[MUD-Dev] Dynamic Quests & Event Chains

ceo ceo at grexengine.com
Thu Nov 24 12:33:03 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


Lost wrote:
> On 11/17/05, Roger Hicks <pidgepot at hotpop.com> wrote:

>> There's been a lot of discussion recently on improving quests to
>> avoid the constant boring flow of "fed-ex" and monster
>> slaying. As

> The other thing about quests today is that thery're not
> dynamic. They don't give the player enough choices to decide their
> fate. I understand that this is hard to program in, but could be
> worked in with planning in the early stages of a games
> development. My friends complain about stale quests all the time
> and most of them never read the text of a mission. I always have
> to ask, "why?" The simple answer is they're just running the quest
> treadmill.  They know that when they do this quest, it won't
> matter what they do, the outcome is all the same. So what if we,
> as designers, spice it up a bit by giving the NPCs memory? Or
> allowing the player to make choices that affect how their
> character is perceived by the other NPCs in the game? I thought
> that Neverwinter Nights did a good job of this. Though, ultimately
> the game is linear, but there were changes here and there
> depending on what the player did.

> There is no reason for this not to work in an MMO/MUD. Most games
> have some sort of reputation system in place. Usually, it's just

I think the underlying problem here is that no-one has yet worked
out a way to fake it convincingly, and in games, until you can fake
something, it seems it's always too much programming power and too
much programmer time to make it rich enough to be noticed, let alone
enjoyed.

I'm thinking back to post-mortems from e.g. NWN, Dungeon Siege, and
all the others, where the dev teams describe the lengths they went
to to incorporate factions and responsive not-on-rails game
plot. Every time, at the end of the day the effects are so subtle
that the average player hardly notices it, despite the huge amount
of effort thats gone in. Or else the system is so fragile / unstable
that it has to be largely ripped out of the final build.

c.f.:

  - simulation of populations and race-race wars vs. simply
  providing behaviours that emulate it convincingly and require
  almost no processing power on the server - but also are inherently
  stable

  - simulation of economies vs. source/sink economies

  - simulation of physics vs. faking it in oh-so-many ways until the
  last few years

  - true, perspective-correct, 3D graphics vs. 2.5D, isometric 3D,
  et al

Adam M
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