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Intrinsincally NPCs - Tables and Adjusts

Nick Laughlin

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--Some games has NPCs as tools for puzzles, with complementary skills etc (Linear + Adventure). Some other games treat NPCs as ants, reactive filling (Open World + Action). Some other games, NPCs are gossipful beings  with reactive opinions about you and other npcs (Farm Marriage and other Simulation).

So I think NPCs are inseparable from these games, as plot and gameplay  are intrinsically orbitating them (just imagine those mentioned above games without npcs, inhabitated Great Robbery of Vehicles, one man army farming at Crop Natural Satellite (if I am allowed to mention trademark franchises I edit) or a one-citizen society where before had a political power struggle with npcs that could permadie with their plot-related quests, like 'RadiactiveParticlesIntheAir BrandNew Vegas'.


I watched some gameplay about some zomboid survivors mod. I think  NPCs like that simulates another multiplayer entry, and does not makes npcs look alive (roleplay+gameplay alive just like 'RadioactiveAir BrandNew Vegas') neither makes them intrinsically related to gameplay or plot (the gameplay was not build around npcs as means, objectives.


Bad part about Survivors Mod:

-A.I immitates another multiplayer perception and input -- impact on performance for more npcs.

-Buggy or not, the major issues in their gameplay is: they do not feel they are alive neither have any personal objectives/tasks. Asking/buying help is not the same as giving orders and ruling them. 

-They are just walking by with no personal major project- objectives  like: find my family, revenge, get meds on city and return etc.

-Buggy or not, when danger comes, mods have a poor fighting, because its mechanicaly manipulated (whenInRangeSwingTo HitOrPushEtc Algoythm), so mechanical operated NPCs prone to get swarmed and chewed. A strategical overlook (npcs see hordes comming and has a dynamic pathfinder etc) would be performance impacting.


Good--- NPCs related stuff already in Vanilla:

-Sound events.

-Car crash events.

-Notes on maps

-Barricated Houses


-I suggest:

Each NPC have:

His identity (social) related to his hidden entity id.

A locked table of other npcs he knows (including you) and his opinions(related to"what who owes who", places he likes and locked-base evaluations

A dynamic table of the people he meets, places he visits with dynamic evaluations

A locked table of objectives and how to get them and how to do it in case of how 1 doesnt works and a what to do if fail and if it is something that deserves grief or something renewable like try next week etc with their priority related to risks.

A dynamic social table of promisses, revenges, gossip,  etc.

A misterious table of ethics and limits of when and with who crossing them (so a limit or excuse is different for each sinful act, npc, strrssful states etc.

A hidden but revealing table of social perks that is related to deadly or mindless personas a.k.a 'dont date this npc': (coward, dissimulated, violent, thief, cheater,). These traits could be revealed easily with relationships tests that could put the player on danger a.k.a treason.

So this makes useful  -6 trait "Intention Expert etc" where this table of treason, cowardice, m*rder, is revealed easily.



About rendering, coding, etc:

1- When rendered - (they render when you are following them or bump on  their table of possible locations (entitty id table of time and date locations related to their daily needs, long term tasks, leisure etc either locked or dynamic table).

Forced/Increased Invincibility:

--They have more health than the player. Like boss for daily work injuries.

--They will not get bitten. Invincibility is disabled when Npcs become team members (a.k.a resolved major quest of this one), are less important than plot important npcs or are trapped in a calculated closed room with a spawned horde a.k.a minimum threeshold example (so there is a big threeshold of minimum hazards to break invincibility and another medium threeshold to harm them after invincibility is broken).

NPC Needs:

--NPCs needs are reduced and simulated, he eats if he sees the player eating or is invited to. Famine could be simulated by major climatic events.

--If the npc depends on you, food is discounted from his bag or a team shared inventory. if food/water is scarce, the npc is stressful with a building up aggresiveness and social/behaviour penalties until he abandons team.

Reactivity plus Routine:

--A conic aura of sight reacting with containers, holstered objects (they see your weapon on your holster and get an alert state), items on the ground, ( with a basic alert system in case stuff appears where they were not naturally supposed to) etc- food and danger -. Every important object is given a priority (priorities are dymamic and each npc should have its dynamic priority table vulnerable to quests and needs) is queued as information, given a related prioriry sum and resolved as 'ignore if priority is less than current quest either is unrrlated to this quest'.

--Dynamic table of Routine (places, resources, alternatives) that resolves into sleep, shelter, work, amass goods, eat, leisure, curfew (get home if late or bad weather), sleep, panic mode, moms number to call a.k.a radio gossip guy, etc.: this reactive plus dynamic routine (when rendered only) make them feel alive.


2- When not rendered - (Each NPC is basically its own table of route schedules.)

About these tables:

--Generated with a strucure of simulated familiesPerArea/ WhoKnowsWho/ Famous related to statistic/noise. These tables of tables could be created around key areas like schools and groceries (because people depend on groceries) so when the world is created, a rogue table of tables is creaed relating pseudo families/work relationships/schoolmates/etc (even adult npcs could be related to a school table of 1977 class)

--Individual NPCs tables has schedules of date and times, I think they could act as a neural network just as zombie migration acts as a map full of dots.

--When these date and times met, event happens as places get looted, safeplaces get reinforced, a campsite get preoared (for long term resolution), signs of presence like lit campfires, fresh food, trail of grass, snow, dirt etc for short term resolution a.k.a track this npc.

--Do not farm npcs is a mechanic to make the game break-proof, is not karma. So new tables has a chance to spawn simulating a build to investigation/vengeance plan against massive npc removal.

--Also new tables (a.k.a new npcs when rendered) could spawn with major events like a christmas vacation, new stuff and consequences related to car crash or sound events etc.

Dynamic tables:

--NPCs have a dynamic table of offscreen objectives that is related to a map tracer, if map traces are disturbed, his dynamic is properly recalculated)

Offscreen fighting, snares or perils:

--For performance reasons, fights against mobs should be simulated, based on the mentioned threeshold. No mechanic reactions happens, just a pre calculated outcome. 


How to make NPCs intrinsincally related to gameplay like games that has npcs:

--Gossip system: remember table of table of history and society as "class off 1977 Riverside, worked 1980-1983 Muldraugh Fossoil and met peop.e there- reactant tag positive - worked 1983-1984 Riverside Bigmart and sued -- reactant frown tag"(player could also have a related table +6'Has enemies'trait): So some people will remember you or that npc with you and gossip on their PremiumTechnologies walkie. So expect vengence or acts of kindness.

Acts of humanity and acts of disgrace on the same Big mart:

--The first days, expect people desperatedly looting, some are harmless and some just want an excuse. Expect events like a seeing two npcs fighting for canned stuff, two npcs saying they got a fever etc ( a lot of infected NPCs on the first days)

--On the first week, expect increasing violence. Remember Bigmart? There is a gang there. They will not let you in and might shoot who enters. So for the first week, expect a lot of territorialism..

-But, you could just drive a horde to these guys right? I expectthe game get patched at every easy trick, so screaming to a horde would attract attention of that sniper npc. At every easy trick, a patch with a cost or a deadly vulnerability.

-But you could climb their fences right? More snares and pitfall-leaf traps with stakes, barbed wire, climbing with heavy stuff is nearly impossible (rope system to carry that fridge) etc

-Reemember NPCs on farm simulator (gossip), Canadian Comedy Games about folks on  the road (paranoid-revealing system), stuck in safehouse with bros making booze for war game (disgraceful-war civillian simulator where a kitchen knife is gold and is difference between life and death).


NPCs will make a lot of difference if loot is scarce and meaningful, just imagine how difference a knife makes and how valuable it is in 'This ArmedConflict of My Posession' game. Scarcity is key. Knives last longer but are rare and demands knowhow to sharpen. ---SCARCITY is Key

Also, a time system should be deadly too, nights should be more dangerous against zombies (sound) and daylight is deadly to the player. You shouldnt walk on day in cities because being seeing after first month could be a deaf sentence (because the shot of the sniper is so loud. snipers either from civillian and either from those guys receiving those AEBS orders) Also those guys receiving those orders and saying funny stuff on radio about activities, on zones could be playing hide and sickwith players?  --CURFEW is Key

Also, information is improtant, just imagine how dumb those guys are if they signal has no coding and is on an accessible bandwith, so one does need a npc or a way to get info to get that blessed signal containing precious information about rain for your crops or about that fog forecast to plan that Bigmart gang base looting or a escape from that sniper. -- ROGUEINFORMATION is Key.


Just imagine great games with npcs and simply remove npcs from them. So some mechanics as Scarcity, Curfew, Gossip, Paranoid Reveal makes NPCs intrinsincally related to the game and no longer separable





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This is a lot to read, but from what I gathered in your post this is what we are aiming for with NPCs, and close to how some of their systems will work. Obviously there will be deviations with us making the NPCs how we would like, so I'd suggest reading these two blogs on NPCs to see what we are aiming for:




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