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Storybricks

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by darkpatriot, May 2, 2012.

  1. darkpatriot Savant

    darkpatriot
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  2. Davaris Arcane

    Davaris
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    I am very interested in it, but won't donate if it is MMO only. If there is an editor that exports to XML or it can be integrated into another engine, it could be something I've been wanting for a long time.


    There is a more detailed video of how it works here:
    !

    Edit:
    http://www.republictrooper.com/2011...ryblocks-and-the-renaissance-of-role-playing/

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  3. Yaar Podshipnik Arcane Patron

    Yaar Podshipnik
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    The basic idea of having a rich toolset to create characters and emergent storylines is great. However, the stuff they show is just a toolkit for making games hosted on their cloud. I don't see how this could be used in a 3rd party (i.e. done by a codexer) project.

    I think that this project will either fail to get the funds required, or that it will succeed and then we will have tens of furry fandom "games" created with this. Not sure which one is worse.
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  4. Davaris Arcane

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    After watching the video, I don't think it would be difficult to make my own version, that works in scripts. Storybricks works on similar principles, as an old D&D book I have that had tables for NPC motivations. The rest of Storybricks is just descriptive function names and the whole lot linked together.
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  5. Yaar Podshipnik Arcane Patron

    Yaar Podshipnik
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    Davaris, stuff that looks easy to make yourself usually starts becoming harder when you start thinking about details. Such system should be a middleware-type thingy. You would need to have a clear, well-documented API, language bindings to anything that is popular (C, C++, C#, Java, Javascript, Python), take into consideration major engines (XNA, Unreal, Unity, etc.). It would actually be very, very hard to make such thing useful enough so that you could sell it.

    Of course, there is no need for such a complex system in most games. Most of the time simple FSM is enough. If you need more flexibility you make FSM scriptable. More advanced features will probably involve a hierarchic FSM or some kind of neural net (though that would most likely suck). You will have to write script yourself, and it is not as easy as using a nice visual editor.

    While I call bullshit on this project, the general idea is cool and potentially useful. It is more of an idea for a startup company than a kickstarter though, as your primary market would be small/medium game development studios.
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  6. Davaris Arcane

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    Yaar Podshipnik
    My feeling is they will just scrape across the line on this Kickstarter, due to big donations towards the end, but I do think you are right about them targeting the wrong market.

    I sure hope the creator doesn't get obsessed with making it an MMO product, because he could end up like Chris Crawford.
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  7. Yaar Podshipnik Arcane Patron

    Yaar Podshipnik
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    http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/storybricks/storybricks-the-mmorpg-storytelling-toolset/ - Kicktraq disagrees. I don't think they will get any large donations.

    This whole thing would work much better as an Unity3D plugin, and that stuff is usually in $100 range. If you target it to bigger studios you could probably charge $1k or something. If you really make this a revolution in AI development and show that you can easily create big and FUN worlds with it then you get into tens of thousands USD price range. What is shown in the kickstarter is nice, but as I said before, it's pretty much a plugin-thing at the moment. So I wouldn't expect any large donations now, or towards the end.
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  8. Davaris Arcane

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    If you have a look, there are some older industry veterans on the team or advising, including Chris Avellone. So it wouldn't surprise me if some industry folks with deep pockets invest, to make it succeed. I am not 100% sure, its just a feeling I get, they will not allow it to fail. Or perhaps as you suggest, they will resurrect it as a plugin and try again.



    They are doing it on Unity. I'd recognize that lighting anywhere.

    It looks like an improvement on ScriptEase, which was a university study, to see if they could help non-programmers, program games. Have a look here:
    http://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~script/scriptease2.html

    Funding sources here:
    http://webdocs.cs.ualberta.ca/~script/funding.html

    But yeah, you are right, it would make an awesome plugin. Pity it would be Unity only.
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  9. Yaar Podshipnik Arcane Patron

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    Thanks for the links, I'll take a look at this.
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  10. J1M Arcane

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    If someone is going to drop $100k into this project they are going to want stock, not a t-shirt.

    They needed to demonstrate how their tool set will write quest dialogue for you or something, because as it is now it is just stupid. If you place an apple vendor in their world the whole thing breaks, because clearly a potion is worth more than an apple and a noble should have money. You might not notice when you set things up, and all of the sudden you are debugging a huge mess because the game completed some of your quests before the player knew they existed.

    If such a situation is impossible, then what they have created is useless. If it is possible, then their creation is meaningless because it can't be used for anything important.
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  11. Mughal Novice

    Mughal
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    Hi there,

    I'm one of the guys working on Storybricks and wanted to address some of the comments plus share some info.

    Storybricks started because AI in MMOs suck, and because all the money in AI was going into FPSs, where the lifespan of an NPC is about 5 seconds.

    Also part of the problem is that AI middleware is built with single player console games in mind, which means that the game is supposed to last 20-40 hours so you can script a lot of stuff to give a consistent game experience. MMOs are persistent worlds that last year, and the interactions need to be meaningful but there are currently no tools to do that.

    There is a reason why you have a lot of shooters, driving and city sims. It's because it's easy to simulate a spatial representation. When you start looking at emotions, no one has cracked how to incorporate them as a mechanic in a game without suffering from combinatorial explosion or generally not being fun in the first place.

    Was a huge fan of games like Planescape: Torment. The problem was that there was no technology, just good design and elbow grease and that does not scale. Good design you cannot replicate but at least you can have tools that focuses on mapping relationships and having information as objects that affect behaviors.

    This is one of the reasons Storybricks was born.

    Now, to address some of your specific comments

    J1M
    - The tool creates some basic dialogue, but we do not want to wander into the procedurally generated dialogue beyond basic since it's an AI complete problem and cannot be solved in a satisfactory manner.
    - Debugging _is_ a problem, we are trying to automate as much as possible
    - This is the first playable, you normally see games at a much developed stage. Elder Scrolls MMO has been in development for 5 years, we've been going for 9 months. I hate the secrecy that permeates the games industry and have no shame in showing what we are working on early on or allowing people to play with broken unfinished builds. ZeniMax might care about your feedback, but reality is that after 5 years of development they have way beyond the design phase so nothing you say will be implemented.

    Davaris
    - we're using Unity
    - the language is Scratch from MIT
    - the reason why we are not doing a plugin is that it has been tried before and companies failed because there was no game that could show what you can do with AI, also a tool to edit AI behaviors is 5% of the problem, 95% is the actual behaviors themselves. We believe the market of people that want to build easily a game is an order of magnitude bigger than the Unity user base.
    - Chris Crawford approached the problem from an interactive fiction angle, which is an AI complete problem and doomed to fail. We know Chris and respect his work, but I am trying to build something that works.
    - Some parts are easy to replicate, some need an insane amount of money. With AI half of the problem is to reach a decision (easy) and the other half is how to convey that decision to the player (expensive). We have decided to use animation to do that, hence why Don Bluth is on board.
    - there is a lot of stuff about Storybricks that is not yet in the release that is hard to develop, such as understanding context for actions, an NPC sees two PCs performing an action, understands his relationship with them, their action, infers their relationship, and changes automatically its behavior. that is very hard to build without scripting it.
    - we're looking at adding a way to exporting in XML (easy) and importing (hard) Storybricks so you can share your stories with others

    @Yaar
    - the use of FSMs should be deprecated and the industry should move to behavior trees, the fact that middleware still uses FSMs is part of the problem that we would like to solve. AI in games is moving at a glacial pace (Halo 3 had this new blackboard architecture that was invented in the '70s!!!)
    - we're looking at a way to curate games, as for a 3rd party, we are in early discussions to license our technology

    Doc Savage
    - we're not a wizard

    Regardless of the content of your comment, I really appreciate that you guys took the time to express an opinion about Storybricks. While we have some famous backers, it's by no means guaranteed that we will succeed in this KS campaign as the target is insanely high.

    Any help in spreading the word is appreciated. Anything you would like to see, please say so.

    Would you guys be interested in playing with an alpha?

    -Mughal
    deus101, Marsal and DwarvenFood Brofist this.
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  12. Yaar Podshipnik Arcane Patron

    Yaar Podshipnik
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    Mughal, welcome to the Codex, don't be surprised if people here behave like total multi-headed dicks. We're a good bunch of peeps that got fucked over too often with big promises and terrible results.

    Thanks for taking the time and providing some clarification on issues we talked about.

    I work in enterprise and FSM is enough for most of the stuff we do, but I'll definitely look into behavior trees. Thanks for the tip!

    I love the idea of a good story editor and simplifying of the AI programming. However, I don't see any plans to release only the AI creation part of the toolkit and I'm not interested in playing or creating a fantasy game, no matter how cool are the tools it is made with. The MMO part is also off-putting. Personally, I would like to try such tool this in some small single-player game, to see how much of a dynamic story can be created with it.

    If there is no way to use your AI system in an engine of my choosing it is of no use to me. I am sure that there will be people who want to create stories in your world. I'm not sure they would be willing to dish out cash for it.
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  13. Davaris Arcane

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    Hi Mughal, welcome to the Codex.

    I'm a programmer myself, working on my own engine, so its not for me, unless it becomes some kind of indie affordable plugin for any kind of game engine. I assume a lot of people posting in this section are of the same mind, but wait and see if there are more responses.

    Edit:
    Just a suggestion, it might be an idea to ask the mods if you can post info on Storybricks, in the MMORPG Discussion area.
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  14. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    This looks like minecraft, where people will band together to play it and then share the result.
    So it would mean a great deal for players and nothing a game developer would be able to use.
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  15. J1M Arcane

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    As someone who has nothing against MMOs, this idea doesn't belong. It does not jive with the idea of telling a cohesive story, especially when it could start 20 minutes before you log on and conclude while you are in the bathroom. Saying it is going to be an MMO sounds like marketing-speak designed to attract investors who are still chasing WoW's success.

    If $120m and a star wars license isn't enough to stagger, let alone topple, an 8-year-old WoW, then making any sort of MMO is suicide right now. Even if WoW continues to age, by the time you are ready to release it Titan will eat your lunch.

    Advice for success:
    -Change your characters into furries.
    -Add a new emote, /yiff
    villain of the story Brofists this.
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  16. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    Star Wars just wasn't the success they expected because they were aiming at becoming #1, so they spent that amount and in the end they couldn't become.
    Look at those Korean MMO companies, wasn't one of them speculating buying EA?
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  17. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

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    That was just a rumor, and it apparently was (for the most part) proven false.
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  18. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    Still it was speculated because it was possible right? Didn't they have the money?
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  19. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

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  20. tiagocc0 Arcane

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    What I meant was:

    Looks at how many games EA has and how many Nexon has.
    MMO does give more money, and doing a MMO right now is not suicide as to why I started this discussion in the first place.
    Star Wars is the worst example to give, because they do not represent MMOs in general simply because their goal was becoming #1, replacing WOW, as long as you don't set your goal as high as this, MMOs aren't doomed to fail.
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  21. Mughal Novice

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    Thanks

    - the fantasy setting is the one we are building first to demonstrate how different we are from the current fantasy offering, but we believe that people will want to build their own worlds and this will require a different level of access to the system, possibly to upload models. this is beyond the current roadmap

    - there are some tools in Unity for AI but no one is using them, we felt that the game developers market needed to be shown the demand from the users before you can buy into this whole "emotive AI" concept

    - when we talk about "MMO" we do not mean a world where you have shards of 1k players. We should probably define it as "hosted multiplayer RPG" or invent a new term. We do not have proof that people want to play in a world shared by 1k people beyond the fact that WoW makes money. We do have proof that people are asking for smaller worlds, like up to 150 concurrent players, possibly with some areas that are shared. Right now we're giving you an instance, then we will move that instance to multiplayer, then we will have to decide if/how to link these instances. it's growing very organically.
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  22. J1M Arcane

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    I rest my case.
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  23. Destroid Arcane

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    So... guild warsian instance based mmo(I imagine SWTOR fits under this category too, but I have not played it)?
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  24. sanmmo Educated

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  25. lmbarns Educated

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    If you could cross mixamo's model uploading/rigging/animating webplayer feature to a pre packaged game development kit(full of content with a nice interface) with some flexibility (think CMS web templates) where the player could fill out elaborate or extensible interactions, that would be amazing.

    From the video I didn't see how it was much different(maybe a little more developed/customized for dialogue) than say, "Playmaker" or other "visual scripting" tools for whatever engines (not naming any names), that allow people to drag drop "connections" with pre-made components to perform a range of actions. Yea they're no replacement for actually writing code, but they cost under $100 and with not a lot more effort you could make something similar to what I at least took away from the video. Even engines like "GameSalad" (never tried it) boast drag/drop game development.
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