Today in pictures

Working on some new content today – a new newbie town. I’ve got some new NPC tech that’s making it a lot of fun to work on. Here’s some screenshots:

Milking a cow

NPCs can now wander around, which means the cows in the pasture are no longer stationary automatons. They can walk around, eat, sit, and so on. This really makes them a lot more lifelike... but makes it almost impossible to get a good screenshot. You can see three cows in this picture if you look closely. Each cow can be milked once per hour (per player).

The moon is nearly full

As I head over to another barn, I'm informed that the moon is nearly full. That's bad news, since I'm a werewolf, and for testing purposes the moon cycle lasts 8 hours instead of 28 days. I'm gonna be a slavering monster soon... which makes milking cows impossible, among other issues.

The lady in front of this barn is complaining about a bear that's taken up residence in it. I eventually convince her that I can handle it for her. How hard can it be? I'm a friggin' fire wizard...

Holy... he took all my armor off in seconds... run away!

Group-statted grizzly bear! Runnnnn... *thunk*. To defeat this bear, it'd take three newbies working together. My hope is that little encounters like this can teach players to work together from an early point in the game: "Hey, somebody help me kill the grizzly in this barn!"

A couple of elves run the alchemy shop. In the background you can just make out a glowing globe -- that's a lore item. Let's head upstairs...

In the far attic of the shop, all alone, sits a little teaching automaton. (Elves use these to teach their children.) I'll just go say hi to him...

And now we see why the thing is stored in the attic! It's a math tutor, and it's running a word-problems training program. Yuck. But if you get the problem right, you get a piece of candy! ... well, everybody finds fun in their own way, right?

And then it happened... I became the wolf. Now NPCs are afraid of me.

Nope, still right here, moron! The "being afraid" system is tricky to work on, because it needs safeguards to keep it from annoying other players. (For instance, if another player is shopping, the shopkeeper won't run away in fear; they'll just scream.) The down side of these safeguards is that they can't run very far -- you can chase them around their shop, but not out into the wilderness. But it's really the thematic effect that matters.


More pictures soon!

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9 Responses to Today in pictures

  1. Matt Stevens says:

    Hey I hate to stop lurking to ask a stupid question, but … in your math problem, did each vizier eat 6 cookies from the second batch, or did he eat as many cookies as before + 6? There’s some ambiguity there. Thanks, now back to lurking…

  2. Eric says:

    Heh, whoops, thanks! I’ll remove the “more” from “six more cookies” to fix it.

  3. Stropp says:

    Would it be a spoiler to give the answer? ;-)

  4. Kujo says:

    I agree it’s ambiguous, but I much prefer the version of the problem where the viziers each at six more than they did last time. Otherwise, the first batch doesn’t even matter to the solution; you’re just left with “Five viziers ate six cookies each, and the queen ate the remaining 2/5, which was how many cookies?” But maybe you want it to be easy enough to do in your head.

  5. The Guilty Party says:

    Ehh, I dunno about the bear thing. I mean, it’s fine. It’s what MMOs have been doing for a decade now. But it’s not a particularly effective learning tool, if every other MMO is any guideline. It’s just a quest with a varyingly (depending on the time of day, popularity of game, age of game, etc, etc) tedious social barrier in front of it.

  6. Richard says:

    Would it a better learning tool to make the group encounter more explicit? He’s holding the farmer hostage and will only release him or her if three warriors come together to fight. And, he’s sitting on exactly three rare items, not four, not five.

  7. Eric says:

    Kujo – well you still have to count the cookies from the first batch in the answer. :) But yeah it’s intentionally pretty easy. I suspect if you have to use paper, you’re more likely to use Google instead.

    @The Guilty Party – yeah I agree that it’s kind of cliche. But I still think it’s important. What I’ve done to try to mitigate the issue is to literally put it in town. The barn is about 100 meters from the tavern of one of the three main cities in the game, so there should always be people to do it. (Whether they’ll be willing to help is another matter, but at least it won’t be at a ghost town.)

    @Richard – I’ll probably do something like that elsewhere — I kinda want this one to be a scenario where you can come back later and just stomp the crap out of the bear :)

  8. Conor says:

    Can I kite the bear into the main part of town? ;)

  9. tad says:

    I think you should be able to chase them out of the shop with a hit to your faction with them and break the other player trade interaction. Much more amusing. ;-) On the other hand, if you permit this you have to permit some kind of player – wolf interaction – maybe allowing ‘wolfbane’ item that wolves can’t get near?