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Author Topic: NPC template and NPCs in general  (Read 3420 times)
shevegen
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« on: December 01, 2009, 05:12:32 PM »

Hi,

This is a somewhat important thread, so it would be nice if people could comment, no matter if you agree or disagree - it is better to voice a clear opinion.

Let me start with what I see as a problem right now:

Months ago we started describing NPCs here on the forum. We then added them to the wiki (wikified them, so to speak), had some other people comment on them in threads, and eventually got a NPC template which we reused to describe the NPCs in more detail.
We had almost a dozen NPCs, then things calmed down especially after maximinus had no more time and the background story went forth and back and forth again. And this is only for the two techdemo quests ... imagine if we have 12 quests and 220 NPCs ...

Now jump forward a few more months. We decided to ship 2 quests in the techdemo, and if you have a look at http://wiki.parpg.net/TechDemo_Asset_ToDo#Characters you can count 17 NPCs. None of these NPCs is from the original "team" of NPCs!
There might be even more NPCs, Zenbitz already said he might need another one for retrieving some quest related item.

Every NPC more or less needs a dialogue, portrait, background and so forth ...
Zenbitz also started to create a page for each NPC on the wiki, but I think this is a bad idea.
It is way too much work to keep maintaining these wiki pages for each NPC, especially when things change, or dialogue changes and so forth.

I thus propose that we keep the information for the NPCs in the parpg/ directory instead, and automatically generated the required files for the Wiki.

There could be a new directory at the base level of parpg/ leading to parpg/npc and we dump all npc related stuff into this dir, following a common scheme, for example "name" of the npc in question. The dialogue directory should be moved inside npc/ as well, and the name for the dialogue.yaml files should be the same as the npc name.

For example:

If we have a npc named
timmo_matinnen
his dialogue file would reside under
npc/dialogue/timmo_matinnen.yaml
and the other information about this NPC would reside under:
npc/timmo_matinnen

The last area should also have an optional field for another dialogue location, so that the system can remain flexible. (Example for this: the name of the npc could be npc/foobar until he is renamed, and he wants to have a dialogue file called "snow_shoveller.yaml" until he finds a better name... with such a field he could have this easily, without the requirement to give him a name at once. He can find a good name later.)

When we have such a structure, I imagine that we could DYNAMICALLY generate all the information for NPCs for the wiki, without us MANUALLY updating the wiki stuff.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 05:20:11 PM by shevegen » Logged

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Q_x
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2009, 07:30:59 PM »

I'm feeling jumpy today.
In the morning I thought that there is needed some point of view to divide whole work into more understandable chunks - like quests, so you put all the things related into one bag - todo lists, assets needed, dialogs and so on, with links to trac. You've seen the post - one wiki page and few tickets, thats all.
Later there was the approach of handling things in tickets - quite easy to understand, but it needs skill to write down ALL needed things in one ticket.
Now I think that having all in wiki will spoil player's fun, so we in fact need
SVN access and ticket system for GTD
IRC or forums for idea exchange
hand-drawn notes or things in our heads instead of wikifying every idea or sketchy NPC
wiki covering all important aspects of developing
and thats all, without utilizing the wiki for handling ToDos or bestiary.

So here goes the answer: May be link into SVN instead generating the content (who will write such parser?!?).

This still does a kind of fermentation in my head.
For now - until techdemo release - I will not move my concept between wiki and forums (you've seen it), to focus on things to be done, not to make noise.

In general I think we need a change in the way the work is going and what goes where in SVN - or at least the manager who will put the things in its right place in SVN and wiki, with clarity what goes where, but without mixing, doubling or quadrupling the content as it is now.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2009, 07:38:05 PM by Q_x » Logged

zenbitz
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2009, 08:27:22 PM »

Players shouldn't read the wiki and not expect spoilers, it's a development wiki.

Shevy has an interesting point about keeping the wiki/svn reconciled.  I guess the problem is that "in theory" we are supposed to do all the design work on the wiki, then just one-way-dump it to source files.   But of course, once you start writing dialog files and quest files, your ideas might change.... this is what happens when you get a programmer doing the writing (I am bad at documenting my code, too! Same principal).

I wonder if we could use something like Pydoc to read "source" files and put them in a web page... that would just require altering some formatting on yaml.  Wiki can just link to pydoc page.

We may actually have to move from yaml to actual python for NPC scripts anyway... and somehow change the dialog YAML format.... wrong forum though.

Thanks to both of you for thinking of these management issues!
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