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Norman Barrows

how can i fix this quest?

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i'm working on the quest generators for Caveman (an open world sandbox stone age FPSRPG).

 

there's this one type of quest, a rumor of a great treasure, which seems to need help.

 

how it works right now:

quests are started by getting a quest encounter while at the shelter of a band of cavemen.  "the cavemen here tell you about  a <whatever>..."

in this case, they tell you about a legendary treasure, and tell you the general location - what map square its in. the game world is 2500x2500 miles in size, divided into map squares 5 miles across. so the player goes to the map square.  while there, they have a small chance to stumble across the treasure, which may or may not be guarded.

 

problems:

no special action is required once the player reaches the map square. they just have to wait until "you stumble across the treasure!" pops up.  hokey - contrived - unrealistic.  it also takes a long time to pop up - a number of game days.  waiting in an area with no water becomes an issue.

 

if i place the treasure at a specific location in the map square, and they have to search for it, even if i'm generous and give them a detection range of an entire football field (300 feet, ~100m), it would still take 44 passes back and forth across the map square in a search pattern to search the entire square. on foot at a generous 5mph, that's 44 game hours to search one map square, or an average of 22 game hours searching to come across the legendary treasure. granted you can use automatic cross country travel and accelerated time to make things easier, but you're still wandering around. "Why cant they just say 'here's the treasure, go spend it wisely?'" - Riley from National Treasure.

 

reducing the size of the area to be searched is a possibility. "the cavemen tell you the treasure is in the northwest part". but too big an area might be tedious, and too small an area would probably just be a joke.

 

i suppose searching for treasure should be somewhat tedious - i know searching for my car keys sure is! <g>. and the player can abandon any quest at any time - all quests are optional. so they could abandon it if they got bored and go try to find a quest with more action.

 

perhaps good questions are "how much real world time is too long spent searching for treasure to be much fun" and "how little real world time is not long enough spent searching for treasure to make it believable" ?

 

running search patterns in silent hunter 5 is probably the most boring aspect of that game. you just keep moving back and forth, waiting for something to happen.  i doubt it would be any more fun as a caveman instead of a submarine, although in Caveman you can get random encounters while you search which helps liven things up a bit.

 

if i can't find a good solution, i may just cut it from the list.  20 of the 50 or so planned quest generators have already been implemented. and with ~50 types of quest generators (compare to skyrim with two: kill bandit leader or dragon for bounty), i can afford to cut this quest if required.

 

maybe i should leave it in as being more of an exploration type quest?

Edited by Norman Barrows

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Honestly... use a landmark. Lore-wise, it makes sense for the cavemen to give a landmark rather than a set of coordinates - however big or small the coordinate box may be. If added to a particular corner of this map, or a particular part of a corner of this map, the player gets a chance to search a larger area at a time for whatever the other cavemen saw as opposed to searching for a place to stand, so they don't just feel rewarded for their efforts, they feel connected to the world more.

 

Depending on your assets, you can include a special type of tree or fruit or something, and then whenever the player sees that asset they'll be reminded of their awesome find, or better, when they realize that asset they thought was just a random type of tree can actually lead them to a treasure, they can come to appreciate your world even more.

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Why not have the NPC tell the player a general location (north/south/east/west/center), and then give a visual indication of where it is? Maybe different colored dirt mound/a tree/some oddly colored grass. 

 

This way the player will wander in the area, and notice "Hey, that area looks strange", and they get it when checking it out.

 

*EDIT* What hypster said :P 

Edited by conquestor3

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Alternately, you could tell the player the exact location of the treasure, even mark it on their map, but leave a sleeping dragon/ogre/whatever on top of the treasure.

 

Player still has to travel to the treasure location, but taking the treasure is no longer "free", as they have to risk combat/use pickpocket/etc.

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Maybe when you choose the random treasure you also choose some random obstacle. Some massively valuable treasure for which the location is somewhat well known would not last long enough to become a legend, there would have to be something challenging about retrieving the treasure to allow it to sit forgotten long enough for rumors and legends to start being circulated. Unfortunately this interpretation also means that it should take awhile for legends and rumors to die even after the treasure is retrieved... so some, if not many of the treasures would be empty b/c someone else had already heard the story and gotten there first.

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maybe add some detectiving? treasure aren't just lying around, they're hidden in caves, houses, behind rocks. Nobody knows exactly where it is, but they have heard about a stranded pirate ship just at the rocks there. Someone else has seen some men in the dark that stormy night.

 

Give clues to talk to a few people, and let them tell half-stories that the player has to combine and make sense of.

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How about creating several hint locations as well as the main treasure location.  Each hint location would help narrow down where the treasure is actually located.  Not sure exactly how you'd like to implement it, it could be something like, "Tracks here show that <whatever the guardian is> was here, and head northwards", or "Small bits of <treasure type> are scattered here, you must be nearing the treasure!"  

 

I'm thinking maybe something akin to the old 'getting warmer/getting colder' children's game, or something like the old 'Guess Who?' game, where each hint is something like, "The treasure must be on a mountain top", "The Treasure is on a mountain with no trees", that help narrow down which specific location the treasure is on.

 

The player would still be stuck stumbling about, but hopefully having more things to find, and having a feeling of progress would feel more satisfactory.

Edited by ferrous

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Ok, so there is a hidden treasure somewhere, right? So how would YOU hid YOUR treasure? A distinct landmark visible from afar is a must if you want to get to this place. Then something distinct nearby and detailed steps if you are almost above it.

For the first landmark tall mountain or large waterfall would do, then you need to go around it until it has distinct look (a rock that looks like tiger if you stand directly north to it) Then you look for fallen tree that bla bla bla and it's buried 10 steps west from it.

 

It may need a bit more than just a tell from fellow caveman. Maybe a leather with simple drawing? or small rock with carvings?

 

I think it could be a bit more engaging than just "go there and walk until you stumble". It still may be guarded or you may encounter some enemies or other traps while walking around the first landmark.

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Honestly... use a landmark. Lore-wise, it makes sense for the cavemen to give a landmark rather than a set of coordinates

 

B.G.  quite true!

 

its a quest gen, so i'd need something like a list of a dozen or so types of landmarks to choose from at random... and they'd have to be unique somehow - just another tree model in a woods map square that has 1300 trees in a 800x800 foot area woudn't be much of a landmark.

 

for the GET_SPECIAL_ITEM questgen, i have a list of ten "special items" to chose from. but they are just a quest variable, IE you have it or you don't, and its type (and thus its name via lookup table for quest dialog text).  they're not a world object or inventory item. you can't equip them ir interact with them. just get them, and give them to questors.

 

but regardless of how the location is indicated, via a physical landmark in the game world, or a mark on the player's world and local maps, or both, once you arrive at the location, there's still the searching to be done.

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