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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.