Socials supported by mechanics

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:01 am    Post subject: Socials supported by mechanics Reply with quote

The idea of a dynamic social system has been discussed before, but that thread focused more on the cosmetics of the command itself. Has anyone tried extending their socials to interact with and be supported by actual mechanics? The sexually-oriented "xsocials" in the GodWars codebase would be a specialised example of this, but I think even regular socials could be made a lot more interesting, for example:

Descriptive: When you 'grin', people looking at you within the next few seconds should see that you're grinning (as part of a dynamic character description). In addition, people looking around (rather than directly at you) might see something like "KaVir stands here, grinning evilly".

Form-specific: While shapechanged into a dog you should be able to wag your tail, but while shapechanged into a snake you shouldn't be able to shrug your shoulders, and so on. Equally, you couldn't clap if someone had chopped off one of your hands, while if you'd lost an eye you should only be able to roll your 'eye' and not your 'eyes'.

Combat-impacting: If you try to kiss or hug someone, they should be able to dodge it in exactly the same way as a physical attack - which probably means that 'kiss' and 'hug' should have the full functionality of (non-damaging) attacks. Equally, while bowing you should be more vulnerable to incoming attacks, while clapping you should be unable to use your hands to attack, etc.

Reputation: Much like the game 'Fable', if your character goes around farting all the time, mobs react with either amusement or disgust, and your character should gain a reputation as a bit of a joker. If you often wink or flutter your eyelashes you might get a reputation as a flirt, while someone who stares and points would get a reputation as being rather rude, etc.

Emotions: A temporary (and rather vague) 'emotional state' of the character could be determined based on recent social use - for example a character who has recently been smiling and laughing a lot might have a 'happy' emotional state, while a character who had been crying or sighing might be 'sad', and a character who had been fuming and glaring might be 'angry'.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've re-executed a set of 'social' commands as variations on a generalized physical-contact commands. The list: bonk, bop, caress, cuddle, embrace, fondle, grope, hold, hug, kiss, lick, massage, nibble, nudge, pat, pet, pinch, poke, prod, rub, squeeze, scratch, slap, smack, suck, tap, tickle, thwack, touch, whack.

Most of these support a set of syntaxes like:

bonk Bill
touch Bob's head
touch Bob's head with left hand
poke Bob with sword
rub aloe on Bob's chest with left hand
poke Bob's left foot with stick using left hand

Random implementation details:

1) They all have anatomical requirements. Some are at the more general level of limbs (hugging requires an arm or a wing). Some require manipulator capabilities -- manipulators being a way of more precisely modeling what a limb can do than just saying oh, it's a "hand" -- like pinch requiring opposable digits and kiss requiring a osculatory capability.

2) They have a version of combat-action support you mention; if someone you don't trust attempts a physical contact command on you, it fails with an appropriate message, unless you specify your command as an override by adding ! to the end, in which case you attempt it as a hostile action that can be dodged and which initiates combat.

3) When you have more than one limb/manipulator that can potentially be used to perform the action, and you haven't manually specified a limb to use, it integrates with the handedness setting to find the limb you would prefer to use. For instance, a right-handed human typing "touch head" would see "You touch your head with your right hand." "touch right hand" results in "You touch your right hand with your left hand."

4) In messaging like that, the executing limb is elided for some actions if the limb can be presumed. A normal human kissing someone results in a message "You kiss Foo." rather than "You kiss Foo with your head.", for instance. If the executing limb is ambiguous, it's specified; someone with two heads would see "You kiss Foo with your right head."

5) There are hooks for code to interact with the physical contact process. For instance, the powers of unicorn horns are activated by rubbing the horn -- 'rub horn' and 'rub horn on Foo' both acting as appropriate. The aloe appearing in a syntax example works similarly. Some magical wands are activated by physical contact commands; ioun stones are engaged by tapping them and knocked out of the air by slapping. Another obvious application is in physical contact as disease transmission vector, though I haven't actually sat down and done that yet.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another addition - this idea comes from a complaint made by a player about how other people shouldn't be able to see her grin when her visor is pulled down:

Equipment-specific: Facial expressions should be hidden when the face is covered (ideally with the output of the social changed to make it clear - eg "You smile behind your mask"), just as eye socials (such as blinking) should be hidden if you're wearing shades that hide your eyes. On the other hand, some socials should be blocked outright by equipment (picking your nose while your visor is down), while others should only work if you're wearing certain items (eg the "tip your hat" social should require you to actually be wearing a hat).
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i included player socials in mob reactions (was more of a command base). like general mob emotions and such.

so that some socials would put some mobs more at ease (what type of mob were they), but others would freak a mob out grinning could calm a mob, but throat slit would berserk them out (assuming again that it was an intelligent creature). throat slitting the bear, well the bear wouldnt care. throat slitting the arch angel or a major demon, they might get annoyed at that.)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd just like to reference this thread:

and especially this post in it:

In there I outline the notion of "social combat" - that is to say, a process with mini-game rules, that is tactical in the same way as combat is tactical, and which has the goal of persuading an NPC to cooperate with you in some way. Tactics might include threats, bribery, flirtation (perhaps leading to outright seduction), deception, etc.

There's a very simple implementation of a system like this in the game Morrowind where you can affect someone's disposition towards you (which is also influenced by things like your reputation with the faction(s) of which the NPC is a member, and your character's Personality attribute).

A system like this has a number of benefits. First, it improves realism; second, it gives more purpose to NPCs whose function in most MUDs is to be either slaughtered or ignored (a few lucky exceptions are blessed with occasional automatically-triggered output of information and some pre-scripted behaviour for quests); third, it's likely to appeal to a wide variety of players - roleplayers will enjoy the authenticity, socialiser-types might enjoy the ability to progress in the game without violence, explorers and min-maxers will have a whole new system to use and abuse, etc. Fourth, in the same way as a well-designed combat system, it offers a good mix of character skill and player skill - the player has to assess what sort of tactic is likely to work on the NPC in question (are they weak enough to be intimidated? corrupt enough to be bribed? of the correct gender and sexual orientation to be flirted with? married and devoted to their spouse?) while the character could acquire skills such as haggling, diplomacy, seduction, street-wisdom, courtier's skills, etc.

You could even have entire character classes whose primary function is social engagement (diplomats, spies, "companions", etc.) and who group well with more traditional adventuring types; the warriors and mages handle the fighting while they deal with the more intelligent NPCs - get the party into and out of places that would otherwise require wholesale slaughter of an army of guards, negotiate better rewards for quests, haggle with merchants, etc.
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