[MUD-Dev] Re: Random Quest Generation

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Sat Nov 21 19:09:27 New Zealand Daylight Time 1998


On Fri, 6 Nov 1998 19:41:50 +0100 (CET) 
chris <chris at realm.zfn.uni-bremen.de> wrote:

>   The Random Quest Engine (RQE in short) is placed on top of a
> database, which contains references to special landmark rooms, NPCs,
> monsters, objects, and question-answer pairs (riddles). Hard-coded
> are various 'mission-types' (the engine was inspired by the Wing
> Commander series), where each type takes the elements from the
> database needed for 'filling' the quest. The mission type also
> determines the 'quest final state' which the player must reach in
> order to be rewarded.

You might want to look at the fairly cursory discussion of systemic
quest generation back in the archives:

  http://www.kanga.nu/~petidomo/lists/mud-dev/1997Q3/msg01119.html

Which ties in fairly closely with the old orc/noble/fighter/breeder
scenario:

  http://www.kanga.nu/~petidomo/lists/mud-dev/1998Q2/msg00479.html

(Note: There's been a fair bit of discussion of the
orc/breeder/fighter/noble scenario, and the idea has developed in
several directions with several more spin-offs (such as tactical group
combat and system-controlled group leadership))

with a few other messages noted in passing:

  http://www.kanga.nu/~petidomo/lists/mud-dev/1997Q4/msg00126.html
  http://www.kanga.nu/~petidomo/lists/mud-dev/1997Q3/msg00404.html
  http://www.kanga.nu/~petidomo/lists/mud-dev/1997Q3/msg01085.html

There's a very key difference between that approach and yours however.
I've never been interested in trying to create "plots" per se, or
pre-canned quest forms.  Instead I've been interested in creating
systems whose internal conflicts (system competing against system)
show interesting behaviours that the players can plug into the middle
of, intercept, alter, or mutate to their whims.  

The design I came up with in this case constanty attempted to mutate
away from "desirable" states, and rewarded efforts to re-achieve the
desirable state.  One of the advantages of this was that players could
deliberately create or manipulate the undesirable state and thus
hoodwink the system into rewarding them for returning the game to the
desirable state.

The wandering princess/ogre band model was a perfect case of this.
Left to the game's own devices the princess would wander, and sooner
or later would end up either captured or eaten.  The King would of
course reward her return -- even if the player returning her was the
one who had kidnapped her.  The King would also reward the capture and
return of the kidnappers as well, so a really clever player could
kidnap the princess, return her, claim the reward, have another of his
identities turn the kidnapper identity in, claim the reward, etc.

Throw in the king inheritance mechanics as discussed back then, and
you all of a sudden have a (possible) way for a player to abscond with
the princess, assassinate the king, and arrange for himself to crowned
as the new king...

Smal, autonomous competing systems.  Hell of a system.

--
J C Lawrence                               Internet: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                             Internet: coder at kanga.nu
...Honourary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...




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