New Talk and Ceasefire Battle Options: Thoughts?
Yesterday's 0.983b test build features the new non-hostile battle options "talk" and "ceasefire." It also features a few factions that start off friendly or hostile to the player (and each other).
Some discussion about it has already started on the Tech Support forum. However, I suspect there's a bit more talking to be done, and it'd be best if there was a special thread for it, so bug reporting threads can be less crowded.
Just to recap the design of the system, in case anyone is wondering how it currently works in 0.983:
Ceasefire means "walk away," but does not start any talking. One must be within 5 spaces to begin talks, and there must be at least two people trying to talk within 2 turns for conversation to trigger. Also, if anyone is taking hostile action, ceasefire and talking will fail.
Currently, "Stranger" is used on any NPC until they either attack or talk to player.
Some of the comments I've heard so far include:
- AI Hard to Talk to in Battle - AI will often retreat from battle, and succeed if player doesn't attack, advance, or charge them. DMC Guards are an exception, but they often choose ceasefire instead of talk. How often should neutral AI try to talk? 50% of the time? More or less? What about hostile AI or friendly AI?
- Hailing - Currently, there is no long-range, peaceful move besides ceasefire. Should there be options to signal friendly intent from ranges greater than 5? How should this work?
- "Strangers" - The "stranger" label doesn't change when expected. When should "Stranger" become a named faction? Currently, it changes when the NPC attacks or talks. Should it occur when ceasefire is offered, too?
Also, how would an example non-hostile battle go in your mind? What moves would they use, at what ranges?
E.g. Player meets looter on open field.
Range = 23
Player chooses "Signal Friendly"
Looter chooses "Signal Friendly"
Player and AI then start advancing to each other to reach talking range of 5.
Player offers to talk.
Looter offers to talk.
Conversation encounter begins.
Of course, the time to go from range 23 to 5 is at least 9 turns, if both advance equally. (Charging would be a threat.) Maybe if both agree to "Signal Friendly," range immediately changes to 5?
What if the Looter doesn't want to talk? Many of the NPCs I've programmed aren't interested in chatting. They don't like you. Why would they talk to you and waste valuable time that could be spent scavenging and surviving?
Note that trading is a tricky problem for me to solve, so we might be limited to trading at the junk store, plus any specific item trades I write conversations for. So besides trading, why would AI bother with the player?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games