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November 20th, 2006, 14:33
Originally Posted by roqua View Post

What game master has a mind suave enough to handle the economics of what you describe? That would press any GM to the edge to have to similute realistically what would happen. And in that event you would have to be playing alone with the GM, or have a group of friends that wouldn't mind playing a boring economics game instead of an rpg.

Now lets say its a NWN module run by a DM, or a real pnp game, you could skip the details, roll some dice, and see what the outcome is. If its ruin for the town, ruin it is.

You are right about the details being mind boggling - so you don't do it. Instead (if I were gaming with a good DM) the approach would be more along the lines of describing what you wanted to the GM … it would then be up to the GM to decide what the salient issues that need detailed attention would be, and what detailed research/computations to throw back on the player. The vast amount of the story would be handled abstractly …

But I digress!

The example was just meant to highlight the lack of flexible response in a game. I chose an economic example because a decent economic model is one thing a computer *should* be able to handle *much* better than a human (not that I have really seen one yet).

Another example of CRPG limitations … ever walk into a new town and then spend the next 30 minutes hunting for the mayor? Or the general store? Even Bob the carpenter? Just the kind of thing *any* local would know and *should* able to tell you. I find that destroys the immersion more than almost anything else.

I guess that until the computer can generate of world of tens of thousands of individuals each responding to stimuli (local and, to a certain degree global), that interact with each other (including such odd things as procreation), can comunicate interactively with the player on a host of topics, be driven by a set of 'wants' and 'needs' and adjust their behavior to account for what they've 'learned' you won't have a completely immersive environment allowing you to role play.

Even tens of thousands might not create enough mass to reach a sufficiently stable equilibrium … the model might require hundreds of thousands …. so I don't see a completely immersive environment for quite some time, as it would, in effect, be an interactive simulation of a world. Just think of the number of variable needed to depict the motives and drives to create a simple farmer! What drives him to get up in the morning? At what point is he so misarable (fear of starvation, violent death, lack of personal freedom(???)) that he packs up and moves.

Next crazy example: take a medieval serf type social arrangement … now say that local unhappiness with the lord is reaching critical levels. How would you realistically simulate inspiring a peasant rebellion? Something a PnP game could do easily.
No good ideas yet … but I am sure I will get some … someday.
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