[MUD-Dev] Character evolution

Brandon J. Rickman ashes at pc4.zennet.com
Sun Sep 7 23:53:48 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On 04 Sep 1997 Caliban Tiresias Darklock <caliban at darklock.com> wrote:
>This is just a thought which I'm fleshing out as I go along, and it may
>have serious drawbacks. But I'm leaning toward something similar to what
>Ultima has generally done: an NPC has a certain series of motivations
>and a general routine which can be triggered by various things. This
>could be abstracted by a 'goal' field, which would contain a list of
>motivations and potential conditions, like 
>	if hungry
>		if have_food then 
>			eat_food
>			new_condition 
>		else 
>			get_food
>		endif
>	endif
>	proc get_food
>		if food_here then
>		endif
>	end proc
>I know mobprogs can handle some of this, but I'm looking for a way to
>make this elegant and efficient, which isn't easy.

[I'm still in digest mode, so there may have already been a few replies 
on this topic I have yet to see.  I can't decide which is better: one
unbearably large message a day, or an unbearable number of individual
messages a day.  Any chance of getting a digest of every 10 messages? :) ]

Given a nice hierarchical structure (object oriented, natch) it shouldn't
be too hard to make this efficient. (People want to be efficient about
the darnedest things.)  As for elegant, - if you can work out the various
common goals shared by most of your creatures then you only need to code
the "if hungry" routine once and override the get_food routine as needed -
it might be tricky when elegance gets in the way of making unique and
interesting creatures.  While it might be fun to see the town guards
taking occasional snack breaks (because they are hungry) you will have 
to figure out/justify the Guard Captain who _never_ leaves his post in
front of the Royal Treasury for _any_ reason.

(I say "never" to taunt those members who hate having this kind of behavior
hard coded behavior.)

Anyway, re: goal-directed behaviors, I am currently looking for 
references to different theories or implementations of goal setting
behaviors, not nec. in a story or game environment.  I just came
across _Planning and Understanding_, a Computational Approach to
Human Reasoning, by Robert Wilensky, which might be interesting 
reading for anyone with access to a good library.  The main thesis
invovles meta-planning, or what to do when multiple plans overlap
or conflict.

Why this is interesting: If a hungry creature gets wounded should it
continue to hunt for food, go home and rest, or figure out a way to do
both?  If said creature has an emergency supply of food back in its
cave perhaps this is the emergency.

- Brandon Rickman - ashes at zennet.com -
While I have never previously found a need for a .sig, this
may be considered one for the purposes of this list

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