Friday, September 3, 2010

A Discussion of Characters, Information, and World Gen

Sneaky edit by Kus: More sprites! Because everyone loves images (except for hardcore ascii users like me). From left to right is the .22 hunting rifle, cleaver, FAMAS, aluminum bat, combat knife, lockpick set, and a lockpick gun, made by our awesome spriters. Back to the article:

Some basic brainstorming involving characters and character generation, from the Items Pad:
Nenjin: No real people as a hard rule.
Nenjin: I'm thinking LCS's professions is a good start.
Nenjin: People are defined by what they do.
Soulwynd: Yeah, but you don't know what they do when you look at them in real life, unless they're wearing some gear or uniform.
Soulwynd: So most people should be just anonymous.
Nenjin: I want shit like the Hangin Judge too for normal mode.
Jack A T: I agree with Soulwynd on the anonymity thing.
Nenjin: Hrm.
Nenjin: Not really a fan. That means we have to develop visual traits for everyone so the player can tell joe schmoes apart from each other.
Soulwynd: Perhaps if you somehow managed to acquire intel on one person or another. Then they could become an unique npc.
Soulwynd: Ie. The game generates an unique whem you go acquire intel on people.
Soulwynd: With generated name, profession, etc.
Soulwynd: Nenjin: Random sprite combinations.
Nenjin: I'd rather have it put professions first and generate all that info down from that point.
Jack A T: Average people/off-duty people are random sprite combinations.
Jack A T: People who should have uniforms have uniforms.
Nenjin: For example, LCS starts with profession, and only creates person data when you recruit or kidnap that person.
Nenjin: I think that's a better way to approach designing the people in the world.
Nenjin: Because they all have to be game play elements, so we should start with them as such. From profession you can expand to a lot of different traits.
Jack A T: I liked the SKRoguelike idea of giving names, but no non-obvious professions.
Nenjin: Income. Potential for violence. Opinion on crime.
Nenjin: We could do that.
Nenjin: As long as building NPCs starts from defining their skill base and attributes.
Jack A T: Make it so that you can learn the professions of the non-obvious people.
Nenjin: I don't like the implications of working backward toward those things.
Soulwynd: I thought the name was a bit too much, without you actually knowing their name. Perhaps if you talk to them, you can get name and profession. So they become Jack McDoe, garbage man, instead of "a person"
Jack A T: I agree with Soulwynd.
Nenjin: I prefer the abstraction that assumes you can guess that a person is about by looking at them.
Nenjin: But it's not ultimately up to me, it's up to who codes.
Jack A T: However, those with uniforms you can see the professions of, and those with name tags you see the names of.
Nenjin: I guess I just like a world clearly defined by roles from the outset, instead of having to learn.
Nenjin: Because that makes me want to use all available clues to study people.
Nenjin: Which means coders have to back that up with a system
Nenjin: That generates all that stuff quickly.
Jack A T: Hmm...perhaps with high intelligence and perception, you can see peoples' professions?
Nenjin: That's a nice touch.
Soulwynd: Ninjin, just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it isn't already generated.
Nenjin: I know, I'm trying to wrap my head around that.
Soulwynd: As in, "a person" already has a name and profession and story and house and possessions and family.
Soulwynd: You just don't know it.
TNX: hello
TNX: what if you have to "research" a person first?
TNX: like look through their mail/trash
Nenjin: I'll put my faith in you guys having a plan.
Nenjin: That's been talked about right now.
Nenjin: So I want to see it like this.
Nenjin: I highlight a person with the mouse.
Soulwynd: Yep, TNX, that's part of it.
Nenjin: I click view.
Nenjin: I see 'mid 20s, blond, pretty, wearing a business suit."
Nenjin: I know I don't want to bother selling her drugs.
Nenjin: I click another dude.
Soulwynd: Yeah, that's granted, Nenjin.
Jack A T: Agreed.
Nenjin: It says "Mid 30s, hispanic, covered in tattoos."
Jack A T: And you get more information with intelligence and perception.
Nenjin: I guess he's a punk or at least interested in drugs and strike up a conversation with him.
Nenjin: Ok. That's what the system has to do for me, so I don't get turned off by a lot of anonymous people around me.
Jack A T: Exactly.
Nenjin: And with good sprites, the people you really care about, you won't have to investigate because they'll visually tell you.
TNX: yeah that'd be great
TNX: and maybe show strength too?
Soulwynd: Yeah, I mean anonymous as in, you don't know stuff you wouldn't know without asking or looking them up.
Nenjin: That works for me, as long as people can actually do it.
TNX: and maybe at really high perception "you see a tattoo of a dragon.." (he's part of a chinese gang?)
To summarize the end idea: characters would be generated with names and professions that you most likely do not know. Your stats and skills would allow you to recognize professions more easily, and talking to a person would usually get you their name. Professions would have their own base stats for the randomly generated people.

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