Never fear, the NPC’s are here…

… well, they are on the way at least šŸ˜‰

So the past week or so has been about the Non-player Character behaviours. The NPC’s are controlled by Finite State Machines at present, with basic state controllers which will grow more complex over time.

This week I’ve been tidying up the hacks made to date whilst experimenting, and consolidating the ‘Trader’ behaviour for docking/undocking and generally pottering about the local scene. This includes creating a ‘state map’ – a spreadsheet which shows the initial state, and the conditions required to change to another state. This is essential as all the possible combinations can drive you mad, and testing them is even worse!

Right now, the possible states are as follows;

  • Docked
  • Dock Egress (leaving dock šŸ˜‰ )
  • Docking (ok, maybe Dock Ingress for consistency!)
  • Idle
  • Travel – moving from A -> B under normal circumstances
  • Attack – aggressive pursuit of a target
  • Defend – more conservative attack (the best form of defence…)
  • Flee – just getting the heck out of there
  • Flock – maintain position around a leader (or target)
  • Wingman – maintain precise position in a formation

That’s by no means an exhaustive list! There are more to come. Right now only the first five are in progress – although these are the ‘boring’ ones, they areĀ the mainstay of most NPC behaviours.

Once the state core logic is down pat, then all the variable elements have to be balanced by each individual NPC’s status, and role in the game. Ie. a trader may have lots of precious cargo to sell, so be impatient to get into dock, and also spend quite a while in the docked state. Another may have very little, and not be in a hurry, they may only pick up a small package and leave quite quickly after docking. I want all this kind of variance to be evident if you sit outside a station and watch traders come and go.

This will makeĀ balancing and testing all these ‘fun times’ to come!


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Author: Mak View all posts by

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