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Dynamic events and quests

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  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,897
    To add another layer, you could even set parameters for the abilities and class of lieutenant/boss level mobs to ensure that, even if the undead invade twice in the same area, the army and it's leaders consist of substantially different compositions and abilities.

    That would, however, require exponentially more resources in creating content throughout the game world.
    My idea was always to build a special interface into the game to allow company employees (Adversarial Managers) to move mobs like a RTS game.  These AMs would execute an 'event' on a server, then repeat on another server.  The AM could trigger mob movement, zone-wide messages and spawn story-related changes to NPCs (the guards suddenly offering a bounty on wolves or giving directions "Them wolves seem to be worse near the old Pinkerton farm").  The AMs would also be involved in creating the events.

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441
    I question whether dynamic content is actually more expensive to make. I agree that it is harder to design, but actual implementation shouldn't be much harder than standard quests. It just depends how much of the world you want to make dynamic. My preference would be to keep only the core storyline static (like epic books in LotRO, or class stories in SW:TOR) and make everything else dynamic. 


    So, lets take mob spawning as an example. A large proportion of quests we get involve killing stuff - be it 10 rats, a whole camp of enemies, or a mini-boss somewhere - so the world needs to spawn the creatures we kill. 

    Artists, animators, devs and whoever else already have to put in the work to create these mobs, assign them skills and behaviour, create huts / tents / camps etc for them to live in. So, static or dynamic, the bulk of the heavy lifting has already been done. 

    In a static system, you just assign zones and say what can spawn in those zones. You can use the same principles for a dynamic system. You can still have zones for spawning, it is simply that what spawns changes depending on in game actions. 

    What spawns, as a result of player actions, can also be pretty simple. Lets say at launch there is a goblin camp near a village. At that point, spawning is the same whether static or dynamic. There just needs to be a trigger event that changes what spawns. Maybe that trigger is a single kill of the boss. Perhaps it is a counter - 100 kills of the boss, or 100 completions of a quest. Once that trigger has happened, the game simply changes what spawns within that zone. 


    So, the hard work in such a system is:
    • Quest generation - the quests on offer need to match the environment, preferably dynamically generated rather than coming from a pre-built list. But, you could be lazy: if goblins then offer these 5 quests, if wolves offer these 5 quests etc. 
    • Landscape alteration - if goblins were living nearby, I'd expect a goblin encampment with shit walls and tents. If these were replaced by wolves, I'd expect no walls or tents, but perhaps a wolf den. Your system would need to be able to change the environment to suit it's inhabitants. Again, you could be lazy and pre-define all the options, but I'd prefer something dynamic so one month, the camp might be in one place, the next it is somewhere slightly different. 
    • The changeover - when the trigger is met, how do you handle the changeover? Do you despawn all goblins and instantly spawn wolves? Do you make the goblins walk to the nearest cave and disappear? Do the wolves walk down as a pack from nearby mountains? Do new goblin tribes migrate in, and if so can we ambush them?

    I think these are all fairly easy challenges to overcome. For example, if you have your spawning algorithm sorted nicely, then in the future you can easily add a new race to an area by just creating a new potential outcome (e.g. uruk hai), adding the mobs and the buildings to that outcome, then defining the triggers. 

    From that point on, the right set of outcomes would result in the uruk hai invading an area, building their own unique buildings and spawning automatic quests for new visitors. 



    I'm probably not doing a good job of explaining myself, but I firmly believe that with a talented game designer and a great lead developer, you could implement dynamic content for roughly the same price as existing static content. You'd have more upfront costs in terms of design and dev, but less ongoing costs as you only need to design a single system (mob spawning + triggers + quests) which can then be used to populate every single zone with mobs and quests. 
    It depends a bit, FEDEX and pest control quests are still a lot cheaper and faster to make. Good quests is another matter but having Farmer Bob asking players to kill 10 giant Commie cockroaches takes almost zero time.

    The quality of a well designed DE certainly makes it worth the extra job  but I still think that there generally will be more of it unless we aree talking about a game that skips filler quests.

    One awesome DE system I would like to see is one that actually change the season in the zone  (better have a rather long cooldown on this one, 2 weeks or so). For instance to end the winter you get a chain that if successful let you kill the frostqueen and turn the zone into spring. 

    It is not that hard to make a good DE system but making good chains, especially if you want them to branch out is rather work heavy.

    I think the perfect system would use both quests and DEs, but save the quests for the more epic stuff that takes a while to complete (like EQ2s heritage and signature quests). Stuff like saving a farmers field, saving a village from maruading orcs or similar things work far better as DEs then quests. Gathering parts to make a pair of magical boots works on the other hand far better as a quest.
  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 562
    edited September 2019
    I feel like we already have this in the form of PvP, especially FFA PvP in open world sandbox MMORPGs. It's not very controllable, a nightmare for game designers, and not usually theatrical, but it's dynamic. It's like BEING Neo, as opposed to watching a movie where he's the main character. Being Neo would be terrible. The weight of the world on you, and you die for real. How many of us would like to be Captain Ahab, or Achilles? Pain and suffering are a part of every story, but they're not real. We're not actually Captain Ahab. This is the difference between themepark MMORPGs and PvP sandbox MMORPGs. In themeparks, we enjoy it like a movie. In sandboxes, we feel everything, including the pain and suffering. This is why they're not popular. They don't shield us from the hurt.

    So what's there to gain from it, I ask. Maybe players are somewhat predictable, or can't somehow do what computer programs might do. AI might give us something other people can never give, even if they both end up being similar. Knowing that a computer is making your epic story dynamically, whilst also shielding you from the hurt, might be the least of your concerns. Knowing your story isn't the same as everybody elses, yet equally compelling as it otherwise would be, might be what's gained.

    I don't believe the real reason to do dynamic content has much to do with you or I though. I think the impetus will be economical. With games growing exponentially in size, it'll become cost prohibitive to design everything by hand. At some point, content has to be generated by the computer to convincingly populate these worlds with increasing detail. AI might be used, or some sort of deep learning. In the past, entire landscapes in game worlds cna be generated by software, with rivers and mountains and cliffs and more. Developers then proceeded to manipulate it by hand. MOst likely that's what we can expect in the future. Software will create ever larger amounts of the content, but developers will still tweak the results by hand. Worlds will be immense and incomprehensible. People will lose themselves to these worlds even more than they do now. There'll be even less boundary between real and virtual.
    Post edited by Hawkaya399 on
  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,113
    we complain about Fedex quest in MMOs. Well this kind of make me feel bad about the real life Fedex workers now. I rather have Dynamic Event PvE

    image

  • madazzmadazz Member RarePosts: 2,038
    edited September 2019
    GW2 has absolutely nothing dynamic too it. Dynamic means ever changing. The falsely advertised "dynamic" quests in GW2 are a constant. They repeat and are reliable. There is nothing dynamic about quests in GW2.

    If you liked what GW2 offered many other games do the same but call them open world quests.
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