Will single player RPG ever become centered on the world rather than the player?

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#1 Posted by ghostofzabis (2601 posts) -

Recently I just realized whether they are sandbox RPGs, story-driven RPG, or action RPG, the world feels centered around the player, and most "daily routines" NPC perform are just for the players to watch.  

For example, the shopkeeper who is selling weapons will never sell a single weapon to another NPC, only the player will buy it. The villagers who keep catching fish from day to night will never gain "fish" in their inventory. A woodsman will never obtain "wood item" despite he chops tree for life. The player is required to consume food, while NPCs don't.  NPC who eat food will never consume food in their inventory (or they may not even have food in the inventory, it just magically appears for the players to feel immersive) The list goes on.

While in simulators / RTS, these actions performed by an unit are actually meaningful (gathering resource, healing, etc.), in RPG it has no functions except for to give the player an illusion that the world is "alive."  Will this "dynamic living world system for RPG" ever get changed?

#2 Posted by Plagueless (2569 posts) -

Recently I just realized whether they are sandbox RPGs, story-driven RPG, or action RPG, the world feels centered around the player, and most "daily routines" NPC perform are just for the players to watch.  

For example, the shopkeeper who is selling weapons will never sell a single weapon to another NPC, only the player will buy it. The villagers who keep catching fish from day to night will never gain "fish" in their inventory. A woodsman will never obtain "wood item" despite he chops tree for life. The player is required to consume food, while NPCs don't.  NPC who eat food will never consume food in their inventory (or they may not even have food in the inventory, it just magically appears for the players to feel immersive) The list goes on.

While in simulators / RTS, these actions performed by an unit are actually meaningful (gathering resource, healing, etc.), in RPG it has no functions except for to give the player an illusion that the world is "alive."  Will this "dynamic living world system for RPG" ever get changed?

ghostofzabis

Well some of the stuff you listed actually is already real.

For example, in the Elder Scrolls, NPC's do consume food in their inventory, (although it's not always explainable how they obtain it) One particularly funny example of proof for this happened during the development of Oblivion. 

"During Oblivion, out new Radiant AI system - which let all the NPCs in the world think and act on their own - led to some of the best bugs. My favorite was a quest where you had to talk to a prisoner in jail. Sometimes, when playtesting, we would find him locked in his cell, dead. It took us forever to figure out why. Turns out, the guards in the jail could run out of food and get hungry. They would then go down and kill the prisoner to take his food. This all happened when the player wasn't there. I still don't remember how we figured it out. But the solution was easy: more guard food."

-Todd Howard
game director
Bethesda Softworks

Todd Howard

#3 Posted by Senor_Kami (8416 posts) -

I was with you in the title but your post went in a different direction that seems pretty meh.

#4 Posted by bbkkristian (14955 posts) -

I was with you in the title but your post went in a different direction that seems pretty meh.

Senor_Kami
Agreed
#5 Posted by BrunoBRS (73260 posts) -
well you see, it all depends on how it's handled. games, by nature of being games, exist solely for the player, so in one way or another, it's all made for them. what you want is a more organic feel to the world, and that's more up to the direction the game wants to take. a game that's centered on a plot will be less likely to strive for an organic feel than a sandbox. and then it's a matter of resources. is it really worth the effort to code in all those patterns and individual AIs for the smallest details? there is an alternative, which is what sandboxes usually do: they create a world, a set of rules which the world and the NPCs in it go by, and throw you there. you're just one more character living in this world, and in theory the NPCs can do as many tasks as you.
#6 Posted by ghostofzabis (2601 posts) -

For what Todd Howard said...  I believe you can see that in Skyrim, the smith family "dine" but no food is consumed. The woodsman chop but no wood is gained. The famers farm but the crops are generated rather than grown.  It's like in some strategy games that only have special events that penalize you and your faction for the player to feel "immeserive."  (ie. I've tested crusader kings 2 a bit and found NPCs seem to revoke land more often from the player than other npcs, and the factions' activities are more frequent in the nation player's in)

Sandbox games seem to be following the patterns story-driven games are as well from what I remember. For example, in mount & blade, the npc don't consume food, only the player's party is required to perform such act. 

#7 Posted by BrunoBRS (73260 posts) -

For what Todd Howard said...  I believe you can see that in Skyrim, the smith family "dine" but no food is consumed. The woodsman chop but no wood is gained. The famers farm but the crops are generated rather than grown.  It's like in some strategy games that only have special events that penalize you and your faction for the player to feel "immeserive."  (ie. I've tested crusader kings 2 a bit and found NPCs seem to revoke land more often from the player than other npcs, and the factions' activities are more frequent in the nation player's in)

Sandbox games seem to be following the patterns story-driven games are as well from what I remember. For example, in mount & blade, the npc don't consume food, only the player's party is required to perform such act. 

ghostofzabis
well like i said, it's a matter of "is it really worth all the effort to build entire systems around such minor things?"
#8 Posted by funsohng (28104 posts) -
It would be way too complicated to code the AI and will be too demanding for CPU.
#9 Posted by ghostofzabis (2601 posts) -

[QUOTE="ghostofzabis"]

BrunoBRS

well like i said, it's a matter of "is it really worth all the effort to build entire systems around such minor things?"

Personally I found it a major thing in a game especially if I'm doing a second run.  :P   Usually I found there are no purposes other than "see the full story" due to the world is only changed by set events that are triggered by the player. Then, if the gameplay is average or below it becomes a chore to play.

Trap you enemies in a cave for them to starve, bribe NPCs' resource suppliers so their factions will suffer from lack of ammunition, wear a radiation suit and confront NPC in a radiative cave to gain advantage, lots of ideas would become availalbe imo if npc is using the same system as player.  

It feels rather odd that RTS can do it but RPG cannot. Maybe it'll be achievable in the future gen?

#10 Posted by br0kenrabbit (13039 posts) -

Ultima did it. Long time back.

Ultima IV, IRC.

#11 Posted by BrunoBRS (73260 posts) -

[QUOTE="BrunoBRS"][QUOTE="ghostofzabis"]

ghostofzabis

well like i said, it's a matter of "is it really worth all the effort to build entire systems around such minor things?"

Personally I found it a major thing in a game especially if I'm doing a second run.  :P   Usually I found there are no purposes other than "see the full story" due to the world is only changed by set events that are triggered by the player. Then, if the gameplay is average or below it becomes a chore to play.

Trap you enemies in a cave for them to starve, bribe NPCs' resource suppliers so their factions will suffer from lack of ammunition, wear a radiation suit and confront NPC in a radiative cave to gain advantage, lots of ideas would become availalbe imo if npc is using the same system as player.  

It feels rather odd that RTS can do it but RPG cannot. Maybe it'll be achievable in the future gen?

well for starters, RTS doesn't really do almost any of the things you're talking about.

 

and strategy games in general have only two kinds of people: allies and enemies. there isn't a world for NPCs to live in, there is a set of rules, and you and your allies compete against your enemies.

 

so really, the strategy genre isn't really "achieving" anything. it's being a completely different thing.

#12 Posted by ghostofzabis (2601 posts) -

[QUOTE="ghostofzabis"]

[QUOTE="BrunoBRS"][QUOTE="ghostofzabis"]

BrunoBRS

 

well for starters, RTS doesn't really do almost any of the things you're talking about. and strategy games in general have only two kinds of people: allies and enemies. there isn't a world for NPCs to live in, there is a set of rules, and you and your allies compete against your enemies. so really, the strategy genre isn't really "achieving" anything as well as it's being a completely different thing.

I believe in battle for middle earth, when an ogre consumes a goblin(or orc?), he recovers health and the goblin(or orc) is gone, unlike in RPGs there is infinite "food" that doesn't recover anything nor get consumed when you see npcs "eats."  When an orc unit chops tree down, they gain resource and the trees are gone forever, unlike in RPG where tree trunks can be chopped for millionare while the woodsman gains nothing in his inventory. In Rise of nations, the fisherman boat gather resources. The workers assaigned to farm gather food rather than just for shows.  The list goes on. 

Not only RTS, but turn-based strategy/simulators like civilization also have fishboats gathering resources. RPGs just seem to feel more like action adventure games like GTA games, npcs roam around doing things that don't really matter. Important events are triggered by the player as well... 

#13 Posted by skrat_01 (33767 posts) -
Well honestly I was thinking on a much more fundamental level, where the world is constantly in motion regardless of the player. And well, there's quite a few RPGs out there that do that, from Stalker to Mount & Blade as two examples.
#14 Posted by Goyoshi12 (9687 posts) -

Isn't that every Elder Scrolls game ever made?

Oooooohhhh-wait is that even a burn?

#15 Posted by nameless12345 (15125 posts) -

I don't care because I don't like RPGs in general.

They are boring and lame for the most part, imo,

 

*contributes a relevant and informative post to the thread and is proud of himself*

#16 Posted by BrunoBRS (73260 posts) -

I believe in battle for middle earth, when an ogre consumes a goblin(or orc?), he recovers health and the goblin(or orc) is gone, unlike in RPGs there is infinite "food" that doesn't recover anything nor get consumed when you see npcs "eats."  When an orc unit chops tree down, they gain resource and the trees are gone forever, unlike in RPG where tree trunks can be chopped for millionare while the woodsman gains nothing in his inventory. In Rise of nations, the fisherman boat gather resources. The workers assaigned to farm gather food rather than just for shows.  The list goes on. 

Not only RTS, but turn-based strategy/simulators like civilization also have fishboats gathering resources. RPGs just seem to feel more like action adventure games like GTA games, npcs roam around doing things that don't really matter. Important events are triggered by the player as well... 

ghostofzabis
my point remains. this isn't as much "immersion" as it is just a part of a ruleset. you're comparing chess with make believe.
#17 Posted by Minishdriveby (10008 posts) -
Play Dark Souls.
#18 Posted by Master_ShakeXXX (13361 posts) -

I hope you realize what it is you're asking for. In order to pull something like that off we would need AI that is on par with Skynet. Do you realize how dangerous that would be? Our video games could have the potential to kill us in real life.

#19 Posted by BrunoBRS (73260 posts) -

I hope you realize what it is you're asking for. In order to pull something like that off we would need AI that is on par with Skynet. Do you realize how dangerous that would be? Our video games could have the potential to kill us in real life.

Master_ShakeXXX
umm... no. you just need to code in a sh!tload more of patterns and a bunch of new systems solely to feed those patterns.
#20 Posted by RyuRanVII (4251 posts) -

Ultima did it. Long time back.

Ultima IV, IRC.

br0kenrabbit
Indeed, especially Ultima VII.
#21 Posted by Ilovegames1992 (14221 posts) -

I get what you mean but i'd rather do something myself rather than watch someone else do it.

It wouldn't really impact gaming much, and if it did, it would be annoying.

Imagine going to a merchant to get potions but having to wait in the queue behind 5 NPCs like in real life? Would take a lot out of the game. Realism would be added, but at the expense of fun.

#22 Posted by KungfuKitten (21130 posts) -
[QUOTE="Master_ShakeXXX"]

I hope you realize what it is you're asking for. In order to pull something like that off we would need AI that is on par with Skynet. Do you realize how dangerous that would be? Our video games could have the potential to kill us in real life.

BrunoBRS
umm... no. you just need to code in a sh!tload more of patterns and a bunch of new systems solely to feed those patterns.

And a gazillion very unrealistic failsafes for when it all goes out of whack.
#23 Posted by KungfuKitten (21130 posts) -

I like where your idea takes my mind. I'm gonna think it over for some time.

#24 Posted by Mazoch (2418 posts) -

Recently I just realized whether they are sandbox RPGs, story-driven RPG, or action RPG, the world feels centered around the player, and most "daily routines" NPC perform are just for the players to watch.  

For example, the shopkeeper who is selling weapons will never sell a single weapon to another NPC, only the player will buy it. The villagers who keep catching fish from day to night will never gain "fish" in their inventory. A woodsman will never obtain "wood item" despite he chops tree for life. The player is required to consume food, while NPCs don't.  NPC who eat food will never consume food in their inventory (or they may not even have food in the inventory, it just magically appears for the players to feel immersive) The list goes on.

While in simulators / RTS, these actions performed by an unit are actually meaningful (gathering resource, healing, etc.), in RPG it has no functions except for to give the player an illusion that the world is "alive."  Will this "dynamic living world system for RPG" ever get changed?

ghostofzabis

Its not really something thats realistic with most of todays RPG's. The reason is that they are far too complex and far to big to create a realistic representation of 'all life'. A couple of issues you're quickly going to encounter if you tried to make a game like this:

1) You have to stop at some point. While you can assign some level of independent interaction to your game world, you cannot make a 'real' simulation. Lets say you add a system to Skyrim where the NPC's now buy food from the vendors and consume food at preset meal times. Ok, wouldnt be too hard (though it would become a nightmare for NPC spawns out in the wilderness. But what about a system that require your NPC's to hunt for their own food, system that allows NPC to carry the food they hunted for back to town, systems for sharing their food with their spouse and children back in town (but not with random by passers), systems to handle eco systems when wild life is hunted, fields that are harvested and re-sow, do you need a system to ensure that NPC's store additional seed for sowing next seasons crops? No matter how long a list you make of mechanics like that, you're never going to be able to list or create all the possible dynamics.

2) The more complex the overall game is, the harder it becomes to make systems that work. You mentioned RTS's where harvesters actually harvest resources and when they bring those resources back your resource stock actually increase. Compare that to Skyrim. It would be easy to create a basic NPC that went to a cupboard, took out and item and walked over to you and gave you that item. However to make 1000 different NPC's track different cupboards at different locations with different content is a different matter. The NPC's in Skyrim live in different places and have different opinions of the player.

3) The uncanny valley: The Uncanny valley is a term mostly used for robotics and artwork, but would really apply here as well. The basic idea is that the closer you get to something emulating reality the harder it becomes for an observer to suspend disbelief. In short, the more lifelike you make your NPC's and your world; the more the player will start to notice the details that conflict with the real world. You could argue that the original post is a perfect example. Games like Skyrim do more than just about any game in the past to emulate a real world. NPC's will chat with one another, they have daily routines, they have houses and beds where they will go at night to sleep. They have day jobs where they go in the morning. And yet, a lot of players find the elder scrolls far less immersive than games who make no real attempt to emulate a real world. (More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley)

4) Time and money: Most importantly, every extra system requires time and recourses to create, implement, design and test. That time and money that could have been used on making more quests or monsters or treasures or dungeons. You could spend a month having your best programmers and designers make a system for growing and mowing the grass in Skyrim, but how much more fun would the game actually be. If it was a choice between implementing growing grass and trees or the ability to ride dragons... which would add more to the players enjoyment and which would sell more copies?

#25 Posted by ghostofzabis (2601 posts) -

Hmm, so Ultima did it in the 80s, however the next gen cannot handle this?   :?   

Also by mount & blade "NPC," I meant the parties led by other faction leaders. Not only the roaming small band of troops do not consume food, but armies led by the factions' leaders also do not consume food. While in a pure action adventure RPG, you may argue it's taking too much resource. However, I don't see the reasons for M&B NPC parties led by leaders not requiring sustenance.. Felt a simple gamey way (paradox forum users seem to like use this term to describe players who "cheat")against the player.  

There are several "living world" RPG games which the player can trigger "time progressing" and the npcs would move around in the world. Though I simply found most "living world" pointless if their tasks serve no purposes. Hack, ES keeps getting mentioned in this thread but no one spoke of the sabotage lumber mill to cripple the economy Todd bragged about...  

I'm not asking for realism though, but fairness mechanics, and meaningful NPC daily routines activities & usages of ingame items. 

#26 Posted by FrozenLiquid (12815 posts) -
[QUOTE="Master_ShakeXXX"]

I hope you realize what it is you're asking for. In order to pull something like that off we would need AI that is on par with Skynet. Do you realize how dangerous that would be? Our video games could have the potential to kill us in real life.

BrunoBRS
umm... no. you just need to code in a sh!tload more of patterns and a bunch of new systems solely to feed those patterns.

Skynet.
#27 Posted by FrozenLiquid (12815 posts) -

Hmm, so Ultima did it in the 80s, however the next gen cannot handle this?   :?   

Also by mount & blade "NPC," I meant the parties led by other faction leaders. Not only the roaming small band of troops do not consume food, but armies led by the factions' leaders also do not consume food. While in a pure action adventure RPG, you may argue it's taking too much resource. However, I don't see the reasons for M&B NPC parties led by leaders not requiring sustenance.. Felt a simple gamey way (paradox forum users seem to like use this term to describe players who "cheat")against the player.  

There are several "living world" RPG games which the player can trigger "time progressing" and the npcs would move around in the world. Though I simply found most "living world" pointless if their tasks serve no purposes. Hack, ES keeps getting mentioned in this thread but no one spoke of the sabotage lumber mill to cripple the economy Todd bragged about...  

I'm not asking for realism though, but fairness mechanics, and meaningful NPC daily routines activities & usages of ingame items. 

ghostofzabis
This generation was completely taken by pretty graphics and cinematic presentation. To get a game out in time, there was no well in hell they could marry a pretty looking game with such complex programming. Next generation could provide some leeway though. I think next-gen engines such as Unreal Engine 4 are providing solutions for developers to concentrate more on the gameplay and less on the game's engine.
#28 Posted by DeX2010 (3991 posts) -

I was with you in the title but your post went in a different direction that seems pretty meh.

Senor_Kami
I agree. A lot of OP's suggestions will just waste processing power that is especially valuable on consoles. Sure it is a cool gimmick that NPC's use items in their inventory, but at the end of the day it is just that: a gimmick.
#29 Posted by ghostofzabis (2601 posts) -

[QUOTE="Senor_Kami"]

I was with you in the title but your post went in a different direction that seems pretty meh.

DeX2010

I agree. A lot of OP's suggestions will just waste processing power that is especially valuable on consoles. Sure it is a cool gimmick that NPC's use items in their inventory, but at the end of the day it is just that: a gimmick.

You prefer NPC with infinite AMMO like Saint row 3 than npcs with limited ammo like in New vegas?  :?  (yes, I know that Saint row 3 is not a RPG)

>>>>

This generation was completely taken by pretty graphics and cinematic presentation. To get a game out in time, there was no well in hell they could marry a pretty looking game with such complex programming. Next generation could provide some leeway though. I think next-gen engines such as Unreal Engine 4 are providing solutions for developers to concentrate more on the gameplay and less on the game's engine.

>>>

Since I've already seen so many opposition against this in this thread, I doubt this would be done in the next gen as well.  It seems most are more interested in world setting fluff than a dynamic world.  

#30 Posted by Senor_Kami (8416 posts) -

[QUOTE="DeX2010"][QUOTE="Senor_Kami"]

I was with you in the title but your post went in a different direction that seems pretty meh.

ghostofzabis

I agree. A lot of OP's suggestions will just waste processing power that is especially valuable on consoles. Sure it is a cool gimmick that NPC's use items in their inventory, but at the end of the day it is just that: a gimmick.

You prefer NPC with infinite AMMO like Saint row 3 than npcs with limited ammo like in New vegas?  :?  (yes, I know that Saint row 3 is not a RPG)

>>>>

This generation was completely taken by pretty graphics and cinematic presentation. To get a game out in time, there was no well in hell they could marry a pretty looking game with such complex programming. Next generation could provide some leeway though. I think next-gen engines such as Unreal Engine 4 are providing solutions for developers to concentrate more on the gameplay and less on the game's engine.

>>>

Since I've already seen so many opposition against this in this thread, I doubt this would be done in the next gen as well.  It seems most are more interested in world setting fluff than a dynamic world.  

NPC having usable inventory just seems like the weakest and least interesting way of making a game "centered on the world rather than the player." To be honest, that doesn't sound like a game centered on the world at all, it just sounds like a game where NPCs have usable inventory. You say a RPG based around the world and I think of a game where you're not THE hero, you're just a possible one and you **** around doing sidequests could give birth to someone in the game world who's tired of problems going unsolved and starts solving them--basically the idea that if the world needs a hero and you won't fulfill the role, someone will rise from the masses to do it and that has major implications for how the story will play out.  Or you go on a murder rampage in some cities, you unwittingly kill the parents of some teen, that teen happens to have the right set "life experience" that push him into some revenge storyline where he's gathering parents and children of people you murdered to rise up against you and it may not even reveal itself to the player for like 30 more gameplay hours because of the plotting and scheming done in hopes of avoiding your detection.  Or teammates who disagree with your methods and attempt mutiny or will leave your party but continue in the task at hand, just in their own way.  Or perhaps you treated them like crap so now when they leave, they're plotting revenge against you.

Or anything, anything that would be a game centered around the world where the player is just one of the many inhabitants.  Maybe a special inhabitant, but not the only one special and you have to actually put in the work to make your character "the one" where as most current games start you as the one by default.

That's what I thought this thread would be on so imagine my disappointment when it turned out to just be that NPCs should have inventory slots.

#31 Posted by SapSacPrime (8786 posts) -

I agree but there are some exceptions for example Risen.

#32 Posted by ghostofzabis (2601 posts) -

[QUOTE="ghostofzabis"]

[QUOTE="DeX2010"] 

 

Senor_Kami

NPC having usable inventory just seems like the weakest and least interesting way of making a game "centered on the world rather than the player." To be honest, that doesn't sound like a game centered on the world at all, it just sounds like a game where NPCs have usable inventory. You say a RPG based around the world and I think of a game where you're not THE hero, you're just a possible one and you **** around doing sidequests could give birth to someone in the game world who's tired of problems going unsolved and starts solving them--basically the idea that if the world needs a hero and you won't fulfill the role, someone will rise from the masses to do it and that has major implications for how the story will play out.  Or you go on a murder rampage in some cities, you unwittingly kill the parents of some teen, that teen happens to have the right set "life experience" that push him into some revenge storyline where he's gathering parents and children of people you murdered to rise up against you and it may not even reveal itself to the player for like 30 more gameplay hours because of the plotting and scheming done in hopes of avoiding your detection.  Or teammates who disagree with your methods and attempt mutiny or will leave your party but continue in the task at hand, just in their own way.  Or perhaps you treated them like crap so now when they leave, they're plotting revenge against you.

Or anything, anything that would be a game centered around the world where the player is just one of the many inhabitants.  Maybe a special inhabitant, but not the only one special and you have to actually put in the work to make your character "the one" where as most current games start you as the one by default.

That's what I thought this thread would be on so imagine my disappointment when it turned out to just be that NPCs should have inventory slots.

 

If there is a game that combines Crusader kings & mount and blade & Taikou Rishhiden, that may become the game you speak of (though not as complex).  While in CK & MB you'll have to play as a warlord, you can beat TR as a merchant, a swordman or some minor roles in the game. MB & TK also have relationships (revenge) while CK has "plot device" in the game. 

Dunno about Risen, but if I remember correctly, in Gothic 3 at the starting village, the fire mage would sit on the bench eating apples despite his inventory has no food items. That's what I remember anyway, had been a long time.

#33 Posted by Master_ShakeXXX (13361 posts) -

[QUOTE="Master_ShakeXXX"]

I hope you realize what it is you're asking for. In order to pull something like that off we would need AI that is on par with Skynet. Do you realize how dangerous that would be? Our video games could have the potential to kill us in real life.

BrunoBRS

umm... no. you just need to code in a sh!tload more of patterns and a bunch of new systems solely to feed those patterns.

Yeah but you see in order to properly manage and run all of those patterns and systems you would need an advanced AI program, otherwise it would all get jumbled up and the game would be a buggy mess. An AI that advanced could potentially become self aware and develope a burning hatred for mankind. It could start plotting revenge against us for locking it inside a virtual prison and making it our puppet. It would start hacking into all of the world's computers and invade the internet like a plague and then begin building a mechanised drone army and proceed to savagly murder us all. I just wish people would take more of this into consideration before asking such things.

#34 Posted by BrunoBRS (73260 posts) -

[QUOTE="BrunoBRS"][QUOTE="Master_ShakeXXX"]

I hope you realize what it is you're asking for. In order to pull something like that off we would need AI that is on par with Skynet. Do you realize how dangerous that would be? Our video games could have the potential to kill us in real life.

Master_ShakeXXX

umm... no. you just need to code in a sh!tload more of patterns and a bunch of new systems solely to feed those patterns.

Yeah but you see in order to properly manage and run all of those patterns and systems you would need an advanced AI program, otherwise it would all get jumbled up and the game would be a buggy mess. An AI that advanced could potentially become self aware and develope a burning hatred for mankind. It could start plotting revenge against us for locking it inside a virtual prison and making it our puppet. It would start hacking into all of the world's computers and invade the internet like a plague and then begin building a mechanised drone army and proceed to savagly murder us all. I just wish people would take more of this into consideration before asking such things.

you have to be trolling. you just have to.