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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Making NPCs come alive, actions and progs

In previous posts we have mentioned the actions and progs that grant the NPCs of our world the ability to interact with the players (from the most complicated quests to just attacking them on sight) but we though it was worth a bit of explanation about them and how Baram implemented them for Ilyrias ( as they don't come with the default Rapture engine which just has the very very basics ).

Actions are just special attacks that NPCs can do, with some requirements (for example, the creature must be awake, or standing) , some visible messages for the target and anybody looking at the scene that describe what's going on and an effect (like, in the case of attacks, the player losing hit points and being stunned). They need a compiler to be usable by Ilyrias and are relatively fast to be introduce by the builders.

Progs are much more complicated and require a different compiler and interpreter to be able to use and execute them in game. They're scripts (with variables, variable scope, functions, methods, conditions, loops as any scripting language) that need to be coded and compiled by builders, and then executed on a virtual machine by Rapture. In exchange for all this complication, Ilyrias will be able to have quests, our system of fame/infamy, Mob feelings and would be a less complex and fun role playing game. They can be as complex as the builder needs them to be allowing for world wide quests or higher levels of artificial intelligence for the NPCs both singularly or as a group (for example, they can control that your actions in a village affect ALL the NPCs in said village, or even those in the opposing village).

Speaking of quests, Lyrian, our head builder, is now asking for ideas for small quests you'd like to see around the world of Ilyrias. So if you have any, read the quest ideas thread and submit it.

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Persistent Realms LLC Development Team for Ilyrias, the Aegadian Isles.
Contact us via comments or visit our forums.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ilyrias development

September is around the corner and the Ilyrias blog is back from holidays! With development in such a crucial moment all our efforts have been directed to coding and building as much as possible in preparation for the Alpha testing phase, so blogging has been a bit out of our minds. But our efforts have been rewarded in the form of even more new features and a growing world with more rooms added each day.

We now have a crafting and commodity system, that will allow the trade skills, both common and professional to be coded. For those not familiar with this kind of MORPG, in Ilyrias everything you can wear, use, attack another player with, eat or drink will be made by other players or in the case of really indispensable items by NPC shops. So getting your character geared doesn't imply grinding endlessly for loot, but finding a willing merchant or purchasing from a shop, or even looking for the commodities that will allow you to craft your own items if you have the needed skills. This makes roleplaying a merchant a real possibility allowing players to make money thanks to their gathering and crafting skills and economic wisdom.

The fighting aspect has also been enhanced by the introduction of armours and weapons, that will respectively protect from and deal different kinds of physical damage (blunt, cutting or piercing). Ilyrias combat system (both physical combat and magical combat, but most usually players will use a mix of the two) is quite complex, but Baram gave us a bit of insight of it on previous articles on this blog about PvP Combat. Most skills that can be used against player characters will also be usable against NPCs. To even the ground for the NPCs and make a more challenging and fun combat system, sentient NPCs will also have more intelligence and a wider range of skills, according to their roles. Why only sentient NPCs? This is a roleplaying online game after all, and it isn't very realistic to see a sheep having a wide range of attacks including fireballs

To give the inhabitants of the world intelligence, builders need to add to them actions and progs that have been already coded and now lack just the web interface for the builders to start coding and adding them to the NPCs. Even if progs and actions could be coded in game, the complexity of Ilyrias quests and artificial intelligence system made some kind of web interface necessary to speed up the work and allow builders to work more comfortably.

On a side note, the Ilyrias Whatpulse Team has been created by Baram, so check the Ilyrias forums to discover how to join it.

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Persistent Realms LLC Development Team for Ilyrias, the Aegadian Isles.
Contact us via comments or visit our forums.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Player builders program

Due to the fact that we had to reject a lot of otherwise very good good builder applications due to things like age (minimum age to sign an NDA is 18) or not having a good work record in another game, Lyrian has opened a new player building system and is requesting applications to join it.

Anybody with good writing skills and minimum dedication can apply and will be in charge of building small mini areas (blocks of a few rooms with a vaguely described theme and a writing style to adapt to). Once a player builder is assigned to a mini project, he'll be given more information about it, but a good deal of effort will be made on not disclosing detailed information about the game to avoid the need for a NDA and allow players of all ages to build.

Once accepted by Lyrian, you'll gain access to a reserved area of the forums where mini projects will be posted so if a player builder is interested he can apply. Once Lyrian assigns the project to him, she'll send him more detailed information like an area map, sample texts to have an idea of the style needed, etc...

Lyrian will be in charge of assigning areas to player builders and approving them if they have the required writing quality for Ilyrias. Each approved mini project will give you angelstone (the higher amount and quality of your work, the higher the amount of angelstone earned) wich is the Ilyrias equivalent to IRE credits, the game pay-per-perks currency. Eventually you can be promoted to full time builder, if you want to be. It's a good way of earning some angelstone to start the game with, and prove yourself as a builder to the Ilyrias team, even if you don't have enough time to complete full areas of over 300 rooms as our full time builders are doing or cannot sign an NDA.

If you are interested or want more information, contact Lyrian via email (lyrian(at)ilyrias-dot-com) or register in the Ilyrias forums if you haven't already done so and send her a private message. For your application to be considered, please be sure to include a few room samples and an estimate of how much time you can put on working for this project, as well as your age and anything you think will help Lyrian choose you over everybody else. Lyrian will contact you with more information if your application is accepted, and you'll be given access to the player builders area of the forums.

Remember that with this system you won't gain access to any undisclosed knowledge about Ilyrias as full builders do, so you'll be able to earn angelstone without having to sign an NDA, so you can apply even if you're not 18 years old yet.

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Persistent Realms LLC Development Team for Ilyrias, the Aegadian Isles.
Contact us via comments or visit our forums.