Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:43 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

Perhaps when the officer dies the unit keeps functioning but without the benefits brought by the officer, at which point you promote another up and start developing that one.
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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:15 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

Iv121 wrote:Prob is they loose value as humans as a result, they becomes just a bunch of NPCs, and if the officer dies so dies all of the crew attached to it as the stats are now lost, if you just replace that person on auto it becomes even more robotic and less human, as well as means that you cannot physically loose that unit properly.

You can't have huge fleets and also have the NPCs have value as individual beings. It just doesn't work like that. But, honestly, even if it did, your idea doesn't give them value as humans either. Making people become attached to NPCs is very hard; it's something that even serious games have to put a lot of thought and work into, and even then it only works on a small scale. You become attached to the couple of people who are important. Nothing any game can do will ever make me or anyone else care about all two hundred crewmembers individually, under any circumstances. Maybe you could make me care about the captain? But I kinda doubt it. What you want is impossible. They are always going to be just a bunch of NPCs. This is true of every game. There can never be more than a handful of face characters and all the rest are redshirts.

My suggestion for the officers problem would be to make the NPC crews tied to the modules of the ship. We're already doing that, right? Engines damaged is one thing, bridge damaged is another, and the game knows which is which so it can affect things in different ways. Well, if the bridge was destroyed, then figure there's some percent chance the bridge crew was killed and some percent chance they made it to escape pods. If they were killed, they're all dead, the crew is lost, time to train a new one. If they made it to escape pods, they can be collected after the battle by whoever wins. Same goes for the engineering bay or the flight deck or whatever. If the crew died, the officer died, but it doesn't matter because they're all dead and you need a new one anyway. If they survived, he survived, and there's no problem.
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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:50 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

Getting people attached to NPCs in a sandbox game just isn't doable. I've seen exactly one game that managed to do it, and that was storyline-driven.
Fuckin' Chopper, man. Made me cry like a baby.

So yeah, Iv's suggestion simply can't be done. I'm with LJS on pretty much everything.
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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:54 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

Tau wrote:Getting people attached to NPCs in a sandbox game just isn't doable. I've seen exactly one game that managed to do it, and that was storyline-driven.
Fuckin' Chopper, man. Made me cry like a baby.

So yeah, Iv's suggestion simply can't be done. I'm with LJS on pretty much everything.


As am I.
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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:56 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

Mistake Not... wrote:
Iv121 wrote:Prob is they loose value as humans as a result, they becomes just a bunch of NPCs, and if the officer dies so dies all of the crew attached to it as the stats are now lost, if you just replace that person on auto it becomes even more robotic and less human, as well as means that you cannot physically loose that unit properly.

You can't have huge fleets and also have the NPCs have value as individual beings. It just doesn't work like that. But, honestly, even if it did, your idea doesn't give them value as humans either. Making people become attached to NPCs is very hard; it's something that even serious games have to put a lot of thought and work into, and even then it only works on a small scale. You become attached to the couple of people who are important. Nothing any game can do will ever make me or anyone else care about all two hundred crewmembers individually, under any circumstances. Maybe you could make me care about the captain? But I kinda doubt it. What you want is impossible. They are always going to be just a bunch of NPCs. This is true of every game. There can never be more than a handful of face characters and all the rest are redshirts.


We could have a list of randomly-selected personalities for NPCs that would make them tend towards one area of a spectrum of responses and behaviors, then a longer, more specific list for more important characters like officers. We'd just have to do a lot of conversation writing, but most people on the forum can help with that when the time comes. I don't know how we could make it any more personal than that. We could also have a set of aptitude values like intelligence, physical prowess, etc. that can increase over time or if there are the appropriate facilities in their birthplace.
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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:03 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

That's kinda Mount & Blade does it. You have Lords, which have personalities that change dynamically based on the player, and you have everything else where interactions are scripted. Because let's face it, no one really gives a crap about Steve in engineering, but just having him there working on the plasma tubing about to explode his face off adds to immersion a lot.

In retrospect it's more or less like Millenaire's villagers versus vanilla villagers in terms of mechanics.
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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:06 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

While I don't think we will get any emotional attachments to NPCs, it would still be useful to have the skills of units upgradable, and an officer could be a decent interface for that.

Alternatively we can have robots do everything, which I'd fucking love but I gather that's just me.
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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:25 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

Crew experience is probably doable. That would at least give you a reason to try and keep them alive.

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Post Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:43 pm

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

fr0stbyte124 wrote:Crew experience is probably doable. That would at least give you a reason to try and keep them alive.

Yeah, I just got flashes of some of my younger brothers genocidal activities on a grand scale. They really should be necessary to some degree.
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Post Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:54 am

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

I believe there is nothing that keeps you from having individual crew members either, you highly overrate the performance hit that will result from it , and until Frost doesn't say its undoable I don't buy from you it's undoable (not from you at least), it's true in this case I don't really know and I expect a performance hit on big vessels but I will only trust Frost's word on it, from my perspective it is possible. As for the performance hit , you gonna suffer performance hit from weapons, so what ? Remove them entirely ? Everything you make will have performance hit, only if that performance hit is big enough it becomes impossible to implement a system.

In other words waiting for you frost as only you can tell if it is doable. If it is not I would like you to also give opinion about having crew teams on big ships while keeping NPCs on smaller ships individual, after all I believe that throughout the course of the game no more than 2-3 dreads will ever be made by players, the rest will be NPC dreads that are already detached from those limitations.




Finally another possibility is to have the data not attached to the officer or individual members but rather to the crew team as whole. You can collect a few crew members and declare them as a group, from that point on they will get a bonus to their functions and store their data together, each one keeps two personal data - Name and texture ID perhaps, but this data is attached to the team and not to the person anymore and can be assigned to different entities at random, that means that this person with that texture and name exists among the crew but there is no need to track him and keep him loaded all the time. This system means that if the team officer dies it won't mean a whole team reset but only partial damage to the team stats, same goes with crew members leaving or dying.

If a crew member leaves the team we just calculate his portion out of the whole team experience share, deduct it from the team and attach it back to the crew member, also he looses the bonuses he gets from being attached to a team, this will stimulate players to attach NPCs to crew teams instead of having 1000 separate crew members. Also this system allows you to treat crew members individually in a large variety of cases, for example if a crew member is injured, you can take him specifically to the medical ward and when you come back it will be the same person and not some other random dude. This also allows the player to select the team size suitable specifically for his ship size, will it be individuals for small ships or large teams with 50 members each.
Last edited by Iv121 on Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:12 am

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

It's not a matter of performance hit. What we need to ask is can we reasonably pull off NPC crewmembers with enough uniqueness that they should be treated as individuals? Even in character driven games like Mass Effect, the crew members who weren't in the main cast didn't have names or dialog trees, or even say more than one line. They were scenery. Can we expect to do better in a sandbox with no campaign or plot?

We could generate random names for them, if you wanted, or even let them accrue XP individually so that veteran crewmembers are more valuable than new recruits, but that is about as far as I think we can go where individuality is concerned. I really don't want to go the Dwarf Fortress route of giving each one a full bio and personality profile, or mess with elements that aren't going to directly affect gameplay.
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Post Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:15 am

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

This is up to you how personal they become, Uthgard from Skyrim is a totally mindless mob, she doesn't even talk, yet Sips did manage to attach a personality to her. We can help the player with it BTW - Instead of adding personal stories you add a set of behaviors, the ability to have them text based means that we can make a large quantity of personalities easily, and if we really want to we can voice them later ...
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Post Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:21 am

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

I personally think trying to do that is a waste of a serious amount of time and energy which ought to be directed towards one of our many, many gameplay goals. In Minecraft, you are completely alone, and NPCs are closer to mobs than anything. In Futurecraft, we have the opportunity can create living civilizations that interact with the world on a societal level. Anything beyond that already lofty goal just seems like decadence, in my opinion.
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Post Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:25 am

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

In your chase of gameplay you forget the details, those little details build a LIVING universe, crew members begin as individuals anyway, my system above has only benefits and solved all the problems there are with grouping crew members, and moreover it can be later expanded to accumulate that personality stuff, so why the heck not ? When you get time for this you can easily do it, and even without it the mere fact it has a name and you know how it looks like turns it a little from it to he (or she, or back to it, depending on what it is), depending on the imagination of the player.
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Post Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:32 am

Re: Cities, NPCs, and vehicles.

If the selling point was a completely immersive world, sure, but it's not. Our mission is to give players an unprecedented amount of freedom to explore and create, and everything else is just icing. I'll keep this in mind for down the road once we can get a better estimate on the work required to pull it off, but as things currently stand, it's a distraction. For now, we need to do what we can to work within the bounds of a ship-level ownership of NPCs. If we can figure out a trick to giving them individuality, all the better, but if not we can't afford to go out of our way on this to make it happen.
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