Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

14 August, 2011

Storybricks, and looking at what makes for interesting NPCs
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:01 PM
(This post has been viewed 4496 times.)

Back from Gen Con and slowly recovering. I'm gonna punt another week on the Weekend Design Challenge. But, I figured I'd share a few more thoughts about Storybricks, especially what we showed off at Gen Con.

Feedback from Gen Con

We decided to show off an early version of our tool at Gen Con because we wanted to get feedback. It was really rewarding to see the change in people who initially said, "I don't play computer games" but then enthusiastically signed up for more information after seeing our demo. This tells me we're doing something right.

As I posted before, however, there is some worry that people might be too quick to judge based on the surface. We did make a point to say that we've been developing the tool for only about 2.5 months, and that most of the art assets, while not bad looking, aren't necessarily indicative of our final product. But, it seems that most people really did "get" the underlying premise of the tool and could see some of the exciting possibilities.

Coverage from the convention

Justin "Syp" Olivetti wrote an in-depth article about Storybricks for Massively after seeing our demo at Gen Con. I've been a fan of Syp's blog Bio Break for a while, so it was nice to meet him in person. Justin also wrote about a chart we made to show the evolution of MMOs over time. (There is also an updated version of the large chart for your viewing pleasure.) More recently Massively highlighted an interesting comment someone made referring to Storybricks, a metaphor about people wanting more freedom vs. more elaborate games.

The site MMO Sanctuary also saw our demo and talked a bit about it on their site. Glad to see we were able to generate some good interest in the press about this.

Great blogger posts

I'm not what you might call a natural salesperson. But, I'm really excited about what we're doing with Storybricks. So, we've been reaching out to some bloggers, especially ones I've read for a while, and showing them the demo of our tool. It seems other people have been seeing the potential for our work as well.

So far, you can read impressions from:
Killed in a Smiling Accident
Tobold's MMORPG Blog
Toldain Talks
Mana Obscura

Other people picked up the story and started running with the possibilities:
Spinksville talks about some possibilities of simulating NPCs.
Too Damn Epic talking about Storybricks in terms of an ideal MMO set in the world of the tabletop RPG Shadowrun.
Elder Game talking about NPCs as content.

If you run a blog or site and would like to see a demo, drop me a line.

Why care about NPCs?

One article was particularly interesting over at I Have Touched The Sky. Referring to Spinks' article, Rowan points out that we just can't care about a large number of people. And, it can be annoying to have NPCs who wander off and "do their own thing" when you're trying to just play the damned game.

I have to agree completely. While it was interesting to watch the NPCs in Ultima 5 go through their daily routine because of the sheer novelty of it all, it was annoying when all you wanted to do was to buy some reagents. Single-player games can get away with this a bit easier since you can telescope time easier. Online games, however, are not quite so flexible with jumping forward in time.

But, our goal isn't simply to simulate NPCs, we also want to give them more depth. Most NPCs in MMOs (and many RPGs of all kinds) are flat: the NPCs in most MMOs might as well be simple billboards with "quest" instructions or vending machines for all the depth they have. It's fast and easy, but it doesn't add to the enjoyment or immersion of the game.

Consider the examples Rowan gives of the tens if not hundreds of thousands of people who live in nearby towns. You don't have to care about all of them, but you could strike up a conversation with them and find out about their dreams, desires, and fears. Maybe you will have an interesting conversation, maybe you'll waste time, or maybe you'll find a new friend you happen to have a lot in common with. Say you talk to that cashier and find out she loves MMOs, too. What could happen afterward? Lots of possibilities depending on what your goals are. Maybe she's interested enough to chat more. Maybe there's a romantic connection? Maybe she likes WoW while you like RIFT, so you never speak to each other again. But, there are a lot of possible interactions could have if you choose to.

The goal isn't necessarily to get you to treat the NPCs as people (although that'd be mind blowing), but to give them at least as much personality as characters have in books or movies. Given the interactive nature of games, that means they react appropriately to how you treat them. Instead of just being the character standing there asking you to get 10 boar livers, you start to look at the NPC as an honest person who needs help feeding his family. Or as a greedy bastard trying to get you to do the hard work. Or as a student desperate for help completing a task. Whatever the case, the character should be something more than a few lines of skippable quest dialog feebly trying to make the character sound like something more than a thin facade to an exchange of time for advancement.

Ultimately, it leads to a deeper and hopefully more satisfying game world to explore. I'm certainly excited to see the possibilities. What do you think?

--







20 Comments »

  1. Brian -

    Congratulations on the show and the product! Good luck with all and I'm hoping to hear more soon.

    Steve

    Comment by Steven Davis — 14 August, 2011 @ 3:14 PM

  2. Steven: thanks! :)

    And for the French speakers out there, here's another interesting writeup: http://gamingmaze.com/fr/storybricks-des-pnj-un-peu-plus-vivants/

    Comment by Psychochild — 14 August, 2011 @ 3:37 PM

  3. Glad to hear Gen Con went well. Any plans for a presence at Dragon*Con?

    Based on the latest screenshots (with "Baldwin" and "Alfgar"), I found myself with a couple more questions. (Answers of some sort would be lovely, but this is primarily just to register how someone out here is thinking Storyblocks might be used.)

    1. Something I hadn't seen until these latest images is the entry of text for dialogues. For those who really like dialogue-rich NPC encounters, how much functionality will there be in dialogue entry? For example, is or will there be a facility for giving players a set of optional statements to which NPCs can respond? What about allowing designers to provide several dialogue lines among which an NPC can randomly select (to reduce the mynah bird-like nature of most conversations with NPCs)?

    2. The possibility of populating a large world with a lot of NPCs raises the question of whether it will be possible, after creating a suitably large set of nouns/verbs/abverbs/modifiers, to randomly generate story blocks. Creating 10 interesting story blocks for 3-8 NPCs each is one thing; creating a hundred or a thousand such blocks may be beyond the capacity of an individual or small development group. The automated generation of acceptable stories is usually considered a "hard" problem -- is there anything about Storyblocks that would reduce the difficulty of this problem?

    3. Something that might help reduce design overload is the notion of making "role" a special kind of block that, when loaded, pulls in related blocks from other categories such as Objects and Places. When the "is a" relationship is completed with a role block, that NPC immediately gets all the secondary blocks associated with the selected role. (These associations would be editable, naturally.)

    For example, the "blacksmith" role might be set up to have ["has a" "hammer"] and ["is in" "smithy"] relationships. So giving "Bob" the "is a" relationship with the "blacksmith" role would have the in-game effect of putting a hammer object in Bob's inventory and placing him somewhere in the area of the smithy location. The "father" and "mother" roles could be predefined to include a ["loves" "(character_name)"] relationship. Other roles could of course be much more detailed. There also might be a way to override automatic role-based relationships, either in design or dynamically in-game.

    I wouldn't be surprised if something like this were already done or planned. If not, I'd be curious to hear why not. (Not to argue, just out of design interest.)

    Comment by Bart Stewart — 14 August, 2011 @ 11:35 PM

  4. It seems to me that at the heart of this is the need for multiple ways to solve the problem. If your peasant has a starving family and I say ok, how can I help? and the only animals nearby are boars and the only edible meat they drop is liver then it's still a ten boar liver quest.

    But you'll know from pen and paper there's no way to anticipate every crazy idea. What if I offer to feed the peasant the peasants next door? No one likes them and cannibalism might be bad but starving's worse.

    Seems like you would need a Unified Theory of Everything to make all the possible plot possibilities work.

    I'll take you up on your offer and email you separately.

    Comment by Stabs — 15 August, 2011 @ 12:35 AM

  5. I'm following the development of Storybricks with interest.

    One thing I somewhat disagree about is whether questgivers in existing MMOs are "flat". Most of the heavy lifting of characterization in fiction is done by the reader, not the author. The more work the author does for you, the less convincing the character becomes. I'd say that the majority of MMOs I've played, especially the "AAA" ones, actually benefit from the somewhat elliptical, understated conventions of quest text. There tends to be enough there to get my imagination started but not too much to be prescriptive.

    One example that always comes to mind is Falia Frikniller, the would-be vendor with no shop and nothing to sell. For years she hung around a street corner in Freeport, never getting any nearer to realizing her dream of starting her own Foot Comb emporium. Her plight eventually touched so many players that a large thread grew on the forums demanding she be given one of the many empty properties in Freeport to see if she really could make of it in the big city. She never did get the building, but eventually she did become a fully-fledged vendor, with stock to sell.

    I don't believe she ever sold a Foot Comb, sadly, but her authenticity as a character as real as any in Dickens or Austen has always been emblematic of the worthiness of NPCs in MMOs to hold their fictional heads high.

    Comment by bhagpuss — 15 August, 2011 @ 7:52 AM

  6. My impressions:

    Even after reading the various articles, I'm having mild issues classifying what is really at offer here, specifically how it interacts with other mechanics it in the context of any particular prospective game. My impression is that it is a toolkit for defining social interactions, but contains few inherent mechanics in and of itself, and so, it would (potentially) be capable of interacting with a variety of different mechanics/systems/interfaces: from typical MMO to Mass Effect-style interaction, assuming the developers created the tie-ins. Am I even close to on the mark?

    @Bart: isn't the focus to provide a tool for players themselves to generate these scripts? Am I misunderstanding the core intent, or are you looking at/asking about the potential alternative use?

    @Stab: For my part, I think this is definitely a case where they shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. They can work on accomodating cannibalism later (_much_ later ;-) )...

    @Bhagpuss: the problem is, for each specific example like Falia, there are thousands of counter-examples. Yes, it is a generalization, but I would disagree it is inaccurate to any great degree.

    Fiction is somewhat a different situation, after all... each reader generates their own experience with little-to-no impact from anyone else. I can think of Frodo as heroically diligent, while someone else thinks of him as a neurotic carried along by the tide, and it doesn't really interfere with either of our readings of Tolkien... in an MMO, unless every NPC is inherently schizophrenic, we all have to develop a _shared_ understanding of the character, or some of us will eventually find their reactions quite jarring and "out-of-character". At present, MMOs get around that by having there _be_ no reaction...

    And of course, one of the potential uses of the Storybricks concept is that you wouldn't have to necessarily organize a forum campaign to get Falia her Foot Comb Emporium... instead, you could yourself create a Story arc which could be played to effectively give it to her (sadly, with someone else likely then putting together a Story arc that crushes her dreams and puts her back on the street corner.)

    Comment by DamianoV — 15 August, 2011 @ 9:40 AM

  7. Bart Stewart wrote:
    Any plans for a presence at Dragon*Con?

    I'll be there personally as a speaker on the MMO and EFF tracks, but Namaste won't have an official presence. Are you going, Bart? Drop me an email, I'd love to meet up with you if you'll be there.

    For those who really like dialogue-rich NPC encounters, how much functionality will there be in dialogue entry?

    There will be space for dialog input, but keep in mind that a lot of NPCs have heavy dialog because of a lack of meaningful nonverbal communication. Our CTO Phil Carlisle has written about animations before in terms of how NPCs interact. Really, we're looking to follow that old saw about writing: show, don't tell.

    During the Gen Con demo I usually just set one NPC to "feel friendly toward the player" and another to "feel unfriendly toward the player". We didn't have dialog, but the NPCs would perform an appropriate animation when the player got close enough.

    We're also working a lot on the interface for the whole system. It might be thematically appropriate for an NPC to be a windbag (like a king giving an address to his court), so we'll have to figure out a way to make that work appropriately.

    The automated generation of acceptable stories is usually considered a "hard" problem -- is there anything about Storyblocks that would reduce the difficulty of this problem?

    One of the things we're looking at is having the system fill in details the player doesn't specify. So, if you want a very specific story you can fill in hundreds of blocks for each NPC. Or, you can specify a few to let them interact. Going back to that Gen Con demo, I usually didn't specify how a third NPC would react. It would pull a reaction semi-randomly, but I could see the reactions being based on the NPC's defined personality, or in the environment. Maybe the one NPC set to be friends with a second, so approaching the first NPC gives you info about the other one.

    We've also talked about having abstract bricks. Where a NPC wants "Excellence" or "Chaos", and so their behaviors when not on script will be adjusted as appropriate. There's also no reason why we couldn't create "generic" blocks to let the system fill in some details of the story. So maybe "The Duke" "Fears" "(Monstrous Enemy)" for three blocks. The story then generates a monstrous enemy: maybe this time it's a hydra, next time it's a minotaur, and in the future it's a tribe of orcs.

    ...the notion of making "role" a special kind of block...

    One thing we discussed was to allow people to define NPCs and then save that setup. So, if you wanted a Blacksmith NPC, you could set up all the behaviors and specifics then save it. You could then import this character or even let a friend use it, or perhaps "sell" the template to someone else via our still-being-defined marketplace. Cutting and pasting a set of blocks might be another option, allowing players to save a certain setup. Lots of possibilities.

    Hope that satisfies some curiosity even if it likely brings up other questions. :)

    Stabs wrote:
    It seems to me that at the heart of this is the need for multiple ways to solve the problem.

    Yeah. One thing that we talked about in the Gen Con demo was how your relationship with NPCs will persist between stories. So, if you do a lot to help a certain Guard, she'll become your friend. So, if in a later story you need a key she's holding, she might just give it to you out of consideration of all you've already done for her, instead of having to go collect 10 rat tails for her. But, what happens if you have worked against her in the past? Maybe you can steal the key from her, or take it by force. Perhaps you are friends with a friend of the Guard, and you convince him to get the key from her. Lots of ways to solve the same problem.

    And, I replied to your email. :)

    bhagpuss wrote:
    One thing I somewhat disagree about is whether questgivers in existing MMOs are "flat".

    There are certainly NPCs that people care about. Mankrik in WoW being another example where people have added a lot to what was a pretty shallow characterization. But, these are a few examples out of thousands of NPCs in games.

    And, while I agree there's something to be said for letting the imagination be the canvas that fleshes out the characters, I think it's worth looking at how we can make characters in the games stand out more. I think most people would love to have the ability to actually influence the characters beyond a petition. Writing your own story to let Falia own a shop, or be able to share a meaningful exchange with Mankrik about the loss of his wife in the brutal war with the Bristlebacks. I think this has a lot more potential to add to the game.

    Comment by Psychochild — 15 August, 2011 @ 10:36 AM

  8. First, grats on the attention and good luck going forward :)

    "And, it can be annoying to have NPCs who wander off and "do their own thing" when you're trying to just play the damned game"

    This. Just this weekend I spent almost 60 seconds trying to click on a skipping little girl NPC in WoW so I could get her quest. And the moving NPCs who wander off when you're trying to decide what to buy or which quest reward you want or even reading long quest notes. Wandering NPCs are great - just program them not to wander off when a window is open. I mean they don't ACTUALLY have anywhere more important to go LOL. I personally would program them to stop wandering when someone is even standing nearby like in DDO. I mean really, if you were trying to sell things on the street or get someone to help you wouldn't you stop when someone came near in hopes that they might be interested?

    Regarding caring about NPCs, there are actually some quests that I refuse to do for moral reasons. And I'm looking forward to SW:ToR because hopefully I'll be rewarded (for some value) for making those choices. (The first time I completed the WoW Duskwood quest line with the Hermit in the graveyard I felt terrible!)

    I think it would be great to be able to talk to random NPCs and have there be some interesting result. I don't think games can go back to not having quest-givers marked, but funny jokes, interesting commentary, or even a bit of inside information about something in the game would be cool.

    Comment by Djinn — 15 August, 2011 @ 10:57 AM

  9. @Djinn

    "This. Just this weekend I spent almost 60 seconds trying to click on a skipping little girl NPC in WoW so I could get her quest"

    Mostly because you were completely invisible to the NPC. They have no knowledge of your existence, only the rigid scripted life is what drives them.

    Comment by Rodolfo — 15 August, 2011 @ 4:56 PM

  10. @DamianoV: The more I read, the more I think you're right and I'm just not quite seeing the intended application yet. I can clearly see how a conventional game developer or development team might use Storyblocks for content creation. What I'm not seeing clearly are possible forms of games in which all players would have the power to create (and modify) content.

    In part that's because I'm aware of the Dark Side of multiplayer game development, wherein lots of special-case code has to be written to prevent anonymous people from hosing each other in one way or another. But I assume that stuff can be handled in a real game that opens up Storyblocks to all players. What I'm still having trouble wrapping my brain around is more the mechanical question of how a game might incorporate player storytelling into the gameworld itself.

    Wikipedia is a case in point of what can happen when you let random people edit each other's creative work. In theory, you get lots of content (and some really good content) by maximizing the number of people who can contribute. In practice, a fair amount of content has to be velvet-roped for only a few "special" people to prevent edit wars.

    In a relatively small MUD where everyone knows everyone (by handle, at least), this probably isn't a problem. In a large-scale game, where the odds of encountering only anonymous strangers is high, is it possible to have the "open story-building" ethic that Storyblock's creators seem most interested in?

    I'm also puzzled by the question of how (whether?) players will be able to add story blocks that have gameworld elements (objects, behaviors, events, etc.). Again, this is pretty obvious from the usual developer perspective -- when you create a new object or action block, you also add that object type to the gameworld or rig the appropriate animation. Is it envisioned that players would have to be granted this level of creative power in a Storyblocks-powered game? Or would they have to petition the developers to add new blocks that have in-game elements? In that case, isn't some expressive power lost?

    I'm not looking to knock holes here; I hope it's obvious by now that I'm really excited by the possibilities of Storyblocks. It's more just being constitutionally unable to resist poking an interesting idea with a stick to see how it responds. :) I'm looking forward to seeing how the experienced folks at Namaste address these kinds of questions.

    @Brian: Yep, got more questions now (see above). ;) But your comments helped me (I hope!) get a slightly better handle on where Storyblocks might be going. At a minimum, it's clear that you've already thought about all the questions I'm asking plus some, so that's a good sign.

    And one other thing:

    "[Y]ou were completely invisible to the NPC. They have no knowledge of your existence, only the rigid scripted life is what drives them."

    YES. This has been bothering me since I first started playing MMORPGs.

    I understand that it can be a lot of work (when there is a crushing amount of other work to do) to give random NPCs a lot of personality. But if all you're going to do with NPCs is use them as loot pinatas, quest dispensers, or lawn ornaments, and in no case allow them to perceive and react plausibly to the events in their local environment, why have them at all?

    I wrote back in 2006 that there were four areas in which I desperately wanted to see NPC behavior improved: Agenda (storytelling by allowing NPCs to express and seek goals), Environment (awareness of and plausible reactions to local phenomena), Communication (letting NPCs communicate with other NPCs for social network effects), and Ecology (letting groups of NPCs change their behaviors as a group in response to large-scale/long-term player actions). Honestly, I'd settle for any one of those -- we're still almost exactly where we were in 2006! -- but it's a source of real pleasure to see Namaste working on a practical solution to the first of those four goals. An NPC with a visible agenda of some kind is an order of magnitude more interesting than one that clearly exists only as an automaton.

    As Djinn points out, it still has to be possible to easily get to the content you're trying to activate. But I don't think that's incompatible with also providing some NPCs who make the gameworld feel more like a world by giving them a semblance of a purposeful life... just like the sapient beings they resemble.

    Comment by Bart Stewart — 15 August, 2011 @ 10:15 PM

  11. I read Bart's article and agree on principle. The obvious issues are development of so many more variables and the increased memory to record both the variables and the results of the player(s)' actions. As for player impact upon the environment, that's fine in a single-player or multi-player (party) game since there is one, unified experience. Altering the environment in an MMO, becomes much more problematic. First, if things become more difficult in reaction to other players, that can be unfriendly to casual players coming along for the first time or solo players, etc. And in certain sandbox MMOs I've heard of players stripping an area of resources for instance which is problematic for everyone.

    The same for creating intelligent NPCs. A simple "calling" mob already exist in some games and can certainly provide an interesting challenge. They usually only call one other mob or a group that is much weaker. If all of the mobs were similar, and could all call each other, I don't know how that would work. It seems like its already a challenge to space mobs so that a player only usually encounters one at a time, possibly two. If the mobs cooperated they would either have to be much weaker or much fewer between. Then you have the problem of there being sufficient saturation of mobs for quests/grinding. Unless all PCs had some ability to disable/silence/assassinate one mob at a time before they could call reinforcements. But that defeats the purpose.

    I think that current adventure games/MMOs have been tweaked to do what they aim to do pretty well. Maybe what we need in order to change things up are different goals in games. Less focus on killing mobs would mean avoidance if they're "callers" - no need to try to kill them. Or manipulate more intelligent mobs to war with each other and you come in for the clean-up... Anyway, less "kill 10 rats" would be refreshing :)

    Comment by Djinn — 16 August, 2011 @ 9:37 AM

  12. I think that by using Falia as an example I somewhat undermined my own point. What I was really trying to say is that I find most NPCs in MMOs already have quite a lot of character and that I find my imagination rather easily fired-up by them. I'm particularly fascinated by the way their lives are static and repetitive, and yet often involve a lot of seemingly purposeful activity. I also enjoy the way that their goals, motivations and expectations frequently seem to be almost psychotically disconnected from the environment in which they live.

    I'm not sure that having NPCs with a wider range of motivations and stories that grew and developed through having been written by someone else would draw me in as a player. I think I'd almost certainly be drawn in by being enabled to be the person who could assign those motivations and script those stories, but I'm a lot less sure that I'd want to see characters for whom I had imagined personalities be given different stories by others. Back when Neverwinter Nights 1 was released I spent a very great deal of time designing and writing my own scenarios, for example, but I never had much interest in downloading or playing anyone elses's, other than to see how they scripted things I was having trouble with.

    I think it's the kind of thing you'd have to see in action before you could form a judgement, though. It could be stunning if the right people got hold of it.

    Comment by bhagpuss — 17 August, 2011 @ 1:14 PM

  13. This is such a fascinating topic for me with a lot of potential, but also pitfalls. our stereotype MMO NPCs definitely have lots of room for improvement. I liked Fable's approach to this where your town dwellers are already a lot more responsive and "alive". the way to go certainly when it comes to questing and solo-play. For MMOs I see a lot of promise too, although playstyle and focus are different here and successful implementation might prove a bit trickier. exciting!

    Comment by Syl — 18 August, 2011 @ 4:28 AM

  14. Thought of the Day: “Bronte’s Hypocricy” or “Bronte’s Oddity”

    [...] Psychochild’s post made me think about an interesting quirk in my video-gaming habits. [...]

    Pingback by Are We New At This? — 19 August, 2011 @ 9:25 AM

  15. I should add, now that I've had a chance to read some of the recent interviews, that I now have a better understanding of the architectural plan.

    That being: Namaste will build and provide a MMOG environment to which the Storybricks system is connected, and in which players can apply their stories inside the game and upload them for other players to test and review (and perhaps for Namaste to curate). This pretty much answers all the high-level questions I had about how the Storybricks functionality will be exposed initially.

    Assuming the concept proves out, I'm still hoping there'll eventually be a way for other developers to license the story creation technology. But for now, the approach described sounds like a reasonable path for achieving the goal of wrapping a MMORPG around a user-oriented story creation system... or is it the other way around? ;)

    Comment by Bart Stewart — 19 August, 2011 @ 9:14 PM

  16. Bart: I've been busy, otherwise I would have responded sooner.

    There are a lot of options. It's mostly a question of what makes sense for us to continue work in the short term. We're listening to the feedback from our early adopters as well as what our investors think the goal should be. I don't doubt we'll explore a lot of possibilities, it's mostly a question of how soon until we get to all the different options available. :)

    Comment by Psychochild — 19 August, 2011 @ 10:22 PM

  17. Hey, thanks for the mention. I wanted to clarify that it's not that I don't want to care about the NPCs, indeed I do care about some. But the quest NPCs and vendors serve different purposes in the game.

    I am fascinated by the prospect of the Storybricks system. "Questing" developing organically out of NPC motivations is revolutionary, and will certainly make the games that develop more interesting to play, and may save development time in the long run as well. I like the idea of your system better than the Foundry in STO, which, I came to realize, was a lot more involved than I had time or interest to mess around with.

    Comment by rowan — 29 August, 2011 @ 6:00 PM

  18. rowan wrote:
    Hey, thanks for the mention.

    No problem. I thought it was an interesting article with potential for discussion.

    t's not that I don't want to care about the NPCs, indeed I do care about some. But the quest NPCs and vendors serve different purposes in the game.

    Sure, but I think the big issue is that pretty much all the NPCs in current MMOs are flat like that. Maybe I just want to have a strictly professional relationship with the guy that buys all my broken swords or bent claws, but maybe I want to find out more about him. I think there's a lot of potential for more meaningful interaction than treating an NP like a vending machine.

    ..."Questing" developing organically out of NPC motivations is revolutionary, and will certainly make the games that develop more interesting to play, and may save development time in the long run as well.

    Exactly. The more we dig into it, the more excited we get as a team. We're discovering new aspects all the time. One bit I'm particularly excited about is how the system will fill in the blank spaces for you. This not only makes it easier for you to create stories, but the slight variations will make it so that even the story author might not know exactly what's going to happen. MMO developers often get bored playing their own games because you don't have that sense of wonder and discovery.

    ...the Foundry in STO... was a lot more involved than I had time or interest to mess around with.

    Exactly. I've told a lot of my offline friends who ask about becoming a game developer to check out Neverwinter Nights, but even those who have enough ability to get into the system might not have the time to dedicate to learning the tool just to create stories with it. We've been focusing on keeping Storybricks as easy to sue as possible, and that's one of the big things we'll be focusing as we get more people in to test.

    Thanks for your comment!

    Comment by Psychochild — 30 August, 2011 @ 11:09 AM

  19. Indie Recommendations

    [...] in the meantime, speaking of indies, I still have Storybricks to investigate some more.  So many cool things to do, so little time. [...]

    Pingback by Tish Tosh Tesh — 28 September, 2011 @ 12:44 PM

  20. Out with the old year

    [...] me. We were able to develop a prototype, take it to Gen Con, show it off at PAX, do a whole lot of demos and great interviews with various bloggers. Honestly, doing those demos and interviews was probably the high point of my [...]

    Pingback by Psychochild's Blog — 5 January, 2012 @ 1:13 AM

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