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Well I think it's not so much about the lies as it is about having their own agenda, and the protagonist's well-being might not be their biggest concern. A good story is character driven and not plot driven. If you can motivate npc actions through them having their own agendas I think you'll get a rich tapestry with plenty of lying and backstabbing that isn't immediately obvious to the player. (as it so often is.)

Edited by JFSOCC

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Well I think it's not so much about the lies as it is about having their own agenda, and the protagonist's well-being might not be their biggest concern. A good story is character driven and not plot driven. If you can motivate npc actions through them having their own agendas I think you'll get a rich tapestry with plenty of lying and backstabbing that isn't immediately obvious to the player. (as it so often is.)

 

Lies for sake of lies are stupid idea and I fully agree on that.

 

What you described "agenda" is one of things of my "real lies" idea. Agenda is what drive characters and PC is not center of their story. So if event ties npc and PC, NPC must think first what he want and player is the one who will judge this.

 

For example

On crossroads you meet other NPC. You ask for direction to certain ruins and they show it on your map. Upon reaching ruins you discover those ruins were already looted by someone so you decide to drop quest and tell quest maker that ruins were already explored.

 

That was from PC point of view.

 

Now from NPC point of view.

 

on crossroads you meet PC. He ask direction to ruin which you want to explore. Since you don't want competition you gave them direction to old ruins you already explored.

 

So player won't know of it untill he find proof in dialog with NPC or some investigation those fake quest ruins.

Player could also not speak to NPC and continue to search.

 

So things like those can happen:

 

Player will find and explore ruins.

Player won't find ruins.

Player will find fake ruins.

Player will find fake ruins and then original ruins.

Player will find ruins thanks to dialog with NPC (will find that NPC is lier)

Player will confront with NPC in original ruins.

And so on,

 

Little lie and player will have vastly different experience and what is more important player will try to think all time.

 

EDIT:

 

Also it would be sweet if they would include in this idea that your decisions are not realised after making decision but are in limbo state moving like clockwork in shadows to finally reveal outcome of decision after a long time like 5 or 10 hours. Also state of limbo should be known to player meaning. He should see that his decision is making things turn little by little and he should see those changes even before final change will arrive.

 

Example:

 

You killed some High Lord because Mage Coucil had proofs of his corruption.

After a while you notice that some prices in shops rose and people widely talk about it.

After few more days prices for some items are really high and this makes few citizents of city angry.

Guards at one of protest pacificated protesters and whole atmosphere of city is now rather cruel.

After a while from that you learn for some source or not (if PC didn't try to solve that problem) that those prices were directly connected with murdered lord. He used to bribe soldiers on borders of nation to buy cheaper goods from other nations and sell it in this city. Thanks to that people were used to low prices for decades.

If player would dig more about it he will find clues that those proofs were sent from one of the traders in town concurrent to this murdered High Lord.

 

So summary:

 

Proofs were legit

Corrupt man got killed. Justice served.

City got flack from it.

Merchant which sent those letters is now becoming rich.

 

Where was lie ? Whole things was a lie ! Player just didn't research motives of each party and probably didn't have a chance to. Resolution of this quest was after 14 hours of game and because of that you can't undo it and you must deal with consequences like riots in city and high price of items.

 

Pleyer who didn't research why prices are so high will assume that just how world looks now.

Edited by perkel

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These things have to be done... delicately.

 

Kreia and Bishop are among my favorite characters because they are deceitful and manipulative. It makes them interesting. But it's also deliberately taking control away from the player and railroading them down the path the untrustworthy character wants you to go. If done right it adds a great amount of uneasiness and dread to the plot, but if done wrong (see Anders in DA2) it can make the invisible hand of the game designer too apparent.

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These things have to be done... delicately.

 

Kreia and Bishop are among my favorite characters because they are deceitful and manipulative. It makes them interesting. But it's also deliberately taking control away from the player and railroading them down the path the untrustworthy character wants you to go. If done right it adds a great amount of uneasiness and dread to the plot, but if done wrong (see Anders in DA2) it can make the invisible hand of the game designer too apparent.

 

Hand of developer is what must be avoided. It's standard in gaming that developer is responsible for creating, delivering and resolving events but real fun for player is when he is the one who solves problem not developer. So player must have some clues and he judges on those clues. So when you confront a villain which is accused of murdering someone and you have clues there should be no explanation like in 99% of games (hahaha yes i was the one !) but He should still say it wasn't me ! And you if you have sold proofs should judge him even if he is saying it wasn't me.

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I think whomever played the Witcher 2 knows how refreshing this approach is. By the end of the game you are aware that pretty much everyone lied to you and nothing is what it seems.

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I think whomever played the Witcher 2 knows how refreshing this approach is. By the end of the game you are aware that pretty much everyone lied to you and nothing is what it seems.

 

Witcher 1 is i think better in those aspects.

 

 

Ok now let's change now our standpoint and focus on PC.

Lying to NPCs that's a idea that is in my opinion interesting. This is hardly used in gaming !. Even wondered as I how many times NPC trusted you like you were Jesus or something ?

 

For example after a few days of doing nothing i will comeback to quest giver and will tell him that i cleared that house from spiders and i will receive money from him. It would also mean that NPC should be more reactive meaning that if i lie to him he should do something if he realize that I lied to him.

 

Who knows how viscous revenge can be ?

Edited by perkel

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...

- You raised good ideas and points of view in things you wrote and in overall discussion. And personally i'd agree with you in preference of meaningful lies over decorative ones.

There are some points i'd like emphasize in that matter:

  • Developers have to decide whether AI of NPC's lie will affect only side-quests or anything (and most important main storyline in that matter). In last case simple independent randomization will do the job, while in other case developers must think about some more sophisticated algorithms.
  • As flows from point above. In case of lies that affect (explicitly or implicitly e.g. karma etc.) main storyline, developers have to think how or whether player will be able to continue the quest. If player can ruin the main quest or fail to follow the main storyline i see only two variants which game can offer: Player can continue the quest and developers have to provide a possibility of winning such as brute force straight way to the some explicit ending point. Player can drive himself to narrative dead-end and game (if not forced to stop) will continue without any meaningful plot.
  • As flows from point above. In case of game continued without main plot, developers may face a need to think about way to notify player about so called dead-end, or/and to develop special algorithm to "predict" (count) all turning-points and give player interface of getting back to last/any.


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