Npc eco system

MagicLordMagicLord Posts: 578Unconfirmed
edited March 21 in General Chat

Hi there;

This is a reflection i had after playing some games, most npc are static and very borring with scripted behaviours.
Why there is no games with active npc characters that would work like those you find on RTS games ?

For example an Npc would gather herbs each day, it would sell those herbs to a potions merchant.
If the player gather all herbs in the area or some creatures would stay in the herbs area, the npc could not gather herbs and the potions merchant could not prepare more potions and would increase potions prices, while it could pay lot more money for herbs anyone could bring him

This could apply to some armor merchant dealing with different npc selling him materials and forge stuff.
Or npc could get the ability to build new shops or new structures when they get enough money.

The game would have an eco systems that could be altered by players or other npc or creatures motives and actions, making it lot more dynamic.
This is an area that lacks in most modern games, that would make them lot more interesting and dynamic instead of having a whole world populated with scripted npc.

Comments

  • MegalomaniakMegalomaniak Posts: 927Admin

    This would need fairly advanced entity and event systems and a sort of a grand AI unit that would control all those NPC's. You will want to read up on games such as Thief(1 & 2) as well as say Elder Scrolls IV. The NPC's would in a sense still be scripted. You'd also need an army of game designers & artists to populate that world with unique characters.

  • MagicLordMagicLord Posts: 578Unconfirmed

    @Megalomaniak said:
    This would need fairly advanced entity and event systems and a sort of a grand AI unit that would control all those NPC's. You will want to read up on games such as Thief(1 & 2) as well as say Elder Scrolls IV. The NPC's would in a sense still be scripted. You'd also need an army of game designers & artists to populate that world with unique characters.

    Elder Scroll have some good npc, but this is not dynamic, a merchant can't decide to close it's shop because he is waiting for someone to sell him items to craft new potions.
    Or to have many npc each day going outside of a village to gather items or hunt.Or npc able to travel to other cities to buy or sell goods.
    Take it like some mmo where players around would be replaced by autonomous npc with tasks and actions able to take decisions.

    You will want to read up on games such as Thief(1 & 2) as well as say Elder Scrolls IV. The NPC's would in a sense still be scripted. You'd also need an army of game designers & artists to populate that world with unique characters.

    Not necessary scripted, you could define general tasks like cooking and eating, defend if they are attacked.
    And you could define specific jobs and extra activities; some could be attributed randomly when creating town npcs.

    For example
    * some npc job is to gather herbs or rocks materials and sell them to merchants, each day it would go outside of town to gather items while it could be dangerous if there is creatures nearby sometimes.
    * A merchant npc job is to sell some goods category or close the shop waiting for other npc to sell him items so he can start crafting new goods to sell.
    * A soldier npc would not defend the town if military money founds decrease because of economy changes and he would not get paid, so it would do extra activities like propose themselves to hire as bodyguard, go fishing or hunting, travel to another city with good economy and needing soldiers for example.

    This is an eco system where each npc is tied to other npc activities or jobs, each day the economy and situation could change in good or bad depending on what happens.

  • MegalomaniakMegalomaniak Posts: 927Admin

    When I said you will want to read up on thief and elder scrolls I meant read up on their design and development process as well as the tech behind them, sorry should have been clearer. In case of ES IV: Oblivion they actually experimented with implementing stuff like that but their NPC's ended up getting either stuck in some really unexpected places in the world or outright dieing when out and about(which is why they ended up implementing what effectively constitutes immortality for quest NPC's).

    @MagicLord said:

    @Megalomaniak said:
    You will want to read up on games such as Thief(1 & 2) as well as say Elder Scrolls IV. The NPC's would in a sense still be scripted. You'd also need an army of game designers & artists to populate that world with unique characters.

    Not necessary scripted, you could define general tasks like cooking and eating, defend if they are attacked.
    And you could define specific jobs and extra activities; some could be attributed randomly when creating town npcs.

    For example
    * some npc job is to gather herbs or rocks materials and sell them to merchants, each day it would go outside of town to gather items while it could be dangerous if there is creatures nearby sometimes.
    * A merchant npc job is to sell some goods category or close the shop waiting for other npc to sell him items so he can start crafting new goods to sell.
    * A soldier npc would not defend the town if military money founds decrease because of economy changes and he would not get paid, so it would do extra activities like propose themselves to hire as bodyguard, go fishing or hunting, travel to another city with good economy and needing soldiers for example.

    This is an eco system where each npc is tied to other npc activities or jobs, each day the economy and situation could change in good or bad depending on what happens.

    Thats still scripted NPC's(behavior trees - another thing to read up on) but in even more of an obvious preset scripting sense I would think. Wouldn't make for very interesting NPC's in practice I suspect, but then thats up to execution I suppose. Don't get me wrong however I'm not saying it couldn't work, just that this would definitely be a lot of work to execute right.

  • SolarLuneSolarLune Posts: 35Member

    @MagicLord said:
    Hi there;

    This is a reflection i had after playing some games, most npc are static and very borring with scripted behaviours.
    Why there is no games with active npc characters that would work like those you find on RTS games ?

    I think this idea isn't necessarily a bad one, but it's easy to make it spiral out of control, and it's difficult to make the payoff worth it. Players won't usually care that much if buying up all of the potions means nobody else can get any, and so people die at a somewhat higher rate now. He will care, though, when all of the NPCs in a town are dead because nobody could get any potions.

    What happens when an NPC dies and the player needs him to complete a quest? What happens when an NPC can't get the necessary items to continue running a shop, and so they leave that shop to do something else to survive? How does that impact the player's enjoyment, if he goes to the weapon shop and finds it out of business for no apparent reason, and no real way to get it back up and running?

    Basically, I think you don't really see this so much because there'd be a ton of work to balance all of the elements and get it all to work seamlessly, but it won't have a lot of positive impact on the gameplay.

  • SchusterSchuster Posts: 304Member
    edited March 24

    From my point of view...guys,( because I'm more an artist than a programmer) .....but this is more a matter of overall game design I think.....Yes...Great idea....more real life or movie like to AI....but it can become a snowball....and if something wrong really big snowball :-)......so I think the @SolarLune is right.
    p.s.
    .....but with a limited number of npc....it could be????

  • SchusterSchuster Posts: 304Member
    edited March 24

    I think the player then was more responsible for how is playing the game than not just enjoying it but his bad actions, decisions would actually destroy the game.
    ......but really, real life feeling in the game could be an great experience.
    ......all this proves how difficult is to create AI which approximates real behavior and mainly combine with INTERACTION.

  • MagicLordMagicLord Posts: 578Unconfirmed
    edited March 25

    @SolarLune said:
    Basically, I think you don't really see this so much because there'd be a ton of work to balance all of the elements and get it all to work seamlessly, but it won't have a lot of positive impact on the gameplay.

    Why not having unexpected situations and unbalanced situations ?

    This could be a game with short sessions like 4 to 7 hours.
    Next time the player starts another game session he would be free to do different actions resulting in new situations not expected.
    This could be very fun.

    That could suit games that are more sandbox with emergent gameplay than linear story ones.

  • SolarLuneSolarLune Posts: 35Member

    ^ That could be a good idea, yeah. For a long-term game, it'd spiral out of control, but for a shorter session, spiraling out of control could be desired, haha.

    As for actually developing the idea, it's doable if you stick to a need-based economy kind of system. Basically, start off with a basic need, and the ability to fill it, and then expand it to cover more needs, more abilities to fill them, and more things that conflict with those needs. Balance as necessary, and then try adding the player to topple things over and watch the world try to compensate and deal, haha.

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