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alternative to mob spawn points?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by JoeStrout, Dec 28, 2014.

  1. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    In most MMO RPGs (at least among the ones I've tried), monsters spawn at certain spawn points. You kill 'em, wait long enough, and they respawn. Sometimes they won't spawn if there are players nearby (which is probably intended to prevent camping out at spawn points), and in some cases the respawn may be within a certain area rather than a specific point, but the basic idea is the same. That cave over there is the Big Hairy Spider cave, and no matter how many times you kill the BHS, she's going to reappear in that cave later.

    This is one of the things that breaks immersion for me, and also seems like a wasted opportunity for players to have an impact on the world. Basically, killing mobs doesn't change anything about the world, as the mob is going to just come right back. So, I'd like to explore alternatives.

    An easy answer in a single-player game is: simply don't respawn the mobs. You kill 'em, they're gone. Of course if there isn't some means of reproduction, this would also mean a fixed amount of experience and drops in the world. But you could set up a simple ecology where the monsters reproduce, and perhaps even eat each other, leading to classic boom/bust population cycles which the player would affect by killing things (especially top predators). It also means that if you wipe out all the Big Hairy Spiders, then there aren't any more BHSes in the world, and that cave that used to be infested is now safe. (Until something else moves in... which would require an additional game dynamic: newly born monsters look for a place to make their den.)

    However, in an MMO, I think it'd be much harder to make this work. Early players of the game would so muck with the ecology that by the time later players join, it would be unrecognizable. Entire species of monsters would be wiped out — almost certainly including the top predators, leaving a world overrun with bugs and bunnies.

    So here's a novel idea: a multiplayer online game, where you and a group of your friends all start at once, and get your own instance of the world. Then me and my 12 closest friends start in a world with all sorts of scary monsters, and we can choose to wipe them out and plant wheat, or harvest carefully so as to manage the ecology, or ignore them (except in defense) and go set up shop in the mountains, or whatever. As buff heroes with lots of sharp implements, we can have a dramatic effect on the world — and that's OK, because it's our world. Basically, this is the same approach as in a single-player game, but with the social aspects of a multi-player game. And I guess, now that I think of it, that it wouldn't have to be a group of friends; you could just start a new game, say, once per month, and everybody jumps in on that world. But if it really were hundreds or thousands of players you don't know, the result would uniformly be wiping out of all the large species.

    So, what else can we do? What about having some unkillable reservoir of each species? It's hard to see how to do this without going right back to spawn points/zones, though. But we could take the example of locusts, who disappear underground for some prime number of years, and then reemerge all at once. Maybe big predators could do something similar: when their population is getting low, the last few individuals hide underground or in the Astral Plane or whatever, reproduce out of sight, and then reemerge later, perhaps where they hid. So, you can still clear out an area if you do it quickly, but most likely there will be some other area where some got away and will reemerge later.

    I don't know if that's enough to prevent the collapse of the ecosystem, but it might help.

    A variation on that idea is to assume that the world the players can roam in is only one part of a much larger world, and no matter how well they clear out that part, all monster species continue to thrive elsewhere. So you'd basically get monsters spawning on the borders of the territory, and wandering in (and setting up shop wherever they can find a comfy hole). This is pretty realistic. Again, in an MMO, it could spoil the fun for later players, as they'd find the starting areas almost completely empty, and have to wander for days before they run into who-knows-what. But maybe it would work, especially if you're trying to create a virtual world rather than the classic stats-based game.

    What do you all think? What alternatives are there to respawning monsters at designated locations?
     
  2. MD_Reptile

    MD_Reptile

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    Well, I like the idea of a semi realistic ecosystem, with mating/predatory species competing over food and water and stuff, but the keep all species alive would be important I feel. Maybe if the population of a certain species dropped below a threshold, spawn a male female group in an uninhabited cave somewhere you know, keeping the circle of life going lol.
     
  3. Teila

    Teila

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    Sounds like a great idea and since you are keeping it focused, you can be more detailed with the ecosystem stuff.

    Too many of us try to put too much into one game and it all comes out watered down.

    I absolutely agree with the bit about spawns. The only way I see them working in an MMO is to make them generic, so that instead of having a giant rare spider, you have a species of poisonous spiders that return to their den after being demolished...sort of like how ants return to their anthill. :)
     
  4. JoeStrout

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    For what it's worth, I've done a lot of artificial life experiments, and I would recommend against sexual reproduction. It's much harder to keep that going in a small population, and just ends up making things much more unstable. Though it's not as realistic, it's much easier to maintain an ecology based on budding or fission (i.e., one parent spawns a child, or simply splits in two). Or you could require pairs of animals, but have only one gender, so any pair will do. But even that much doesn't seem worth it to me, unless you think players are going to (a) notice and (b) care.
     
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  5. JoeStrout

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    Yeah, that would work. You could have certain areas tagged as good for various species, i.e., this cave is good for spiders. And also note how recently each area has been visited by something large (like a player or another giant spider). So then spawn new monsters out on the borders, and have them head towards the nearest area good for their species that hasn't been visited recently. (While avoiding whatever they consider to be hazards along the way, like heavily populated areas.)

    To a cursory observation, this would look very similar to the classic spiders-respawn-here system... but when you get more involved in the game, you find it's quite different, as new spiders would have to actually cross other areas to get to the cave. If you fence the cave off, or simply patrol that area a lot, then no new spiders appear in it, which is realistic and fun.

    But then, I'm the sort of player that really enjoys messing with the game world like this... it's entirely possible that most players wouldn't care.
     
  6. Teila

    Teila

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    You could do it that way, having the spiders cross areas to get to their home land. Or you could just have them spawn in the cave or hole or whatever. Players won't see them wandering, but they won't care, will they? :)

    The other way could be to spawn the spiders in other areas, give them a path, head them toward their homeland, but don't actually go there. Players will see them and smash them anyway before they ever get there.

    I am a big promoter of perception rather than reality in games. :) You can go to a lot of work to make something absolutely real, such as requiring two genders for animals to propagate, but really the perception of the animal population increasing is enough. The vast majority of players won't notice and if they do, they will notice once. Why put in a lot of work for something that can be "fudged" to appear the same. It is sort of like throwing away time, imho. I can use that time to add other cool features into the game instead, ones that the players will all or mostly notice and will actually impact game play a lot more.
     
  7. RockoDyne

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    Wasn't this most of what Wakfu was trying to do? I stopped paying attention to it about six years ago when it was knee deep in development, so I presume they gave up on it.


    Ecology in a fantasy setting has always been a fool's errand. Why would any dungeon contain a large number of massive, carnivorous monsters? It's because they wouldn't. Unless just outside the dungeon was gigantic... tracts of land being farmed for livestock, the three dragons, ten minotaurs, and five battalions of orcs would have eaten each other. So what was once a high level dungeon now just contains two enemies that are now starving to death and can't fight do to fatigue.

    So long as the main mechanism for progression requires killing anything and everything in sight, it doesn't make any sense to try to make mob spawning something that only happens under tenuous circumstances/conditions.
     
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  8. Teila

    Teila

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    RockoDyne, you have your own ideas of what is a fool's errand, what makes a fun game, and how we should all do things. I completely respect that. :)

    However, one of the most requested feature in our game is a realistic ecosystem. They want it and want it bad. I agree that is very difficult to totally create such a thing in an MMO with lots of other stuff going on, but in Joe's idea, the ecosystem is the main subject of the game. The game centers around this issue, so the developer can focus on it and make it as realistic as possible, within the confines of game development. And I think he is talking more than one dungeon...I think at least.

    Most games spawn creatures that every one kills and kills and kills. Monsters are resources. They can be spawned through spawn points or they can be spawned using more complex systems that might mimic an ecosystem. The number of prey vs predators can change and grow based on factors in the environment. So what if they are all killed? The ecosystem is simply a complex way to respawn them.

    You say this is foolish? I think it is thinking outside the box and many players might find it fun. The problem with modern games is that so many think it is foolish to do something "different". I guess they don't want to do all the work for minimal impact, which makes sense. On the other hand, if we all do things the easy way and never branch out, how will games evolve? Really, most games now are pretty much exactly like the were 20 years ago, only with prettier graphics and physics.
     
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  9. JoeStrout

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    I wasn't actually proposing that managing the ecosystem be the central point of the game. Just that the common pattern, of killing the same monsters spawning in the same places over and over again, is old and tiresome and perhaps we can do something better.

    I recognize and respect that some people enjoy the classic formula. Kill mobs (which are always there in abundance) to collect XP and loots and level up so you can kill higher mobs (which will always be there in abundance). OK, cool, that works. But as Teila said, if we never branch out, how will games evolve?

    One shortcoming I'm constantly seeking to address is the minimal impact you can have on the world in most games. We've talked about this in other contexts already (such as, whether there should be unkillable NPCs, or how quests might be generated based on what's going on). This is another one. In the classic formula, you can't affect what monsters are found where, except over the very short term. As soon as the respawn delay is past, those monsters are right back where they were. I find this unsatisfying.

    Now, I do agree that realism shouldn't be added just for realism's sake. Some levels of detail are beyond what players will notice or care about. However, I don't think that necessarily applies here. When I play, I like to feel I'm having an impact on the world. So, look around the world and see where an impact is needed... why, it's crawling with ravenous monsters! Surely that's not a good thing. So I am intrinsically motivated to try and clear them out... except that in most games, this is impossible.

    This leads to our current exploration of how we could design a game so that it is possible to clear the monsters out of an area, without rendering the game completely unplayable. I think it's true that the classic RPG XP-grinding formula can't be the central mechanic. But if you look at any RPG equipped with alternative activities (fishing, farming, crafting, etc.), you will find players who enjoy doing those things much more than constant combat. (Oh geez, "Constant Combat" is a great name for a game... I may have to use that someday, but not for the game we're discussing here!)

    So! Suppose you design a game to actually welcome and encourage those non-combantant players, rather than sort of tolerating them as a quirky subculture. I would suggest, let's still populate the world with monsters, but put in just enough realism that the players, if they so wish, can make a safe zone by clearing out an area and putting up appropriate barriers (or regular patrols) to keep it clear. And if their barriers crumble or the patrols get lazy, the monsters should make their way back, in a believable way.

    In other words, rather than developing my character so he has 1200 HP and hits for 5x30 damage, maybe I want to strike off into the jungle, clear some trees, pacify the local fauna, and develop a house or village I'm proud to live in. It's still development either way; just a different kind of development, which leads to different design decisions.

    Sounds like fun to me, at least!
     
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  10. RockoDyne

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    The problem is realistic ecology is immediately handwaved away in just about every RPG in favor of combat driven experience. You have to completely subvert every RPG trope just so that you can have an accurate food chain. Activities like adventuring would be meaningless as most unintelligent monsters would be few and far between, while the more intelligent ones wouldn't stray far from groups. Most players would be lucky if they can ever come across an encounter they could handle. You would be looking at D&D campaigns where all the player characters die of old age at level 4, and even that would probably require them to conscript into some military faction.

    The tried and true formulas don't work for this, so both designing the game and playing the game are radically different exercises than either party is accustomed to. Hell, it would be easier and make more sense to players to do something that was just PvP or focused combat toward wars, than have some pretense of PvE. If anything, what really needs to be explored are other avenues of player driven gameplay, before we get to figuring out how to prevent genocidal monsters from committing genocide on the monsters.
     
  11. JoeStrout

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    Apparently not. Looks interesting... I may have to give it a try sometime!
     
  12. Teila

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    Hack and Slash games that called themselves RPG's subverted the RPG part of games long ago. Some us want to put the RPG back into a game. We do not have to use the tried and true to define an RPG game. We can make changes you know. :)

    I don't see Joe saying he wants to make an "accurate food chain", just that he thinks it might be an interesting alternative to the way it is usually done.


    Why? Why can't we make games that are different? Why do we have to spend time doing war?

    Joe's idea gives players a way to impact the world. It IS player driven in the sense that the player's actions influence the ecology. If this were combined with a survival style game, it could be very exciting.

    Not all games have to be about war or PvP or anything else. And yeah, I would love to see people do new stuff rather than take the old and try to wring something out of them. Time to move on.
     
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  13. Aiursrage2k

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    I guess another way to go is like monster farms were they breed monsters and you have to get a 'licence' to hunt them.
     
  14. RockoDyne

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    Another option is to double down on contrivance and make something even more contrived. Something like summoning mobs to fight. May not do much for player investment, but lets face it, the only time players would actually be concerned about the deeper workings of spawn points is when there is some griefing to be done.

    But I hate everything new, and I won't stop until I see your "new" polygons destroyed in 8-bit hellfire. WAH-HA-HA-HA-HA

    Seriously though, the issue isn't doing something differently. The real issue is doing something differently, but not realizing that there is anything different. I've seen far too many games that ended up being terrible because the game the devs actually had and the game they thought they were making were not even remotely close.
     
  15. Teila

    Teila

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    That happens and often an inexperienced developer has a tough time converting his dream into something resembles the game he wanted to make. I am not an artist and if I try to draw something, it never is as good as in my imagination. I think it is okay to make bad games though. Every attempt is a learning experience and the rest of really can't control whether bad games are made.

    However, some of those innovations will turn out to be good. It is how things evolve.
     
  16. TonyLi

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    Ultima Online (one of the granddaddies of graphical MMOs) started with a virtual ecology just like @JoeStrout describes. Raph Koster, one of the designers, wrote an article about how they implemented it (part1, part2). Perhaps more interesting for game design discussion is Tynan Sylvester's article ("The Simulation Dream") about why UO's simulation failed so disappointingly. In the UO wikipedia entry, there's a link to an interview with Richard Garriott where he says:
    I think this is a wide open game design topic right now. I still wonder if things would be different today. Maybe they'd have been able to address the ecology-balancing issues in some large scale alpha release before actually going commercial with the game.
     
  17. Teila

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    That was a long time ago. I imagine we have learned a lot since then. :) Whether it is possible with today's knowledge is yet to be seen but worth a try nonetheless.
     
  18. TonyLi

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    I'm so glad you wrote "today's knowledge" and not "today's technology." I'm convinced that it's a design problem, not a technology problem.

    What's so bad about die-offs and new eras? So you kill off the dinosaurs. Now you have to contend with mastodons and sabre-tooth tigers. Since it's a fantasy anyway, you can accelerate the process ("magically" perhaps?) to eliminate any downtime due to periods of desolation. Unless perhaps those locusts (giant, man-eating locusts) are designed to come out only when the surface dwellers have all gone extinct....
     
  19. Teila

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    Yeah, I think ecology is a tough thing to grasp and even harder to implement so a design problem, definitely.

    I think having one species die off and another take over could be really dynamic in a game. Imagine if the prey you hunt for food is over-hunted and you are competing with predators for food. As a player, you know have to think of new ways to survive. As the prey falls, so do the predators eventually, as they either die off or move away, off map. Fewer predators and the prey comes back. As a player, you can influence this. Maybe you can capture animals and breed them or maybe you can find new prey for your food. Possibly you will start killing the predators that interfere with your hunting, eventually causing the prey population to rise, maybe too much. Too many rabbits might mean the food you are growing in your garden is eaten by the bunnies.

    In a survival setting, it could add to the drama. Apply that to a game with monsters instead of bunnies and if the player over-hunts the prey creatures, the nasty predators now have only the players as food and become more aggressive. Part of the game would be to try to balance the system. As long as the game allows players to do what they need to do, it could be fun.
     
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  20. JoeStrout

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    Yep. I'm also fine with "rigging" the system in some way that the players won't notice, e.g., having a hidden reservoir (off-map for example) with a fixed ratio of species, from which new instances wander in periodically. As long as the rate of that is relatively small compared to the rate at which local monsters reproduce, you're still going to get population dynamics — you just won't ever get complete extinction.

    However, Tony's example from UO is an important one; in most hack & slash games, the players are indeed like locusts, killing everything in their path so quickly and thoroughly that there wouldn't be any boom & bust cycles. There would be just one bust, when the game begins, and then essentially nothing except for the trickle of replacements from the reservoir.

    So the challenge is to redesign the core mechanics & incentives in the game so that the players don't do that. It's kind of a tough issue though, because it's likely to be a tragedy of the commons situation.
     
  21. Teila

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    Oh very true, Joe. I thought your game idea was a small multiplayer game. I didn't realize it was an MMO. :)

    In most games, including UO, progressions was based on killing as many things as possible to get XP and therefore, gain levels. So if you create a game like this, you can expect players to kill everything in sight because that is what they are supposed to do. I agree in this scenario, it will be tough to maintain a balanced economy although, you could make the players suffer for this and then give other players way to "protect" the ecology. This could create a new PvP center of conflict, the tree-huggers versus the destroyers :) Interesting, but probably not predictable.

    In real life, we have a reason for wanting to maintain species and to keep our soil arable. We need food from animals and plants and without them, we starve. We need the food chain to keep populations of certain species in check, such as disease carrying insects or animals that destroy our crops. We even reintroduce populations into areas where they have become scarce.

    If I were putting something like this into an MMO, I would forget about making it too deep. lol I would allow fluctuation in the populations of predators and prey based on how hunted they might be. If the cool predator that drops neat loot gets too low in population, then they will become harder to find. I wouldn't let them completely disappear, just hide away "somewhere" until they can grow in population. I might even make the cool loot a little less cool for a while since the poor creatures are struggling to survive. I would give the predator some animal that is their main prey and make them a nuisance to the character, maybe some little swarming thing that chew the character's belongings, lowering their quality. If the players kill all the predator, the swarming things increase and cause the players to suffer a little. Give the players clues on how to deal with the infestation, maybe finding a way to increase the predator population, draw them back with bait or something.

    This won't stop the jerks who care little about a story and only about destroying stuff, but depending on your audience, it could be fun. If the jerks fail to get experience from a waning population, maybe they will help. If their cool stuff gets eaten by a swarm, maybe that will make them work together. Who knows. I just know I am tired of designing games to stop the jerks and would prefer to find ways to make being a jerk disadvantageous and design for the people who really want to play a dynamic and cool game.
     
  22. JoeStrout

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    Well, I might argue that's the same thing. :)

    But on the XP-for-killing bit: I guess this is what I've been getting at, but not been very clear about it. We have so many games where the core mechanic is killing things to get XP to level up. And then, in some games, the designers have also thrown in some other things you can do (crafting, fishing, etc.), but these are always side dishes, never the main course.

    So, what if you turned it around, and made killing things a mere side dish to some other central mechanic? In real life, there certainly were people who made a living soldiering, but (in most cultures) they were in the minority. Most people made a living doing other things. If we look, we can find plenty of examples of single-player games that are primarily about other things (farming, driving taxis, hunting deer, fishing, sorting gems into patterns, etc.), but the MMO world has largely ignored this, as far as I can tell.

    I'm dreaming of an MMO where the farmers, fishers, crafters, miners, and builders get all the attention and glory. And sometimes, they have to take up arms and defend themselves against a rampaging monster — or hire mercenaries (which would be just another career path) to do it for them. But most of the time, it's about improving the world by creating things, rather than destroying, and the whole game mechanic (XP/advancement system) would be designed around these activities.

    In that game, I think, you could have a more realistic ecosystem for managing all the mobs, and I suspect it would work much better than in your classic hack-n-slash MMO.
     
  23. TonyLi

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    There are always going to be players (probably lots of them) who just want to crush their enemies and see them driven before them, especially once they discover it can have a real effect on the ecology. I don't think they'll care that the game is rigged for builders; they'll do it for their own amusement, and probably get even more satisfaction out of subverting the system. Is there a way to embrace these players, too, in "Animal Husbandry: The Game"?
     
  24. Teila

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    Joe, we are not making our game revolve around combat skills and professions. The power will be with the crafting and merchant guilds in the city. I think our game might almost be your dream. lol Most conflict will be political and/or religious.

    Tony...yeah, they will subvert the system and get joy out of ruining things for others, which is why it is called griefing. :) But again, I am tired of worrying about them. We will deal with them in-game. It isn't going to be fun to spend all your time risking life and limb and possibly losing everything because you picked on the wrong person that day.
     
  25. CaoMengde777

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    Stalker has some sort of "Alife" http://aigamedev.com/open/interviews/stalker-alife/
    not sure if its like what you were talking about...
    a big downside of that is that theres a whole lot more info being processed all the time..

    but i guess its not really what youre after? maybe? what they did is make it so groups of guys travel in groups, they hunt monsters, they attack each other, and they get gear and weapons that are laying around that they find..
    the creatures and people are always doing stuff everywhere, even when you arent around,

    there was mods to stalker that changed it up and made it more interesting, like theres this "controller" monster, that mind controls guys, usually hes just found in a specific area, but they made him able to wander anywhere in the world, he creates zombies from people... so.. you can go places and find zombies that usually would always have people, if the controller guy happened to wander around there

    i guess they still spawn, but they wander and move around, and have goals, like they need to eat, and at night people want to be by campfires... so the player never really sees the monsters in the same place all the time, theyre always moving around...

    but im guessing this is almost impossible for a MMO .. could be possible in a smaller mutliplayer game maybe??
    stalker, (at least when modded, i hardly ever played it unmodded lol) would crash all the time because of errors in the Alife system.. like every 10 minutes... the Alife thing seriously is alot of things going on "in the background"
     
  26. Teila

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    Yeah, kind of a waste to have things going on when no one is there. :) No wonder it crashed.
     
  27. CaoMengde777

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    it was really intriguing though, totally worth it i think, it worked really good, i think it only crashed because mods changed the way the vanilla system worked.. and the mod makers probably didnt totally know what they were doing

    the system doesnt have 3d models and animation and stuff happening all the time, its just values being changed all the time, for each entity ... i assume they maybe used binary bit flags too,to lessen the values (i would)

    lol i learned coding by trial and error just guessing, modding games LOL, change script, run game, crash, hmm what did i change that made it crash .. ooh it needs that closing bracket, who knew? LOOL .. i learned about syntaxs like this hehe
     
  28. TonyLi

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    A MUD in development at Skotos tried to do this in a way that was much more interesting than a simple server wipe. (Sorry, I can't remember the name of the game.) Every week, the world was reborn. The players were like gods that persisted through the rebirth. Changes they had made in the old world had some influence on the development of the new world.

    This seems the most practical and easiest to implement. The ecology stays balanced, but the world changes because the center of the zone is empty and mobs encroach gradually from one or more off-camera edges. Perhaps some mobs, such as birds, can move very fast. They could populate the center quickly, to be supplanted by the gradual arrival of bigger, slower predators. Or "locusts" could emerge from the ground in the center whenever it's clear enough, ensuring that there's always something there.
     
  29. Tomnnn

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    If you make having a certain population of each species in your ecosystem valuable to the player, they'll do their best to keep certain populations in check without driving them to extinction.

    Does your game world have the tech needed to clone animals back from extinction with sufficient DNA samples?
    Or how about an ent-like creature to protect some populations when too many are killed at once?

    If you want a gameplay element that deters killing wildlife, you can implement Buddhism. I know that looks hilarious / offense / both at first glance... but how about when a player dies, before they can respawn as a player, they have to respawn as the animal that they killed the most? Player's who need to be a 'taught a lesson' can come back as a very rare and valuable mutation of an animal, so they're more desirable to the rest of the community.

    Example:

    Player 1 kills an entire 1% of the game world's wolf population before being taken down by another player / tribesman npc protecting the wolves. Player 1 then respawns as a wolf with silver / gold fur that is valuable to regular players, seen as a curse by tribesmen npcs and seen as aggression by other animals.

    So, by attempting to troll / exploit wildlife, the player will become a more valuable version of the commodity they were in pursuit of. :p
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  30. Teila

    Teila

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    I absolutely agree with this. The trick is making the value worth saving. Your other idea is very interesting. I think you could do it without using a real world religion. :)
     
  31. Glurth

    Glurth

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    This might ruin immersion in the same way as spawn points, but it would allow players to preserve or destroy ecosystems in an MMO.
    Each player has their own version of the world's ecosystems. This means that player Glurth might have a forest full of tigers and player Joe might not. Allow players to "share" their eco-systems with other players. Unfortunately this would mean that Joe might not even see the tiger that Glurth is fighting! It might have to appear transparent or something, but even then when does it walk/fade into Joe's empty forest at all? Furthermore does the tiger just pop into existence when Glurth "shares his ecosystems" with Joe? (Though I guess that is easily mitigated by allowing "sharing" changes only in "taverns" or towns.) Fortunately, this would have the added side effect: larger parties that are "sharing" their ecosystems would probably have more creature encounters, especially if the area is "virgin" to everyone in the group (and this would deplete all party member's ecosystems evenly). Does Glurth the animal-lover even dare to share his pristine forests with Joe the slayer?
     
  32. SunnyChow

    SunnyChow

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    I think you still need a spawn point. It's impossible to let all creature walking around the world. It's "Massively Multiplayer Online" not a "Massively Mods Online".

    But i like the ecosystem idea. If players kill a lot of mods, the spawn probability in that area decrease. If all areas get this problem, that specie become rare, and their loots become expensive
     
  33. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    I think many people overestimate the expense of simulating a large number of creatures in a world. Offscreen creatures are just a handful of numbers in some data tables; their AI needs would generally be very minimal, and their update rate could be slow. You could simulate many thousands of these things for the cost of one onscreen mob in a fight.
     
  34. Tomnnn

    Tomnnn

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    Reincarnation isn't unique to buddhism, but they do have the rules all laid out already. Do bad in your life, and come back as a species you gave hardship / will cause you hardship. Do good in life, and come back as... I dunno, whatever they think is better than human if not just human again.

    Being "reincarnated" as something everyone wants to kill would be an amusing twist. I wonder if it would curve trolling at all.
     
  35. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    I agree, that's a creative idea and it'd be fun to see how it plays out. It also has the interesting consequence that some of the monsters you encounter in the world are not NPCs, but actually controlled by players.

    However, I see complications... suppose I don't like being an alligator; I can just walk up to some high-level PC, bite him on the ankle, get killed again, and get reincarnated as something else — presumably something nice this time, since I didn't kill anything at all in this incarnation. In other words, it's not much of a consequence since there's an easy out.

    But maybe the rules could be tweaked to close these loopholes.
     
  36. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    Karma could stick with you through reincarnations, so you'd have to be a nice alligator to improve your chances of reincarnating as something better.

    At the risk of tempting feature creep, virtual ecologies would be a lot of fun in High Frontier. If you destroy the ecology of one planet, you at least have the rest of the solar system to play with. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  37. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    A wizard did it.

    ...No, not like that!
     
  38. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    Heh. That's a feeping creature for sure. We are going to track various balances (primarily O2/CO2), so there will be reason to have lots of plants around... but we're going to assume that by that point, if you want a tree somewhere, you can successfully grow a tree there.

    Most colonies will probably be pretty dense cities anyway, but if you want to make a forest colony complete with wild animals, that will be possible too (or that's the plan, anyway). That's assuming you can afford it... you'll need to fatten your coffers on more profitable colonies first, though!
     
  39. Tomnnn

    Tomnnn

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    Well the idea is that you'd become a valuable variety of alligator, thus that NPC would kill you outright anyway. The only thing the player needs to do is come across another NPC. Playing as an animal may be fun for some, and others who want to get it over with can just run out into the nearest town. Maybe the actions of the player as an alligator have more of an impact on the ecosystem?

    Excellent. There's your answer ;)

    You need plants for oxygen! What do plants love? Animal based fertilizer! You can make each species of plant have a particular animal dung that it prefers and will grow faster in. You can even have this change over time through generations of plant. People in your colony good at forestry can inspect plants and determine which animal they should capture / stalk to collect fertilizer. Then all animals will have extraordinary value because the next generation of plant life might need a species you were just about to make extinct.

    That could even have an amusing twist on the player->animal karma system. Golden scaled croc = golden croc dung = makes plants grow in 1/4 the time! Players would then be out on a hunt to put those trolly players through hell by over feeding them to death to farm them for golden croc poop :p

    That's getting a little silly, but that would be some great game balance lol.