Thousand's of lines). It kind of sucks every time I setup a new line of code,
because I have to consider the current state of anything relevent, and then return the results - all hand coded.

I guess some of my questions are the following...

1. Is there a better way to allow each and every NPC to be able to have their own personality, without having to have a separate
"MISC" method for each.

2. Should this "data" part of my game be somewhere other than typed into the game... ie: XML, SQL, etc ?

Any other idea's on how I can do this better?

Thanks in Advanced.


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First- There's a section called Game Design on the forums, maybe that's a more adequate place. Second, yes, it's too damn big. Also, look up inheritance for that. It pretty much allows you to have a base character class and then have other classes that derive from that class, have all the stuff that one has but MORE too.

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This does sound more like it belongs in the game design section, but that aside, it sounds like you want base NPCs, and also scripted NPCs. I would separate this logic from the game code (SQL, XML, Lua, somthing) I don't know enough about scripting to help, but that is where I would start looking.

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Sorry guys, thought the Beginners section might have been the place to post this. I'll know for next time.

Thanks for the advice... Zael nailed it I think.... "[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=3][left][background=rgb(250, 251, 252)]separate this logic from the game code (SQL, XML, Lua, somthing)"[/background][/left][/size][/font][/color]

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