Choose Your Language

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Ambient Life

Every now and then when working on the module, something amusing happens that is worth telling (or so I think). In this case, it was when I was working on some new ambient life code that made the NPCs behave with a little more "intelligence" than I had used before.

This coding has come about because I have given my NPCs a degree of autonomy and "real life" responses where possible. For example, if a PC tries to pick a lock or do some damage when there are witnesses nearby, they will be prevented from doing so. This code appears to work fine, but led to me to realising that in such circumstances a player playing a thief (or any PC) may reasonably suggest to themselves that they may try coming back later (at night say) when there were no witnesses around. This, in turn, led me to considering the night and day time positions of NPCs and so I wrote some code to handle this potential situation.

The funny thing that happened was that during my testing, every NPC (except the head clergyman at the church) ended up going to the local tavern, even if they were not supposed to. Everyone turned up, from the church adept to the guards that should have been on duty! As I say, only the head clergyman did not go, although he should have gone to bed, but did not and remained at the church altar. He must have been praying for all those wayward souls down the pub! ;)

Anyway, it made me chuckle for a short while before I finally resolved the problem. Once again, this new code did raise other issues that I had not foreseen. Unfortunately, I cannot mention them as they are spoilers. Suffice to say, having the NPCs move somewhere else broke some of the logic and so I had to add more code to sort that out too. However, once I have finished this section, the module will behave in yet another way that I hope will add extra depth for the player. I am imagining rogues waiting until nightfall so that they have more chance to do their nefarious tasks than during the daylight hours. Time will tell how well it comes together .... or not! ;)

New Epithet Feats

I have also been investigating the area of new feats: the ones that give skill bonuses (or penalties) when acquired. The type that are acquired through PC actions rather than through class improvement. Adding epithet feats is straight forward enough, but attaching the skill benefits is not as straight forward as it first seemed. At the moment, it looks like I may have to resort to using the PC skin method again, but if anybody knows of any other way of doing this, then please let me know.

Windows 7 (64 bit)

I have also spent some time partitioning my hard drive and adding Windows 7 as a dual boot option. I also tested NWN2 on the new operating system and all appears to be fine. (I played some SoZ with a friend last night with no hitches at all.) I also opened my module in the toolset and all appears well there too. :)


E.C.Patterson said...

Funny story. I guess it was 2 for 1 on shooters that night.

Amraphael said...

That must have been funny. Thanks for sharing.
I have also recently worked on some NPC fake intelligence and it's not easy to predict what they will do in different situation. While working on a day/night script (I wanted my islanders to got to the tavern) they started to attack doors and other placeable objects after sunset. Really fun to look at but it took a while to find the error.

You surely put lots of details in to this module. I'll be really interesting to play it. There are lots of interesting top NWN2 titles coming up soon and your module will be amongst them.

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi E.C. Patterson,

Something like that I guess ... or maybe a Happy Hour. ;)

Hi Amraphael,

These kind of things are amusing ... more so once you resolve the problem and can look back on it. ;)

Thanks for the encouragement. I am not sure I will be ready any time soon ... I just hope I will be ready before people give the game up for something newer.

(There will certainly be a credit to yourself for supplying some great bits of custom content.)


Anonymous said...

What sort of Epithet Feats do you have in mind? I'm intrigued by what you'd come up with.

And, yeah, the PC skin is troublesome, to say the least. I got very sick of that back in NWN1. You could try asking Kaedrin; he's very helpful.

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Chaos Wielder,

It was an epithet to complement one of my systems .. the one where a player may overuse the "Sorry" feat. The "Sorry" feat is used to prevent NPCs retaliating after you kill one (by mistake?), but if you are using it too often, then it tends to suggest you may be killing NPCs for the sake of it, in which case it marks you in degrees of "danger" to the rest of the population ... to the point where you may become kill on sight and no more "Sorry" aloud.

I intended to tie in an intimidate bonus with each step. It was just an idea at this stage, as it is something that I may do more of if I get to understand how to do it. After all, it marks progress as a character (other than the norm) in a more personalised (perhaps unexpected) way.

I may try tracking down Kaedrin then and seeing if he has done anything similar. :)


Quillmaster said...

I like the idea of a player thinking of going back somewhere at night when there are fewer witnesses. I incorporated something along a similar line of thinking in my "Muddles in Milton" with the sewer gratings, where the player could enter more easily at night (If I recall correctly, daytime use required a hide check or something similar).

Lance Botelle (Bard of Althéa) said...

Hi Geoff,

Yes, having aspects change due to the time adds a new dimension. However, while some things will be easier to do at night, there may be times when it is a disadvantage. ;)