[MUD-Dev] Getting info from NPCs

Josh Anderson joshua18 at home.com
Fri Jul 28 16:39:57 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Dmitri Zagidulin said:
> NPCs are a time-honored source of information,
> rumours, quest info, tips, etc, in any and all RPGs.
> How do we get that information to the players?
--snip section on various methods--

I've been fiddling with option number three, the AI.  I've taken some ELIZA
style code that was ported to Circle and have been slowly trying to twist it
to my own devious ends.  I've created a 'talk' command that you can use to
start a conversation with any appropriately flagged (one that would be
considered sentient) mob, and they then respond to what you say, triggered
on predetermined words and groups of words.

What I eventually plan to do with this is create individual databases for a
certain set of mobs, ie townspeople of village X, the guards in castle Y,
and certain very important NPC's like kings or guildleaders would have their
own.  The databases would consist of various default normal responses and
then add in their own specialized information based on regional happenings,
quests they might be part of, background information, etc.  One useful other
application that I thought would be handy would be to have a newbie teacher
with a full range of topics available to speak of, be they class or race
info, combat tips, game rules, and whatnot.  The newbies could then ask
anything they needed to know and get at least a semiappropriate answer.

The code I use can sometimes be spookily accurate in its response to what
you say, but sometimes it's still way off (I estimate a response IQ of about
50).  Expanded databases will ultimately help me with that, I think.  Using
this method also makes it easy to add new topics for them to speak about.

I really don't intend for this to be the be-all end-all method of
communication in and around and with NPCs.  I really want this to be just a
nice way to make them seem more lifelike and add a touch to them that you
don't see everywhere...which is probably something many people strive for,
to come up with something fun and new :)

Josh Anderson
joshua18 at home.com

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