Alternative to NPCs

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Alternative to NPCs

Postby watacoso » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:38 am

So, i spectated on the irc to a quite prolonged discussion about the presence of NPCs inside the game. There are the ones pro NPC, with the addition of cities on planets, and with the intent of researching a meaningful way for them to exist. there are the ones that consider the presence of NPCs as something superfluous , especially with a player driven economy. these are the general 2 stands in my opinion, if peoples have a more specific opinion in merit , please you are welcome to discuss it here.

I am more for the second stand. I especially dislike the idea if cities, due to my memories on other space sim/space games. it's silly to go to a planet and see at best 1,2, maybe 3 cities with fake walls, and wandering npcs. if that is the implementation you have to do for the sake of just having cities, please let's not do that.

On the other hand, i think npcs in a way could contribute to the game, especially when executing repetitive tasks that a player hardly would do. on this light, npcs are not to consider as quest givers, but they could be seen as functional entities for the player. It also fills lot's of otherwise empty space, which for me is nice. But how to implement something like this for the use for the player?

then i thought of a compromise. it's not really a new idea since it was on 0x10c plans and maybe here too. it's more a re hauling.

NPCs shouldn't be procedurally generated on the system. instead, let the players make them. even more, let the players program them. Story wise a simple example could be bots. method of programming? well, we got the dcpu.

As i said, this was proposed already, but while the initial idea was to use them only for menial tasks like mining or building a certain component, or attacking the crew members of an enemy ship you boarded, these bots could have a more social aspect. Let's say then that on top of the dcpu language, programming these bots would imply the use of an "API" that simplifies communication, movements, trading , etc...

The good points would be:

-the use and expansion of a pre existing construct;
-a more broad and personalized behavior for npcs;
-no need to have cities!;
-the software for a bot could be shared and traded like any dcpu software for ship. heck, it would even open a new type of profession for the players;

you could use them wherever you want. make a moving ammo dispenser that sells food to the visitors? you can. a robo trader on an asteroid near a common waypoint for miners, selling tools for the work? done. you have a lot of wealth on a planet and you want to defend it with armored robo guards? well duh.
on the bad things:

-it's greatly more complex than building some AI behaviors for a handful of npc types. as for everything, generalizing implies a lot of hard work;
-if you can program the npc, should we do the next step and build bots from scratch like ships? definitely quite complex ( but cool);
-players with all these tools can find ways to automatically exploit the game engine bugs ( intentionally or not). or they can simply spawn a lot of bots. then the game or server crashes.

the third point would be enough to scrap this idea imo. the nice news is that we can discuss this concept in a manner to make it more feasible. thoughts?
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby SunShiranui » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:42 am

I also thought we should have some form of DCPU-controlled robots, it's a very interesting way of using the dcpus.
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby mrout » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:19 pm

I don't think we should have any NPCs, not even in singleplayer. It doesn't feel like exploration if there are civilised cities all over the place, and what purpose do NPCs have in a space exploration game anyway?
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby SunShiranui » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:25 pm

Yeah, NPCs would ruin the experience, imo.
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby watacoso » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:38 pm

mrout wrote:I don't think we should have any NPCs, not even in singleplayer. It doesn't feel like exploration if there are civilised cities all over the place, and what purpose do NPCs have in a space exploration game anyway?


Exactly my thoughts, though if we look it this way, it's also true that:

-even on an uncharted new world, there could be some sort of central ourpost / hub that is somewhat "civilized", and

-we are going for a persistent world, and this world should evolve with time. maybe at the start everything is unexplored and wild, but with time, the players should be able to imprint their step on the new explored systems, be it by creating cities, placing facilities, outposts, military presence, or depleting planet resources.

npcs would be one of the most common means to implement the evolution of the world.
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby mrout » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:46 pm

If think that if we do have NPCs, they should be on space stations and stuff, not in cities. They should probably be military/aerospace NPCs, rather than civilians. That's all assuming we go with the "You have just arrived on the edge of a new galaxy" thing, of course.
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby croxis » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:35 pm

How would you implement economic and piracy gameplay without npcs in single player and low population (<100 player) servers?
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby SirAwesomelot » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:41 pm

mrout wrote:I don't think we should have any NPCs, not even in singleplayer.

+1
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby SunShiranui » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:41 pm

croxis wrote:How would you implement economic and piracy gameplay without npcs in single player and low population (<100 player) servers?

My idea is that we shouldn't have any player-like (human) NPCs, so no shopkeepers and similar AIs. However we should implement some kind of non-player enemy, so I was thinking that we could have some hostile AI ships roaming the universe.
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Re: Alternative to NPCs

Postby JTxt » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:21 pm

SunShiranui wrote:
croxis wrote:How would you implement economic and piracy gameplay without npcs in single player and low population (<100 player) servers?

My idea is that we shouldn't have any player-like (human) NPCs, so no shopkeepers and similar AIs. However we should implement some kind of non-player enemy, so I was thinking that we could have some hostile AI ships roaming the universe.


Agreed, and like the OP said, using the same system our ship has, controlled by dcpus...

Players can build drones to automate commerce or defense while they're away. Keep track of an area and broadcast alarms to base...
or perhaps remotely controlled. so DCPU controlled ships can be huge or player avatar sized.

Perhaps as players build things, these designs can be used populate the default game.

I believe there's discussion(s) on some of this already, somewhere...
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