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General Discussion  » Amazing article detailing the innovation of EQN and Storybricks

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326 posts found
  flizzer

Elite Member

Joined: 11/10/12
Posts: 1209

8/26/14 8:53:55 AM#141
I remember being excited for dynamic events in GW2 but skeptical. Once I played them I felt my skepticism was justified. The dynamic events dont really feel meaningful and there is a decided lack of engaging story told through the events.  This might be the major shortcoming of they GW2 dynamic events-inability to tell a compelling story.  The way I hear this Storybricks possibly working is through storytelling that is lacking in GW2.  Of course, all this is just mere speculation fueled by desire at this point.  Remaining skeptical is what we all should be at this point until we get to play the game and see for ourselves. 
  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4735

8/26/14 9:03:22 AM#142

I don't always agree with Kano.However, in this thread, I wholeheartedly agree with his points.

1. You are comparing a Pre-Alpha development spec against a system that is already released. But let's look at a bit of history here and compare apples to apples.

Going back in time a few years to GW2 pre-alpha and quite frankly even into it's Betas, and look at the threads about what Dynamic Events were going to do for the genre. THAT is the comparison you should be making here. Looking at what DEs were supposed to do vs what they actually did. 

Why do am I saying to compare it like that? Because at that time, you had the actual product that ANET developed, but the data, info and facts that anyone had access to, 1st had to go through marketing. Marketing will ALWAYS take a product and blow it up to be bigger than what it really is. Story Bricks is no exception.

If GW2 were still in Development and we were reading about what DE's are going to do for the genre based on what ANET told us back in 2010 and 2011, These threads comparing the 2 would be quite different.

It's the sad state of the genre. The next big title has as many threads discussing issues with it's business model than issues with the game itself.

  evilized

Elite Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 542

8/26/14 9:11:17 AM#143
Originally posted by GeezerGamer

I don't always agree with Kano.However, in this thread, I wholeheartedly agree with his points.

1. You are comparing a Pre-Alpha development spec against a system that is already released. But let's look at a bit of history here and compare apples to apples.

Going back in time a few years to GW2 pre-alpha and quite frankly even into it's Betas, and look at the threads about what Dynamic Events were going to do for the genre. THAT is the comparison you should be making here. Looking at what DEs were supposed to do vs what they actually did. 

Why do am I saying to compare it like that? Because at that time, you had the actual product that ANET developed, but the data, info and facts that anyone had access to, 1st had to go through marketing. Marketing will ALWAYS take a product and blow it up to be bigger than what it really is. Story Bricks is no exception.

If GW2 were still in Development and we were reading about what DE's are going to do for the genre based on what ANET told us back in 2010 and 2011, These threads comparing the 2 would be quite different.

 

except dynamic events ARE changing the genre? Storybricks is the next step and after storybricks who knows what we'll get. I'm sure blizzard has been working on their own version of this whole thing for their next MMO (titan?) as well. Innovation is a moving target... you never arrive.
  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10633

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

8/26/14 9:16:05 AM#144
Originally posted by Raelln
Originally posted by lizardbones

 

There is a difference between writing a system that has two possible outcomes, and writing a system that tells the system to find an outcome that fits a particular set of criteria.

 

In one case, there will only ever be 2 outcomes and adding additional outcomes scales up the amount of work required to produce the outcomes in a linear manner.  In the second case, there are many possible outcomes, allowing for many possible responses from players without scaling up the amount of work required to generate the additional outcomes.  A change in the environment by the players results in a change in the possible outcomes and responses in the AI mobs.  I don't know if it is a "living world", but the AI mobs are certainly reactive to the players and environmental changes without intervention from the developer.

 

There is not as much difference as you may think.

In a system where a single event may conclude numerous different ways, each of those forks must have scripts created and tested to handle the actions of the NPCs should that fork be chosen by players. For random repeatable events, this would certainly help make the content last longer.

For static content, such as a choice between which city gets built/unlocked versus another - from a certain perspective, there is a lot of development time wasted to create forks in the story that will never be seen.

The scripting involved to provide NPCs with the ability to seem "intelligent" and be able to respond in a myriad of ways at the conclusion of an event would require a monumental amount of AI & event scripting. Each event outcome may literally chain into dozens of unique story pathways. The amount of time to just script these story pathways would be huge - without even bearing down on the monetary costs of voice acting and building the animation sequences involved with the events.

Let us also not forget that MMOs these days push 30GB of disk space - having the game also support voiceovers for potentially hundreds, if not thousands, of events that may or may not ever play out would certainly make these games much larger.

 

StoryBricks doesn't operate using "scripts" in the sense you are using here.  StoryBricks doesn't pre-generate "scripts" for NPCs to follow either, unless the developer decides that's how they want the NPC to operate.

 

It literally works like this:

Orcs are presented with players that are more powerful than they are or the Orcs are presented with NPC Guards that kill them.  The Orcs then just run away from the location they are living in to find another location that fits their needs.  There are no specific locations they will search.  They will just travel until the find a location that fits their needs.  The system is simple.  "Fulfill Needs".  The outcome is open ended and potentially very interesting depending on the Needs of other NPCs and how the Orcs respond to other NPCs.

 

That doesn't mean there isn't a lot of testing that happens and that they don't have to put a lot of work into it.  It does mean that to get a lot of variation in the worlds that players see and the experiences that they have won't require the work to scale with the number of possible outcomes though.  If the players decide to build a city, and there happen to be Orcs close by, the Orcs may decide to leave because the players send guards out on patrol, or they may decide to stay because the players like having a convenient source of XP, but in either case the developer doesn't have to write any additional code to make the Orcs do something in response to the players.  The Orcs will just respond to the players and the world will change because of what the players are doing.  That is not a scripted system with a tree of possible results.

 

It could all suck, but it's not the same thing as the scripted events you would find in GW2.  It's not even similar to a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.  Whether it's better or not really depends on how well SOE writes the "Needs" and "Abilities" of the NPCs.  Keep in mind that the Orc example that EQN has presented is the most simplistic example they have.  Orcs could have many other "Needs" in addition to just low population and few guards.  The Orcs could also have a desire for grasslands, or to be near water, or if they are pushed around enough by the environment they may start to band together and become more bold, eventually attacking cities instead of running from the city guards, all without SOE explicitly telling them to do anything.  It really just depends on how SOE writes it.

 

It would be good to keep in mind that this system also allows for exactly the same kind of scripted, story driven content that exists in GW2.  This isn't the best use of the AI, but it will certainly do it, and it will allow the developer to run NPC shop keepers who keep tabs on players, and allow them to give deals to their "favorites".  If SOE puts the appropriate amount of effort into this system, it will be really, really cool.

 

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Mendel

Elite Member

Joined: 7/22/11
Posts: 632

8/26/14 9:20:45 AM#145

I'll agree with Geezer here.  While I may not agree with any one poster on anything, here, DM Kano is correct.  There needs to be some division between facts and opinions.  There's nothing concrete released that is actual gameplay, so we have no way to test and evaluate a product for ourselves.

I don't know about anyone else, but I never worked on a project where some of the project goals/objectives/requirements weren't omitted or drastically revised.  Goals and project objectives are the first things to be compromised when time and money get tight.  And all we have so far are project specifications, features that SOE wants to implement in this product.  There's still lots of time for these goals to change, due to desire or technical issues.  Anyone who has done an elaborate COCOMO project model will be aware of the impact (and risks) of incorporating new technology/techniques into any project plan.  There are plenty of potential points of failure for the EQN project that simply haven't occurred yet.

In any case, in four years time, we will have an EQN, and it will work as implemented.

Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  Raelln

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/11/14
Posts: 67

8/26/14 9:27:21 AM#146
Originally posted by flizzer
I remember being excited for dynamic events in GW2 but skeptical. Once I played them I felt my skepticism was justified. The dynamic events dont really feel meaningful and there is a decided lack of engaging story told through the events.  This might be the major shortcoming of they GW2 dynamic events-inability to tell a compelling story.  The way I hear this Storybricks possibly working is through storytelling that is lacking in GW2.  Of course, all this is just mere speculation fueled by desire at this point.  Remaining skeptical is what we all should be at this point until we get to play the game and see for ourselves. 

People are different.

Having spent years in EQ1, then 9 years in WoW (with some Rift/TOR mixed in there) - I found GW2 to be refreshing and nearly what I had been looking for quite some time. I'm thoroughly enjoying the game, even more so that I've finally convinced my brother to pick up the game during the recent sale.

I simply cannot expect a dynamic event in an ONLINE game with thousands of other players to have any permanent effect on the game world. That would not be fair to the other players that are not able to be on at the same time as the event is occurring. This is why most games these days seem to let the massive game changing story events play out repeatedly for a couple weeks before the game world is permanently changed.

By virtue of being an online world, there are simply some things that cannot be done - certainly not because of technological limitations though. It is certainly possible to create a script to change the game world. It is because some players will miss the experience and this will cause frustration/lack of immersion.

  evilized

Elite Member

Joined: 10/02/11
Posts: 542

8/26/14 9:27:53 AM#147
Originally posted by Mendel

I'll agree with Geezer here.  While I may not agree with any one poster on anything, here, DM Kano is correct.  There needs to be some division between facts and opinions.  There's nothing concrete released that is actual gameplay, so we have no way to test and evaluate a product for ourselves.

I don't know about anyone else, but I never worked on a project where some of the project goals/objectives/requirements weren't omitted or drastically revised.  Goals and project objectives are the first things to be compromised when time and money get tight.  And all we have so far are project specifications, features that SOE wants to implement in this product.  There's still lots of time for these goals to change, due to desire or technical issues.  Anyone who has done an elaborate COCOMO project model will be aware of the impact (and risks) of incorporating new technology/techniques into any project plan.  There are plenty of potential points of failure for the EQN project that simply haven't occurred yet.

In any case, in four years time, we will have an EQN, and it will work as implemented.

 

proof of concept exists and that's how a lot of projects get their investment. I'll remain skeptical to a degree until I see things in action but saying that nothing currently exists to base opinion on is incorrect. There is information out there, it just requires some effort to find and understand.
  Raelln

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/11/14
Posts: 67

8/26/14 9:37:31 AM#148
Originally posted by lizardbones

StoryBricks doesn't operate using "scripts" in the sense you are using here.  StoryBricks doesn't pre-generate "scripts" for NPCs to follow either, unless the developer decides that's how they want the NPC to operate.

 

It literally works like this:

Orcs are presented with players that are more powerful than they are or the Orcs are presented with NPC Guards that kill them.  The Orcs then just run away from the location they are living in to find another location that fits their needs.  There are no specific locations they will search.  They will just travel until the find a location that fits their needs.  The system is simple.  "Fulfill Needs".  The outcome is open ended and potentially very interesting depending on the Needs of other NPCs and how the Orcs respond to other NPCs.

 

That doesn't mean there isn't a lot of testing that happens and that they don't have to put a lot of work into it.  It does mean that to get a lot of variation in the worlds that players see and the experiences that they have won't require the work to scale with the number of possible outcomes though.  If the players decide to build a city, and there happen to be Orcs close by, the Orcs may decide to leave because the players send guards out on patrol, or they may decide to stay because the players like having a convenient source of XP, but in either case the developer doesn't have to write any additional code to make the Orcs do something in response to the players.  The Orcs will just respond to the players and the world will change because of what the players are doing.  That is not a scripted system with a tree of possible results.

 

It could all suck, but it's not the same thing as the scripted events you would find in GW2.  It's not even similar to a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.  Whether it's better or not really depends on how well SOE writes the "Needs" and "Abilities" of the NPCs.  Keep in mind that the Orc example that EQN has presented is the most simplistic example they have.  Orcs could have many other "Needs" in addition to just low population and few guards.  The Orcs could also have a desire for grasslands, or to be near water, or if they are pushed around enough by the environment they may start to band together and become more bold, eventually attacking cities instead of running from the city guards, all without SOE explicitly telling them to do anything.  It really just depends on how SOE writes it.

 

It would be good to keep in mind that this system also allows for exactly the same kind of scripted, story driven content that exists in GW2.  This isn't the best use of the AI, but it will certainly do it, and it will allow the developer to run NPC shop keepers who keep tabs on players, and allow them to give deals to their "favorites".  If SOE puts the appropriate amount of effort into this system, it will be really, really cool.

 

It's still scripts, regardless of whether or not EQN's devs write them or the Storybrick module autogenerates them from the EQN dev's input.

Still, even at that - any game worth their salt is going to want orcs to behave differently than spiders - this will require no small effort from the devs to make adjustments and tweak numbers/scripts/customize each type of NPC (perhaps even based on geography) that Storybricks manages.

It's not a fire and forget type of action here. It's not merely "enable a Storybricks module and now all your NPCs act intelligently". 

  GeezerGamer

Elite Member

Joined: 4/03/12
Posts: 4735

8/26/14 9:50:31 AM#149
Originally posted by evilized
Originally posted by GeezerGamer

I don't always agree with Kano.However, in this thread, I wholeheartedly agree with his points.

1. You are comparing a Pre-Alpha development spec against a system that is already released. But let's look at a bit of history here and compare apples to apples.

Going back in time a few years to GW2 pre-alpha and quite frankly even into it's Betas, and look at the threads about what Dynamic Events were going to do for the genre. THAT is the comparison you should be making here. Looking at what DEs were supposed to do vs what they actually did. 

Why do am I saying to compare it like that? Because at that time, you had the actual product that ANET developed, but the data, info and facts that anyone had access to, 1st had to go through marketing. Marketing will ALWAYS take a product and blow it up to be bigger than what it really is. Story Bricks is no exception.

If GW2 were still in Development and we were reading about what DE's are going to do for the genre based on what ANET told us back in 2010 and 2011, These threads comparing the 2 would be quite different.

 

except dynamic events ARE changing the genre? Storybricks is the next step and after storybricks who knows what we'll get. I'm sure blizzard has been working on their own version of this whole thing for their next MMO (titan?) as well. Innovation is a moving target... you never arrive.

That's not my point. 

We've had a chance to kick the tires on DEs we've seen what they do vs what we were once told they would do and there is a big difference there.

It will be the same for Storybricks. Once it's out and we can see it for what it is, there will be a difference between the effective experience players have vs what we are now being told it will have. 

That's just how marketing works.

It's the sad state of the genre. The next big title has as many threads discussing issues with it's business model than issues with the game itself.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10633

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

8/26/14 10:09:03 AM#150
Originally posted by Raelln
Originally posted by lizardbones

StoryBricks doesn't operate using "scripts" in the sense you are using here.  StoryBricks doesn't pre-generate "scripts" for NPCs to follow either, unless the developer decides that's how they want the NPC to operate.

 

It literally works like this:

Orcs are presented with players that are more powerful than they are or the Orcs are presented with NPC Guards that kill them.  The Orcs then just run away from the location they are living in to find another location that fits their needs.  There are no specific locations they will search.  They will just travel until the find a location that fits their needs.  The system is simple.  "Fulfill Needs".  The outcome is open ended and potentially very interesting depending on the Needs of other NPCs and how the Orcs respond to other NPCs.

 

That doesn't mean there isn't a lot of testing that happens and that they don't have to put a lot of work into it.  It does mean that to get a lot of variation in the worlds that players see and the experiences that they have won't require the work to scale with the number of possible outcomes though.  If the players decide to build a city, and there happen to be Orcs close by, the Orcs may decide to leave because the players send guards out on patrol, or they may decide to stay because the players like having a convenient source of XP, but in either case the developer doesn't have to write any additional code to make the Orcs do something in response to the players.  The Orcs will just respond to the players and the world will change because of what the players are doing.  That is not a scripted system with a tree of possible results.

 

It could all suck, but it's not the same thing as the scripted events you would find in GW2.  It's not even similar to a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.  Whether it's better or not really depends on how well SOE writes the "Needs" and "Abilities" of the NPCs.  Keep in mind that the Orc example that EQN has presented is the most simplistic example they have.  Orcs could have many other "Needs" in addition to just low population and few guards.  The Orcs could also have a desire for grasslands, or to be near water, or if they are pushed around enough by the environment they may start to band together and become more bold, eventually attacking cities instead of running from the city guards, all without SOE explicitly telling them to do anything.  It really just depends on how SOE writes it.

 

It would be good to keep in mind that this system also allows for exactly the same kind of scripted, story driven content that exists in GW2.  This isn't the best use of the AI, but it will certainly do it, and it will allow the developer to run NPC shop keepers who keep tabs on players, and allow them to give deals to their "favorites".  If SOE puts the appropriate amount of effort into this system, it will be really, really cool.

 

It's still scripts, regardless of whether or not EQN's devs write them or the Storybrick module autogenerates them from the EQN dev's input.

Still, even at that - any game worth their salt is going to want orcs to behave differently than spiders - this will require no small effort from the devs to make adjustments and tweak numbers/scripts/customize each type of NPC (perhaps even based on geography) that Storybricks manages.

It's not a fire and forget type of action here. It's not merely "enable a Storybricks module and now all your NPCs act intelligently". 

 

 

It is not scripts. 

 

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Markusrind

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Joined: 7/22/13
Posts: 373

8/26/14 10:14:11 AM#151
Originally posted by Raelln
 

It's not a fire and forget type of action here. It's not merely "enable a Storybricks module and now all your NPCs act intelligently". 

Are you sure?

Reason I ask is that they showed both the macro demo of Storybricks in action and the micro using in game action. The macro showed a 'risk' like board to show the overall large scale of how storybricks works in the world and the in game demo showed unscripted Dark Elves patrolling a castle, using teleporter pads to change locations and using a well of power if they came across it.

It certainly looked like you set-up your NPC and the world, let them go, and they go for it. They follow objectives, interact with the world dynamically and made choices based on their profiles.

I would ask why you are certain what they showed as part of the demo and using in game footage isn't possible?

  Gdemami

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8/26/14 10:14:49 AM#152


Originally posted by lizardbones

It is not scripts. 

 


What else do you think it is?

  Gdemami

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8/26/14 10:17:10 AM#153


Originally posted by Markusrind

unscripted Dark Elves patrolling a castle

There is no such thing as unscripted NPC...

  SavageHorizon

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8/26/14 10:39:17 AM#154

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  Markusrind

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8/26/14 10:40:44 AM#155
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Markusrind

unscripted Dark Elves patrolling a castle

 

There is no such thing as unscripted NPC...

By unscripted I mean it wasn't told specifically what to do, it chose (using it's pre-defined role, wants and needs) to patrol the castle walls, to use the teleporter and to make use of the power focus because those activities and actions fitted what the NPC wanted to do.

It could have easily not patrolled the walls (had it been given a lazy trait), not used the teleporter (if it wasn't curious) and not used the power focus (if it didn't need to do so).

 

Of course there would need to be a script that controls the animations and possible choices but the actual choice of activity is not pre-scripted.

  Gdemami

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Posts: 6960

8/26/14 10:49:16 AM#156


Originally posted by Markusrind

By unscripted I mean it wasn't told specifically what to do
...
Of course there would need to be a script that controls the animations and possible choices but the actual choice of activity is not pre-scripted.

NPC only does what is specifically told to do...the choice is a result of condiditonal scripted behaviour.

Game AI actions is basically just a script chain of If, And, Or conditions.


Game AI is not the same as general meaning of AI aka "thinking machine". Those are two vastly different things.

  lizardbones

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8/26/14 11:04:52 AM#157
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by lizardbones

It is not scripts. 

 

 


 

What else do you think it is?

 

It is not a script.  A script requires a predefined end point that is hard coded into the script.  The script can have multiple end points, but they are all defined, and they are all hard coded into the script.  If a new element is added to the world, and that element interacts with the NPC and the NPC is scripted, then the element must be hard coded into the script.  If a new location is added, updated or removed from the world, the scripts must change to accommodate the change or the NPCs will not function.  StoryBricks doesn't require this.  StoryBricks is not "scripts".

 

The system has been described on their site (for years), on the EQN site, on several other websites and described simplistically here.  If you want to know what it is, read the available material.

 

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Gdemami

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Posts: 6960

8/26/14 11:07:32 AM#158


Originally posted by lizardbones

A script requires a predefined end point that is hard coded into the script. 
 


StoryBricks are doing exactly the same.

Just because you percieve script as something very simple - "do this", does not mean StoryBricks are any different. Just the chain is more complex and in fact it is always more complex even for "dumb" NPCs.

It is still a script, like you say with multiple end-points, that is what StoryBricks do, they have multiple end points.

  Markusrind

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Posts: 373

8/26/14 11:19:48 AM#159
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by lizardbones

 

A script requires a predefined end point that is hard coded into the script. 
 


 

StoryBricks are doing exactly the same.

Just because you percieve script as something very simple - "do this", does not mean StoryBricks are any different. Just the chain is more complex and in fact it is always more complex even for "dumb" NPCs.

It is still a script, like you say with multiple end-points, that is what StoryBricks do, they have multiple end points.

Just to check.

Are you basing your comments on the demo's shown, documentation released and Storybricks developer explanations of how the system works Or how you think it works from previous system?

  Raelln

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Joined: 4/11/14
Posts: 67

8/26/14 11:34:59 AM#160
Originally posted by lizardbones

 

 

It is not scripts. 

 

You can facepalm all you want - AI will always and forever (until computers gain sentience) be a script or set of scripts. Whether or not those scripts are embedded and/or invisible inside another module or application is irrelevant. At the end of the day, somewhere in that program - there is a script that dictates exactly how that AI will react to data it is fed.

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