Back on the path

Posted by Michael on June 8th, 2007, in Development

I’m working on The Path again now. Basically hacking away all excessive features to come to a minimal environment that will allow us to tell our story. The freedom and the agency that the “classic” Drama Princess allows for, just doesn’t work in a horror context. It’s too much fun. ;)

So we’re reducing the autonomy of the NPCs now, and increasing that of the avatar. When the NPCs are close to the avatar, they turn into Objects to some exent, offering opportunities to the other actors but not selecting any for themselves. Simultaneously, we have removed the on screen interface of the player in favour of allowing the actor to select opportunities for herself, when the player stops controlling her. It feels a bit like 8. Which was the starting point of Drama Princess, so it feels right.

So far this looks very promising. We are modifying Drama Princess to serve the purpose of The Path. But perhaps we will learn a few things that can improve Drama Princess as well.

Comment by Slovian

Posted on July 20, 2007 at 9:52 am

First of all I just wanted to say ‘Hi’. I’m reading your blog in meantime during work. I’m working on some other commercial game title. We got a feature of ‘living cities’ but I’m was really dissapointed when we decided to make AI based on simple, non-objective script language, and mechanics such as - “when x and Ur state is y do z”. I allways wanted to make a realistic fuzzy logic AI system, so I will be watching your development hopeful to hear more of it, and maybe to see its source release someday.
Second im curious of your problems with handling the player avatar in Drama Princess system. Cant you use existing mechanism to adress this problem? For example Shock mechanism to signal events of player actions on which actors should react. Or cant player Avatar create very strong opportunities for actors to let them choose for example to stare on/follow/assist player insteady of doint their dailt duties?

Comment by Michael

Posted on September 11, 2007 at 12:04 am

I guess I can understand the decision to simplify the AI in a game now that I have taken our own technology out of the laboratory and into the real world so to speak. Autonomous characters are difficult to control, per definition. And you have to build any game around that fact if you want that. I don’t think you can use AI to “decorate” or “liven up” an existing environment. Not if the characters are truly autonomous.

The Shock mechanism is indeed used to force or persuade actors to do things and is used for all control of the avatar. It feels a bit like cheating though. And Drama Princess is currently being used more as a convenient system to create an environment in which objects are aware of each other’s presence, than as a way to generate a “living breathing world”. But we have a game to make, a story to tell, and everything, including Drama Princess, has to serve that purpose.

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