Story Time in Alphaville


Well.... Onwards! WRT to decreasing the overall beaurocracy in vex, I have endeavored to work on the quest system some more. At first I was going to just add more quests for the existing quest system, but then I thought a bit and realized another way. Yipes. So this is about the 8th revision of it. But I think this one will stick (I always say it, I know... but I really do.) Why this one? It uses the same design strategy as I used for the weapons system, which turned out marvellously. This one is quite a bit bigger, so it requires a lot more understanding and also faith in the design, but so far things are fitting together nicely.

Let's be clear. This isn't the sort of design that you can really sit and plan out in advance. Well you can, but it's not like you would get it all in one go, or neccesarily understand why the framework is good. What you can do is proceed to implement your design within the exiting framework and gradually flesh out, fitting the pieces together as you go. So that's what I'm doing! The framework itself is basically a way of designing based on constraints, and abstraction. It's not totally abstract, instead it is based on several constraints and it basically amounts to descending a decision tree based on probabilities and a very large arbitrary input. The tree that you get out at the end is suppoesd to be your data structure that defines the quest.

More details, I'm not actually defining things as "quests" such anymore, the class is actually called "problem". The idea is that quest is kind of like, actions taken by the player. If you think of the game entities in that context, you find you are constantly trying to railroad him/her into it, and that get's messy. Instead if you think of it just in terms of a problem that some NPC/etc. has, you think in terms of explaining the problem and maybe suggesting some solutions to the player. Much easier and cleaner way of thinking about it, and sort of liberating. We'll see if it works out, but I have a pretty good feeling that it will actually, in the end. At the very least it worked out marvellously for the weapon system, and it's working great thus far.

2005-01-19


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