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Ok so Alignment, Character Creation, and Relationships...

AlignmentRomance Character Creation Reputation NPC Reactions Comeliness

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#21
Agelastos

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That's wrong. What you're talking about is "Comeliness" and "Badassness", but these aren't polar things. Character could have both - Geralt (Witcher), J. Bond, or neither - some beggar, or man, suffering from some disease.


Geralt is definitely NOT comely. He's described as ugly in the books, and by pretty much everyone he meets in the games.

#22
SGray

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Geralt is definitely NOT comely. He's described as ugly in the books, and by pretty much everyone he meets in the games.

Not talking about book description but about in-game and art looks. Like this (big pic):
Spoiler

Noticeable scars, alien-looking eyes, but strongly doubt that pic could be called ugly. And not sure if he was ever called ugly as a man in books, when it's not an insult or irony, and not phrases like "ugly scars". Hordes of Geralt-fangirls, and good part of female population in books and games wouldn't agree with "ugly" also.
You couldn't argue that it has enough badassness to get any job requiring it. And it wouldn't be hard to Geralt to lure some random baroness to the bedroom.
I'm not arguing about the term, "comely" is really not so good word for Geralt. I'm arguing about in-game mechanics proposed. "Attractive vs battle-reliable" gauge.

#23
PsychoBlonde

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There is a term in programming, "oversimulation". Shamus Young has a post a bit about it, if you're interested. In general I'd say it's something that has to be avoided. I can't help but feel that designing some kind of "beauty gauge" is one of the lowest posible priorities in any program, only slightly above creating a simulation of your character's digestive system.


It depends on what you're trying to simulate. If you're going for really complex interpersonal reactions, a system like this may be worthwhile. Although, I will say that the number of variables you'd have to track for a system like this would be staggering, and generate an equally-staggering number of BUGS. On the other hand, if the mechanics were hidden and complex as the OP suggests, such bugs would likely be invisible. But this could be a very bad thing, because it might make the interactions in the game look and feel completely random. How frustrating would it be to decide you want to romance X character on this playthrough, but to discover you can't because they don't like the tall chicks? Or to be unable to achieve the non-violent solution you wanted because you picked a different deity than on your last character?

If you really want complex interpersonal interactions, maybe you should start assigning characters to be each others relatives, friends, hated rivals, etc. But this would get ridiculous very quickly. If the game is going to feel random anyway, they might as well write the NPC's to believe *whatever* about how your character smells/looks/dresses/acts and just go with it.

Personally, I think a much better method would be to just . . . write complex character interactions. You don't need an unspeakably complex over-simulated global system to do this, but it would help to think of the PC as a character who needs to be written as well or better than the NPC's instead of as a select-o-matic box who only exists as a bridge between NPC dialogs. Give the PC a generic option or two for when people don't like the various personality options, sure. But put that personality stuff in there for the PC.

Here's the kicker--you don't have to get very many effects from it in order for it to be cool. For instance, suppose in one quest sequence you have to explain some events to several distinct groups of people, and you get options with varying deliveries and degrees of spin. However, have it be that if you do the *maximum* spin, the factions compare notes and consider you a liar. Here you've established a definite personality and gotten a definite reactive result from it. Then, later on in the game, have ONE callback to it, where you try to get someone to trust you, but they remark that you have a history of being a liar.

It's like callbacks in a comedy routine. They don't have to reference EVERY joke they've made in the routine in order for it to be hilarious. Nor does the game have to react to each. and. every. thing you do in order for it to feel reactive.

#24
Adhin

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I like the general idea of people having more complex reactions based off how your character looks and other general things but I think taking 4 general sides (some of which should be on an individual basis such as your 'alignment' part) and making a score that just universally works for everyone is... Well I don't like that part of it. It is instantly to gamy, even if you can't see the numbers in game we'll know about the numbers with in a week (at most) and have guides up how to game it and its just far, far to general.

I really, really dislike bringing this game up as an example but Fable 2-3 actually had NPC like and dislikes on a broader scale in relation to what you where waring and the kind of crap you did in the world (your overall reputation). And, in the end I feel a system closer to that is a better representation of the kind of thing your going for. Also I hate questionnaire style character creation systems. The second the game starts posing crappy what-if questions then makes its own moral judgements about my reasons behind my choices that never quite match up I want to hit a skip button and set things manually since, frankly, games are goddamn stupid at making those choices.

So yeah I like the general idea of what your getting at but I disagree with everything you said in how to accomplish it, and hope they get something interesting in like this.

Edited by Adhin, 04 December 2012 - 12:36 AM.

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#25
AGX-17

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Also I hate questionnaire style character creation systems. The second the game starts posing crappy what-if questions then makes its own moral judgements about my reasons behind my choices that never quite match up I want to hit a skip button and set things manually since, frankly, games are goddamn stupid at making those choices.


I love that sort of character creation when it's well implemented. And different bonuses and elemental proficiencies depending on when you were born. It could also be optional and simply provide bonuses like in Morrowind rather than determining base attributes and derived stats/skills.
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#26
Tale

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The need to justify alignment I don't understand. There's the "perception" idea here that's a reputation system, but alignment itself still doesn't seem to do anything. I mean, NPCs react to what they see you do. Alignment isn't that. Alignment is the quiet ideas that only exist in your head and no other NPC will know to react to. So why does it need formalizing as a system?
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#27
ReyVagabond

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I love this ideas, but i dont like hidden stats, why, because 2 weeks from now, a fan will create a guide, and we all know we will use it.

Lets save ourselfs from that, and make the stats visible, or at least give it some tags, lets say from 1-10 you are considered ugly and in your character tab statetas that. etc.
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#28
HangedMan

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I like it. But I'm not sure that implementing this degree of depth would benefit a game like PE enough to be worth the resources. The game is primarily about adventuring, not politicking. Now I'd love to play an RPG where dialogue was the focal point and social maneuvering was the main challenge, with combat taking a backseat like it did to stealth in the Thief games, but I don't believe Project Eternity is being designed for that.

I love the ideas here, and would genuinely love a game where character creation is such a big deal. However, much like Odglok, I don't think PE is the place for it.

#29
Adhin

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@AGX-17: That's not the kind of 'questionnaire' stuff I was talking about. PIcking when you where born, or what sign or whatever is basic character creation stuff like your stats, background feats/skills/talents/whatever. Morrowind/Oblivion and the past few Fallout games are prime examples of why I don't like them but was always happy they didn't actually 'do' anything. In Morrowind and Oblivion you got asked a bunch of questions (not talking basic form stuff like sign you where born under), im talking about the moral non-sense questions. In Morrowind/Oblivion they just picked from the base starting classes they had pre-made, or you could make your own class. In FO3/NV they picked background stuff and starting feats.

I wanna be clear its specifically the moral questions or ink bloch stuff with canned responses where the developer has a specific moral or reason behind the responses which are never the reason 'I' picked the response... it just bugs me. That said I've always enjoyed the basic in-game process of character creation you had with those games. For instance it always starting out with someone asking your name, you type it in, that's your name... someone asking where your from, what sign you where born under... all that in-game character creation stuff can be fun. Moral questions suck balls IMO though, they just fall flat.

#30
AGX-17

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@AGX-17: That's not the kind of 'questionnaire' stuff I was talking about. PIcking when you where born, or what sign or whatever is basic character creation stuff like your stats, background feats/skills/talents/whatever. Morrowind/Oblivion and the past few Fallout games are prime examples of why I don't like them but was always happy they didn't actually 'do' anything. In Morrowind and Oblivion you got asked a bunch of questions (not talking basic form stuff like sign you where born under), im talking about the moral non-sense questions. In Morrowind/Oblivion they just picked from the base starting classes they had pre-made, or you could make your own class. In FO3/NV they picked background stuff and starting feats.

I wanna be clear its specifically the moral questions or ink bloch stuff with canned responses where the developer has a specific moral or reason behind the responses which are never the reason 'I' picked the response... it just bugs me. That said I've always enjoyed the basic in-game process of character creation you had with those games. For instance it always starting out with someone asking your name, you type it in, that's your name... someone asking where your from, what sign you where born under... all that in-game character creation stuff can be fun. Moral questions suck balls IMO though, they just fall flat.


What "background stuff" and "feats" are you referring to in F3/NV? I assume by feats you mean traits (or do you mean perks? Probably not since perks are only gained on level up,) which weren't in F3... The player's entire background is set in stone in F3, and until Lonesome Road it was up to your imagination in NV.

But since Fallout's morality is a sliding scale that goes either way based on your actions after character creation (which was implemented in a poorly designed way in F3 and was bugged in NV due to NPC karma values being wrong,) is it really relevant to your issue with "moral questions"?

Edited by AGX-17, 04 December 2012 - 03:45 PM.


#31
Adhin

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They where generalized examples of RPG's. Not specifics, there are background feats in DnD, Fallout called there stuff perks or for the starting stuff traits. It's just names any given game applies to there different skill-like-systems. I'm also not talking about an alignment system or Fallouts Karma system. Never mentioned any of that.

I don't like the ink blot stuff, the your mothers falling, what do you do?! non-sense questions like that. Ultimately I just ignore them and pick what I want since the answers available either don't fit or carry a different meaning then I would apply to them. I just feel they're a poor way to come up with a 'class recommendation' or starting perks and traits (in fallouts case). Oblivion and Morrowind only really used that stuff to recommend a pre-set class from there list of pre-set class stuff. Most folks just made there own class up in those games though. No DnD cRPG im aware of has used that kind of scripted attempt at suggesting a class for a player.

Still parts I do like about it are the 'SPECIAL' machine prior to the questions (in FNV), an NPC asking your name, that kinda basic stuff. I think that's all a very interesting way to run through the process of setting attributes, name, looks all while keeping it in game. But hey that's just me, I like part of it, think the other parts stupid and a waste of time.

#32
Karkarov

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I think a lot of you are missing the mark. Again I would point out at the end of the post I state in no uncertain terms that this would be unlikely to be included in PE. I wouldn't even exactly recommend it considering this type of detail in character creation has to be a core concept of the game from day one to really work. Clearly PE is past day one.

Just to be clear this is less about "scores" (as in not at all) and more about immersion, creating a character you want, and making the game react to that character in a way that is logical and reasonable. There would be no "right" answers. Being attractive would not be better than being ugly by default. It would only change how certain characters reacted to you. For every character that likes you for being a hotty there would be a character who would look at you and think pampered pretty boy pansy. None of the answers would lock you out of any skills, story quests, classes, etc. The worst thing you might lose is some side quests, and maybe some romance options. But again, this would happen no matter how you answered.

Also class, race, sex, stats, even starting "skills" are all done before you even start with the "questions". These questions have nothing to do with what class you are, what perks you get, or anything else. All they determine is your Base "comeliness" your base "style" and base "perception/alignment" (call it something other than alignment if you want, it really doesn't matter). The two based on appearance would also be locked in for the entire game when done, only gear and possibly specific buffs would effect them from there on out. The other two would obviously both change based on choices you made in game. Once you meet an important NPC, like say King Puppylover, you get a base reaction score with him based on all these things. However, now that you have created that original base score it is now purely changed based on how you act towards him.

The system is neither a high end simulation (no one is generating random dialog or on the fly quests, if Bob the NPC never had a quest he will not suddenly give you one no matter how much he likes you), nor is it all that complex in the long term. It just requires more detail in the writing of npcs, possibly more work done on multiple starter areas, and for the game to basically be built around the idea from day one. Lastly the questions again are 100% based on class, race, and potentially sex to a limited extent. They would not be "random" in any way.

#33
Maltry

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I am also all for a world that reacts to your character's background and appearance. In PE we already know that they are implementing social stigmas such as racial and class tensions. Hopefully we well see some of the effects of that applied to our own characters as well as the backstory. In addition it seems likely that group reputations can, and quite likely will, fill the social role of a perceived morality. I wouldn't mind seeing some npc reaction to character appearance in terms of gear, which seems like it would be a relatively simple system to implement. Beyond that however, I personally dont' see any need for a complex system to track appearance or any other quirk that might influence inital/superficial impressions of the character. Something the equivalent of the fallout trait system, or a more flexible version of the Arcanum background system could produce exactly the effects you are talking about without turning it into another exercise in gaming stats, while leaving out the potentially derailing kinds of background questions you describe. I think making a detailed character concept and playing to that is amazing, I think that when character's react to that concept is incredibly immersive. As has been noted on this thread though, detailed and leading background questions can't (and in my experience most often won't) really represent what your character would do. At best they are caricatures designed to come as close as possible to as wide a group as possible.

The appearance example specifically could be broken down into two traits. Attractive/Ugly, and Pampered/Grizzled. If neither trait is specified your character is average, otherwise they each function as a single switch with no need for hidden stat systems and/or rolls. As you say they all have their upsides and downsides, and are simple to activate without any immersion-breaking, inappropriate storyline baggage.

#34
AGX-17

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I think a lot of you are missing the mark. [truncated]


No, no, no, we're just not reading your original post entirely because it's too long and we're too drunk to focus.

Although there is an argument for being concise somewhere in that drunken stupor... Whatever, bottoms up!

Edited by AGX-17, 05 December 2012 - 06:24 PM.

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#35
Karkarov

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Although there is an argument for being concise somewhere in that drunken stupor... Whatever, bottoms up!

Indeed, unfortunately the OP is the concise version :getlost:

#36
AGX-17

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Although there is an argument for being concise somewhere in that drunken stupor... Whatever, bottoms up!

Indeed, unfortunately the OP is the concise version :getlost:


Oh, it could definitely be more concise. Rather than formulating a two-way argument in your mind (sans actual outside perspectives,) you could just state your ideas and respond to actual other perspectives as they come! It's good that you're critically thinking about your own ideas, but at the same time the loquacious nature of the post is making it more difficult for others to address and critique the individual concepts you're trying to present, as they are buried in so much text. You don't have to imagine a debate opponent and construct a potentially fallacious or invalid opposing argument (you have to admit, as the proponent of a given idea, you are necessarily biased in favor of it,) when you're posting on a (more or less) public forum where opponents are plentiful.

Here's a mnemonic device for future reference: Verbose is Morose, Concise is Nice! I know that's the opposite of what they teach us in school (minimum 8 pages due by friday, use The New Yorker vocabulary,) but in reality, concision is more effective than verbosity. Or grandiloquence, as they would say in The New Yorker. Or palaverous. I know for a fact that every writer for that rag carries a full thesaurus on hand at all times.

Which is all very funny because I agree with most of your ideas.

Edited by AGX-17, 05 December 2012 - 07:38 PM.


#37
Karkarov

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Here's a mnemonic device for future reference: Verbose is Morose, Concise is Nice!


So says the guy who just used multiple paragraphs to respond to one sentence.

That said you are right for the most part. You will have to trust me that I left a lot out of the OP. I am what you would call a "methodical person". I could jot down a book report on why I am writing this post if I really wanted to. Obviously I don't though, which is probably best for everyone.

Either way I appreciate that you get the gist of it all.

#38
Lephys

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The need to justify alignment I don't understand. There's the "perception" idea here that's a reputation system, but alignment itself still doesn't seem to do anything. I mean, NPCs react to what they see you do. Alignment isn't that. Alignment is the quiet ideas that only exist in your head and no other NPC will know to react to. So why does it need formalizing as a system?


Only real purpose it could serve, being digitally recorded and all, would be to provide a basis for effecting the actions of deities or something. Of course, even then, you've almost ALWAYS got deities who can't really be placed on the "Good" or "Bad" sides of the playground team-pick. 8P

The only other thing alignment does is that it ensures that objects in the game world aren't crooked. u_u

And @AGX-17... Some of us were simply born with defective brains, and the only approach we can manage in expressing our ideas is the "Save your questions 'til after the presentation, please" approach. If I cloned myself, and I were telling myself #2 something, and I KNOW myself #2 would say "But what about..." in response to a tidbit, I feel COMPELLED to attempt to address that tidbit. Especially since one can only be on the forums for so long in a day. Sometimes you log back in, finding that you either need to address 37 replies or start ignoring people. Again... that bothers my defective brain. :)





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: AlignmentRomance, Character Creation, Reputation, NPC Reactions, Comeliness

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