Anders Petersson
Sun, 21 Nov 1999 23:50:55 +0100

First, NPC == Non-Player Character

I want to say something about NPC's in AKOS.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me how a flexible beast like AKOS 
shows that the bottlenecks for making everything possible in the end isn't 
in the game engine, but in the /model of the world/. Either you hardcode 
every possible action - which is unfeasible, or you let the engine operate 
on a model of the desired world.
We have obviously a case of the latter. Back to the subject of this mail. 
We're creating a RPG. RPG's usually features NPC's of various level of 
sophistication and interactivity. So far, not many games (if any!) have 
succeed in creating persuading NPC's with authentic-looking interaction and 
deeper AI.
It begs the question whether we are going to give it a shot, and what we 
would aim at. My answer is that we shouldn't try to make pretentious 
simulated humans or anything. The point is, in reality that is so complex, 
we would be bound to implement shallow shells. And that does not take 
advantage of the enhanced possibilities of AHLL.
I advocate for a lower ambition, but OTOH more sound implementation. I 
don't see a good solution for the usual 2D playing field (because it mimics 
the behavior of RL), but a computerized environment would be well-suited 
for having "living" inhabitants. And then I want the story to go just as 
the creatures are modelled. They are small, insignificant, mindless 
creatures with a few basic desires and capabilities. Move around, feed, 
compete, attack each other, evolve. Much like low bushes in the terrain 
(not literally) - gives certain areas an atmosphere of native life and 

BTW, this problem of realistically model complex environments show up in 
other places. Character physiology and fighting, for example.

Oh well, it's getting late. More on this another time, if you're interested 
(something I doubt).