Player relationships with NPCs

Aug 14, 2016
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#1
I was thinking about this after the talk about different types of A.I. and stuff. And then I remembered about how in some MMOs there was dating sim elements within the game to let you befriend different NPCs. This would unlock different options and stuff in how you interact with them. For example, befriending one shopkeeper NPC might see them give you discounts on things you buy from them because you are friend while befriending a different shopkeeper NPC would open up a hidden list of items that they only sell to people who they trust (be it legal or illegal). In some MMOs I also remember there family trees showing your relationship with other players and even NPCs. As you could adopt other players into your family and even NPCs. Often times giving people special titles showing their relationship to others. For example "Omnires big brother to female sword spirt" or "Omnires, Hitsugi's husband". And there is also teacher and student relationship system that some MMOs have. Where you could take on a lower level player to be your student and both you get buffs for being in a team together and clearing missions. But also some games let you teach and train a NPCs to be your helper.

My question is well we have any kind of relationships with NPCs outside of the storyline? And would getting different NPCs to like me or hate me change how things might work for me. Like if a NPC hates me they might refuse to talk to me and if they are shopkeeper they might refuse to sell things to me or make me pay more for it? Or if a NPC really likes me could they randomly jump into missions and help me out? Like if I befriend the guards at a fort with a long range artillery cannon could I call on their help within a mission by marking targets and cashing in on some favors? Could I adopt some NPCs into my family and make them into my brother(s), sister(s), son(s), and daughter(s)?

Side note: Where I come from adopting people into your family is one of the highest honors. It is one thing to be counted as one of a person's best friends and it is another thing for them to call you a family member. For example the phase "brother from another mother." is male friend who is close to you and whom you know so well that it would you are both family in all but name and blood ties. And in some cases one who they have better relationship with than their own flash and blood brother(s). This also why the kids of some of my friends call me "uncle" despite having no relation to me outside of the close friendship I have their parents.
 
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truekillerstar#4280

Ark Liege
Ark Liege
May 8, 2020
10
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3
Ohio, USA
#2
I think Relationship systems between AI/NPCs can be hard to integrate especially since often times, they are external to the core game loop and don't get the most attention to.

However, on another thread, Pandagnome did bring up a good idea of the AIs being people who were lost on Earth (I made a connection to SOMA) so it would be interesting to have an AIs "affection" level go up the more you use it in-game (kind of like going from a co-worker to a work buddy). And as you reach milestones, you could have text based conversations with the AI to expose more lore about the Earth that Gatestriders ran from. Additionally, the more comfortable they are with you, more voice over lines can be unlocked to give variety over time.

For example:
Base Affection = "Gatestrider, the thumper has landed and is beginning to drill"
Friendly Affection = "The thumper is doing it's thing, go kick some Tsi Hu ass boss!"
 

Sy

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2018
325
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sya.li
#5
@Grummz

Maybe the crafting system could be split into three parts:

- solo
- community
- npc

Gear creation would lean heavily on claimstakes. Some players would do everything on their own, some would trade parts or whole items.

Then the npc aspect would be a way for players to "create" gear without using a claimstake. They would stay on Home, develop relationships, and trade with npcs.

This might be a way to both make claimstakes useful and also make them optional.
 
Aug 14, 2016
915
1,482
93
#6
@Grummz

Maybe the crafting system could be split into three parts:

- solo
- community
- npc

Gear creation would lean heavily on claimstakes. Some players would do everything on their own, some would trade parts or whole items.

Then the npc aspect would be a way for players to "create" gear without using a claimstake. They would stay on Home, develop relationships, and trade with npcs.

This might be a way to both make claimstakes useful and also make them optional.
Plus it will give the people who only really like to do one thing in the game a job they can do. Because in every MMO I've ever played there is always that group of people who stay in town all day talking to people while buying and selling everything for profit. Rarely do they do missions or raids as their main goal is to play the player economy game. And there is also some players who only really like fighting and nothing else. They dislike having to craft things and having to buying anything more than health kits and ammo is annoying to them. So being forced to go back to town and make trades just to get some money or to craft the gear they need is a pain to them.

So having NPCs that people could befriend to help them with things like the stock market or the crafting of items (rather than paying money to the NPCs for basic stock weapons and gear, as a favor for their friend and one of their best customers they'll seek to make personalized weapons and gear with specs that you like/ask for on them. Because they both care about your safety as a friend but also helping you also helps their business to grow.). To make sure this system isn't broken the players abilities to do things should always be better than at of the NPCs who could also do those things (outside of story reasons and special unique things that only that NPC can make or get). But often times the people who use these NPCs solely for their abilities to help with such things are not really using them for things like min-maxing, but to cut down on the time and energy they need to spend doing a part of the game they don't like doing. After all, different people have different ideas of what fun is.

P.s.
Also we need to have it so that going by they personality types even if people hate each other they can still be civil with each other most of the time. I don't know how many of you ever had enemies in real life. But I for one have had a few enemies where as despite us trying to destroy each other over our differences, we can still put aside those things be civil with one another until we can find the time and place to fight out proper. And here are some examples in video games of this kind of stuff happening, although some of them are a bit over the top.

 
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Aug 14, 2016
915
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#8
I was thinking about how having relationships with NPCs in the game could play out in branching storylines and quest chains. I might try to think up some other things later but this popped into my head after watching some people fight over money.

You do a job for an NPC who doesn't really like you, even if act like they do. But at the end of the job you don't get any reward. From there you can choose to do nothing and let it be. Or seek out legal help. Or seek revenge.

And since I tend to play as things like a mercenary in games, I'll be going the revenge rout. Because odds are they also tried to set thing up where I was killed by the end of the job. And that is not going to fly with me. And that is when this song plays in my head as I look for that NPC. :D
 
Likes: Pandagnome

Pandagnome

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#9
I would love to see NPC relationships in-game, or potentially be able to make multiple characters and interact with them in a claim stake setting.
You do a job for an NPC who doesn't really like you, even if act like they do. But at the end of the job you don't get any reward. From there you can choose to do nothing and let it be. Or seek out legal help. Or seek revenge.
If we could have npc's in our claimstake how different is one going to be from another e.g.

- Npc's that are robots with set programming (could have malfunctions if not maintained etc)
- Npc's that are human or some other form (may have unpredictable reaction depending on motive and may require specific food)
- Npc's that are lured by greed or new prospect to go to another Claimstake or support pirates etc?

- Would the Npc get a good spanking and sent to the GCSF for fraud or other Crimes?
- Could Npc be on the most wanted list, and rewards to help capture the most sneakiest ?
- Could the Npc go to the dark side and be an evil snitch for the tsihu?

- Could we customize our npc's with psychedelic goggles etc etc?
- Would npc's be more helpful with better reputation and mischievous if not?
- How many npc's would be suitable to have? because too much could cause problems hmm
 
Likes: Omnires

zabernat#1238

D-Gater
Ark Liege
Oct 17, 2019
44
58
18
#10
If we could have npc's in our claimstake how different is one going to be from another e.g.

- Npc's that are robots with set programming (could have malfunctions if not maintained etc)
- Npc's that are human or some other form (may have unpredictable reaction depending on motive and may require specific food)
- Npc's that are lured by greed or new prospect to go to another Claimstake or support pirates etc?

- Would the Npc get a good spanking and sent to the GCSF for fraud or other Crimes?
- Could Npc be on the most wanted list, and rewards to help capture the most sneakiest ?
- Could the Npc go to the dark side and be an evil snitch for the tsihu?

- Could we customize our npc's with psychedelic goggles etc etc?
- Would npc's be more helpful with better reputation and mischievous if not?
- How many npc's would be suitable to have? because too much could cause problems hmm
I don’t expect that much functionality in npcs, at least not initially. The most I expect would be a storyline and set characters we interact with and a small npc relationship system.

My hope really is to have multi-characters per account and be able to create relationship dialog between my them.
 

Pandagnome

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#11
I don’t expect that much functionality in npcs, at least not initially. The most I expect would be a storyline and set characters we interact with and a small npc relationship system.

My hope really is to have multi-characters per account and be able to create relationship dialog between my them.
Ah I was dreaming far ahead :D
 

Sy

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2018
325
647
93
sya.li
#13
... if there is allowance for player-developed mods to explore features specific players want to see
Unfortunately that was a pretty firm no when it was brought up a couple of times, partly because reportedly Unreal Engine 5 is difficult to do that with and partly because reportedly it's a whole new complexity at the core of the game.

I loved mods in Firefall and with other games, and I think it adds a whole new dimension to playing, so I hope to see it in here too.
 

zabernat#1238

D-Gater
Ark Liege
Oct 17, 2019
44
58
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#14
Unfortunately that was a pretty firm no when it was brought up a couple of times, partly because reportedly Unreal Engine 5 is difficult to do that with and partly because reportedly it's a whole new complexity at the core of the game.

I loved mods in Firefall and with other games, and I think it adds a whole new dimension to playing, so I hope to see it in here too.
I was curious what that would develop into as the game nears launch. I think that modding will still work its way into the game post launch because it happens even in games that don’t want mods at all and the reaction to mods when they happen will be the most interesting for me.
 
#15
I don't know to what extent such a thing could be (or should be) implemented, but part of me does like the idea, for the sake of even more in-depth role-playing, to be able to, say, have casual 'friends with benefits' type of relationships with multiple people, if your character, by your preferences, is promiscuous.

Vendors would be befriended, anyway, as everyone would seek to ingratiate themselves with them for cheaper prices and/or new, potentially rare/illegal/exclusive merchandise, whether they'd personally like the NPC or not. Those relationships, therefore, wouldn't feel genuine. Worthwhile, yes.
 
Aug 14, 2016
915
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#16
In terms of things like shops and shopkeeper NPCs. I like what games allow for and account for players who want to do things by the book and those who don't with systems in place to let people interact with both NPCs and other players in different ways based on those actions.

For example, in some games you can hack computers and ATMs to get money and stuff for free if your hacking ability is high enough or get it from a much lower price. But because this is an illegal act you have to make sure law enforcement doesn't catch you. And NPCs can put bounties on players for doing crimes that they know of. Likewise players who like to view themselves as things like law enforcers and peace keepers might be asked by NPCs to help in looking for criminal players. In some games there is even a player jail if you are captured. And there are options while in jail to just good and lower the time you are in there, do nothing and wait out the normal time for the crime(s), do bad and have more time added to your stay, or try to escape. (in one game because of my class and how I like to play there was not jail I couldn't break out of. And I was only put into those jails because I was part of an raiding party on an enemy natation where I became a POW if the NPCs and enemy players was able to down me.).

So I think when it comes to NPCs that can do things for players outside of just being someone to hangout with. There needs to also be some level of risk and reward with them. Just like how in real life I may chose not to be around a friend at some points in time just because I want to lower the odds of things like guilt by association. Because I'm a believer of the old saying, "Do not judge me by the friends keep, but by the enemies I've made."
 

zabernat#1238

D-Gater
Ark Liege
Oct 17, 2019
44
58
18
#17
In terms of things like shops and shopkeeper NPCs. I like what games allow for and account for players who want to do things by the book and those who don't with systems in place to let people interact with both NPCs and other players in different ways based on those actions.

For example, in some games you can hack computers and ATMs to get money and stuff for free if your hacking ability is high enough or get it from a much lower price. But because this is an illegal act you have to make sure law enforcement doesn't catch you. And NPCs can put bounties on players for doing crimes that they know of. Likewise players who like to view themselves as things like law enforcers and peace keepers might be asked by NPCs to help in looking for criminal players. In some games there is even a player jail if you are captured. And there are options while in jail to just good and lower the time you are in there, do nothing and wait out the normal time for the crime(s), do bad and have more time added to your stay, or try to escape. (in one game because of my class and how I like to play there was not jail I couldn't break out of. And I was only put into those jails because I was part of an raiding party on an enemy natation where I became a POW if the NPCs and enemy players was able to down me.).

So I think when it comes to NPCs that can do things for players outside of just being someone to hangout with. There needs to also be some level of risk and reward with them. Just like how in real life I may chose not to be around a friend at some points in time just because I want to lower the odds of things like guilt by association. Because I'm a believer of the old saying, "Do not judge me by the friends keep, but by the enemies I've made."
I like the sound of this, but it feels more like a justice system in the game rather than a direct npc relationship system.
 
Aug 14, 2016
915
1,482
93
#18
True, but that doesn't mean they are not part of NPC relationships. As some NPCs can and will act differently toward you based on if you are a criminal or not. While other NPCs might not care as long as you don't do anything to wrong them personally. It can play a factor within the relationships but not the sole reason for them.

For example, in some games some of the NPCs themselves are criminals but you can still befriend them. Just like how in some games the black market also exist outside of the normal market. And the black market let's players buy and sell things of questionable origins or gathers by questionable means. And because of that your reputation maters, not just your personal reputation but the reputation of those you are linked with. As you might get better deals or jobs based on your reputation and association with different people or groups. As that NPC could be acting as a middle man for you or you could be acting as middle man for them or they might be trying to use you get closer to another NPCs you know. And when comes to things like shops and sellers there is a difference between buying something from a shady person vs buying something from an honorable/principled criminal.
P.S. I'm using the word criminal here as meaning someone does things outside of the law and has nothing to do with their moral character. After all, one can be a criminal and a good person at the same time. Even more so if laws themselves are bad and/or unfair. Like for example if someone goes around freeing all slaves they can find in a nation where slavery is legal is viewed as criminal in the eyes of the law, but they might be seen as a hero in the eyes of the people. Someone's criminality has no real bearing on their moral standing.

And when you take things like this into account it can add so much depth and nuance to NPCs and your interactions with them. and could open out different options for things that might not show up until much later in the game. I'll use the game Deus Ex (first one that was made for PC not the Xbox remake) as an example. In that one of the things I did was help random sick and homeless people as well as prostitutes even though they had nothing to do with any of the missions or tasks I had to do in the game. But because the NPCs remembered the actions I did, helping them or not helping them and how I did it. It opened up options for me in my run of the game that my friend didn't. For example homeless people would tell me about hidden paths or where air vents was because they was themselves was using them to hide and/or stay warm. Giving me ways of getting into a place unnoticed. And prostitutes would tell me things like where the safe is or the pass code or even steal a key for me because they had a client or clients who work or live within the place I'm trying to get into and might have some link to the things I'm after. Because I was just being a nice guy I was able to turn things like homeless and refugee networks into a kind of spy ring for me. And in later in the game because of all the help I give them they was also able to give me things like weapons or act as a distraction while I do other things.

I could say more about it, but I don't want to soil things for the people have not played the game but still might want to play one of the top rated games on a lot of all time. Long before Undertale came out Deus Ex was one of the few games where you could go through the whole game without killing anyone and you could even talk some of the game's bosses into joining you.

I'm not saying this game has to go that deep into things. I'm just pointing out a good example of how NPC relationships can change the feel of a game by allowing different options and paths the player can take and giving them more freedom is playing in how they want to play.
 

zabernat#1238

D-Gater
Ark Liege
Oct 17, 2019
44
58
18
#19
True, but that doesn't mean they are not part of NPC relationships. As some NPCs can and will act differently toward you based on if you are a criminal or not. While other NPCs might not care as long as you don't do anything to wrong them personally. It can play a factor within the relationships but not the sole reason for them.

For example, in some games some of the NPCs themselves are criminals but you can still befriend them. Just like how in some games the black market also exist outside of the normal market. And the black market let's players buy and sell things of questionable origins or gathers by questionable means. And because of that your reputation maters, not just your personal reputation but the reputation of those you are linked with. As you might get better deals or jobs based on your reputation and association with different people or groups. As that NPC could be acting as a middle man for you or you could be acting as middle man for them or they might be trying to use you get closer to another NPCs you know. And when comes to things like shops and sellers there is a difference between buying something from a shady person vs buying something from an honorable/principled criminal.
P.S. I'm using the word criminal here as meaning someone does things outside of the law and has nothing to do with their moral character. After all, one can be a criminal and a good person at the same time. Even more so if laws themselves are bad and/or unfair. Like for example if someone goes around freeing all slaves they can find in a nation where slavery is legal is viewed as criminal in the eyes of the law, but they might be seen as a hero in the eyes of the people. Someone's criminality has no real bearing on their moral standing.

And when you take things like this into account it can add so much depth and nuance to NPCs and your interactions with them. and could open out different options for things that might not show up until much later in the game. I'll use the game Deus Ex (first one that was made for PC not the Xbox remake) as an example. In that one of the things I did was help random sick and homeless people as well as prostitutes even though they had nothing to do with any of the missions or tasks I had to do in the game. But because the NPCs remembered the actions I did, helping them or not helping them and how I did it. It opened up options for me in my run of the game that my friend didn't. For example homeless people would tell me about hidden paths or where air vents was because they was themselves was using them to hide and/or stay warm. Giving me ways of getting into a place unnoticed. And prostitutes would tell me things like where the safe is or the pass code or even steal a key for me because they had a client or clients who work or live within the place I'm trying to get into and might have some link to the things I'm after. Because I was just being a nice guy I was able to turn things like homeless and refugee networks into a kind of spy ring for me. And in later in the game because of all the help I give them they was also able to give me things like weapons or act as a distraction while I do other things.

I could say more about it, but I don't want to soil things for the people have not played the game but still might want to play one of the top rated games on a lot of all time. Long before Undertale came out Deus Ex was one of the few games where you could go through the whole game without killing anyone and you could even talk some of the game's bosses into joining you.

I'm not saying this game has to go that deep into things. I'm just pointing out a good example of how NPC relationships can change the feel of a game by allowing different options and paths the player can take and giving them more freedom is playing in how they want to play.
It sounds great to me, at least some version of that would feel good in a polished game. I would like to see a broader game system that includes faction relationships and promotion. I wonder how the Ark Liege RP title could factor into that.
 
Likes: Pandagnome

Pandagnome

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#20
It sounds great to me, at least some version of that would feel good in a polished game. I would like to see a broader game system that includes faction relationships and promotion. I wonder how the Ark Liege RP title could factor into that.
Perhaps the Rp title would let the npc know specifics of the player e.g. that the player is driven towards bounty hunting and this lets the npc know what to look for if the player is on good terms.

Also the npc could be the one that introduces others to the game such as with the example there is a tough bounty hunter mission the npc may suggest some players.

When it comes to relationships that could depend on what relationship the player could have with the npc if it is purely working or much more that may decide on what kind of promotion or how you are viewed.

Lets say you are helping a thief to steal some Aubergines to save some hungry hungry folks in a nearby town. You will get better at the thief skills and could develop better options such as sleep darts and smoke screens etc etc

The npc may ask you if you'd like to rank up when that happens you are given a task to do some may be as simple as throw a tomato at a GCSF and go to jail and escape before sunrise!

Anyways i think with npc's these could link to how we enjoy playing our game and also how they would address us depending on their personality some may be serious while others could be goofy and call you nick names.

Creating our custom npc that not only we can interact but others too could mean they could experience this with friends or on their own.

Then i wonder how an npc would react with another because some npc's may have different view points on a certain area such as

Npc Suzzie sussspicious: Does not trust anyone and prefers to take time to plan

Npc Marvin Roller: Interacts with others and likes to go right in the thick of action.

They both could build a bond when it comes to a certain situation which opens how players could tackle the task. If on the other hand doesn't go so well they could distance themselves and perhaps other npc's would be more better suited.

This way other npc's are like real folks who build bonds depending on their experience of others or their views etc