I’m working on a long-gestating project, a Conan-style adventure with s small inventory count. The idea is to slim down the silhouette of the main character so he doesn’t resemble the bedraggled backpack-wearing junk collector from Labyrinth.
One aspect of that is to use NPCs as puzzles, and to give the player simple tools for manipulating them. Yes, I could just write all these NPC behaviors as chat nodes and script it all by hand; I don’t need to make a system fir it. But I want to explore it anyway, so here goes.
NPCs will have a three-axis emotional space: brave/timid, aggressive/nonaggressive, and introversion/extroversion. The player will get a number of ways to influence these axes.
- TAUNT creates aggression.
- SOOTHE reduces it.
- PRAISE raises extroversion.
- BOAST reduces extroversion.
- INTIMIDATE raises fear.
RALLY or CALMINSPIRE reduces fear.
If I rate emotional state on two axes at a time, each NPC has a mixture of emotional states.
The Bravery-Aggression axes:
brave, belligerent, aggressive, defensive, fearful, anxious, peaceful, daring
The Bravery-Extroversion axes:
brave, bold, extroverted, agitated, fearful, shy, introverted, confident
The Aggression-Extroversion axes:
aggressive, brash, extroverted, beneficent, peaceful, content, introverted, sullen
It isn’t necessary for all 18 emotions to be written for every NPC. That would be redundant. I only need to present the most interesting axes for that character.
I don’t think this is over-designing because NPC interactions will be frequent, and the tools for interaction are limited and predictable. Other than that fear, do you have any thoughts?