Dev Blog #2: Conversations and NPCs Part 1

Over the years of playing RPGs (Harvest Moon, Legend of Zelda) and working on titles such as EverQuest, Star Wars: Galaxies, Arcane Legends and more, one thing that I know to be true is memorable characters are key to any good RPG. You forge those characters through their appearance, behavior and mainly through their dialog. We wanted the cast of characters in Seeds of Magic to have strong and identifiable personalities that players could really get to love.

Character conversations will be on wide array of subjects and most will be topical. If it is a nice day out, characters are more likely to comment about the weather. If you have not wiped out those fairies eating all the flowers in town the townsfolk will get upset. Supply the Sushi restaurant with fresh fish and the Mr. Carp will be your friend but forget to supply the bakery with wheat and you will not hear the end of it. They have relationships with other NPCs so they might praise or spread a rumor about another NPC depending of if they like them or not.

Characters can talk to other characters.  As you wander the world, you can see the townsfolk chatting away, if you go up to them you can enter into the conversation. Usually the two will ask for the players opinion on the subject they are discussing.

You can establish relationships with the characters and their dialog will change based on that relationship.  The Imp will argue with you unless you can win him over.  Ooko is fairly depressed but will open up to you the more you interact with him.

In order to build relationships with different townsfolk, we provide each of them with wants and needs that must be satisfied.  Clues can be found in talking with them, with other folks about them, watching them and digging through their personal artifacts. Talking with them, siding with them in conversations, and giving them gifts are just a few ways to raise relationship status with NPCs.  

We manage this by building a suite of very cool custom made tools, a rules engine, built directly in Unity, which allows us to handle all this fun interaction in a very orderly way.  At some point in the future we will do a deep dive blog post into this engine if anyone is interested.

Thank you for reading and please pass along any questions or advice.

Gentleman Rat