Sunday, November 12, 2006

Symbol conversation in MMORPGs

Blue Rabbit�s Climate Chaos - Adventure Games - GamersHood - Online Games Paradise

This was something that was shown to me by Alison. I just tried it out, just to see what was fun about it. Didn't play much, but I was struck by the fact that this game decided to employ pictograms instead of words for conversation.

Now, I don't know why Blue Rabbit employed this mode of conversation. Perhaps it's because the target audience is young children.

However! I think this would be key to building a more dynamic MMORPGs. I haven't played World of Warcraft, so I don't know if quests are static. But I remember in Everquest, the quests were the same, time after time. Oh sure, there might be grace periods where it wouldn't be there, but for the most part, the same person would have his daughter kidnapped time after time.

Instead of having static quests, I think it would be better to have dynamic quests. It gives a better sense of realism to the world that the gamer is playing in, if the NPCs(non player characters) had different needs at different times.

In the Sims, each NPC is an agent with goals and needs. And it basically interacts with its environment to fulfill those goals and needs as time progresses. But never do any of the characters ask another Sim to fulfill those needs for him. Sure, they have conversations with each other to fulfill the direct need for being social. But they never ask the messy roommate to clean up his mess. They always get irritated and clean it up themselves, or rely on the player to make someone else clean it up.

With a simplified vocabulary of pictogram language, an NPC would be able to express what he desires. And that would be up to the player in the quest to fulfill it. These goals, like in the Sims would change as the environment and needs change.

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