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[Suggestion] World event news propagation

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Narduiran

Sergeant at Arms
M&BWBWF&S
I've been a little bit perplexed by how the news circulated in Calradia since I started playing way back. Instantaneous news of what is going on in the world is somewhat less immersive and realistic. But how to do it is the real problem. If we combine the fact that news circulate too fast and that most interactions with the NPCs of Calradia are meaningless (I mean conversational interactions), why not make it so NPCs propagate news? Word of mouth could be a very interesting way to get news. You might be oblivious to some political changes in the realms, of attacks, battles, and castle captures until you meet someone who knows about it.

I first thought about how the news could get from one place to another. There are many parties that go to and from villages/castles/towns already. They could be used to propagate the news like a virus. Something happens at a castle. Any party that is at the castle or any party spawned at the village associated with the castle, are now flagged with that news. They then carry it to other settlements, flagging any party there, and subsequent spawns with that news. I don't know how much it would cost performance-wise to implement this, but I think it would be more interesting and make the world seem more alive.

A player could be made aware of news by different means that already exist. We can ask about gossip, but it's usually of low interest. Having to rely on gossip to know what is going on would make the whole thing more useful. And then more critical news could be relayed through the alert screens. One thing that always bothered me is that you knew instantly if one of your settlements was attacked, even if it was a 3 days ride away. Of course, this would require another news feed system to be realistic because relying on caravans and farmers would be too slow. Then it would just be a matter of having a 'courrier' home straight for the player across the map (but still, how would the courrier even know where you are).

I haven't put much more thought into this, but even if it's too complex to add in Warband, I think this deserves some thought for mods or later expansions!
 

nijis

Developer
WBNW
In theory, it's not too difficult to model this, given that there already is a system to record most major events (the source of the lord comments).

However, flagging parties with events "known" or "not known" would make for a pretty vast data array. What would be a lot easier would be for each event to have an epicenter (that is to say, where it occurred) and the news would become available in another center based on the time elapsed and the distance to the epicenter.

Two downsides to this: one, an asymmetry between player and non-player parties. Imagine, for example, that a non-player party is acting based on whether not its home castle is under siege. In order to model incomplete knowledge, you'd either have to have the aforementioned massive data array (ie, tracking whether or not each party is aware of each individual event) or a complicated script which looks back through the log in time to determine when the castle was placed under siege, and does the epicenter calculation from there.

Another downside would be the challenge of managing the map. No good having a complicated system for managing the flow of information if you can just scroll across the map and see the "under siege" tag. So, that's another set of long complications to determine when the under siege tag, or a faction change, is shown to the player. Also, imagine the bugfixing challenges -- is that castle the wrong color, or am I receiving erroneous/partial/obsolete information?

I did a bit of playing around with incomplete info in Sicily -- ie, if you were mustering an army, it was possible for NPC vassals to get separated from the main army and have to try to find you, checking your last known location. It worked, but it was complicated to script.

The model I'd prefer to use is a compromise between realism and ease of play/programming -- the major news travels instantaneously, but if you want analysis and details, you have to go talk to someone close to the action.
 

daumor

Knight
WB
You could cut down on the data array by not making every party significant. Caravans, lords, and guild masters would be a decent compromise. The array would have the events down the side with a time stamp, each array containing the parties who know. This would include the guild master. When you talk to a party a search through the array would be performed looking for which events contain that hero. Then he would list them in order. Ideally the index would be indexed by time stamp, I think. Each week the array is purged and anything over a week or two old is made universal knowledge.

OT I would totally trade my MP beta status for a spot in the SP, as it was what had me excited from the start. :smile:
 

FrisianDude

Archduke
M&BWB
Sounds very nice to play with, a shame that it'd be hard to implement. :???: Anyway, the way I see it, it'd be mainly caravans that'd carry news. It'd also be nice to be able to ask them about news from their starting point when you talk to them on the map. This whole news propagation'd also open up possibilities for espionage. With the dancing armoires and stuff but then that you get reports delivered. :razz:
 

Sarejo

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWB
I've always felt curious about the "Messenger" party in the party templates, and the messenger troop. I guess spreading the news in a different way was also a plan?

About the array Nijis mentioned, with each party i and each event j, I agree with daumor's solution, it would be the most realistic of all.

The epicenter solution is the most straightforward of them. The event to determine whether or not a party knows about an event they might be interested in doesn't seem to be that complicated. You should first get the type of event that party is interested in(I'm assuming each event has a type, they probably do but I'm not sure) . Check the log for events of that type (Maybe having a list of events for each type of event can be helpful). You should only check the last, let's say, 3 days of log since travelling across Calradia takes some 3 days alone (the time a messenger would take to travel from Tihr to Tulga, or Khudan to Yalen/Veluca). You get the date, call your fancy is_event_known(epicenter, lord location, timestamp).

Of course, we have to consider that we are a small group of enthusiastic testers. We have to consider the impact of this on the casual player that likes only to smash his sword against skulls and think as little as possible. "I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO DEFEND MY CASTLE BECAUSE THE SIEGE STARTED 2 DAYS AGO. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS BEFORE, STUPID GAME!"-situations are likely.

But, oh, I'd love to see this. And the way you find out about things that was discussed in the other thread.
 

nijis

Developer
WBNW
I'm not sure that I want to take on something so ambitious at this point (and I have no idea what Armagan would say) but I do think that a limited info mod would be a lot of fun. If anyone wants to try this once the module system comes out, I'd be happy to offer support and my experiences from Sicily.

The trick, I suppose, would be to go through all the AI routines and substitute operations like "party_get_slot, ":village_state", ":center_no", slot_village_state" for "script_get_party_latest_info_about_village_state, ":village", ":center_no", if that makes sense.
 

TalonAquila

Sergeant Knight
M&BWBWF&S
bards were the newscasters of the middle ages.  what the op suggests to me is to add such dialogs to the bards, similar to what Prophesy of pendor did with the rumor mill through barkeeps and townsfolk.
  it's a frightfully complicated thing, i would think, but it would certainly add a great deal to the immersion.

i'm sorely tempted to volunteer to try it, but i'm also terribly certain it's beyond my skills.
 

amade

Grandmaster Knight
TalonAquila said:
bards were the newscasters of the middle ages.  what the op suggests to me is to add such dialogs to the bards, similar to what Prophesy of pendor did with the rumor mill through barkeeps and townsfolk.
  it's a frightfully complicated thing, i would think, but it would certainly add a great deal to the immersion.

i'm sorely tempted to volunteer to try it, but i'm also terribly certain it's beyond my skills.

Yeah, getting news from these sort of folks would be best methinks. I feel that news should still be instantaneous but it shouldn't pop up on your message log all by itself - you should have to go and look for it. Most of the time, late into the game I don't really do much in taverns except speak with the ransom broker. In Warband you can talk to the barkeep to ask about jobs, so it could expand to dispense some current news as well. Certain important news that should pop up e.g. enemies sieging your castle can perhaps be explained by messengers sent to you informing of the event (should have a slight delay at least, if it isn't there already).
 

yobbo

Veteran
M&BWB
For towns and castles there is the option to build the (relatively cheap) messenger post.  If the messenger post
delivered "close to real time" information on your town/castle  vs. the rumor mill...  that would make it even more
valuable.

Of course anyone that periodically checks the town names for (Sieged) would have a leg up over the rumor mill.
 

Manifold1

Sergeant at Arms
WB
I've an idea:

Based on how far the player is from the 'epicenter' of the event, is how long the delay is from when the news pops up. This would work for the player, maybe less so for the AI lords.

Of course, I dont actually have the SP beta, so I might just be talking gibberish.
 

FrisianDude

Archduke
M&BWB
Sarejo said:
Of course, we have to consider that we are a small group of enthusiastic testers. We have to consider the impact of this on the casual player that likes only to smash his sword against skulls and think as little as possible. "I DIDN'T HAVE TIME TO DEFEND MY CASTLE BECAUSE THE SIEGE STARTED 2 DAYS AGO. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS BEFORE, STUPID GAME!"-situations are likely.
Seems to me thát is exactly what the 12+ speed messenger parties'd be good for. :grin:
 

nijis

Developer
WBNW
Now that I think of it, if you wanted to do it purely for the player, it might be manageable. There already is a system where notes are only upgraded when the player obtains information. Once could also, for example, only update the text declaring a castle under siege if a player spots the castle or otherwise hears the news.

If NPCs get limited information, then the possibility arises for rather complicated situations. For example, a Battle of New Orleans-type event, where two parties fight because neither has heard that the war is over. Does this constitute a provocation that restarts the war? It probably wouldn't be too hard to come up with an algorithm that covers this, but then there's dozens more such potential issues throughout the game system.

If someone is going down this route, I guess you'd want to think about the kinds of information you'd like for NPCs not to know, the errors they might make without that info, and the situations that could emerge.
 

TalonAquila

Sergeant Knight
M&BWBWF&S
my thoughts were only for the player to get any of the info we're discussing.  the scripting aspects of that alone are complex enough.  i tremble at the thought of going beyond that to the npcs as well.

that's why i figured the bards would be good enough to begin with, or perhaps the tavern keepers (who'd here such newsworthy items on a regular basis from their patrons).
 

daumor

Knight
WB
Well if the strategic AI has a serious facelift then it might give them a pretty distinct advantage over the player if they have instantaneous news.

The New Orleans situation could be cured by not ceasing official hostilities until the news could travel to the farthest castle. Be that however npc info is handled.

A signifgant amount of importance should be put on messanger towers, I think. Official news of sieges, wars, and the like could be shot through the kingdom like lightning by 12 speed couriers with pretty much everyone knowing the bog events within 1 or two days time.
 
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