[Poll in OP] Population Code



  • Out of curiosity, because I've been putzing this idea around in my head, how many of you would take advantage of population code if it existed?

    That is to say, for businesses built on a grid, if they provided hours of operation and a fire code maximum capacity, to basically build a formula that will give a numerical range of NPCs in the area, further subdivided by whether or not the locals are the type likely to call police or pull a shotgun on you?

    Would you guys work that into your roleplay and/or find it beneficial? Or would you just ignore it?

    Edit: Straw Poll


  • Coder

    I would use it to set scenes, and to remind people that having an open conversations about magic in the Starbucks isn't a great idea.

    I would not use it for environmental emits. I would use it to name specific NPCs and stat them. I would use it as a way to complain that it's not accurate or varied enough, which is what I do with my own weather code. If my NPC barista has a Charisma of 1, would the crowd be smaller when he's on duty?

    I would want to know what the point of it was before I looked into installing it, and I would answer the question: does this goal fit my game or enhance role play? Alternatively, can I use it to enhance other code? How fast will the police be called based on the crowd and mood and location? How likely would a missed gunshot hit an observer? How fast can they clear the scene? How many are walking, how many in cars?

    Ok, can I use it to pre-fill Places code? Man, the cafe would be impossible to scene in because of all the college students taking up the tables. Sure, group of 2, take a table for 6 because you need to spread out 5 books and a computer and still steal an outlet across the room to charge your phone.


  • Pitcrew

    @Thenomain

    I'd suspect that you lived around Northwestern too, with this. Now I'm just sad to know that college students are privileged dicks everywhere.



  • In this specific instance it'd be for a mush-like, and it would not be particularly specific, just basically something like max capacity of 50, has anywhere from 3-10 NPCs (when it's dead) to 20-30 (when the rush comes in) to 40-50 (special events). There could be a way to build time of day into it, but I think that might be needlessly complicated in a mush environment given in-game time isn't always the time it is in the scene. Story-wise, there's RP benefit to saying 'this is a public place, there are definitely witnesses and probably about this many if you're here at x time', but probably much less RP benefit to 'no, you can't have a table because it's study hour at the local university, take your business elsewhere, you pricks'.

    Edit: is there not a way to build a poll here?


  • Coder

    @acceleration

    Only from the main post.

    Would this work for street-level traffic, to? I think that would be cool, and I'd install it and react to it in the same way that I do weather, et al.



  • @Thenomain

    I would like it to but I haven't really worked out how to do it, and I imagine it would be highly dependent on how you built your grid. I guess if I could figure it out, it'd take street type (side street vs main street vs avenue vs freeway), income level of the district and time of day into account and print something out based on that. I guess it doesn't have to be an automatic display.



  • @acceleration Wouldn't it be a relatively simple matter of setting an attribute on the room then doing the 'base population' of the area x a number? Like.. Say you make a city the base population of a residential district would be more than a business area BUT you would have more people around so.. like.. um.. 100 base population x 10. If there's a time code could even use the night and day cycle to adjust how many people during the morning, afternoon, evening, and at night.



  • @icanbeyourmuse

    Yes, it's a pretty simple thing that could potentially get kind of complicated and I'm currently wondering if it's worth the effort to build, hence asking whether or not people would take advantage of it. There are plenty of ways to make it extremely simple, like requiring flat numbers from players when they submit business builds, but having it formula based would allow for some flexibility like limiting size based on grid location to a PC owner's resource dots.


  • Pitcrew

    I like this idea. It would help maintain consistency with people joining a scene if they could see how crowded a location is without needing a set. Sometimes people forget that info in their set.


  • Coder

    Like weather code, it seems like something that would easily be forgotten and/or ignored, and just cause people RPing inconsistently.



  • @faraday
    I think (possibly) it depends on implementation, but that sentiment is why I'm ambivalent about even trying this to begin with. My thoughts for implementation are putting more emphasis on a direct in-room display of population, resource level and safety level and limiting description porn to 2-3 lines, but RP-wise I'm not sure how that would be taken.

    That's why I put a straw poll up! But only two people have voted in it :P


  • Politics

    What I would really like is a "background NPC" code that was available across games and that we could upload short descriptions of NPCs into. And then, if you want to fill your pub with interesting NPCs, you can type, like, +npc/load 5 and it'll load 5 superficially fleshed out NPCs that PCs can see and access the bios of to use in their scene. It would also warn people entering a room that this room has NPCs who might be paying attention to what they're talking about.

    You could even systematize it further with types of places the NPC is likely to be at. For example:

    Bob the Biker is a biker. He's in his late fifties, has a white bears and a blue bandanna. He treats his Harley better than he does his wife. He has a secret love of knitting and will only start a fight if he's had a couple of drinks. He's likely to be at BARS.

    So if you do: npc/load 5/bars you'll get 5 NPCs, all of which might be found at BARS, among which is likely to be Bob.


  • Politics Banned

    I think it'd be pretty cool but the specifics would get hard.


  • Politics Banned

    @Coin Maybe something could be written with the Dada engine to generate pseudorandom descriptions for them. Though it'd be pretty hard to keep it coherent and not loltastic non-sequiturs.



  • There was a mu* I was once on that had NPCs that actually travelled the grid and randomly emited. It was both cool and spammy.


  • Coder

    @faraday said in Population Code:

    Like weather code, it seems like something that would easily be forgotten and/or ignored, and just cause people RPing inconsistently.

    This term has entered my RP vocabulary: "Are we RPing time/weather?" Almost every game I've RP'd on since the banishment of the dreaded "Nightzone" flag has had people either RPing game time or clarifying the conditions in their initial pose.

    @acceleration: Do it if you think it'd be fun to do. I've long ago learned that doing something expecting it to only have value if it's used is not going to leave a good taste in your mouth, as what Mushers value is not consistent and doesn't always make sense. I have about half-finished a weather system that is independent from the real world, mostly because it was a challenge. What I got out of it was a single function, 'ictime()', that can give the builders all the information they want for day/night/moon phase/weather/season @descs.

    This in turn gave me the grounding to make a function-based 'places()' code which far surpasses the traditional places code. I've written a lot of code that was never really used, but I knew that going into it.

    Your question makes more sense when you're coding for any particular game. This is the occasion where you're being asked to code something, and you need to find out: Does this add usable code to the game? If the answer is "no" then see above; you're coding for fun. If the answer is "yes", then don't worry if other games will use it.

    This is why my answer was convoluted. Before I can say if I'd use it, I'd want to know what it's useful for or, at least, an overview of how it works. I can see the footer for a room not only having a location's security ("Poor"), but its current population ("~7 NPCs here").



  • @Thenomain said in Population Code:

    This is why my answer was convoluted. Before I can say if I'd use it, I'd want to know what it's useful for or, at least, an overview of how it works. I can see the footer for a room not only having a location's security ("Poor"), but its current population ("~7 NPCs here").

    Yeah, that's basically all I want, something pretty simple that'll track the current scene time, default to standard game time when no PCs are in the room/no one has specifically set anything, and give a rough population and safety level.

    I'm not really asking as a coder, I'm just asking if, as a player, people would incorporate the results of their code into their roleplay, or if they'd prefer to set all that stuff themselves.



  • @acceleration
    I can't say I'd use that code often, but if it was THERE? I'd make an effort to try to utilize it, but most of the time when I do a scene it's something specific going on.


  • Creator

    I think it'd be especially neat in a game where the population count really mattered, such as a post-apocalyptic or survival-based game. If you were members of a group that were trying to survival in a hostile area, like if someone made a game out of The Long Dark or something, then having a +population code would be pretty cool. Especially if it showed things like recent deaths, recent births, new arrivals, etc. Maybe factor in a base NPC population and combine that with the number of approved PCs, and you'd arrive at your population total.

    Or with post-apocalyptic/zombie apocalypse games, you could center it around a specific settlement or hold-out against raiders and the like, with a base population. Then, maybe work it into the system that if the population dips below a certain number, it causes bad things to happen (crops don't get sown or harvested, water doesn't get pulled from a nearby river, zombies don't get sniped from the walls, etc). Likewise, a high population score would mean other bad things would happen (overpopulation and very little food, people start causing fights because they're not getting along, people start letting their guard down because numbers make us feel safe and raiders/zombies/aliens/maddened mechabots attack). So, you could use the population code to create a kind of Goldilocks Zone for the settlement. Maybe 220 is too many, 75 is too few, but 90-175 is juuuuuust right.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said in Population Code:

    This term has entered my RP vocabulary: "Are we RPing time/weather?" Almost every game I've RP'd on since the banishment of the dreaded "Nightzone" flag has had people either RPing game time or clarifying the conditions in their initial pose.

    Whereas that term isn't in my vocabulary because I can count on one hand the number of times people were heeding the IC time/weather in their scenes. And I can't really blame them.

    Bob and I want to RP, and our chars have little in common ICly other than they both like Pyramid (BSG basketball-ish sport). Ooops, can't play Pyramid because +weather says it's raining outside. So much for that idea.

    Another day, we want to meet up, except +time says it's Monday at 2pm and we'd both be ICly working at our separate jobs that have no reason to intersect. Oh well. Guess I'll just watch TV instead.

    I understand the converse argument is that these are fun obstacles to challenge your creativity or whatever, but here's the thing... I have enough challenges in my life. I really don't need code throwing obstacles in my way. It's annoying, so I ignore it.



  • @faraday said in Population Code:

    @Thenomain said in Population Code:

    This term has entered my RP vocabulary: "Are we RPing time/weather?" Almost every game I've RP'd on since the banishment of the dreaded "Nightzone" flag has had people either RPing game time or clarifying the conditions in their initial pose.

    Whereas that term isn't in my vocabulary because I can count on one hand the number of times people were heeding the IC time/weather in their scenes. And I can't really blame them.

    Bob and I want to RP, and our chars have little in common ICly other than they both like Pyramid (BSG basketball-ish sport). Ooops, can't play Pyramid because +weather says it's raining outside. So much for that idea.

    Another day, we want to meet up, except +time says it's Monday at 2pm and we'd both be ICly working at our separate jobs that have no reason to intersect. Oh well. Guess I'll just watch TV instead.

    I understand the converse argument is that these are fun obstacles to challenge your creativity or whatever, but here's the thing... I have enough challenges in my life. I really don't need code throwing obstacles in my way. It's annoying, so I ignore it.

    What if you just +weather/set or +time/set for the room...?


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