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Interview JE Sawyer on Van Buren party mates

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Saint_Proverbius, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Tags: Fallout 3 (Van Buren); J.E. Sawyer

    <b>JE Sawyer</b> piped up about party members in the yet unannounced <i>Fallout Thr..</i> errrrr... <i>Van Buren</i>. I'm not sure which post this came from, because <b>Brios</b> didn't provide a link, the Belgium Bastard, but here's the juice:
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    <blockquote>The way it is likely to be:
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    <br>
    1) By default, CNPCs (companion NPCs) are controlled by the computer.
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    2) CNPCs have an options screen similar to the one in FO2 that allows the player to define broad behavior patterns for the CNPC.
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    <br>
    3) Outside of combat, the player always has access to the inventory of a CNPC. Their inventory screen looks like the main character's inventory screen.
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    4) The CNPCs have scripts that, among other things, define idiosyncratic behavior for those characters. E.g.: Sulik hates slavers, so when he sees characters marked as slavers, he gets LUDACRIS and ACTS A FOOL, possibly attacking them and definitely devoting all attention to them in combat. Battery gets angry at robots and machines, and being around them makes him generally belligerent, likely to beat people with a huge wrench rather than evaluate the situation sensibly.
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    <br>
    5) When CNPCs are in the party, they get their own selection buttons on the interface as in FO:T. Selecting them allows the player to have basic movement, inventory, and skill use control over them. ONE AT A TIME. CNPCS not under current control out of combat follow the leader as usual.
    <br>
    <br>
    6) Also, one button appears next to the CNPC tabs that is a toggle: AUTOMATIC/MANUAL. It can be clicked at any time, though its effects only come into play when it's a CNPC's turn to act. If the toggle is set to MANUAL, the CNPC's script and the current situations are then compared to a PC's speech skill in a check. If the CNPC is generally easygoing and is not flipping out due to wounds/intense hatred for current enemies/being high on psycho, the level of the speech skill required to exercise control is relatively low. Otherwise, the requirements get pretty high. At any time, the player can attempt to control his or her CNPCs manually as individuals, but they aren't required to, and they simply may not be able to due to their own shortcomings as a leader or the inherently independent/crazy nature of their allies.</blockquote>
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    Okay, color me dumb, but does that mean you can control them as long as you have a high speech skill? Am I reading that right?
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    Spotted this at <A href="http://www.nma-fallout.com">No Mutants Allowed</a>.
     
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  2. Spazmo Erudite

    Spazmo
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    Brios is Portugese, Yankee Scum.

    These ideas of JE's are somewhat worrying. I like that they're fucking well NPCs, and easy inventory management is good too. I didn't like going through a couple pages of dialog in FO2 or stealing all the time in FO1. Still, the idea of controlling them at all worries me. I do hope they make sure it's very basic commands, the kind of thing the leader of a party might yell out to his buddies in the heat of battle.
     
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  3. Psilon Erudite

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    Besides, the appropriate adjective would be "Belgian." Like the waffle.
     
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  4. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

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    Quiet, Frenchie! Belgium, Portugal, it's all the same thing.

    Ideally, what they should do is set it up like Fallout and Fallout 2, then improve the AI so that it works, including the "Do NOT burst friendlies!" command. Then just set it up so you can talk to people during combat to issue additional orders at the cost of a few APs.
     
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  5. Astromarine Erudite

    Astromarine
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    you're really lookin fer a bruisin aren't you? Belgium and Portugal are the same thing, are they? ppfff, as if we'd have such a stupid-sounding word as "croissant".
     
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  6. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    JE has too many ideas that cater to many camps: TB/RT combo, ability to control otherwise uncontrollable NPCs with high speech, etc. I wish they would spend more time on a story, dialogues, and locations instead of trying to create a game that everybody would enjoy.
    When the game is released it's probably going to have a huge preference window where you checkmark how you would like to play your game:
    [X] Real Time combat
    [X] Controllable NPCs
    [X] Car combat
    [X] Romance
    [X] Skipable dialogues
    [X] Joinable uber kewl deathclaw NPC
    [X] SIM mini game - loot Ikea to redecorate your Vault
    [X] Magic powers
    :lol:
     
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  7. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

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    If all those options work; more power to them.
     
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  8. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    In theory, yes. In real life, no. Even RT/TB combo alone brings a lot of issues:

    1. Saint's point about enemies balance. Balance the gameplay toward TB, and the enemies would slaughter everyone in RT; do it the other way around, and TB would be boring and tedious. Do you disagree? Is it not a good point alone?
    2. RT/TB combo has never been done before successfully. Of course, it may work this time, or it may not. Would you like somebody to take chances with FO3 just to see if it would work?
    3. Every double feature and every useless feature leave less time, money, and programming resources to work on locations, dialogues, gameplay, etc. Look at SWG, it sucks ass, but it has the coolest character customization

    So, in conclusion, when people are presented with great ideas like that they should not think "well, as long as it works" but "what is the price of that? what feature, what twist of the plot, what locations, what characters would be thrown out to accomodate an option to control your NPCs"?
     
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  9. Elwro Arcane Patron

    Elwro
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    I'm not sure if I get this right. Suppose I have Ian as my companion. I set him to 'automatic'. So when it's his turn to act in combat, he happily shoots me in the back. So next time I set him to 'manual'. When it's his turn, I want to move him a bit to the left. So I click at the destination, and the game makes my speech check. If I pass, Ian goes where I wanted. But what if I fail? Do I get a second chance? Or does Ian automatically go 'automatic' then?
     
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  10. Crazy Tuvok Liturgist

    Crazy Tuvok
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    Read this when it was first posted over at the IPLY boards (yeah I know, but I went back when I heard about FO3) and read it again here and I still have no idea what the hell JE is talking about - how do NPCs work? I guess they work like a combo of every previous NPC system? I can control them, but it requires a speech/leadership check but by default I can't control them but they have a button on the interface which I can click in order to control them?
    JE has been posting like a madman lately and in his defense I will say he is certainly giving a lot of thought to FO3 - whether it pays off or any of those thoughts are worth a damn remains to be seen.
     
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  11. Jed Cipher

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    Glad I'm not the only one...
     
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  12. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

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    The whole idea of direct control with a speech check just seems incredibly half assed to me. It sounds more like Fallout: Battlefield Commander or something, where you have to ramp that speech skill and sit back and work your NPCs with full MIND control.

    If you're going to make it so you can control your NPCs with speech, it should work like speech, which is why I mentioned using an orders system. Click on a party mate to bring up dialogue and have things like, Take cover behind something!, Shoot for your target's legs!, Stand down!, Advance on the enemy!, and so on. Each time you bark an order, it should burn some of your APs, since you're spending time issuing orders. Otherwise, the NPCs do what you told them to do before the battle.

    If you have speech checks that are basically silent, and the NPC just refuses, that's not really as good as actually using speech itself to get the job done. It's more intuitive that you're using your speech skill if you have to actually use a speech interface.
     
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  13. Briosafreak Augur

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    Well first Portugal is quite different from Belgium, but Republicans and Geography don`t really match :lol:...

    Second the link is right there, on the top of the news bit :?

    Third, every time the people from BIS speak there`s more npc control than before, i`m starting to think that many over there only played the games once, like the people that are asking for a party based game, and that is what really concerns me. They will never get the BG and IWD crew to be fully satisfied, and they may end leaving the fallout fans too skeptic about the game.
    Sawyer is doing a balancing act over there, i`m still hopefull he can pull it off , since i´m prepared to not have my dream game, been preparing myself for that for quite some time, but still i want to enjoy it, like many.

    I really hope he can find all the balances in gameplay and on peoples expectations he is trying, we`ll see what happens, there`s still time to make a good game and change whatever things they now want to do but may not be the best choices, at least i hope so.
     
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  14. Azael Magister

    Azael
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    I'll go out on a limb and say that I wouldn't really mind some sort of leadership skill for a Fallout game. That is, as long as that Fallout game is Fallout: Tactics 2.
     
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  15. Crazy Tuvok Liturgist

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    It seems like JE is trying to address the "goddammit Marcus just unloaded a burst of minigun into my skull; Sulik just refuses to use his SMG and is using a butterknife instead" that was *supposedly* so rampant. I never experienced this too much, but nevertheless it always struck me as more of an AI issue than any fault of the control scheme over NPCs in the FO series.
    It reminds me of the argument Saint has made so often when someone complains about how slow tb combat is facing a hundred rats mid game - poor design, not a flaw in tb.
    What bugs me about some of his NPC suggestions is that it sounds like he is regarding FO3 as a party based game which would just suck donkey balls. And even if it is a party based game there is nothing wrong with the way you could customize NPC combat in the FOs - shit FO2 you could pretty much set them however you wanted - what was wrong with that? Why do we need more control than that? In a fantasy game it makes a bit more sense what with spells and all, but again Arcanum handled this well imo; I found that the spellcasters in my party pretty much cast the spells that I would have had I direct control over them.
    And finally I find it a lot more enjoyable to not be able to control my NPCs; but then I also like that a random crit could seriously fuck you or your compadres up - another thing that seems to irk Josh.

    edit: for clarity, I hope.
     
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  16. Crazy Tuvok Liturgist

    Crazy Tuvok
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    sorry double post, but this eems kinda relevant. Josh gave a more precise explanation of how NPC control works over on the IPLY boards:

    "Let me try to actually present an example of how this would be used in a game. You have two PCs: Destructo and Chadsworth. Destructo has an average Charisma and a grand total of 10 ranks in Persuasion. Chadsworth has a high Charisma, has Persuasion tagged, and has a total of 70 ranks in Persuasion. In both examples, Destructo and Chadsworth have three CNPCs: Dopey, Steady, and Psycho.

    In combat, Destructo goes about his business (killing things). He's already set up his three NPCs to do what he wants them to do (within their limitations). Dopey hangs back and uses an assault rifle because he's a frail weakling, but has good aim. Destructo set him up to NEVER BURST, to use drugs when badly wounded, and to attack the target Destructo attacks. Steady is set up for mid-range combat with a submachinegun. He can burst, but only when allies are absolutely positively not going be hit. Destructo also told him to use drugs when badly wounded and attack targets that attack him (Steady). Psycho is set to engage in close combat with melee weapons/unarmed, use drugs before combat, and to never retreat, even if horribly wounded.

    Destructo's NPCs actually do what they were set up to do. However, halfway through the battle, Destructo realizes that he's being mobbed and Steady and Psycho are twenty hexes away dealing with stragglers. Destructo wants Steady and Psycho to help him deal with the horde of jerks descending upon him. The player flips the toggle from AUTOMATIC to MANUAL. When it gets to Steady's turn, it checks Destructo's Persuasion against Steady's likelihood of being directly controlled. Steady's a little wounded, but generally okay. Despite this, Destructo can't exercise fine control over him. He settles for changing Steady's general commands to attack the targets attacking Destructo and to burst at targets even if there's a chance to hit allies (he just needs to kill the unarmored throng around him). When Psycho's turn comes up, whoa Nellie. Destructo can't control Psycho with fine control, and still only has a few options for controlling his general combat behavior (much like Fallout 2). He lets Destructo go on his merry way annihilating the creatures around him.

    When the same thing happens to Chadsworth, Chadsworth is in even more trouble because he can't stand up to his foes like Destructo can. He attempts to take command of Steady and succeeds. The player has Steady walk up next to Chadsworth and start bursting from there, eliminating any chance of hitting allies, and also giving the encroaching hordes another target to distract them. When he gets to Psycho, he still can't control the bastard, even with a fairly high Persuasion. He settles for having greater control over Psycho's general combat behavior. He manages to shift Psycho from "attack nearest target" to "attack targets attacking Chadsworth". Psycho finishes up his mashing and heads over to the throng to help clean up."

    I woulda posted a link, but this seems more convenient and allows people with already high blood pressure to avoid the ILPY boards.
     
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  17. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    That can still be done with an orders system, though. If you want your NPCs closer to you, just select them, open a dialogue interface and say, Get closer to me! instead of manually moving them. You wouldn't even need the extra interface crap of having MANUAL and AUTOMATIC switches for them.

    In fact, if you did that, allowed dialogue in combat, you could even have it so you could attempt to influence the enemies with things like, Surrender and you won't die here or Drop your weapons and run or we'll kill you. Even something like Hey, if we give you some money, will you spare us? would be an interesting option.
     
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  18. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

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    To be honest, I dislike the 'control your npcs" stuff. Bah! I'd rather they be treated like real people like the FO series or NWN; but with much better AI than any of those games. Perhaps a leadership perk to help better lead them; but in no way, shape, or form; should you be abe to completely control them like a robot even for a second.
     
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  19. GreenNight Liturgist

    GreenNight
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    Absolutely, these would be some of the never done before (I think) aditions that greatly increase the feeling of playing a role and not controling a bunch of numbers. In fact I would like that me and my PnP RPG friends would do more thinks like this and not fight allways till we got the enemy killed.

    But it also worries me what he says about having 2 PC, I hope he meant in two different games and not in the same game (party of characters).
     
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  20. Briosafreak Augur

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    Yep, two different games, but now he says there will be a Coop mode on FO3, check the main page on NMA.
     
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  21. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

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    COOP? .........No comment.
     
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  22. Briosafreak Augur

    Briosafreak
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    Yep coop...
    Go and see the rest at http://www.nma-fallout.com/
     
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  23. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Where's your miserable faggot god now? -South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
     
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