elements of a social warfare mud
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3
Post new topic   Reply to topic    mudlab.org Forum Index -> Design
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 134
Location: Emily's Shop

PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Explicitly pre-programmed conversation branches are never going to work. Instead the player should be able to use a variety of social combat tactics, freeform, and may or may not achieve his objective. Imagine he has to find some sheep.

(Player input in regular font, game output in bold).

You look around the market square. Ahead you spy the lissom figure of Jenna Tharyn, daughter of Garr Tharyn, the local land-owner.

greet jenna cordially

Jenna looks at you from under long eyelashes. "Well, hullo, stranger, what can I do for you?"

ask jenna about sheep

Jenna frowns. "Sheep? What a strange thing to ask about. Not really my area of expertise, I'm afraid." She turns to go.

flirt gently with jenna

Jenna's manner softens.

flirt with jenna

Jenna puts her head on one side and giggles coyly.

flirt explicitly with jenna

Jenna gasps in astonishment, but then leans close and whispers in your ear "whatever you want!"

ask jenna about sheep

Jenna says "Oh, well, you should probaly ask Garm the Shepherd, he knows all about sheep. He leaves to east of town in a stone hut."


You leave east. Jenna shouts after you "hey, where are you going?!"

And so on.

You obviously need to give the player some feedback about how any particular tactic is working, and learnable skills might include not only flirting, but also assessing a person to see which tactic they might respond to. Jenna, for example, being the landowner's daughter, would probably not respond well to threats - she might get angry, call the guards over, and have you arrested. But a really serious threat (along the lines of actually putting a knife to her throat) might well get her attention. In the above example, flirting worked well - but that was because the player's character was attractive and female, and it happens that Jenna prefers the intimate company of women to that of men. Jenna is also clearly fairly "up for it" - had she been less so, then explicit flirting would have angered her. Other options might reasonably include things like flattery, deceit, arrogance, kindness, bribery, etc. with perhaps subtler options like using courtly language or working class patois, etc.

This can potentially make for quite complex interactions and quite long "conversations" that require just as much careful decision-making as branching scripted conversations, but with much less scripting effort up front.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Author Message

Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 99
Location: Golden Valley, Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been a while, but I'll kick the dead horse again, but I think Shasarak hit the nail on the head with his last post.

To emphasize here, most games that I've played that feature any sort of in-depth "players ask questions, npcs answer them" system usually has the MOBs spout off the same lines when it comes to answering a question that they don't "know" about. The player (myself) doesn't care that these responses are the same, it is a trigger for our brains telling us that this person doesn't have the answers we seek and we should go somewhere else, it would be a severe pain in the neck to have to read through some lengthy and unique response from each mob just to learn that they don't know what I want to know.

Therefore, we can eliminate a whole "branch" off of the conversation tree for the "lack of knowledge response". I think the same thing can be done for such things as "adamant rejection" or whatever else, so long as it falls into the "negative response" category. If I repeatedly attempt to flirt with women and always fail miserably (because my skill is too low or my character is rather ugly or whathaveyou) then I would not be at all surprised that the vast majority of them smack me and scream "You pig!" Once again, we're lopping branches off the of the tree by only having to script a few maybe even 10 or less "stock" negative responses to each different type of, let's call it persuasion skill.

Sure, the overall lines of text might still multiply rather quickly if we have many different forms of persuasion, or if we really nitpick the level of success or failure, but we have to write lots of lines for skill success/failure, ad naseum so why are we cutting it short with mobs?

Basically all we need are the dialogue-specific lines as Shasarak mentioned to be unique, which is what you're going to have to write even if you just script the mob to respond everytime the player types "sheep" in the same room. However, and I speak from experience, it is utterly annoying when I happen to say the wrong word in a conversation with a PC in the same room as a MOB and trigger some big long discourse from the MOB about how the King is an evil tyrant and someone should really dethrone him.

So what we need is a system where we can choose who specifically we are interacting with and use that as the basis for the MOB's reaction, then we need to know exactly what that mob knows about and the triggers that will set them down those roads and finally, we need a set of variables that will determine what means of persuasion our mob is susceptible to and what their response will be if we succeed or fail. Simple one-liners like Shasarak mentioned will do splendidly for showing that we are wearing down our prey with our flirtation until we bring them to a level where we have won them over and can get the information, goods or whatever else we seek.

In a lot of ways and perhaps entirely, it's not so far off from an actual haggling system. Whereby, rather than just "getting a better deal" because we have the barter/haggle skill, we have to actually perform our skill when trying to get that better deal.

This might not be an important feature for most muds, because of any of a number of reasons, but for one that was seeking to emphasize social interaction and institute means of "social combat" so to speak it's at least a start.

On a side note, something that just occurred to me, this would really allow for a greater level of "non-combatant" characters as well, as the politician really could talk his way out of those sticky situations without having to resort to violence if that were his character.

Of course, we still have the problem to confront of how we deal with these problems in regards to players, but starting with the MOBs seems as logical a place as any to me.

My two cents, something to chew on,

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    mudlab.org Forum Index -> Design All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3
Page 3 of 3

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group
BBTech Template by © 2003-04 MDesign