[MUD-Dev] Respecting NPCs
tdang at U.Arizona.EDU
Tue Dec 4 20:26:30 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001
Well, it took me long enough to reply to this.
This likely isn't part of what you were looking for, Lee, but this
is how I've though about NPC involvement in a game's economy.
An NPC can be of three types: Environment, Institution, or
Participant in the economy.
1) Environment-- An environmental NPC is economically no different
than a mine or a spawn point. It's something which takes one kind
of resource (arrows, gold, reagents) and, sometimes combined with
PC attributes or player skill, converts into a different kind of
resource. An NPC merchant who buys and sells a relatively fixed
menu of goods at a relatively fixed price is not an active part of
the economy any more than a well which PCs can draw water from. A
really fancy kind of environment, such as one which dynamically
changes its prices, is likely still best categorized as
2) Institution-- An institutional NPC is one which facilitates
trade amongst players. A crude version would be a merchant which
buys at a fixed rate, and then holds the items to sell at a fixed
rate if another player wants, this being just slightly above
environment. UO-style vendors are a more serious institution.
3) Participant-- This would be an AI which has interests of its
own that it pursues by taking part in the economy.
I've thought that dissatisfaction with NPCs in the economy comes
from not being able to decide which role they're playing. There's no
objective reason that different roles can't be combined, though. And
there's no reason that an NPC which is purely environmental
economically can't be a more interesting character in other
I don't see much purpose for making NPCs participants in most cases,
since the players will be better at it anyway. There could be
short-term reasons to do so, perhaps, such as having an NPC selling
all their worldly goods cheap because they're about to flee a
rampaging horder only they know is coming, or some such.
Timothy O'Neill Dang / Cretog8
One monkey don't stop no show.
MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at kanga.nu
More information about the MUD-Dev