[MUD-Dev] Respecting NPCs

gamaiun at yahoo.com gamaiun at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 26 09:33:39 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Note: This message was written via the list web archives.  There is
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Original message: http://www.kanga.nu/archives/MUD-Dev-L/2001Q4/msg00377.php

On Thu, 25 Oct 2001 14:35:26 -0700 (PDT)
J C Lawrence <claw at 2wire.com> wrote:
>> What shall we call this kind of NPCs? I mean we need some kind of
>> terminology for this discussion. Compelling? Literary-quality? 
>> Alive?
> "Incidental outgrowth"?

I don't think 'incidental outgrowth' is a very descriptive term.
For example - why 'incidental'? The kinds of NPCs you describe, from
the somewhat mysterious guard to the Cheshire cat seem to be the
opposite of incidental, but deliberate and purposeful. One, they
were deliberately designed to possess those qualities by the
writer/creator. Even if they were algorithmically generated, it
would be from an excellent and deliberately designed algorithm. Even
if they were evolved/simulated (by what means I cannot imagine,
based on their level of consistency and quirkiness), and could be
thus considered to 'incidentally' come into possession of scars,
mysterious histories, etc, their actions were still purposeful and

Is it that you're attributing this 'incidental outgrowth' quality
not to the NPCs themselves, but to the player's _reactions_ to them?
That is to say, that a particular object or NPC might not be that
drastically different from its mechanical brethren, but a player
incidentally attributes value and mystery to it?

Similarly, the word 'outgrowth' means 'consequences of'. Why not be
more specific? What is this quality in NPCs a consequence of?  Good
design? Player whim and aesthetics?
Dmitri Z

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