[MUD-Dev] Respecting NPCs

Norman Norman
Fri Oct 26 10:20:22 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce Mitchener" <bruce at puremagic.com>
> J C Lawrence wrote:

>> I view NPCs as falling into four roles:

>>   0) Backdrop
>>   1) Targets
>>   2) player props
>>   3) Mechanical translation points (*)

>> I like a fifth category:

>>   4) Incidental outgrowth

>> Its really a variation on backdrop, except that they occupy a
>> critical but incidental role in the game and world definition, as
>> well as player activity.  In the commercial realm Skotos has
>> possibly made the largest stab in this direction.  In the
>> hobbyest world Island did a lot (that was almost compleatly
>> unrecognised), as did LambdaMOO and a few other mediate
>> derived/centric games.

> This paragraph confused me somewhat.  I haven't played the games
> that Skotos has written, nor have I played on Island.  But I did
> "play" for some time on LambdaMOO about 8 years ago or so, but I
> don't really recall any NPCs (except for the parrot in the living
> room).

LambdaMOO has had an in game RPG since around 1991 or so, called the
Bovine Illuminati.  It is so called because it's really a game
within the game.  Those not playing the RPG didn't even have to know
it existed.

It's still under active development, and there are people still
connecting to Lambda for the sole purpose of playing the RPG.

Essentially, you'd go to an area off the Lambda Library (which was
appropriately dusty, and unused), and perform some action that would
imbue you with a 'soul'/rpg doll -- a separate object that
maintained all your stats without giving you the player direct write
access to it.  Once your rpg object was created, you could
participate in the game: fight in combat, learn spells, etc -- all
the RPG objects know how to interact with each other, and there's
various bits of convoluted security checks to make sure that a
non-gamemaster created object didn't contaminate anything.

As things developed within the RPG, people started creating NPCs
that would actually act as companions -- carry things, ask and
answer questions.  I think some of them were actually able do
respond to simplified English commands.  There are also in game NPCs
that served as parts of puzzles and quests.


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