Video Update #9: Living World NPC News and Rumors

This past week Guido Henkel (producer of such classic RPGs as Planescape: Torment, and Realms of Arkania) wrote on Gammasutra A New Recipe for the Roleplaying Game Formula.  

RPGs have evolved very little...
No real social awareness based on individual (player) achievements.

I want to thank Michael Ballard for responding in the comments about Archmage Rises and bringing the post to my attention.  Much appreciated!

This week I show proof that RPGs are evolving, that we can use modern techniques and technology to build a living breathing world that realistically responds to player and NPC actions.  Read Guido's post, because what he is calling for, what he is longing for, is Archmage Rises.

To Have a new RPG Experience Requires A New Approach to World Building

As I write this Obsidian just released Tyranny and announced Pillars of Eternity II.  From what I have seen it is more of the same Balder's Gate formula from 1998:

  • Run around on a static map pushing back the fog
  • Pre-scripted NPCs to encounter
  • Pre-scripted stories
  • Pre-scripted battles
  • Branching dialog trees 
  • Look up on the internet solutions to any and every challenge

As good as I am sure it is, and I'll buy and play both, it's more of the same experience because it's more of the same approach.

Archmage starts with a whole new formula:

  • a Procedurally Generated World (like Dwarf Fortress)
  • Simulated over time (like Simcity/The Sims)
  • Run by a Simulated AI GM.  (like Left 4 Dead's Director)

It is built from the ground up just for you, your experiences and stories are just your own.  There is nothing else like it.

A key ingredient to making the simulated world function realistically is how NPCs react to the player, the world, and the events within it.  It is done with the spread of NEWS.

Orcs attack an outlying village?  Fear spreads to NPCs as news travels from town to town of what happened.  Player slew the dragon?  Praise and reputation flow along the road system from as news spreads of your deeds.

The news system is a key ingredient to giving a new, realistic, more pen & paper RPG experience on the computer.  

This week I show our progress of the News System.  We're not done, and I have to show some Game State Dumps to prove how it is working, but I hope you'll agree it's the start of something truly revolutionary!

Believe every bullet point you read about Archmage Rises.  We do.  Our every waking moment is dedicated to all coming true.