Character Events

I believe it was Rock Paper Shotgun who referred to our previous game, Dungeons of Dredmor, as “a randomly generated spinning roulette wheel of glory and death” (or something like that, anyhow.) Regardless, this is a good design philosophy and one that we can all agree upon. To this end, it is good to put some random events in games – they sparkle things up.

We also have said that one of the key driving forces in Clockwork Empires is your characters; it is very good for them to do various things, based on their personality, character traits, and moods. We want characters – and who they associate with, and who they are organized with – to start making a noticeable impact on the game beyond the incidental impact of being nearby other characters when they do something that may, or may not, affect other members of your settlement.

Dwarf Fortress handles this with Strange Moods; a Dwarf will lock themselves in a room and go insane – or, maybe, produce a strange artifact. Crusader Kings 2 handles this with various events happening, ranging from jousting tournaments to attempting to turn lead into gold.

To generalize this: we have random Character Events.

Well, the content is much more interesting, but that's not much of a choice. Now we also need to get rid of this enormous amount of wasted space.

For instance…

The current design philosophy with Character Events going forward is that either a) you should have a choice, and both choices should be interesting and with both pros and cons; or b) you should get an interesting random outcome. For instance, receiving Suspicious Goods presents you with a choice: gain some much-needed supplies, while encouraging Criminal Behaviour in the colony (and, you know, angering people who are moral and upright citizens); not receiving Suspicious Goods will make the ordinary folks of the Colony confident and happy that the Empire is the same as it has always been, but Criminals will no doubt be upset that their favors was rebuked! The drama! (In their rough-and-tumble way, they’re only trying to do what’s best for the colony, you know…)

royal_academy_parcel

Nope, nothing ominous to see here.

When a character event occurs, it will give you a choice to consider, or a random roll of some kind; depending on the outcome of the event, the characters that it affects will, in turn, drive the simulation. Ms. Mudlocke, for instance, will start rummaging through the Colony’s Bookshelves and start talking to people about genealogy, hoping to discover something quaint and fascinating about themselves. That… is one way of describing what she will find, yes… (Or maybe she just discovers that Zebulon Crimble is her distant cousin! Too bad he’s about to be shot for Enthusiasm.)

Mr. Zebulon Crimble is probably about to get shot while exclaiming “It’s all rather exciting!”

Because this is all configurable via our XML-and-Lua requirements system, we can have a job that requires two people with specific traits. For instance, we can require two characters that are both communists, or “a character with the strange mood and an eldritch artifact”.

Having random events also provides opportunities for finding out a little bit more about the backstory of the Clockwork Empires. (Who is this Royal Academy? Why do they keep sending dangerous parcels? Do we ever actually get to meet Lord Palmerstoke?) We will be populating the game with some character events for Revision 36, and will add more moving forward throughout Early Access.

Science Bandits: regular bandits with more goggles.

Science Bandits: regular bandits with more goggles.

 

6 Comments

6 Responses to “Character Events”

  1. Amblingon says:

    This is a fantastic idea. Since CE has eschewed the RPG-like skill system of DF (for good reasons, I’d argue), stuff like this will be super important in order to make your colonists more than just a generic pair of worker-hands.

    Speaking of which, does this system encompass things like marriage/moving in together/forming friendships/swearing to wreak a Terrible Revenge, or are relationships between colonists handled separately?

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  2. Samut says:

    This is all kinds of awesome.

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  3. Pariah says:

    The link in the email goes to the previous blog entry (The Fog of War and Other Stuff), but other than that this was a lovely blog post. If you hadn’t mentioned it, I wouldn’t have noticed it wasn’t written by the usual reprobate person. Keep up the good work!

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  4. LadyAth says:

    Another awesome feature! Love reading these blogs and looking forward to seeing just how bad…I mean interesting, things will get for my brave colony. Very nice touch to bring in more of a personal feed for the colonists 🙂

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  5. Sapphire Crook says:

    I love when people treat science as something that can be measured with a metric unit.
    I can just see a science bandit walk up and hold a SCIENCE MEASURING DEVICE to the crate and deciding… no, this is just a bit below our standards.

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  6. Cuthalion says:

    This is delightful. This is also actually the first post that’s got me really interested in playing CE, not just watching its development For Education. I kind of hope the choices are worded the same way in the final game. “This crate contains too much science for us,” indeed!

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