[MUD-Dev] Re: Respecting NPCs

T.A.J.BARTON tajb100 at soton.ac.uk
Sat Nov 3 15:10:50 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Adam Martin wrote:

> Not particularly effective if you made no other effort to give
> NPCs personalities.  Much more effective if you've already
> invested in Talien, who has a wife and two kids, will tell you
> about them, and is fond of strong ale.

The odd thing is this: Shopkeepers *are* talking vending
machines. Okay, they'll buy as well as sell but when all is said and
done, that's what they're there for. People tend to get annoyed when
the shops are shut - both in RL and online.

So, how to invest them with some sort of personality? The answer
might well be to give them shift work and a social life.

Shift work is easy since most of these games have an internal
clock. A lot also have an inn or tavern of some kind. So...

NPC wakes up (spawns) at the inn, walks over to the tavern, sits
down (having breakfast) then goes to the shop where he does
vendor-things for eight hours. At the end of his shift, he goes off
to the tavern for a few hours (NPCs do like strong ale, after all)
and then goes back to the inn and its bed.

The result? With three NPCs, you can not only keep a shop open for
24 hours, but you have a load of "off-duty" NPCs filling the
taverns. Of course, this is also a good way to put in backstory -
let them talk about the events of the day with each other. The
players simply have to listen in.

That's the inhabitants of towns. With wild NPCs, the best approach
may be to give them social relationships with others, but I've gone
on for quite long enough.
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