NPCs that people can customise

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So I was thinking how would NPCs be implemented (not sure if that is spelt correct but what ever) into the game and I think I have come up with a good way to do that.

I think that there should be a special crafting bench that could be made that allows you to choose the name of and appearance of an NPC that you can place and also allows you to build a special tool that allows you to control where the NPC can walk and also allows you to edit what job it does if any and what text it says when interacted with.

That means that not only can you assign them a job like shop keeper or something else, it also means that people can create an NPC that just wanders around that says some different things when interacted with that don’t have a job to make a city feel more lived in then.

Feel free to add your ideas to the comments and any ideas on how to make it work and what they can do.

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An NPC could almost be like a roving request basket. Give it a budget, set it some items to gather, a bit of flavour text to say in the style of an MMO quest and you give players the ability to create NPC quests for other players. Also, an option to say something when the request is fulfilled and no more items are needed money is available.

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This would really add a lot to the game’s feeling!

Technically speaking these only need to be processed when a player is in range. We can also limit the amount of them by having a resource cost associated to running them (they eat cooked meat by the hour or something). They don’t even really have to exist server- side - clients can emulate them for the most part (with their interactions triggering linked baskets).

Initially they would not even have to be interactive - just something to create a more lively feeling in constructed areas.

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There are currently no plans to add NPCs to the game. See here: Q&A: Economy. You can also use the forum’s search feature (the magnifying glass in the top right) to search for “NPC” to see all of the suggestions and discussions that have already taken place about this topic! :star_struck:

If you see something in another thread you’d like to add on to, feel free to do it there, but the devs have confirmed multiple times that the dude in the sanctum is the only NPC we’re likely to see.

Hmm. The previous discussions about NPCs seem to come down to this:

That was 1-2 years ago. The game has come a long way since then, so perhaps it’s time to reevaluate? I submit that the 0.172 game doesn’t feel busy enough in the capital areas. One way to fix that is to give us incentive to actively play in the capital areas, beyond passing through portal hubs and trading at plinths. Another is NPCs – and in fact I could imagine them providing some of that incentive along with other features that keep getting requested, especially if they work as @MrGamer117 suggests and have customizable behavior & dialogue:

  • city guides – station an NPC near the entrance to a city. Let it offer people a player-written description along with location markers of various points of interest.

  • living signs – for any purpose you can imagine. Players could station NPCs throughout the world with tips/directions for newbies, links to forums/discord, etc. And you wouldn’t have to worry about translating from glyphs :wink:

  • city guards – station an NPC near annoying spitter spawns. Outfit it with weapons etc and have it shoot on sight.

  • mercenaries – let players create & equip NPCs and then hire them out to people who want protection on difficult worlds. Preserves the sense of players-do-everything while also making it possible to play semi-solo.

  • ongoing NPC soap operas – can’t speak for the rest of you but I’d dramatize the Oort out of NPCs if I could write my own dialogue! Bonuses: creative outlet for writing types, and a reason for people to keep coming back to a location to see what’s new in dramaland!

  • rewards for longterm players or cash shop – make some really expensive fancy-looking equipment that can be displayed on NPCs as an equivalent of “legendary” weapons/armor. And sell silly NPC hats in the cash shop and you can have all my money I swear!

5 Likes

I like your ideas, was merely trying to provide some historical context, which you greatly assisted with. By all means, keep the suggestions flowing and see if we can change some minds.

Just keep in mind that forum etiquette around here is to typically search first and then add on to a pre-existing conversation instead of having multitudes of threads saying the same thing. :sunglasses:

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@Feign , yes my dude exactly what you said

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i really like those ideas and didn’t think of most of those jobs but that is amazing thinking and would love to here more ideas from you.

[quote=“cor-karolis, post:5, topic:9130”]
mercenaries – let players create & equip NPCs and then hire them out to people who want protection on difficult worlds. Preserves the sense of players-do-everything while also making it possible to play semi-solo.
[/quote] Players who are fighters are useles then?

I hope not! – though do I understand your concern. The trick (for the devs, of course) would be to implement NPCs in a way that wouldn’t make player fighters obsolete. There are lots of ways to do that, most of which, I would suppose, involve tinkering with the relative benefits vs downsides of NPCs and players. So let’s see…here are some of the downsides to having only player escorts:

  • Player is a human on the internet :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Seriously, though, issues do arise when you involve real people, including…

  • boredom – the routes I want to take as a miner could end up being inefficient routes for a fighter. What if the fighter gets bored, or complains, or abandons me for spitter-er pastures? Think of large MMOs where nobody wants to run Dungeon X except the one person who has a quest there and they end up begging in zone chat forever and ever…that isn’t much fun, and doesn’t add anything to the experience…

  • trust – so maybe I decide to pay you in coin for accompanying me. How do we make sure that neither of us reneges on the deal? What if you abandon me in the middle of lava-cuttle-land? What if I don’t pay you afterward?

  • availability – what if I play at odd hours, or on an unpopular world, and no players are willing or able to escort me?

  • personal preference – all manner of people play MMOs, and some of them would simply rather not interact with a real person to go mining – or at least might like to have options available. I mean, I’m fairly social in general, but there are times when the effort of arranging a player escort and the added stress of dealing with them would deter me from this kind of grouping.

But we’d still like to have player escorts be viable, and maybe even preferred, right? So we need to tailor the downsides of an NPC fighter so that they’re an option, but – depending on how much value a given player personally places on not having to deal with real people – maybe not the best or most efficient option. Here are some ideas that might serve; some of them are inherent to AIs, and others could be tweaked by the devs:

  • communicating/giving instructions – you can give a human complex instructions pretty easily – “run ahead of me to spawn the creatures and kill them, wait 3 minutes, then circle back and patrol while I dig and shout if I’m going into danger” – but (assuming we’re not going to be coding ingame) you probably couldn’t tell a mercenary NPC much more than “follow me and kill stuff”. Think of the “Escort Quest” you often see in RPGs, only in reverse: you’re the slow-walking thing that has to be protected.

  • pathing – similar to above. A human can jump and grapple and figure out how you got from here to there, and if they can’t figure it out, they can ask. But an NPC, well, maybe you’d have to smooth a path for them, or build them a bridge.

  • efficiency – maybe an NPC only does half the damage of a player with equivalent gear. Maybe they don’t do the special (charger/repeater etc) attacks.

  • durability – maybe you have to keep them fed or healed (pretty sure I saw someone suggest feeding the NPCs meat in one of these threads). Maybe you’re responsible for providing them with a weapon that takes durability damage.

  • cost – maybe you pay a flat rate per hour to whoever trained the NPC. Maybe you pay per kill. Maybe you don’t get to loot creatures the NPC killed by itself, as you would if you’d had some player kill them.

  • availability – maybe this kind of trained NPC is a high-level thing, created by a player in limited quantity. Ooh, here’s an idea! How about a skill buried far down the Weapon Mastery lines that lets fighters recruit an NPC “student” who can be leveled alongside their player “trainer” and then stationed somewhere to be hired, even – or only – when the player is offline? In that case you’d have a limit on how many of these NPCs could exist…and a way for their owners to gain coin even if they weren’t playing themselves…

Haha, ideas are cheap – I’m not the one who has to implement them! :wink:

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ha ha ha, you bet me to the punch on commenting to @Perun I also only had like one/two sentence and then you post with this massive post.

i like all these ideas and i like how people are bringing up problems like that because it gets us thinking how we fix that problem which makes it better.

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I really like these ideas! A variety of NPC types would be great.

I like the idea of having NPCs being easily identifiable and different from actual players. I was thinking maybe some kind of stone golem? It would suit the whole ancient technology theme of boundless and they could have some pretty cool designs.
The basis could be a ‘golem core’ - an advanced piece of technology that could be crafted from lots of ancient tech parts, or dropped from as very rare loot from high level mobs. You can activate the golem by connecting it to a spark core for fuel, and then adding a specialisation ingredient (something like refined gems) that will define what type of golem it is. Once you activate the golem, it appears (yay) and you can interact with it to access a customisation menu specific to the NPC type. You have to keep your golem fuelled otherwise it will revert to its core state.

Having something like the city guard you mentioned would be great, it would make visiting cities on high tier planets easier without having to build a roof over everything to keep the mobs out. Before the recent update I would frequently get destroyed by herds of wildstock sneaking into my workshop… one of your guards would have been useful back then :stuck_out_tongue:
You could split your suggestions into NPCs that are tethered to a particular beacon or block, and NPCs that are tethered to a player and follow them around :slight_smile:

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I like the idea of them looking like golems to set them apart however i think having a rigid set of types will limit players in what they can do with NPCs.

  • A rigid AI will mean that some jobs that players can come up with might not be doable as the AI only has set jobs

  • A more loose AI set-up means that players can just decide what it is by what it is doing rather then from a set job that was given to it, meaning players can timed NPC based theatre performances

All in all, I think that rather then have jobs you choose from you just say it is a vendor or a random NPC from what it is doing rather and says then what a set of jobs is allowing for more customisation NPCs, if there isn’t any set job list to choose from and instead a large selection of tick boxes ( or something else ) to decide what it does and boxes to decide what it says and a tool to decide where moves or where it stands still.

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and instead of a tether we could just have the tool I mentioned that decides where they can move by selecting blocks or making it free roam via a boxe that shows up when you select the NPC allowing you to edit it when made

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I like that, more freedom would probably be good because I guess nobody is going to have the same needs or builds. I feel like we still need some kind of limit though, otherwise golems will become very confusing to interact with and harder to implement.
How about some kind of basic skill point system? Vendor capability, storage capacity, fighting abilities, movement speed and climbing skills etc. You could give golems the skills necessary for what you want, and can add or change if you want your NPCs to do different things.
You could have different size cores so larger ones create golems with more skill points. Alternatively, be able to add skill points as you go by adding refined gems to your golem or something.

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Love this idea, I went to a well planned out City and absolutely no one was around. Would have been nice if there was a few NPC’s in the area.

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Yes some sort of skill point based system to somewhat limit it but others the more freedom the better

My idea of a perfect sandbox game is that there is only player content in the game. So no NPCs, be it AI shop that can always provide stuff or buy useless ■■■■ from players or fighters to protect you. NPCs render player cooperation useless or at least make it limited. NPC is a thing for single-player modes not for real ambitious sandbox MMO that I believe Boundless to be. I believe this game is better off without that feature and only AI that is useful is that of creatures and titans as they provide a challenge and are part of the environment as presented in games lore. No AI builds shops guilds or taverns are needed. Players are there to create the civilization.

The idea of player’s created NPCs that would be robot-like is a bit different and maybe less threatening to the cooperation part of the game but still might just make it feel less alive if there are too many of them and if they can provide services same as players characters. So I would still have mixed feelings about them.

5 Likes

but that’s the thing players will still be sort after by other players, AI’s are there to help make the worlds fill more full mainly because not all players will be on at the same time and with about 50+ worlds planed for release that will make the game feel empty with out them and they still wont be as good as players when it comes to doing stuff, also what player will sit around as a guide for players, such a role can be design for an AI that players can create and set triggers and actions and dialogue for that will do things players wont do, like stand around in one spot waiting for other players just to say one or two things.

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Yes, I can imagine that kind of thing. Would prefer to see it limited. Wouldn’t mind only kind of a robot-like crafted companion that goes around with you, guards you during mining etc. but it shouldn’t be too strong and good at it so players still prefer other players to go with them and fight when needed. However, I’d prefer to see tamable creatures that would serve as such a companion.

Anyway - only sharing my view on things like that: in general I don’t feel a need for any NPC in Boundless. The game seem to provide great experience already and it most likely hasn’t reached even 1/10 of its potential (if it comes to population). I already meet a lot of players randomly without looking for them and having hunting and mining trips for 2-3 people has been a regular feat for me for a long time. And thats with the current, small base of players.

Saying that I wouldn’t be crying if some kind of NPC companions become a feature. Just hoping it wouldn’t go too far in populating world meaninglessly instead of real players.