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Walking background characters


Extra walking backgrond characters in cities  

196 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you want extra background characters in walking around in the big cities?

    • Yes I definitively want this!
      103
    • No!
      4
    • Only if it doesn't use to much resources from more important features.
      74
    • Don't care
      12
    • Other (explain in a post)
      3


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One of the things i believe felt artificial in games like Baldur's Gate II was how all the people in the town was standing still (except for moving a few feet once in a while). In a big city I expect there to be much more people in the streets and i expect most of them to be moving from some point to another.

 

So my idea was to always have a random amount of people walking (maybe some even running) around from one end of the party's field of vision to the other end, possible stopping a minute at the local merchant. This would really make the big cities feel authentic for me.

 

Still I know this might take some work and compared to the gain it might not be worth it. So what do people think?

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As long as you don't have to hunt down wandering questgivers, I'm fine.

 

The rogue rebalance mod for BG2 adds a lot of such filler NPCs that serve no purpose other than being targets for pickpocketing. It indeeds make the city feel authentic, and won't really take much time to realize, only the CPU-load due to all the AI scripts running may be noticeable on weaker PCs.

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Agree with JOG. Just adding wandering people is enough to eliminate that "dead" feeling from the cities. Footsteps, random conversation, people shouting,....

 

Reading books talking about huge cities, full of merchants, markets, people trading or just fighting in front of a tavern, the heart of many empires,...hearing tales from people talking about those incredible metropolis, where you can find anything you can dream!

 

Oh my god, I have reached one of those cities, I will find so many people on the streets! Oh...wait...hello? Anybody there? After hours wandering, you have counted 20 citizens more or less, totally dissapointing.

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Like JOG said, as long as it does not become an inconvenience it is fine and could add some immersion to the game.

If it is difficult or not to implement is another story, there need to be some sort of waypoint mapping unless they are to wander completely random and there is the issue of day-night cycles. I have seen Neverwinter nights modules handle this though so it should be fairly easy to do all things considered.

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I mainly want the settlements to feel less like an empty shell than they were in the Neverwinter Nights 2 game modules. That just sucked all of the life out of the setting for me. So yes, I'd absolutely love to see, say, a busy market square just bustling with people standing around or going to or fro, even if that makes writing the pathfinding algorithm a nightmare. :)

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It would be kind of cool. If it doesn't take too much effort to implement, I'd be for it, but otherwise I wouldn't be. It's not something I find myself missing in games that don't have it. So, I suppose I'm somewhere between not caring, and "only if doesn't use too many resources".

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Not really sure I identify. Baldur's Gate (And Athklatla) was pretty alive to me even with a few wandering NPC's. Felt deader at night, but of course it's supposed to be.

Never felt like it wasn't a real city.

 

Maybe it's just about more modern cities? Like Onderon (KOTOR2). Although just adding NPC's for the heck of it walking circles can look pretty stupid too (think... Taris in KOTOR1).

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I'd want it, and also other random occurances (muggings, crazy preacher drawing a crowd, someone dropping a bundle of stuff they were going to deliver to a merchant, etc.). Both would really help bring the game alive. Even Arcanum had guards patrolling and bystanders walking around, and that game's over 10 years old now.

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Torment also had a lot of NPCs going through any one area (often from one ward entrance to another) as well as NPCs standing around and such. It worked really well in Sigil I think, really brought it to life. And you could engange in conversation with everyone!

 

I think this is a pretty important part of cities in RPGs. I'm not normally one to shout for "immersion" and all that junk but this is an area I feel should be treated with care. Aside from good and dense sound-design, having lots of movement in the cities is important. That is, NPCs walking around, good idle animations for NPCs, and possibly animated backgrounds where it makes sense.

 

EDIT: Also forgot to mention. Just having these NPCs who flow from one area entrance to another sells another often overlooked point... It looks like these NPCs are heading somewhere. This is an area where Oblivion completely failed with its NPCs because they would often just... Walk a few steps here... then a few there... then stare into the wall... then walk a few steps here... Until *suddenly* something was acticated in the scrips and they had to head off to eat or whatever. You could *tell* very easily that it's just an illusion.

 

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A bit more than BG would be fine for me (though not too much more, there is such a thing as too much) as they felt pretty close, definitely better than the capital of Ferelden in DAO that felt like a village and a dead one at that.

Edited by FlintlockJazz

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More npc's even if they just have canned dialog add a bit of believability to the world and the cities. So sure, do it. But they shouldn't go out of their way to spend time on something like this, though I expect it wouldn't be that hard of a thing to get done.

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NPC day schedule is a very nice thing. It makes the game world far more realistic. But I don't know how hard is it to implement this feature. If the effort is reasonable, I'd be happy to see this in game. It would be definitely easier to implement if you plan it from the very beginning.

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I also think that Planescape: Torment's Sigil is the city that felt most alive - and that it is what to look to most for inspiration with this one. It's not just the NPCs walking around with a 'clear' aim, but the Dabus working (which add a lot to the place feeling 'busy') and of course the audio ambience. But also - the areas weren't necessarily big, but crowded (some more than other's - but there was a logic to that, too - the Hive's market area is a lot more busy then the Ragpicker's Square). It's dynamics like that that make a difference, too. Loads of side alleys, even near really busy pedestrian areas, easily can be quite vacant.

 

I don't think a city, as a game location, has to be big (loads of different places to go to) to feel big either. Just clearly a lot more densely populated and giving a sense of size - where every area you visit clearly is part of something more.

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I agree that torment's sigil felt the most 'alive' of all the cities, though one aspect of it that is somewhat difficult for me to decide is anonymous randoms (usually labeled something generic like 'hive dweller') and named npcs. In PS:T you would just mouse over everyone till you found someone with a name, and generally the named individals had something quest-related to say. This aspect, while not game breaking, did somewhat detract from immersion. That being said, I cannot think of a fix for this. If the city is full and every npc is named, players would have to spend hours in pointless conversations to determine which npcs are 'worthwhile'. So I suppose I was wondering if anyone had any ideas to fix this? I suspect it is somewhat insoluble but just curious.

 

 

 

edit: spelling

Edited by Grand Heresiarch
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Does it need to be fixed though?

 

[i am just replaying PS:T at the moment.]

 

Yes, only people that had more to say are highlighted with names, but not all of them are quest givers. A lot of the named characters are parts of quests; i.e. you can talk to them, learn about them, but they only become 'useful' for the character at a later stage. And likewise a few select characters only provide quests after certain conditions are met. I.e. you still had to talk to the right person at the right time. The game helped a little by picking out the right ones, but there was a large enough cast that you'd still had to find them yourself.

 

It's similar to that discussion about a more 'immersive and interactive' journal elsewhere. Journals serve a function and moving too far away from it only adds annoyance not more 'immersion'. [i find that a so undefined concept by now that I don't think the word has much purpose.] The same is true, I think, with named characters. Yes, it's an abstraction, but one that's useful to keep the game flowing easily. It works well enough and is not something that needs fixing and, I think, pretty much any fix would just add tedium and reduce 'immersion'.

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Yup, don't fix what ain't broken...

 

It ain't an issue. And solving it with ! markers. Well, the game would be dead to me then...

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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I don't need 1,001 nameless, faceless NPCs wandering around the two big cities of P:E, but I am interested in seeing some level of activity. They're supposed to be cities of the living, not mausoleums. As a practical matter, how are our rogues supposed to practice their pickpocketing if there are next to no pockets to pick, hmm? I've seen some reasonable cities done in amateur NWN1 modules, so I'd be genuinely shocked if Obsidian gave us two large cities one could shoot a cannon-load of grapeshot through without hitting many people.

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It may be trivial but a city with people walking around make it feel alive. It would be less of a problem with PE is using a 16 bit graphics but if the screenshot they put up is any indication. The graphics fidelity that was used, having fully rendered characters standing around is just so glaring for our brain not to notice.

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Well i would like to see more... life in cities in games. There should be more npc's walking around even more so at main streets and market areas. I always find it strange in rpg's how there are less population in towns then enemies 100 meters outside the town gates. How can people live in a world where just outside the gate there are evil people that outnumber the towns population by 100 to 1?

 

Ofc money can be spent on more important things... So its not like they need a super active town with lots of npc's. They could add a few to make it feel abit alive... Worst case if they make sure people can mod someone at some point will make a mod to make towns more alive.

Edited by Kaldurenik
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IE towns (and bars) were generally well-stocked and full of movement, so I am not worried about this element...

^

 

 

I agree that that is such a stupid idiotic pathetic garbage hateful retarded scumbag evil satanic nazi like term ever created. At least top 5.

 

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