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Messages - Omnomnom

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Programming / querying the world and player driven sidequests
« on: April 12, 2012, 12:59:07 AM »
I was thinking of adding a query system into my game that allows the player to query for information about the world through NPCs, books and libraries.

For example there would be a "Query" action associated with NPCs where you could enter a keyword and the NPC would either say "i've never heard of X", or would spit out information about it. The keywords would be simple single names for things so there would be few parsing issues.

The chance of an NPC knowing about a given keyword would depend on how commonly known the information was and the NPC type (eg a weaponsmith is more likely to know more about a weapon than a farmer). Their knowledge also determines how much detail they can provide. This would be useful for figuring out if certain plants were edible or poisonous, what certain potions do, more information about specific monsters, etc. But the main reason I was thinking of doing this was to allow the player to research their own sidequests.

Here's an example of what might be possible:

You find a history book for sale in a village. It's a long boring procedurally generated list of events that have happened in the history of the world. One of the passages mentions a powerful magical item called the Moon Scepter. That might still be around somewhere right? You query the villagers for that term to see if they've heard of it. None of them have. In inspiration you go and ask a local scorceror, who might know a bit more about legendary magical items... He recalls a legend that the scepter was made by a cult which was hunted down and destroyed in their temple in the valley of shadows, but he doesn't know where that is.

You decide to journey a long distance to the city where you can ask a cartographer where the valley of shadows is. You also access the large library in the city where you discover the necromantic powers of the scepter and how the king sent an army to destroy the cult that built it. The scepter itself was never found.

From a cartographer you learn the valley of the shadows is in the far north. Very dangerous location, so you get supplies and hire two mercenaries and head out. A bunch stuff happens on the way involving hostile creatures, but you make it north with both mercenaries.

In the north you ask local villagers if they have heard about the valley of shadows but it is made clear that they are hiding information. You eventually bribe a villager who tells you the location of the valley of shadows and the abandoned temple in it. You decide to head out.

On the way you are ambushed by half a dozen human attackers. Thanks to your mercenaries you survive. You find a note on one of the attackers reading: "three outsiders have been talking about the valley of shadows. If they head out that way kill them". You continue heading for the temple, but now it's clear the place is not abandoned.

At this point you now have a dungeon and a quest item to fetch, but the quest itself is more personal because the player has made it for themselves. It hasn't been forced on them through a sidequest by some mage in the city who simply tells you "Fetch me the Moon Scepter from the Valley of Shadows (5000XP)". Also the world is able to react to what the player is asking about - eg planning that ambush.

Technically this doesn't seem too much of a big deal to do, it's a lot of work but it isn't complicated AI. It's just a keyword search sitting on top of procedurally generated names for weapons and places and linking references together so that each library or book would have a hidden set of keywords they would respond to and would only reveal limited info about it.

The only thing I worry about is that this searching by keyword of NPCs and books will make the game too boring - it might feel a bit like using google search in the game all the time. I am aware from experience that ideas I think are fun initially can turn out to be unfun, so I just want to check whether it passes the smell test for other people.

Hey Omnomnom.  If you're in the UK you should check out the roguelike development conference coming up in June in London:

It's a good chance to meet with other devs from around the world, hear some talks about development stuff, and just generally socialise.  You don't have to be a developer to join in either.

thanks good idea

I especially like the presentations:

Darren Grey: The Single Hit Point Model
Ido Yehieli: Why Darren is Wrong About Single Hit-points.


Programming / Re: Rogue-like without combat
« on: April 10, 2012, 07:23:14 PM »
What do you think of a roguelike where combat, and all it's associated stats + inventory mechanics, were included in a game where combat is not the point?

I hope it works because that's sort of what I plan for the roguelike I am making. I don't plan on having XP in the game so there's no point killing monsters, except for survival, or for food, or other practical reasons.

One of the recent 7 day roguelikes was similar. I can't remember the name. In that game you landed on a planet with limited ammo and had to destroy a transmitter and get back to the ship. Aliens would attack you. You didn't want to kill them you just wanted to complete the objective. I don't think there was any XP in that game either. It worked anyway.

hi all

I am 29 and from the UK.

In my spare time I am making a roguelike (like millions of other people it seems). I've always enjoyed RPGs and roguelikes. The first roguelike I played was castle of the winds. I also played a lot of nethack but never mastered it. Have played stone soup and recently I played dredmor and dwarf fortress. Similar non-roguelike games I have played include diablo I and II and minecraft...Hmm I need to avoid playing too many games or i'll never get anywhere with making one but they are useful for ideas.

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