[MUD-Dev] Respecting NPCs

Adam Martin ya_hoo_com at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 28 15:20:08 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Tresca" <talien at toast.net>

> To be more succinct (so I'm not replaced by a chatbot), let me put
> it this way:

> Most NPC interaction sucks.  Chatbots provide the framework, no
> matter how primitive, for more interaction.  The enlightened game
> creators and coders among us know that this is a fallacy, an
> illusion.  But ten seconds of conversation that fool "Joe player"
> are ten more seconds than the average NPC fools anybody.  >

Sounds a nice idea, however from what's been said before about grief
players, this calls to mind the kind of situation that tends to
cause people to convert from normal players into griefers. If all
NPCs in your game are, say, conversation-tree multiple choice based,
then I have no expectation for anything more. On the other hand, if
your NPC starts talking to me in a believable fashion for the first
half a minute before I suddenly realise that this NPC is in fact
immensely limited in its conversational abilities, isn't there the
tendency to get suddenly very annoyed (especially if you thought
that the NPc had something in particular you wanted/ wanted to know
and you spent ages trying to get that out of it only to give up in
frustration?).

I mentioned I'd seen a lot of people come away from Alicebots deeply
unimpressed and disappointed by them - how is that behaviour going
to translate in a game where people are investing a lot more of
themselves in the experience, where they care a lot more about the
conversation than mere mild academic interest?

Just a thought.

Adam M
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