[MUD-Dev] [MLP] NPC Complexity

shren shren at io.com
Sat Apr 20 13:43:42 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Sat, 20 Apr 2002, Kwon Ekstrom wrote:
> From: "Sean Kelly" <sean at ffwd.cx>
>> From: "shren" <shren at io.com>

>>> I've always wondered what would happen if monsters spawned out
>>> of other monsters and wandered in packs from there instead of
>>> spawning in a specific site.  Every time you kill an orc, an orc
>>> pops out of another orc.  Even if you started off with the orcs
>>> evenly distributed across the world, after a period of play
>>> they'd be compressed out of regular player areas.

>> Popped out of another orc somewhere else in the world?  Seems
>> reasonable.  Though with the incredible monster turnover in most
>> games, you would end up with tremendous orc populations in less
>> traveled parts of the world.  It would likely take some careful
>> tuning :).

> I imagine this would generate a society shift in how the players
> interacted.  Explorers would become more important.  You would
> definitely start to see players work in groups telling each other
> where they find things.  What would make it interesting is if you
> gave your NPC's an exploration drive.  So although they start to
> group together, they would try to expand the territory they're in.

That'd be nice - not much point in playing a scout in most muds.
Everyone knows what's there - either the spawn or nothing at all.

> The major problem I find with this is that not only a specific
> type of NPC will get concentrated into that area, a likely result
> will be a mud barren of mobs where all of the mobs reside in some
> rarely visited part of the world.  That's why a drive to expand
> will become necessary.  Give an optimum density before mobs get
> agitated and try to find a more suitable home.

It is suited for small worlds - I was thinking about putting the
principle to work in an NWN shard.

As for expansion, once per time interval (real hour?), split the
land into a grid, and put each grid location in a linked list, most
desirable grids last.  For each grid, if a grid around it has more
population than it, then take 1% of the population, minimum one orc.
This would scatter orcs pretty quick.  It would also assure that
there's a lot of scattered orcs for newbies to hunt.  Veteren
players could hunt the big clusters.

If you were doing a large server, you could keep the orcs in a very
abstract form (numbers) untill a player enters and forces
resolution.  If a player enters a grid with one orc, then you know
that the orc is a scout.  More orcs can be wandering hunting
parties, or camps, or even towns.

Keeping the orcs as numbers untill a player sees them (and
converting them back to numbers after a period of time) lets you
tinker with the spreading algorithms a lot.

>>>> Fascinating would be virtual villages and towns which responded
>>>> to surrounding events. If NPCs left villages (and closed
>>>> shops/abandoned buildings) and moved to the city (Growing the
>>>> city and the guards/tax revenue there) due to player
>>>> combat/banditry in the region, would other players respond to
>>>> put down the bad guys so they'd continue to have shops to do
>>>> business with?

>> This was a feature I had originally thought was going to be a
>> part of UO.  The initial hype seemed like things like monster
>> raids of towns would not be unheard-of.  But I guess even if this
>> were worked into the code, the destruction of the ecology
>> guranteed that it would never happen in practice.

> Me and a friend of mine discussed this possibility with the
> layered AI.  Scion wanted the opposite, he wanted NPC's to build
> villages on their own.  We figured that you select an arbitrary
> room as the "center" of your village.  Then villagers pick
> "roles", I figure that if one villager gets assigned the role of
> mayor then assigns the roles to the surrounding NPC's it'd work a
> little smoother.

> Then you pick an axis to build your main road on, and the
> villagers line up and build their shops.  Most of this happens
> behind the scenes over a variety of time.  Likely a 30 minute
> timer so that players in the area see a town get built, but it
> doesn't really get built, it just appears over a period of time.
> (I'm a big fan of making things look realistic without wasting the
> time on doing each step... smoke and mirrors if you will)

> There was alot of discussion on trade and trade envoys.  The
> resulting thing was over time nearby villages are found (via
> explorer mobs) and roads are built between cities and trade is
> generated. (marked rooms)

If I were you, I'd think like a sim-city simulation, except you have
a grid where each node every now and then gets to decide what it's
going to be, based on what's most 'profitable'.  Residences like
places that provide employment, employment offerers like residences
if there are enough of them, farms distribute food over a large
radius, taverns distribute recreation over a short distance, guard
posts protect 'wealthy' areas of town, and so forth.

I'll think about rules for this tonight...



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