NPC Faction Ideas
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So we all know that NPCs are coming...eventually. And what zombie apocalypse would be complete without a few ragtag groups of survivors that, more often than not, end up being a bigger threat than the zombies? 

 

The Walking Dead has groups like the Saviors and the Whisperers. Fallout has raiders, super mutants, and all sorts of colorful groups. What groups will rise from the ashes of society in Project Zomboid? Here a few ideas I had for possible NPC factions for late-game:

 

The West Point Militia

A group of ragtag civilians with guns and ammo pilfered from the trusty West Point gun store, led by the former mayor of the town. They are initially camped out by the north bridge connected West Point to Valley Station, but their goal is to "take back" West Point from the undead and establish a safe zone by walling off the downtown area. Inspired by Walking Dead's Woodbury. 

 

The Inmates

Following a bloody riot, the surviving prisoners of Knox Penitentiary stormed the prison's armory and wiped out the guards, establishing control over the entire facility. Once under lock and key by the state of Kentucky, they are now a formidable gang of thugs, murderers, rapists, and all forms of criminals with heavy weaponry and an impressive base of operations. The few guards and corrections staff left alive are little more than slaves to the Inmates, forced to help maintain the facility and often the target of abuse by the prisoners. Surprisingly (and thankfully), despite no longer languishing behind bars, the Inmates rarely venture outside the fences of the penitentiary. However, the food stockpile in the prison's kitchen won't last forever...

 

The Faithkeepers

Controversial pastor Dan Firebaugh leads a small group of heavily-armed right-wing religious cultists from his fortified church in March Ridge. The group, known as the Faithkeepers, believes the End Times are upon them, and that God is raising the dead to punish the world for its sins. During the day, they keep to themselves, holed up in their church chanting prayers and listening to hate-filled, ranting sermons from Pastor Firebaugh. But at night, they roam the streets of March Ridge and beyond, preying on helpless survivors (or as they like to call them, "sinners and heathens") and murdering anyone they deem a threat to their twisted, bloody ideology. Inspired by...well, I'm pretty sure you can guess. 

 

National Guard Remnants

Unbeknownst to the news media, the establishment of the Exclusion Zone was not the first attempt by the military to contain the Knox outbreak. On July 7, 1993, the 238th Regiment of the Kentucky National Guard was deployed to Knox County on a clandestine mission authorized by the President himself. The troops thought they were being deployed for disaster relief and riot control due to the unconfirmed reports of a viral outbreak throughout the county. Instead, they walked into a slaughterhouse. The operation was a disaster, and the thousand-man-strong 238th was reduced to a few dozen Guardsmen within three days of deployment, prompting the military and the federal government to withdraw and set up the Knox Exclusion Zone. Now cut off from their commanding officers and stranded in the middle of a war zone, the few remaining soldiers of the 238th must regroup and form a plan to make it to the Exclusion Zone border, or die trying.

 

These are just a few of the ideas that crossed my mind. What kind of NPC factions would you like to see?

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2 hours ago, Brex said:

So we all know that NPCs are coming...eventually. And what zombie apocalypse would be complete without a few ragtag groups of survivors that, more often than not, end up being a bigger threat than the zombies? 

 

The Walking Dead has groups like the Saviors and the Whisperers. Fallout has raiders, super mutants, and all sorts of colorful groups. What groups will rise from the ashes of society in Project Zomboid? Here a few ideas I had for possible NPC factions for late-game:

 

 

I don't want the NPC's to become a bigger threat than the zombies, and I started to hate The Walking Dead when it became a people drama. You know the most recent season finale (or whatever episode that was where all the gangs tried to screw over Rick's crew) had one zombie in it, right? ONE ZOMBIE!!! And it was just a dead main character, so that doesn't even really count. It's just the actress with some makeup to pale her skin, and some gray contacts, nothing creative like the zombies in TWD usually are. (side note, I didn't care one bit that she died because the characters of the show have no "character" and the writers suck at developing them, writing their dialogue, and getting me to care about any of them. Seriously, Rick, Carl, Michone, and Daryl could all die in the same episode and I would not care, where as a few years ago I would have flipped. That show sucks now.). Also, I gotta say, I don't want these set-in-stone Walking Dead-esque NPC groups. I want a more dynamic system in place than that. Now, it would be fine if the system was so sophisticated that sometimes it would create these huge bands of survivors that go to war with each other, but seriously, it would get old for me having the same groups pop up over and over.

Edited by BayCon

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I don't think that preset factions would fit well in the game.

 

Rather than have these different factions form on their own in the exact same place every time, let the players influence just how territory changes hands and what factions form. Have the game start with no factions as the quarantine was just recently placed on the game area, and have NPCs/the player form them on their own over time.

 

  • Allows the player to feel their actions have direct consequence earlier on. Clearing an infested warehouse and coming back later to find bandits have set up shop is a more enriching experience than the warehouse having always had a preset group.

 

  • Deeper player agency as they discover what actions can be taken to ensure different consequences. For example, this could be helping someone badly hurt, and weeks later when they're the leader of a nearby group they might be more receptive to bartering.

Instead of the prison always having a tough set of armed inmates, let the game decide what outcome happens. Say the prison always starts with a dozen inmates, and five guards. What are their traits? Upon world generation, the prisoners could all end up psychopathic, athletic brawlers that massacre the guards, or a mishmashed group of craven gardeners and hunters that are quickly put in check. This means several things:

 

  1. The results add variety and depth to the prison area
  2. The player could arrive at the prison early and directly influence the outcome
    1. This allows for deeper consequences. You could help the prisoners take over, and then later they could ally with your own faction, or perhaps they just decide to terrorize the entire Rosewood area instead.

 

I think there's just too much to be explored with more RNG-decided factors, rather than preset factions.

 

Edited by hunger john

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Humans are the bigger threat. Zombies are dumb and easy to manipulate. They have always been one of the biggest chumps in horror because they rely solely on infection and numbers.

 

Late game, humans would be the threat.

And I think the best way to create factions is to not look too deep.

The best you can do Is have a raider faction which will attack the player on sight and a Militia faction where they will act as a post apocalyptic society and help protect you from raiders.

But I would love to be scavenging and walk into a random encounter event of just two NPC groups in an all out firefight.

 

 

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This is the logical result of the zombie apocalypse and the evolution of humanity.

Whether you like it or not, unfortunately, people are more dangerous than any other living or dead organisms.

 

7 hours ago, BayCon said:

I don't want the NPC's to become a bigger threat than the zombies, and I started to hate The Walking Dead when it became a people drama.

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I don't think I've been clear about my thought process behind my opinion. I'm talking about the game. From a gameplay perspective, I would rather have NPC's as an accessory to the survival experience, not as my main threat. It just sounds boring. No matter how many experiences Lemmy programs, or how good the AI is, no matter how many lines of dialogue Will writes, there will most likely come a point when we've seen it all, and I don't want my reward for late-game survival to be, almost exclusively, interactions with NPC's that I've already experienced time after time. It just sounds boring to me. Frankly, the cheapening of zombies in TWD (aside from the terrible writing, half-explored character arcs and development, dialogue that consists almost entirely of TV language/punch lines and bad jokes, and predictable storyline with terrible pacing that only relies on its finales) is what drained my interest in the show.

 

I can understand wanting to play with people, because people are living, unpredictable entities. People will always offer you a new experience if you interact with them. No matter how many gray hairs Lemmy sprouts from working on NPC interactions, they cannot provide the same unlimited experiences and interactions that real people can. Whether it takes 2 hours, or 200 hours, we will see it all. People do whatever they want, but NPC's only do what the programmer tells them to, and that's why I don't want them to turn my playthroughs into The Walking Dead. In a way, those characters act more like NPC's than people anyway, creating contrived problems where they don't really need to happen and things like that.

 

Now, this is not to show doubt or distaste toward the capabilities of Lemmy or anyone else working on the development of NPC's, and it's certainly not to discourage them. I just don't think I personally would enjoy trying to have meaningful interactions with computer-controlled characters over my own personal stories of survival. I would enjoy having those interactions along with my daily quest for survival against zombies and all of the other threats found in Zomboid, but I would not want them to replace it.

Edited by BayCon

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9 hours ago, BayCon said:

 

I don't want the NPC's to become a bigger threat than the zombies, and I started to hate The Walking Dead when it became a people drama. You know the most recent season finale (or whatever episode that was where all the gangs tried to screw over Rick's crew) had one zombie in it, right? ONE ZOMBIE!!! And it was just a dead main character, so that doesn't even really count. It's just the actress with some makeup to pale her skin, and some gray contacts, nothing creative like the zombies in TWD usually are. (side note, I didn't care one bit that she died because the characters of the show have no "character" and the writers suck at developing them, writing their dialogue, and getting me to care about any of them. Seriously, Rick, Carl, Michone, and Daryl could all die in the same episode and I would not care, where as a few years ago I would have flipped. That show sucks now.). Also, I gotta say, I don't want these set-in-stone Walking Dead-esque NPC groups. I want a more dynamic system in place than that. Now, it would be fine if the system was so sophisticated that sometimes it would create these huge bands of survivors that go to war with each other, but seriously, it would get old for me having the same groups pop up over and over.

 

This isn't a forum for you to rant about how much you hate a TV show. A TV show I happen to like, for your information. However, your "answer" is duly noted regardless.

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Oh, I could not understand you at once, forgive me and my English. I agree with you. Zombies - this is the biggest and most widespread threat for the player. The main goal of the game should be exactly the confrontation of the zombies, so it will be, because the first zombies appeared in the game, and not the NPC. 

But NPCs in turn should be more dangerous, like the enemy. At least because they should be smarter than zombies. Nevertheless, NPCs will not be numerous and the NPCs themselves will also have to fight zombies and other needs in order to survive. Therefore, I agree with you, the game must have a basis to survive in the fight against zombies, hunger and other needs, and struggle and interaction with the NPC should and will be a secondary factor (as a great and pleasant addition)

 

It is clear that NPCs are not many opportunities and most likely they will only be the shadows of real players. But these shadows will make the game a little more real, fun and unpredictable, and most importantly, they will be able to add to each game an AI element of surprise that will allow you to play again and again and again!

In addition, playing only with your friends, without a public server, you don't have to just mechanically kill zombies when you want entertainment, you and your friends can compete in accuracy and teamwork with the NPC.

 

I doubt that someone builds on the NPC of hope more than real people. I think the NPC has the sense to bring into the game more realism, diversity and atmosphere, and not to take the place of the main gaming threat in zombies. However, the NPC must be determined by the terrible and most formidable opponent in a momentary battle.

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You are telling the truth, but please don't be aggressive.

In addition, the main thing is please less spoilers, I have not watched the last eight episodes :D

 

15 minutes ago, Brex said:

This isn't a forum for you to rant about how much you hate a TV show.

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Zombies aren't really a threat apart from the "set up" period. Especially for an experienced player.

 

You learn to control and maneuver zombies to your liking. You know how to make sound lead zombies into different places. You know how to make a base so zombies can't overrun you.

Humans are, can, and will always be ab bigger threat than zombies. If we have survivors that are all friendly, it is going to be boring VERY quickly. Survivors should form factions, they shouldn't always be nice and THAT makes tension. Approaching humans shouldn't be "Hi Tom how are you today?" it should be a tense situation when you discover them.

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3 hours ago, Damien Darkside said:

Zombies aren't really a threat apart from the "set up" period. Especially for an experienced player.

 

You learn to control and maneuver zombies to your liking. You know how to make sound lead zombies into different places. You know how to make a base so zombies can't overrun you.

Humans are, can, and will always be ab bigger threat than zombies. If we have survivors that are all friendly, it is going to be boring VERY quickly. Survivors should form factions, they shouldn't always be nice and THAT makes tension. Approaching humans shouldn't be "Hi Tom how are you today?" it should be a tense situation when you discover them.

 

Agreed. The zombies are a definite threat, but they're also slow, dumb, and predictable. Humans are unpredictable. You never know if the survivor at your doorstep is an innocent soul seeking refuge or a starving cannibal who's just as hungry for flesh as the undead. 

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I think we should give the zombie a permanent opportunity to get into your home, so that there are not such dishonest ways to save the base as closing it with cars :D

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2 hours ago, Margera said:

I think we should give the zombie a permanent opportunity to get into your home, so that there are not such dishonest ways to save the base as closing it with cars :D

I imagine that's what NPCs are going to be if you chose to live with them, they come back from looting one day, die of a bite they didn't tell you about at night and eat your brains.

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On 5/26/2017 at 11:57 PM, Brex said:

 

This isn't a forum for you to rant about how much you hate a TV show. A TV show I happen to like, for your information. However, your "answer" is duly noted regardless.

 

I mean it's fine if you like it and would like to praise it, but it's equally fine for me to hate it and trash it. You or anyone else liking the show doesn't (and shouldn't) discourage me, or anyone for that matter, from criticizing or trashing it. I'm simply keeping the comparison that some of you made to The Walking Dead. I was saying why and how placing humans as the primary threat ruined the show due to how poorly it was done (in my opinion) and could also ruin the game. However, you're right, I did go a little to far off on my tangent.

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On 5/27/2017 at 0:10 AM, Margera said:

Oh, I could not understand you at once, forgive me and my English. I agree with you. Zombies - this is the biggest and most widespread threat for the player. The main goal of the game should be exactly the confrontation of the zombies, so it will be, because the first zombies appeared in the game, and not the NPC. 

But NPCs in turn should be more dangerous, like the enemy. At least because they should be smarter than zombies. Nevertheless, NPCs will not be numerous and the NPCs themselves will also have to fight zombies and other needs in order to survive. Therefore, I agree with you, the game must have a basis to survive in the fight against zombies, hunger and other needs, and struggle and interaction with the NPC should and will be a secondary factor (as a great and pleasant addition)

 

It is clear that NPCs are not many opportunities and most likely they will only be the shadows of real players. But these shadows will make the game a little more real, fun and unpredictable, and most importantly, they will be able to add to each game an AI element of surprise that will allow you to play again and again and again!

In addition, playing only with your friends, without a public server, you don't have to just mechanically kill zombies when you want entertainment, you and your friends can compete in accuracy and teamwork with the NPC.

 

I doubt that someone builds on the NPC of hope more than real people. I think the NPC has the sense to bring into the game more realism, diversity and atmosphere, and not to take the place of the main gaming threat in zombies. However, the NPC must be determined by the terrible and most formidable opponent in a momentary battle.

 

There are a lot of things I would like to respond to here so I'll break it down by paragraph. :)

 

Paragraph 1: I agree with what you said about the zombies. They should be the primary threat. If I wanted to play a game where interactions with NPC's and characters pushed zombies to the side, I'd play The Walking Dead game by Telltale, which I wouldn't, because after awhile the plot becomes even worse than TWD on AMC.

 

Paragraph 2. That is the intended purpose of NPC's, yes, however, I argue that there has never been a game with NPC's where there hasn't come a point where we've seen it all, and I think unless the developers release a few patches and updates concerning NPC behavior after they are released, this will happen with Zomboid as well. That's not necessarily a bad thing, either. From what I've heard, Lemmy is programming a very advanced and complicated system for NPC behavior, and I'm interested in seeing just how many possibilities it provides for NPC-player interactions.

 

Paragraph 3: I'm not sure what you mean by "you and your friends can compete in accuracy and teamwork with the NPC's." Could you clarify? :)

 

Paragraph 4: I hope no one expects the NPC's to be like real people, and I certainly hope zombies don't take the back seat later in the game so we can have these weird faction wars and character dramas. I would be fine if the official NPC's were like the NPC's in nolanritchie's "Survivors!" mod, just slightly smarter and with more lines of dialogue.

 

 

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I like the preset NPCs, but only as a sandbox option, where you could choose which ones to use and which ones not to use if you so chose to use preset groups. I agree with HungerJohn in that things should be different every time. Here are some groups that would be cool presets. Most of them are based off of some from the book I'm writing that may or may not ever get published. Either way, here goes.

1. FEMA- there is a point in the beggining where the main characters end up at a FEMA shelter and get to see how everything there falls apart. having a refugee center of some kind would be nice.

2. This is actually two different groups that are opposite sides of the same coin. One is a group that has walled of a section of their town and tries to emulate puritan beliefs, while the other lives in a nearby town and they are a group of Satanists, and the survivors in the areas in between are plagued with the war these two groups are in, having to deal with trouble from both sides.

3. Scavengers- at one point when the main character's group is moving to another base, o few of his people that stayed behind for a few days got attacked by a group of rag-tag of survivors that had made all of their stuff with scraps of other things, like a shield that used to be a stop sign, for example.

4. Cannibals- this is pretty self explanatory. In my book however, it's a little more complex. They live in a cave near a large town, and they lure people in by giving them shelter (at the point the main characters meet them, it's in the middle of a particularly harsh winter) then trap them inside and eat them.

 

those are just a few of the encounters my characters have faced, and with all of them there is a lot more going on then just what I put, but I figured that this would suffice.

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Very nice, very good. Four years ago I also dreamed about what I would like NPCs to be.. ;-)

 

Find a job. Leave it. Find another one. Save some pennies over two years. Buy yourself a car. Sell it. Buy another one. visit Uganda, Mexico and Taiwan. Get throught full Witcher game series. Get married. have a child. Divorce. Become a ninja. Get bored. Come back to check if the NPCs are in, creative mode is in, super-duper meta-events despite shots here and there are in. Animations.. maybe before the divorce. Id like to see animals, stealthing, NPCs story mode, where different scenarios mix up giving a great non-predictible effect. I loved this idea :-)  gangs, another ui revamp. Sadistic AI Director, which has been abandoned and had to be merged with NPCs stories, kate and baldspot, fast weekly updates etc, etc..

You just can't introduce these promised, super-advanced NPCs before everything else, because any new features are going to crash them or will require very unefficient backwarding in coding. Sooo.. see you in some years :D

 

OK, conclusion of my offtopic: PERFECTIONISM IS BAD - surely for this game development. All the promises and not obligatory features made, show a very complicated, burdensome picture of elements which may be finished in far future, or may not be finished at all due to merciless time flow. Or may be implemented as not state-of-the-art piece of stuff :-)  Of course you could try to cheat the time flow with earned cash, but you may quickly run out of funds..

 

Anyway, I like the concept, it feeds imagination. Reading mondoids has been fun for these few years, and I'll continue doing that through my lifepath :-P  I wish you that your deams came true :-)

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Personally I think that there sholud be something in between pre set factions and random groups.

I mean there sholud be chances of spawning aggresive survivor inmates in prison, maybe bikers gang in Twiggy's, Hunters in shooting range or/and Forest shacks, maybe some cult like group in one of the churches, also chances to meet survivors of particular occupation near their former work places.

But it all should be a chance still. Like with burned buildings.

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Boat People:

  Just like Prestige Worldwide, some people own a boat.  On one of the most navigated rivers in America, the Ohio, at the first sign of trouble, people would take to their boats.  They could move up and down that river, safe from the zombie hordes.  Also, safe from scavengers and whack-jobs.  Some of these boat people might make a quick stop at the West Point docks, just to see if they can grab some easy loot.  Which, of course, they can't.  West Point's undead population is well over 10,000; evidenced by the number of zombies I re-deaded with a hammer during my last play through, which was strictly in West Point.  Cell 38x22, I'm looking at you, you crazy, zombie-horde spawning piece of #@*&!

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