Author Topic: Ideas About a Naturalist RL  (Read 8369 times)

Marker Mage

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Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« on: February 12, 2012, 10:13:56 AM »
I've been thinking of things that I probably won't be able to do until I get a lot more experience (still slowly working my way through a tutorial). Right now, one of those things is the idea of a roguelike that puts the player into the role of a naturalist (those people that study nature). Just give the player a randomized world of random monsters and give them the goal of studying them, learning what they eat, observing their behavior while mating, and things like that. It seems like something that might be an interesting deviation from the usual RL.

It would need a larger focus on the AI though. In fact, the entire idea pretty much revolves around a complex AI. You wouldn't be able to just have everything that can move trying to kill the player. You would need to give them other things that they'll try to do. You'd need to have them look for food, find mates, and defend territory. Give them a hunger stat and have them look for something to eat when it reaches a certain amount. Give them an age stat and have them look for a mate when it reaches a certain amount and they aren't looking for food. Give ones that have a reason to have territory some ability to choose a room to defend when they aren't trying to find food or a mate. Have some monsters form groups while others don't. Have monsters pick and choose what to eat. Do everything you can to make them act like the complex creatures they are, whether they're rats, orcs, dragons, or moving plants.

Randomizing the monsters would also be a must for an idea like this, and I don't mean just choosing them from a list. I mean making it so that the dragons that you encounter in one playthrough will be entirely different from the dragons you encounter in another playthrough. Make it so that each type of creature that could show up would have a couple of things for it chosen at random, whether it be raw stats, special abilities, or some changes to the AI. http://roguetemple.com/forums/index.php?topic=1769.0 has some examples of the kind of stuff I'm trying to describe here.

Another important thing for this kind of RL would be to make it so that after the random choices, a stable ecosystem would come about. Have a way to make sure that every creature would have something that it can eat. Maybe you have a way for the diets of the creatures to be adjusted according to what can kill what. Maybe you have the creatures divided up into trophic levels and have a number of creatures from each level chosen at random. Maybe you just have one to three top predators chosen, and then have the random number god decide the rest of the monsters from the lists of what previously chosen monsters eat. And you would need a replenishing source of food for whatever monsters are at the bottom of the food chain, or take away their hunger stat with the explanation that they use photosynthesis or that they eat stuff that the player character ignores.

Those above three paragraphs contain the most important things for this idea, but a few other things should be mentioned as well. A naturalist RL would probably need stealth available in it unless the player is expected to use the Steve Irwin approach to naturalism. The look command might also be used for studying monsters, and may even have the descriptions given expanded on as the player advances, providing information about the monster's stats, abilities, and AI. The ability to choose a specific monster and give it a name and/or change the character that represents it so that you can identify it more easily would be a nice idea.

It is all just an an unrealistic goal that's been distracting me for awhile now, and maybe sharing it will get it off my mind, or better yet, convince someone more competent to try using it for their own RL.

guest509

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 01:46:45 PM »
  There are times people come onto forums and post an idea. Then someone makes a game similar or even identical to that idea. The person then freaks. Asking for credit. As if the idea is what gave the game value. Historically it has been a real problem.

  But you see the real work. The real creative oomph is the actual creation of the game. The coding. The testing. These are what give the game value. Think of Facebook. Lots of people had that idea. But it is the implementation that made it great. Every developer has about a million ideas for games. MILLIONS. Part of the process is picking one and running with it. But that is only 1% of the process.

  And no idea, no matter how great, is going to convince a developer to make your game for you.

  I know it sounds like I'm being a booger. And you may know all of this already. But when I first started I thought my ideas had value. And posted some. Thinking it would maybe inspire someone more advanced than me. I was set straight in a very rough way. It touches a nerve I guess.

guest509

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2012, 01:48:24 PM »
  That said I really like your idea. If you get anywhere with it I'd love to play it. Sort of a Monster ID game.

  Check out State Machines for AI. Very interesting stuff.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finite-state_machine

  The quick version is that each object (monster) is doing a certain thing. A very simple thing perhaps. Then when a trigger event happens (hunger reaches 100, they smell a female or whatever) their state changes. And they start doing another thing. Simple tired and true AI mechanics. There are far more advanced ways to do it but I like State Machines.

-Jo

Fenrir

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 03:58:56 PM »
...observing their behavior while mating...

FurryVoyeurRL?

Perhaps it is a good thing that developers can not be so easily influenced by reading our ideas as the OP had hoped. If they were, I would have damned us all just now.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 04:08:47 PM by Fenrir »

guest509

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 08:53:00 PM »
   Lol!

  Hey wasn't there a big talkie awhile back about making a Greek Mythology Themed RL? Was that you making it Fen? Or was that Minotaur? Man I really want to play that one...here is a list of the games I wish you guys would make. Since we're asking...:-)

-Super Hero RL - No real item grind here. More about gaining new powers in the appropriate tree. See the Champions MMO for ideas to 'steal'.
-BeastVoyer - See above. That'd be neat.
-Megataur - Greek Mythology Themed RL where dudes with sweet pecs and no pants beat the crap out of like Chimeras and Medusa and shit. End boss is the Megataur. King of the Minotaur.
-Black Pope - This was actually my idea awhile back. Just a straight RL set in the renassaince where you dive through the vatican catacombs looking for the anti christ. End boss is the black pope. Slay him to save the world from Protestantism.
-Escape Station - Sci Fi RL where you are trying to get out of the Space Station. Oxygen instead of food. Face huggers, etc...perhaps a good 7DRL. Maybe you play Ripley. Maybe you use the sound byte "Game over man...game over!"
-KlingonRL - Another scifi RL where your ship is the '@' character. Hull points, Dilithim (fuel) and torpedoes are your resources. Find the genesis device for the win.
-Bitman - a platfromer in the vein of Spelunky. Inspired by Metroid.
-Dungeoneer - A Zelda rip off. With roguelike randomized content. I actually have a half built engine for this one.

...that's it for now. I expect credit if anyone 'steals' my ideas...I'll sue too. Believe it!

Hi

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 09:59:04 PM »
I make little ecosystems for fun and let me tell you, it is a bitch to get them balanced.  Most of the time when two things are competing for the same resource one of them will win.  Because it is a dynamic system with positive feedback it is very unstable. If you increase the hunting effectiveness of a species slightly it goes from inviable to causing the extinction of its prey.  So if you wanted to have a naturalist game it would be best to fake the ecosystem.

guest509

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 11:35:32 PM »
  Fake the ecosystem by, say, making a spawn point that will spit out critters every once in awhile. Making sure there are always some around no matter the birthrate?

  Who makes ecosystems for fun? Probably the same sort of people that lurk around RL forums. :-)

Marker Mage

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 11:52:49 PM »
I don't really care about being credited. I just had the idea on my mind, taking focus away from what I should really be doing. I figured that talking about it would help get it out of my head for awhile. I've had this mental image of Steve Irwin going through a RogueLike dungeon with a camera crew and poking dragons, slimes, orcs, and zombies with sticks for awhile now.

Might make for an interesting class choice. Just give some stealth and dodging abilities along with being able to receive more information about monsters and maybe identify different consumable plants while limiting combat ability. Maybe give the class some ability to examine monsters to get bonuses against all monsters of that type. Maybe have some limited ability to control monsters by increasing the odds of certain attacks being used instead of others. Maybe some ability to receive information about the current dungeon level from examining a monster.

Anyway... Sure, everyone has their own ideas, but they also tend to be biased about them. People tend to see their ideas as a part of themselves. A person that thinks of themself as great will tend to think of even their worst ideas as great. A person that thinks of themselves as terrible will tend to think that even their best ideas are terrible. It is easier to judge something that isn't yours.

If someone thinks that an idea I describe is good, I'd rather them choose not to credit me than them worry about potential harassment. If I'm going to be mentioned in the credits for a game, it's going to be because I wrote at least 10% of the code for that game, and not one line less.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 03:26:25 AM by Marker Mage »

Fenrir

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 12:03:37 AM »
Jo, the Greek Mythology game must have been someone else; my talkie was about Norse Mythology. I do not think you ever knew about that; it was years ago on a different forum.

At least Hajo might be interested in archiving this idea if he still does that.

guest509

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2012, 01:48:01 AM »
  Wisdom here.

"People tend to see their ideas as a part of themselves. A person the thinks of themself as great will tend to think of even their worst ideas as great."

Marker Mage

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2012, 03:25:31 AM »
Darn it, the moment I type something quote worthy, it turns out I used a "the" when I meant to use a "that".

Krice

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2012, 12:44:50 PM »
I think there is certainly room for minimalistic type roguelikes with some mundane idea like being a scientist just exploring (and trying to survive) a new planet or something like that. Most role-playing games this far have been about epic shit like kill the main bad guy and get a treasure. It's getting pretty boring.

Xecutor

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2012, 03:14:19 PM »
Creating stable trophic chain is somewhat difficult.
My wife's diploma work was about trophic chain made of 3 creatures in isolated environment.
I must say there was quite a lot of math involved :)

But you can always make external regulators.
For each creature type create events that trigger when population of this kind is too low or too high.
First event will (semi)artificially increase popupation and other will decrease.
This will autobalance things and won't be too intrusive unless your original balance is way too off.

Simulation games are almost always interesing as long as rules of simulation are complex enough for an average player to be unable to predict/comprehend them easily with bare mind :)

Hi

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2012, 09:37:17 PM »
Could you link your wife's thesis? It sounds interesting.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 04:24:39 AM by Hi »

guest509

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Re: Ideas About a Naturalist RL
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2012, 02:26:15 AM »
  I do believe he meant 'link' the thesis. I too would like to give it a read.