Heroes Dev Log #5: Quest and Story Planning System

Heroes Dev Log #5: Quest and Story Planning System

Date
October 2, 2023

Let there be quests!

This week was a big focus especially on the quest and story planning system. Unlike in AI Dungeon, Heroes doesn't just reactively respond to what players are doing, but like a real dungeon master it also intentionally plans where it can guide the story to make it a more compelling experience for the player. Part of that is figuring out how to guide quests, to introduce new ones, to give hooks to help quests progress, or to have obstacles to make it a more meaningful challenge.

This week I did a huge revamp to make this system a lot better. Before last week the planning system was very simplistic, simply thinking of quests obstacles that we might put in front of a user periodically. Now we've made it much more sophisticated and robust. Based on a variety of factors it'll decide whether we need to introduce new quests, obstacles or plot hooks to guide the story in interesting ways.

We've also made the quest system much better at recognizing and updating quests based on these changes. Including adding a "next step" right to the main game screen display so you always have a guide of what to do next on your quest (like the blue map indicators you see in other RPGs).

One of my favorite things in this new system is the character backstory arcs. As part of character creation you can choose a character backstory (is your family part of a cursed bloodline that eventually turns all of you into hideous beasts? Was your village killed by a dragon when you were younger?). Each character will be able to start with a back story (and creators will be able to define their own for custom games) that will influence your main quest line.

We're steadily making Heroes more and more like the RPG games we love, while keeping the dynamic freedom that we all love in AI Dungeon to create something we're really excited about. Still lots more to do, but progress marches onward!

– Nick

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