NPC, TALK TO ME

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green_g...@my-dejanews.com

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Jan 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/20/99
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I'm trying to compile a list of things my NPC's can talk
about (striving for some degree of NPC completeness within the
context of the game), and so I'm actively seeking the kinds of
things people usually try asking an NPC.

Here's the list I'm working with now

ASK NPC ABOUT OBJECT
ASK NPC ABOUT <WEATHER, ECONOMY, POLITICS, RELIGION, FAMILY...
I'm looking for generic info that any well done NPC should know,
not game specific stuff>

NPC, <greeting - HI/BYE/GOOD MORNING/...>
NPC, TELL ME ABOUT OBJECT
NPC, TELL ME ABOUT LOCATION

NPC, WHO IS NPC2
NPC, WHAT IS OBJECT
NPC, WHERE IS OBJECT
NPC, WHEN IS EVENT <ie, tea time>

NPC, HOW ARE YOU
NPC, WHAT ARE YOU DOING

NPC, WHAT TIME IS IT


So, what do *YOU* usually ask an NPC? :)


Cheers,
Kathleen

FWIW: in my game the follow commands

ASK NPC ABOUT OBJECT/TOPIC,
NPC, OBJECT/TOPIC
NPC, TELL ME ABOUT OBJECT/TOPIC

will all produce the same results

-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

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Admiral Jota

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Jan 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/20/99
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green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> I'm trying to compile a list of things my NPC's can talk
> about (striving for some degree of NPC completeness within the
> context of the game), and so I'm actively seeking the kinds of
> things people usually try asking an NPC.

> Here's the list I'm working with now

[snip list so far]


> So, what do *YOU* usually ask an NPC? :)

How about ASK NPC FOR OBJECT, or NPC, GIVE ME OBJECT? Also, the usual set
of KISS NPC, KILL NPC, GET NPC, etc.

--
_/<-= Admiral Jota =->\_
\<-= jo...@tiac.net =->/

Mary K. Kuhner

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Jan 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/20/99
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In article <785jta$1fd$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
<green_g...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:

> NPC, WHO IS NPC2

NPC, WHO ARE YOU
ASK NPC ABOUT ME

and for some games

NPC, WHO AM I

For one of my unfinished games (is that a cautionary tale?)
I also implemented plain "WHAT/WHO IS X" and gave each significant
object a property answering that question. I felt it would
help with the "My character would know, but I don't" problem.
It wasn't that much work, once I abandoned the idea of question
marks--question marks are troublesome.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Jake Wildstrom

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Jan 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/20/99
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In article <785jta$1fd$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
<green_g...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:
>So, what do *YOU* usually ask an NPC? :)

One nice one I miss from the Infocom mystery days (although I _do_ have a
kneejerk apostrophe reaction) is:

NPC, WHATS WRONG

Along the same lines, some polite ones mightn't hurt:

NPC, SORRY = APOLOGIZE TO NPC
NPC, THANKS
NPC, THANK YOU = THANK NPC

And of course, as an equivalent to NPC, HELLO, we should have GREET NPC.

+--First Church of Briantology--Order of the Holy Quaternion--+
| A mathematician is a device for turning coffee into |
| theorems. -Paul Erdos |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+
| Jake Wildstrom |
+-------------------------------------------------------------+

Joseph Fatula

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Jan 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/20/99
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green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> I'm trying to compile a list of things my NPC's can talk
> about (striving for some degree of NPC completeness within the
> context of the game), and so I'm actively seeking the kinds of
> things people usually try asking an NPC.

I often ask NPCs to help me by relighting blown-out candles, taking
objects from the ceiling (if tall), or performing other tasks I am
unable to. It often has no effect, but it is often (IMO) one of the
best uses of an NPC.
--

The statement below is true.
The statement above is false.

dled...@hotmail.com

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Jan 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/21/99
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What's your NPC called, Einstein?

Somehow I don't think players are going to ask all that stuff, they probably
wouldn't expect a answer anyway, rather like a newsgroup.

You could include stuff for if your NPC is sleeping like SHAKE, to wake it up,
or SHAKE HANDS to introduce yourself. There's also the old chessnut, KICK NPC
and of course FOLLOW NPC, or NPC, FOLLOW ME. This paragraph, has probably
increased your workload by several dozen hours.


In article <785jta$1fd$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,


green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> I'm trying to compile a list of things my NPC's can talk
> about (striving for some degree of NPC completeness within the
> context of the game), and so I'm actively seeking the kinds of
> things people usually try asking an NPC.
>

> Here's the list I'm working with now
>

> ASK NPC ABOUT OBJECT
> ASK NPC ABOUT <WEATHER, ECONOMY, POLITICS, RELIGION, FAMILY...
> I'm looking for generic info that any well done NPC should know,
> not game specific stuff>
>
> NPC, <greeting - HI/BYE/GOOD MORNING/...>
> NPC, TELL ME ABOUT OBJECT
> NPC, TELL ME ABOUT LOCATION
>

> NPC, WHO IS NPC2


> NPC, WHAT IS OBJECT
> NPC, WHERE IS OBJECT
> NPC, WHEN IS EVENT <ie, tea time>
>
> NPC, HOW ARE YOU
> NPC, WHAT ARE YOU DOING
>
> NPC, WHAT TIME IS IT
>

> So, what do *YOU* usually ask an NPC? :)
>

Daniel Barkalow

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Jan 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/21/99
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On Wed, 20 Jan 1999 green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> I'm trying to compile a list of things my NPC's can talk
> about (striving for some degree of NPC completeness within the
> context of the game), and so I'm actively seeking the kinds of
> things people usually try asking an NPC.
>
> Here's the list I'm working with now
>
> ASK NPC ABOUT OBJECT
> ASK NPC ABOUT <WEATHER, ECONOMY, POLITICS, RELIGION, FAMILY...
> I'm looking for generic info that any well done NPC should know,
> not game specific stuff>

A lot of work could probably be saved by having NPCs berate you if you
ask about something they should have an opinion on, but don't have code
for:

] ask npc about religion

Mr. C says, "That's hardly important right now."

Or all of the NPCs could say the same thing for a given topic:

] ask npc about weather

Mr. C says, "It's cloudy, like it always is at this time of the year."

NPCs with specific things to say about any of these would have specific
responses, of course.

> NPC, <greeting - HI/BYE/GOOD MORNING/...>

Also, "greet npc" should work for this.

> NPC, TELL ME ABOUT OBJECT
> NPC, TELL ME ABOUT LOCATION
>
> NPC, WHO IS NPC2
> NPC, WHAT IS OBJECT
> NPC, WHERE IS OBJECT
> NPC, WHEN IS EVENT <ie, tea time>

] npc, when was event

Would frequently be helpful, especially if some stuff happens when the
player's not around.

> NPC, HOW ARE YOU
> NPC, WHAT ARE YOU DOING
>
> NPC, WHAT TIME IS IT
>
> So, what do *YOU* usually ask an NPC? :)

Actually, I most often get annoyed when trying to continue a conversation
an NPC started. "npc, yes" and "npc, no" should work much more frequently
than they do. Also, "npc, what do you want" would be really helpful,
along with questions to clarify the response to this one. "npc, take me
to <location>", "npc, follow me", and "npc, go to <location>" are also
tempting.

Also, "npc, tell me about <something npc mentioned>" would be really
helpful, even if many of the responses were of the "you don't need to
refer to that in the course of this game" variety.

-Iabervon
*This .sig unintentionally changed*

Jonadab the Unsightly One

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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NPC, Salutations
NPC, where can I find a good place to eat/stay/whatever around here?
NPC, have you met NPC2?
NPC, if you were marooned on a desert island and could take three
things with you, what would they be?
NPC, Which is better, TADS or Inform?

- jonadab

green_g...@my-dejanews.com

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Jan 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/23/99
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In article <78848b$7nd$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

dled...@hotmail.com wrote:
> Somehow I don't think players are going to ask all that stuff, they probably
> wouldn't expect a answer anyway, rather like a newsgroup.

Because they don't expect an answer, I shouldn't provide one?

That's rather odd logic :)

I hope people try to talk to the NPC's -- the game isn't going to progress
very far for them if they don't.

Kathleen (worried now that perhaps she shouldn't have put so much effort into
her NPC's)

> > Here's the list I'm working with now
> >
> > ASK NPC ABOUT OBJECT
> > ASK NPC ABOUT <WEATHER, ECONOMY, POLITICS, RELIGION, FAMILY...
> > I'm looking for generic info that any well done NPC should know,
> > not game specific stuff>
> >

> > NPC, <greeting - HI/BYE/GOOD MORNING/...>

> > NPC, TELL ME ABOUT OBJECT
> > NPC, TELL ME ABOUT LOCATION
> >
> > NPC, WHO IS NPC2
> > NPC, WHAT IS OBJECT
> > NPC, WHERE IS OBJECT
> > NPC, WHEN IS EVENT <ie, tea time>
> >

> > NPC, HOW ARE YOU
> > NPC, WHAT ARE YOU DOING
> >
> > NPC, WHAT TIME IS IT

-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

Mary K. Kuhner

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Jan 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/23/99
to
In article <78b4ie$r9u$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
<green_g...@my-dejanews.com> wrote:

>Kathleen (worried now that perhaps she shouldn't have put so much effort into
>her NPC's)

Think about all the competition reviews. Have you *ever* seen a review
which said "Too much effort was put into the NPCs--they responded
to too many topics, and didn't give enough plain default answers"?

Me neither.

You can have too many NPCs, or NPC conversations with too many red
herrings, but I don't think you can have NPCs with too much effort
put into them, unless "too much effort" means "so much effort that
the rest of the game is busted".

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Jacob Munkhammar

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Jan 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/23/99
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> Kathleen (worried now that perhaps she shouldn't have put so much effort into
> her NPC's)
>

Oh no, oh no! Go on with it!

NPCs are still a really under-developed part of IF in general; in my
oppinion we're still in the stone-age of their development. Especially as
conversation goes.
However, I'd gladly be proven wrong in that!

I wonder: in what games (preferbly in the if-archive) are the best
NPC-implementations? Recommendations gladly received.

/Jacob

--
Hemma hos: http://www.stud.ntnu.no/~jacob/
Textäventyr: http://www.stud.ntnu.no/~jacob/SAK/
Bugatti: http://www.stud.ntnu.no/~jacob/BILsidor/Bugatti/
Maskiner: PowerMac 4400, Mac LC, Mac Plus, Sinclair Spectrum

graham...@hotmail.com

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Jan 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/24/99
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In article <36a7d261...@news.bright.net>,


Hee hee. I think I'll add those to the new version of Something about the
Bunny, if I may.

- GLYPH

Daniel Barkalow

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Jan 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/25/99
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On Sat, 23 Jan 1999 green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> I hope people try to talk to the NPC's -- the game isn't going to progress
> very far for them if they don't.

Just make sure you document the fact that the NPCs are actually unusually
complete, so people don't assume they won't be helpful to look elsewhere.
It's probably necessary (and sufficient), whenever actually doing
something that is often ignored, to mention that it's supported. E.g., if
you support looking in directions, you need to tell the player, since the
player is likely to have gotten the idea that nobody supports that.

-Daniel
*This .sig accidentally deleted and retyped*

green_g...@my-dejanews.com

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Jan 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/25/99
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In article <Pine.LNX.3.91.99012...@iabervon.mit.edu>,

Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.mit.edu> wrote:
> Just make sure you document the fact that the NPCs are actually unusually
> complete, so people don't assume they won't be helpful to look elsewhere.
> It's probably necessary (and sufficient), whenever actually doing
> something that is often ignored, to mention that it's supported. E.g., if
> you support looking in directions, you need to tell the player, since the
> player is likely to have gotten the idea that nobody supports that.

As a small aside... are such helpful tidbits the province of a README file, or
maybe by typing HELP, or what? I really don't want to do menu help for such a
"small thing" (I'm handling hints/help via typed commands)

A README file would be so much easier :)

Kathleen (dwelling on minutia again)

-- Excuse me while I dance a little jig of despair.

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------

Avrom Faderman

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Jan 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/25/99
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green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote in message
<78irtj$dea$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>...

>As a small aside... are such helpful tidbits the province of a README file,
or
>maybe by typing HELP, or what? I really don't want to do menu help for such
a
>"small thing" (I'm handling hints/help via typed commands)
>
>A README file would be so much easier :)


"First-time players should type 'about.'"

No need for a menu, really, if you just want to list some special features
of the game.


Den of Iniquity

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
to
On Sat, 23 Jan 1999 green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
> dled...@hotmail.com wrote:
>> Somehow I don't think players are going to ask all that stuff, they
>> probably wouldn't expect a answer anyway

> I hope people try to talk to the NPC's -- the game isn't going to


> progress very far for them if they don't.

Make the NPC's talk to the player. Provoke a response.

-> X BASKET
It's a small wickerwork basket, currently empty.

Uncle Bob gives you a benign smile from somewhere behind his moustache.
"Always looking for things," he mumbles, lifting his pipe to indicate the
basket. "What have you lost this time?"

--
Den


Daniel Barkalow

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
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On Mon, 25 Jan 1999 green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:

> In article <Pine.LNX.3.91.99012...@iabervon.mit.edu>,
> Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.mit.edu> wrote:
> > Just make sure you document the fact that the NPCs are actually unusually
> > complete, so people don't assume they won't be helpful to look elsewhere.
> > It's probably necessary (and sufficient), whenever actually doing
> > something that is often ignored, to mention that it's supported. E.g., if
> > you support looking in directions, you need to tell the player, since the
> > player is likely to have gotten the idea that nobody supports that.
>

> As a small aside... are such helpful tidbits the province of a README
> file, or maybe by typing HELP, or what? I really don't want to do menu
> help for such a "small thing" (I'm handling hints/help via typed commands)

I personally always type "HELP" as the first thing I do in a game, mostly
to find out what sorts of interaction are mentioned. Unless you've added
enough stuff to warrent menus (or want menus for other things), it should
be sufficient to have that in the help message. I dislike README files
because they don't do in the same file as the rest of the game, and thus
get lost more easily.

JamesG

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
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Den of Iniquity wrote:

> Make the NPC's talk to the player. Provoke a response.
>
> -> X BASKET
> It's a small wickerwork basket, currently empty.
>
> Uncle Bob gives you a benign smile from somewhere behind his moustache.
> "Always looking for things," he mumbles, lifting his pipe to indicate the
> basket. "What have you lost this time?"

I do like this idea. It always strikes me as odd when NPCs just stand
doing nothing while I look under rugs or frotz their pet goldfish...

JamesG,
working on a character based game. estimated release date 2005.
************************************************************************
* Compulsive Volunteer. Will design starships for food. *
* (-o-) http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/2843 <*> *
* "Making books is a skilled trade, like making clocks." *
* Jean de la Bruyère *
************************************************************************


Schep

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
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Avrom Faderman wrote:
> green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote

> >As a small aside... are such helpful tidbits the province of a README file,
> or
> >maybe by typing HELP, or what?
> >A README file would be so much easier :)
>
> "First-time players should type 'about.'"

I say all of the above. As a player I tend to be reluctant to read stuff
about the game, I want to get right in. So you really want to maximize
the chances a player will see your information important to the game
interface.

As for which I'm most likely to read, probably 'about' or 'help',
especially if mentioned at the game's startup. I may make a few moves
first to look around, but I'll probably get to it in that case.


--Schep
Email address is scheplerAtpilotDotmsuDotedu.

4...@fsu.is

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Jan 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/27/99
to
In article <78848b$7nd$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
dled...@hotmail.com wrote:
> What's your NPC called, Einstein?
>
> Somehow I don't think players are going to ask all that stuff, [snip]
>

Well, all the players won't ask all the questions. But all the players
probably will try to ask a few questions and not neccessarily the same ones,
hence one should prepare for as many eventualities as conceivable.

Regards,
Solve the Wolfsson.

TenthStone

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Jan 30, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/30/99
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Daniel Barkalow thus inscribed this day of Tue, 26 Jan 1999 14:16:15
-0500:

>On Mon, 25 Jan 1999 green_g...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
>> In article <Pine.LNX.3.91.99012...@iabervon.mit.edu>,
>> Daniel Barkalow <iabe...@iabervon.mit.edu> wrote:
>> > Just make sure you document the fact that the NPCs are actually unusually
>> > complete, so people don't assume they won't be helpful to look elsewhere.
>> > It's probably necessary (and sufficient), whenever actually doing
>> > something that is often ignored, to mention that it's supported. E.g., if
>> > you support looking in directions, you need to tell the player, since the
>> > player is likely to have gotten the idea that nobody supports that.
>>

>> As a small aside... are such helpful tidbits the province of a README

>> file, or maybe by typing HELP, or what? I really don't want to do menu
>> help for such a "small thing" (I'm handling hints/help via typed commands)
>
>I personally always type "HELP" as the first thing I do in a game, mostly
>to find out what sorts of interaction are mentioned. Unless you've added
>enough stuff to warrent menus (or want menus for other things), it should
>be sufficient to have that in the help message. I dislike README files
>because they don't do in the same file as the rest of the game, and thus
>get lost more easily.

If I'm so uninterested in what's going on that my first command is "Help",
I usually don't play the game.

It's a problem, actually. I'll start the game and even though I know I
should probably type "Help", I don't want to damage my sense of
involvement. On the other hand, opening the game and facing a menu
straight off is annoying.

Incidentally, don't use the phrasing "First-time players type 'about'";
this doesn't answer the question "first time doing what?", and I will go
to almost any lengths to avoid reading another introduction to IF.
"First-time [game title] players type 'about'" is better.

-----------

The imperturbable TenthStone
tenth...@hotmail.com mcc...@erols.com mcc...@gsgis.k12.va.us

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