Making your world feel alive.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Eurgh, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. Eurgh

    Eurgh Lord of the Reapers Veteran

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    How do you guys make your worlds feel alive? I'm looking for some ideas since I can't thinking of how to do some more complex ones.


    Some things I use to make it feel alive are random spawn variables which changes who is in an area at the time, or I'll use it to change what a person says when you talk to them. I also change what people say after some events or if you complete a quest for them.

    My project also includes an adventurers guild and after the first pseudo boss fight you get an item that the guild offers you quests when you're out in the field, and if you don't accept them someone else might do it, or something bad might happen because the situation never got taken care of. Or when you do accept a quest, they may have a time limit of 2 days or else the bandits that were threatening the town have thoroughly ransacked the town and left
     
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  2. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    One of the easiest methods is having town NPC's react to recent events. Update their dialogues anything major happens.
     
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  3. gstv87

    gstv87 Veteran Veteran

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    make the NPCs have personalities.
    don't have them be quest generators... give them extra lines to say, even if they don't mean much.

    create a universe.
    think about a worldly fact, and take it for a spin: the sun is bright.... why is it so bright? why white and not red? why is it warm? what if it was dark and cold? bam, you have a new planet... what kind of planet? rocky? icy? prime world or colony? who colonized it? when? from which part of the universe? what are they here for? who sent them here? now there's lore.... how old is that lore? hundreds of years? thousands of years? how was the universe back then? who lived back then? do they still exist? do we have things from them? how much of it? important or trivial? relevant to the facts at hand? known to the common people? deterministic for the common people?

    ask questions!
     
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  4. Sevarihk

    Sevarihk Veteran Veteran

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    I personally like to add little animations to things to make it look less static. For example, have some grass move in the wind, have an NPC yawn from time to time, have some birds flying by, maybe a fish shadow slightly moving in the water. Of course, this is only on the graphical aspect of the game and should work hand in hand with the points stated above.
     
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  5. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    This is not asking about mechanics as such.

    I've moved this thread to General Discussion. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.

     
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  6. kranasAngel

    kranasAngel Wanderer Veteran

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    Personal thing I try to do is ask myself about the internal landscape and motivations of each NPC. What do they want in life, why are they like this? If they're a shop keeper, do they want to be? Why or why not, etc.

    Then when you write their dialogue, you can keep that in mind going forward. Writing for a blacksmith who really wants to retire to the countryside already will come to life differently than writing for a blacksmith who is in love with their craft.
     
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  7. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    In addition to the above, I've been making my NPCs also react to smaller-scale things the player does, especially looting treasure boxes in towns. One woman complains about her hoarder neighbors if you talk to her, and if you try to take a treasure box from their yard, she runs up to you, cheers you on before asking you to take it all, including the neighbors. Another lady (a shopkeeper) literally throws you over the counter if you try to sneak behind and loot her treasure box. She then asks for that money back. In another, a friendly elderly couple is talking about how they have money saved up for their anniversary--you can loot it, but also put it back. If you end up keeping it, they'll later talk about how their anniversary plans were ruined because somebody robbed them. And another guy tells you to take whatever you want because you're digging around in his garbage bin.

    Just stuff like that :)
     
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  8. lianderson

    lianderson Veteran Veteran

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    All good advice here. Don't really have much to add.
     
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  9. FluffexStudios

    FluffexStudios Veteran Veteran

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    NPC should have different dialogue based on the choices that you made. I also suggest the NPC should be moving around and be located in different area when you come back to town. Also different event should shape the landscape or location such as town/hub, etc...

    Hollow knight did a good job in capturing some of those
     
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  10. Mr. Detective

    Mr. Detective NATO Special Operative Veteran

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    I think a big part of it is NPC conversations. Have the NPCs talk about a certain fad or trend that's going on in the game's universe. That's a good way to tell/show players what the world is like. :cool: I posted a similar reply before in another thread.

    You can have the NPCs talk to each other about a certain trend, fad, or product that is popular in-game universe.

    For example: girls can talk about a certain face care product that makes their skin smooth, or a fashion trend, or an idol that they like.
    Boys can talk about a new game that just came out, a cute idol that they crush on, or a girl who is popular in school.
    Just think of a typical conversation that someone might have in real life, but make it sounds believable.

    Boy 1: Hey, have you bought that new game Call to Battlefield: Sexy Warfare?
    Boy 2: Bought it last night and played it until 4 o'clock. I love how deep the customization is!
    Boy 1: My character is a loli/MILF/trap/buff guy with a BFG/BFS/big chest.
    Boy 2: Oh? I think you're the one who sent me hate mail last night after I teabagged you...

    Girl 1: You're looking at fashion magazine again? What's hot this week?
    Girl 2: I'm thinking of buying this new moisturizer. Idol A used it, and look at how smooth her skin is!
    Girl 1: Hm... Yeah, I'm jealous. Wish my skin would be that perfect!
    Girl 2: I'm about to run out of foundation, anyway. I'm probably gonna go shopping this weekend. Wanna go?
    Girl 1: Uh, yeah, sure. I'm free this weekend, anyway.
     
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  11. Engr. Adiktuzmiko

    Engr. Adiktuzmiko Chemical Engineer, Game Developer, Using BlinkBoy' Veteran

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    I remember this thing on Pokemon Emerald where someone asks you whats the latest trend and whatever you tell him will become the latest trend.. xD
     
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  12. PterodactylIncorporated

    PterodactylIncorporated Villager Member

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    Remember that Nonplayer Characters are still characters. Give them two sides, the side the player sees and the side that only you see. The information that you only see will influence how the side the player sees will take form.
     
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  13. taaspider

    taaspider Villager Member

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    I use most of the suggestions so far.

    I try to give NPCs lines related to relevant story/world events, or something that highlight their relationship with other towns, reference people that are not there (dead or simply absent)... I also try to make it like they're actually doing something with their lives, not just waiting for the player to talk to them. For example, a farmer may be running around taking care of his crops, a tavern owner may be going around the place serving his clients, and so on.
     
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  14. Pix3M

    Pix3M Veteran Veteran

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    One of my goals in writing my NPC's is that EVERY NPC is involved in some form of conflict, in one form or another. This can be a conflict between the NPC and the player, between the NPC and another NPC, or between the NPC and the setting. My NPC is never there for the sake of being there. I add them there with purpose - to flesh out my setting, and (because I am writing a satire) sneak in social commentary whenever possible.

    Here are questions I ask myself.
    • Why is my NPC standing there? What are they doing?
    • What time of day is it, and would it make sense that they are spending their time being there at that location?
    • What might they notice what the player is doing, and how could they react?
    • What NPC's do they get along with? What NPC's are their friends? Which are their enemies? Do they know my player character?
    • What might they want to talk about? What kind of social commentary do I want to make by using this NPC?
    • What do they care about in life? What does their moral compass look like?
    And above all, how can I convey this through what they might say to the player?
     
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  15. Darth Equus

    Darth Equus Veteran Veteran

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    Pretty good ideas already presented in the posts above. If I may add my two bits:

    Working Designs (the folks that brought and published many RPGs and niche games in the early 90s and early 2000s) mentioned that in standard Japanese RPGs, townsfolk are very generic, uttering lines like "There are strong monsters on the cave north of here. Be careful.", so they'd give them more life while preserving the original intent, like this: "I was ambushed by monsters at the northern cave last time I went there. I ran, but they still managed to hurt me... you see, my pride got seriously wounded because I needed to put a clean pair of pants right after getting home." This changed the NPC from a message board into a person who suffered an incident because of the actions of the monsters, with some embarrassment thrown in for comedy's sake, while hinting at the danger in their lair. Just as others have said, have the situation around the townsfolk affect them, and make them express their feelings or react so that they integrate better into the scenario.

    Add movement, but make it feel sensical: Townsfolk shouldn't just keep on walking their route all the time; have them stop halfway, turn around or look at the scenery before completing their circuit. Or have them alternate between two routes that start and end at the same point. Make them march in place while talking to someone else and have them say something without turning to the player, so that it feels they're overhearing the conversation. These are people with lives, worries, needs, desires and problems; try to draw from the last time you went to a restaurant or park and gathered some info from hearing other people.

    Use some animated events to have bees buzzing around a nest or birds flying among several trees, kids playing hide and seek, or a fish jumping out of the water from time to time. Take advantage of background sounds, too. The creek or river in a town should be heard in any screen it's visible; add some echo to the battle theme if you're fighting inside a cave. It's all these little details what come together to enrich the experience.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
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  16. Diarist

    Diarist Small and bitter. Veteran

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    Oh god. I'd always make it something stupid or horrible. And then giggle to myself as everyone repeated it or it showed up on the TV stations.
    Hell I still do this--
     
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