Conflict resolution

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Jamieson Norrish

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Oct 20, 1994, 12:52:52 PM10/20/94
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Okay, a different, but not new, discussion point. What good ways are
there of handling conflict between two characters in the game, whether
it's NPC-NPC or PC-NPC? For example, if someone tries to pick up an
object at the same time as another character tries the same? Or, for a
more complicated example, if one character tries to go through an
exit, say, and someone else tries to stop the attempt.

What then? In some cases, it should be okay to just decide before hand
what the outcome will be, with no random elements. But what if it
isn't so cut and dried? I don't particularly want to introduce random
elements (players' thought processes seem random enough!), but what
other options are there? Determining beforehand all the various
elements that might make a difference to the outcome, and simply
determine a static outcome based on each particular situation?

Hmmm - the fights in Zork I and III were random to an extent, but
there were always factors which tipped the balance heavily in the
player's favour. With both the troll and the thief it was using the
right weapon, and in all three opponents it was easy to get away and
heal for a bit. But in a game where there is some physical conflict
and that isn't possible, how to avoid having the character possibly
die/whatever a significant amount of the time?

I think I might just introduce some element which will give a distinct
advantage to whoever can control it - that way it won't seem too
contrived, and the player needn't get turned off by dying lots of the
time (assuming a conflict is ever reached).

What do other people think?

Jamie

Jamieson Norrish

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Oct 20, 1994, 12:48:05 PM10/20/94
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Jamieson Norrish

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Oct 24, 1994, 7:59:11 AM10/24/94
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In article <FLEE.94Oc...@algol.cse.psu.edu> fl...@cse.psu.edu
(Felix Lee) writes:

- encounters aren't fatal.

Have any games implemented unconciousness? That is probably what best
suits my purposes.

- you can survive most encounters.
- the odds are in your favor.

But why? This would seem most naturally to stem from inside the game
world, rather than as a built-in superiority, unless there was a game
reason for it.

- skill v. skill roll.

Yes, this is the classic RPG solution; unfortunately, I don't care
much for introducing such things into the particular problem I'm
working on. Unless skills can change, or skills differ for different
player characters, you might as well reduce it to a random chance for
each possibility.

- time/space modelling.

Tricky - as you point out, there are enormous problems involved with
this, and it's not really a path down which I want to go.

What I will probably end up doing is simply flipping a weighted coin,
so to speak, and allow some external factors depending on the
situation.

Thanks for your suggestions.

Jamie

Felix Lee

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Oct 21, 1994, 3:41:59 AM10/21/94
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Jamieson Norrish:

>With both the troll and the thief it was using the
>right weapon, and in all three opponents it was easy to get away and
>heal for a bit. But in a game where there is some physical conflict
>and that isn't possible, how to avoid having the character possibly
>die/whatever a significant amount of the time?

- encounters aren't fatal.
- death is reversible.
- death isn't an outcome. ("falling down", from SJG's _Toon_)


- you can survive most encounters.
- the odds are in your favor.

- wetware has tactical superiority. (videogames are like this)
- retreat or appeasement is viable most of the time.
- you can avoid dangerous encounters.
- danger is graded in a way the player can affect. (dungeon
depth in nethack.)
- dangerous situations can be assessed beforehand. ("You smell
a wumpus.")

>For example, if someone tries to pick up an
>object at the same time as another character tries the same? Or, for a
>more complicated example, if one character tries to go through an
>exit, say, and someone else tries to stop the attempt.

this is lower-level stuff. The options I know of are

- skill v. skill roll.

- time/space modelling. like,
You see Joe start to reach for the key.
> can I grab key
You can't get it before Joe does.
> can I hit Joe
He's not in range.
> Joe, stop
He ignores you
etc.
Extensive work in this direction is probably more suited to
videogames than text games, but simple time models are probably
feasible. (Make the time quantum something other than "1 turn")

any other options?
--

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