A Question of Developer Resources [NPC Interaction]

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Nomad, Jan 17, 2017.

?

Should the Dev Team continue work on the NLP NPC Interaction System?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Maybe / Only if they do.. <something> (Please post a comment)

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Nomad

    Nomad Bot Master Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    57
    Gender:
    Male
    Hello everyone! I am Bot-Master Nomad, here today to ask you a question about a feature we've been tentatively working on for a few days/weeks now: Our Natural Language Processing interface for NPCs.

    The system would effectively change the way that you, the players, interact with NPCs in-game. Instead of clicking on options in a menu, you would physically type and send a message to them, as you would to converse with any other player. To give an example, if you, say, wanted to purchase an apple, you could use the chatbar and type "Merchant Bob, I want to buy an apple." Instead of having to open a sell interface and scroll through his inventory, one would be able to treat the NPC as a "real" character and "speak" to interact with him/her. Selling, buying, and even extended interactions like questing could all be handled in the new NLP interface.

    The Good Side of the NLP Interface

    • Really, really cool
      • This sort of feature has never been implemented in other games. We would be the first to use it, and that's pretty exciting!
      • Novel method of interaction means a more "immersive" game world in general.
    • Opens the potential for some radical changes on down the road
      • Having personally worked on voice recognition in the past, it would not be a stretch to say that on down the road one might be able to physically speak into a microphone to interact with NPCs, who then might respond back with voice-over. This would be literal talking to the game's NPCs. Imagine the VR!
    • Potentially "smoother" interface
      • Feels more real and substantial.
      • Could be faster than using a menu to pick items
    The Bad Side
    • This is admittedly consuming resources that could be spent on other things
    • The interface needs significant work before they react with enough precision to be usable in-game
    • There's always going to be the risk that you aren't understood by the system. We can try our best to avoid it, but there will probably be situations where an NPC has to ask you to restate what you want to do.
    Potential Alternatives/Solutions
    • Having the normal menu-interaction as an "option two" if the chat interface doesn't work / isn't something that you want to use at that moment

    Please feel free to discuss and weigh in on this matter, but ultimately, please be sure to fill out the poll at the top with your opinion on the matter. We would really like to know if this is something you want us to pursue further or if we should go ahead and shelve it.

    Thanks,
    Your AoA Development Team
     
    Luminous likes this.
  2. rasmus15951

    rasmus15951 Red VIP Purple VIP Seasoned Adventurer Adventurer Oldtimer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2014
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    38
    Gender:
    Male
    I really like the idea and I'm totally down for having it in game, but I can see why one would oppose the idea. As for the "not accurate enough" part, one way would be to implement the system on bystander NPC's at first, for fine tuning and such, as it would leave the core gameplay unaffected even if the system was a bit unstable
     
  3. Storm

    Storm Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2014
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    41
    I think it's a fun idea if done correctly and would add to the roleplay environment, but In my opinion, it might be hard to do quest dialogues properly this way, so maybe only use it for shops. A lot of people, including me, would tilt rapidly when it's not working properly. Like Rasmus said it might be better to implement it gradually and/or add the option use either talking or using the standard MMO style. (Although that will add a lot of extra work.)
     
  4. Assassin

    Assassin Treasure Hunter King 2018 | Denian's Servant Christmas VIP Halloween VIP Black VIP Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Before I start I want to just clarify that I have no idea about the creation process of Natural Language Processing Interface so any information i'm giving is purely based on opinion and a lot of what I say may be wrong.

    I'm going to do a "short response" to this and say that if you are going to implement it I would certainly give it a test within the Alpha and see what other players think of it and to see if there are any bugs and glitches with it. However, I do find a lot of negatives with this idea and im going to list them below.

    1. As you said you may have to type "Merchant Bob, I want to buy an apple." will the user have to type exactly that message or can they type many different combinations. Because if this is the case then you may have to implement all different kinds of methods to type it which will take up a lot of time.

    2. Regarding my last point this feature (in my opinion I don't actually know this) but surely with all of the different items you can buy and sell within the game you will have to make every item available to buy via typing which will take a very very long time since there are going to be thousands of items within the game. I think if you were going to implement this it should be one of your final projects and that it should be an option the user can either type or use the menu

    3. As you said "There's always going to be the risk that you aren't understood by the system. " I'm almost certain that everyone in the game will experience this and it would be rather difficult to overcome this issue.

    4. In addition, some players may not understand English and may only speak Spanish or German so unless you maybe put a Spanish language and Germal language for the system to understand then the players who speak other languages would not be able to purchase items by speaking or typing. In addition, I feel as if it would take a great deal of time again to add all of these translations.

    5. As I mentioned above this should be one of the last things that are implemented because the game doesn't 'require this feature to function' as in my opinion there are much more important things to work on such as AIs like monsters and the floors which are going to be vital to Age of Aincrad. In addition, you mentioned under the Potential alternatives/solutions heading:
    • Having the normal menu-interaction as an "option two" if the chat interface doesn't work / isn't something that you want to use at that moment
    I believe that if anything the NLPI should be option two since a lot of users may prefer the menu because it is easy to interact with it because most players would have encountered and interacted with a similar menu many times before.


    These are just a few of my opinions if I am wrong with anything stated above please inform me as I would also like to learn about the NLPI as well as the process it takes to create it.

    -Sin
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
    Whitescythe likes this.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Bot Master Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    57
    Gender:
    Male
    Short response eh? ;) @Assassin

    I'll edit this with a reply when I'm out of class.
     
  6. Assassin

    Assassin Treasure Hunter King 2018 | Denian's Servant Christmas VIP Halloween VIP Black VIP Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Short for me anyway ;) I shall await your response :p
     
  7. Denian

    Denian Minor Local Deity of Sarcasm | WebDev Staff Member Administrator Halloween VIP Dark Green VIP Black VIP Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    167
    Gender:
    Male
    Gonna answer Sin's points with my view on stuff. Correct me on anything you think is wrong.
    1. It's possible to leave out the "Merchant bob" part. The only exception is if there are two or more NPC with the capability to react to your query - the system needs to decide between possibilities, so in such cases, you'd need to specify who you're talking to.
    2. Same thing - you can shorten some item names without the sentence actually being ambiguous, so we'd just need to include the short forms. The system could actually learn those from the players by asking stuff like "Which item are you referring to?" or whatever.
    3. Systems like these use machine learning. As long as the players actually using the system is part of the system's training, it would become more accurate over time.
    4. The game is English. Any translations will be text interface first, voice interface a distant second.
    5. For most of the "standard stuff" (mobs etc.), there copy&paste code which can be tweaked in minutes - it's more a question of finding the best code to use, nothing we need to develop from scratch. If we don't already have it, that is. Level design... I can't speak for Nomad, but it's not something I'll participate a lot in. While I'm sure there's a lot to do, I'm equally sure a little distraction is sometimes necessary to solve whatever problems might arise, and this distraction would actually be productive.
     
    Whitescythe, Nomad and Assassin like this.
  8. rasmus15951

    rasmus15951 Red VIP Purple VIP Seasoned Adventurer Adventurer Oldtimer

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2014
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    38
    Gender:
    Male
    To expand on point 2, when Nomad was testing Tome's auto response thing for questions already included in the faq, she even recoginzed stuff like 4lph4 p1z, so with the right training/configuration, it shouldn't be too hard to make it working for most formats, and using Den's idea, it would just be a minor inconvenience for one player or so, the first time the shortened name is used
     
  9. Assassin

    Assassin Treasure Hunter King 2018 | Denian's Servant Christmas VIP Halloween VIP Black VIP Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    153
    Gender:
    Male
    Thank you both for your responses seem it's much less difficult that I mentioned above ;o
     
  10. luigiFTW

    luigiFTW Blue VIP Blue VIP Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2016
    Messages:
    225
    Likes Received:
    71
    Gender:
    Male
    Not great... we should test it though
     
  11. Byrat

    Byrat Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer Maroon VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    132
    Likes Received:
    36
    Gender:
    Male
    i think its defenetly a nice idea wich i would never think about but i dont think that these type of little aspects of the game will have to much impact on the actuel enjoiment we will get out of the game its self. so i dont know wether it is worth spending that much time and efort into...(at least in the curent stage of the game)
    i would much rather prefere the devs focusing on things which can actaully be presented us to keep the "players" interested in the game.

    maybe its something you can look into once the game is at a playable stage
     
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Bot Master Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    57
    Gender:
    Male
    I think @Denian did a wonderful job covering the gist of it (and I appreciate that, mate), but I will go ahead and provide some extra responses of my own with answers to bits that he did not cover.

    Absolutely not. The idea of NLP systems is to distinguish the intent of a person's message regardless of how they say it. Like @rasmus15951 's example mentioned, it should be able to handle most anything users could say, with enough training.

    The current system can already determine what you are buying and purchasing without having to know what those items are. To put it simpler, we do not have to tell the program what sort of items to be looking for. This means that it will theoretically support whatever items we throw at it.

    As the others said, it's just a matter of additional training. The "end-goal" would be to have seamless interaction, though that may indeed take some time.

    This is a real problem, and one that I did not necessarily anticipate, so I really do appreciate you bringing it up. Because of how the program works, the system would not respond to queries from other languages effectively. If we wanted to support other languages using this system, we would have to probably build a separate model to handle each additional language. I have a few ideas as to how we could streamline this, but I would have to look into it (and I do plan to look into it).
     
  13. cronfile

    cronfile Black VIP Black VIP Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    26
    Gender:
    Male
    I think you should focus on the main aspects of the game first, keeping the simple GUI buy menu until everything else is complete. While this idea sounds amazing, maybe finish everything else/release the game and then start working on this as it's not a necessity.
     
  14. Kiriel

    Kiriel Adventurer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    2
    Gender:
    Male
    I voted no because I think to implement this new option will take a long time and may not be appreciated by the players also because it is easier and faster to buy the item from a menu (especially if you have more than one), instead of typing the right words to do it.
    Personally I would prefer to buy them from a menu, for me it would be a hassle to type the words to buy a particular item in a hurry if I went to a dungeon or whatever. Maybe if done well it can be implemented in the future after the release of the game of course with the option to disable this mode and buy the items normally.
    Also because I think that the game should get out as infretta possible and implement this option now would not vantagiosa, but could be in the future.
     
  15. Noctizzle

    Noctizzle

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    I have seen lot's of games fail in the past with that feature.

    Prefer a menu to be honest.
     
  16. MirageKing

    MirageKing Christmas VIP Halloween VIP Grey VIP Rainbow VIP Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer Oldtimer Alpha Key Holder

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2015
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    135
    Gender:
    Male
    do you have a few examples? id like to take a look at them myself.

    As for feature itself, i certainly think it would be interesting and something worth persuing, so long as there is the menu alternative either for people who dont speak the language or dont want to deal with it. I'd most likely use it for most of my time in the game
     
  17. Denian

    Denian Minor Local Deity of Sarcasm | WebDev Staff Member Administrator Halloween VIP Dark Green VIP Black VIP Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    152
    Likes Received:
    167
    Gender:
    Male
    I, too, can't think of a single game like that. Not with dedicated shopkeeper NPCs and freestyle conversation, at least, and if you're talking about games with prearranged sentences you can chose from, that's an entirely different system.

    I guess I like the system, myself, but that's mostly because it's one step closer to erasing the line between Players and NPCs. If you only use a menu to interact with NPCs, they're game objects; If you talk to them, they're people. In a very limited way, maybe, but still people.
     
    Whitescythe, Xander and PhantomFury like this.
  18. Noctizzle

    Noctizzle

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Examples:

    DAoC Early days (to get tasks/quests & other things)
    The Repopulation
     
  19. Bagggins

    Bagggins Adventurer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    how awesome would be if AoA mixed most of the sensorial human skill? like mixing reading, listening and seeing in the lore of the game, making it more interesting, and giving a diference between those who are into the lore and those who are not, wich is not supposed to be a matter of better/worse, but this choice would give different paths on quests and give a option for those who wants to know more, "pressuring" the npc, or by his/her interactions on the world, get to know it better, and them getting diferente or more info!
    i loved the NPL interaction system!!
    Thanks for the space to talk and interact with developers!
     
  20. Suiledrad

    Suiledrad Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2015
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    86
    Gender:
    Male
    Since they took the hassle of idea that method, why to retract and forget it ?, continue with that project and I could only say encouragement. Also the idea is very interesting, maybe you are part of the new era of games.