Forgot to submit last night. I spent a couple hours starting to implement an npc for this example quest. It was enlightening. There are still many many npc path and ai bugs that I need to either find nice workarounds for or fix properly. My goal was to have a simple dialog tree that ended with the npc walking off and hanging out in a specified area.
The behavior tree nodes setup for pathing feel much more complicated than I think they need to be, and I am pretty limited in the kinds of behavior I can easily implement. I didn't have a pre-defined behavior handy, and trying to come up with a "hanging out" behavior was taxing my brain. Editing behavior trees is hard, because I always have to remember what all of the nodes mean, which means either better naming or an editor may be in order.
I also still have a weird disconnect between the dialog system and events. I think I have talked about this before, and it's possible I need to redesign the whole thing. To implement this simple situation, I have to:
Last night I basically stopped when I got to that last step. I couldn't really think of The first set of steps took about an hour. Not terrible but not great either. There are some fairly well behaviors that are defined now that make some things easy. Picking up or doing something with an item takes only a few lines (once I remember how to do it). But anything else is a bit confusing. I think an editor would help a lot. But I think I need to redesign how behaviors, conversations, and events work in a wholistic way, because this isn't going to scale. It would be really nice if I could just open a new file, and put all of those things together line by line in a simple way:
"I'm going to go off by myself now" char1 behavior = if char1.distance(region(x)) < 500: char1.movetoward(region(x))
Definitely need to spend some time creating a more cohesive and complete grammar for everything before I can get to something clean like that. But it will help so much in experimenting with such highly experimental gameplay!
I also had a bug with the response interface where the player chooses what to say. After getting fed up with behaviors, I tried to fix this and couldn't narrow down why it wasn't working, so I went to bed frustrated. I hate going to bed frustrated!