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#341532 12/07/07 08:01 PM
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You forgot the "Blubb" at the end.


When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.
--Dilbert cartoon

"Interplay.some zombiefied unlife thing going on there" - skavenhorde at RPGWatch
#341533 19/07/07 11:50 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
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That Spell system sounds pretty cool to me. If the Larians would actually be able to implent this kind of system, it would be awesome.

One thing that I liked to do in Divine Divinity was creating armies of summoned creatures, the only downside was that I could have only 5 creatures follow me. So when I entered a cave, I started summoning a few skeletons, used the skeletal wall skill, summoned the death knight and so on. I'd like to see that in the next gen game to, but so that summoned creatures automaticly follow you, or you could have some sort of control over them, forcing them to go to a specific location, looking through the summoned creature's eyes, that kind of stuff.
I also like necromancer who use the body's of the fallen enemies and allies to create a whole armie of undead minions. Imagine a necromancer walking through a forest, he has no minions at the moment, yet suddenly he gets attacked by a wild boar, he's abble to kill the boar and starts a ritual, creating 3 lower level minions. These minions have low attack power, low constition and are used to distract enemies. So the necromancer continues to walk through the forest, suddenly he notices a group of orcs. He commands his minions to attack one of them, while he prepares himself to cast a powerfull hex upon that orc. all the orcs focuse their attention uppon those minions, while the necromancer continues to cast deadly spells, draining life from his enemies and giving him more power. One of the orcs is defeated and drops to the floor, death. The necromancer starts a new ritual, which takes about 15 seconds to cast(and possibly some reagents) while the other minions are being slaughtered, a new and more powerfull minion rises. This minion has quite some power but not much more health then the lower level minions, so while there is only one of the lower level minions remaining, the more powerfull one starts attacking one of the orcs, the necromancer once again starts casting powerfull hexes to refill his almost empty manapool. another orc drops dead, allowing to necromancer to summon three new low level minions, soon the remaining orc is overwhelmed by the minions and the necromancer uses his corps to heal all his minions.
As the Minion Master(=the necromancer) follows the road throught the forest, he sees a town not far away. If he wants to enter the town, he will need to disband his minions, unless he wants to be attacked by the local guards.

Wow, that was rather long to create an image of what I mean <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/think.gif" alt="" />. I'll try it in short now. Both Conjurers and Necromancers(in the form of Minion Masters) would need a large manapool, as they need a lot of magic to cast the rituals to summon otherworldly creatures, this means they wouldn't be able to have a high constitution or strength, making them very fragile beings whitout minions. The creatures summoned by conjurers would only last a certain amount of time, while the necromancer needs corpses to summon his minions, this would balance things out in my opinion. Also to make sure that a necromancer would not gain to much minions, forcing him to disband his minions when he wants to enter a town or any other area where there are a lot of civil beings would be an option.
Also smarter creatures, like humans may realise that to defeat the army of a conjurer or minion master, they need to focus uppon the conjuror/necromancer and not his summons/minions. This would force the conjurer/necromancer to retreat or rapidly create a shell of minions around him, so that the enemie can't hit him.

I think this is one of the longest posts I've ever written. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" />


#341534 03/08/07 02:56 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Belgium (Ghent)
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It would be cool to have somekind of house or castle to just relax in.
(Croft manor <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" /> )

#341535 03/09/07 10:59 PM
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Ok I "Wish" that these would be included, or in my opinion these would make the game so much better <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/think.gif" alt="" />

1.) I would enjoy being able to like create and own a store, maybe make some robberies happen, maybe I need to buy recources from the market, or maybe I need a provider, perhaps having like a stock, you know..

2.) A home, like being able to buy a home, What I loved to do in Divine divinity was to take my teleporter stones and after I killed some humans and stole their house, redecorating things.. (yeah.. shut up..) And making it somewere I can go...

3.) I'd basically overall love the the fact that I can be a rich mansion owner, or perhaps be a poor burglar, like, something that I for once dont' have to be a overpowered Warrior capable of killing any normal peasant, like, I'd love to be able to have a choice, perhaps instead of being overpowered, I can have guards...?
Even if I am overpowered, let me live in a nice manor..? own a cat.. ^.^

4.) I found that there was no mount.. Well I'd love there to be one ^.^, and stables lol ^.^

5.) Another thing would be the gear, like if I have a character who is a ranger, and lets say I'd like him to be all cloaked and dark, perhaps like to blend in.. with the forest, or maybe a tree hugger elf, like Id like him to be cloaked with a cloak but not loose all those pesky stats that I'd find on my Ultra Dragon skin Cowl of Death ^.^..

6.) I love it to base on more of a Divine Divinity feel rather than the Beyond Divinity feel, as in I loved the villages, cities, but didnt like the lava sorounded imp planets, and the realms which were like magically enhanced, though the magic librarys and the wizards chambers were all cool ^.^..

7.) More things to do when talking and adventuring in a Human City, like you know, Bar fights, occasional criminals, robberies, ranks in the Guard, as well as keeping those guilds.

8.) I'd like Roleplay actions, like I'd be able to laugh, emote, hug, w/e.. just to get me that certain feel of "Im not in a frozen world..." \

9.) I'd love to be able and explore all those little parts of the game that I just couldnt, like if I see a shield on the wall.. What stops me from reaching it.. O.o...? OR some healing potions on an alchemists workshop.. Perhaps after I take one then I'll be poisioned O.o??...

10.) I'd love to be able to have like clothing ranks, as in, If I was talking in a guards Uniform, I'm always irritated how everyone responds with like a Hey you.. Or if I have a beggars clothing, everyone will give me money.. you know..?
But if I see a guard with armor, I'd also love to be able to have that armor, and make sure it actually looks like it ^.^

11.) Realistic and random happenings, were If I'm walking on the street, I can trip fall, maybe I can find some buried treasure (lol)

These are all things that would make the game better, I am a player, so I've tried everything I possibly can in divine and beyond divinity, and After I played, I figured these were the things that would make it so much better, like I didnt help make the game so its not just about making it, its about how it would be like when someone plays it over 3 times ^.^

If you guys need more info, contact me at arpolk@chicagogenn.com arpolk@chicagogenn.com
<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/silly.gif" alt="" />


A drop in the hourglass, A Memory of the Zeitigist
#341536 17/09/07 01:33 AM
Joined: Sep 2007
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I posted these on another company's forum, but they apply here too. Heavily edited for brevity, but still wordy, sorry:
[Edit: link to original thread: http://www.bethsoft.com/bgsforums?showtopic=751439

Quote
What Iíd really, really, dearly love in RPGs is the ability to talk with the people youíre fighting.

So you have the choice not just to kill or run away, but to:

taunt
Successful taunts cause target to enter berserk mode. We already have berserk in Oblivion, taunts in every single FPS since Doom, though admittedly only Duke3D ever did them well tongue.gif

stop fighting and talk out your differences,
Oblivion did this with the "Yield" command, but unfortunately made it related to the opponent's disposition to you, so regardless of your speech skill, you could never successfully yield to someone who had attacked you first, since they "hated" you enough to attack you.

offer them gold if they stop attacking
Not done anywhere yet, but in an engine that has yield and trading, should not be too great a leap.

And not just have you try to start or end the combat: have NPCs:
taunt you
Aka have NPCs cast "berserk" on you, with your speech ability governing your saving throw.

beg for their lives when beaten near death
OK, it's not been done, but how hard is it?
Code
when npc starts combat
  if (NPC's strength) &lt; (0.1 * PC's apparent ferocity)
    then
      if (npc can flee)
        flee
      else if (npc can surrender)
        surrender
      else
        fight

when npc takes damage
  if NPC is in combat, AND is marked as surrender-capable, AND (HP &lt; 5% OR AMMO == 0)
      if (npc can flee)
        flee
      else if (npc can surrender)
        surrender
  else
    fight


(I say "apparent ferocity" as I feel this should be a combination of things like reputation current health, arms and armour, whether his weapon is holstered, whether he's just defeated anyone nearby in a fight, XP level, charisma, and so on. Comparing the NPC against how strong he thinks the PC is, would be a bit harder to code but more realistic, I feel, than to compare the NPC's real strength against the PC's real strength. It would mean that a wussy or pacifist PC could "fake out" strong characters by just looking buff.

You could get prettymuch infinitely complex, like with anything in a RPG. You could take into account daft stuff like whether the PC's outfit was made of matching pieces, and whether the NPC thought people in uniform were scary, or wusses... but beyond a certain point, the player stops being able to second-guess the results completely accurately, and at that point it becomes "realistic": no point getting any more complex than that. So, a simple "reputation + random roll" might even suffice for most purposes.

Basic flee/surrender/fight decision making, ending combat before death, is not beyond today's technology, would not take ten years to develop, but nobody, so far as I know, has ever done it in any game.

If the NPC is at 3 hp and he's out of ammo he will toss aside his gun and beg for his life damnitt! And if I choose to spare him and let him go, I have to run the risk of him attacking me again when he's healed up and rearmed. And if I choose not to spare him, and people see me killing an unarmed cripple begging for his life, then that could be a problem for me too!

Combine it with what we already know is in engines such as Oblivion: NPCs can pick up stuff when you are in the area. So you spare them, or they flee; they move to the weapon cabinet, grab a healthpack and weapon, and attack again!

If you also make bad guys heal and rearm over time if you leave the area, that would obviously improve realism too.


Have beating someone unconscious with your fists mean something, too: that you have beaten them, disarmed them, but spared their lives and they and people nearby know it: some might consider you hardass but merciful, others might consider you weak for your morality. OK, this hasn't been done yet, but shouldn't take ten years. Past combat affects the opponent's disposition towards you.

This depends on the NPC, and whether you or they fled/surrendered/fell unconscious, and on who started the fight: if they attacked you and you still spared them, that's a possible plus. If you attacked them and they fled, or were beaten unconscious, probably not so much of a plus!

Having people nearby affected could be harder. However, the Oblivion engine has murder detection within a certain range, the Ultima engines have theft detection - can't an engine have "sparing" detection, too?


Stuff like thatíd make the decision to kill in combat so much more immersive & meaningful. I am hoping that Oblivionís yield was just the first step on this road, and I applauded it - but I really hope that itís taken further in future.

I am so sick, so terribly, terribly sick of fights being to the death, and death being nothing but a source of XP. Nobody in real life has a bar fight to the death, not unless stuff goes really wrong.

NPCs shouldnít willingly attack someone who can clearly wipe the floor with them, unless they're defending something more important to them than their own life.


Combat should have further repercussions. What if a woman bandit out by a deserted shack demands your food so you kill her, but then you go inside the shack and see a baby in a crib. You killed its mother, and if you leave it there, it will die slowly of thirst/starvation. What do you do? This one doesn't even take any PROGRAMMING! In the construction kit, place female bandit, place baby, bingo, moral dilemma in a can!

You could, with simple scripted rules, add more depth. Take the rule "all children without parents turn feral within one week, have disposition to player reduced, blah blah." So, you kill a guard, then later find his children, gone feral with nobody to look after them. What do you do?

You have the rules: "guard feeds and tortures prisoner daily on schedule. Guard kills prisoner when a set plot trigger happens. Prisoner starves without food for more than two days." So, you spare a guard's life and later see him torturing and killing a prisoner. Or you kill him and find the prisoner. Or never find the prisoner until it's died of thirst anyway... suddenly, your guard-killing has consequences.

If you kill or spare someone, you will affect that person's dependants, lovers, employers, friends, enemies, victims and others.

OK, now this, building a web of relationships between people, is more complex. But... not THAT complex.
Permit NPCs be members of any number of factions (already in most engines).
Extend that by allowing them to have relationships not just with factions, but with characters too.
Give each relation a value from -100 (utter enemy, would love you for killing him) to +100 (close family member, would never forgive you).
If you are seen to have killed a person (using existing theft/murder-detection system), check that person's relationship network, and affect each person [edit: or faction] in the network by that amount.
If the death was a murder, double the amount.

If you want to get really fancy, as well as the relation value, give each character "onOwnDeath" and "onContactdDeath" script hooks so that you can change conversation options and whatnot, as well as just their dispositions.
[edit: this allows us to modify the above-described hardcoded "all children without parents turn feral within one week" to "dependents who's guardians are dead". No need to restrict to children, can include pets, slaves, etc, who become freed by their master's death, who's disposition to the player may go up, etc]

None of that is rocket science. None is beyond what is plausible. None is 10 years' work. Most of it is maybe 10 days', plus time for voice acting the surrender dialogues. But this, giving meaning to death, is the stuff that separates RPG from FPS.


There was some good feedback. One person pointed out that it is definitely possible as Shin Megami Tensei:Nocturne does much of it.

More stuff I'd like to see later, if I don't get flamed rotten for posting something as long as this as my first post here <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Last edited by DewiMorgan; 17/09/07 02:21 PM.

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Technical Director - MorganAlley.com
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#341537 17/09/07 03:59 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
Location: Canada
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[color:"orange"]offer them gold if they stop attacking[/color]
I'd rather die (and reload) than give up my loot. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/evilgrin1.gif" alt="" />

These conversation options could be good for some main plot or quest related fights, but I wouldn't want to talk out my differences with every thug or thief who started something with me.
There were places in Planescape: Tourment where you had to die to advance the main plot. It could be interesting to have a quest where you were sent to kill some demon or wizard, but they were impossible to beat, requiring you to yield and talk your way out of the situation.


[color:"orange"]beg for their lives when beaten near death[/color]

I'd want their oath not to attack me again, or aid others in doing so, before sparing them. In addition to common sense, if nearby NPCs are going to judge you harshly for not sparing someone, you would need justification to refuse someone the second time they attacked you.

If there are going to be any responses based on stats or skills, a perceptive person might be able to spot an opponents fake surrender pleas, and get an option to accept, then do a fakeout-turn-your-back-while-preparing-a-counterattack move.


[color:"orange"]Basic flee/surrender/fight decision making, ending combat before death, is not beyond today's technology[/color]

Opponents that attack and then flee are annoying, especially weak ones. If you went hostile on tibars in act 2 of BD, at least you could have the secondary character (set to aggressive) take them all out with a bow while the lead character explored or talked to NPCs, etc.

I hated when the metal slime in the old game Dragon Quest stuck around long enough to get down to 1 HP (a couple minutes, IIRC), so you only had to get one more successful hit in for a large experience reward, and then fled.

If weaker opponents (ie without appreciable experience points or loot) simply avoided you, though, that would be good. There were a couple artifacts in one of the old Ultima games (or maybe Final Fantasy?) that would either repel weak opponents and attract strong ones, or repel strong and attract weak. The same kind of thing could be done with a skill or spell.


Welcome to the forum. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />

#341538 17/09/07 05:19 AM
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Quote
I'd rather die (and reload) than give up my loot. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/evilgrin1.gif" alt="" />


Unless (as you suggested) the person attacking you is someone you want to preserve for some other reason, perhaps, yes. For example, if you know that killing someone in this faction will break a quest for you, or cause you to be fined more than your bribe. Or if reloading takes any significant amount of time, and you have scads of cash. Or, for me the best one: if killing them would cause you to have problems, morally.

And that whole "loot" thing - that's exactly what I'm arguing against anyway. Mobs should not, I feel, just be things to click on until dead, then to loot. I prefer a little more moral depth to my massacres. There's no moral qualm in killing something that attacks you once it sees you, until you kill it. But there is, in one who growls if you come close to its nest, attacks if you come closer, then rolls on its back and tries to surrender if you hand it its [nocando] on a plate.

Quote
I wouldn't want to talk out my differences with every thug or thief who started something with me.


Completely agree: compulsory pacifism would get old fast, and would feel too Disney - but I'd just like the option. I hate having to play every single game as a violent jarhead who doesn't think at all about leaving more corpses lying around the countryside than the first day of hunting season.

Quote
It could be interesting to have a quest where you were sent to kill some demon or wizard, but they were impossible to beat, requiring you to yield and talk your way out of the situation.


Yeah - though, some would whine like that not being able to kill him was destroying their freedom of choice, so I'd be inclined to just give him the ability to be killed, but make it near-impossibly hard. Plonk him in some source of infinite heals, perhaps, so you would need to kill him in one hit, or get him away from that source.

But then people might grumble that although there were multiple solutions, the difficulty of the solutions was not equal. But, sod them, I say :P

Quote
If there are going to be any responses based on stats or skills, a perceptive person might be able to spot an opponents fake surrender pleas, and get an option to accept, then do a fakeout-turn-your-back-while-preparing-a-counterattack move.
Heh - great idea. Evil, but great <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Quote
Opponents that attack and then flee are annoying, especially weak ones.


Not as annoying (to me) as having them just stand there and die like gormless cannonfodder <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/disagree.gif" alt="" />
Nipping in, attacking, then fleeing is the obvious tactical move, especially if you are weak.
If it gets annoying, I'd invest in a bow to pick them off as they run away.

Quote
If weaker opponents (ie without appreciable experience points or loot) simply avoided you, though, that would be good. There were a couple artifacts in one of the old Ultima games (or maybe Final Fantasy?) that would either repel weak opponents and attract strong ones, or repel strong and attract weak. The same kind of thing could be done with a skill or spell.


Ooh, nice ideas. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Though, weak/strong boundary would need to be judged relative to your own strength, to scale.

Quote
Welcome to the forum. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />
Thanks <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


Game Designer - ThudGame.com
Technical Director - MorganAlley.com
Associate Producer - PayneAndRedemption.com
QA Lead - Furcadia.com
#341539 17/09/07 06:46 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
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[color:"orange"]Or, for me the best one: if killing them would cause you to have problems, morally.[/color]

There are lots of quest or story related reasons you may not wish to fight/kill someone, but unless the game is balanced to have fewer, more strategic fights, I can not see this being a common situation. Unless everyone started off stating their motive before attacking you, it could be hard to keep track of who was misguided, who was acting out of desperation and who was just greedy or evil.

Fight conversations, or background stories, may be more common in friendly towns, but there will likely be animals, demons, evil wizards, etc that either can not or will not accept any compromise. If the enemy's goal is to wipe out all resistance and kill or enslave everyone, you may be able to bribe, trick, or reason with the odd one, but as a general rule if spotted you would either have to kill or be killed. Though as you say, another option some of the time would be nice to have (especially if there were at least some disadvantages or missed opportunities as a result of unnecessary killing)


[color:"orange"]I prefer a little more moral depth to my massacres.[/color]

I don't mind a little moral depth, but as long as there is otherwise enough story and non-combat quests in a game, I'm fine with straight experience points and loot based massacres.


[color:"orange"]There's no moral qualm in killing something that attacks you once it sees you, until you kill it.[/color]

In DD, there was a group of soldiers which fell under a spell, and would attack you on sight. At first I ran away without attacking back. However, I could not tell the army about the situation or otherwise get any help, so I went back and killed them for the experience points. Had I waited, the mind control would have worn off after encountering one of the mages that cast the spell.


[quest to kill an unbeatable foe, forcing a surrender]
[color:"orange"]some would whine like that not being able to kill him was destroying their freedom of choice, so I'd be inclined to just give him the ability to be killed, but make it near-impossibly hard.[/color]

I was thinking more along the lines of just making the opponent a much higher level. If the quest was near the start of the game, the opponent could have a mid or late game level. Talk now, or wait until much, much later to use brute force.


[opponents that attack and then flee]
[color:"orange"]If it gets annoying, I'd invest in a bow to pick them off as they run away.[/color]

Where possible, that is what I would do. It was really annoying in old console games / ports (like Final Fantasy) that had randomly generated encounters as you walked around. You could get the combat intro, then wait for the game to set up combat, then have some weak opponent run away, then get the stats screen showing you got zero experience and loot, then get the combat extro and return to the regular environment. Even some newer games (though none recent, that I know of) can have similar random encounters.

#341540 17/09/07 04:09 PM
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The more you speak of DD, the more extremely cool it sounds. I only came here because I stumbled over the "moral dilemmas" thread in Google and thought "hey cool! People designing games right!"... but now I think I'll have to buy and play these games <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Them and PlaneScape: Torment.

Quote
I can not see this being a common situation.
Not all fights must be moral quandaries, no. But I would argue that "fights that absolutely must be fatal" should be even rarer, or not even exist in the game.
Quote
[...]you would either have to kill or be killed. Though as you say, another option some of the time would be nice to have
But there I disagree. There is no excuse, ever, in any situation whatever, against any monster whatever, for any combat to be required to be fatal. Not even a rat. Not even the big end-of-game badguy. Especially not him!

It is possible to make it so that it's reasonable that you need to only kill or be killed. A crystal monster in an inescapable arena, that can't talk, doesn't breathe knockout gasses, poisoned darts bounce off, and blunt "concussing" weapons shatter it. It's possible... but really sucky game design. That situation would tell me "the game designer spoke of choices and consequences when designing the game, but the level designer was just not listening, and has gone out of his way to strip all choice from me." And if there's a class of monsters that combat must be fatal with, then it's just silly. Worse than silly, it's poor game design. Worse than that, it's a FPS.

I'm also fine with straight experience points and loot based massacres, but only because there is, for the moment, nothing more realistic. Final Fantasy/Anachronox minigame-style combat is, to me, the epitome of combat done wrong in every imaginable way.

No idea if the DD engine has anything relating to NPC interactions with eachother, or if it's a "have them all stand where the designer placed them and wait for the NPC to talk to them" type engine, but in Fallout 3, they'll be using Radiant AI (hopefully not the crippled version from Oblivion), and it occurred to me that NPCs should be able to stop killing eachother, too. ( from http://www.bethsoft.com/bgsforums?showtopic=755396 )

Quote
As I understand it, radiant AI had to be scaled back in earlier games by taking a shotgun to its groin, because otherwise NPCs would end up massacring eachother.

My suspicion is that this is because NPCs had exactly three reactions if other NPCs hit them, steal from them, or otherwise triggered a disposition change:
1 "I'm Oblivious!"
2 "Hey, I'm on your side!/I see wut u did there!" (OK, maybe they only said this to the PC, not sure).
3 "GRAAAH! FITE TO DETH PLZKTHX!"

I propose scrapping the first level, and adding some more levels to more accurately reflect reality.

1 "Hey, I'm on your side!/I see wut u did there!" - verbal acknowledgement of wrongdoing and a warning. Important first step in escalating hostilities... or in changing people's behaviour so that they don't need to escalate.

Opponent reactions can be: insult, ignore, apologise but continue with action, apologise and change selected action. "Sorry, I'll be more careful."

2 "What do you think you are doing? Were you born in a Vault?"...etc. Insults are the lowest level of conflict in real life. They do sometimes escalate, but they deal no damage, and conflict at this level has a good chance of defusing itself. It serves the purpose of making the NPC stop his activity and respond instead to the insult.

Opponent reactions can be: bitchslap, insult, ignore, apologise but continue with action, apologise and change selected action. "At least I wasn't born in a brahmin-shed!"

3 *BITCHSLAP* Yeah. You know you want to slap that annoying fan. Well, so do NPCs. Now they get to. A zero-damage physical attack, perhaps with brief stun and knockback, and a deeply satisfying sound. But it's zero damage. Could escalate, but still, not necessarily.

Opponent reactions can be: attack, bitchslap back (should be low %chance, or can get silly like the link), insult, ignore, apologise but continue with action, apologise and change selected action. "Eh sorry - guess I deserved that." "What was that for?" "Hey... *slap*!"

4 "I'm gonna beat you like a redheaded stepchild!" Even when you enter the realm of doing physical damage, there is no earthly reason that anyone would want to fight a friend to the death. Their goal in combat is to beat their opponent until he gives in or falls unconscious - NOT to kill. They won't draw a weapon.

Opponent reactions are prettymuch defend, surrender, or run, like with any combat, but they do have the option to also escalate the combat by drawing a weapon... but this would not be common. Nobody in a bar brawl whips out a gun or a knife. It's just not done. Surrendering on either side is very likely to be accepted, though they might give one last [censored]slap or curse.

5 "GRAAAH! FITE TO DETH PLZKTHX!" - Between faction members, there is no earthly reason to fight to the death for anything less than a murder. Even in a fight to the death, NPCs should be able to at least try to surrender to eachother.

Opponent reactions as above. Surrendering on either side might not be accepted, but offering it might move the combat down a notch to just a beating (same mechanism as previous, really).

Hope that makes sense. In human interaction, we have many social tools to prevent violence, and one of those is violence escalation levels. Even in murders, it is very rare indeed for someone to switch straight from normal to a murderous rage - they generally slide through "verbal abuse" and "punishment" first. And the vastly overwhelming majority of people who enter those first two conflict levels do NOT go on to the "murderous rage" step. People carrying weapons do not always draw them in combat: in fact, against friends, they almost never do.

So, it's not just the player who could benefit from nonlethal combat.

But, what about the long term? If someone's beaten someone else unconscious, should that affect their disposition to eachother? Make the NPCs avoid eachother more? Likely, yes.



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#341541 17/09/07 10:41 PM
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[color:"orange"]There is no excuse, ever, in any situation whatever, against any monster whatever, for any combat to be required to be fatal.[/color]

I don't see that it makes much difference to gameplay if fights end with death or unconsciousness. There have been games where party members fell unconscious if their hit points fell too low, and the party was defeated if everyone became unconscious. I think this was mostly implemented as an alternative to resurrecting dead party members, though.

Depending on how it is implemented, exclusive non-fatal combat could be seen as an attempt to dumb down the game or target it to young children, which could negatively effect reviews of the game.


[color:"orange"]It is possible to make it so that it's reasonable that you need to only kill or be killed. A crystal monster in an inescapable arena, that can't talk, doesn't breathe knockout gasses, poisoned darts bounce off, and blunt "concussing" weapons shatter it.[/color]

How about conscription and then being dropped in the middle of any war zone? Sure, you might be able to convince the other side you are there against your will, assuming you get close enough to talk without being killed, and they can understand you, and they believe you, and assuming your side doesn't see you and brand you as either a coward or a deserter. In a one on one encounter with an enemy, you might just both withdraw, if there are more you would at best likely end up as a prisoner, which probably wouldn't be very pleasant, and definitely wouldn't make for a good game.


[color:"orange"]Worse than that, it's a FPS.[/color]

Well, we certainly wouldn't want that. I'd rather combat be eliminated completely, and have an adventure game with RPG elements. Actually, I'd buy an adventure game set in Rivellon (same world as DD), Nemisis (BD) or whatever locations Larian has expanded to in the next gen game (AFAIK back in Rivellon, but we will see more areas, or just different ones).


[color:"orange"]No idea if the DD engine has anything relating to NPC interactions with eachother[/color]

NPCs can wander around, and some can change based one certain quests or triggers, but they usually do not independently interact with each other. You can (rarely) get enemies wandering too near to friendly NPCs in a couple of areas and attacking them (important NPCs are protected from dying, though), but NPCs do not steal from each other, pick up anything you have dropped, etc.


[color:"orange"]1 "Hey, I'm on your side!/I see wut u did there!" - verbal acknowledgement of wrongdoing and a warning. Important first step in escalating hostilities... or in changing people's behaviour so that they don't need to escalate.[/color]

In DD there was a particular grumpy entity which would challenge you if approached. By picking the right conversation options, you could safely approach twice (there are a couple quest items near it, if you have gotten those quests), after which it will simply turn hostile if you got too close.


[color:"orange"]3 *BITCHSLAP* Yeah. You know you want to slap that annoying fan.[/color]

This would get used a lot with one particular spoiled brat in DD, who is otherwise protected from any form of direct or indirect attack.


[color:"orange"]In human interaction, we have many social tools to prevent violence, and one of those is violence escalation levels.[/color]

Unfortunately, these levels don't seem to be terribly effective sometimes. Placed in a game and widely implemented, they could make combat realistic enough not to be fun anymore.


[color:"orange"]Even in murders, it is very rare indeed for someone to switch straight from normal to a murderous rage[/color]

Vampires or zombies don't need a murderous rage, they just need to be hungry. Soldiers in a war just need to do what they were trained to do.


Part of the appeal of RPG games is collecting and upgrading equipment, particularly with action RPG games, where that may be the main focus. Getting rid of combat, or mostly replacing it with conversations, will eliminate or greatly reduce this aspect. There was a time when every RPG game was compared to Diablo, and faulted if it didn't have a similar 'collect better equipment so you can kill stronger monsters so you can collect better equipment' model. I don't know about current games in development, but there have been RPG games that were dumbed down and made more combat focused at the insistence of the publishers, because that is where the larger market was (and perhaps still is). Even with at least some movement away from simple action RPGs, I don't see much market for a generalized non-fatal combat scheme.

Alrik has also questioned the necessity of violence in RPGs, here and in other forums (IIRC he posted a couple links in the RPG Snippets topic).

#341542 18/09/07 12:20 PM
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Alrik has also questioned the necessity of violence in RPGs, here and in other forums (IIRC he posted a couple links in the RPG Snippets topic).



At RPGWatch, I recently mused about the lack of a system nowadays like we had with the Virtues in the classic Ultima games.

This is also a question whether I really needd violence in order to complete a task at all - nd in general: Whether I need violence (and *any* combat is violent !) in *any* role playing game at all !

I recently read a review of the old D&D game (by SSI) "Al-Qadim: The Genie's Curse") stating that this game gave experience points rather for solving riddles instead of fighting.

With the top-seller on top of all C-RPGs made by Blizzards, combat has become the de-facto standard (you could call it an "industry standard" as well) for ALL role-playing games to give experience points to characters.

The industry seems to believe that non-violent games wouldn't sell at all - or at least would have no appeal to the potential, desired target group of buyers - otherwise they would've implemented that.

PS:T proves otherwise, but still the industry clearly orients itself towards what slls most : And that was 8and still is) everything involving fast-paced action, like in Blizzards Action-RPGs.

Non-violent RPGs just don't exist. It's as simple as that. Therefore one could argue that violence is in part defining the genre itself. Like FPS games, as well.

Any non-violent RPG would rather turn into an adventure game, only, that no-one ever made this attempt (except in part from PS:T, in which you can fight as well).


The total absence of any ethic system (apart from reputation) like the Virtues System shown in Ultima means in the end that the uindustry believes that ethicvs have no use in C-RPGs - or in ANY video game at all ! I mean - I hardly don't ever know any game outsoide the RPG genre which has some kind of ethics in it. I just don't know any.

The amount of ressources, time and involved developers needed to develop any ethics system in an C-RPG seems so "high" that the companies rather tend to decide to leave such an ethics system out - simply because it costs ressources.

And in the end here the "economization of the real world" takers place, where anything social is consideredmerely to produce costs and is therefore NOT supported, meanwhile everything that FDOES bring money in - the economy, as a whole, companies in special - is supported.

Ethics are seemingly considered an "fluffy", "cloudy" thing that has no real-life effect, instead of for example money coins you can actually hold in your hands and buy miney with them. So, the one thing is supported (the money), manwhile the other thing is not, because you can't hold fast to it.

Which means, that whole concepts like ethics are currently regarded inferior to material concepts, like money, otherwise it would be rather emphasized than they are right now.

In the total end, this "economization of the real wold" leads to something that weighs something rather on its economical ability, status and economical usability than for anything else. Social networks cannot be measured in economical terms, so they aren't implemented and rather ignored.

In the end,. this leads into human beings considered as nothing as "useable" or "non-useable" for econoimy. And that is, in the last end, what the Nazis did with everyone who did - from their point of view - produce nothing but costs. Old people, handicapped people.


This lack of any philosophy, and of any ethics, is a purely materialisric point of view.

And this materialistic point of view materializes in games which implement no ethics, because the companies see no use for ethics to be implemented, because otherwise it *would* be implemented, and because there are no ethics implemented, everything is allowed. Yes, EVERYTHING.

(Except of course things not allowed by some design decisions.)

Last edited by AlrikFassbauer; 18/09/07 12:25 PM.

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#341543 19/09/07 06:23 AM
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You don't see that it makes much difference to gameplay if fights end with death or unconsciousness. And in gameplay terms, if you make there be no difference between knocking out with a stunstick and killing with a sword, there is no difference whatever. But in moral terms, there is a world of difference.

Quote
I don't see much market for a generalized non-fatal combat scheme.
Good that it's notthing like what I'm suggesting then :P I'm just asking for the choice! The OPTION NOT TO KILL if I feel like I don't want to! This is not a hard concept either to understand, or to design into a game.

But there really ought to be gameplay differences for combats against NPCs, at least. Against mobs, perhaps leave it purely to morality, or perhaps have a "pacifist" voluntary challenge (Like nethack: http://www.steelypips.org/nethack/conduct.html ).

The idea of "exclusive non-fatal combat" is even worse than "exclusively fatal combat". Understand that I am arguing for neither: just that in every combat, the choice should exist! If you PC's chosen weapon is the stun-stick, then it may be a harder fight, perhaps: but your opponent will be alive at the end of it. If your PC's chosen speciality is stealth, he should be able to sneak past most fights; if speechcraft, he should be able to talk his way out of them.

Being in the middle of a war zone sounds more like a wargame, not an RPG, but, yes, there might be RP reasons for it I guess: in which case, if the combat was fatal-only, no surrender, no quarter given, then it's harsher even than most war zones. And that would be poor design on the part of a level designer, and would starkly limit the choices of the player.

If the game designer can't make a scenario navigable without wholesale slaughter by the PC, then perhaps they need to rethink the whole scenario, because they have most likely been writing it as a battle sim, not an RPG.

Whether you could make combat "realistic enough not to be fun anymore" depends on what you find fun in RPG combat. Personally, I find the combat "minigame" in almost all rpgs from Ultima 1 to Oblivion becomes just as tedious as the "pipemania" hacking-minigame in BioShock, which is part of why I am arguing against making it a compulsory, fight-every-sodding-monster-in-the-world subgame, and arguing instead for alternatives if the player wishes.

A zombie is an interesting case. Vampires might be reasoned with, but zombies and golems less so. They could, however, still reasonably be fled from, stunned, repelled, sneaked by, trapped, ensorcelled, dispelled, teleported elsewhere, distracted, tricked, or avoided, though, amongst other approaches.

"Let's go bash a mob and get us some phat lewt" is the most unoriginal, unimaginative way of gaining equipment. I'm not arguing that it shouldn't be a possibility, just that avoiding it altogether should also be a possibility, if the player wants to play as, say, a thief, shepherd, illusionist, blacksmith, or indeed anything other than a warrior or psychopath.

Quote
There was a time when every RPG game was compared to Diablo
Diablo... a RPG? It was a Roguelike dungeonbash with no RP elements at all. It saddens me that people think anything in a fantasy setting is a RPG. Then again, people are calling BioShock an RPG, so what can you do? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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Alrik has also questioned the necessity of violence in RPGs,
Well I'm NOT! I'm not questioning the necessity of violence! It would be utterly unrealistic and silly if adventurers did not have the choice to be violent. I am instead questioning the necessity of the necessity of violence. You don't have to have to kill someone in order for the game to be fun, and removing that constraint makes the game, in my opinion, infinitely better, deeper and more fun than if it forces the player's hand.

I enjoy killing people sometimes - but how banal is that decision, if I had no choice anyway? The deaths become meaningless. It's as banal as protecting the children, if the children are invincible: your "decisions" become empty, and lack any moral depth.

@Alrik:
Quote
And this materialistic point of view materializes in games which implement no ethics, because the companies see no use for ethics to be implemented, because otherwise it *would* be implemented, and because there are no ethics implemented, everything is allowed. Yes, EVERYTHING.


I feel that "yes, EVERYTHING" absolutely should be allowed. You have far less of a morality tale if the babies, children and pregnant women either do not exist, or are immortal. You also have far less of a morality tale if you are required to kill them. The best games for exploring your own morality at the moment are the GTAs.

You can only explore your own morality if you have the ability to make moral choices. Those choices need to include the ability to not kill, tht I argued for so vehemently above - but also the ability to kill. Otherwise, powerless, you are just subject to the morality of the game designer. The same with theft, and all other moral decisions.

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1173 is a good article about killable children and child death in Prey. I found it very interesting that despite the kerfuffle, only one person had actually made any kind of moral decision in the game: they decided not to kill the kids. That would have been my FIRST decision. But even the author of the article, horrified by his own actions that he was "forced" to do, mowed them down in their dozens. But one player just ran on by them. A morality decision, and one that I admire the game for giving him, even if he and Richard Garriot are the only two people who might have spotted it.


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#341544 19/09/07 10:46 AM
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[I don't see much market for a generalized non-fatal combat scheme.]
[color:"orange"]Good that it's notthing like what I'm suggesting then :P I'm just asking for the choice! The OPTION NOT TO KILL if I feel like I don't want to![/color]

Let me rephrase that. In the context of a group of evil wizards trying to bring a powerful demon overlord back into the world, both of whom are motivated by hatred and desiring only power and revenge, I can not see how you can *always* have the option for non-violent conflict resolution. Maybe you can banish zombies, mind control animals to send them far from settlements, etc, but the troll you sneak past today could be burning farmhouses tomorrow.

I also don't see where always having the option for non-violence conflict resolution would be a better marketing feature that having this option most (or even some) of the time. Sure, being able to talk your way out of a fight or sneak past enemies, etc is great for role playing, but I don't think there are very many people who would always want a non-violent solution (in a game) regardless of the situation or the type of opponent they faced. Some may choose that path if was possible, but few would lament it if it wasn't.


[color:"orange"]perhaps have a "pacifist" voluntary challenge[/color]

Given that there is a combat system in Larian's next game, I'm not sure how you could save the world as a pacifist. Maybe it could be designed in, but I'm not sure how it can done in a reasonable way.


[color:"orange"]Being in the middle of a war zone sounds more like a wargame, not an RPG[/color]

Most RPGs do involve an ongoing or imminent war, or invading demons, or some group trying to take over or destroy the world.


[color:"orange"]if the combat was fatal-only, no surrender, no quarter given, then it's harsher even than most war zones.[/color]

If surrendering was allowed in the game, you would have to be given an opportunity to escape fairly quickly, or it wouldn't be a terribly exciting game. If your opponents can surrender, and can not be trusted to keep a promise of future non-violence, are you to teleport them to some large jail that they can not escape from and that their friends are not going to try to break them out of?

There are many situations where not killing an opponent is just passing the conflict on to someone else, who (not being the main hero) would be much less likely to be able to handle it. Unless you invent some special places or talents reserved just for the good guys, anything banished can be summoned back, anything teleported away can be teleporter back, or your own allies teleported away. Any animals pacified can be angered and sent back to populated areas, etc.



From the background story for DD, written by one of the original evil mages, to the new generation;

Quote
In my heyday, we of the Damned lived and breathed with one purpose: to avenge the ancient wrongs done to our mighty Order.
...
You must all learn to direct your valuable destructive energies to a greater purpose!
It is your born duty to torture, butcher, enslave and degrade every last member of the Seven Races of Rivellon for what they have done to us! Think of them down there living contentedly in their productive lives when their true destiny is to be at our feet as groveling servants or chattel for our beloved demon allies!
...
I therefore command you with my dying breath to begin the quest for vengeance once again. Sow discord, spread misery and bring death to Rivellon. With the unity of the races truly sundered, there may be enough disorder in the realm to allow the return of our Lord Chaos.
...
Now go forth my children - undemine, spy, murder, rob and torture. Commit every evil act you can think of against our foes, retake the Sword of Lies and open the gates of Hell.
That way, I will be able to return to congratulate you properly - I, and all the dead Legion of the Damned.

Not much room for talking out your differences...

#341545 19/09/07 02:44 PM
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Not much room for talking out your differences...

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> Touchť!


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Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
#341546 19/09/07 05:25 PM
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[color:"orange"]There are many situations where not killing an opponent is just passing the conflict on to someone else, who (not being the main hero) would be much less likely to be able to handle it. Unless you invent some special places or talents reserved just for the good guys, anything banished can be summoned back, anything teleported away can be teleporter back, or your own allies teleported away. Any animals pacified can be angered and sent back to populated areas, etc.[/color]

If people can be resurrected or reborn (or even animated), killing them isn't as final as it may seem, either. Especially when confronting evil mages, it's as much of a "temporary solution" as the methods mentioned above.

Moral standards, on the other hand, don't need to be those of today. There have been times and cultures in which people deemed it just foolish to grant mercy to your foes or in which bringing back trophies from killed foes even was an important way of gaining prestige within society. I have no problem with a fantasy world that doesn't use the moral standards of today and in which no sane hero would consider leaving an "evil" foe alive. Though admittedly, most RPGs in which the player character kills hundreds of enemies lack an own system of moral standards.

#341547 08/11/07 05:46 PM
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don't know if this new game is BD2/DD2 or a whole new thing..?

i would like to see NPC's that join the players team. and i want them to have their own AI routines. if you aren't going to do it properly, don't bother.

if you're not going to have them try to pursue their own ojectives with some degree of intelligence and utilize advantages along the way, don't bother.

if you're not going to make them have preferences for certain weapons, equipment, etc.. and flavour them up with other data, don't bother.

if you're not going to make them have alignments and maybe have them talk to/argue/develop bonds with other team-mates, don't bother..

i don't like the AI i found in BD for monsters or players - and if the non-active char is armed with a ranged weapon WHY DIDN'T YOU MAKE IT TRY TO KEEP DISTANCE FROM THE ENEMIES? -- you really should expand on the tactics and incorporate some settings in your 'trophy' section (so player could maybe specify certain actions to take against certain creatures) - also, if the trophy screen is telling me my characters KNOW a creature is 90% vulnerable to fire and they have some fire arrows/fire weapons/etc then FOR GODS SAKE they should auto-equip them! (..what's the point of having a trophy screen unless to ACT ON that info? ..what's that you say? it's up to the player to do that? ..the less mouse clicking i have to do the better, don't you think?)

you let me pick up a piece of cheese(!) or a stone bottle (which i have found no use for thus far) so go to the trouble of fleshing out the rest of the game also! it's not hard..

..don't bother trying to be an indie company that competes with corporations, your games are cool and all, especially DD and BD. they are just as good if not better then stuff like Baldur's Gate <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> well.. JoWood (german team) is supposed to be a commercial company and their game Gorasul was CRAP! you should be very satisfied with BD! your RTS looks like something I could program (sorry for the backhanded compliment)

just make the coolest darn RPG ever and people will still be buying it in the next 10 years! that's what it's about isn't it? ca$h?.. since the system hasn't yet mind controlled us into buying anything and everything, you're only going to get this cool cash if you cater to your market. so start sowing those seeds! here we are telling you what we want.. notice how it's 90% the same stuff over and over just in differrent forms? ..if you build it WE WILL COME!

i still play old stuff like Wizardry 1! i even spend many hours getting emulators to play these games on my new systems and OTHER PEOPLE also do this..

i spent 48+ hours (non consecutive) getting the info to make the boot disks i needed for a certain game.. now consider i'd also be willing to part with an equivalent amount of cash for an RPG game that has EVERYTHING i want in it! do the math. people pay up to $80 ~ $100 for half decent games like halo3. i'm telling you i'm willing to pay double that if you just bother to make what i'm after.. sure.. don't do it just for me, what's $200 to you? chump change.. but when you multiply this $200 by X amount of people, suddenly it's worth the effort.. i saw 12,000+ people took that poll WHAT CLASS DID YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BD CHARACTERS.. so you've had more than 12,000 sales of BD. it was also recently released as a $9.95 sale, so there will be yet another wave of fans ($10 is not $200 but i digress) i paid $70 for BD 3-4 years ago (i always haggle) ..i hated it untill a week ago when i brought DD for $9.95 - now i just hate DD and retried BD (meh. don't mind me i'm just strange, but most RPG fans are)

[color:"orange"]just make a really cool detailed RPG that allows the player to more or less "experience the world and live in it" and it will still be selling in 10 years.. Wizardry 1 (circa 1980) came with the wizardry gold box set (circa 2004), and they even packaged it with special software to run it because it was SO OLD! (programmed in pascal i think?) [/color]

picking up cheese only goes so far.. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> BD is a great game tho' - heh. i hated it when i first brought it, now 3-4 years later it's cool!


my name was ben. enjoy the journey. facehatguy: (death knight) "this Tea is delightful!" unknown: "the troll you spare today could be burning villages tomorrow" (heh. trolls and fire do not mix)
#341548 09/11/07 02:31 AM
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[color:"orange"]i would like to see NPC's that join the players team. and i want them to have their own AI routines.[/color]

I don't have a strong prefference as to single character vs party systems. It depends on how they are done.

[color:"orange"]if you aren't going to do it properly, don't bother.[/color]

I agree. Parties allow much more flexibility, but there are a lot more things that need to be done right to have a good system.


[color:"orange"]if you're not going to make them have preferences for certain weapons, equipment, etc.. and flavour them up with other data, don't bother.[/color]

I'd rather create a character that I want than try to find a pre-existing character in the game that most closely matches this. I don't mind forming a party from recruited characters, but given a choice I'd probably create my own.


Gorasul had a couple interesting ideas, but was way too short, and very poorly balanced wrt money.
It is my understanding that LED Wars had very good AI for the time it was released. I bought it off eBay awhile ago, but have not got around to trying it yet.

#341549 09/11/07 03:28 AM
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[color:"yellow"]I don't have a strong prefference as to single character vs party systems. It depends on how they are done.[/color]
i used to prefer a team-based RPG such as Baldur's Gate etc. but single player RPG's such as BD and DD have proven to me it's possible to make a decent single player RPG - that is, when summoned or NPC's follow/join the player. (otherwise it's too hard to do it alone, and show me the magalomaniac hero who attempts to save the realm by his lonesome and i'll show you a fresh naieve corpse <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> )

[color:"yellow"]I agree. Parties allow much more flexibility, but there are a lot more things that need to be done right to have a good system.[/color]
we're on the same page there.. we could maybe flesh out those things (what would need to be done) you up for it?

[color:"yellow"] I'd rather create a character that I want than try to find a pre-existing character in the game that most closely matches this. I don't mind forming a party from recruited characters, but given a choice I'd probably create my own. [/color]
ah, of course.. we'd all take 'Arnie' as our warrior if we could..
have randomly generated chars for this purpose? it would require some work, but would deliver what you're after.. i'm open to the idea of 'pre-generated' characters IF they can level up and develop also.. (and possibly if the player is charismatic enough/whatever, they may develop under your instruction/tutelage?)

[color:"yellow"]Gorasul had a couple interesting ideas, but was way too short, and very poorly balanced wrt money. [/color]
agreed. some of those random encounters were cool, enchanting your weapon was cool. the mini RTS in the kobold village was nice. the 2 tests in the dragon cave was nifty.. too bad only 15% of the classes were catered for, and many other letdowns.. i'm still scratching my head wondering why it spanned 3-4 CD's???

[color:"yellow"]It is my understanding that LED Wars had very good AI for the time it was released. I bought it off eBay awhile ago, but have not got around to trying it yet. [/color]
never heard of it. will google. is it like XenoGears? (i hear that is nice)

pleasure to interface with you, RPG unit <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />


my name was ben. enjoy the journey. facehatguy: (death knight) "this Tea is delightful!" unknown: "the troll you spare today could be burning villages tomorrow" (heh. trolls and fire do not mix)
#341550 09/11/07 09:52 AM
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i'm still scratching my head wondering why it spanned 3-4 CD's???


4 CD's is merely 3 Gig. That's not even ONE DVD <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />. Baldur's Gate wasn't very big either, and that was four (or was it even five?) CD's.

Besides, most of the space was taken up by the graphics. 2D-graphics requires a lot of space, due to the fact that you have to save a lot of images/move etc. I'm not sure exactly how they work, but they require a lot of space compared to 3D-graphics.

‹bereil


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#341551 09/11/07 12:23 PM
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[color:"orange"]we could maybe flesh out those things (what would need to be done) you up for it?[/color]

Perhaps. Most general AI requirements are 'obvious' though, and the details of design would depend on a lot of stuff about Larian's next game we do not know.

Some rough comments follow (it is very late here <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/sleepey.gif" alt="" /> ) on the minimum requirements for a relatively good/flexible system.

Ranged characters
- need to be able to retreat from direct confrontation, when terrain, stamina or enemy numbers allow
- should only target nearby opponents, or (perhaps better) those already being attacked by another character. Attacking strong opponents that have not noticed you yet can be a bad thing, so there should either be a range limit for automatic attacks, or one based on the strength and numbers of opponents.

Melee characters
- in addition to the usual defensive / normal / aggressive modes, it would be nice to be able to assign characters to protect other party members (either specific characters or anyone in trouble)

All
- settings to attack the nearest / weakest / strongest opponent, to only attack an enemy already under attack or follow another character's lead
- position settings, to stay up frond, stay back, provide support where needed, run away at the slightest sign of danger...
- settings for when to use potions or healing spells, or call for help

Magic is the most complicated, and the hardest to do well.
- Without a spell that does physical damage (or something else generally effective against most opponents), a mage would need to switch spell types based on the opponent.
- In order to avoid wasting mana, a mage would also have to change the strength of spells used, or even switch to a bow, etc for weak opponents.

There is a further complication in that where you are in the game determines how free you are with mana usage, which is something the game's AI can not take into account. If you know there is a tough fight ahead, you may not want to use any mana at all with a mid-strength opponent, but if you are almost back to town and don't want any delays, you might want to blast weaker opponents with a strong spell to finish them off faster.


[color:"orange"]i'm open to the idea of 'pre-generated' characters IF they can level up and develop also.[/color]

I thought you were promoting pre-generated characters with your comments on party AI (individual objectives, weapon preferences, etc). I suppose backgrounds or personalities could be selectable when creating a character, or based on character class, etc (with certain restrictions). Any romances or individual specific quests would have to be pre-done, even if you could customize the character at the start of the game or modify behaviour (weapon training, skills, etc) during.

Whether you start off with a custom character or have to find pre-generated characters in the game to join your party, they would have to level and develop.


[color:"orange"]never heard of it.[/color]

LED Wars is Larian's RTS game, that you gave the backhanded compliment to above.

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