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May 31st, 2007, 23:06
@Geist -- I never said it would be easy. :-)

What I have in mind is a dynamic simulation that provides the framework and background, and a scripted plot that hooks into it and "drives" it -- pushes it in certain directions. The scripted plot would obviously have to constrain the simulation; it's certainly not possible to allow for a completely fluid system of plot segments. However, I believe it would be possible to make it fluid enough that the simulation would become a significant gameplay element. You could also get creative about exploiting the sim-characteristics in gameplay; for example, if you had a dynamic trade system, you could require the player to exploit it to make money for some other objectives.

I'm pretty convinced that someone, someday will pull it off successfully… and I have a feeling we won't even have to wait *that* long. Perhaps not this year, perhaps not even in 2008, but I'd be disappointed if it doesn't happen by 2010.
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June 1st, 2007, 13:43
It's too bad you don't work in the game industry. I'll certainly buy the game if you ever decide to make it, though I still have a few reservations about the design. It's not so much the fluidity of the narrative that concerns me. Conceptually, I find it much more interesting for plot events to be triggered based on the dynamically changing state of the game world (rather than running from one static quest giver to another), even at the cost of some fluidity.

My bigger concern lies with the linkage between the plot and the world. As you illustrated in point number 3, for instance, (" Add hooks to each of the quests that determine how it would be possible to trigger them from any of a number of groups" ) it's possible for different characters or groups to trigger the same pre-scripted plot sequence.
If a given plot segment can be triggered in different situations, depending on the state of the simulation, then that plot segment can't be uniquely tailored to a specific character or situation. This makes the characters more redundant and the plot segments more generic.

I like your idea of a dynamic trade system. Any simulation which adds atmosphere or gameplay challenges is fine by me, but I'm still very skeptical about combining it with narrative. Simulation allows for a huge amount of changes to the state of the game world; scripting, on the other hand, permits only limited changes, but, crucially, it can respond to each of those changes in a unique and believable way.
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